WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2016  – Sign up

California has the nation’s most extensive system of direct democracy, as citizens regularly exercise the power to determine important policy issues by direct popular vote. In this election, Californians will vote on an astounding 17 propositions. The topics cover a broad range of subjects, including among other things, the death penalty, legalizing marijuana, criminal sentencing, firearms and ammunition sales, bond funding, cigarette tax, income tax, and open government measures. Two of the state’s leading political commentators, Bob Stern and Tony Quinn, will provide expert analysis of these consequential choices. Professor Ken Miller will moderate the discussion and present the Rose Institute’s Video Voter series of informational videos produced by the Rose Institute students.

Bob Stern is the co-founder and former president of the Center for Governmental Studies, a California think tank focused on political reform. Stern has been called “the godfather of modern political reform in California.” He began drafting and analyzing political reform laws as a staff attorney for the California Legislature’s Assembly Elections Committee; he then served as the Elections Counsel to the California Secretary of State’s office. He has drafted numerous state initiatives, and was a principal drafter of the City of Los Angeles’ Ethics and Public Campaign Financing laws in 1990. He is a graduate of Pomona College and Stanford Law.

Tony Quinn is co-editor of the California Target Book, a non-partisan almanac of California politics. Quinn is an authority on California political trends and demographics. He served three years as an assistant to the California Attorney General, is a former director of the Office of Economic Research in the Department of Commerce, and for five years served as a member of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. Dr. Quinn has written extensively on California politics and elections. He holds degrees from Georgetown University, University of Texas, and Claremont Graduate University.

Ken Miller is a member of the Government Department at CMC and is the Associate Director of the Rose Institute. His research focuses on state government institutions, with emphasis on direct democracy (initiative, referendum, and recall) and the interaction between law and politics.  Dr. Miller is a graduate of Pomona College, Harvard Law School, and U.C. Berkeley.


Polarization: The Rise of Ideology in U.S. Politics


The 2016 presidential election features the two most unpopular major party nominees in the history of opinion polling.  How did that happen? 

Steve Schier is Dorothy H. and Edward C. Congdon Professor of Political Science at Carleton College in Northfield , Minnessota.

Professor Schier graduated in 1974 from Simpson with a double major in political science and history. He then enrolled in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received his M.A. in 1975 and Ph.D. in 1978.  He taught at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, earning full professorship in 1993. Professor Schier is the recipient of a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturing Award in 2002.

Professor Schier has published thirteen books and has authored many scholarly articles and monographs. His edited book entitled A Post-Modern Presidency: Bill Clinton’s Legacy in American Politics was named by Choice magazine an “Outstanding Academic Book” of 2001. A more recent book entitled High Risk and Big Ambition: The Presidency of George W. Busch was listed as an “academic press best seller” in 2004.

More recently, he coedited (with Janet Box-Steffensmeier of Ohio State) and authored a chapter in The American Elections of 2008 for Rowman and Littlefield publishers. His book, Panorama of a Presidency: How George W. Bush Acquired and Spent His Political Capital, was published by M.E. Sharpe in late 2008. This book also won a Choice magazine “Outstanding Academic Book” award in 2009. In 2009, the University of Pittsburgh Press published his edited volume, Ambition and Division: Legacies of the George W. Bush Presidency.

Forthcoming is an edited volume, Debating the Obama Presidency, “the first book to present both the arguments for and against Barack Obama’s presidency and its policies.” The book presents different perspectives on the subject from political scholars, including CMC’s Andrew Busch and Jack Pitney.

Fall 2016

Reflections on a Career in Congress


A resident of Santa Barbara since 1964, Congresswoman Lois Capps represents California’s 24th District, which includes San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, and a portion of Ventura County. She was sworn in as a member of Congress in 1998.

Rep. Capps has spearheaded and passed legislation on issues addressing national nursing shortage, violence against women, underage drinking, mental health services, research on pediatric rare diseases, provision of AEDs to local communities, diversification of clinical trials for effective treatments, CPR instructions in schools, hearing loss in newborns, Medicare coverage for patients suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease, the expansion of TRICARE health coverage for military mothers, and rental car safety for consumers.

At the forefront of efforts to protect the environment and promote clean energy and green technology, she has led efforts to prevent new oil and gas drilling off our coast and on the public’s lands, strengthen oil pipeline safety and spill response, protect consumers from shouldering the financial burden of cleaning up water pollution in their water supplies, and conserve wildlife and rare species native to the Central Coast. She has also authored laws to establish a national system for ocean monitoring, expand conservation efforts for public lands, and strengthen labeling standards for organic foods.

Rep. Capps serves on the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and the Natural Resources Committee.

She is a member and has served as co-chair of numerous Congressional caucuses. She is the founder and co-chair of the House Nursing Caucus and was an original member and is honorary Vice-Chair, of the LGBT Equality Caucus.

Rep. Capps graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington with a B.S. in Nursing, earned an M.A. in Religion from Yale University, and an M.A. in Education from U.C. Santa Barbara. She has received honorary doctorates from Pacific Lutheran University and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.

Spring 2016