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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The California Journal of Politics and Policy (CJPP) is an online journal of original scholarship, focusing on state and local politics, public policy formation and implementation, especially in the Golden State.


Political Influence in California

In this manuscript, we introduce a new measure of political influence in California. Leveraging a new dataset of candidate rankings of their own endorsements, we use the Bradley-Terry model to estimate influence for a broad array of officeholders, interest groups, and endorsing organizations who participate in California politics. We call this new measure of influence Clout scores. Our measure of a person’s clout is based on how much candidates for office desire that individual’s endorsement. Specifically, we measure a political actor’s clout by estimating the extent to which that actor’s endorsement is preferred to a baseline endorsement group. Our estimates provide an original, empirically-grounded portrait of the distribution of political capital in California and highlight which political elites have the greatest capacity to swing election outcomes.

California Jails under Realignment and Proposition 47

This article considers how recent correctional reforms in California, which downsized the state prison system, have impacted county jails. Jails have long been overlooked by researchers and, yet, as the state shifts authority for managing certain types of offenders to counties, jails have become an even more important part of the state’s correctional options. Using detailed data from twelve counties, we examine how jails are changing in terms of types of individuals that move through them as well as how long they stay in custody and how they are released. We find that the jail population is increasingly comprised of more serious types of offenders, many of whom are staying in custody for relatively long periods of time. These changes highlight the need for policymakers to consider a variety of options to improve outcomes for offenders when they return to the community as well as the need for additional research to inform to better inform who should be held in custody, what they do while being held, and who might be safely released.

School Siting and Walkability: Experience and Policy Implications in California

Active School Commuting (ASC) and K-12 school siting policies and practices have garnered increased attention in recent years from the planning and public health fields. Of central concern is that, too often, new school siting choices contribute to sprawl and inhibit active transportation to school because they are located far from where students live and/or lack surrounding pedestrian-oriented street characteristics. California has made state policy strides in actively promoting healthy communities, which has included an interest in ensuring communities and school sites are more walkable. To inform this policy area, this study measures the walkability around a sample of schools sited and constructed in six high-growth counties in California from 2003-2011. As California looks to implement a Health in All Policies approach into state decision making (Executive Order S-04-10), and weave health, equity, and environmental sustainability into more policies, a better understanding of the relationship between school siting and walkability is needed, particularly considering that the state provides funds to school districts for new school construction projects. Amidst these state health-promoting efforts, there is not clarity on how walkable newly sited schools are. Our research with this study addresses this gap. Our findings show that the proportion of new schools sited in our study period in California that could be considered objectively walkable by American urban standards is small. Thus, it does seem that state policy actions that would increase the number of walkability around schools may be needed to realize broader healthy community objectives. Local inter-agency and inter-jurisdictional collaboration can likely realize co-benefits that lead to healthy, sustainable communities with improved educational opportunities. Clarity in state policies, guidance, and funding priorities would likely improve collaborative local planning for better outcomes in health, education, and sustainability, which, in turn, maximize investments across sectors. We add to these findings a discussion of recent policy efforts to improve school siting outcomes in California such that they are promoting health and walkability.

Before the Wedding Dance: Citizen Policymaking on Same-Sex Marriage

While activists have the public in mind when engaging in framing activity throughout a long policy struggle, ballot measure campaigns create a context in which the public and policymakers are closely related audiences. Lacking the formal deliberative mechanisms present in other institutional venues, voters as policymakers rely almost entirely on information, framing, and cues from groups involved in direct legislation. California is the only state where voters approved two different measures prohibiting same-sex marriage: Proposition 22 in 2000 and Proposition 8 in 2008. Thus, it offers a useful case study for studying activist groups' messaging and framing in the context of policymaking via ballot measures. This paper relies on campaign materials from Proposition 22 and Proposition 8 to examine whether or not activists learn from and alter their messaging strategies based on prior campaigns and changed legal and political contexts.

Measuring Legislative Behavior: An Exploration of

The Digital Democracy platform developed at California Polytechnic State University,, is an open government platform that features a searchable database of California state legislative committee hearings and floor sessions, allowing the user to search content by keyword, topic, speaker or date.  In this research note, we introduce the platform, summarize several measures of behavioral data, and encourage public feedback on what types of interactive features might be built into the platform in the near future.  Using the 2015-2016 legislative session as our sample (the first complete legislative session for which data was collected), we review basic features of the platform before exploring the participation of parties, party members and citizens.  We conclude with a reflection on the potential for this technology to enhance citizen oversight and accountability in the legislative process.