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How Corporations Are Using Propositions To Overturn Laws They Don't Like

A Postmates sticker is displayed next to an Uber Eats sticker on the window of a San Francisco restaurant on July 6, 2020. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Asking voters to repeal or overhaul a law passed by the Democratic-controlled Legislature is becoming a common strategy for corporations financially threatened by progressive policies coming out of Sacramento. Ride-hailing companies succeeded at it this week, too, convincing voters to pass Proposition 22 and exempt Uber and Lyft from state labor law.

Another one is already in-the-works: Tobacco companies have launched a referendum drive asking voters to overturn the state's ban on flavored cigarettes and vaping products within days of Gov. Gavin Newsom signing it into law in August.

The repeal efforts aren't always successful. Voters upheld the plastic bag ban in 2016, and it's too soon to know if the tobacco measure will qualify for the 2022 ballot. But companies can gain even when they lose, because once a referendum to overturn new laws qualifies for the ballot, they are put on hold. That can buy a targeted industry another two years to operate in California.


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Prop 18 Fails: 17-Year-Olds Won't Vote In Primaries

Illustration by Chava Sanchez/LAist

Proposition 18 has failed, with 55% of the elctorate voting no, according to the Associated Press.

The ballot measure would have let 17-year-old Californians vote in primaries, as long as they would have turned 18 before the general election.

Currently, 18 other states and the District of Columbia allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries —with the caveat of turning 18 before the general election. It's unclear how the measure would have affected actual turnout if passed; only 16.1% of eligible California voters aged 18-24 voted in the March 2020 primary.

More than 12 million votes were counted before the AP declared the result.

Major donors to support Prop 18 included Kevin Mullin for Assembly 2020 (he introduced the measure in the state legislature) and the Committee to Innovate for California's Future.

The measure was endorsed by the L.A. Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Diego Union-Tribune, and opposed by the Southern California News Group and the Orange County Register.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, the ACLU of Southern California, and the California Democratic Party also supported the measure.



    What We Know So Far About State And Local Election Results

    (Illustration by Chava Sanchez/LAist)


    Los Angeles County election officials updated election returns on Thursday afternoon, providing a clearer look at the voter turnout and several key races.

    The results continue to show strong performances by progressive candidates and causes, including in the Los Angeles District Attorney race, a closely watched city council contest, an open seat on the Board of Supervisors, and Measure J.

    With the current results, Los Angeles County has notched 62% voter turnout — a figure that will rise in the coming days and will likely exceed 2016’s mark of 67% turnout. The county could record four million votes.

    Based on figures provided by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder, there are still 791,200 ballots remaining to process in the county. That figure actually grew since yesterday because vote-by-mail ballots continue to arrive.

    Across the state, more than 4.5 million ballots have not yet been processed, according to a report from the Secretary of State on Thursday.

    Election results could still change in the coming days, particularly in three Southern California congressional races. In District 25 in Northern L.A. County and a small slice of Ventura County, Democrat Christy Smith leads Republican Mike Garcia by only 256 votes out of more than 275,000 votes cast.

    In Orange County, nearly 1.4 million ballots have been cast, representing a 77% voter turnout. In Riverside County, more than 436,000 ballots have been counted, although another 422,000 still need to be processed.

    Election experts were stunned by the levels of early voting in California and across the country, and hopes were high that 2020 will be an election with high turnout. However, the precise voter turnout in California may not be known until after Thanksgiving. By law, county election officials have 31 days to report results.

    Vote-by-mail ballots will be accepted by county registrars until 17 days after the election, as long as they were postmarked no later than Nov. 3.

    That means the last votes may not arrive until Nov. 20. Late-arriving votes will boost turnout numbers as the count continues.

    Ballots counted in the coming days could also flip several races -- late-arriving votes can break decisively, making an election evening lead disappear.


    In L.A.



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    Holly Mitchell Wins County Board Of Supervisors Seat

    File: State Sen. Holly Mitchell speaks at 2019 ESSENCE Festival on July 6, 2019 in New Orleans. Mitchell has won a seat on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. (Paras Griffin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

    Holly J. Mitchell has won the 2nd District race for L.A. County Supervisor against former City Council President Herb Wesson — meaning the county's powerful governing body will be made up for the first time of all women.

    The acting L.A. County CEO sent her congratulations Thursday evening via Twitter.

    Though ballots are still being counted, Mitchell leads Wesson by more than 100,000 votes.

    With just five members representing millions of residents across 88 cities, L.A.'s supervisors are among the most powerful local elected officials in the country — so powerful, they are often referred to as "little kings and queens."

    Now it'll be the five "little queens."


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    LA County Sees Highest Number Of New Coronavirus Cases Since July

    (Screenshot of graphic from L.A. County)

    L.A. County health officials reported 2,065 confirmed COVID-19 cases today and 25 more deaths. That’s the highest number of new cases since early July.

    County Chief Science Officer Dr. Paul Simon blamed the increase in cases on “COVID fatigue,” noting that people are flouting public health guidelines getting together with friends and family outside of their household.

    “I think there’s a false sense of security, that if they are around folks they know they are somehow safer than if they are around folks they don’t know,” Simon said.

    “Given that many folks with infection may be asymptomatic, or at least initially when they might be most infectious, I think these gatherings can really predispose to spread of the virus,” he said.

    As we head into the holiday season, Simon noted the county recommends that people who travel quarantine for two weeks upon their return, in case they were exposed to the virus.

    More than 800 people are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 in the county, another metric that has steadily ticked up since September.

    Deaths have continued to decrease. Dr. Simon attributed that to health care professionals’ increased knowledge of how to treat the disease.

    L.A. County remains in the state’s most restrictive purple reopening tier, largely due to its high case numbers. The county will likely remain in the purple tier for at least another four weeks, Simon said.

    Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 313,000 Angelenos have tested positive and more than 7,100 people have died from the virus.

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    Measure J Appears Headed For Passage In LA County

    (Illustration by Chava Sanchez/LAist)

    A ballot measure that would create a permanent source of funding for criminal justice reform programs in L.A. County is likely to pass.

    As of Wednesday evening, there were more than 400,000 votes to pass Measure J than opposition votes.

    Measure J is part of what activists are calling a wave of criminal justice reform sweeping L.A. County and California, from the likely victory of George Gascón as L.A. County District Attorney, to the failure of Proposition 20, which would have upped penalties for certain property crimes and parole violations, and made it harder for some people convicted of felonies to be released from prison.


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    Castellanos Concedes LAUSD Board District 7 Race, Dashing Hopes Of Teachers Union Majority

    Patricia Castellanos (left) conceded the election for the open District 7 seat on the L.A. Unified school board to opponent Tanya Ortiz Franklin. (Campaign images)

    Patricia Castellanos has conceded the race for the District 7 seat on the L.A. Unified school board to opponent Tanya Ortiz Franklin.

    Though there are many votes left to count, Castellanos currently trails Franklin by nearly 16 percentage points.

    "We could not overcome the amount of money poured into this race," Castellanos wrote in a Facebook post yesterday:

    Castellanos had the backing of United Teachers Los Angeles and other organized labor groups. But prominent education reform groups outspent the unions by a more than 3-to-1 margin hoping to swing the race to Franklin.

    Castellanos' apparent defeat ends any hope from UTLA of electing a majority to the seven-member LAUSD board. Yesterday, I shared some thoughts about what that could mean.


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    Morning Briefing: Proposition Results And Undecided Local Races

    Mail-in ballots in their envelopes await processing at the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorders' processing center. (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

    Good morning, L.A.

    Election results continue to come in for L.A. and California. So far, we know that of 12 statewide Propositions, five have failed and three have passed. The races for L.A.’s District Attorney, open City Council seats and one Board of Supervisors seat have not been called yet, nor has the race for President of the United States.

    Based on the results so far, and how some key races are trending, Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles, believes that L.A. – not San Francisco – is now at the heart of California’s most progressive politics.

    "L.A. County is now to the left of the rest of the state,” Sonenshein told KPCC's AirTalk, “and that is such a sea change in the history of California, that it's hard not to notice it."

    Keep reading for more details on local, state and national elections, as well as ongoing tallies – and stay safe out there.

    Jessica P. Ogilvie

    And The Count Goes On …

    Here are the election tallies and results so far, as of early Wednesday evening:

    In L.A. (all UNDECIDED)

    Statewide Propositions

    • Prop 15 The property tax “Split Roll” initiative: UNDECIDED
    • Prop 16 To bring back affirmative action: FAILED
    • Prop 17 To allow parolees to vote: PASSED
    • Prop 20 To toughen some criminal penalties: FAILED
    • Prop 21 To give cities more power to enact rent control: FAILED
    • Prop 22 To have app-based drivers treated as contractors: PASSED
    • Prop 23 New requirements for dialysis clinics: FAILED
    • Prop 24 To strengthen online privacy protections: PASSED
    • Prop 25 To end cash bail: FAILED

    U.S. Congress (all UNDECIDED)

    President of the U.S.

    Election Analysis And More

    Election Analysis: L.A. County is now the heart of progressive politics. What role did Latina/o voters play in key local elections? Here’s why the LAUSD School Board elections are so important.

    Election Experiences: These Santa Clarita teenagers volunteered as election workers, even though they’re not old enough to vote. Activists cried foul after an Orange County campaign invited Vietnamese voters to drop off their ballots and/or get help filling them in.

    Coronavirus Updates: Since October, California’s COVID-19 test positivity rate has ticked up to 3.3%. Dr. Mark Ghaly, California's Health and Human Services Secretary, today called the increase slow and steady, compared with the huge case surge in the Midwest.

    Photo of the Day

    High school student Samea Derrick (left) says Gen Z is forward thinking and inclusive. "We want change."

    (Mariana Dale/LAist )

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