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Archive for September, 2007

Schwarzenegger video of the week

I thought I had exhausted the supply of Japanese commercials; I’m very pleased to find that I was wrong.

Previous SVOTWs: September 11, September 4, August 28, August 21, August 7, July 31, July 24, July 17, July 10, July 3, June 26, June 19, June 12, June 5, May 29, 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.

Posted on Tuesday, September 18th, 2007
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger | No Comments »

Think they’re all crooked?

Then go do something about it. The City of Oakland Public Ethics Commission has two vacancies and is accepting applications, terms to begin in January and end in 2011.

The commission meets monthly, with one or more additional committee meetings per month, to oversee compliance with the Oakland’s Campaign Reform Act, Sunshine Ordinance, Limited Public Financing Act, Code of Conduct for City Officials, Conflict of Interest regulations, Lobbyist Registration Act, and False Endorsement In Campaign Literature Act. It also reviews ethics laws and recommends amendments to the City Council; develops informational, training, and public outreach programs concerning the Commission’s activities; and annually adjusts City Council’s salaries.

And isn’t that last one worthwhile all by itself?

To qualify, you must be a resident and registered voter of Oakland, and during your term and for one year after you can’t be employed by the city or have any direct and substantial financial interest in any work or business or official action by the City; seek election to any other public office; participate in or contribute to an Oakland municipal campaign; or endorse, support, oppose, or work on behalf of any candidate or measure in an Oakland election.

The seven-member commission includes three nominated for appointment by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council, and four selected by the Commission as a whole. Commissioners aren’t paid and can’t serve more than one consecutive three-year term.

Click here for the application, and mail the completed form plus your resume to:

City Of Oakland, Public Ethics Commission
One Frank Ogawa Plaza, Fourth Floor
Oakland, CA 94612

Or, fax the application and resume to 510-238-3315 or e-mail them to ethicscommission@oaklandnet.com. The deadline is 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26.

Posted on Monday, September 17th, 2007
Under: General, Oakland, Oakland City Council | No Comments »

Rallies for same-sex marriage tomorrow

Activists and advocates across the state organized by Marriage Equality USA, Equality California and other groups are planning rallies for tomorrow to urge Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign Assemblyman Mark Leno‘s AB 43 and legalize same-sex civil marriage in California. The Assembly passed it June 5 on a 42-34 vote and the state Senate passed it Sept. 7 on a 22-15 vote, but the governor has vowed to veto it again, just as he did in 2005.

In the greater Bay Area, rallies are set for:

  • Oakland – 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Frank Ogawa Plaza, at 14th Street and Broadway
  • San Francisco — 5:30 p.m. at the LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market St., for a news conference with Leno followed by a march to Harvey Milk Plaza at Castro and Market streets
  • San Jose — 6 p.m. at the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center, 938 The Alameda
  • Stockton — 5:30 p.m. at the San Joaquin Pride Center, 4410 N. Pershing Ave., Suite C-22
  • San Rafael — 4-7 p.m. at Third and Irwin streets
  • Posted on Monday, September 17th, 2007
    Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly, California State Senate, Mark Leno, same-sex marriage | No Comments »

    Bad news for Tauscher’s ‘dwell time’ bill

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates said today he would recommend a veto of a Senate proposal that would give troops more rest between deployments in Iraq, branding it a dangerous “backdoor way” to draw down forces, the Washington Post reports:

    gates-ap-photo-haraz-ghanbari.jpgWith the Senate expected to resume debate this week on anti-war legislation, Gates sharpened his criticism of Webb’s proposal. It would require troops get as much time at their home station as their deployments to the war front.

    Gates was asked in broadcast interviews about recommending a veto to Bush should the proposal pass. “Yes I would,” the Pentagon chief said.

    “If it were enacted, we would have force management problems that would be extremely difficult and, in fact, affect combat effectiveness and perhaps pose greater risk to our troops,” he said.

    Gates was talking about the amendment proposed by U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., which was duplicated in companion bill H.R.3159 by Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo; it would require that any regular Armed Forces member or unit deployed to Iraq must then have an equal period of time at home before being redeployed, and that no unit or member of a Reserve component including the National Guard be redeployed to Iraq within three years of their previous deployment.

    The House passed Tauscher’s bill Aug. 2 on a 229-194 vote, but the issue has been stalled out since then in the Senate Armed Services Committee. And with Gates publicly reiterating the Administration’s disdain for the idea on the Sunday-morning talk shows, it appears to have a dicey future at best. The WaPo story notes the Webb amendment — and, one must assume by extension, Tauscher’s companion bill — has 57 votes: three short of what it would need to overcome a Republican filibuster, and 10 short of what it would need to override the president’s veto.

    Posted on Sunday, September 16th, 2007
    Under: Ellen Tauscher, Iraq, President Bush, U.S. House | No Comments »

    Lantos calls for Iraq withdrawal on national radio

    As reported here earlier this week, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, did indeed deliver the weekly, nationally broadcast Democratic radio address today.

    “To win the war against international terrorism, we must stop frittering away our resources –military, diplomatic, and economic — on an endless religious war in Iraq,” he said. “With its TV ads, the President’s address, and every other available means, the Administration is pulling out all the stops to make the case to ‘stay the course’ for an endless war in Iraq.”

    Read the full transcript after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted on Saturday, September 15th, 2007
    Under: Iraq, Tom Lantos, U.S. House | No Comments »

    Veteran parks director may seek supervisor post

    Beverly Lane, an 11-year veteran on the board of the East Bay Regional Parks District, says she is seriously looking at running for the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors in 2008.

    lane.jpg

    As a Danville resident, Lane would run in District 3 against incumbent Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho. Assemblyman Guy Houston, R-San Ramon, has also said he will run for this seat next year.

    “I am very concerned about the decision the supervisors made in July (to study an expansion of) the Urban Limit Line,” said Lane. “The voters had just established the line the previous November and I think the public deserves to have a supervisor who is up front with the people.”

    Lane refers to a 4-1 board vote in favor a developer-funded general plan amendment study of a proposed 193-house development outside the county’s urban growth boundary in the Tassajara Valley called “New Farm.” In addition to the housing, the project also includes vineyards, orchards and other irrigated crops.

    The study does not guarantee approval of the project but critics say the county should not analyze development proposals outside the boundary except during the five-year review period established as part of the line that voters adopted in November.

    But Lane, who served more than a decade on the Danville Town Council prior to her election to the park board, says she is nowhere close to making a decision to run yet.

    “I am very interested in the park district and its issues, so it would take a bit for me to consider moving,” said Lane, who will not be up for re-election in the district until 2010. “I’m still talking to people.”

    Lane’s entry into the race would fulfill what some Republicans fear might happen: While Piepho and Houston split GOP vote in June, a Democrat like Lane slips into the November run-off.

    Technically, the Board of Supervisors are nonpartisan officials, which means that unless one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the votes in June 2008, the top two voter-getters will have a run-off in November.

    But this is the only Contra Costa supervisoral district with a Republican registration majority — 7 percentage points — and the GOP doesn’t want to lose the seat to a Democrat.

    Posted on Friday, September 14th, 2007
    Under: Contra Costa politics | No Comments »

    A cheap shot at McNerney?

    The Majority Accountability Project — “an independent, internet-based news and research service” run by two former GOP staffers — put out a news release this morning noting similarties in the verbiage House Democratic freshmen used yesterday to respond to President Bush’s speech on Iraq:

    Al-Maliki’s failure was particularly galling to these members, given that the surge of American forces was intended to provide “breathing room” for the Iraqi government to make political gains, according to Gillibrand, Shuler, Hill and U.S. Representative Jerry McNerney, D-CA. Ellsworth decided to forgo “breathing room,” breaking out the thesaurus to opine the surge would provide the Iraqi government “the space they needed” to make political gains.

    While most of the freshmen issuing Xeroxed™ statements were members of the Blue Dog coalition, a group of self-proclaimed Conservative Democrats, the progressive McNerney’s use of identical terminology indicates talking points were widely circulated among the Democrat conference.

    McNerney, Hill, Gillibrand, and Shuler all cited a report from retired Marine General James Jones, which uncovered widespread corruption within Iraqi security forces and found the government would be unable to provide its own security anytime soon.

    Ellsworth, Hill, Gillibrand, and McNerney all noted the strain on the U.S. troops, suggesting the military may be unable to tackle other threats to national security. Almost all reaffirmed their support for the American armed forces, with Shuler and McNerney praising “our brave men and women in uniform.”

    It’s a cheap shot, McNerney spokesman Andy Stone said this morning.

    “Breathing room” is being commonly used in the news media to describe the President’s rationale for the surge, Stone claimed. Indeed, my own quick Google search turns it up at ABC News, the Chicago Tribune, Slate and many others. Even disgraced U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, used the phrase in his own statement, as reported by the Associated Press.

    “What McNerney said in his statement that we put out the other night has been consistent with what he’s said all along, especially with regard to the readiness and diverting attention from global terrorism arguments,” Stone told me. “And as for the fact that all the statements cited the Jones report – well, of course they did. It offers a contrast to the Administration’s sunny optimism. Incidentally, our statement cited both Jones AND the GAO report.”

    Posted on Friday, September 14th, 2007
    Under: Iraq, Jerry McNerney, Media, U.S. House | No Comments »

    A pre-emptive strike…

    Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, issued this statement today, hours before President Bush is scheduled to make a televised address to the nation in which he’s expected to announce a rollback of troop levels in Iraq to pre-surge levels by next July:

    “Tonight the President will make his case for more of the same stay-the-course strategy that puts us on a path for at least 10 years of occupation in Iraq.

    “It is time to call this what it is — an exit strategy for President Bush at the expense of our troops. It’s the President’s plan to run out the clock on his failed policy, to move the goalposts once again, so that he can sneak out the backdoor and leave the American people holding the bag.

    “Well, let me ask you: how many of our troops should die so the President can save face? How many billions of our tax dollars should we spend so the President can avoid admitting his policy has failed?

    “It is clear he won’t take responsibility to end his failed policy, which means that members of Congress are going to have a choice to make.

    “Are they going to stand with the President, and an open-ended occupation that sacrifices our troops’ lives so he can save face? Or are they going to act to bring his disastrous policy to a responsible and long overdue–conclusion?

    “The choice is simple. Congress should not provide another dime for the President’s failed policy. Instead, we should provide the money necessary to fully fund the safe, timely and responsible redeployment of troops and contractors from Iraq.”

    Read some just-released excerpts from the President’s speech, after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted on Thursday, September 13th, 2007
    Under: Barbara Lee, Iraq, President Bush, U.S. House | No Comments »

    Elizabeth Edwards is coming to the East Bay

    Elizabeth Edwards, wife of 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee and 2008 Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, will be in the Bay Area in about 10 days to press some flesh and rake in some dough.

    On Saturday night Sept. 29, she’ll keynote a the annual fundraising dinner for the George Mark Children’s House in San Leandro, the country’s first free-standing facility offering palliative care for seriously and terminally ill children and support for their families. A news release said she’ll “share her message of finding hope under difficult circumstances” with about 375 well-heeled guests.

    The next day, Sunday, Sept. 30, she’ll be the guest of honor at a fundraising luncheon hosted by Bob and Maggie Klein at their Oliveto Café, 5655 College Ave. in Oakland’s Rockridge district. “Whether you have decided on a candidate or not, this is a rare opportunity to meet Elizabeth Edwards, one of the most courageous women on the campaign trail, and to hear more about her personal journey and the Edwards campaign in a small group setting accompanied by a superb lunch,” says the release. Tickets cost $500 each, $5,000 for a table.

    Posted on Thursday, September 13th, 2007
    Under: Elections, John Edwards, Oakland | No Comments »

    Channeling Bob Dole?

    Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor is known for talking about himself in the third person, a trait Americans found alternatively endearing and annoying in former presidential candidate Bob Dole.
    btaylor_mayor_2006.jpg

    Characteristically, Bob Taylor sends me an e-mail this week from Bob Taylor.

    “FYI, sometimes it is good to hear positive things about politicians on the local level. Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor is doing a marriage ceremony in our park on Saturday, do not know when that has occurred in Brentwood. Brentwood mayor is going back to Maryland for a course in survival in case of an earthquake catastrophe for his town. Brentwood mayor won an electric car at League of Cities for a year for his town.”

    Yep, Bob Taylor declared in advance Bob Taylor’s intent to win one year’s use of an electric car at a recent conference of the League of Cities and wasn’t surprised a bit when Bob Taylor’s name was drawn.

    Look for Bob Taylor to be driving Bob Taylor around Brentwood in a spiffy, four-seater electric car but Bob Taylor won’t be breaking any speed limits: The car’s maximum speed is 35 miles per hour, which Bob Taylor says is fine with Bob Taylor.

    “Bob Taylor will stay off the Highway 4 Bypass,” Bob Taylor said.

    UPDATE: The electric car that Brentwood will receive the use of for one year is produced by Global Electric Motorcars, a division of Chrysler. Check out the web site at www.gemcar.com

    gem-e4-subpage.jpg

    Posted on Thursday, September 13th, 2007
    Under: Contra Costa politics | No Comments »