Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for November, 2007

MoveOn supports DiFi censure effort

feinstein.jpgPressure to get the California Democratic Party‘s executive board to censure U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., at its meeting this weekend got a lot heavier today as online organizing giant MoveOn.org joined the effort.

Netroots and grassroots activists organized by the Courage Campaign are urging passage of a resolution censuring Feinstein for her pivotal votes for Michael Mukasey as U.S. Attorney General and Leslie Southwick as a federal judge. A version of the censure resolution, included below the jump, will be submitted for the consideration of the California Democratic Party Executive Board at its meeting November 16-18 in Anaheim.

In an email to over 500,000 members in California, MoveOn.org Wes Boyd of Berkeley said:

“Only 29% of Californians — and just 9% of California Democrats — approve of the president, but Senator Feinstein has sided with him on key issues.”

“When Senator Feinstein sides with President Bush and the Republicans on key issues like these, she not only goes against what a majority of her constituents want–she gives cover to other Democrats too, making it harder for Congress to make progress on the critical issues that so many voters care about.”

“Senator Feinstein isn’t up for election again until 2012, but we can’t afford another 5 years of this. She needs to hear from Californians that she needs to start siding with them–not George Bush.”

“A censure from the California Democratic Party is the strongest way to send that message.”

More after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, November 15th, 2007
Under: Democratic Party, Dianne Feinstein, President Bush, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

Today’s Congressional odds and ends

Oil-spill hearing scheduled for Monday: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Martime Transportation will hold a field hearing on the big spill’s causes and response at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 19 in the Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop in San Francisco’s Presidio. The offices of committee member Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, and Rep. Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, says they’ll be there, other attendees TBA.

mcnerneyportrait.jpgMcNerney still pushing PTSD clinic for Livermore: Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, wrote a letter today to Gordon Mansfield, the Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs, citing a newly released study about the incidence of mental distress in Iraq veterans and touting the Livermore VA Medical Center as the ideal setting to treat post traumatic stress disorder. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, finds Iraq veterans with substantially greater percentages of mental distress several months after returning from deployment than immediately upon returning home; it also finds greater levels of mental distress among National Guard members and Army Reservists than among active duty soldiers. McNerney had been pushing former VA Secretary James Nicholson to put a PTSD treatment center at Livermore — a facility in danger of being shut down entirely — right up until the day Nicholson quit.

The next out-of-Iraq vote: The House at this hour is debating a resolution which would provide for consideration of HR 4156, the Orderly and Responsible Iraq Redeployment Appropriations Act. Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairwomen Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, sent the following note to about 100,000 Progressive Democrats of America members today:

lee3.jpgAs many of you know, today the House is set to bring up H.R. 4156, the Orderly and Responsible Iraq Redeployment Appropriations Act. While this bill is not perfect, it is the strongest Iraq bill to date, and there’s no way that we would’ve reached this point if it wasn’t for the work of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), and all of you. The work that you all have done, and the leadership that PDA has shown in delivering tens of thousands of signatures as part of its Peace Pledge have helped move the ball forward.

We know that most of you are disappointed that the end date of having our troops out by December 2008 included in the bill is a goal and not a requirement. So are we.

woolsey.jpgBut let’s be clear about what this bill accomplishes–this is the first time that this Congress has put forth a bill that ties funding to the responsible redeployment of our troops, and it also includes language mandating a start date for the President to begin the redeployment of our brave men and women. The bill also incorporates the principles put forth in H.R. 508, and provides for a regional stability plan which includes diplomatic, political, and economic strategies.

And most importantly, this is a concrete step in the right direction, and an important marker for this Congress to lay down.

Posted on Wednesday, November 14th, 2007
Under: Barbara Lee, Ellen Tauscher, Jerry McNerney, Lynn Woolsey, Tom Lantos, U.S. House | No Comments »

Concord: Is Ed James coming back?

Concord is abuzz today over rumors that ex-city manager Ed James will temporarily occupy the top management spot after the departure of city manager Lydia Du Borg later this month. Check out this post on www.claycord.com.

The City Council is not confirming or denying James’ return, says our Concord reporter Tanya Rose who put in a round of calls.

But if it’s true, it’s a good idea. A city the size of Concord needs someone at the helm and a familiar face will help ease tensions and keep the city off the rocks while the city searches for a new manager.

Du Borg resigned after the City Council delivered her performance review in closed session earlier this month. There had been talk for months that Du Borg and some members of the council were clashing on management style and policies. But since the announcement of resignation, the members of the City Council have offered little in the way of a plausible explanation for her departure other than a few weak platitudes.

The silence is not sitting too well with residents who have a lot of questions about the turnover at City Hall. In the past few months, the city has lost or will lose its top manager, deputy city manager, human resources director and two people working on the planning for the Concord Naval Weapons Station.

Posted on Wednesday, November 14th, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Bob Dole endorses Assembly candidate Lloyd

Judy Biviano LloydEndorsements don’t often get my attention; they’re usually predictable and ubiquitous.

But here’s one that popped into my e-mail box this morning that may interest you: Ex-GOP presidential nominee and former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole will serve as the honorary campaign chairman for Republican Assembly District 15 candidate Judy Biviano Lloyd.

Whether or not this means Dole will actually set foot in District 15, which stretches from Walnut Creek to Livermore, is an open question that may or may not matter given Dole’s stature as a conservative statesman. (Click here to see a map of the district.)

Lloyd has come under some criticism for relying too heavily on endorsements of people who don’t live in the district. She also doesn’t live in the district yet, although she has put her Pleasanton house on the market and plans to move.

On the other hand, Lloyd is in a fierce, five-way race for the GOP nomination in June 2008 and clearly intends to use every political arrow in her quiver to distinguish herself from her male challengers: Scott Kamena, Robert Rao, San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson and Joe Rubay. And Lloyd’s ammunition now includes Dole, the man she worked for as a special assistant when he was the U.S. Senate Majority Leader.

Posted on Wednesday, November 14th, 2007
Under: Election 2008 | No Comments »

California fiscal picture looks grim

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office just released its outlook on the state’s financial picture through 2013 and the skies are not sunny.

“To balance the 2008–09 budget, the state will have to adopt nearly $10 billion in solutions,” according to the LAO’s press release.

“Solutions” is one of those cute government euphemisms, kind of like substituting “challenges” for “problems.”

“Addressing the state’s current budget problem is even more urgent because we forecast a continuing gap between revenues and expenditures,” the release said. “A plan to permanently address the state’s fiscal troubles must involve a substantial portion of ongoing solutions.”

To read the full report, click on one of the following:

Summary:
http://www.lao.ca.gov/laoapp/PubDetails.aspx?id=1681

HTML:
http://www.lao.ca.gov/2007/fiscal_outlook/fiscal_outlook_07.aspx

Adobe Acrobat:
http://www.lao.ca.gov/2007/fiscal_outlook/fiscal_outlook_07.pdf

View this webcast using the following link:
http://www.lao.ca.gov/2007/webcasts/fiscal_outlook/EH_fiscoutlook07.aspx

Posted on Wednesday, November 14th, 2007
Under: California budget | No Comments »

Obama to unveil “innovation agenda” today

Apparently Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., will be rolling out an “innovation agenda” during his town-hall meeting with Google employees this afternoon at the company’s Mountain View headquarters, sandwiched between fundraising events.

Excerpts from his prepared remarks:

obama.jpg“Together, we could open up government and invite citizens in, while connecting all of America to 21st century broadband. We could use technology to help achieve universal health care, to reach for a clean energy future, and to ensure that young Americans can compete – and win – in the global economy. If America recommits itself to science and innovation, we can lead the world to a new future of productivity and prosperity. That’s what we can do if we seize this moment.”

—–

“I will take a backseat to no one in my commitment to network neutrality. Because once providers start to privilege some applications or web sites over others, then the smaller voices get squeezed out, and we all lose. The Internet is perhaps the most open network in history. We have to keep it that way.”

—–

“To seize this moment, we have to use technology to open up our democracy. It’s no coincidence that one of the most secretive Administrations in history has favored special interests and pursued policies that could not stand up to sunlight. As President, I’ll change that. I’ll put government data online in universally accessible formats. I’ll let citizens track federal grants, contracts, earmarks, and lobbyist contacts. I’ll let you participate in government forums, ask questions in real time, offer suggestions that will be reviewed before decisions are made, and let you comment on legislation before it is signed. And to ensure that every government agency is meeting 21st century standards, I’ll appoint the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer.”

—–

“We need to make sure that the next success story – the next Google – happens here in America. The Google story is about what can be achieved when we cultivate new ideas and keep the playing field level for new businesses. But it’s also about not settling for what we’ve achieved. It’s about constantly raising the bar so that we’re more competitive, and so we use technology to reach ever-expanding horizons…The promise and prosperity of our new economy must not become the property of the few, it must be a force that lifts up our entire country, and that lifts up the world.”

Posted on Wednesday, November 14th, 2007
Under: Barack Obama, Elections | No Comments »

All hands on deck for Boxer’s hearing

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., announced she’ll host a briefing in the Senate Commerce Committee at 3 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 14th, on Capitol Hill to examine last week’s oil spill in the San Francisco Bay.

Boxer already has raised concerns about the Coast Guard’s response and the delay in relaying accurate information about the magnitude of the spill to San Francisco officials and the public. Among those scheduled to take part are U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen; Rear. Adm. Brian Salerno, the Coast Guard’s Assistant Commandant for Policy and Planning; and others.

Somebody’s got some ‘splainin’ to do…

UPDATE @ 7:40 P.M. TUESDAY: Assembly Natural Resources Committee chairwoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, and Assembly Appropriations Committee chairman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, will convene an emergency oversight hearing to review oil-spill response efforts 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, in Emeryville’s City Council Chambers, 1333 Park Ave.

From the release:

During the hearing, Committee Members and other Bay Area Assemblymembers will have an opportunity investigate what led to the spill, assess current conditions and examine the environmental damage, as well as determine what immediate steps will be necessary to ensure proper clean-up and protection of coastal and marine resources and wildlife.

“I am deeply saddened by the contamination and destruction caused by the Cosco Busan crash and ensuing oil spill into our beautiful Bay,” stated Assemblyman Mark Leno, in whose district the oil spill occurred. “The most immediate thing we must do is work to minimize the on-going environmental degradation taking place in the Bay and Pacific Ocean. There are so many questions that need answering – why this occurred, what we’re doing about it and how we can prevent it in the future. This hearing will attempt to answer these questions and generate ideas for legislation and oversight that can prevent future disasters from happening,” he said.

“This oil spill is a wake up call for the Bay Area. For a spill of relatively small size, it has quickly spread out of control, impacting not only the waters and wildlife of the Bay, but also the Pacific Ocean and our coastal beaches,” stated Assemblywoman Loni Hancock. “It is imperative that the Committee hold this hearing to evaluate the response to this spill so that we are better prepared for future events of potentially greater significance,” she said.

Posted on Tuesday, November 13th, 2007
Under: Assembly, Barbara Boxer, Loni Hancock, Mark Leno, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

Effort to put Gore on California ballot folds

al-gore.jpgOrganizers of California Draft Gore, a grassroots statewide campaign to put Al Gore’s name on the California presidential primary ballot, announced today that they’re shutting down.

“We have recently received a communication from a member of Al Gore’s staff discouraging any efforts to put Al Gore’s name on the primary ballot,” stated Roy Gayhart, organizer for the statewide campaign. “Accordingly, effectively immediately, we have ceased our signature collection and related fund raising activities.”

This is not the same as the national “Draft Gore” committee which held a fundraiser last month at Oakland’s Grand Lake Theater.

Draft Gore leader Monica Friedlander of Berkeley said the California Draft Gore group was gathering signatures to place Gore’s name on the ballot, while her group’s only goal is to influence his decision to get into the race. “We will continue to do that as long as we think theres a reasonable chance to accomplish that,” she told me today. “We have not received any communications indicating our efforts are anything but appreciated… and we have the freedom to continue as long as we think it can make a difference.”

Read more of California Draft Gore’s news release after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, November 13th, 2007
Under: Al Gore, Elections | 2 Comments »

The OTHER Obama events

Barack Obama, who’d publicly announced a town-hall meeting with Google employees and a grassroots fundraiser in San Francisco for tomorrow, is raising big bucks at three smaller fundraisers today and tomorrow.

The $1,500-a-head price — $2,300 for admission to a special pre-reception — didn’t prevent donors from booking up all the slots at tonight’s event at the San Francisco home of Vista Equity Partners principal Stephen Davis.

Before heading to Google tomorrow afternoon, the candidate will be feted at a $2,300-a-head lunch at the Tiburon home of former investment banker Pam Hamamoto. And even as people start cramming into San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium tomorrow night for the grassroots event, Obama will be pocketing $2,300 checks at a 6 p.m. reception at former state Controller Steve Westly‘s house in Atherton.

Posted on Tuesday, November 13th, 2007
Under: Barack Obama, Elections | No Comments »

Schwarzenegger video of the week

This week, because I just can’t help myself… yes, it’s yet another Japanese television ad!

Consider the second half of this video (another ad tacked on) just a random bonus.

Previous SVOTWs: November 6, October 30, October 23, 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, November 13th, 2007
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger | No Comments »