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McNerney scrambles for “All Star” status

It’s the political version of “American Idol.”

Congressional District 11 Democratic candidate Jerry McNerney is sweating it out over the weekend as Democracy for America counts the final votes in its on-line, “Grassroots All-Star” contest.

The winner receives a coveted Democracy for America endorsement, which could bring his campaign much-needed dollars in his fight against the well-funded, seven-term incumbent Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy.

McNerney toggled all day Friday between first and second place up until 2 p.m. when voting closed. His chief competitor for the DFA prize is Democrat Nancy Skinner of Michigan, who “has a big megaphone advantage because she is a talk-show host in Detroit,” said McNerney campaign manager A.J. Carrillo.

McNerney, a wind energy engineer from Pleasanton, has gotten help in his vote quest from an unusual source: A Daily Kos blogger known as ripzaw who wants a job on the candidate’s campaign team. He begged folks on his blog to vote for McNerney, apparently under the premise that if the guy wins, he’ll have salary money.

“I might give him a job. Who knows?” says Carrillo. “You have to give the guy points for creativity.”

McNerney is also competing in an on-line contest for a prize offered by potential presidential candidate and Virginia Gov. Mark Warner. Voting closes June 29. The top 10 finishers will receive a $5,000 contribution from Warner’s political action committee, Go Forward Together. And one candidate will win a fund-raiser by Warner himself.

On-line voting contests are a sign of the times as campaigns go high-tech in the wake of success stories such as the liberal Moveon.org, which collects millions of dollars in contributions for its causes through the Internet.

It’s also a way for national political organizations or candidates to collect new e-mail addresses for their databases, which serve as a path to solicit more contributions and build momentum for their causes. Several national environmental groups conducted similar on-line voting schemes in the primary when they asked readers to pick their favorite anti-Pombo ads.

If this method of raising money stars mooing like a cash cow, watch it take off like grass in spring. No one’s email box is safe.

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McNerney scrambles for “All Star” status

It’s the political version of “American Idol.”

Congressional District 11 Democratic candidate Jerry McNerney is sweating it out over the weekend as Democracy for America counts the final votes in its on-line, “Grassroots All-Star” contest.

The winner receives a coveted Democracy for America endorsement, which could bring his campaign much-needed dollars in his fight against the well-funded, seven-term incumbent Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy.

McNerney toggled all day Friday between first and second place up until 2 p.m. when voting closed. His chief competitor for the DFA prize is Democrat Nancy Skinner of Michigan, who “has a big megaphone advantage because she is a talk-show host in Detroit,” said McNerney campaign manager A.J. Carrillo.

McNerney, a wind energy engineer from Pleasanton, has gotten help in his vote quest from an unusual source: A Daily Kos blogger known as ripzaw who wants a job on the candidate’s campaign team. He begged folks on his blog to vote for McNerney, apparently under the premise that if the guy wins, he’ll have salary money.

“I might give him a job. Who knows?” says Carrillo. “You have to give the guy points for creativity.”

McNerney is also competing in an on-line contest for a prize offered by potential presidential candidate and Virginia Gov. Mark Warner. Voting closes June 29. The top 10 finishers will receive a $5,000 contribution from Warner’s political action committee, Go Forward Together. And one candidate will win a fund-raiser by Warner himself.

On-line voting contests are a sign of the times as campaigns go high-tech in the wake of success stories such as the liberal Moveon.org, which collects millions of dollars in contributions for its causes through the Internet.

It’s also a way for national political organizations or candidates to collect new e-mail addresses for their databases, which serve as a path to solicit more contributions and build momentum for their causes. Several national environmental groups conducted similar on-line voting schemes in the primary when they asked readers to pick their favorite anti-Pombo ads.

If this method of raising money stars mooing like a cash cow, watch it take off like grass in spring. No one’s email box is safe.

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If it’s in the New York Times, it must be true

After all these years in the newspaper business, I have finally broken into the big leagues: My name is in the New York Times.

It’s not a byline, unfortunately. It’s on the NYT’s filmography web site where it says I’m an actor.

Go figure. I never thought of myself an actor although a few folks consider me a character.

Here’s what happened: I appear in a documentary by filmmaker David Brown called “The Bridge So Far: A Suspense Story.” I’m listed as a star of the film along with former Alameda County Supervisor Mary King and Caltrans Director Will Kempton.

At the risk of blatant self-promotion, the film is a fabulous and fun look at the history of the state’s drawn-out and beleaguered efforts to build a new eastern span of the Bay Bridge. If you have a chance to see the film, do it. Or you can buy a DVD, too. (No, I wasn’t paid a dime to appear in the film and I have no royalty claims.)

Oddly enough, the NYT fails to list as stars in this film people who are actually famous such as former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and Bay Area satirist Will Durst.

No offense to Mary King and Will Kempton, of course.

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Blogs banned from state workers’ computers

Hey, political blogs are educational, right?

Not in Kentucky, apparently. State officials banned this week political blogs from their workers’ computers as part of a wider crackdown on unnecessary Internet surfing.

Okay. We don’t want public employees visiting sites unrelated to their jobs. We pay them to work, not shop or book their summer vacations. (Do sports scores count?)

But the timing is a tad suspicious.

According to the Lexington-Herald, Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s administration blocked “state employees’ access to many Web logs a day after a prominent political “blogger” was critical of the governor in a New York Times story.” The state contracts with an outside company, whose software prohbits access to sites deemed nonessential for the purposes of conducting state business.

Not that I’m on the public payroll, but let’s hope no one around here looks to see how many times I check out the shoe sale page at Zappos.com.

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Sen. Feinstein seeks Iraq troop redeployment

This just in from the office of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who will speak on the Senate floor at 10:30 a.m. today to call for beginning the phased redeployment of U.S. Forces in Iraq.

She will urge support for an amendment she introduced with U.S. senators Carl Levin, D-Mich., Jack Reed, D-RI, and Ken Salazar, D-Colo., which calls for the beginning of a phased redeployment of forces from Iraq by the end of the year.

Feinstein will also appear on CNN’s “Larry King Live” at 6 p.m. tonight with eight Democratic women senators. The lawmakers will discuss “Checklist for Change,” a list of nine issues the Senate can take specific action on right now to improve the lives of Americans.

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Enviros score at the polls, cite DeSaulnier and Corbett wins

The California League of Conservation Voters reports today that it won 90 percent of the races where it endorsed candidates.

Enviros worried going into the June primary because many of the state lawmakers it counts among its solid votes were on the verge of terming out, particularly in the Senate where the potential loomed for a loss of seven reliable green votes. Instead, the league only lost three.

“Some erosion (in the Senate) did occur, but it was minimal,” wrote the CLCV. “We lost fewer good votes in the Senate than we could have.”

The league is especially happy with the results in Senate District 10, where Ellen Corbett beat John Dutra in a surprise win. The league has battled Dutra, a former assemblyman who helped lead the so-called “Mod Squad” that successfully killed some of its pet bills in past legislative sessions. (The Mod Squad is a coalition of moderate members of both parties.)

The league joined with other liberal groups and spent tens of thousands of dollars on independent expenditures in support of Corbett’s candidacy.

League leaders also say they will have a more reliable Assembly stable with the election of people such as Contra Costa County Supervisor Mark DeSaulnier in District 11 in Contra Costa County. He beat Pittsburg School Board Trustee Laura Canciamilla, wife of termed-out Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla, D-Pittsburg.

Joe Canciamilla is also a leading member of the “Mod Squad” and has been the target of the league’s ire for several years. They sent out anti-Canciamilla mailers to his constituents in the past. During the primary, they spent money in support of DeSaulnier’s candidacy.