Politico’s ‘Scorecard’ reports on CD10 poll

Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo

Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo

Politico.com 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 Politico.com 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.


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.


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.


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…
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Contra Costa manager urges ‘patience’

Contra Costa County Administrator David Twa

Contra Costa County Administrator David Twa

Contra Costa County chief administrator David Twa sent out an email to county elected leaders and top staffers yesterday urging patience and cool heads as the county struggles with its difficult finances.

His message suggests that correspondence in recent days has become heated as the county mucks its way through deep budget cuts and tough decisions.

Here’s what Twa wrote:

Subject: Take a deep breath

These are difficult times for all of us.  Unfortunately, they will get worse before they get better. The budget problems we are currently facing are just the first of many.  The national economy will not recover anytime soon, and neither will Contra Costa.  We are ill prepared to face the Retiree Health Insurance (OPEB) or the Coming crisis in Pension funding.  By 2013 we will need to invest over $200 Million just to meet these obligation, with revenues that continue to decline.  There will be no money for raises for our employees, and cuts in service and lay offs will be the norm for the next few years.

As I have reviewed e-mails and correspondence over the past few days, it is clear that as our resources continue to shrink, everyone is becoming more stressed and emotions are rising to the surface.  I would only suggest that we try to be a little more patience with each other and deal with the
issues as quickly as we can.

Thanks for all you do for Contra Costa.


Drats! Sullenberger not interested in congressional run

Capt. Sully Sullenberger

Capt. Sully Sullenberger

Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, the heroic pilot who saved the lives of every single one of his 155 passengers through a deft landing of a jetliner on the Hudson River in January, says he is honored that folks want him to run for Congress.

But he respectfully says he will continue to decline requests that he “throw his pilot’s hat into the ring,” says family spokesman Alex Clemens.

“He is focusing his time and energy fully on his family, his work for US Airways, and the other obligations that he has taken on since the dramatic events of January 15,” Clemens added.

I wasn’t surprised. When I called his house, Sully’s wife laughed out loud when I explained why the Times’ political writer wanted to talk with him.

This is far from the first time that Sullenberger has fielded this question. Political sources tell me that minutes after the news of Sullenberger’s hometown surfaced, political operatives scoured the voter registration rolls to find out which party he was affiliated and look at his voting record.

Oh, but what a race that would have been!

Sullenberger is a registered Republican and with his starpower, the GOP might have had a chance for a victory in the upcoming special election to replace Democratic Rep. Ellen Tauscher in District 10. (Tauscher has accepted an undersecretary job to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, pending Senate confirmation.)

Democrats hold an 18-point party registration lead in this district, a nearly insurmountable hurdle under ordinary circumstances. Sullenberger has already proven he can beat impossible odds.

Granted, Sullenberger lives in Danville, which is in Rep. Jerry McNerney’s neighboring District 11. But there is no legal requirement that a congressional candidate live in the district and he could always move a mile or two.

On the other hand, Congress might feel like a demotion for Sullenberger.

For one, he would have to give up those six-figure motivational speaker’s fees. (And good for him. He deserves it.)

But more important, Sully is a true hero. If someone polled his numbers, he probably has a 6000 percent approval rating.

As a member of Congress, his popularity would plummet so fast that even a skilled pilot such as Sullenberger might not recover in time for a safe landing.