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Speier’s remarks on Lehman relief

Here, courtesy of the office of Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, are the prepared remarks she made this morning during a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee. Speier and Rep. Anna Eshoo were joined by San Mateo County Supervisor Rich Gordon, among others, in seeking federal relief for local jurisdictions from losses incurred during the Lehman Brothers collapse:

Chairman Frank, (Rep.) Bachus, and colleagues –

I thank you for convening this hearing today to examine the devastating impact the failure of Lehman Brothers has had on state and local governments and other publicly funded entities. Although my district has been hit particularly hard, this truly is a national problem, as you will hear from the witnesses today from California, Colorado and Florida.

There are affected communities in at least 20 states, from Alaska to Washington to Massachusetts. Some of the losses are relatively small — only $18 in Tennessee as far as we can tell — but Minnesota lost more than $56 million, Missouri lost $50 million, Oregon lost $173 million, and Arizona lost $61 million. You will hear from one of today’s witnesses that Florida, already hurt hard by natural disasters and the recession, lost more than $465 million.

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Posted on Tuesday, May 5th, 2009
Under: Aaron Kinney, Anna Eshoo, Board of Supervisors, Democratic Party, Jackie Speier, Rich Gordon, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Mark Church makes appearance on “Lou Dobbs Tonight”

In case you missed it, county Supervisor Mark Church was on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” last week, trying to protect his eyes from the glare of the CNN host’s blindingly white teeth.

Dobbs featured a segment Dec. 1 with both Church and lawyer Joe Cotchett, whose firm is handling the county’s lawsuit against Lehman Brothers, the collapse of which deprived the county of about $150 million in investments.

The suit asserts that the company fraudulently misled investors into thinking their money was safe, even as the investment firm slid closer to the abyss.

“What makes this case so outrageous is that all the while upper management was siphoning off millions of dollars for their own personal benefit, leaving investors holding the bag,” said Church, according to a CNN transcript.

Cotchett referred to Lehman Brothers’ executives as “modern-day robber barons.”

“One thing is for sure,” Cotchett said of the company’s leaders. “They shouldn’t have a $21 million condo on Park Avenue to return home to every night.”

Posted on Wednesday, December 10th, 2008
Under: Aaron Kinney, Board of Supervisors, Joe Cotchett, Mark Church, San Mateo County | 1 Comment »

Democrats say: Put it to a vote!

The San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee has adopted a resolution urging the county to hold an open election to fill the seat of departing Supervisor Jerry Hill, who is off to Sacramento, rather than make an appointment.

“The person who is elected or appointed to fill Jerry Hill’s seat will likely remain on the (Board of Supervisors) until he or she is termed out in 2022,” committee member Nick Akers, author of the resolution, said in a statement.

“Our county’s at-large system for electing supervisors gives a strong advantage to incumbents,” Akers continued. “It has been nearly three decades since a supervisor running for re-election has been defeated. The people of San Mateo County should be given the opportunity to fill this open seat.”

Committee members voted “overwhelmingly” on Nov. 20 in favor of the resolution for an election. They’re looking to peg a special county election to an anticipated special statewide election in June 2009.

Not that the San Mateo County government has a reputation for being clubby and nontransparent — cough, cough — but the Insider agrees with local Democrats that holding an election to fill the seat of Assemblyman Hill, irrespective of the cost, would be the democratic thing to do.

Posted on Monday, December 1st, 2008
Under: 2008 Congressional Race, 2008 Local Races, Aaron Kinney, Assembly, Board of Supervisors, Democratic Party, Elections Office, Gene Mullin, Jerry Hill, Political Campaigns, San Mateo County, Warren Slocum | No Comments »

San Mateo County gets into Prop. 8 fight

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera just sent out a press release welcoming the county of San Mateo into the fight over the constitutionality of the Prop. 8 victory, following a unanimous vote this morning by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

According to the release, San Mateo County is the fifth jurisdiction in California to join the lawsuit. The others are the city and county of San Francisco, the city of Los Angeles and the counties of Los Angeles and Santa Clara.

Posted on Tuesday, November 18th, 2008
Under: Aaron Kinney, Adrienne Tissier, Board of Supervisors, Jerry Hill, Mark Church, Political Campaigns, Rich Gordon, Rose Jacobs Gibson, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Swanky Speier

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Mr. and Mrs. Insider paid a visit to the Carolands Chateau on Friday, at the invitation of Burlingame attorney Joe Cotchett, to attend a campaign party he threw for former state Sen. Jackie Speier, who is running for the congressional seat occupied by Rep. Tom Lantos until he died in February.

Roughly 100 to 150 people circulated around the second-floor of the mansion — which is a succession of rooms off a central atrium — sipping white wine and cocktails (no red wine allowed, for fear of stains) and munching on hors d’oeuvres.

Among those the Insider spotted at the party: San Mateo County Supervisors Mark Church and Adrienne Tissier; San Mateo police Chief Susan Manheimer; former county sheriff, and current member of the Sequoia Healthcare District Board of Directors, Don Horsley; and Robert Foucrault, the county coroner.

Speier herself, wearing a red dress with a black sash, posed for photographs with supporters in the chateau’s ridiculous wood-paneled library. Sometime after 7 p.m., guests were ushered into the ballroom for the evening’s presentation.

Cotchett spoke first, thanking the chateau’s owners, Ann and Charles Johnson (who bought the estate in 1998 and spent millions refurbishing it). He said the Johnsons were “equal opportunity employers,” since they hosted a Republican fundraiser with President Bush in late January in the exact same room.

Cotchett then introduced the emcee for the night, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, who interrupted a tour hawking his memoir, “Basic Brown: My Life and Our Times,” to be there for Speier, a friend and colleague from their years together in the state legislature.

Brown said he owed many votes on “family values” issues to Speier, who would cast his votes for him when he was absent from the state Assembly. The Insider isn’t sure whether he was being serious, or if the practice he described is legal, but there you have it.

Brown also joked about being mortified that he was selling his books at Wal-Mart, which has become a major book retailer that helps authors get on best-seller lists, and encouraged anyone in the audience not to attend a book signing held at one of the stores.

Standing as he was within one of the Peninsula’s symbolic seats of wealth and power, Brown may have forgotten that tens of millions of Democratic voters nationwide shop at Wal-Mart because it’s what they can afford. That Willie Brown is a real champion of the working class, isn’t he?

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, also took a turn at the microphone before Brown turned the stage over to the evening’s main attraction, celebrated actress and singer Carol Channing.

As a member of Generation X, the Insider is not overly familiar with Channing’s oeuvre, but the stories and impressions from early in her career were pretty funny; and the fact that she’s still performing at the age of 87 is impressive.

One thought that came to mind following the party was that Stanford professor Lawrence Lessig proved how smart a guy he is by deciding not to enter the race against Speier, despite the pleas of online supporters.

Because the roster of Jackie-ites Friday in Hillsborough was further evidence that whoever steps in front of the Speier juggernaut this spring will be squashed like a bug.

Posted on Thursday, March 6th, 2008
Under: 2008 Congressional Race, Aaron Kinney, Adrienne Tissier, Anna Eshoo, Assembly, Board of Supervisors, Coroner, Democratic Party, Hillsborough, Mark Church, San Mateo County, Tom Lantos | No Comments »

Rich Gordon and the Governator

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San Mateo County Supervisor Rich Gordon got called up to Sacramento earlier this week in his capacity as president of the California State Association of Counties, a group that represents the interests of all 58 counties statewide.

Gordon, who was elected president of the organization in November, met with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger along with other officials for a sober discussion of a projected state budget shortfall for the coming year of roughly $10 billion or more.

Schwarzenegger is considering across the board 10-percent reductions for all state departments for the coming fiscal year. Gordon said it’s not yet clear what this will mean for the county budget, which is already in trouble.

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Posted on Friday, December 14th, 2007
Under: Aaron Kinney, Board of Supervisors, San Mateo County | 1 Comment »

San Mateo children, drugs and school safety

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There were some interesting tidbits in the San Mateo County Children’s Report 2007, a study of children’s health and wellness that was presented Dec. 4 to the Board of Supervisors.

Did you know that, from 2004-2006, 11th graders in San Mateo County “were more likely than their counterparts in California to report use of alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes” within the last 30 days?

During that period, statistics show that by the 11th grade “41 percent of students reported having consumed alcohol in the previous month, 21 percent reported having smoked marijuana and 18 percent reported having smoked cigarettes.”

Maybe they’re just more honest than most California 11th graders?

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Posted on Thursday, December 13th, 2007
Under: Aaron Kinney, Board of Supervisors, San Mateo County | No Comments »