Morning Briefing: Why California Has So Many Propositions
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If you’re planning on voting in the upcoming election (and we hope you are!), you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of propositions to sift through, as there are in most election years in California. And if you’re wondering who to blame for all the studying they require, Marketplace reporter Meghan McCarty Carino reports that you can point your finger at one Hiram Johnson.
Johnson, who served as governor of California from 1911-17, made it his mission to wrench power from wealthy railroad barons and state legislators, among whose ranks his own father happened to belong. He did so by instituting the ballot initiative process.
"He saw [ballot initiatives] as tools for fights,” says Joe Mathews, author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It. “He sold it as, ‘It'll be like a gun in a man's hand.'"
The process, as Johnson envisioned it, made it very difficult for legislators to change propositions that voters turned into law. While perhaps well-intentioned, Mathews notes that Johnson was also “loud, bombastic [and] angry,” and that the less-than-ideal system he left in his wake was essentially a result of his "daddy issues."
Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.
Coming Up Today, October 23
LAist contributor James Rojas writes about the shared Brown-Black spaces of his youth as a Chicano growing up and coming out in L.A. in the ‘70s.
Hannibal Buress is doing an outdoor comedy show at the Rose Bowl this weekend. Mike Roe spoke with the actor about comedy in the pandemic, and making a live performance COVID-safe.
Robert Garrova examines L.A. County’s 2019 hate crimes report, and hears from officials about how 2020 is going.
Josie Huang looks at the CA-25 Congressional race in Orange County where Vietnamese voters are being courted like never before.
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Money Matters: Some unemployment recipients in California say their accounts are being frozen because they’re the victims of fraud.
Coronavirus Updates: Latina/o COVID-19 infections have declined in L.A. County, but they’re still at twice the rate of infections as white residents.
Election 2020: Check out last night’s virtual event featuring host Austin Cross and reporter Libby Denkmann answering questions about voting, specific races, and propositions on the ballot. Here’s NPR’s live fact-check of the second (and final) debate between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden. The history behind why California has so many ballot propositions can be traced back to one man.
Deterring Discrimination: Another judge has ruled against a memo issued by President Trump that calls for excluding unauthorized immigrants from the census numbers used for reapportioning seats in the House of Representatives.
Here’s What To Do: Check out a Día de los Muertos exhibition, a dead man's party, a virtual Brewery Artwalk, and more in this week’s best online and IRL events. Listen to Our Body Politic, a podcast hosted by award-winning journalist Farai Chideya that presents the experience of women of color in today’s political events.
Photo Of The Day
Rising abruptly from the desert floor, the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument reaches an elevation of 10,834 feet, and is crossed by the Pacific Crest Trail.
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This post has been updated to reflect changes in what's coming up for today.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified where the ballot box fire took place. LAist regrets the error.
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