It's Not Your Mother's GOP Anymore 

Remember when Republicans voted? GOP hopefuls Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman don't. Plus, the economy still sucks and the Raiders face new scandal.

Republicans vote. Indeed, the maddening dependability of GOP voters has struck fear in the hearts of Democrats for decades. But are those days over? If the current Republican leadership is any indication, they could be. It turns out that both the leading GOP candidates for governor and United States senator, Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, don't vote, or more accurately, have voted rarely in their adult lives.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, never voted before she moved to Santa Clara County in 2000. The 54-year-old didn't vote when she lived in New Jersey or Maryland. The eye-opening report came on the heels of one in June that revealed that once Fiorina moved to the Golden State, she only voted in about one in four elections in which she was eligible to cast ballots. What gives? Her spokeswoman said sheepishly: "She thinks it's wrong not to vote and she regrets not voting."

As for Whitman, the former eBay CEO, she didn't register to vote in California until 2002 and then after that, she only voted in about half of the elections for which she was eligible. Plus, she didn't even register as a Republican until 2007 — hardly the proven conservative track record that would make veteran GOP voters proud. And her response to this embarrassing revelation? "Meg makes no excuses," her spokeswoman said. "She should have made the time to vote in the past."

The only way to explain the fact that Fiorina and Whitman remain frontrunners is that Republicans must be star struck with the rich female CEOs. Both have strong name recognition and will have plenty of money to spend against their Dem opponents.

But Barbara Boxer, Jerry Brown, and Gavin Newsom have to be licking their chops. A sitting senator like Boxer will be especially tough to beat, particularly by someone who hasn't taken her citizenship responsibilities seriously. And both Brown and Newsom, regardless of who is the Democratic Party nominee, will be able to score big points off of Whitman's miserable voting record. At this point, Brown appears to have the best shot. Not only do the polls show the former Oakland mayor with a commanding lead throughout the state, but a recent poll revealed that the attorney general is even winning by double digits in Newsom's home town of San Francisco.

Don't Call It a 'Jobless Recovery'

Many national economists have said lately that the economy is showing signs of rebounding, despite the continuing dismal unemployment figures. But it's hard to see a recovery from here in California. The unemployment rate statewide jumped to 11.9 percent last month, the highest on record and far higher than the national average of 9.4 percent, the Chronicle reported. In June, California's jobless rate stood at 11.6 percent. Joblessness in the Bay Area was awful, too, although not quite as bad. In July, Alameda County's rate was 11.5 percent, and in Contra Costa County, it was 11.0 percent.

As the state economy continues to tank, cities and counties are feeling the effects more than ever. The Chron reports the state Board of Equalization has taken the unusual step of telling 337 public agencies that they will receive even less sales tax revenue this month than projected because of the bleak retail market. Sales tax receipts in April, May, and June dropped 18.75 percent from the same period in 2008. The state had estimated that the decline would be bad, but not as bad — 14.4 percent. There was a bit of good news, however, when state officials announced that they will finally stop issuing IOU's next week. As of last week, the state had handed out more than $2 billion worth.

As for the housing market, there were some indications that it may be recovering — although it's still too early to tell. The median home price in the Bay Area jumped again last month to $408,000, up 13.4 percent over June. Experts credited the rise to an increase in the number of expensive homes that sold and a decrease in the number of foreclosures that changed hands. Foreclosures accounted for 34 percent of sales, down from the high of 52 percent in February. But at the same time, there remains evidence that banks are holding foreclosed properties off the market and that the number of foreclosures could significantly increase as more and more people remain out of work or lose their jobs.

Raiders' Head Coach to be Arrested?

Oakland Raiders head coach Tom Cable may need a lawyer soon, following the explosive allegations that he not only broke the jaw of one of his assistants, but choked the guy and yelled: "I'm am going to kill you; I'm going to kill you." According to the National Football Post, assistant Randy Hanson has decided to cooperate with Napa police and hand over his medical records. The Chron reports that Napa police now have a felony assault investigation going. Cable could end up facing serious charges, which would force the NFL to suspend him, thereby putting his coaching career in doubt.

Three-Dot Roundup

Assembly Democrats apparently are so scared of being labeled soft on crime that they're refusing to go along with the governor's plan to lower California's prison population over the next few years. ... Oakland schools' test scores improved again, although they remain far below the state average. ... There was finally a decent John Yoo protest at UC Berkeley last week; four people got arrested. ... And a new report says it's still not clear whether BART police had any reason to detain Oscar Grant on New Year's Day before shooting him to death.

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