September 19, 2012

California Voters May Now Register Online

SENATOR LELAND Yee, D-San Francisco, authored a bill in 2011 (SB 397) which created an online system for people whose signature is already on file with the state Department of Motor Vehicles to transfer their voter registration form electronically to county elections officials from the secretary of state's website.

"This change could certainly increase voter registration among young voters and other Internet-savvy Californians," said UC San Diego political science Professor Thad Kousser - but he doesn't expect it to change the political landscape in November.

State Senator Yee, who championed other efforts to increase voter participation, said "online registration is a logical step."

Just under 60 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the last presidential contest, and only 44 percent of eligible citizens voted.

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September 7, 2012

Economic Indicator Dashboard Brings Transparency to Local Government

REDWOOD CITY, California has unveiled a very cool online tool, the economic indicators dashboard. It delivers information on the city's current conditions like sales tax data and the value of building permits issued.

The dashboard also includes at-a-glance information such as commercial building data and links, sales tax by business segments and districts, top sales tax generators, top private employers and economic news related to the city.

Vice Mayor Jeff Gee and council members Rosanne Foust and Jeff Ira, both members of the mayor's economic development subcommittee, helped create the dashboard and its web pages.

The site also includes a feedback page for users to tell the city what other kinds of information they'd like to access and what new businesses would be a valuable addition to the city.

San Mateo County and other jurisdictions could benefit from an Economic Indicator Dashboard!

Visit the site at

September 1, 2012

Update on Election Bills

THERE WERE some 98 bills passed by the California legislature before the Friday deadline. It doesn't look like any of the election reform bills mentioned in the previous article passed.

So, Assembly Bill 1436 that would have allowed for Election Day registration, is dead as is Assembly Bill 2054, that would have allowed an absentee voter to return their vote by mail ballot at any polling place in the state on Election Day. And finally, Assembly Bill 1466 that would have loosened the rules on ballots that don't arrive at the Registrar's office on Election Day, is also DOA.

Election reforms like these will obviously come up again. It's only a matter of time.