Friday, February 28, 2014

News from Sacramento: "Judge tosses out STOP lawsuit on Kings arena"

Quoted in this piece in the Sacramento Bee

With a judge unwilling to overlook their mistakes, two Sacramento taxpayer groups lost their legal fight Wednesday to force a vote on the city’s planned $258 million contribution toward a new downtown Kings arena.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley, in a strongly worded decision, ruled the two groups had filed signature petitions “infected with errors” that violated state election laws. He also sided with city attorneys who argued the proposed ballot measure would violate the city charter because it sought “to restrict the City Council’s future power to manage its financial affairs.”

Read more here:
Jessica Levinson, an election-law expert at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, said the ruling was remarkable in its decisiveness. While election law does excuse some errors in the signature-gathering process, Frawley went out of his way to note the seriousness of STOP’s errors, she said.
“This is not a judge saying … this is a close call,” she said. “This wasn’t a, ‘You forgot to indent this paragraph.’ ”

Read more here:

News from San Diego: "Email Solicitations in DA Race Draw Complaints"

Quoted in this piece in the Voice of San Diego. 

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis notched a victory Tuesday when the union representing over 300 deputy district attorneys endorsed her re-election campaign.
But the announcement came after two drama-filled weeks of behind-the-scenes politicking, and allegations that some attorneys were being strong-armed into supporting their boss.
In particular, emails sent from deputy district attorneys to co-workers encouraging them to support Dumanis leading up to and during the union’s days-long endorsement vote have generated complaints.
Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and vice president of the L.A. Ethics Commission, said the inclusion of the recipient names on the emails that spurred complaints “probably doesn’t rise to the level of being legally actionable, but it lives in the subtle gray area where we know what it’s about.”
“Does this rise to ‘you need to endorse or else you won’t get plum assignments or a promotion?’ No, but everyone knows how to use BCC, right? I think this can be seen as a subtle tactic to feel pressure to endorse in a re-election,” Levinson said.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

How Democrats Learned to Stop Worrying and Love

Quoted in this piece by Michael Beckel in Slate (also available on the website for the Center for Public Integrity)

“Candidate-specific super PACs can help scare off opponents or signal to opponents and potential opponents that their favored candidate will have ample funding,” said Jessica Levinson, a professor at the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.