• Breaking the Cycle: Reforming LA City Council for a Stronger Democracy

    The LA City Council entails one of the biggest metropolitan governments, right here in California.

    This episode unravels the corruption scandals shaking Los Angeles City Hall—from Councilmember Jose Huizar's federal charges to Nury Martinez's gerrymandering controversy.

    Journey through LA's political history, exploring Mayor Sam Yorty's tenure and the 1980s Library scandal, exposing a pattern of corruption. Each council member represents more than a quarter million residents and with a $10 billion budget, City Council decisions impact every aspect of Angelenos' lives.

    Our experts dissect the web of corruption—redistricting, bribery, pay-to-play, and lobbying—calling for transparency and reform. Local organizers share grassroots perspectives, emphasizing community involvement.

    Join us in unveiling the truth about LA's democracy and what can be done about it.

    S2E5 - 30m - Mar 15, 2024
  • Restoring the Vote in California

    Did you know that there are only three places in the United States where all incarcerated people can vote? Only Vermont and Maine have had the right to vote for all written into their constitutions since their founding.

    As of 2020, Washington D.C. became the only state or district to have fully restored the right to vote for all incarcerated people. In this episode of Democracy Is, we explore the history of felony disenfranchisement in California, and efforts to restore the vote. 

    This episode features interviews with Professor Hadar Aviram from the University of California, Hastings School of Law and Emiliano Lopez of Initiate Justice Action. 

    S2 - 31m - Jan 24, 2024
  • Defending Democracy in the Digital Age

    On Democracy Is, we embark on a thought-provoking exploration of the intricate challenges posed by misinformation and disinformation in our digital age. How are social media algorithms weaponized to alter election outcomes? Continuing our journey, we navigate the ever-shifting terrain of social media regulation and privacy reform. How are policies evolving to address the growing concerns surrounding disparate access to information and user privacy? How has digital policy evolved to promote the ethical sharing of information online?


    This episode features exclusive interviews with Nora Benavidez, Senior Counsel of Free Press, and Jinxia Niu, Program Manager of Chinese for Affirmative Action. Together, we navigate the nuanced landscape of misinformation and disinformation, exploring policies and strategies crucial for building a resilient democracy.


    Learn more about what we do and how you can become a member at www.commoncause.org/california

    35m - Nov 27, 2023
  • Moore vs Harper: A Battle for the Future of the Country

    For this episode of Democracy Is, we take a break from our usual California-focused programming to discuss the recent Supreme Court case Moore vs Harper.

    Typically, we wouldn’t cover a national case that didn’t directly involve California but this SCOTUS case is unique in that one of the main advocate groups championing it was Common Cause.

    In this episode, we are joined by Common Cause’s Alton Wang and Common Cause North Carolina’s Sailor Jones to break down what happened in North Carolina during the 2020 Redistricting Cycle and why it was so crucial for Common Cause to secure this victory! 

    S2E3 - 25m - Aug 23, 2023
  • Loopholes & Backdoors

    Welcome back to Democracy Is! This episode explores the history, context, and relevance of the Political Reform Act. What is it? What does it do? Why is it so important?

    We’ll be exploring what this overlooked piece of legislation means for you, the voter, and why the PRA still works at combating the influence of money in politics, almost fifty after its introduction.  

    Featuring interviews with Ann Ravel, former Chair of the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), and Sky Allen, Executive Director of IE United.

    S2E2 - 37m - Jun 5, 2023
  • [voting non-english]

    Welcome back to Democracy Is! We hope you are ready for Season 2! In this episode, we discuss language access and why it is so critical in order for all communities to fully participate in our democracy. There are over 200 languages spoken in the state of California alone yet only a handful are covered under federal and state law. Find out why and hear from organizers and policy makers who are working to make our democracy more accessible. 


    Featuring interviews with Homayra Yusufi, the Deputy Director of Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA) & Deanna Kitamura from Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus.

    S2E1 - 40m - Mar 17, 2023
  • What does Election Season mean to California Common Cause?

    It's that time of the year - ELECTION SEASON! We know that you have been bombarded with advertisements, Twitter rants, Facebook posts, and candidate mailers. Election Season can be overwhelming and you may be wondering what CA Common Cause does to make our elections more accessible & transparent. Join us as we explore how multiple players prepare for November 8th!

    Featuring interviews with Neal Kelly, the former Registrar of Voters for Orange County & Valerie Morishige, a super volunteer with our CA Common Cause Election Protection program.

    S1E5 - 38m - Nov 3, 2022
  • Should We Recall the Recall?

    Now more than ever, Californians are hearing about recalls and witnessing them happening at all levels of government. We will be exploring Recalls and examining the history, impact, and relevance of this little-known corner of California’s democracy. We will discuss how we can improve the recall process to better serve our political system and our communities. This episode also features interviews with Joshua Spivak, a Senior Fellow at the Hugh L. Carey Institute for Government Reform, and Sylvia Leong, the current Board Vice President of the Cupertino Union School District.

    S1E4 - 36m - Oct 11, 2022
  • Follow the Money

    On this episode of Democracy Is, we take a look at Money in Politics and how it affects our democracy. Understanding how money impacts our politics is essential in the fight for equity! How did we get to this current iteration of our system? How does money impact everyday voters? How much power do wealthy individuals and corporations really have over our elections? We will discuss all of these topics in the latest release from Democracy Is.

    We speak with Noah Cole, a policy analyst who is authoring a report on public financing, and Colleen Echohawk, a Seattle mayoral candidate who ran her campaign using public financing systems. With a historic ballot measure appearing this November in Oakland, the time to talk about Money in Politics is now!

    S1E3 - 30m - Aug 5, 2022
  • The Lines Have Been Drawn: Redistricting in CA during the 2020 Cycle

    This week on Democracy Is, we finish our two-episode arc and are going to take a deep dive into how redistricting went here in California. How does this redistricting cycle compare to others? What are independent redistricting commissions and how did they impact California and its communities? We will answer all these questions and more in today’s show!

    This episode also features interviews with Nicolas Heidorn, a fierce advocate for fair & transparent redistricting and responsible for drafting Senate Bill 1108 (Allen, 2016), which for the first time authorized all California general law cities and counties to adopt independent citizens redistricting commissions. We will also speak with Ana Lisa Vargas and Ariana Marmolejo from Communities for a New California on their work in the Central Valley throughout the most recent redistricting cycle.

    S1E2 - 33m - Jun 23, 2022
  • What is Redistricting?

    On this week’s Democracy Is episode, we cover the topic of “Redistricting” as part of a two-episode arc. We take an inside look into how the process came to be, the politics of the Gerrymander, and real impact it has had on our communities. Along with understanding the mechanics of Redistricting, we have a conversation with Kathay Feng on the the fight for Redistricting Reform in California.

    25m - May 23, 2022
  • Introducing Democracy Is!

    A show about from California Common Cause about how democracy impacts our lives and how democracy issues play out in our communities.

    S1E1 - 1m - May 18, 2022
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