Life would be easier

If I didn't have to spend so much time building data sets and instead could focus my attention only an analyzing them.  Oh well.

P.S.- Also thinking about California State Fair tomorrow and to seeing how long it takes to spot someone eating the new two pound turkey leg wrapped in a pound of bacon.  You know, for research into the psychology of the average voter.  And stuff.

Let the games begin

Political Data finally posts info on who voted in the primary for Los Angeles, giving us a nearly complete statewide set of all 58 playing cards, er, counties.  Still missing Imperial (thanks recount) and Lake (a county everyone now knows).  Thus begins a fun-filled month of crunching data to reach the inevitable conclusion that the turnout model for June was so out of whack that it is virtually useless for modeling November other than to identify people who will vote even if Godzilla happens to be working his way up the I-5 on Election Day. 

The Rain Dance

So water consumption was down through most of the north state but actually up in Southern California.  Why is So Cal not pulling its weight whenever newspaper says there is a drought?  Well in Northern California the signs of the drought are obvious earlier.  Namely we noticed not needing to break out the umbrella very often this winter.  In So Cal, where it doesn't rain (much) to begin with it is easier to ignore the drought because you don't start to really experience it until you hit the middle of the summer, the fires start to burn, and your utility bills start to get jacked up. 

Six Californias

So the initiative to break up California is getting submitted today.  Being a geography and demographics guy, I have many, many thoughts about this.  But here is today's: What does it say about California's initiative system when TAXPAYERS are going to have to spend scare resources to print ballots, send out election materials and count votes on an idea that most consider ridiculous on its face because ONE rich guy, whose resources are clearly anything but limited, decided it was a good way to spend YOUR money. 

Maybe Republicans who oppose any initiative reform that would make qualifying an initiative even the slightest bit harder will start to look at such reforms as the fiscally responsible thing to do.  Or not.

One of the best things

California Democratic Party Executive Board meetings just wipe me out.  I chair the Credentials Committee which means I am at the registration desk for a good chunk of the weekend helping delegates with their problems.  And now that I am out on my own I inevitably have clients who have some goal they need help achieving over the course of the meeting.  Not to mention having to hustle new clients.  And of course all the general pressing the flesh, gossiping, etc that comes with such events.  

So by the time I get home I am very ready for a nap.  And one of the best things about Wagaman Strategies is I don't have to worry about getting dressed for work the next morning.  Plenty will still get done on Monday.  In fact probably more will get done thanks to the luxury of not having to force myself to get to the office.  Freedom is not the worst thing in the world.

Life's little connections

Yesterday my girlfriend bought herself a new (used car).  It was almost exactly 10 years ago when I bought my last car.  My previous car first started showing signs it was preparing to commit suicide while I was driving down to Oakland to do voting system certification testing for the Secretary of State's office for an optical scanner made by a company called Sequoia. 

Tomorrow I am getting ready to drive to Oakland again, this time for the CDP's Executive Board meeting.  Meanwhile tomorrow most of California's political eye will instead be on Imperial County as the recount begins in John Perez's best county which uses a slightly updated version of the same optical scanner I was testing ten years ago. 

Small connections. 

P.S.- Due to my field trip no daily thoughts tomorrow.  Back on Monday.


What will be the hottest topic at the CDP EBoard this weekend?

A) The recount

B) Endorsements for November initiatives

C) Changes to endorsement process for 2016

D) Who has the best food at their party

Hello, is anybody out there?

Between members going back to their districts, people taking an extended holiday weekend and the dead lawn in front of the Capitol, things were just a bit too quiet yesterday when I was downtown.  Thankfully I'll be gone on Friday at the CDP EBoard meeting when things may resemble a ghost town. 

You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.

I vote the last reporter, blogger, pundit or "expert" to inaccurately report that someone requesting a recount can pick a few precincts in a county and then stop as soon as they are ahead without noting that the winner can only be changed if an ENTIRE county's results are counted should be required to buy every primary voter a drink. 

An ode to a short week

Traveling on Monday coming back from the Central Coast.  Fourth on Friday.  Week blew past before I knew it was here.

P.S.- Though in a demonstration of the universe finding balance the next two weeks basically blend into one big long one thanks to the CDP's Executive Board meeting. 

Signs of summer

A bit restless with no more post-election canvass to discuss and the statewide data on who voted not yet posted.

Members soon to turn into pumpkins and head home.

Democratic Party Executive Board meeting on the horizon.

Debate among friends on how to celebrate the nation's birth.

Thinking about the handful of bad bills on how to "fix" things that don't need fixing in California's election law.

Pug being fussy about the heat.

Yep, it's July.

691 miles

With the canvass now complete, speculation will kick into high gear as to where John Perez will go first trying to make up his 484 vote shortfall.  My personal bet (with no inside info) is Imperial County.  That is a 691 mile trek from Lakeport in Lake County, the previous center of the world for Controller watchers.  It is also a lovely place in July.

Of Recounts and Men

As written about before here and elsewhere, the results of the Controller's contest are extraordinarily close.  It seems inevitable that whichever candidate is behind in a week will request a recount.  Many will excitedly anticipate a repeat of Gore v. Bush.  Unfortunately as the short-lived Proposition 29 recount of just two years ago showed, while drama may be high, excitement may be exceedingly difficult to find.

First California's election law is very different.  There are no automatic recounts.  No matter how close a contest is, you have to pay.  Counties are able to charge based on their expense, which vary significantly.  Candidates get to pick what they want counted.  But for those results to change the outcome of a statewide contest an entire county's results have to have been counted.  And a thousand other little nuances. 

Second voting technology has changed radically since 2000.  There was a true art to manipulating the vote with punchcards (I continue to believe if Al Gore had people who understood the nuances of voting technology he would have been elected).  New optical scan systems are far more reliable.  They are not foolproof.  But the number of times they fail to accurately reflect the voter's intent is radically improved.  The number of precincts it takes to make up even the smallest of margins is more than most expect.  Again there are a thousand nuances.  For example, central count optical scan units tend to be slightly more precise than precinct count optical scan units.  Which did your county use?

Finally, it is all about adding votes to your column, not taking them away from your opponent.  Did your voters mail ballot get rejected because the signature wasn't close enough?  That is a fight you can have. Think a voter whose vote was counted wasn't eligible.  Too bad.  Because their ballot has been put in the pile with all the other one's counted and there is no way to separate it anymore. 

The Legislature is about to go out of session.  Reporters will have little to report.  Staff will have little to do.  Many will need something to occupy their time.  Many will ask questions.  Even more will pontificate answers.  Few will know what they are talking about. 

Not sure which I prefer

First two weeks of the month were what I call "working weeks".  Locked up, grinding out reports, projects, and analysis.  Lacking in human interaction.

This week has been what I call a "meeting week."  Lots of conference calls, sitting in rooms with others, listening, talking.  Lacking in knowing if I actually accomplished anything. 

Grass is always greener I guess.

P.s.- I do know I always resent the first meeting of the day.  lol

Just how close is the Controller's race

The ebbs and flows of the Controller's race will continue for another week or so.  But as of tonight the margin is 113 votes.  That is 0.003%.  Just how close is that?

Well the next closest contest for state/federal office is in CD-31 with Pete Aguilar appears to have avoided a repeat of 2012's Rep-vs-Rep debacle by a whopping margin of 209 votes.  But because Congressional Districts are much smaller so that lead translates to 0.4% of the vote. 

In other words Aguilar's lead for second as a percentage is 134 TIMES BIGGER than Perez's.  A 0.003% lead in CD-31 would be 1.6 votes.  Not 16.  1.6. 

The state had 22,353 precincts this election.  That means the difference is 1 vote for every 200 precincts. 


Something else I don't get about the World Cup

This will probably be my most controversial post in the history of this blog with some, but like many Americans I just don't get the World Cup.  And I will admit that one component is not understanding the game of soccer itself and how anyone can get excited about a sport that involves watching 90 minutes of "action" where an average of THREE scores is labeled an offensive bonanza. 

But it goes beyond the game, I don't get the World Cup schedule.  I watched the last 15 minutes of the USA game.  And I will admit that was fun with them giving up a lead, getting it back, then just trying to hold on.  But now there is a week before their next game.  And I've stopped caring. 

People will point out there is typically a week between games in the NFL and NCAA as well.  But the difference is that week in between is all about build up.  It is all about building the tension for that next weekend.  And then on the big day you get to bounce between a dozen games, thinking about how the score of that one affects the playoff implications of the other one (I'm talking about actual playoff implications.  I'll save my beef with fantasy football for another day). 

But with the World Cup the U.S. has what I understand was a big win and today they expect me to be heavily invested in Mexico tying Brazil?  Other than the fact I missed out on a chance to drink at Zocalos I honestly have no skin in that one. 

So World Cup, explain to me why you can't just load up your games on the weekend.  Encourage people to have all day soccer parties to watch.  Copy the NFL RedZone model so I can catch the three minutes of every game worth watching.  Because having to hear people talk about today's game between Cameroon and Croatia isn't going to turn me into a convert. 

P.S.- To the NFL and NCAA, stop scheduling games midweek as well.  Friday is HS. Saturday is college.  Sunday is pro.  I've accepted Monday night if only as an excuse to take a break at the start of the week.  Don't make us give you a red card too. 

Proud Party Barney

Had way too much fun yesterday at both the grand opening of the CDP's new office and the Yolo County Democratic Central Committee.  Not only did a lot of those folks quite literally help raise me.  But they also constantly keep me grounded and remind me why I am (almost) never cynical about this business.  I had a boss once who told me that the reason I got along with the party's activists so well was because I was, and always would be, a party barney myself.  He was right and nice to be reminded of it every once and awhile.