Capitol Weekly

By Chuck McFadden
November 15, 2016

It’s all over and, with a few exceptions, it will stay that way for two more years.

But like any other public event, ranging from bridge tournaments to the Super Bowl, there were winners and losers. Here’s our take on who came out winners and who lost in the 2016 general election.


Jerry Brown

California voters approved his Proposition 57, a move to loosen parole restrictions and reduce the prison population. The governor must be thinking “If only I were a few years younger, I could have clobbered Trump!” Californians also defeated Proposition 53, which had been aimed squarely at his two legacy projects: the twin Delta tunnels and high speed rail. The governor fought hard against it, and he apparently carried the day, with the measure failing by 51.5 percent “no” to 48.5 percent “yes.”

Kamala Harris

She rolled to an easy victory over Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, a fellow Democrat, and goes to the U. S. Senate already being billed as the Democrats’ great shining hope for the future; might she become the nation’s first female president? And back in Sacramento, everyone is speculating about whom Gov. Jerry Brown will pick to replace Harris as attorney general. Presumably, not his wife.

Recreational Marijuana

It’s legal in California now, giving birth to what some predict will be a multi-billion dollar industry. At least it will be taxable. And 2018 gubernatorial hopeful Gavin Newsom was behind the successful effort, and that $7 million from Napster co-founder and Facebook exec Sean Parker didn’t hurt, either.

The Death Penalty

Californians rejected an effort to overturn it by a decisive 53.9 percent – 46.1 percent margin. On top of that, voters approved a speedup of the appeals process, albeit by a narrower margin of about 51 percent with some ballots still to be counted.

School Money
Voters approved a 12-year continuation of the “temporary” 2012 tax hike on the richest Californians, meaning continued funding of the state’s public schools at the present level.

More school money

Voters, clearly in a generous mood, also approved Proposition 51, a whopping $9.1 billion plan to borrow money through the sale of general obligation bonds, with the money going for school construction for K-12 and the community colleges.

Big Pharma

By spending some $109 million, the pharmaceutical industry managed to turn back Proposition 61, which would have tied drug prices for some public agencies in California to the price paid by the federal Veterans Administration. That means any nationwide effort to roll back prescription drug prices is dead, at least temporarily.

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