Election Season in California

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Michael Hiltzik today on the hell we can expect from upcoming elections here in California:

To recap, this year stands to yield one of the greatest bumper crops in history in self-serving electoral cash…..Pacific Gas & Electric continues to outdistance the field, having spent $28.5 million so far on what I like to think of as the “Immunize PG&E from Competition” initiative, or Proposition 16 on the June 8 ballot. By PG&E standards the runner-up, Mercury Insurance, is a piker — it has donated only $3.5 million to what I’ve deemed the “Let Mercury Trash Consumer Protection Laws” initiative, or Proposition 17.

Bringing up the rear but running very strong is the oil industry, which has raised $1.2 million to collect signatures for an initiative, aimed for the Nov. 2 ballot, which would suspend the state’s greenhouse gas restrictions.

And this doesn’t even count the unbelievable money-fest going on between Silicon Valley zillionaires Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner to win the Republican primary for governor. Luckily, since I’m not a Republican, I can view their contest philosophically.

Anyway, read the whole thing, just to get sense of how completely screwed up the political culture in California is. Pay special attention to Proposition 16, which is one of the sleaziest efforts I’ve ever seen — and I’ve been voting in California for three decades now.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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