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Archive for October, 2007

February voter guide available on-line

The Secretary of State has posted the draft February 5, 2008, “Presidential Primary Election
Official Voter Information Guide” on-line for public review. Click here to link to the political party statements and information for propositions 91, 92 and 93.

Posted on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007
Under: Election 2008 | No Comments »

Schwarzenegger video of the week

This week, what I believe to be a satire piece Arnold Schwarzenegger did for German television.

Extra 3 — a political satire show on NDR, a German public television network
Werbung — advertisement
E.ON — a Duesseldorf, Germany-based energy company with core activities in power and gas
Teure Energie — expensive energy
the governor dancing with appliances — the governor dancing with appliances (This is the same in ALL languages.)

Previous SVOTWs: October 16, October 9, October 2, September 25, September 18, 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, October 23rd, 2007
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger | No Comments »

Boehner moves to censure Stark

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, says he’ll offer a privileged resolution today to censure Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, for what he said last week about President Bush and his supporters in Congress as the House failed to override Bush’s veto of a bipartisan State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) expansion: “You don’t have money to fund the war or children. But you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President’s amusement.” (See the full video of Stark’s floor statement here.)

Boehner and other GOP leaders had demanded that Stark retract the statement and apologize; Stark had reacted by demanding that Boehner and 153 of his fellow Republicans apologize for failing to override legislation that would have provided health care to 10 million children.

Boehner’s office said the text of his resolution will read as follows:

Raising a Question of the privileges of the House.
Mr. Boehner submitted the following resolution which was referred to the Committee on _____________.

Whereas, United States soldiers and personnel in Iraq are fighting to protect innocent Americans from being attacked by al-Qaeda and radical jihadists who are determined to kill the American people.

Whereas on October 18, 2007, in debate on H.R. 976, Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, the Member from California, Mr. Stark, stated: “You don’t have money to fund the war or children. But you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President’s amusement.”

Whereas, on October 18, 2007, in a press release, Rep. Pete Stark is quoted as saying: “I respect neither the Commander-in-Chief who keeps them in harms way nor the chickenhawks in Congress.”

Whereas the Member from California, Mr. Stark, engaged in personally abusive language toward the President and Members of the House, including the use of language that impugns their motives.

Whereas, the Member from California, Mr. Stark dishonors not only the Commander-in-Chief, but the thousands of courageous men and women of America’s armed forces who believe in their mission and are putting their lives on the line for our freedom and security.

Whereas the Member from California, Mr. Stark, has failed to retract his statement and apologize to the Members of the House, our Commander-in-Chief, and the families of our soldiers and commanders fighting terror overseas.

Resolved, that the Member from California, Mr. Stark, by his despicable conduct, has dishonored himself and brought discredit to the House and merits the censure of the House for the same.

Resolved, that the Member from California, Mr. Stark, is hereby so censured.

UPDATE @ 9:30 A.M. TUESDAY: Stark apologized on the House floor this morning!

“On a very serious note, I want to apologize to my colleagues, many of whom I have offended, to the President, his family, (and) to the troops,” said Stark. “I apologize for this reason: I think we have serious issues before us, the issue of providing medical care to children, the issue about what we’re going to do about a war that we’re divided about how to end. I hope that with this apology I will become as insignificant as I should be and that we can return to the issues that do divide us but that we can resolve in a better fashion.”

Posted on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007
Under: Iraq, Pete Stark, President Bush, U.S. House | No Comments »

Glover returns home

Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover went home from UC-San Francisco Hospital on Saturday after a spending nearly a month fighting an illness that doctors still haven’t diagnosed.

The affable, two-term supervisor has told a Times reporter that he intends to go to back to work as early as Tuesday’s board meeting although that sounds ambitious.

Here’s the press release his office sent out a few minutes ago:

Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover on Saturday was released from UCSF Medical Center after a lengthy illness. He is finishing his recuperation at his Pittsburg home.

The 50-year-old Glover returned home Saturday evening after almost four weeks in hospitals because of an ailment, which eluded diagnosis even after batteries of medical tests by staff at the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez and the UC Medical Center staff in San Francisco.

“I want to thank all of those people who sent well wishes and said prayers on my behalf,” said Glover.

The District 5 supervisor has been hospitalized since Sept. 23 after feeling ill with high fever and flu-like symptoms for a week prior. Although he has been treated for meningitis and pneumonia, the doctors have been unable to pinpoint the primary cause of the supervisor’s illness.

Although the high fever and flu-like symptoms that characterized his illness is gone, Glover will continue dialysis treatment as long as necessary. During his hospital stay, he began dialysis because his kidneys were not fully functioning.

Fully functioning kidneys serve as the body’s natural filtration system. Dialysis treatment removes waste products and excess fluids from the bloodstream while maintaining the proper chemical balance of the blood. The cause of his kidney problems is still being ascertained. Doctors hope that he will regain full use of his kidneys.

Except for a period of three days when he was placed in the Intensive Care Unit, he has maintained daily contact with his staff to remain updated on the issues of the County and District 5 residents.

Glover will spend most of his time at home resting and regaining his strength while answering the hundreds of get-well cards he received during his illness.

“We certainly don’t expect, nor recommend that the supervisor return to a full schedule during his recuperation,” said David Fraser, Glover’s chief of staff. “The staff will continue what we’ve been doing these last few weeks, that is to gather information, receive constituent’s concerns and report to the supervisor to get his input when necessary.”

(Photo of Glover in November 2006 by Flickr user and local blogger halfwaytoconcord under Creative Commons attribution license)

Posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2007
Under: Contra Costa politics | 1 Comment »

Governor’s Oakland visit cancelled

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had planned to hold a press conference this afternoon at the Oakland Police Department’s Eastmont substation to celebrate his signing of SB 67, a bill to help curb “sideshows” — reckless vehicular shenanigans, that is — but cancelled the event this morning; he’ll be in Malibu instead, touring a damaged church and speaking on the wildfires threatening the area.

SB 67, penned by state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, reinstates a law that had sunsetted at the end of 2006 which provided that when someone is arrested for reckless driving, reckless driving in a parking facility, exhibition of speed or a speed contest, police can seize and impound that person’s vehicle for 30 days.

From the Senate Rules Committee’s analysis of the bill: “According to the City of Oakland, the sponsor of this bill and the bill that passed in 2002, these provisions have been helpful in deterring “sideshow” activities… The ability to impound the cars acted as a powerful deterrent even though they impounded fewer than 25 cars in the time the law was in effect.”

Posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2007
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, California State Senate, Don Perata, Oakland | No Comments »

Obama headed back to Bay Area

Presidential candidate and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is coming back to the Bay Area in mid-November, where he will attend fund-raisers at, among other places, the home of former guberatorial candidate Steve Westley.

Obama will appear at Westly’s Atherton home on the evening of Nov. 14. Just before noon on the same day, he will appear at a luncheon at the home of Pam Hamamoto in Tiburon. Click here to download the Tiburon invitation.

The cost to attend is $2,300 a person, the federal maximum contribution allowed.

Obama supporter, attorney and Piedmont resident Jeff Bleich sent out an e-mail early this morning advising folks on his contact list about the two events. Bleich told me last week that Obama will likely appear in the East Bay, too.

In his email, Bleich also offered an interesting analysis of the status of Obama’s campaign given the extensive discussion about the “inevitability” factor of his chief Democratic opponent, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

In part, here’s what Bleich wrote:

Where we are: First, to put this in perspective, Barack’s campaign has defied every gloomy prediction, and it has forced the Clinton campaign to adopt a very dangerous strategy. Being the national front-runner in November before the primary is the worst place for a candidate to be: ask any candidate from Howard Dean in 2003 to Gary Hart in 1987. The reason that the Clinton campaign is proclaiming inevitability is not because she wants to set such high expectations, but because Barack’s surprising success has forced her to do that. Her campaign hopes that this will discourage the Obama faithful and slow down the Obama juggernaut. To appreciate this, you have to remember where we were when Barack decided to run for President 9 months ago. At that time, the Clinton campaign and the pundits thought he could never mount a serious challenge to her because he didn’t have any donor lists, he didn’t have any organization in Iowa, he didn’t have any endorsers, and he had little name recognition or campaign experience compared to at least three candidates who all had been in presidential campaigns before. It was impossible, most insiders assumed, for him to build in one year the kind of organization that the Clintons had developed over two decades. So here are the facts.

Donors and Donations: Despite the fact that the Clintons have established the most powerful and successful fundraising machine in the past two decades, Barack has actually outraised Hillary Clinton by every measure and has more contributors than any candidate in political history. Over 350,000 contributors have given over one-half million donations—more than Hillary Clinton and John Edwards combined. But it is more than that. If you take away the $10 million that Sen. Clinton gave herself from her Senate campaign and the millions of dollars she has accepted from special interests and PACs (which Barack has refused), she’s not even close.
Organization: Barack has put together the best organization in Iowa . . . ever. This is not a matter of opinion. He now has more offices in more precincts in Iowa than any other candidate. According to Iowa’s Attorney General, Tom Miller, the Obama team is the best organized campaign Iowa has ever seen — drawing the most talented people in the State. While John Edwards’ support has been falling, and Hillary Clinton’s has plateaued, Barack’s support has steadily been rising as Iowans get to know and meet him. Although the polls bounce around and will continue to do so until election night — Barack, despite being the newcomer, was in first place in Iowa in the most recent Newsweek poll, and he is poised to puncture any claim that Hillary is inevitable.

Endorsements: Everyone expected that Sen. Clinton would have locked up the endorsement of virtually every leading Democrat in the Country by now, since most of them owe their political careers to Bill Clinton. Barack has not only gone toe-to-toe with the Clintons for key endorsements, but he has won key endorsements from members of Clinton’s own cabinet on the most important issues in this campaign. For example, his chief foreign policy adviser is Bill Clinton’s former National Security Adviser and nominee for Secretary of State, Tony Lake. His chief energy adviser is Bill Clinton’s Secretary of the Energy, Frederico Pena. Members of the joint chiefs of staff, cabinet officials, members of Congress, Governors, and opinion leaders from Ted Sorenson to Oprah Winfrey will all be endorsing Barack in the coming weeks.
National Recognition: Finally, given that he is running against three other candidates who have participated in Presidential elections before (Clinton, Edwards, Biden), it is nothing short of miraculous that Barack is running second in national polls. Hillary Clinton will stay at least 20 points ahead in national polls until the early primaries because those polls generally do not reflect anything other than name recognition (which is why Jerry Brown led the polls in November 1991 or Howard Dean led the polls in November 2003). In fact, a December 2003 CBS-New York Times poll, taken just a month before the Iowa caucus, proclaimed that “Howard Dean has pulled away from the field in the Democratic Presidential nomination race” with 23% as compared to Kerry’s 5%. The poll showed Kerry in sixth place, behind Dean, Wesley Clark, Lieberman, Gephardt and Al Sharpton!. And that is true in every election. According to a November 1991 Los Angeles Times poll, Bill Clinton was in 3rd place with less than half the support of the then-frontrunner, Jerry Brown. A January 1988 New York Times/CBS Poll showed Michael Dukakis in fourth place with 6 percent. An August 1979 poll showed President Carter trailing Senator Ted Kennedy by 36 points. National polls really don’t matter at this stage. The only reliable thing they tell you is that Barack is already far better known than anyone imagined he’d be at this stage, just 9 months ago.

What We Need To Do To Win: The short answer for how we translate all of this into victory can be summed up in four words: “don’t worry, just work.” The Clinton campaign’s goal is to make Obama supporters worry, to hold back, and to create a self-fulfilling prophesy that support for Barack has slackened. They are very smart political tacticians, and they know that the thing we have to fear most is fear itself. So they are spreading it. Simply by staying committed, staying positive, and working for the campaign, you will make us win. There are three specific things you can do.

Call Friends in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada: The key to victory is organizational strength in the early states, especially Iowa. If you have friends or family there, make sure you call or email them and encourage them to attend the caucus and/or vote. The key to our success has always been simple: As the underdog in the race, we need to perform well enough in the “First Four” contests—Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina—to create the momentum necessary to narrow the field and position Barack for victories on February 5th, when over 20 states will vote at once.

Respond To The Naysayers: This campaign exists because so many people recognized an historic opportunity to change fundamentally the politics that is crippling our progress. So when people say the timing’s too early for Barack, we need to tell them there’s no better time — that Kennedy and Lincoln and Bill Clinton himself were all told the same thing. When others say the race is over and Hillary will win, remind them that this wouldn’t be the first time that a Washington politician declared “Mission Accomplished” a little too early. People with more life experience than I have, tell me our campaign has the same sense of destiny of Bobby Kennedy’s in 1968; click here and that Barack too will prevail as long as we stay strong.

Posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2007
Under: 2008 presidential primary | No Comments »

Canciamilla-DeSaulnier debate available on-line

A video of the debate between former Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla and Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier D-Concord, at the Lamorinda Democratic Club meeting on Oct. 19 in Orinda has been posted on Google. Click here to watch it.

Canciamilla and DeSaulnier are the presumed 2008 Democratic primary election candidates for the state Senate seat occupied by Sen. Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch. Torlakson represents Senate District 7, which is Contra Costa County.

I say “presumed” because a February 2008 ballot measure asks voters to alter term limits and allow incumbents that would have termed out under the current law to seek re-election. Existing law limits lawmakers to six years in the Assembly and eight years in the Senate; the ballot measure would allow members to serve up to 12 years in either of the branches of the Legislature.

If voters change the law, Torlakson would be eligible to run for a third Senate term and he has said he will seek re-election.

For my story on the debate, click here.

Posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2007
Under: Contra Costa politics | No Comments »

Is Bill Gates a Hillary fan?

Oakland resident Debra Mattson recently sent a letter to Microsoft Corp. founder and chairman Bill Gates, asking him to correct Microsoft Word’s dictionary so that the name “Obama” doesn’t elicit a suggested correction of “Osama.”

“In this day and age every person, especially running for public office, deserves to enter the field on one that is level and fair,” Mattson wrote to Gates. “I find this insulting as when you type or enter any other Presidential Contender’s Name, the only other corrections are for ‘Hukabee,’ [sic] you are offered the suggestion of the word ‘Humane.’ Nothing so hurtful to that suggestion. The only other suggestion is to add another ‘r’ to Barack, but to suggest correcting ‘Obama’ with ‘Osama’ is as hurtful as you can get.”

No word on whether Gates has replied, or whether there’s a Word update patch in the works, but the Pew Research Foundation for the People and the Press recently reported that 71 percent of people it surveyed said Bill Gates’ endorsement of a presidential candidate would have no impact on their own voting choice. So far, Gates is campaigning only for “Ed in ’08.”

See Mattson’s letter for yourself by clicking on the image below:

Posted on Friday, October 19th, 2007
Under: Barack Obama, Elections | No Comments »

Independent voters on the rise in California

On the eve of the 2008 presidential election, a growing number of Californians are registering as “decline to state” voters at the expense of both major political parties.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen reports that the percentage of decline to state voters is 19 percent compared to 16 percent in September 2003, the fall tall prior to the 2004 election between GOP President George W. Bush and Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. (Download press release here.)

Democrats’ percentage fell from 43.6 percent to 42.5, while the GOP’s share dropped from 35.3 percent to 33.8 percent.

Theories abound as to why voters are increasingly disinterested in affiliating with traditional political parties.

And no one seems to agree on the best means by which to reverse the trend, either. Leaders of both parties engage in a near constant tug-of-war over their platforms and strategies between the ends of their internal political spectrums.

Some view the shift as a signal that voters are ready for a comparable third party but so far, there’s been little indication that this group of independent-minded people is interested in banding together.

There’s an even bigger problem on the political dance floor than the party shuffle, though.

New registrations since 2003 have not kept pace with population growth in California, resulting in a drop from 71 percent to 68 percent in the rate of eligible residents who register to vote. That means fewer people are making decisions at the ballot box that impact everyone.

Posted on Friday, October 19th, 2007
Under: State politics | 1 Comment »

Pete Stark opens a can of whupa-s

Republicans aligned with the president don’t want to fund the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), but “they sure dont care about finding 200 billion to fight the illegal war in Iraq,” rages Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. “Where are you going to get that money? Are you going to tell us lies like you’re telling us today? Is that how you’re going to fund the war? You don’t have money to fund the war or children. But you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.”

“The truth is that Bush just likes to blow things up in Iraq, in the United States and in Congress.”

Yes, Drudge already has it. And that’s Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, chairing the debate as temporary speaker and reminding Stark at the end that members are not to refer to the President in a personal way.

Posted on Thursday, October 18th, 2007
Under: Ellen Tauscher, Iraq, Pete Stark, President Bush, U.S. House | No Comments »