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Archive for November, 2008

Nader to attend Camejo memorial on Sunday

The late Peter Camejo at UC Berkeley giving a lecture during the 2003 gubernatorial recall election in California. Photo by Tim Bergeron.

The late Peter Camejo at UC Berkeley giving a lecture during the 2003 gubernatorial recall election in California. Photo by Tim Bergeron.

Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader and Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin will attend a Sunday memorial service in Berkeley for the late Peter Camejo, a renowned environmentalist and former gubernatorial candidate who ran on the Green Party ticket as Nader’s vice president in 2004.

The public memorial will be Sunday, 2 p.m., at the International House on the University of California-Berkeley campus, 2299 Piedmont Ave.

Camejo died Sept. 13 at his home in Folsom.

Here is the press release on the service:

A long list of political activists and international dignitaries will be among those speaking at a public memorial celebrating the life of former gubernatorial, presidential and vice-presidential candidate Peter Camejo SUNDAY, Nov. 23, at 2 p.m. at the International House on the University of California at Berkeley campus (2299 Piedmont Ave), according to an announcement by family and friends.

Mr. Camejo died Sept. 13 at home in Folsom, CA after a lengthy fight with cancer.

Speakers at the Public Memorial at UCB – which, ironically, expelled Mr.
Camejo for his activities as a student opposing the war in Vietnam in the 60’s – will include those who worked with him as a student leader during that era.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, November 21st, 2008
Under: Environment | No Comments »

Video of the day: Palin and the not-so-pardoned turkey

Check out this hilarious video of an interview with former GOP veep candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at a turkey farm in Anchorage, Alaska, all conducted while a curious worker stuffs a turkey into a mysterious piece of equipment behind her.

Posted on Friday, November 21st, 2008
Under: Video of the Day | 16 Comments »

McNerney issues statement on jobless rate, WaMu layoffs

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, issued this statement today about California’s rising unemployment rate and the closure of a a Washington Mutual operations center in Pleasanton:

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that California’s unemployment rate has climbed to 8.2 percent – up half a percent from just last month.  This formal announcement comes on the heels of last night’s news that Washington Mutual will close a customer service operations center in Pleasanton, putting 1,200 people out of work.

In response, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-11) released the following statement.

“This morning we were greeted with more sobering economic news.  California’s unemployment rate has risen to 8.2 percent from 7.7 percent last month, a 2.5 percent increase from the same time last year.

“Additionally, Washington Mutual announced last night that it is laying off 1,600 employees in our region, including 1,200 at the company’s customer service operations center in Pleasanton, which it will close entirely. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, November 21st, 2008
Under: Congress, congressional district 11 | No Comments »

Self-storage firm boycotted for Prop. 8 support

The latest attempt to boycott a company associated with Proposition 8 targets a self-storage chain with several Bay Area locations.

Californians Against Hate founder Fred Karger said he’s running an online campaign to boycott San Diego-based A-1 Self Storage because of owner Terry Caster’s financial support of the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. A-1 has 30 locations throughout California, including Oakland, Concord, Belmont and four in San Jose.

From Karger’s Huffington Post column yesterday:

Why would someone contribute $693,000 to take away the rights of an entire minority group in California? Terry Caster and his family did just that. Caster, his 8 children and many of their spouses gave a total of $293,000 to help qualify Proposition 8 for the ballot earlier this year. Then when the plea went out for more money from the Yes on 8 campaign in late October, Caster opened up his checkbook and gave an additional $400,000 to take away same-sex marriage in
California. That’s $693,000 to Yes on 8! Terry Caster was the 2nd largest contributor in California to the Yes on 8 campaign.

Caster told the San Diego Union-Tribune in May that marriage equality threatens society. “Without solid marriage, you are going to have a sick society,” he said.

This is the third boycott launched by Karger’s group against Proposition 8 contributors. One of the earlier efforts targeted Doug Manchester, owner of San Diego’s Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel and Grand del Mar Resort as well as another resort in Idaho; that boycott is still ongoing. Another boycott targeted Bakersfield-based Bolthouse Farms after former CEO William Bolthouse Jr. gave $100,000 to the Yes on 8 campaign; Karger dropped that one in October after Bolthouse’s current CEO launched a comprehensive diversity program and agreed to contribute to several LGBT groups.

Californians Against Hate already began a “Call Terry Caster” campaign back in August, asking people to call Caster’s personal office and A-1’s headquarters; that’s now being replaced with the boycott, Karger said. He’s also asking people to leave comments on A-1’s Yelp pages.

Now, I blogged earlier this week about how boycotts are a time-honored, fair-game means of political expression, and one that conservative groups have used in the past against businesses supporting gay rights. I’d neglected then to note that Proposition 8’s proponents just last month sent a letter to almost three dozen businesses which had contributed to the campaign against the initiative, essentially demanding that they give equal money to Yes on 8 or risk conservative blowback.

Many thought that skated pretty close to extortion, so let’s not hear any whining about boycotts, OK?

Posted on Friday, November 21st, 2008
Under: campaign finance, Elections, General, same-sex marriage | 3 Comments »

Richmond youngsters say why they like Barack Obama

The young daughters of Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia and Richmond Councilman Tony Thurmond (who was elected on Nov. 4 to the West Contra Costa Unified School District) talk in this video about why they are going to vote for Barack Obama.

Maya Thurmond, seated on the right, is 5 years old. She is talking with her friend, 4-year-old Emilia Gioia.

Check out which newspaper they read, too. (Clue: It’s not the San Francisco Chronicle!)

Posted on Friday, November 21st, 2008
Under: Contra Costa politics, Obama presidency, Video of the Day | No Comments »

East Bay clergy at D.C. prayer service for homes

Minister Marvin Webb of Richmond’s Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church and the Rev. Lucy Kolin of Oakland’s Resurrection Lutheran Church took center stage Tuesday at a PICO National Network-organized prayer rally outside the U.S. Treasury in Washington, D.C.. About 40 clergy members and 100 congregants asked God to help keep Americans from losing their homes, and prayed that Congress and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson would provide help to all those facing foreclosure.

Paulson wasn’t there, however; he was at the Capitol, briefing Congress on how he doesn’t think it prudent to use some of the $700 billion lawmakers made available to him to deal with toxic mortgage assets, as he’d originally said he intended to do.

Posted on Thursday, November 20th, 2008
Under: General | No Comments »

11 pull papers for Alamo election

UPDATE: 11/21/08, 2:33 P.M. And then there were 13. Diane Barley and Karen McPherson have pulled papers.

Eleven people have pulled papers for a chance to win a seat on Alamo’s very first, five-member town council.

The 17,000 or so residents of this upscale enclave south of Walnut Creek will vote March 3 on whether or not to incorporate.

And if they say yes, they will need a governing board. Candidates have until Dec. 5 to complete the necessary paperwork to appear on the March 3 ballot alongside the incorporation question.

People who have pulled papers include: Karl Niyati, Joseph Rubay, Dennis Johnson, Lawrence Kaye, Vishwas More, Stephan Mick, Vicki Koc, Edward Chiverton, Tejbir Khanna, Randy Nahas and David Bowlby.

Posted on Thursday, November 20th, 2008
Under: Contra Costa politics | No Comments »

Rep. Miller to hold inauguration ticket lottery

Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez

Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez

Citing the overwhelming demand, Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, will hold a drawing for two pairs of tickets to the Jan. 20, 2009, inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Only residents of his district are eligible to participate. (For a map of District 7, click here.)

The deadline to register online is Nov. 30 at 11:59 p.m.  Click here to register.

Miller’s office will announce the winners on Dec. 1.


Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, November 20th, 2008
Under: Obama presidency | 1 Comment »

Swanson to chair state black legislative caucus

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, isn’t the only one taking the chair of a black caucus. Her former chief of staff, Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Oakland, will lead the California Legislative Black Caucus, the first Northern California lawmaker to hold that post in more than a decade. His chairmanship of the eight-member caucus — six Assembly members, two state Senators — for the 2009-2010 term takes effect Dec. 1.

“I am honored that my colleagues have entrusted me with this incredible responsibility,” he said in a statement issued yesterday. “We face enormous challenges in this state, and I look forward to addressing them with my colleagues in the coming months.”

Assemblyman Curren Price, D-Inglewood, will be the caucus’ vice-chair.

Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally, D-Compton, California’s longest-serving African-American lawmaker, said he was “very pleased” with Swanson’s election. “With his leadership, I am sure that the Caucus will lead the way in crafting a proactive agenda that will benefit all citizens in our State.”

Swanson intends to hold a strategic planning session to set the caucus’ statewide agenda, which will include getting more African-Americans elected to the Legislature, setting legislative priorities, and addressing the coming term’s weighty economic issues — first and foremost, California’s $28 billion deficit in this and the next budget years.

“This is a crisis that affects the entire state,” Swanson said. “Yet, as difficult as this task is, it is an opportunity to recast our priorities to ensure that government plays a prominent role in mitigating the impact of this serious economic downturn on our working families. The Legislative Black Caucus will be actively engaged in setting those priorities and shaping the economic stimulus package that must come out of our budget negotiations.”

That package is still taking shape, but Swanson said education and job creation are the most important issues. He also wants to reign in California’s prison spending, as we’ll soon be spending more on prisons than on higher education; reducing this cost will involve lowering recidivism rates through better rehabilitation, he believes.

Swanson said he intends to work closely with the Latino and Asian Pacific Islander caucuses on these issues. “Given these economic conditions, it is now more important than ever that we develop a tri-caucus strategy to address the needs of communities most severely impacted by this economic downturn and budget deficit,” he said.

We’re going to need some federal help, Swanson said. “Right now, we send $50 billion more to Washington than we get back in federal programs and aid. I am optimistic that President-Elect Obama will be more responsive to our needs than the previous administration, and I look forward to working with the new administration and our leaders in Congress on an economic strategy that benefits the state.”

Posted on Thursday, November 20th, 2008
Under: Assembly, Sandre Swanson | No Comments »

Simonsen still fits into that Navy uniform

Antioch Councilman Arne Simonsen sent over this picture of him walking in the Antioch Veteran’s Day Parade.

He wanted me to see that he was wearing his Navy chief’s uniform, a feat many veterans — and the rest of us — may not be able to replicate due to advancing girth in their golden years. Simonsen lost his re-election bid earlier this month but he is lobbying heavily to win an appointment to a vacant seat on the council.

Antioch Councilman Arne Simonsen, and retired Navy chief, walks in the Nov. 11 Antioch Veterans Day parade.

Antioch Councilman Arne Simonsen, and retired Navy chief, walks in the Nov. 11 Antioch Veteran's Day parade.

Posted on Wednesday, November 19th, 2008
Under: Contra Costa politics | No Comments »