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National analysts inch toward favoring McNerney

Political analysts Bob Novak and Tim Carney of the Evans-Novak Political Report gave the edge to Rep. Jerry McNerney in the freshman’s re-election campaign over Republican Dean Andal, largely due to the Democrat’s substantial fund-raising lead.

Here’s what Novak/Carney wrote in their report published on the conservative web site called www.HumanEvents.com:

California-11: One of the biggest Democratic coups of 2006 was unseating conservative property-rights champion Rep. Richard PomboJack Abramoff corruption scandals. The scourge of liberal, pro-government environmentalists, Pombo fell under the weight of massive independent expenditures. This makes Rep. Jerry McNerney (D) a top target for the GOP this year. (R) by tying him to the

This valley district east of the Bay tilts Republican, but not overwhelmingly—Bush garnered 53% and 54% in 2000 and 2004. To compensate for the tilt of his district, McNerney has roped some local GOP politicians into his campaign. He also has a heavy fundraising advantage, thanks to his being one of very few vulnerable Democratic incumbents this year. McNerney now sits on a two-to-one cash-on-hand edge over former state bureaucrat and former state Assemblyman Dean Andal (R).

McNerney realizes he needs to work hard to win this seat, but he has the edge early on. Leaning Democratic Retention.

Stu Rothenberg, author of the Rothenberg Political Report, slightly shifted his prediction of the outcome of the McNerney race from Pure Toss-Up to Toss-Up/Tilt Democratic, a slight move in the Democrat’s direction. Rothenberg cites Andal’s lackluster fundraising thus far and says “McNerney is starting to look like a survivor this time.”

Continue Reading

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Concord’s Helen Allen dishes on KSFO

Concord Vice Mayor Helen Allen was fired up over conservative KSFO talk show host Barbara Simpson’s Sunday commentary about gangs in Concord.

So, Allen called up the show and prepared to defend her town.

At the time, Simpson was talking on-air about gangs after reading a Contra Costa Times’ front page story on Sunday about the city’s anti-gang task force. (Contrary to Simpson and Allen’s characterization of the story, however, it does not portray Concord as overrun with gangs.)

The two women had a lovely, meandering 17-minute chat where they applauded each other and agreed on nearly everything. At the conclusion, Simpson called Allen a “terrific lady” and said “I wish she would run for mayor in my town!”

This is the stuff of fire-breathing talk radio? Where’s the yelling? Where’s the name-calling? Where’s the angst? Oh well. There’s always tomorrow.

If you want to listen, click here and choose the archived hour between 6-7 p.m. Allen comes on the air about 13 minutes into the program. (It looks like KSFO only posts the last seven days of shows, so it will be gone by Sunday.)

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Lee praises Bush for signing new global AIDS law

President Bush was flanked by Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and Annette Lantos — widow of the late House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo — yesterday as he signed the H.R. 5501, the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008.

“As one of the original co-authors of not only this bill but the original legislation in 2003, it has been a tremendous bipartisan effort to get to this day,” Lee, a co-author of the bill, said in a statement issued shortly afterward. “This bill is the latest in a long string of bipartisan initiatives on global HIV/AIDS that have been born out of a willingness to work together and put the United States on the right side of history when it comes to this global pandemic. Despite his failings on so many critical issues, the President deserves recognition for working with Congress to enact this important legislation.”

The new law authorizes a $48 billion increase to the program, which Lee said will make it possible to prevent 12 million new HIV infections globally; provide treatment for at least 3 million individuals with HIV/AIDS; treat 450,000 children; and ensure care for 12 million individuals, including 5 million orphans and vulnerable children in communities affected by HIV/AIDS. Lee said she’ll use her seat on the House Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs to “ensure we meet the funding commitments and targets we set out in this important new law.”

The law also removes the statutory ban on travel and immigration for people living with HIV/AIDS. “It’s far past time we got rid of this shameful policy,” Lee said. “I’m glad we were able to remove the statutory ban and pass this bill less than three before the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City.”

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Responses to Schwarzenegger’s pay cuts, layoffs

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger did as he’d promised today and signed an executive order freezing state hiring, suspending all overtime pay, lowering the pay of more than 200,000 state employees to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour, and laying off as many as 22,000 temporary state workers. Here’s how he explained it (roll your cursor over the viewer to find the “play” button):

State Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, had this to say:

“This regrettable action undermines the state’s shaky economy, inflicts hardship on 200,000 hard-working Californians who have nothing to do with the state’s budget stalemate and reduces services to everyone who visits a DMV office, expects safe highways or needs other state assistance.

“Cutting state services reduces the quality of life for all Californians; that’s why the Democrats have a plan that avoids gutting education, health care, higher education and transportation by balancing the budget with a mix of cuts and new revenue.

“The Governor’s suggestion that the Legislature did nothing on the budget prior to May 14 shows how little attention he has paid to this process. The Senate held 67 subcommittee and full budget committee hearings going through the Governor’s proposal line by line. In mid-February, we took $7 billion in bipartisan budget actions – enough to solve half of the state’s deficit.

“On May 14, the Governor proposed a revised budget with a $7 billion hole in it. The Budget Conference Committee fixed this by balancing the budget in six weeks.

“If the Governor disagrees with the conference committee’s plan for filling the hole in his budget, we’re open to his suggestions on possible alternatives.

“On Monday, the Senate will hold a hearing examining the far-reaching impact of the Governor’s executive order.

More responses, after the jump… Continue Reading

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McNerney introduces military pay hike bill

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, introduced today legislation that would increase pay rates for the military’s most dangerous jobs.

The Combat Operations and Medical Benefit Authorization for Our Troops Act would also raise wages for servicemembers undergoing rehabilitation after evacuation from combat zones and hike salaries of the psychologists and other medical personnel who care for them.

In addition, military personnel involuntarily separated from their spouses and children would receive an increase.

Co-authored by reps. Tim Bishop, D-N.Y., John Hall, D-N.Y., and Bob Brady, D-Pa., the bill comes as Congress prepares to head home for its summer break where many face arduous re-election campaigns.

McNerney, a Democrat in a district with a small Republican Party registration lead, has actively sought to advocate for veterans.

“Raising pay for soldiers who encounter injuries, hazardous duty and separation from their families is the right thing to do,” said McNerney, a freshman running against Republican challenger Dean Andal of Stockton.

The bill focuses on eight types specialty pay given to service personnel. Categories include working under hostile fire, imminent danger or other hazardous conditions.

Read more for McNerney’s full press release. Continue Reading

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Tauscher shares a little vino with Hillary

A New York Post Page 6 gossip column item today spills details of a cozy dinner between Hillary Clinton and her best girlfriends, including Rep. Ellen Tauscher of Alamo.

What? A woman can’t have dinner with a few friends without ending up on a New York tabloid gossip page? Not if you’re Hillary Clinton.

Here are the first few paragraphs:

IT sure looked like Hillary Rodham Clinton was plotting her political future at a secret ladies-only dinner in Washington the other night.

The New York senator was guest of honor at Tuesday’s hush-hush powwow that raised speculation about a possible White House run in 2012. The gathering was hosted by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and attended by Ellen Malcolm, founder of Emily’s List, which supports pro-choice, female Dems; Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), chair of the New Democrat Coalition; and Hilary Rosen, former Recording Industry Association of America CEO, who’s now political director of the Huffington Post.

A source tells Page Six they all met for dinner at Charlie Palmer Steak, a chophouse noted for its cellar of 10,000 bottles of wine and spectacular views of the Capitol.