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Archive for February, 2007

It’s gonna be a long election

E-mail is going to kill me.

Seriously.

I opened up my e-mail account this morning and I have a message from, get this, the Iowa Democratic Party. (The party hired a new communications director. Whoopee.) There’s another one from the Nevada Democratic Party.

How the heck did Iowa get my e-mail address anyway? It’s not like this local political writer in Walnut Creek, Calif., filed even one news story from Iowa. I did go to Nevada in 2004, largely because that was about the only way I was going to even see a presidential candidate. As you recall, the Democrats ceded California to Kerry and neither candidate showed up often in the Golden Stateunless they needed more cash.

Believe me, I don’t want to be left out.

But if every political party in every state in this nation puts my name on their e-mail distribution lists during the course of the upcoming presidential campaign, my in-box will start sending out smoke signals: “Rescue me!”

Posted on Thursday, February 22nd, 2007
Under: Election 2008 | No Comments »

EMILY’s List chief lauds early primaries

At breakfast this morning with reporters in San Francisco’s Hotel Monaco, EMILY’s List president and founder Ellen Malcolm extolled the virtues of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and suggested that earlier primaries would help the New York senator become the nation’s first woman president.

California, along with half-dozen other states, is likely to move the presidential primary to Feb. 5, 2008, creating a mega-Tuesday that could leave little question as to the names of the top potential nominees heading into the Democratic and Republican parties’ national conventions.

A successful candidate, Malcolm said, will need lots of money over a long period of time to compete, particularly in a huge state like California with expensive media markets.

“I believe Hillary Clinton has the foundation to run over the long haul,” said Malcolm, the founder of the 22-year-old organization. EMILY stands for “Early Money is Like Yeast,” referring to the fact that many candidates need seed money to get started. “The early primaries will make it more difficult for an underdog to be successful.”

The Washington, D.C.-based EMILY’s List endorsed Clinton the same day she declared her candidacy. Clinton is the first presidential candidate the organization has ever supported.

It’s a key endorsement from the nation’s largest political action committee. EMILY’s list raised $46 million for Democratic, pro-choice women candidates in the 2006 election cycle with an average donation of $100 a person.

Malcolm is in California, in part, to attend Clinton’s fund-raiser Friday in San Francisco.

When asked about Obama Barack, the Illinois senator that has become a Democratic Party rock star, Malcolm said she believed voters will go with experience. Clinton, she said, has spent far more time on the national stage and has the training to grapple with the complex issues of the Iraq War and domestic policy.

Posted on Wednesday, February 21st, 2007
Under: Election 2008 | No Comments »

EMILY’s List chief lauds early primaries

At breakfast this morning with reporters in San Francisco’s Hotel Monaco, EMILY’s List president and founder Ellen Malcolm extolled the virtues of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and suggested that earlier primaries would help the New York senator become the nation’s first woman president.

California, along with half-dozen other states, is likely to move the presidential primary to Feb. 5, 2008, creating a mega-Tuesday that could leave little question as to the names of the top potential nominees heading into the Democratic and Republican parties’ national conventions.

A successful candidate, Malcolm said, will need lots of money over a long period of time to compete, particularly in a huge state like California with expensive media markets.

“I believe Hillary Clinton has the foundation to run over the long haul,” said Malcolm, the founder of the 22-year-old organization. EMILY stands for “Early Money is Like Yeast,” referring to the fact that many candidates need seed money to get started. “The early primaries will make it more difficult for an underdog to be successful.”

The Washington, D.C.-based EMILY’s List endorsed Clinton the same day she declared her candidacy. Clinton is the first presidential candidate the organization has ever supported.

It’s a key endorsement from the nation’s largest political action committee. EMILY’s list raised $46 million for Democratic, pro-choice women candidates in the 2006 election cycle with an average donation of $100 a person.

Malcolm is in California, in part, to attend Clinton’s fund-raiser Friday in San Francisco.

When asked about Obama Barack, the Illinois senator that has become a Democratic Party rock star, Malcolm said she believed voters will go with experience. Clinton, she said, has spent far more time on the national stage and has the training to grapple with the complex issues of the Iraq War and domestic policy.

Posted on Wednesday, February 21st, 2007
Under: Election 2008 | No Comments »

Today’s Congressional odds and ends

pete-stark2.jpg“Thank you, Pete”: MoveOn.org members from throughout the 13th Congressional District — from Fremont up to Alameda — will deliver “You’re the Decider” messages tomorrow to Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, in thanks for his vote last week against President Bush’s plan to send more troops to Iraq. “We want Rep. Stark to know that we support his vote and are counting on him to end the war in Iraq,” Brenda Salgado of San Leandro said in a news release. They’ll rally at noon at the Veterans’ Memorial at Paseo Padre and Walnut Avenue in Fremont to hear veterans and their relatives speak out, and then march to Stark’s Fremont office at 39300 Civic Center Dr., Suite 220, to present a “human billboard” reading “THANK YOU, PETE;” a cake; and hundreds of handwritten letters bound with yellow ribbons.

lee2.jpgState of the District: Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, will deliver her third annual State of the District address, outlining her legislative priorities for the year to come and reporting on her work over the last year in Washington and in her 9th District, which includes Oakland, Berkeley, Castro Valley and other areas. It’s 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26, in the Edward R. Roybal Auditorium at the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building, 1301 Clay St. in Oakland. She’ll almost certainly have something to say about the meeting she and other Congressional Black Caucus members had last week with President Bush at the White House.

tauscher1.jpgTauscher’s new hires: Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, has hired a pair of natives from her 10th District to work in her Capitol Hill office — Beth Ann Pramme, born in Danville, will handle scheduling duties and serve as a press assistant, while Paul Swanson, born in Walnut Creek, will take charge of front-office duties as a staff assistant. But just because they’re natives doesn’t mean they’re naifs. Pramme has worked for more than a year for Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., and spent this past campaign season in Racine, Wisc., working on several races, including re-electing a Democratic governor for the first time in 32 years. And Swanson, who recently received a political science degree from Cal, worked for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last year.

Posted on Wednesday, February 21st, 2007
Under: Barbara Lee, Ellen Tauscher, General, Iraq, Pete Stark, President Bush, U.S. House | No Comments »

Progressive Moveon.org to visit Tauscher

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, will get a rare thank-you from some members of the liberal wing of her party when Moveon.org delivers a letter of thanks to her her office on Thursday.

Tauscher won’t be at the office but Moveon.org members will meet with her staff.

Moveon.org members will drop the letter off at noon at the congresswoman’s Walnut Creek office as part of the progressive organization’s nationwide campaign to recognize members who supported an anti-Iraq War House of Representative resolution in the House last week.

Liberal bloggers such as those at Calitics and Daily Kos have been calling for a progressive Democrat to run against Tauscher in the primary. They remember that Tauscher voted in favor of the Iraq War in 2005 and they dislike Tauscher’s moderate trade and business views. And some have been angry over her call for the Democratic Party to avoid “running of the left cliff” lest it alienate middle America.

Here’s a portion of Moveon.org’s e-mail release:

Walnut Creek, CA, February 20, 2007 – At noon on Thursday. February 22nd, MoveOn members here will hand deliver letters with the message, “You’re the Decider” — thanking Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher for voting against the president’s escalation and urging her to continue to work hard to bring our troops home. This event follows on the heels of Senate Republicans, once again, blocking debate and a vote on a non-binding resolution opposing the president’s escalation.

The letter writing began last week during 1,200 nationwide screenings of The Ground Truth, a new film in which returning veterans vividly describe their experiences in Iraq. Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) addressed tens of thousands of MoveOn members across the country, online, in an effort to help block president Bush’s attempt to escalate his failed policy in Iraq.

Other such meetings will take place the same day around the Bay Area (see below). This, in turn, is part of a national campaign to urge Congress to obey the peoples’ decision reflected in last November’s election.

These events are held in coordination with Americans Against Escalation in Iraq (AAEI). AAEI includes the Service Employees International Union, MoveOn.org Political Action, VoteVets.org, Center for American Progress Action Fund, USAction, Win Without War, Campaign for America’s Future, Progressive States Network,Campus Progress, TrueMajority, Working Assets and the United States Student Association.

Posted on Tuesday, February 20th, 2007
Under: Congress | No Comments »

Pombo takes new job

It’s official: Former Rep. Richard Pombo of Tracy has taken a job as senior partner with Oregon-based PAC/West Communications, a national issue advocacy company. Under federal rules, Pombo cannot lobby his former colleagues until after he has been out of office for a year.

His former chief of staff, Steve Ding, has already been hired to open the firm’s new Sacramento office.

Pombo lost his seat in November 2006 to Democrat Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton.

pombobsmall.jpg

Here’s the company’s press release:

Richard Pombo, Former U.S. Representative and Chairman of the House Committee on Resources, Joins Pac/West Communications as Senior Partner

Sacramento, Calif. – Pac/West Communications, a leading full-service public relations and government affairs firm, announced today the addition of former California U.S. Representative Richard Pombo. He joins Pac/West as a senior partner and will focus on strategic consultation, as well as expanding the firm’s presence in key markets both nationally and internationally.

“Pac/West stands in a category of its own, having built a strong reputation for highly successful, dynamic campaigns that integrate new and innovative tactics with grassroots outreach to achieve results. Unlike many firms, Pac/West goes far beyond just walking the halls of Congress,” said Pombo. “Pac/West knows how to win on tough issues, and I am excited to be part of their team.”

Pombo served for 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives after being elected at age 31. During his tenure in Congress representing California’s eleventh district, Pombo served on a number of committees, coalitions and task forces related to natural resources, energy, transportation and trade. In 2003, he was voted chairman of the House Resources Committee. In that capacity, he advocated for legislation centered on science-based environmental policies. Pombo gained bi-partisan support for more legislation than all other House committees combined, which included the Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2005 designed to improve the protection and recovery of endangered species, as well as protect the rights of private property owners. Pombo was also a key author of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which aimed to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign energy.

“The addition of Richard Pombo to the Pac/West team strengthens our ability to serve clients on a variety of issues, ranging from natural resources and energy to a host of regulatory matters,” said Paul Phillips, president of Pac/West. “Richard’s vast knowledge of the political process, his high-level experience in Washington D.C. and extensive contacts makes for a powerful combination.”

Pombo is a fifth generation Californian and a long-time champion of private property rights. In 1996, he authored “This Land is Our Land,”which has been reviewed by publications across the political spectrum. Pombo attended California State University at Pomona and currently resides with his wife and three children in Tracy.

Pac/West Communications is a full-service communications firm, offering a diverse range of media relations, lobbying, political consulting, grassroots outreach and social marketing services at the local, regional and national level. Headquartered in Wilsonville, Ore., the company has 25 full-time employees and operates offices in Washington D.C., California, Alaska and Idaho. For more information, visit www.pacwestcom.com.

Posted on Tuesday, February 20th, 2007
Under: Congress | No Comments »

Schwarzenegger video of the week

This week, another ad for that Japanese energy drink, perhaps scarier than the other one we’d posted:

New rule: If I look into a bottle and see Arnold Schwarzenegger in there, I AIN’T DRINKIN’ IT.

Previous SVOTWs: February 13, February 6, January 30.

Posted on Tuesday, February 20th, 2007
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, General, Sacramento | No Comments »

The art of politics

mckinney.jpgFormer Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga. — best known for questioning whether the Bush Administration had foreknowledge of the 9/11 terrorist attacks; her staunch anti-war and pro-human rights stances; her criticism of Israeli policy; and her dust-up with Capitol Police — is in the East Bay this week.

She’ll be the guest of honor at a World Can’t Wait — Drive Out the Bush Regime! reception 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Anna’s Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way in Berkeley; the suggested donation of $100 to $200 will be split between World Can’t Wait and McKinney, who carries about $60,000 in campaign debt following her primary election defeat last year. RSVP to sfbayareaworldcantwait@yahoo.com, or (415) 410-4484; ask for the Cynthia McKinney Reception Committee. The event’s honorary co-hosts are Dennis Bernstein, executive producer of KPFA’s Flashpoints; Oakland civil rights attorney Robert Bloom; Oakland City Councilwoman Desley Brooks; Grand Lake Theater owner Allen Michaan; Oakland Black Caucus President Geoffrey Pete; and Retro Poll Executive Director Dr. Marc Sapir.

On Thursday, McKinney will be at the Grand Lake for a screening of the new film “High Crimes” and a panel discussion on impeachment. Bernstein will be there too, as will Project Censored Director Peter Phillips and Larry Everest, author of “Oil, Power, and Empire.” Tickets cost $10 in advance, $15 at the door, or $7 for students, seniors and the disabled; $40 gets you into a 6 p.m. champagne reception with the speakers and filmmaker Jacob Clapsadle. For tickets, go to www.impeachbush-cheney.com or call (510) 845–4154.

campbell.jpgAlso Thursday, Tom Campbell — former U.S. Congressman, R-San Jose; former California Department of Finance director for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; and current dean of the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business — will join local GOP leaders to discuss the road to 2008.

The Alameda County Republican Party event is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Chiodo Art Development, 1933 Peralta St. in Oakland. Admission costs $50, or $100 for a VIP meet-and-greet and photo with Tom Campbell. County GOP Chairman and former Oakland City Councilman Dick Spees will take part, as will newly elected state GOP vice chairman Tom Del Beccaro of Lafayette. The event also includes a viewing of sculptor Mario Chiodo’s studio “Remember Them: Champions for Humanity,” a monument celebrating the community’s international diversity and creative entrepreneurial spirit; when completed, these 25 featured leaders who changed the world will be the largest bronze sculptures west of the Mississippi.

Posted on Tuesday, February 20th, 2007
Under: Cynthia McKinney, General, Oakland City Council, President Bush, Republican Party, Tom Campbell | 9 Comments »

Leno aims to protect net neutrality

Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, says he’ll introduce a “net neutrality” bill barring companies that control the Internet’s infrastructure from discriminating against content based on its source or ownership.

Some broadband providers have talked about starting to act like gatekeepers on the thus-far unfettered World Wide Web, perhaps blocking customers from using rival Web-based phone services, or from visiting Web sites that offer political viewpoints other than their own. Maybe they would block e-mails from advocacy campaigns criticizing that company’s policies or labor practices, or charge more money for “enhanced” services. Opponents say this would ruin the online world’s democratic nature, subverting the free flow of information.

U.S. senators Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, last year introduced legislation to preserve net neutrality, but it was stopped cold by heavy lobbying from telecommunications companies. They reintroduced their bill last month, with U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., among its original cosponsors.

Similar legislation has been introduced in Maryland and Maine, but Leno hopes California’s enormous population and economy can lend some real momentum to the federal effort.

“The Internet has provided a forum for free speech and open communication, giving a voice for everyone from the largest business with the most expensive Web site to the individual with a one-person operation,” Leno said in a news release. “We can’t allow those who want to serve as our Internet gatekeepers to discriminate against content and decide for us what we can and cannot view.”

Posted on Monday, February 19th, 2007
Under: Assembly, Barbara Boxer, General, Mark Leno, Sacramento, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

Republican to run in Tauscher’s district

Nicholas Gerber of Moraga has announced he will run for U.S. Congress in District 10, a seat currently held by Democrat Ellen Tauscher of Alamo.

Read his web site here or his candidacy announcement here:Download file

Gerber has no beef with Tauscher, mind you, he just thinks he could do a better job.

“Today, our relationship with government is parent/child,” he wrote. “Too many laws and regulations are ‘Thou shalt do this’ or ‘Don’t do that.’ … I want to change the relationship to adult-adult.”

His announcement cites his experience starting a number of businesses including a $1.2 billion oil fund. And the father of two says his wife’s successful fight against breast cancer has “made us re-evaluate our ‘To Do’ lists.”

There’s no mention in Gerber’s announcement of his status as the local spokesman for the Libertarian Party.

Then again, that may not be a big mystery. There are only 1,543 registered Libertarians in District 10, as of the October registration tally. Republicans, on the other hand, had 108,905 registered voters.

If he were picking a party purely based on the numbers, he should have gone Democrat: They had 150,745 registered voters as October, a 12 1/2 percentage point lead over Republicans.

That doesn’t mean Gerber can’t win. Just look at Democrat Jerry McNerney’s November 2006 win over Republican Richard Pombo in District 11, where the GOP outpaced Democrats by 6 percentage points.

But very few people would consider District 10 anything other than a safe, Democratic seat.

Posted on Friday, February 16th, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »