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Archive for May, 2010

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

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.?

Posted on Monday, May 31st, 2010
Under: tea party | 14 Comments »

Pre-primary election roundup on ‘TWINC’

I was on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California” on Friday night as part of a pre-primary election roundup of candidates and measures:

Posted on Sunday, May 30th, 2010
Under: 2010 election | No Comments »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, May 28th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 8 Comments »

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?

Posted on Friday, May 28th, 2010
Under: Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

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.

Posted on Friday, May 28th, 2010
Under: 2010 election | 7 Comments »

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.

Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Abel Maldonado, Alberto Torrico, Attorney General, campaign finance, Chris Kelly, Gavin Newsom, Janice Hahn, Kamala Harris, Lt. Governor, Pedro Nava, Sam Aanestad, Ted Lieu | 1 Comment »

CD11: Harmer outpacing opponents in cash

GOP 11th District candidate David Harmer is outpacing his three opponents in the money race, according to Federal Election Commission filings posted tonight.

Harmer reported raising $169,133 in the last reporting period (April 1 through May 19), a figure well ahead of Brad Goehring at $91,749, Elizabeth Emken at $30,129; and Tony Amador at $16,905.

Harmer has also outraised his challengers for the full election cycle, particularly when you factor in the personal loans, of which Harmer has made none.

Goehring continues to shuffle his personal money around. He has loaned his campaign $1.075 million but he has repaid himself $925,000, including $300,000 in the last reporting period.

But Goehring may have experienced a post-reporting deadline money boost after his national kerfuffle last week with liberal MSNBC talk show host Keith Olbermann. Goehring put out a fundraising appeal and says his online contributions have gone up. We won’t know until after the election.

The figures below are for the 2010 election cycle through May 19, the close of the reporting period.

DAVID HARMER: Raised $555,533. Spent $415,432. Had $207,560 in the bank. Reported debts of $27,161. No personal loans.

BRAD GOEHRING: Raised $379,106. Spent $464,175. Had $62,332 in the ban. Debts of $157,748. Made net personal loans of $150,000. (He has loaned his campaign a total of $1.075 million but has repaid himself $925,000.)

ELIZABETH EMKEN: Raised $236,266. Spent $311,311. Had $123,954 in the bank. Reported debts of $200,000. Made net personal loans of $200,000.

TONY AMADOR: Raised $143,352. Spent $172,114. Had $21,023 in the bank. Reported debts of $52,825. Made personal loans of $50,000.

Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2010
Under: Congress, congressional district 11 | 4 Comments »

Contra Costa: Count the campaign cash

Check out the cash flowing into Contra Costa County candidates’ campaign accounts, per Thursday night’s campaign finance report filing deadline.

The totals are for 2010 only; some of the candidates started raising money in 2009 but the reports are for the calendar year only. The reporting period ended May 22. Not all the reports are yet available. Candidates had until 5 p.m. to submit them but postmarks count. I will update this list as the information becomes available.


Michael McGill: Raised $100,165. Spent $101,150. Has $860 in the bank. Outstanding debts of $51,800. No personal loans.

Karen Mitchoff: Raised $65,618. Spent $49,092. Has $22,995 in the bank. No outstanding debts. No personal loans.


John Gioia (incumbent): Raised $104,737. Spent $103,123. Cash on hand of $4,659. No debts. No loans.

Mister Phillips: Raised $4,678. Spent $5,511. Cash on hand of ($42.58). Debts of$1,971. He made a personal loan of $1,000 and received a loan of $730 from Angela McClain of El Cerrito.


Gus Kramer (incumbent): Raised $95,537. Spent $105,734. Had $8,200 in the bank. No debts. Made personal loan of $53,000.

John Nejedly: Raised $38,809. Spent $25,566. Had $13,242 in the bank. No debts. Made personal loan of $20,500.

Ross Butler: Raised $900. Spent $790. Had $109 in the bank. No debts. No personal loans.

Bob Brooks: His form is incomplete and fails to list calendar-year totals. Between March 18 and May 22, he raised $3,516; spent $20,228; had $3,369 in the bank; and reported no outstanding debts.


David Livingston: Raised $100,985. Spent $145,416. Had $15,353 in the bank. No outstanding debts. No personal loans.

Brian Kalinowski: Raised $82,962. Spent $80,702. Had $3,198 in the bank.  Debts of $42,100. Made personal loans of $44,067.


Dan O’Malley: Raised $111,872. Spent $120,369. Cash on hand of $45,242. Debts of $8,400. Made personal loan of $3,000.

Mark Peterson: Raised $96,866. Spent $114,837. Cash on hand of $7,495. No debts. No personal loans.

Elle Falahat: Raised $42,637. Spent $76,786. Cash on hand of $6,429. Debts of $33,225. Personal loans of $23,000.

Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, campaign finance, Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 2 Comments »

CD11: GOP strategist names Emken a ‘Palin prospect’

Elizabeth Emken

Elizabeth Emken

It’s not an actual endorsement but Elizabeth Emken’s campaign is touting it nonetheless.

Daily Beast writer and GOP strategist Mark McKinnon listed Emken today as one 11 GOP women running for office he considers prospective members of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s sleuth of mama grizzlies. (Yes, a group of bears is called a sleuth. I Googled it.)

He cites the Danville resident’s background as an advocate in Washington, D.C., for increased attention and money for the treatment of autistic and other disabilities. She is one of four primary candidates seeking the GOP nomination in the 11th Congressional District.

Click through on the link above to read the full post but here is the top of McKinnon’s column:

The Alaska sensation is recruiting and endorsing GOP women nationwide—spooking the Democrats. Mark McKinnon surveys her 11 top prospects.

I like strong women.

I like strong women who speak their minds. (I’m married to one of them.) And I’ve worked with and around many in politics, including Ann Richards, Laura Bush and Sarah Palin.

No matter your gender or politics, you have to hand it to her: Palin is fearless. “You don’t want to mess with moms who are rising up,” the Wasilla warrior said last week. “If you thought pit bulls were tough, you don’t want to mess with mama grizzlies.”

Click here to read the full post.

Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, congressional district 11 | No Comments »

Campbell outraised Fiorina in recent months

We’re putting together an extensive report for tomorrow’s editions on the campaign finance reports due today, but for now, the breaking news seems to be that Tom Campbell raised more money in the most recent period and had more cash on hand at the period’s end than Carly Fiorina, his rival for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination.

Campbell reported raising $989,662 since mid-March from April 1 to May 19, with $975,271 cash on hand reported in today’s filing.

“We are continuing to raise money and buy TV airtime for the home stretch,” Campbell spokesperson James Fisfis said in a news release. “Our opponent, Carly Fiorina, is a failed CEO who sent thousands of California jobs overseas. Moreover, she rarely bothered to vote. Tom Campbell will be traveling around California for the next two weeks communicating his message that he is the only Republican in the race who will end Barbara Boxer’s U.S. Senate career.”

Fiorina reported raising $909,000 (though she also loaned her campaign another $1.1 million), with $620,000 cash on hand as of this filing.

“I am humbled and honored to have received the support of so many dedicated people around California and across the nation,” Fiorina said in a news release. “Recent polling confirms that the hard work our financial supporters, grassroots volunteers and dedicated campaign team members have together invested in the race is paying off. Californians increasingly recognize that I am the Republican candidate best positioned to defeat Barbara Boxer in November. We expect this momentum to continue growing in the final days before the primary election and into the general election this fall.”

We’re still waiting for numbers from the third Republican in the race, Chuck DeVore

UPDATE @ 4:19 P.M.: DeVore raised $520,898 in this period, finishing with $276,614 cash on hand.

UPDATE @ 6:09 P.M.: Fiorina’s campaign hastens to note that she has loaned her campaign another $1.9 million since May 19, the end of the reporting period, so she has plenty of money for significant television advertising between now and the June 8 election. Campbell’s campaign, they note, cancelled its LA-area television ad buy for this weekend.

“As far as we can tell, team Campbell is working their abacus overtime to make it appear as if they have significant funds heading into the final stretch,” said Fiorina spokeswoman Julie Soderlund. “But my calculator is telling me their numbers just don’t quite add up.”

So, yes, Fiorina has more money on hand for the final 10 days before the election. Nonetheless, Campbell attracted more in total contributions than Fiorina did during this reporting period.

Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, campaign finance, Carly Fiorina, Chuck DeVore, Tom Campbell | 2 Comments »