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Archive for March, 2009

Keep A’s in Oakland, Boxer urges Bud Selig

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., today sent the following letter to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig:

March 31, 2009

Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Commissioner
Major League Baseball
245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10167

Dear Commissioner Selig:

I appreciate the announcement you made yesterday that you are forming a committee to review the various proposals regarding the future of the Oakland Athletics. As your committee does its work, I urge you to do everything possible to keep the team in Oakland.

As you may know, Oakland has recently gone through some difficult times and families there deserve some good news. As someone who splits her time between Washington, DC, southern California and Oakland’s Jack London Square neighborhood, I have seen first hand that Oakland is teeming with new young families and major developments that present endless possibilities. My children learned to love baseball through the Oakland A’s and our family was so fortunate to develop that common bond. We must give a new generation of families that same chance.

Oakland is witnessing a downtown renaissance, with new residences, restaurants, art galleries and entertainment venues opening weekly. Two new office towers are in development and the Port of Oakland recently announced a private investment of close to $1 billion. Major League Baseball can play a key role in continuing this momentum by working to keep the A’s in Oakland.

Through their rich history and shared experiences, the identities of the City of Oakland and the Athletics are forever linked. For more than 40 years, the people of Oakland have backed the Athletics during good times and bad. In the 1970s, Oakland celebrated the Athletics’ glorious run of three consecutive World Series victories. And, together, the city of Oakland and the Athletics mourned the devastation caused by the Loma Prieta earthquake that took place during the team’s 1989 championship run.

Now that the team has ended its consideration of Fremont as a possible home, the time is right to renew the focus on keeping the Athletics in Oakland.

It is critical that Major League Baseball and the A’s ownership do everything possible to keep the A’s in Oakland and I stand ready to help in any way possible, including attending and setting up meetings for you and the Committee. Please do not hesitate to call me at 202-XXX-XXXX to discuss this issue.

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

Posted on Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
Under: Barbara Boxer, Oakland, U.S. Senate | 11 Comments »

Second CD10 poll reveals weak name IDs

Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo

Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo

Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord

Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord

Former BART director Dan Richard

Former BART director Dan Richard

A poll commissioned by potential Democratic congressional candidate and former BART Director Dan Richard shows state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier in statistical dead heat with Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan (15 and 13 percent respectively) and Richard trailing at 7 percent.

Nearly 40 percent of those polled had no opinion about who should replace Rep. Ellen Tauscher, a Democratic congresswoman from Alamo who has accepted an under secretary post in the U.S. State Department.

Veteran Democratic pollster Jim Moore conducted the telephone survey of 400 likely voters over the weekend. It has an error rate of plus/minus 5 percent.

Richard says his third-place finish is “about what I expected for a guy who hasn’t been in  public office for four years.” Richard left the BART board in 2004.

But Richard says he was surprised at the relatively low numbers for DeSaulnier, who has held public office in Contra Costa County since 1991, and Buchanan, who just came off a high-profile contested campaign for her Assembly seat.

The poll showed DeSaulnier with a 19 percent favorable approval rating compared with a 9 percent unfavorable while 23 percent did not know. The remaining 49 percent said they had never heard of him. Ouch.

Buchanan received similar numbers: 16 percent favorable approval, 8 percent unfavorable, 29 percent didn’t know and 47 percent had never heard of her.

Richard ordered the poll as part of his study of whether to enter the race. And while he is not ready to say yes or no, the results do not discourage him. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
Under: Congressional District 10, Ellen Tauscher | 11 Comments »

McNerney introduces energy legislation

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton

Former windmill guru Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, introduced three bills this week designed to squeeze more efficiency out of the nation’s electrical grid and train young people for green jobs.

The Smart Grid Advancement Act (HR 1774) requires utility companies and states to develop a plan for the use of technology that allows appliances such as refrigerators to reduce their draw on the electricity grid during peak use hours.

The shift would spread out demand for electricity and reduce costs associated with the construction of high-capacity plants required to meet the peak demand hours,  McNerney said during a call-in press conference with reporters this morning.

The Vehicles for the Future Act (HR1730) requires public utility commissions to develop plans for the installation of fee-based electrical charging stations for plug-in hybrid or electric cars.

“The average electric vehicle is a much more efficient way to move cars up and down the highway,” McNerney said. “It is the equivalent of 75 cents a gallon (of gas.) But the utilities need a way to know who is plugging in in order to charge the appropriate person.”

The GREEN Act (HR 1775) seeks $100 million for the creation of college and career school training programs in green energy jobs.  The federal Department of Education would award the funds throughout the nation in a competitive grant program.

“The smart grid and vehicles of the future are more long-term but the GREEN Act will have a more immediate impact because it will allow schools to develop programs right away to start teaching,” McNerney said. “They will be able to hire teachers and get programs going right away so that workers will be available to put in projects like solar panels, windmills or geothermal projects.”

McNerney is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

To become law, the bills must pass out of McNerney’s committee, the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and be signed by the president.

Posted on Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
Under: Environment, Jerry McNerney | No Comments »

Senate leader endorses DeSaulnier for Congress

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier

State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has thrown his support behind Sen. Mark DeSaulnier’s bid to replace Rep. Ellen Tauscher, the Alamo congresswoman who has accepted a position with the U.S. State Department.

The endorsement was expected. Steinberg and DeSaulnier are strong allies. Steinberg’s early endorsement of DeSaulnier for the state Senate seat helped dissuade potential competitors from running against DeSaulnier, particularly former Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla.

The other side of this discussion, though, is what Steinberg will do to fill DeSaulnier’s numerous assignments in the Senate, particularly his post as leader of the Senate Labor Committee and his work on the committee considering reforms to the prison system.

Running a potentially competitive congressional campaign is not something you do in your spare time. DeSaulner, who lives in Concord, says he will begin walking neighborhoods in congressional District 10 as early as this week.

In the meantime, DeSaulnier says he will continue with his work in the Senate, and he and Steinberg will revisit his assignments when Tauscher officially resigns and the clock begins to tick toward a special congressional election.

Here is the press release about the endorsement:

SACRAMENTO–California State Senate President Pro Tempore Steinberg has declared his support for Senator Mark DeSaulnier to succeed Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher for the Tenth Congressional District of California should the seat become available.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
Under: Congressional District 10 | 4 Comments »

CD10: The potential candidate rundown

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo

I’ve spent most of the week reporting and writing about the surprise pending opening in congressional District 10, the seat held by Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo. My Sunday column focuses on the race plus I have written a longer overview piece budgeted for the Monday paper.

In the meantime, I’ve have posted below some of the information I gathered this week on some of the potential candidates. (Unfortunately, didn’t have space to list them all in print so some of the longshot candidates won’t find their names in the print stories.)

Obviously, many of these people will not run. Others are being recruited. Some of the people whose names I heard didn’t return my calls, which could mean anything from “I’m not ready to talk” to “That’s nuts.” And new names will undoubtedly surface.

But the list thus far offers an illuminating look at the variety of people considering a run  for a major public office.

District 10 has an 18-point registration advantage for Democrats, so I have started with the Democratic names followed by the Republicans and an independent. Click through to the jump for the full posting.

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord —  He is the clear front-runner. He secured Tauscher’s endorsement this week along with that of Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, and we can expect more endorsements from other party leaders, labor and environmental groups. With this high level of institutional support, which translates into money and volunteers, DeSaulnier will be tough to beat. He says he is definitely running.

Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo — As a woman with an educational background, Buchanan  has a built-in advantage at the polls. A telephone survey by her campaign even showed her with a narrow but statistically insignificant lead over an otherwise all-male field. But without Tauscher’s endorsement and the support of many of the traditional Democratic organizations, Buchanan may find it difficult to raise enough cash to wage a competitive campaign. She says she is evaluating her options and hasn’t yet made a decision.

Former Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla of Pittsburg, Democrat — He is a renowned moderate who could be a good fit for this centrist district. But he would face the same fundraising problem as Buchanan unless he was able to attract dollars from outside traditional Democratic groups. He hasn’t made a decision.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, March 27th, 2009
Under: General | 10 Comments »

Don’t blame the United Way for Uhuru

Yesterday’s post about the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement hosting a rally and march in honor of Lovelle Mixon, who shot and killed four Oakland Police Department officers last Saturday, brought a lot of heated debate in our forums.

One astute reader noticed that the affiliated Uhuru Furniture store on Oakland’s Grand Avenue is listed in the United Way of the Bay Area’s online database of volunteerism opportunities. I followed up with the United Way, and here’s what spokeswoman Maria Stokes said today:

“We at United Way of the Bay Area extend our heartfelt sympathies to the Oakland Police Department and the families of the fallen officers.

“United Way of the Bay Area condemns all violence, including the actions of Lovelle Mixon. Today, we have received inquiries from the media and some members of the public about the internet posting of volunteer opportunities at the nonprofit organization Uhuru, which hosted a vigil for Mixon yesterday evening. United Way has never funded the Uhuru organization, nor its affiliates.

“The information about volunteer opportunities at Uhuru is among hundreds of listings posted on, a regional database developed by the Volunteer Centers of the Bay Area, including the Volunteer Center of the East Bay. This database is linked to United Way’s website. The database is intended to promote volunteerism, serving as a convenient means for Bay Area residents to connect with verified 501c3 nonprofits who need volunteers.

“We encourage individuals who are seeking volunteer opportunities to thoroughly research prospective nonprofits and volunteer opportunities. The volunteer database is a first step in matching volunteers with the causes and community organizations in which they have an interest.”

Posted on Thursday, March 26th, 2009
Under: General, Oakland | No Comments »

Politico’s ‘Scorecard’ reports on CD10 poll

Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo

Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo is reporting details of a poll commissioned by Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, in congressional District 10, which shows her narrowly beating state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord. (Click here to read the poll memo.)

I wonder if this poll has anything to do with the timing of today’s endorsement of DeSaulnier by Reps. Ellen Tauscher and George Miller? Tauscher has accepted an undersecretary post in the U.S. State Department but she will likely remain in office for months as she winds through the lengthy U.S. Senate confirmation process.

The poll also mentions as potential GOP candidates San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson, who was Buchanan’s Assembly opponent, and former Assemblyman Guy Houston, who unsuccessfully sought a county supervisor race. Neither man has yet publicly expressed interest in the seat.

Click here for the full posting but here’s a snippet:

State Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan commissioned a poll showing her narrowly leading DeSaulnier in a crowded election field that includes two unannounced Republican candidates.

The poll shows Buchanan leading DeSaulnier 21 to 18 percent, with Republican San Ramon mayor Abram Wilson at 14 percent and former GOP Assemblyman Guy Houston at 13 percent.

Neither Republican has yet expressed interest in the race.

Despite DeSaulnier’s experience representing the area in the state legislature, both Democrats have comparable name recognition, according to the poll. Buchanan is recognized by 34 percent of voters, while 31 percent offer an opinion on DeSaulnier.

Buchanan defeated Wilson to win her Assembly seat last year; she had previously served for two decades on the San Ramon Valley School Board.  If she jumped in the race, she would likely receive support and funding from EMILY’s List, which backs female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights.

The poll, commissioned by the Democratic firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin and Associates, was conducted between March 22-23. It surveyed 400 likely district-wide voters, and has a 4.9 percent margin of error.

Posted on Thursday, March 26th, 2009
Under: Congressional District 10, Joan Buchanan, Mark DeSaulnier | 7 Comments »

Tauscher, Miller endorse DeSaulnier

Sen. Mark DeSaulnier

Sen. Mark DeSaulnier

Ending days of speculation, Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, has publicly endorsed state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, as her replacement in Congress.

“(DeSaulnier) is a seasoned, hardworking public servant who would do a great job,” Tauscher said.

Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, has also thrown his support behind his longtime ally and friend.

“We have worked together at all levels of government and he is a tremendous advocate and representative for our constituents. He is a hard worker, has great integrity and will help move our country forward.”

Pending U.S. Senate confirmation, which could take weeks or months, Tauscher will leave Congress to take a position as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.

Some predicted Tauscher would stay neutral on the matter of her successor given the federal vetting process and the likelihood that other Democrats she has supported in the past will run against DeSaulnier in the special election.

But Tauscher has served 13 years in Congress and it would have uncharacteristic for her to remain silent.

Tauscher’s blessing and that of the wildly popular Miller are a huge boost for DeSaulnier’s candidacy and may well dissuade potential opponents or at least dampen their fundraising prospects.

Other Democrats considering the seat include Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, former Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla, former BART Director Dan Richard, San Francisco City Attorney’s Office investigator Adriel Hampton and one-time Lafayette Mayor Scott Talon.

Republicans are interested, as well, despite the Democrats’ 18-point registration advantage in District 10. The district encompasses portions of central and eastern Contra Costa County, Lamorinda and portions of Alameda, Sacramento and Solano counties.

Among Republicans eying a run are Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf, Fairfield City Councilwoman and Move America Forward Executive Director Catherine Moy, California Republican Party Vice Chairman Tom Del Beccaro and 2008 GOP congressional nominee Nick Gerber.

Posted on Thursday, March 26th, 2009
Under: Congress, Congressional District 10, Ellen Tauscher, George Miller, Mark DeSaulnier | No Comments »

Pete Stark at today’s climate-change hearing

Here’s Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, at today’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing on addressing price volatility in climate change legislation — that is, achieving our environmental goals at the lowest possible cost to the economy and consumers:

That “carbon tax” legislation Stark mentions is his H.R. 594, which he re-introduced in January; he’d taken a stab at this in the last Congress with H.R. 2069, which died in committee.

Posted on Thursday, March 26th, 2009
Under: economy, Global warming, Pete Stark, U.S. House | No Comments »

Who’s overseeing your stimulus dollars?

The California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency has asked the Bay Area Council Economic Institute to collect all federal stimulus funding proposals from the region’s governments, agencies, districts, businesses and citizens; evaluate and prioritize them; and put the highest priority projects in one “Bay Area Economic Recovery Workplan.” BT&H will then use the plan to dole out stimulus funds plus other state economic-development money.

They’ll have to work fast; the plan is due by June 1, just 66 days away.

“The Bay Area has urgent need for stimulus funds and presents a wealth of opportunity for wise long-term investments,” BACEI president Sean Randolph said. “Our very difficult task is to gather project proposals from businesses, cities and counties, transportation agencies and many others, and prioritize them into one region-wide strategy for economic recovery. (BT&H) Secretary Bonner should be congratulated for demanding a process to thwart ‘pork barrel’ projects, and focusing this effort on regions, which are the engines of California’s economy.”

More on how the BACEI intends to seek the most bang for our stimulus bucks, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, March 26th, 2009
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, economy, General | No Comments »