East Bay TEA Party ranks candidates

The Nor Cal/Pleasanton TEA Party has ranked statewide and congressional candidates based on its assessment of where they stand on the organization’s core tenets, social issues and experience.

Check it out at http://www.pleasantonteaparty.com/ptpsvoterguide.htm

It is fascinating to watch what started as a loosely aligned group of voters evolve into an organization, whose members gather, deliberate and vote on a platform. The rankings are not intended as endorsements but the message is clear. I wonder if we will see a move toward the creation of another official political party in California or the U.S.?


Contra Costa: McGill and Mitchoff duel over law





Contra Costa supervisor candidate Karen Mitchoff filed a complaint today with the District Attorney’s Office alleging that her opponent, Mike McGill, violated county campaign finance laws.

In response, McGill challenged Mitchoff to work for $1 a year, if elected, and “remove all financial motives and ensures that we are focused on public policy and solving real problems,” he said.

Under county law, supervisor candidates who loan or contribute more than $25,000 to their campaigns must file a statement of intent to self-fund at the time they file for office.

The total includes donations and loans from immediate family members.

McGill, a board member of the Contra Costa Central Sanitary District, has loaned his campaign $54,500 as of May 22. Relatives have contributed $3,675. His company, MMS Design Associates, has contributed $1,065 worth of office support and copies.

The Pleasant Hill engineer says he never intended to self-fund.

But as the campaign proceeded, the public responded “so strongly to my message, and I realized I could do more than make a point, I could win and implement the changes that I think are needed in our budget and public employee pension system,” he said.

McGill needed more money, so he says his campaign team began researching the rules.

He met with county officials and after what he described as confusing conversations, McGill filed a self-fund declaration Thursday, which was also the campaign finance report filing deadline for local and state candidates.

As the law also requires, he changed his campaign literature to reflect his self-funded status.

“I think Karen knows (he has followed the rules), but she’s frustrated that her campaign is struggling and my upstart campaign has been gaining a lot of traction,” McGill said. “Karen’s taken more than $30,000 from labor unions — but I’m not going to start throwing mud and accusing her of being a labor funded candidate, because I want this to be a campaign about the differences in our vision for the county.”

Deputy District Attorney Steve Bolen declined to comment on the complaint. Violation of the election code is a misdemeanor although candidates are rarely prosecuted.

Had McGill filed the declaration earlier, Mitchoff could have solicited higher contributions. The self-fund notification triggers a rise in the contribution limit for the opponents from $1,675 to $5,000.

Mitchoff has raised $75,017 since she started campaigning in 2009 but has written no personal checks to her campaign. As McGill indicated, the largest portion of her money has come from labor unions.

Outside of personal loans and family contributions, McGill has collected $70,156. He has received far less PAC money than his opponent, but what he has received came from the Associated Builders and Contractors, Homebuilders Association of Northern California and Western Electrical Contractors Association.

The legislation is intended to help level the playing field between wealthy candidates and those who rely solely on donations. It only applies to county supervisor candidates.

The ordinance also says that self-funded candidates cannot repay themselves but must treat the money as a contribution.

Candidates may loan their campaigns up to $50,000 if an independent expenditure committee spends in excess of $75,000 for the benefit of his or opponents.

No independent expenditures have been reported thus far in the county supervisor race.

Click through to read the pertinent ordinances.

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RIP Gary Coleman, the governor CA deserved

1275076769-gary_coleman_coverChild actor Gary Coleman is dead at age 42. You’ll recall that, in one of the finest works of political satire that I’ve ever seen, the East Bay Express paid to put Coleman on the ballot in the 2003 gubernatorial recall. Naturally, most media from outside California missed the satire and seized on it as proof of how kooky the state’s politics could be – perhaps making the satire so much the richer.

But we elected some other actor instead, so it all worked out, right?


Beware of paid slate mailers

A copy of the “COPS Voter Guide,” a slate mailer urging votes for certain candidates and ballot measures, recently landed on my desk, reminding me how wary voters should be of such things.

Use of the word “COPS” in big print, and the badge logo that accompanies it, seem to imply that law enforcement is endorsing these candidates and measures. That’s not true.

The COPS Voter Guide is a business: It sells endorsements. Its online “endorsement form” simply asks a candidate check a box to “agree that public safety is a top priority for public service. As an elected official, I will uphold the laws and work with California Law Enforcement on issues of mutual concern. This pledge does not commit me to any issue positions, nor does it mean that the COPS VOTER GUIDE agrees with me by endorsing all of my issue positions.”

It’s run by Moran & Associates, a Folsom-based political consulting firm; I left messages for company President Kelley Moran, but haven’t heard back from him.

This one – designed for Democratic voters – looks to me as if Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown is the only candidate who didn’t pay to be on it, as he’s the only one without an asterisk next to his name; the mailer’s fine print says “Appearance is paid for and authorized by each candidate and ballot measure which is designated by an *”

So the mailer urges the recipient to vote for Gavin Newsom for Lieutenant Governor. Yet when I look at Newsom’s endorsement page under the heading “public safety,” I see three firefighters’ organizations but not a single police group. His rival, however – Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn – has been endorsed by the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and several LA-area police groups.

Similarly, Democratic candidate for Attorney General Pedro Nava, an Assemblyman from Santa Barbara, is on the mailer. The only law enforcement endorsements he lists on his website are Ventura County Deputy Sheriff’s Association and the Ventura County Peace Officers Association, plus a few local sheriffs and police chiefs. Yet Ted Lieu, the Assemblyman from Torrance and one of Nava’s six rivals for the Democratic nomination, actually has the endorsements of the California Peace Officers Association, the California Police Chiefs Association and nine other law enforcement groups.

It’s not illegal for a candidate to pay a slate mailer for an endorsement, or for a mailer to solicit such payments. But voters should read the fine print and discern the endorsements that a candidate has bought from the endorsements that a candidate has earned.


More campaign finance fun: Lt.Gov. and AG

In the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom far outpaced Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn in fundraising during this period from March 18 to May 22. Newsom raised $792,311 and spent $453,291, finishing the period with $770,776 cash on hand; Hahn raised $336,331 and spent $316,670, finishing the period with $315,430 cash on hand.

Mike Trujillo, Hahn’s campaign adviser, called me tonight to note that the two candidates are more evenly matched if you look at contributions since their campaigns began – it looks to me as if Newsom’s at about $1.06 million to Hahn’s $898,000, by that measure – and that about $200,000 of Newsom’s cash on hand is earmarked for November’s general election, while all but $9,000 of Hahn’s stash can be spent in the next 10 days.

In the GOP primary for Lieutenant Governor, appointed incumbent and former state Sen. Abel Maldonado smoked his more conservative rival, state Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley. Maldonado raised $318,898 during this period and spent $121,872, leaving him with $139,060 cash on hand; Aanestad raised $44,470 during this period and spent $44,441, leaving him with $43,297 cash on hand.

In the Republican primary for Attorney General, Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley trumped the fundraising during this period, with $916,066 in contributions compared to $295,302 for former Chapman University Law School Dean John Eastman – including the $25,000 he loaned his own campaign – and $150,294 for state Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach. Cooley finished with the most cash on hand, too: $222,280 compared to Eastman’s $158,444 and Harman’s $112,644.

In the Democratic primary for Attorney General, former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly rules the campaign cash roost only because he put $5.6 million into his own campaign during this period (atop the $4 million he’d put in earlier). His new investment accounted for all but $79,679 of his contributions in this period and he spent $8,953,697, leaving him with cash on hand of $102,984.

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris raised $810,884 during this period and spent $1,546,812, finishing with $636,471 cash on hand; former Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo raised $268,995 and spent $1,251,446, finishing with $149,762 cash on hand; Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, raised $239,162 and spent $671,100, finishing with $577,002 cash on hand; and Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, raised $17,532 and spent $86,956, finishing with $24,534 cash on hand. Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, had $1,029,186 cash on hand as of March 17, the close of the last reporting period, but hasn’t yet filed this period’s report as of this time; Emeryville attorney Mike Schmier didn’t raise enough to require a report.

UPDATE @ 10:33 A.M. FRIDAY: Torrico raised $180,371.79 in this period, spent $676,560.78 and finished with $522,334.73 cash on hand.

UPDATE @ 9:30 A.M. TUESDAY 6/1: Sorry, my bad: Schmier says he has raised $12,450 to date and has $3,166.88 cash on hand remaining.