All California parks will remain open

By golly, it’s a bloody miracle, that’s what it is.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger just put out an official announcement saying no state parks will close after all. (My colleague Paul Rogers at the San Jose Mercury News wrote a story Wednesday saying this would happen.)

The governor does not mention, however, that closing the parks was his idea in the first place. As I recall, he said we all had to share in the budget cut pain.

But I am grateful nonetheless. I like parks. And I confess, I was dubious about the success of the idea that we can close of a whole mountain like Mt. Diablo or an entire island, like Angel Island.

Read on for the governor’s press release. Continue Reading


A seventh name hits the CD11 GOP list

A seventh Republican has joined the list of candidates looking at running in the June 2010 primary election in the 11th Congressional District, a seat currently held by Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.

Jeff Takada, a high school teacher in Manteca, will formally announce his campaign and launch his website in the next few weeks, according to his spokesman Mike Cipponeri.

The intense interest is a reflection of the 11th District’s competitive party registration split between Republicans and Democrats.

The other Republicans who have either entered the race or are testing the waters include:

1) Lodi-area grape grower Brad Goehring has hired Carl Fogliani, the former campaign manager for Richard Pombo, the former congressman who lost to McNerney in 2006.

2) Businessman Jon Del Arroz, of Danville, has on his team Carlos Rodriguez and Dave Gilliard.

3) Former San Jose Councilman and Values Advocacy Council founder Larry Pegram is exploring the idea with well-known consultant Tim Clark.

4) San Ramon businessman David Bernal has a Web site.

5) Former U.S. Marshal and Sacramento-area Latino leader Tony Amador officially entered the race on Sept. 17 at a press conference in downtown Lodi.

6) Lodi-area construction company owner Robert Beadles is discussing a run with the firm of Duane Dichiara.

Schwarzenegger cleared of money violation claim

California’s Fair Political Practices Commission has reviewed a much publicized complaint about Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s income and found no violation of the state’s Political Reform Act.

In a Sept. 9 letter, FPPC Executive Director Roman Porter said his agency had received a complaint July 19, 2005 about the governor’s business relationships with health and bodybuilding magazine publisher Weider Productions LLC and its parent company, American Media Inc.

That complaint came four days after news outlets reported that just before he’d been sworn into office in 2003, Schwarzenegger had inked a consulting deal with Weider estimated to bring him $8 million over five years; the governor was to get 1 percent of the magazines’ ad revenue, much of which comes from nutritional supplement manufacturers. The governor in 2004 vetoed legislation that would’ve imposed regulations on that industry.

“The complaint alleged that payments the Governor received through Oak Productions Inc. from Weider Productions LLC or American Media Inc. were prohibited honoraria or gifts under the Act, or were a disqualifying source of income for conflict of interest purposes. Further, the complaint alleged that a payment which American Media Inc. made to the Governor’s charitable organization, the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, was a behested payment that was not properly reported,” Porter’s letter says.

“This letter is to advise the Governor that we have completed our review of the foregoing allegations and found no violation of the Act,” he concluded. “We have therefore closed our file.”


Helen Thomas to speak at Mills College

Iconic White House reporter Helen Thomas will speak at Mills College in Oakland on Oct. 12 with Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland.

Thomas is promoting her new book, “Listen Up, Mr. President: Everything You Always Wanted Your President To Know and Do.”

The free event is open to the public. Here are the details per the college’s press release:

Helen Thomas, the dean of the White House press corps will join Congresswoman and Mills College alumna Barbara Lee (Class of 1973) on Oct. 12 in a conversation to discuss Thomas’ 60 years of covering presidential politics. All members of the public are invited to this free event from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Littlefield Concert Hall at Mills College.
In her latest book, “Listen Up, Mr. President: Everything You Always Wanted Your President to Know and Do” (Scribner, 2009), Thomas and her co-author Craig Crawford, offer their observations of the most powerful role in the country and advice to presidents and the public who vote for them.
Gleamed from her years of covering John F. Kennedy’s presidency to the current Obama administration, longer than any journalist working today, Thomas has collected valuable lessons to impart to future presidents. Part history and part practical advice with examples from the first presidency through the forty-fourth, the book reveals the qualities, attitudes, and political and personal choices that make for the most successful leaders.
“Why not share what we think with all future presidents, and in the process help voters understand a little more about what to look for when picking someone for the most powerful and challenging job in the world?” Thomas said.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) is chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Lee’s political experience began in Oakland in the early 1970s when she was president of the Mills’ Black Student Union and campaigned for Shirley St. Hill Chisholm, who became the first African American woman elected to Congress in 1968. Chisholm also ran for president in 1972.
The Barbara Lee Distinguished Chair in Women’s Leadership at Mills College, an endowed teaching position, was established in her honor for her leadership in human rights and social justice. Lee studied psychology at Mills College and has a master of social work from UC Berkeley. Mills awarded her an honorary doctor of laws degree in 1999.
Copies of Thomas’ book and Lee’s book, “Renegade for Peace and Justice,” will be available for purchase and signing following the presentation.
Nestled in the foothills of Oakland, California, Mills College is a nationally renowned, independent liberal arts college offering a dynamic progressive education that fosters leadership, social responsibility, and creativity to approximately 950 undergraduate women and 550 graduate women and men. Since 2000, applications to Mills College have more than doubled. The College is named one of the top colleges in the West by U.S. News & World Report, and ranks as one of the Best 371 Colleges by the Princeton Review. Forbes.com ranked Mills 55th among America’s best colleges and named it a “Top Ten: Best of the All-Women’s Colleges.” Visit us at www.mills.edu.


Arnold spies on his kids while they shower

But that’s actually not as creepy as it sounds. (I think.)

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger addressed the Commonwealth Club of California at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco today to mark three years since he signed into law AB 32, which set ambitious goals for the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in coming decades. Among the hundreds in attendance was a class of fourth-graders, one of whom sent up a question about what the governor tells his own children about global warming and climate change.

The governor responded by describing his childhood without indoor plumbing in postwar Europe, and how it inculcated in him a lifelong passion for conserving water and energy in his own home.

He said that as a father of four – Katherine, 19; Christina, 18; Patrick, 16; and Christopher, who’ll turn 12 on Sunday – he has been unrelenting, taking umbrage when his kids sat on a stool soaking in the shower for up to 15 minutes at a time. He said he has been known to walk in, open the shower door and shut off the hot water without warning – evoking screams as the water went ice-cold – but more recently has taken to enforcing a five-minute limit on showers, with violations leading to a loss of recreational privileges.

And Schwarzenegger said he’s been known to enforce the policy by lurking outside the bathroom door, timing his kids.

He also said he encourages them to do only full washer-loads of laundry and to take an active roll in recycling, even as he has installed solar panels to heat his pool and trading in his gas-guzzling Hummer for a hydrogen-fueled model. “How we teach our kids is extremely important.”

At the very least, he’s teaching his kids to keep the bathroom door locked.

UPDATE @ 5:10 P.M.: We’ve got the audio now, so listen to it here; the fourth-grader’s question is addressed right at the one-hour mark.

“I’m standing outside and I’m timing it now and saying, ‘This is now 15 minutes that this kid is taking a shower,’ so I open up the shower door and I turn off the hot water and then all of sudden, y’know, he starts screaming because now the water is cold. So I finally had to implement rules at home and tell them that if they take showers that are longer than five minutes that there will be consequences, like they will not be able to go out or they will not be able to bring friends over … I will sometimes spy on them when they come for the showers and time them.”


San Ramon mayor featured in National Review

San Ramon Mayor and Assembly GOP candidate Abram Wilson

San Ramon Mayor and Assembly GOP candidate Abram Wilson

San Ramon Mayor and GOP Assembly candidate Abram Wilson is featured in National Review, the well-known conservative publication.

National Review senior editor Jay Nordlinger captured Wilson’s personality in the piece, titled “The Making of a Mayor,” through family stories and anecdotes. The author used a unique bullet-style format, which I liked (and may well borrow) for its simplicity.

Wilson says he has received numerous responses to the story, including emails from all over the country.

Check it out.

So far, Wilson is the only declared Republican candidate in Assembly District 15. If he remains the only GOP name on the June 2010 primary ballot, he will mostly likely face incumbent Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo.

UPDATE: So what did Wilson do? He turned it into a fundraiser. What else? Read on for his email solicitation:

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