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California's Choices: 2012 Ballot Initiatives

California has the nation's most extensive system of direct democracy, as citizens regularly exercise the power to determine important policy issues by direct popular vote. In this election, Californians will vote on eleven propositions. The proposals would, among other things, raise taxes, ban union and corporate payroll deductions for political contributions, reform the state budget process, abolish the death penalty, and end the state's three-strikes-and-you're out sentencing policy. Two of the state's leading political commentators, Bob Stern and Tony Quinn, will provide expert analysis of these consequential choices.

Bob Stern is the former President of the Center for Governmental Studies, a California think tank focused on political reform. Stern has been called “the godfather of modern political reform in California”. He began drafting and analyzing political reform laws as a staff attorney for the California Legislature’s Assembly Elections Committee; he then served as the Elections Counsel to the California Secretary of State’s office. He has drafted numerous state initiatives, and was a principal drafter of the City of Los Angeles’ Ethics and Public Campaign Financing laws in 1990. He is a graduate of Pomona College and Stanford Law.

Tony Quinn is co-editor of the California Target Book, a non-partisan almanac of California politics. Quinn is an authority on California political trends and demographics. He served three years as an assistant to the California Attorney General, is a former director of the Office of Economic Research in the Department of Commerce, and for five years served as a member of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. Dr. Quinn has written extensively on California politics and elections. He holds degrees from Georgetown University, University of Texas, and Claremont Graduate University.

The discussion with Bob Stern and Tony Quinn is sponsored by the Rose Institute for State and Local Government as part of the Athenaeum series focusing on the 2012 Election.