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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 »

Speier oversight panel meets tonight

Rep. Jackie Speier’s Citizens Oversight Panel, which is charged with reviewing local appropriations requests, will meet tonight at 6 at the San Mateo Community College District Offices, 3401 CSM Drive, San Mateo.

Thirteen transportation projects will be reviewed, including projects in Brisbane, Burlingame, Millbrae, Pacifica and San Bruno.

Here are the projects, as listed in a press release from Speier’s office:

City of San Francisco — Ocean Avenue Streetscape project.

City of Burlingame — U.S. 101/Broadway Interchange Reconstruction Project.

SamTrans and CalTrain (2 projects) — Electric Multiple Units and Redi-Wheels Vehicle Expansion.

City of Pacifica — Manor Drive Overcrossing and Milagra On-Ramp.

San Mateo County City/County Association of Governments (3 projects) — San Mateo County Smart Corridors; U.S. 101 Auxiliary lanes from San Bruno to San Francisco County line; Alternative analysis (study) for operational improvement of the U.S. 101/SR92 interchange.

City of Millbrae — Millbrae Avenue Pedestrian Overcrossing Project.

City of Brisbane — Bayshore Boulevard Overlay Project.

City of San Bruno (3 projects) — Caltrain Grade Separation Project; Streetlight Rehabilitation and Energy Efficiency Upgrade; Sidewalk, Lighting, Accessibility and Landscape Improvement Project.

Posted on Monday, May 4th, 2009
Under: Aaron Kinney, Brisbane, Burlingame, Democratic Party, Jackie Speier, Millbrae, Pacifica, Public Works, SamTrans, San Bruno, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Speier on AIG

Rep. Jackie Speier released a statement Monday afternoon regarding the lavish bonuses that American International Group gave out with government money. She went further than most of her colleagues in Congress, except maybe for the guy who called for AIG execs to commit seppuku, in demanding accountability, suggesting that the U.S. government may have to take the company apart if it doesn’t change its tune:

“AIG has shown, once again, that they are incapable of grasping the enormity of the financial mess which they helped create. Despite receiving more than $180 billion in taxpayer money, they are set to reward executives with $165 million in bonuses. Many of the executives are from the same ethically challenged Financial Products Division whose irresponsible practices drove the world economy off the cliff in the first place.

“I appreciate that President Obama has directed Treasury Secretary Geithner to use every legal means to stop the bonuses. If AIG insists that they are unable to change the existing contracts, perhaps it is time for us, as AIG’s largest shareholder, to break up AIG, sell off its profitable state-regulated insurance companies, fire the executives of the Financial Products Division, and put in place a leadership team that respects the American taxpayer.”

Posted on Tuesday, March 17th, 2009
Under: Aaron Kinney, Democratic Party, Economy, Jackie Speier | No Comments »

Speier vs. Stein

We’re a bit late on this, but here’s a clip of Rep. Jackie Speier (shown earlier this month during a tour of Greenbox Technology in San Bruno) on the Feb. 18 edition of “Larry King Live,” where she debated Ben Stein on the merits of President Obama’s plan to help American homeowners facing foreclosure.

Digression: King introduced Stein as a “noted economist,” among other things. But Stein is not an economist, let alone a noted one. He talks and writes about the economy, yes, so you could call him a noted “commentator,” but that’s about it.

In order to be an economist, you should probably have a postgraduate degree. Stein is certainly a very well-educated man, but majoring in economics in college does not make you an economist any more than majoring in philosophy makes you a philosopher.

Speier, who is mourning the recent death of her mother, Nancy, also made some news last week by opposing the omnibus spending bill on the basis of the earmarks it contained. She has also proposed an amendment to a housing bill that would make it easier for struggling homeowners to refinance their loans.

Posted on Monday, March 2nd, 2009
Under: Aaron Kinney, Democratic Party, Economy, Jackie Speier, Republican Party, San Mateo County | No Comments »

More local stimulus reaction

Here’s a link to Saturday’s Insider column, which dealt with Reps. Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier’s reactions following Friday’s House vote on the economic stimulus package.

A couple comments from Anna Eshoo didn’t make it into the column. Responding to a question about the fact that President Obama’s efforts at bipartisanship have so far been a dismal failure*, Eshoo said she doesn’t think he’ll stop trying to reach across the aisle:

“The Barack Obama I know is very genuine about reaching out to everyone,” she said. “I think it’s in his DNA. But once having done that, and soliciting viewpoints, I believe he’s a man of action.”

On the subject of how Obama appeared to have let the debate on the stimulus get away from him in the weeks leading up to the vote, during which Republicans dominated the conversation on cable news programs, Eshoo said the Obama administration simply “had a bad week” and may have been thrown off its game a bit when Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination as health and human services secretary.

“It’s a brand-new White House,” she said, referring to the fact that Obama and his advisers are getting accustomed to their new positions. “They’re still putting it together.”

Mouse trap

Speier had an Op-Ed in the Feb. 14 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle on the subject of the salt marsh harvest mouse, which became the source of much confusion after a GOP staffer made a false claim to the effect that efforts to protect the mouse would get millions in stimulus money.

Check out Speier’s Web site for that and a lot more information on the stimulus.

*In two ways. First, the general perception in the media that Obama, despite his overtures to the GOP, has somehow not been bipartisan enough. Second, the fact that Republicans have greeted Obama’s advances with hostility.

Posted on Tuesday, February 17th, 2009
Under: Aaron Kinney, Anna Eshoo, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Jackie Speier, Republican Party, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Front-row seats to history

Unlike Warren Slocum, who was eaten up and spit out on Tuesday by the Purple Tunnel of Doom, Anna Eshoo had seats for President Barack Obama’s inauguration that were just fine, thank you very much. (Slocum’s experience was the subject of Saturday’s print edition of The Insider.)

The congresswoman was seated up on the rostrum, right along the aisle by the door from which Obama and everyone else emerged from the Capitol. We asked her Friday for her impressions from that day.

“For me, I was overwhelmed by standing so close to history,” Eshoo said.

She said the “excitement was palpable,” whether you were up on rostrum, watching on television or standing among the millions of people gathered on the Mall. She was also struck by the absolute silence that seemed to prevail during Obama’s speech.

She said she was impressed by the speech itself, as was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“I think it was a very important speech,” she said. “The Speaker told all of us the following day that everyone should have a copy of the speech and read it and reread it.”

On Thursday, Eshoo and her colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee spent more than 12 hours writing up its portion of the $825 billion stimulus package, writing out the language for provisions having to do with health care, energy and telecommunications.

She said she’s confident that, despite Republican opposition to the bill, there “will be bipartisan support for it when the vote is finally taken.” She said numerous Republican amendments were incorporated into the bill and pointed to the $275 million in tax cuts included in the package.

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2009
Under: Aaron Kinney, Anna Eshoo, Democratic Party, Elections Office, San Mateo County, Warren Slocum | No Comments »

Speier to hold Saturday office hours

If you want to chat with Rep. Jackie Speier, just show up Saturday at her district office.

Speier will be holding walk-in office hours from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Unless there is a massive crowd, you should be able to get a few minutes to air your concerns or say hello. It’ll be first-come, first-served.

Speier’s office is located at 400 South El Camino Real, No. 410, in San Mateo. For more information, call the district office at (650) 342-0300.

Posted on Thursday, January 22nd, 2009
Under: Aaron Kinney, Democratic Party, Jackie Speier, San Mateo, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Where’s Warren?

It turns out that county elections chief Warren Slocum wasn’t able to post as many updates as he would have liked to his Twitter site yesterday because his arms were pinned to his sides by the massive crowd that gathered for President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Slocum recounted his nightmarish experience in Washington on his blog.

“I can assure you that (there)were unhappy people and that everything was not perfect,” he wrote. “There was a dark side to the inauguration.”

Slocum emphasized that this visit to Washington was still worthwhile, but he was plenty critical of the people who dreamt up Tuesday’s crowd-management system on the Mall. It’s a good read, if you’ve got a few minutes.

Posted on Wednesday, January 21st, 2009
Under: Aaron Kinney, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Elections Office, San Mateo County, Warren Slocum | No Comments »

Inauguration blogging

Warren Slocum, San Mateo County’s chief elections officer, is in the nation’s capital for the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

He’s posting updates to the Twitter page of the county Elections Office. Those updates are also available at the county’s elections Web site. Not much information from Slocum so far, although he has been able to confirm that it is, indeed, cold and crowded in D.C. today.

It may be that he’s had trouble posting due to an overloaded cell phone network. We’ll follow up with him to find out.

Slocum has also posted some photos taken with this iPhone on his Flickr page.

On a “local spirit” note, we overheard a mother today telling her young daughter, who looked to be about 3 years old, over lunch at Pancho Villa in San Mateo that when they get home tonight they’ll bake an apple pie as part of Obama Dinner Night.

Meanwhile, Obama’s speech today showed that Rep. Jackie Speier may have been spot-on when we spoke to her last week about how the new president would proceed with his economic stimulus plan.

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Posted on Tuesday, January 20th, 2009
Under: Aaron Kinney, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Jackie Speier, Joe Biden, Political Campaigns, Republican Party, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Speier backs Israel but raises concerns

Rep. Jackie Speier voted last week in favor of House Resolution 34, which recognizes Israel’s right to defend itself and reaffirmed America’s commitment to its longtime ally.

But unlike many of her colleagues, who apparently believe that Israel is infallible, Speier expressed dismay with the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in the Gaza Strip, where the Israeli offensive against Hamas has killed scores of innocent Palestinians, including children.

The Insider has seen one disturbing photo depicting the head of a child who was decapitated in an explosion.

“I am dedicated to Israel’s long-term security, but I am dismayed by recent events in the Gaza Strip,” Speier said in a statement on Friday.

“I do not question Israel’s right to defend its territory, but we must work toward a political solution that will break the cycle of violence plaguing the region,” Speier continued. “The violence only creates more disillusioned youths to swell the ranks of Hamas, just as rockets fired on Israeli towns’ only fuel calls for retribution.”

Speier also joined 24 representatives — including fellow California Democrats Barbara Lee, Joe Sestak, Pete Stark and Lynn Woolsey — in sending a letter to President George W. Bush, urging him to press for a cease-fire and take action to help the civilians in Gaza who are going without food and critical health care.

Speier’s predecessor in the 12th Congressional District, the late Rep. Tom Lantos, was a major Israel hawk — understandably, because he was a Holocaust survivor. It’ll be interesting to see whether Speier’s more evenhanded stance elicits any criticism from her constituents.

Posted on Monday, January 12th, 2009
Under: Aaron Kinney, Democratic Party, Jackie Speier, San Mateo County, Tom Lantos | No Comments »