Isn’t May is a lovely time of year in California?

The presidential hopefuls headed for California this week probably won’t be talking about the weather although their visitation schedule takes advantage of all the green in the Golden State, i.e., the money.

Check out the California candidate appearances set for the next few days:

Democrat John Edwards will visit Google on Wednesday.
Republican Rudy Giuliani will be in Burlingame on Wednesday.
Democrat Hillary Clinton will be in Las Vegas on Wednesday and in the Silicon Valley on Thursday.
Democrat Barack Obama will be in Piedmont on Saturday


What’s happenin’ on habeas

Kevin Lawlor, spokesman for Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, told me today that he’s heard House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo., will introduce a bill next week to restore habeas corpus rights to all within U.S. jurisdiction.

Habeas corpus, for the Latin-challenged, essentially is the right to be brought to the court for a determination of whether one is imprisoned lawfully and whether one should be released. It dates back to the 12th Century, preceding its 1215 codification in the Magna Carta‘s section 39; our Constitution‘s Article I, Section 9, says it “shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.” Yet under last year’s Military Commissions Act of 2006, non-citizens whom the government deems “unlawful enemy combatants” no longer have this right.

There had been rumors that the Armed Services Committee, on which Tauscher serves, would attach a rider restoring habeas corpus to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2008, H.R. 1585, which approves Pentagon spending for the next year. But no such rider materialized; Skelton’s staff said he felt so strongly about the issue that it deserved a bill of its very own.

So people have been waiting eagerly since HR 1585 passed last week to see when the habeas bill might drop. Lawlor said today the delay has been because Skelton was waiting for the Senate Judiciary Committee to assemble an equivalent bill of its own.

“We’re going to go at the same time as they do it so it’s easy to reconcile the two bills in conference,” he said. “It’s going to be when we come back from this recess. … We’ll look at it next week.”

And when Skelton’s bill does drop, Lawlor said, Tauscher will be among the original co-sponsors.


Schwarzenegger video of the week

This week, in another selection a long series of commercials cut for Japanese television, the man who is now California’s governor demonstrates a signficant talent for interpretative dance and an insatiable appetite for noodles:

UPDATE @ 3:35 P.M. FRIDAY: It has just come to my attention that this one I posted Tuesday no longer works — a darned shame, because it’s a hoot — so here’s another in its place (because apparently Schwarzenegger filmed an endless supply of Japanese commercials):

Previous SVOTWs: May 22, May 15, May 8, May 1, April 24, April 17, April 10, April 3, March 27, March 20, March 13, March 6, February 27, February 20, February 13, February 6, January 30.


McCloskey and life as a Democrat

Former congressman and ex-Republican Pete McCloskey says he’s feeling a “lot cleaner” since he registered as a Democrat.

But the iconic man who ran for president and co-authored the national Endangered Species Act is not optimistic that Democrats will keep their sheen.

“(The Democrats) will be corrupted by power eventually,” McCloskey says, reached by phone at his Rumsey farm and ranch. “I just hope it doesn’t happen quick.”

McCloskey recalled the dozens of Democrat elected leaders who were indicted while he served as a member of the minority party in Congress.

“No one would bother bribing a Republican,” he says. “We didn’t have any power.”

In the meantime, McCloskey intends to throw his support behind Democratic presidential candidate and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

He will also keep up the work of The Revolt of the Elders, a political group he founded 2 1/2 years ago with Lew Butler, friend and an assistant secretary of Health, Education and Welfare in the Nixon administration, to fight ethical lapses in Congress. The organization will lobby to abolish term limits, establish public financing of campaigns and put an end to the production of nuclear weapons.

But don’t expect him to go easy on his new friends in the Democratic Party.

“I’m going to be just as hard on Democrats as I was the Republicans,” McCloskey says.

How many of us can point to a big agendas such as this? And McCloskey turns 80 years old on Sept. 29.


San Ramon mayor to officially enter AD15 race

San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson will announce his plans to seek the Republican nomination in Assembly District 15 at a June 18 fundraiser. He hopes to succeed Assemblyman Guy Houston, R-San Ramon, who terms out next year.

Wilson will also be running his re-election campaign for mayor, which will take place in November of this year, and join the growing numbers of candidates who are seeking more than one office at the same time.

The multi-race phenomenon has surfaced due to an initiative on the February 2008 presidential primary ballot that would loosen term limits and allow incumbents who were scheduled to term out next year to seek re-election.

There’s no telling if it will pass. Opponents have already filed a lawsuit challenging its language, although they lost the first court round today after a judge declared the summary and title legal. U.S. Term Limits spokesman Kevin Spillane says his organization will appeal the decision.

But the uncertainty has left incumbents and would-be challengers with a conundrum.

Houston has said he will seek re-election to his Assembly seat if the voters allow it. In the meantime, he’s contemplating a run for congressional District 11.

Sen. Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, has said he will run for his senate seat, too. But if that doesn’t happen, he’ll run for his old Assembly District 11 seat (he only served two of the three terms allowed) and he’s raising money for his 2010 bid for state superintendent of schools.

The incumbent in District 11, Mark DeSaulnier of Concord, will run for Torlakson’s senate seat, unless, of course, his friend decides to keep it. In that case, DeSaulnier will run for re-election in the Assembly.

Got that all down?

Abrams is the 10th candidate to enter the AD15 contest but most view him as the frontrunner among the Republicans due to his political experience and higher name recognition. Click here for a link to the Secretary of State’s web page for the full candidate list.

But he’s getting a late start despite the fact that the election is still a year away. Republicans Judy Biviano Lloyd, Scott Kamena and Robert Rao have been working the race for months.

“I had hoped to wait until after February but my supporters have been asking me to declare one way or the other because they are under pressure from my opponents,” Wilson said late Friday.

He may be running two campaigns but Wilson says he’s 200 percent committed to both the city and the Assembly.

He said he would work hard to ensure that critical city programs, such as the new city hall, are well under way before he potentially leaves for Sacramento in January 2009. That’s a year before his mayoral term ends, if he’s re-elected in November.


Four Bay Area fundraisers in a day for Obama

obama.jpgU.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., reportedly will be the only Democratic presidential candidate to miss an Iowa Democratic Party fundraiser June 2 in Cedar Rapids … because he’ll be here instead.

Obama has a busy day of Bay Area fundraising scheduled for that Saturday: a noon, $2,300-a-head luncheon at the Piedmont home of Wayne Jordan and Quinn Delaney; a 1 p.m., $1,000-a-head luncheon in downtown Oakland’s Rotunda Building; a 4 p.m., $1,000-a-head reception in Sunnyvale’s Plug and Play Center; and a 6 p.m., a $2,300-a-head dinner at Symantec Corp. Chairman and CEO John Thompson‘s Woodside home.

On the Piedmont event, Jordan is a real estate investor and developer, and owner/operator of Jordan Real Estate Investments, LLC. Delaney is president of the anti-racism Akonadi Foundation and serves on the boards of directors of groups including the Tides Foundation and the ACLU of Northern California.

Sponsors of the Piedmont and Oakland events include Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon of Berkeley and his wife, author Ayelet Waldman; prominent local attorneys including Jim Brosnahan, John Burris and William Orrick; Oakland City Attorney John Russo; Oakland-based developer Phil Tagami; and a few dozen others.