Good morning, California.

“The top-two primary system may have its quirks, but it is well suited for the burgeoning number of (No Party Preference) voters.”—Mark Baldassare, president, Public Policy Institute of California, blogging that “vital signs of California’s democracy are healthy.”

The 37.5 percent turnout was the highest for a mid-term primary since 1998.

Supreme Court pulls plug on 3 Californias initiative

The California Supreme Court kicked Timothy Draper's 3 California's initiative off the November ballot on Wednesday.

The California Supreme Court on Wednesday yanked Silicon Valley entrepreneur Timothy Draper’s so-called CalExit initiative off the November ballot, after Draper spent $1.78 million to qualify the measure.

The Planning and Conservation League and Center for Law in the Public Interest sued to remove the measure, arguing that initiatives cannot be used to revise the state Constitution. 

The justices concluded “the potential harm in permitting the measure to remain on the ballot outweighs the potential harm in delaying the proposition to a future election.” The court, which rarely removes initiatives from the ballot, invited the parties to argue the case further next month.

CALmatters’ Ben Christopher quotes Draper: “Apparently, the insiders are in cahoots and the establishment doesn’t want to find out how many people don’t like the way California is being governed.”

Draper envisions recreating California into northern, southern and central states, and hired a strategist who worked on the Brexit campaign to pull Britain out of European Union.

Draper’s ballot argument promised that splitting California would improve schools, roads, and water infrastructure, and overhaul “the most overwhelming taxes of any state.” How all that might happen is not clear.

California Chamber of Commerce President Allan Zaremberg signed the argument against Proposition 9, warning it’d “create chaos” to “satisfy the whims of one billionaire.”

It’s only money: Draper has spent $27.1 million on California campaigns since 2000, funding failed notions to split California into six states and create tax-funded school vouchers.

The big hurdle: Congress would need to approve the new states. Three Californias would send six senators to Washington. Given registration numbers,  all six could be Democrats. Republicans would never go for it.

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Is San Francisco the center of the universe?

Kimberly Guilfoyle and Donald Trump Jr. at the White House.

“It is amazing how San Francisco is truly the center of the universe. Home to the next governor.  Both Senators. And Don Jr.’s squeeze.” — Sean Clegg, Gavin Newsom political advisor.

Clegg was reacting to a comment by Kimberly Guilfoyle, Newsom’s ex-wife formerly from San Francisco who is now dating Donald Trump Jr. Guilfoyle told Breitbart News:

“Gavin was not as far left as he’s gone now. Sadly, now that he’s not under my tutelage and influence, he’s strayed.”

UC student leaders take their seat at the table

The tuition decrease University of California regents are set to vote on Thursday amounts to $60 per year—about the cost of a used textbook.

More significantly, student leaders learned of the roll-back on a conference call with university budget staff, CALmatters Felicia Mello reports.

Caroline Siegel Singh, vice president of external affairs for UC San Diego’s student association:

“They got on the line and were like, ‘We think we can roll back tuition and here’s why.’ ”

UC leaders are trying to make good on an agreement signed with the UC Student Association in June to consult with students on budget issues and give at least 30 days notice before proposing any tuition increases.

Why: This spring, administrators and students lobbied together for more UC funding, and it worked. Legislators listen to students, knowing they will be voters for years to come.


Refugees hit by state’s high costs

California’s skyrocketing housing costs have created a harsh reality for newly settled refugees, many of whom go to extraordinary lengths just to afford rent.

The latest installment of CALmatters’ California Dream collaborative project finds that the state’s progressive attitudes aside, the high cost of getting by has prompted resettlement agencies to rethink strategies for placing refugees in the Golden State.

Matt Levin, CALmatters data and housing reporter, spent time with Khisrow Jan, a refugee who was a translator for U.S. troops in Afghanistan and lives with his wife and four kids in a two-bedroom apartment in Antioch, paying rent of $1,850 a month. He tries to make ends meet by driving for Uber in San Francisco.

Jan: “I heard a lot about California out there in Afghanistan. They were saying California is nice. But trust me, I didn’t know anything about the rent and all these bills.”

Walters: The saga of Gilbert Hyatt

CALmatters commentator Dan Walters details the latest twist in the case of inventor Gilbert Hyatt, who moved to Nevada to avoid California taxes. The case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court gets at the question: How far can the California Franchise Tax Board go in pursuing people it believes owe taxes to California.

Walters: “The Hyatt case, in all its ramifications, is a case study in how those fleeing from California’s taxes could be treated, and is being closely watched by those who specialize in minimizing tax exposure of high-income Californians.”


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