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Election polls, school $$$ and Prop. 23 on ‘TWINC’

I was on KQED’s “This Week in Northern California” last night to discuss the latest developments in the senatorial and gubernatorial elections; the Chronicle’s Jill Tucker talked about California’s quest for Race to the Top education funding; and the Merc’s Paul Rogers discussed AB 32, Proposition 23 and electric cars.

Also, my Chauncey Bailey Project colleague Tom Peele talked about the latest developments in the Bey IV murder prosecution, and filmmaker Zachary Stauffer discussed his film on Chauncey’s slaying, “A Day Late in Oakland,” airing next Friday, August 6th at 8:30pm on KQED.

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Save the date: Boxer v. Fiorina debate

KQED, KTVU, and the San Francisco Chronicle will host the first debate between incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Republican nominee Carly Fiorina at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 1.

The one-hour debate will air live on KQED Public Radio and KTVU Channel 2. KQED News is offering the debate as a special broadcast of The California Report, the station’s statewide news service; the California Report’s debate broadcast will be distributed live via satellite and available for broadcast by all California public radio stations.

KTVU’s political editor Randy Shandobil will moderate the debate, with questions posed by San Francisco Chronicle senior political writer Carla Marinucci; California Report host Scott Shafer; and La Opinion senior political reporter and blogger Pilar Marrero.

The debate’s location has yet to be announced.

UPDATE @ 1:58 P.M.: Hmmmm. Although this information came in a news release from KQED, I now have other sources telling me that this debate is in fact NOT a done deal, and is still under negotiation. More details as they emerge…

UPDATE @ 2:50 P.M.: “We have recently learned that the previously announced debate has not been confirmed,” KQED now says. “We apologize for any confusion that the miscommunication caused. More details will be announced as soon as they become available.”
I’ve reached out to the Boxer and Fiorina campaigns about this, but neither has responded yet.

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Lawmakers urge Iran to release hikers

California’s U.S. Senators were among six who today announced a resolution urging the Iranian government to immediately, unconditionally release three UC Berkeley graduates who have been detained in Iran since last July.

Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of Sarah Shourd’s, Josh Fattal’s and Shane Bauer’s capture hiking in a poorly marked border area in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. Senators Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Robert Casey Jr., D-Pa.; Al Franken, D-Minn.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; and Arlen Specter, D-Pa., introduced today’s resolution.

Boxer, Casey, Franken, Klobuchar and Specter in May publicly urged Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to immediately release the three hikers, or at least that their families be allowed to visit them; the hikers mothers subsequently were allowed to visit.

The full text of the Senators’ resolution:

Urging the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Immediately and Unconditionally Release Sarah Shourd, Joshua Fattal, and Shane Bauer on Humanitarian Grounds
Whereas on July 31, 2009, Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal, and Shane Bauer were taken into custody by Iranian officials after they may have inadvertently crossed the poorly marked Iranian border while hiking in the Kurdistan region of Iraq;
Whereas Sarah, Josh, and Shane have been held since last year in Evin prison in Tehran;
Whereas the amount of time Sarah, Josh and Shane have spent in prison is unjustified in relation to their alleged offense of illegal entry into Iran;
Whereas during the period of their detention, Sarah, Josh, and Shane have only been afforded the opportunity to see their families during a brief visit in May;
Whereas according to their families, Sarah and Shane may be suffering from potentially serious health problems;
Whereas the families of Sarah, Josh and Shane have suffered greatly in the absence of their loved ones;
Whereas July 31, 2010 will mark the one-year anniversary of their detention;
Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate, That Congress—
recognizes that Sarah Shourd, Joshua Fattal, and Shane Bauer have been held in custody in Iran for one year; and
urges the Government of Iran to immediately and unconditionally release Sarah Shourd, Joshua Fattal, and Shane Bauer, on humanitarian grounds and allow them to reunite with their families in the United States.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, also released a statement on the hikers today. Read that after the jump…
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McNerney calls for boost in veterans benefit

Rep. Jerry McNerney

Rep. Jerry McNerney

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, introduced a bill today that will boost payments to the families of soldiers who have been killed in action.

H.R. 5921 would increase the death benefit by an amount equal to the service member’s total contributions to the Social Security system. These benefits would be made available to the families of military personnel killed on or after Sept. 11, 2001.

Read the full news release below:

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NY Giants coach backs Dunn

Damon Dunn

Damon Dunn

New York Giants head football coach Tom Coughlin is endorsing GOP Secretary of State candidate and former NFL player Damon Dunn.

The announcement comes on the heels of news that football icon Ronnie Lott has also thrown his name behind Dunn’s candidacy.

“Damon was a joy to coach — always had a great attitude, an abundance of enthusiasm, and incredible energy for everything,” Coughlin said in an email. “He is very smart and was always like a sponge in terms of learning. Damon was very involved with community service –- constantly volunteering and never had to be pushed –- he had a true sense of wanting to give back and once he started something, he always finished the task.”

No offense to Coughlin. I’m sure he is fine fellow. I confess, I am not a football fan. I had to Google his name, where I found glowing reviews about his character and leadership.

But do California voters care which candidate a New York football coach has endorsed? After all, Dunn had a brief and undistinguished NFL career.

Dunn says Caughlin’s support, along with that of Lott’s and others, is an indication of his leadership skills.

“These men and women are leading in the real world, not influenced by quid pro quo, and see leadership qualities in me,” Dunn wrote. “The gridlock in Sacramento will not be mitigated by public policy wonks or some new innovative idea.  It will be mitigated by applying leadership.  We need strong leaders in Sacramento in every elected position.”

Dunn is running against Democratic incumbent Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

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Furloughs trump filing deadline

The filing deadline for hundreds of city, school and other nonpartisan local offices is Aug. 6 at 5 p.m.

Unless it happens to be Furlough Friday, of course.

In Contra Costa County, the city halls in Pinole and Antioch are closed on Fridays due to budget cuts. If you want to make the filing deadline, show up before closing time on Aug. 5.

Would-be candidates everywhere should check with their jurisdictions and make sure they will be open.

Read on for Contra Costa County’s announcement:

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