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Archive for April, 2010

Chuck DeVore rolls out billboard campaign

Republican U.S. Senate primary candidate Chuck DeVore today announced a new media effort.

Well, not “new media” as in digital, online, cutting-edge. In that sense, it’s decidedly old-school: a statewide billboard campaign that started its run today at locations in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties as well as along the Central Valley’s Highway 99 corridor.

But if you want to see one yourself, you’ll have to truck out to Atwater – that’s the closest one to the Bay Area. I asked DeVore campaign spokesman Joshua Trevino where the love was for our region, and he quickly replied, “Isn’t everyone in the Bay Area already sold on Chuck?”

Anyhow, the campaign says the billboards were the brainchild of two of DeVore’s conservative Hollywood supporters, with DeVore’s 18-year-old daughter completing the layout and artwork.

DeVore billboard

You won’t see too many U.S. Senate candidates having their teenage daughters design their billboards, but DeVore needs to be economical. He reported $625,958 in contributions in the first quarter of this year, with about $411,802 cash on hand as of March 31. In contrast, GOP primary frontrunner Tom Campbell reported $1.66 million raised in the first quarter with $1.1 million cash on hand at the end of last month, and primary rival Carly Fiorina – who earlier had put $2.5 millon of her own money into her campaign – reported $1.7 million raised in the first quarter, with $2.8 million cash on hand at last month’s end.

DeVore supporter Stephen K. Bannon, producer/writer/director of “Generation Zero,” said in a news release that the concept “of placing Chuck Devore in front of the Constitution was a natural. Chuck’s entire career has been about service to country and defense of our basic freedoms. Chuck Devore’s public life is inextricably linked to his defense of our Constitution. We are glad to represent a growing section of the creative community that actively supports Chuck Devore’s candidacy for the Republican nomination for United States Senate.”

“Our object is to retire Senator Boxer. We know what a tough campaigner she is, so we set out from the start to innovate, to blaze a new path to victory,” DeVore said in his release. “Our campaign has won awards for innovation in social networking and for the first-ever statewide candidate iPhone app. This stunning billboard image is a continuation of that effort.”

Trevino said the campaign will “closely measure the initial response and, pending results, we’ll expand our billboard buy significantly.”

DeVore has been making some progress but still trails his GOP primary rivals – and Boxer, in a hypothetical general-election matchup – in all recent polls.

UPDATE @ 1:41 P.M.: Trevino just called to say the campaign has bought two billboards to catch motorists going either direction on the Hayward-San Mateo Bridge.

Posted on Monday, April 26th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Chuck DeVore, U.S. Senate | 1 Comment »

Maldonado, crime lab, Salinas gangs on ‘TWINC’

I was on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California” last night to talk about the politics behind state Sen. Abel Maldonado’s confirmation as lieutenant governor, as well as the latest poll numbers in a few hot primary contests. The panel also featured the Chronicle’s Rachel Gordon on the San Francisco crime lab scandal, and the Monterey Herald’s Julia Reynolds on this week’s big gang sweep in Salinas.

Posted on Saturday, April 24th, 2010
Under: Abel Maldonado, California State Senate, Lt. Governor | 1 Comment »

Meg Whitman infomercial to air tomorrow

Remember that “town-hall meeting” that Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Meg Whitman held last month Orange County? Y’know, the private, ticket-holders-only event at which she’d asked the audience off-camera for “lots of cheering,” and some of the pre-screened questioners were made to re-ask their questions so she could have another go at answering them? Yeah, that one.

Well, now you can see the fruit of her infomercial labors. The half-hour “Ask Meg” TV Town Hall will air tomorrow, Sunday, April 25 in the Bay Area, from 9 to 9:30 a.m. on KPIX Channel 5 and from 10 to 10:30 a.m. on KICU Channel 36.

Whitman campaign manager Jillian Hasner said in a news release that the ad is “part of Meg Whitman’s goal to make sure all Californians can learn about her plan for fixing the state’s problems before they go to the polls. Meg believes all of the candidates for Governor should talk about their specific plans so voters can make the most informed decision on Election Day about who will be best to lead our state.”

Posted on Saturday, April 24th, 2010
Under: 2010 governor's race, Meg Whitman | 4 Comments »

Whitman to raise money tonight in Bay Area

It’ll be a GOP all-star bash tonight as Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Meg Whitman’s campaign holds a fundraiser at the Sofitel Hotel in Redwood City. On the headliners list: former Massachusetts governor and 2008 Republican presidential primary candidate Mitt Romney; 2008 Republican presidential nominee U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; and former Secretary of State George Shultz.

What an interesting bunch of people with whom to talk, n’est pas? Mais non! “Tonight’s event will be open to the press but there will be no availability for interviews,” sayeth the campaign.

Posted on Friday, April 23rd, 2010
Under: 2010 governor's race, Meg Whitman | 1 Comment »

Dems try to capitalize on Brown’s tax return pledge

With Attorney General Jerry Brown having signed the Bay Area News Group’s pledge to release his tax returns for the last 10 years, the state Democratic Party sees the issue as a winner.

The party put out this web video depicting GOP gubernatorial front-runner Meg Whitman as squishy on the pledge, which Democrats believe will heighten voters’ wariness over a billionaire ex-CEO (and former member of the Goldman Sachs board of directors) running for governor.

John Burton, the state Democratic Party chairman, said: “Whether rfusing to reveal how much money she has invested in Goldman Sachs or reneging on her pledge to release her tax returns, Meg Whitman continues (to) play hide-the-ball with voters of this state. Whitman should follow Jerry Brown’s lead and agree to release her returns immediately.”

Tucker Bounds, communications director for Whitman’s campaign, said a day earlier: “If Jerry Brown lives up to his previous commitment to turn over tax returns dating back to 1983, we will turn over 25 years of tax returns on May 5.

“It’s a fair and important distinction because everyone knows Meg was financially successful at eBay, but Jerry Brown has never fully disclosed the sources of his income for the decade after he served as governor of California. Jerry Brown is hiding the ball.”

Posted on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
Under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Eshoo floats TARP payback for local governments

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, today introduced a “Restitution for Local Government Act of 2010” to help counties and other public entities get back some of the more than $1.7 billion they lost when Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.

Eshoo’s bill would require the Treasury Department to buy Lehman’s assets from these municipalities using profits from the sale of any future Troubled Asset Relief Program assets.

“The purpose of TARP was to prevent the collapse of financial institutions and mitigate the damage of their reckless behavior on the American people. More than 40 municipalities, including San Mateo County in my Congressional District, invested over a billion dollars in the purportedly stable and safe financial products of Lehman Brothers,” she said in her news release. “When Lehman collapsed, San Mateo County and other public agencies across the country were crippled, and we owe them some relief.”

Across California, 28 cities and counties lost a total of about $250 million, with San Mateo County’s loss by far the biggest – $155 million between the county, its cities and its school districts – resulting in teachers being laid off, road and school repairs being canceled, and construction of new buildings being halted. A report commissioned by the county estimated more than 1,500 jobs were lost or not created because of the loss of taxpayer dollars.

The East Bay saw losses too, including Alameda County’s $5 million and Fremont’s $4 million.

“By selling TARP assets, the federal government has already made more than ten times the amount of money that public institutions lost when Lehman collapsed,” Eshoo said. “My legislation will require the Secretary of the Treasury to provide relief to these institutions with any future profit.”

The Treasury Department has earned $15.4 billion from dividends, interest, and the sale of bank stock which it bought through TARP, and expects another $7.5 billion from the sale of its 27-percent stake in Citigroup. Eshoo’s bill would use some future TARP profits to buy up Lehman securities, bonds and other instruments held by dozens of local governments across the nation when the global financial-services firm went belly up in 2008. Local governments receiving these funds would have to report back to the federal government on how the money is used and to show job creation, retention, and economic activity equal to the amount of funds they received.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, is the bill’s first cosponsor. “Lehman Brothers’ financial practices were mired in deceit and deception,” Speier said in Eshoo’s release. “The ensuing investment losses have fallen directly on the shoulders of my constituents who have to bear the burden of reduced educational, health and public safety services. It is imperative that this measure be enacted to protect the welfare of residents of all the municipalities stung by the Lehman Brothers’ shell game.”

Posted on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
Under: Anna Eshoo, economy, Jackie Speier, San Mateo County, U.S. House | 8 Comments »

‘A long time ago, we used to be friends…’

(Headline h/t to the Dandy Warhols.)

Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Steve Poizner’s campaign issued a communiqué a short while ago crowing over a new poll KABC/SurveyUSA poll showing that primary rival Meg Whitman leads him 49 percent to 27 percent, a 22-point gap.

And a new Capitol Weekly/Probolsky Research poll shows Meg Whtiman leading Poizner 47 percent to 19 percent, a 28-point gap. Both these polls would sound bad, until you remember last month’s Field Poll showing Whitman leading Poizner 63 percent to 14 percent, a 49-point gap.

Poizner’s camp says he’s closing the gap. Communications director Jarrod Agen said:

“Meg Whitman has spent record amounts of her Wall Street billions to tell a record number of lies, but all of Goldman Sachs’ money and all the Queen’s men won’t be enough to put this rookie candidate back together again. Seven years ago, Republicans were fooled by marketing and a celebrity. It isn’t happening twice.”

But lest we forget, Poizner must’ve been among those “fooled by marketing and a celebrity,” and it wasn’t even seven years ago.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed Poizner as he spent almost $14.9 million of his own money in a failed attempt to win an Assembly seat in 2004. From our May 2004 story on the endorsement:

Poizner, a former high-tech entrepreneur and teacher who has modeled his campaign on Schwarzenegger’s moderate conservatism, hopes to capture some of the energy for change that swept the governor into office last October.

“I think it will be a huge boost,” Poizner said of the endorsement. “Democrats, independents and Republicans have been very impressed with what (Schwarzenegger) has done over the last several months.”

Poizner said the endorsement gives him political credibility and shows he will be able to effectively work with the governor — something, he said, his Democratic rival cannot claim. Mark Watson, the former chairman of the San Mateo County Republican Party, said the endorsement will have practical benefits for Poizner’s campaign.

And, from our July 2004 profile of Poizner:

The 47-year old Los Gatos resident bills himself as a “reform” Republican, following in the footsteps of Bay Area legislators such as former Silicon Valley Congressmen Tom Campbell and Pete McCloskey, both of whom have endorsed his campaign.

Poizner believes the time is right on the Peninsula for a nonpartisan, moderate Republican who can reach across Sacramento’s often gaping political divide and work effectively with a Republican governor.

And though he’s received the blessing of the Republican establishment, Poizner has positioned himself as strongly independent. He’s rejected money from the party, corporations, political action committees and labor unions because he feels they corrupt the political process.

Poizner also has eschewed much of the traditional Republican platform. He’s pro-choice, for stem-cell research and is not yet sure whether he will cast his vote for President Bush or John Kerry in November’s election.

“I’ve been a moderate Republican all my life, but at times it’s been frustrating — especially in the last few years in the Bay Area and California,” Poizner said. “The party has gone much further to the right from where I am. My mission here is not only to provide some great leadership for this district and state, but I also want to revitalize the moderate wing of the Republican Party.”

Soon after Poizner lost that race, Schwarzenegger announced he would name Poizner to the state Public Utilities Commission, a $114,191-a-year post (which is, admittedly, peanuts to Poizner). Poizner withdrew from consideration for state Senate confirmation after learning his extensive investments would keep him from voting on telecommunications issues.

Schwarzenegger and Poizner still liked each other enough in 2005 so that the governor tapped Poizner to head the campaign for Proposition 77, a redistricting measure rejected by voters in the 2005 special election that Schwarzenegger called. And Schwarzenegger again endorsed Poizner for Insurance Commissioner in 2006.

Poizner’s hard turn to the right in this gubernatorial primary is well-documented, but rhetoric won’t change history – it’s only been in the last few years, as Poizner turned his eye toward the governor’s office, that he threw Schwarzenegger and his policies under the bus.

Posted on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
Under: 2010 governor's race, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Meg Whitman, Steve Poizner | 1 Comment »

Global warming ballot battle comes to Oakland

About 50 protestors converged upon a Valero gas station in Oakland’s Uptown section this morning to call attention to a proposed ballot measure backed by oil companies to roll back California’s landmark greenhouse gas emissions law.

Activists from CREDO Action, the Courage Campaign, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, the Environmental Defense Fund, the National Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club were among the crowd, bearing signs with slogans such as “Texas oil $ go home,” “Don’t mess with California, Texas,” “Stop killing the solution to pollution,” and “Clean air now.”

Valero protest 4-22-10 -- photo by Josh Richman

AB 32, the state’s global warming law, requires that California’s greenhouse-gas emission levels be cut to 1990 levels by 2020, a cut of about 15 percent from current levels; to that end, state authorities are working on formulating a “cap and trade” system in which California businesses would be able to choose between installing new equipment to clean up their emissions or buying emissions credits from those who do.

The “California Jobs Initiative” would suspend AB 32 until California’s unemployment rate – now at 12.6 percent – drops to 5.5 percent or below for four consecutive quarters; the measure’s proponents claim leaving the law in place will cost the state jobs it can’t currently afford to lose, while opponents claim leaving the law in place will actually create jobs in the burgeoning green technology sector. The proponents have until July 19 to gather valid signatures from at least 433,971 registered California voters in order to place the measure on November’s ballot.

At least about two thirds of the proposed measure’s major funding so far has come from oil companies, the latest including $300,000 last week from Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum Corp. and $100,000 from Texas-based Tesoro. Texas-based Valero put in $500,000 last month, hence the site of today’s protest.

“Most people have not heard about the dirty energy proposition, which is why we wanted to do this on Earth Day,” said Ian Kim, Green-Collar Jobs Campaign Director at the Ella Baker Center, adding California has taken a national lead on addressing global warming and “these Texas oil companies want to take that away to save their bottom line.”

“This is going to be probably one of the most expensive campaigns of the year,” Kim predicted, saying activists will need to aggressively raise money and stage grassroots events such as today’s to counter an advertising blitz by deep-pocketed big oil.

Anita Mangels, spokeswoman for the measure’s proponents, called the protest “absurd,” noting the activists picketed a taxpaying business that employs and serves Californians and already is subject to the nation’s strictest environmental laws. She also e-mailed a statement arguing that AB 32’s implementation will hit low-income communities hardest, as they spend a larger percentage of their household income on gas and utilities, while jeopardizing more than a million jobs without significantly impacting global warming. “That’s the dirtiest secret of all. The organizers of these protests should come clean and admit it.”

More, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
Under: 2010 election, ballot measures, energy, Environment, Global warming | 6 Comments »

The final Poizner-Whitman debate

The final debate between Republican gubernatorial primary candidates Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman is scheduled for 5 p.m. – yes, it has been been moved to primetime after this week’s kerfuffle over who had picked the original 2 p.m. slot – on Sunday, May 2 at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.

The candidates will field questions from a media panel consisting of yours truly; the Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci; the Sacramento Bee’s Jack Chang; Mike Blood of the Associated Press; and Univision’s Santiago Lucero, with KQED Public Radio Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers as the moderator.

If you have a good idea for a question to be posed to either of the candidates, feel free to post a comment here by the end of this week.

The hour-long event is sponsored by Comcast, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Time Warner, Charter, Cox Cable, Cal Channel, CCTA and the Tech Museum, and KQED and 27 other California public radio stations will air it live. It also will air live and then be replayed several times in the following week by Comcast Home Network Channel 104 and the Cal Channel.

Meanwhile, the latest Rasmussen Reports poll shows 71 percent of California voters like the idea of a three-way debate between Poizner, Whitman and presumed Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown, an idea Brown pitched at the California Democratic Party’s convention last weekend. But while Poizner – still trailing far behind Whitman – instantly and eagerly accepted, Whitman nixed the idea, so it’s not going to happen (which Brown certainly knew before he even suggested it).

Rasmussen also shows “Brown’s numbers are little changed” while “Whitman’s unfavorables are up as she and Poizner batter each other with television ads in their heated primary contest.”

Posted on Wednesday, April 21st, 2010
Under: 2010 governor's race, Jerry Brown, Meg Whitman, Steve Poizner | 11 Comments »

Nerds rule, bores drool

Contra Costa County District IV supervisor candidate, engineer and member of the Contra Costa Central Sanitary Board Mike McGill plays up his nerdiness in a hilarious and clever campaign mailer (see below.)

And don’t think Mike had to go to a costume shop for his outfit. I’m sure it came from his closet!

This is a very effective mailer. It conveys McGill’s background in a very catchy manner. It portrays him — accurately — as a guy who is willing to poke a little fun at himself. And readers can’t help but read the serious stuff because it has pulled them into the piece.

McGill is running against Karen Mitchoff, Pleasant Hill mayor.

Here is the mailer:

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Posted on Wednesday, April 21st, 2010
Under: Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 2 Comments »