State Budget Approved

The legislature passed and the governor signed a state budget on October 8-more than 100 days late. While most people admit that there is much to dislike about the spending plan, Cal Grants were spared. The maximum grant for the year will remain $9,708. With Proposition 25, which would eliminate the two-thirds vote requirement to pass a budget, on the ballot, along with other proposed election reforms, such as the open primary and legislative redistricting, budget deadlocks may be less likely in the future. Could the 2010 state budget battle be our last?

November Ballot Measures

California voters will have nine statewide propositions to decide on in November. Unlike in past years, when the voters had to decide on intricate and archaic taxing rules and complex regulations, the 2010 list has some very straight forward and topical measures, including the proposal to legalize possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use.

Because 2010 was a census year and legislative district lines must be redrawn to reflect changes in population, there are also two competing measures dealing with how California will redraw the legislative and congressional district lines. A detailed analysis of these measures may be seen at the California Secretary of State's election website.

Election Debates

The last of the debates between the top statewide candidates took place on October 12 at Dominican University. Other colleges that hosted debates this season include UC Davis and Cal State University, Fresno. Saint Mary's was the only venue for a televised debate among the two United States Senate candidates. Once the 2010 elections are over, attention will turn to the 2012 presidential election. Many colleges and universities will begin to develop bid packages to submit to the Commission on Presidential Debates in the hopes of being selected as one of hosts of the presidential and vice presidential debates in fall 2012. This commission reviews the applications, winnows them down to around 18 finalists and will fully scrutinize each proposal. The commission then visits each of the finalist campuses and develops a list of three lucky sites for the presidential debates and one for the vice presidential debate. The commission will announce the sites sometime around Thanksgiving 2011.

New Town Manager For Moraga

The Moraga Town Council recently named Jill Kiemach, community development director for the Fremont, as the new town manager. Kiemach will begin her duties with the town on November 1. We welcome Kiemach and look forward to a continued good relationship between the College and the town.

Election Forecast Contest

Since the last election forecast contest was so popular, I thought I would offer it again. The winner receives either a bottle of wine or a pound of See's candy and bragging rights for a year. The 2008 winner was Professor Patrizia Longo of the politics and women's studies departments. See if you can outsmart her this year!

All entries must be received in my email, tjf5@stmarys-ca.edu, account by the day before Election Day, November 2.

Here are the contest questions:

1. What will be the breakdown of Republicans, Democrats and Independents in the U.S. Senate after the election?

2. What will be the breakdown of Republicans, Democrats and Independents in the U.S. House of Representatives?

3. Who will win the Boxer-Fiorina race for the U.S. Senate seat from California?

4. Who will win the Brown-Whitman race for governor?

5. Who will have the larger number of votes, the winner of the Governor's race or the winner of the US Senate race?

6. Who will be elected California's lieutenant governor?

7. Who will be elected California's attorney general?

8. Who will win the McNerney-Harmer race for the 11th District congressional seat?

9. What percentage of voters will vote for John Garamendi for the 10th District congressional seat?

10. What percentage of voters will vote for George Miller for the 7th District congressional seat?

11. Alpha question: After the election, who will be the minority leader-designate for the House of Representatives and for the Senate for the 112th Congress?

Send in your best predictions and guesses. Good luck!

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