TO: CVF-NEWS FROM: Kim Alexander, CVF President DATE: May 2, 2001 RE: CVF-NEWS Roundup
In this issue of CVF-NEWS:
* California web sites hacked * California 2002 statewide races taking shape * Florida Legislature nears completion of election reform package * Government secrecy about California's energy crisis
California web sites hacked
At least two state government web sites were hacked this week, in addition to several other high-profile hacks of federal government web sites, apparently in response to the U.S./China spy plane incident. The California Energy Commission's web site and the Secretary of State's CAL-ACCESS site where campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures are posted were both hacked on Monday. Hackers replaced the CAL-ACCESS welcome page with images of the Chinese flag and anti-American phrases.
Secretary of State spokesman Alfie Charles told the Los Angeles Times that the hacked page was up for about 15 minutes; it reportedly took six hours to fix the site, and Charles says that a multi-agency task force of federal, state and local authorities is investigating. Charles also said that none of the actual finance data on their site was compromised. The spokesman for the Energy Commission, Bob Aldrich, stated that his agency's web site "had an unplugged security hole that we didn't realize was there".
For more details on this story, see the L.A. Times story at http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/calpol/20010501/t000036699.html.
If you want to see what the Energy Commission's hacked page looked like, you can view a copy of it at: http://www.attrition.org/mirror/attrition/2001/04/30/www.energy.ca.gov/
California 2002 statewide races taking shape
California's 2002 statewide primary is less than a year away, and the races for statewide offices are beginning to take shape. To read a round-up of who may be running next March for California's eight statewide offices, see Dan Smith's April 22 article in the Sacramento Bee: http://www.capitolalert.com/news/old/capalert02_20010422.html
Florida Legislature nears completion of election reform package
This week the Florida House and Senate are negotiating the final election reform package the state legislature will submit to Governor Jeb Bush. The final details are still being worked out, but the legislature has reached agreement on a few key items: 1) punch card machines will be decertified; 2) optical scan machines equipped with ballot readers at the precincts will be required, and touch screen machines will also be permitted for those counties that want to pay the extra cost; 3) several million dollars will be appropriated to finance a statewide voter education project.
Overall, I think the Florida Legislature has put together a good set of reforms, and am I am thrilled to see a major appropriation for voter education. Hopefully this will set a trend that other states will follow. You can read more details about the final package coming together in the Miami Herald, http://www.miami.com/herald/content/news/local/florida/digdocs/071934.htm
Government secrecy about California's energy crisis
Like many Californians, I am growing weary of hearing about our state's energy crisis and frustrated that the whole situation is so confusing, even to those of us with a background in state politics. One reason why it's hard to understand the situation is because so much of the crisis is happening behind the scenes and out of public view.
Today's San Jose Mercury News features an excellent column by Dan Gillmor, in which the paper's tech columnist tells us about some of the things we don't know about this crisis and demands an end to the secrecy. Gillmor writes, "Utilities, suppliers, regulators and politicians have offered the public a variety of statements, ranging from bland to alarmist, backed by little or none of the information that would help people figure out who's telling the truth.". You can access the column online at: http://www0.mercurycenter.com/premium/business/docs/gillmor02.htm
That's all for now. Have a great week,
-- Kim Alexander, California Voter Foundation
firstname.lastname@example.org, 916-325-2120, www.calvoter.org
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