Mourning the loss of a friend

For all you Blotter-readers who watch “This Week in Northern California,” there’s sad news: David Clark, a beloved member of the TWINC and KQED television family, died in his sleep on Christmas morning. He was 56. From TWINC Associate Producer Robin Epstein:

David won dozens of awards for his work and was well known in the industry. He worked for the NewsHour bureau when it was based at KQED and spent many years on People Are Talking at KPIX.

As many of you know, David took great pride in making each and every one of our on-camera hosts and guests look their very best, and he brought with him a friendly smile and delightful stories each time he walked through the door. He was professional and considerate, and he always spoke lovingly of his wife, Patricia, to whom he was married for 36 years, and his daughters, Heather and Monica.

My fellow TWINC regular Carla Marinucci is preparing an obit for tomorrow’s Chronicle. I’ll just say that David was a charming, talented, larger-than-life man who made all of us look better than we had any right to, often just by being in the same room. To me, the world already looks a little paler, a little more washed-out without him.


Schwarzenegger video of the week

This week, from “Junior” (1994), some fleet-footed dance moves:

You’ve just gotta love those specs, no?

Previous SVOTWs: December 23, December 16, December 9, December 2, November 25, November 18, November 11, November 4, October 28, October 21, October 14, October 7, September 30, September 23, September 16, September 9, September 2, August 26, August 19, August 12, August 5, July 29, July 22, July 8, July 1, June 24, June 17, June 10, June 3, May 27, May 20, May 13, May 6, April 29, April 22, April 15, April 8, April 1, March 25, March 18, March 11, March 4, February 26, February 19, February 12, February 5, January 29, January 22, January 15, January 8, January 1, December 25, December 18, December 11, December 4, November 27, November 20, November 13, 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.


Two California robocalls make Top 10 ‘Hall of Shame’ list

Two of those obnoxious automated campaign phone calls from the 2008 California election made the National Political Do Not Contact Registry’s Top 10 Hall of Robocall Shame.

Ranked No. 2 is the infamous sex call financed by a Republican challenger in an uphill fight to unseat incumbent Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa.  “Mike Thompson has been a baaaaaad boy!” says a throaty woman in a breathy voice.

And in the No. 10 spot is the robocall from conservative group ProtectMarriage.com that used Barack Obama’s words about gay marriage in an anti-Proposition 8 call.

Click here for the full Top 10 list and audio links to the calls, along with a chance to vote for your favorite.

Not that you would know it but robocalls are illegal in California unless introduced by a live caller. Then why do we get so many? Campaigns get around the law by hiring out-of-state call centers beyond the jurisdictional reach of the California Public Utility Commission.

The National Political Do Not Contact project is lobbying for national legislation to bar or restrict the use of robocalls but critics say a prohibition is a violation of Free Speech rights.


California Dems to elect party delegates

The deadline to file as a delegate candidate to the California Democratic Party’s 2009 state convention is Dec. 31 at noon. Click here for an online application.

Party members will gather at caucuses to elect 12 representatives per each of the state’s 80 Assembly districts on Jan. 10-11. Click here for the caucus schedule.

The party will select its platform, elect its leaders, vote on other party issues and generally gloat about its 2008 election successes on April 24-26, 2009, in Sacramento.

Sans the gloating, the state Republican Party will also hold a convention in Sacramento this spring — Feb. 20-22. Click here for the GOP convention web site.


Barbara Lee on C. Diane Howell

C. Diane Howell, publisher of the Black Business Listings and Producer of the annual Black Expo business trade fair, died Christmas Eve at departed Kaiser Hospital Oakland from complications of pneumonia. She was 58.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, had this to say today:

“It is with profound sadness that I offer my greatest condolences to the family of Dr. C. Diane Howell.

“Dr. Howell was a beacon of optimism and hope, particularly for the owners of minority businesses in Oakland and throughout the Bay Area. She sought to provide guidance and counsel through her publication The Black Business Listings, which served as a tremendous resource of information for owners of minority businesses throughout Oakland .

“I had the privilege to address the readers of her publication by writing monthly columns for The Black Business Listing, and it was my honor to do what I could to support Dr. Howell in any endeavor she pursued.

“However, Dr. Howell was more that an advocate and supporter of owners of minority business; she was active in the political arena as well. Dr. Howell worked tirelessly in the days leading up to the election for President-elect Barack Obama, traveling throughout the West in an effort to urge our neighbors of the importance of being engaged during this important moment.

“As such, Dr. Howell played a critical role in American history and she, like many of us, was overcome with joy and pride in Obama’s successful bid for the presidency.

“Dr. Howell was a great friend and human being. I was proud to call her my sister, and I will miss her kindness, wise counsel and her love.

“My thoughts and prayers are with her family, her staff and those in the business community whose lives were enriched by Dr. Howell’s unwavering commitment to her community.

“She will be missed terribly by all who knew her. May she rest in peace.”

The Dr. C. Diane Howell Memorial Fund (account # 1800102992) has been established at Alta Alliance Bank, 1951 Webster Street, Oakland, 94612, 510-899-7500; donations are requested in lieu of cards and flowers.


Ebenezer Schwarzenegger

New from the liberal Democratic Courage Campaign, “A California Carol:”

It’s not a funny topic, but this amuses the heck out of me — a sure sign of effective political messaging. It should make you laugh, while also making you think, “For whose political principles will my family be suffering in the coming year?”