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The Riggs Report: A career spent defining California

Pollster Mervin Field spent decades taking our measure of political thought

During my years in the newsroom, the Field Poll was a well-known yardstick of how well — or how poorly — political campaigns were faring in California’s public eye. But it was also common for younger staffers to think the name referred to polling work done “in the field,” having no idea the survey’s name referred to its founder.

Mervin Field, who died Monday at the age of 94, started polling Californians in the years just following World War II. He learned his trade from pollster George…

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The Riggs Report: Backing up Bera

Bera occupies one of the most vulnerable House seats in the nation

President Obama needs every friend he can get in Washington right now when it comes to the fight over a new free-trade treaty. That requires providing political cover and support for his allies, especially when those allies find themselves taking withering fire.

Exhibit A is Sacramento-area Congressman Ami Bera, a Democrat, who occupies one of the most vulnerable House seats in the nation. Bera won re-election last year over challenger Doug Ose by only about 1,400 votes—or less than a 1 percent margin, in a race…

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Hannah Marrs Joins Randle Communications

June 3, 2015

SACRAMENTO – Randle Communications (Randle) today announced that Hannah Marrs has joined the team as an account coordinator. In this position she helps develop and support digital public affairs and social media strategies for a variety of clients including the California Hospital Association, California Association of Realtors®, Golden State Water Company and California Trailblazers.

“Hannah brings a unique combination of legislative and social media experience to our firm,” Randle President & CEO Jeff Randle said. “We are pleased to welcome her to the team and know that her knowledge and experience at the state…

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The Riggs Report: A genderless pay scale

Measure advances to reduce workplace discrimination

Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, is not a natural ally of the California Chamber of Commerce. Last year, the Chamber opposed a bill she carried to prohibit sale or lease of a vehicle subject to recall. The measure failed a key committee vote. The year before, the Chamber also opposed another bill she authored to increase legal rights of domestic violence victims. Business owners were opposed because of warnings that it would increase litigation costs. It passed and was signed by the governor.

Both measures had this in common: they were placed…

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The Riggs Report: How not to run for office

Loretta Sanchez’s stumbling start in the race for U.S. Senate

If it’s not an axiom of campaigning, it should be. Political candidates should concentrate on running for office, not running away from reporters.

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, who is running for U.S. Senate, displayed an admirable sprinting style last weekend while attempting to avoid a KCRA reporter’s questions about her use of a “war cry” hand gesture while making reference to a pending meeting with Native Americans.

Sanchez had apparently just learned that her use of the gesture had been recorded on a smartphone by a political activist…

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The Riggs Report: Education’s budget bonus

Schools sweep up on extra state revenues

Gov. Jerry Brown will preside over the release of a revised state budget that is swimming in extra revenues. Good news? Yes, but primarily, only if you work in public education.

Under terms of Proposition 98, approved by voters a quarter century ago, almost all of that windfall will end up in the coffers of K-12 public schools and community colleges. Part of that has to do with built-in formulas that require schools to be reimbursed for recent recession-era cuts, in addition to guaranteed increases.

It’s a big windfall. Tax…

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The Riggs Report: Peeling back the dome

New Digital Democracy website offers Capitol transparency

Sam Blakeslee spent eight years as a member of the Legislature; six years in the Assembly, including a stint as Republican Leader, and two years in the Senate. Now he wants to promote greater transparency when it comes to how the Capitol and his former colleagues operate. And he’s doing it with the help of some whiz kids from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Blakeslee, along with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, was in Sacramento this week to launch a new website called Digital Democracy with sophisticated software that allows users to…

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The Riggs Report: Brown’s new green

Governor unveils aggressive new global warming target

Gov. Jerry Brown signaled Wednesday that he intends to stake his political reputation on new greenhouse gas reduction targets that his office called, “the most aggressive benchmark enacted by any government in North America.”

How aggressive? Brown’s surprise announcement came in the form of an executive order that calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels, and to do it by 2030, just 15 years from now.

In a prepared statement, Brown spoke of the ambitious nature of the order.

“California sets a very high…

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The Riggs Report: Earth Day’s California origins

1969 Santa Barbara oil spill galvanized environmental movement

President Obama marked the occasion of Earth Day this week with a visit to the Florida Everglades and a speech about the environmental and economic consequences of climate change. Among those consequences, he warned, are rising seawater levels which threaten fresh water supplies and the prosperity of the state’s lucrative tourism business.

The Earth Day address marks the White House’s renewed efforts to draw public attention to the impacts on jobs, property values, and health. It’s also a proactive move that acknowledges a political reality; opposition to the President’s policies…

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The Riggs Report: The candidate rollout continues

The 2016 presidential contest appears closer than ever

Campaign season is here. Hillary Clinton’s and Marco Rubio’s launch of their presidential campaigns this week marks just the beginning of a campaign marathon that will test the candidates’ skills, their consultants’ tactics and the voters’ patience.

Rubio, the junior senator from Florida, joins Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on what will eventually be a long list of Republican hopefuls.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is raising big bucks for his planned announcement. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is still pondering whether he wants to…

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