Internet stalking bill wins committee vote

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Guy Houston, R-San Ramon, that would make on-line harassment a misdemeanor passed in the Public Safety Committee today 5-0.

“We, as legislators, must write laws with one eye on the present, and one for the future,” Houston said in a prepared release. “Currently, California state law does not recognize this growing area of concern. California is always at the cutting edge of technological advancement; we need laws to keep up with the technology.”

Here’s the partial text of Houston’s press release:

AB 919 would make it a misdemeanor to use the Internet to intentionally incite a third person to cause fear, harass or harm an individual.

At the committee hearing, victims shared their stories of how these activities have hurt them. Contra Costa Deputy District Attorney Dodie Katague also testified in strong support of the bill, noting that it would provide him and all law enforcement officials a powerful tool to go after these crimes.

AB 919 will be heard next be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.


Nationwide “impeach” action comes to Lafayette

Lafayette is one of dozens of communities nationwide where activists on Saturday will rally for the impeachment of President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Ginny at vwheaton@comcast.net is coordinating the installation of crepe paper streamers spelling out “impeach” in the chain link fence overlooking Highway 24 at the Curtola overpass between Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill Road. They meet at 2:30 p.m. (The team abandoned the idea of using tennis balls due to safety concerns.)

The impeachment movement remains small but vocal as people angry with Bush and Cheney over the Iraq War continue to press the matter. Presidential candidate and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, filed articles of impeachment against Cheney on Tuesday.

But many Democratic Party leaders view impeachment as a deeply divisive act that would polarize Congress and the nation.

To help change Congress’ mind, pro-impeachment activists plan events from Alaska to California to Florida, including a stop to see House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, at the California Democratic Party convention in San Diego this weekend.

Protesters will greet President Bush at Miami Dade College Saturday, where the president is scheduled to deliver the commencement address.

In San Francisco, organizers will meet at 10:30 a.m. at Ocean Beach, where they will form a “Beach Impeach” human mural and party with a Zimbabwean marimba band and a 10-foot Gandhi puppet.

For a complete list of events and other details, click here to access www.a28.org.


Casual Wednesday for a cause

Some state lawmakers will join sexual assault advocates in recognizing Denim Day California today, wearing denim to break the dress code and speak out against sexual violence in an annual event hosted by the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA).

It’s sponsored in part this year by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, members of which will be speaking at a rally on the Capitol’s west steps in honor of victims and survivors of sexual assault. Also slated to speak is Sacramento local Laurie Dishman, who recently testified before Congress on her rape aboard a cruise ship; she has become an outspoken survivor working with state and federal organizations to help educate policymakers on the importance of victim-centered sexual assault legislation.

Denim Day events are held to raise awareness about sexual violence and to highlight myths around these crime. In 1998, Italy’s courts overturned the verdict of a convicted rapist because the 17-year-old victim “wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them … and by removing the jeans … it was no longer rape but consensual sex.” Within hours, women in the Italian Parliament demonstrated their outrage by breaking the dress code and wearing jeans to work. Also, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.


On beer and gloating

A banner ad on the Calitics blog says Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton and Charlie Brown, a Democratic candidate for Congress in the district of beleaguered Rep. John Doolittle, will host a joint fund-raiser in San Diego on Friday night at the Karl Strauss Brewing Company.

For $40 — $20 per candidate — you’ll get admission and a chance to gloat with Democrats over the recent FBI raid on Republican Doolittle’s Granite Bay home in an investigation related to imprisoned former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Click here for information on the time and place for the fund-raiser.

Brown came remarkably close to unseating Doolittle in the 2006 election in a heavily Republican district, and given the incumbent’s recent legal troubles, many believe the congressman’s political career is over.

McNerney is running for re-election and hopes to hang onto to his seat, also a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats. He’s hoping his emphasis on constituent services will persuade even conservatives that he cares about his district.


Internet news-gatherers headed for convention

Of the 122 news outlets registered to cover the California’s Democratic Party convention in San Diego this weekend, 49 identify themselves as Internet-based.


This per Democratic political consultant Roger Salazar in an interview today with San Jose Mercury News and MediaNews political reporter Mary Anne Olstrom.

That means news coming out of the convention will be fast and furious as Internet-based reporters blog and post on the every move of the seven presidential candidates headed for the convention.

The 2,100 Democratic delegates may feel a bit overwhelmed, too. With 400 reporters signed up to cover the three-day event, that’s one reporter for every five delegates.


Welcome to the presidential campaign season.


Camejo: Feeling well during cancer treatment

camejo.jpgI spoke this morning with Peter Camejo, the ’60s UC-Berkeley firebrand activist, socially conscious investment pioneer and Green gubernatorial and vice-presidential candidate, now battling lymphoma.

Camejo, 67, of Folsom, sounded strong as he talked about working on his autobiography while finishing up chemotherapy.

“I’m doing very well, the doctors tell me — they have their hopes up,” he said, adding things are looking rosier than they did when he was diagnosed in January; doctors found the cancer after he underwent an MRI for a swollen spleen. “I’m pretty optimistic, we’ll see. I’ve got four more treatments and then we’ll know for sure.”

Camejo was a Green Party gubernatorial candidate in 2002, 2003 and 2006 as well as the party’s vice presidential candidate under Ralph Nader in 2004. He chairs the Board of Directors of Progressive Asset Management Inc., a socially responsible investment brokerage he co-founded. He also recently was elected to board of directors of Earth Share, a nationwide network of America’s leading non-profit environmental and conservation organizations, where he’s working on a special program to promote solar energy. He’s a father of two and grandfather of two.

We wish him the very best, including a full recovery.