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Pacific media sources for California propositions and elections

Oct 25, 2016

The following University of the Pacific faculty members are available to comment on California state propositions and political races on the Nov. 8 ballot:

California Initiative Review, initiative process

Mary-Beth Moylan, a professor and director of the Global Lawyering Skills Program at Pacific McGeorge School of Law, supervises the production of the California Initiative Review. She teaches her California Initiative Seminar every two years, a class in which her students analyze propositions and publish a nonpartisan statewide initiatives summary. Moylan can talk about California's initiative process, election process and the Constitution. Learn more about this year's student-produced California Initiative Review here. Contact: Mary-Beth Moylan, 916.739.7223,

Props. 52 and 61: Medi-Cal Hospital Fee Program, state prescription drug purchases

Peter Hilsenrath, the Joseph M. Long Chair of Healthcare Management at University of the Pacific, teaches courses in health insurance, international health systems and economics in the health sector. He can discuss Propositions 52 and 61 and comment on transparency in pricing, who actually pays and efficient pricing when it comes to health care services and prescription drugs. He is also a professor of economics. Contact: Keith Michaud, 209.946.3275,

Props. 57, 62, 64 and 66: Marijuana legalization, death penalty and criminal sentencing

Michael Vitiello, a Distinguished Professor of Law at Pacific McGeorge School of Law, is available to talk about sentencing reform and drug laws, and he can comment on Propositions 57, 62, 64 and 66. Vitiello is a nationally recognized expert on criminal law, particularly on sentencing reform and legal issues arising from marijuana legalization. He has been active in the campaign to reform California's Three Strikes Law and the state's sentencing laws. He helped establish the Loyola Death Penalty Resource Center, a federally funded institute, during his time as a professor at Loyola University College of Law in New Orleans. He has written articles and textbooks on criminal law and is widely cited by scholars around the country. Contact: Michael Vitiello, 916.739.7323,

Props. 57, 62 and 66: Catholic positions on the death penalty and criminal sentencing

Brian Klunk, associate professor of political science at University of the Pacific, can talk about Catholic social thought and positions California's Catholic bishops have taken on Propositions 57, 62 and 66. He can also discuss political ethics and international relations. He has taught the seminar "Catholic Thinking About International Politics," as well as courses on political parties and voting, interest group politics, international relations, U.S. foreign policy and international politics. Contact: Brian Klunk, 209.946.2927,

Proposition 58: English proficiency, multilingual education

Robert Oprandy, a professor in University of the Pacific's Benerd School of Education, can discuss Proposition 58 and argues that California's 1998 English Language in Public Schools Statute was ill-advised and should be overturned. He is the co-author of "Language Teaching Awareness: A Guide to Exploring Beliefs and Practices," and has written extensively on teaching English as a second language. His research includes looking at the impact of U.S. immigration legislation and polices on Mexican migrant workers and other recent immigrants to California. He has trained bilingual teachers around the world. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana and Thailand, he was a trainer of cross-cultural awareness and how to teach English as a foreign language. He is also a recipient of Pacific's Martin Luther King Jr. Peace and Justice Award. He earned his doctorate at Teachers College, Columbia University. Contact: Robert Oprandy, 209.946.2671,

Political process and elections

Keith Smith, associate professor of political science at University of the Pacific, has been teaching and writing about elections, Congress, the presidency and California politics for over a decade. He can discuss voting behavior, institutions, electoral reform and any of the propositions on the Nov. 8 ballot. He is at work on a book about the top-two system, recently adopted by California and Washington state, which changed how voters pick their candidates. Contact: Keith Smith, 209.946.7712,

Ambition in American politics

Jeffrey Becker, associate professor of political science and chair of the Department of Political Science at University of the Pacific, is the author of "Ambition in America: Political Power and the Collapse of Citizenship." He can discuss political ambitions, abuses of political power, political judgment, moral activism and statesmanship. Contact: Jeffrey Becker, 209.946.3986,

U.S. Supreme Court vacancy

Leslie Gielow Jacobs, professor and director of the Capital Center for Law and Policy at the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, can comment on the law and politics surrounding the nomination to succeed the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. She served as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. during Scalia's first year on the court. She has written extensively on constitutional doctrine, governance, free speech, bioterrorism and national security. Contact: Leslie Gielow Jacobs, 916.739.7217,

Politics in the age of big data

Rick Hutley, professor and founding director of the analytics program at University of the Pacific, can talk about how analytics drives political campaigns, whether it's analyzing the impact of a given sound bite on voters, determining which media channels to use, identifying which celebrities play best with which audiences, deciding which cities to visit or parsing political speeches. Hutley is the former vice president of innovation at Cisco Systems and has lectured on "Politics in the Age of Big Data." Contact: Rick Hutley, 415.400.8222,


Raquel Aldana, associate dean and professor at University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law, can talk about each presidential candidate's plan for immigration after Election Day, immigration law, the rights of victims of state-sponsored crimes, and domestic violence in the Americas. For more than a decade she has organized programs involving law students representing immigrants seeking to become citizens and applying for other immigration relief. She recently organized a day-long academic program titled "Congressional Dysfunction and Executive Lawmaking During the Obama Administration." Contact: Raquel Aldana, 916.733.2802,

Past media sources lists on politics and the political process:

Pacific media sources on the 2016 political conventions

University of the Pacific media sources on the 2016 elections

Media contact:

Keith Michaud | 209.946.3275 (office) | 209.470.3206 (cell) |

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