A whole lot of upcoming political events

First up: Me.

California Republican Party Vice Chairman Tom Del Beccaro was kind enough to invite me to participate in a panel discussion on California politics at 7 p.m. tomorrow night, Wednesday, March 18, along with Chronicle columnist Phil Matier, state GOP communications director Hector Barajas and Steve Frank, publisher of the conservative California Political News and Views site. It’s at the Contra Costa Country Club, 801 Golf Club Road in Pleasant Hill. Tickets are $25 each; email tom@politicalvanguard.com or director@contracostagop.com for reservations.

Lots more happening in coming days, after the jump…

Also tomorrow (Wednesday, March 18), the Robert T. Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service will have its inaugural lecture delivered by James Leach, who served from 1977 through 2007 as a moderate Republican Congressman from Iowa and then broke from his party’s ranks to endorse Barack Obama for president; he’ll be speaking about the state of American politics, the new president and the Republican Party’s future. The lecture is scheduled for 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Lipman Room at the University of California, Berkeley’s Barrows Hall; cosponsored by Institute of International Studies and the Graduate School of Journalism, it’s free and open to the public, with a reception following the speech.

Several commemorations, demonstrations and/or protests are planned to mark the Iraq war’s sixth anniversary. Some of the larger Bay Area events include:

  • Thursday, March 19 – 3 p.m. at Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Park, followed by a 4 p.m. march to the city’s U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting station at 64 Shattuck Square and then to the University of California campus, sponsored by World Can’t Wait
  • Thursday, March 19 – 6-7 p.m. in Lytton Plaza, at University Avenue and Emerson Street in Palo Alto, sponsored by the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center
  • Saturday, March 21 – 11 a.m. in San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza, followed by a march along Market Street to a 1 p.m. rally in the Civic Center, sponsored by groups including the National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations, ANSWER Coalition, U.S. Labor Against the War, Veterans for Peace, the Muslim American Society of Freedom, Progressive Democrats of America, and the National Council of Arab Americans.
  • The consuls general of Mexico, Israel, Japan and Egypt will take part in a panel discussion of “World Perspectives of America Under Obama” at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at the Commonwealth Club of California’s office on the second floor of 595 Market St. in San Francisco; a 5:30 p.m. wine-and-cheese reception will precede the program. Tickets cost $12 for club members, $18 for non-members or $7 for students with valid ID, and are available online.

    House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez, will hold a town meeting at 9:30-10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 21 in Martinez City Hall, 525 Henrietta St., to discuss the recession and how Congress and the Obama Administration are working to help local communities. His office says he’ll talk about how California’s share of the economic stimulus package – more than $30 billion – can be used to create jobs, modernize schools, prevent crime and improve roads and highways, as well as steps Congress is taking to deal with the housing crisis, climate change, and making quality health care more affordable.

    Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, is doing his own monthly round of town meetings this Saturday, March 21: 9 to 10 a.m. in the Newark City Hall council chambers, 37101 Newark Blvd.; 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the San Lorenzo Adult School auditorium, 820 Bockman Road; and noon to 1 p.m. in the Earhart School multipurpose room, 400 Packet Landing Road in Alameda’s Bay Farm Island section.

    And, looking a little further into the future, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, will be in conversation with renowned television journalist Belva Davis about Lee’s book, “Renegade for Peace and Justice,” at noon next Friday, March 27, at the Commonwealth Club of California, 595 Market St. in San Francisco. Tickets are free for club members and $15 for non-members, and are available online.

    Josh Richman

    Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.