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Archive for September, 2010

Group to rally voters of color against Prop. 23

An Oakland human rights nonprofit is coordinating a new coalition to work against Proposition 23, the measure on November’s ballot to roll back California’s landmark greenhouse gas emissions law.

Ian Kim from the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights will serve as campaign manager for Communities United Against the Dirty Energy Prop, composed of dozens of social justice and community advocacy groups across the state including the Greenlining Institute, the Equal Justice Society, the California Partnership and Youth ALIVE!

Communities United is operating separately but in coordination with No on 23: Californians to Stop the Dirty Energy Proposition.

The news release announcing the new coalition notes that a poll conducted this summer by the Public Policy Institute of California found most ethnic state residents more likely than whites to be concerned about climate change. Specifically, while about half of California adults and likely voters say the federal government is not doing enough to address global warming; Latinos (61 percent) are the most likely to hold this view, followed by Asians (51 percent), whites (48 percent), and blacks (47 percent).

“Proposition 23 will hurt low-income communities and people of color first and worst,” Kim said in the release. “This Dirty Energy Proposition will make air pollution worse and jobs more scarce, especially in communities already burdened by too much pollution and poverty.”

“Low-income communities are facing epidemics of asthma and lung disease due to air pollution, and Prop. 23 will keep it that way,” said Strela Cervas, co-coordinator of the California Environmental Justice Alliance. “Contrary to the lies being peddled by the oil companies, Prop. 23 would kill jobs, not save them.”

Communities United says it’ll mount “an aggressive, grassroots campaign statewide to educate voters of color about the Dirty Energy Prop,” with statewide days of action, the naming of the campaign’s co-chairs and The Clean Energy Tour, “a statewide music tour bringing together the arts, activism and education on college campuses to mobilize the youth vote.”

Posted on Monday, September 20th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, ballot measures, economy, energy, Environment, Global warming | 3 Comments »

House parties to oppose Prop. 23

The Union of Concerned Scientists is organizing a series of house parties across the state at 7 p.m. next Thursday, Sept. 23, to rally opponents of Proposition 23, the measure on November’s ballot that would roll back California’s landmark greenhouse gas emissions law.

“The Valero and Tesoro oil companies of Texas and Koch Industries of Kansas want to stifle competition from clean energy industries and protect their profits by continuing to pollute our state with their dirty fossil fuel emissions,” the news release says. “A broad coalition is working to defeat the dirty energy proposition in order to protect California’s air quality and new jobs and companies in the burgeoning cleantech sector, and to promote energy security.”

Partygoers will watch the premiere of a mini-documentary about Prop. 23, “learn why defeating it is so important for California and the rest of the nation, and share tools for increasing voter turn-out to defeat the dirty energy proposition at the polls,” the release says.

Parties are planned all over the Bay Area, according to the UCS website; there’ll be a big one at the Chabot Space and Science Center, 10000 Skyline Blvd. in Oakland, which is free and includes refreshments but requires an RSVP.

I don’t see that the “Yes on 23” committee has any similar events scheduled. UCS is part of the coalition behind the main “No on 23” committee, but I hear there’s a new coalition about to take shape against the measure as well; watch for an announcement Monday.

Posted on Friday, September 17th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, ballot measures, economy, energy, Environment, Global warming | 1 Comment »

Brown’s curious timing for announcement of Clinton events, a full month away

You don’t see gubernatorial campaigns typically announcing events a full month ahead of time, but in the case of Jerry Brown, there apparently is some urgency to make known a series of events he and Gavin Newsom, the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, will be having with former president Bill Clinton.

So, we know, well in advance, that Clinton will be joining Brown and Newsom in Northern and Southern California on Oct. 15 and 17 for events to be more fully teased out later.

It’s a curious grouping, given Clinton’s endorsement last year of Newsom (over Brown) when he was still in the hunt for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Perhaps it was a condition of Clinton’s that he include Newsom, whom he has long seen as an up and comer, though the San Francisco mayor is running for one of the least consequential statewide offices in California.

Undoubtedly, the incessant repetition of Meg Whitman’s TV ad showing Clinton upbraiding Brown in a 1992 presidential debate (comments that Clinton has disavowed) is creating a level of anxiety within the Brown campaign.

But with the events a full month away, and with Whitman’s controversial Clinton ad continuing unabated, the Brown campaign may be in need of assistance from Clinton sooner (an ad with Clinton looking straight into the camera giving his full-throated, twangy endorsement of Brown).

Clinton has already endorsed Brown (after Brown apologized for joking not so subtly about the Monica Lewinsky saga), but the impact of a written statement by the former president carries little of the potency of a TV ad that is showing throughout the state at what seems to be an unprecedented rate of play — and has a still-popular former president practically making Whitman’s case for her.

Though critics and political observers have made the case that the ad is based on faulty information (which Clinton has acknowledged, but, again, only in a written statement), the Whitman campaign is apparently seeing in its internal polling that the ad is gaining traction. Chief strategist Mike Murphy tweeted yesterday that Whitman is pulling ahead of Brown, so he isn’t likely to bow to the fact-checkers at this point.

Though Clinton and Brown have downplayed their previous rivarly, the Whitman campaign keeps picking at that old scab, today releasing a video for the benefit of the political class (possibly a preview of more to come for the great unwashed masses):

So far, the ad battles have been on the turf chosen by Whitman. Soon, the Brown campaign may be pushing its own narrative. Next week, in the run-up to the Sept. 28 debate between Brown and Whitman, expect Brown to cut a new ad that will turn the focus on Whitman’s record. Think Goldman Sachs, shoving employees, plans to give tax breaks to the wealthy, etc.

Posted on Friday, September 17th, 2010
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Video mashup sums up week on controversial Clinton ad

This is just a YouTube video, so it has limited value for Jerry Brown, but it’s an effective mashup of the Clinton ad controversy, and helps move along the storyline that Meg Whitman continues to air false charges.

Whitman defends the ad, saying the charges that Bill Clinton made in the 1992 presidential debate with Brown — that under Brown taxes rose – are “essentially” true, though this week, Clinton disavowed his own words, saying they were based on faulty CNN reporting. (The former CNN reporter, Brooks Jackson, now with FactCheck.org, also acknowledged his erroneous reporting).

She doesn’t get much sympathy from even the local TV anchors who bring her in for a rare interview.

Even John and Ken, the conservative KFI talkshow hosts, get some licks in, suggesting she should find another issue to go after Brown on.

Posted on Thursday, September 16th, 2010
Under: Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

Mimi Walters launching first ad against Lockyer

With all the heat and light of California’s gubernatorial and senatorial campaigns, it’s almost easy to forget about the down-ticket races. But with Labor Day behind us and the general-election season now fully upon us, forgetting is no longer an option.

To that end, Republican nominee for state Treasurer Mimi Walters – the state Senator from Laguna Niguel – announced today that she’ll start airing this ad next week on cable television in the Central Valley and parts of Southern California:

As you can see, it’s all about painting Democratic incumbent Bill Lockyer of Hayward as a career politician – which, of course, he is.

You can almost forgive her that, as it would be hard if not impossible to explain in a 30-second ad what the state Treasurer – California’s chief asset manager, banker and financier – actually does. More on that, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, September 16th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Bill Lockyer, Mimi Walters | 1 Comment »

Meg Whitman and abortion rights

A news release went out yesterday saying the abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice California would be joining women voters in protesting Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman’s event this morning in Anaheim:

(S)he has repeatedly refused to clarify her position on the issues of choice, abortion and women’s reproductive health rights. We urge voters to join us in a call to clarify her position.

Meg Whitman has engaged in cynical double talk on public funding for abortions. In 2009, she told the Flash Report that she supported public funding for abortions. In 2010, Whitman attacked Steve Poizner for supporting public funding for abortions. Whitman attacked Poizner for a position she herself had espoused less than a year before.

California women need to know where she stands as she has NOT been a consistent supporter of a woman’s right to choose. NARAL-endorsed Jerry Brown is the only choice for women who are Pro-Choice.

Today, even as the Anaheim event would’ve been wrapping up, the Republican Majority for Choice PAC and its WISH List Project formally endorsed Whitman.

RMC national co-chair Candace Straight said the former eBay CEO “embraces the Republican values of personal freedom, fiscal responsibility and limited government. She supports reproductive rights and believes choices should not be taken away from women and their doctors.”

Added RMC national co-chair Susan Bevan: “Republican Majority for Choice PAC is confident Meg Whitman will maintain California’s long tradition of supporting reproductive rights.”

The PAC supports pro-choice GOP candidates who support the full range of reproductive options, including education, pregnancy prevention, motherhood, abstinence, adoption, and safe, legal abortion. It also supports federal funding for all kinds of stem cell research, including embryonic stem cell research. It has given $70,000 to GOP House and Senate candidates so far in this election cycle, including $5,000 to Tom Campbell in California’s GOP U.S. Senate primary.

Posted on Thursday, September 16th, 2010
Under: 2010 governor's race, Meg Whitman | 2 Comments »

New ad for Brown, who predicts a ‘fusillade of misinformation’ from Whitman

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown released a new statewide TV ad today, a 30-second spot that employs the candidate himself talking directly to the camera.

Also on Thursday, Brown told KGO radio in his weekly appearance that “The only way (Whitman) can win is to tear me down, not build her up.”

In the ad, Brown vows to take on the tough chore ahead, with a slight slap at Whitman, when he says, “I’m not going to give you any phony plans or snappy slogans that don’t go anywhere.”

He continues the poll-tested theme he started on Labor Day, saying Californians have to “live within our means, we’ve got to take the power from the state Capitol and move it down to the local level, closer to the people. And no new taxes without voter approval.”

His kicker line, “and at this stage in my life, I’m prepared to do exactly that,” refers to pulling the state together. But it also is meant to convey a sense of detachment, a reassurance that, though labor organizations are his biggest backers, he has the independence to make the tough calls.

It’s the equivalent to Meg Whitman’s claim that she’s not bought by special interests, an understandable ploy to display an independence voters yearn for (though the tens of millions she’s received from business interests can hardly be seen as anything less than an effort to exert influence).

Here’s the ad:

Whitman spokeswoman Andrea Jones Rivera responded:

“Jerry Brown isn’t going to release any ‘phony’ plans because Jerry’s real plan is to put a job killing tax increase on the ballot, just like last year when he supported Prop. 1A, which would’ve been the biggest tax increase in the state’s history. After 40 years in politics, Jerry Brown is offering the same type of smoke and mirrors from Sacramento politicians that Californians can no longer afford.”

In his KGO radio comments this morning, the anchors play a clip of Whitman telling Yelp employees Wednesday in San Francisco that “politics is a tough business and you’ve got to tell people why to vote for you, and I’ve run a series … of very positive ads.”

Brown responded: “We know that 95 percent of her advertisements are negative. I think what they’ve realized is that she is so unpopular now that the only way she can win is to tear me down, not build her up.

“So, you’ll hear very little about the Whitman record going forward. It’s going to be a fusillade of misinformation, disinformation and outright deception over the next six and a half weeks.”

Brown also said he disagreed with Comcast’s decision to pull an ad by the California Teachers Association, which predicts that Whitman would cut $7 billion from schools.

“She wants to eliminate totally the capital gains tax, that’s the tax on unearned income from the sale of stocks or assets or other investments.

Ninety-five percent of the earnings, Brown continued, from that kind of income goes to people in the top 4.5 percent of taxpayers, and most goes to the top 1 percent who make more than $500,000 a year.

By eliminating the capital gains tax, “you’re increasing the deficit in a bad year by $5 billion, and in a more buoyant year, $10 billion,” he said. “Since half of (tax dollars) goes to schools, you could very fairly say her tax plan would take billions from school kids of California. I think that’s absolutely true.”

It turns out that a re-jiggered CTA ad is now being accepted by Comcast. It now says “Whitman’s plan could cut another $7 billion from our schools,” instead of “Whitman says we should cut $7 billion from schools.”

Brown said “maybe a little luck, fortune is smiling on me,” when asked how he was able to secure former president Bill Clinton’s endorsement two days after he’d dissed Clinton in comments he made to a group of campaign workers.

(For those who are just joining the fun, Brown made mocking allusions to Clinton’s problem with the truth in the Monica Lewinsky saga and said, “I did not have taxes with this state,” a clever though near catastrophic play on Clinton’s infamous “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” He apologized the next day, and was the welcome recipient of Clinton’s endorsement and repudiation of a Whitman ad that uses footage of a 1992 presidential debate in which Clinton says Brown ”doesn’t tell people the truth” about taxes. Clinton acknowledged he used faulty information from CNN. The reporter, Brooks Jackson, now the director of FactCheck. org, has also acknowledged the error. The ad, however, continues to run unabated.)

Brown called his comments “unfortunate,” but said that Clinton endorsed him because “Bill Clinton and I share very similar ideas on how to build up California’s economy and how to treat working people fairly. And he symbolizes America when it was more prosperous.”

Any feud between them, he said, is “way overblown. We had a campaign in 1992 that was very vigorous. But that’s 18 years ago. We’ve all moved on.”

Posted on Thursday, September 16th, 2010
Under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Dennis goes over the rainbow to slam Pelosi

John Dennis – the Republican nominee challenging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, for her 8th Congressional District seat – posted this online ad Sunday, and it had been viewed 561,590 times by midday today:

Dennis, 47, a Pacific Heights businessman who co-founded an office ergonomics firm, is a libertarian Republican in the Ron Paul vein. He supports ending the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and withdrawing all U.S. troops from both nations as soon as possible; speaks of closing many of our overseas military bases; favors repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and the federal Defense of Marriage Act; and agrees with the federal judge’s ruling striking down Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage.

In fact, Dennis has made no bones about seeking a piece of San Francisco’s sizable gay vote: The Bay Area Reporter recently reported that Dennis had been campaigning in the Castro, going on a pub-crawl with the president of the local Log Cabin Republicans chapter.

Hence the ad’s Wizard of Oz motif? Gee, d’you think? But the ad has gotten a lot of attention well beyond the district – for example, from Fox News, the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, Politico and the Chicago Tribune.

Pelosi’s campaign committee as of June 30 had raised $1,983,554 and spent $2,085,218 in the 2009-10 election cycle, leaving $214,046 cash on hand; Dennis’ campaign committee as of June 30 had raised $654,494 and spent $596,796, leaving $57,698 cash on hand.

Dennis’ campaign website, however, says his all-time total is $1.37 million raised, with about $88,000 raised so far in September toward a $200,000 goal for the month; if that total is true, July and August must’ve gone like gangbusters for him. That’s entirely possible: It’s not hard at all to imagine Republicans from coast to coast pouring money into Dennis campaign based on their hatred for Pelosi.

But they don’t vote in San Francisco, and there is, in fact, no place like home. The latest voter registration figures show the 8th Congressional District, contained wholly within San Francisco, is 57.2 percent Democrat, 8.6 percent Republican and 29. 4 percent decline-to-state. That means even if Dennis won every single GOP and unaffiliated vote in the district this election, he’d still lose by a substantial margin.

I’ll bet Dennis will do better than most of the Republicans who have run against Pelosi in recent years – Dana Walsh got 9.7 percent of the vote in 2008; Mike DeNunzio got 10.8 percent in 2006; and Jennifer DePalma got 11.5 percent in 2004 – but don’t hold your breath waiting for that house to land on Pelosi on Nov. 2.

Posted on Thursday, September 16th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House | 2 Comments »

Stark and Herger pitch Medicare fraud bill

Lest anyone think there’s no bipartisanship whatsoever in Washington these days, Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, and Rep. Wally Herger, R-Chico, today introduced a bill together to fight Medicare fraud.

H.R. 6130, the Strengthening Medicare Anti-Fraud Measures Act, would expand the authority of the Heath and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) to let it ban corporate executives from doing business with Medicare if their companies were convicted of fraud. It also gives the OIG the ability to exclude parent companies that may be committing fraud through shell companies. The OIG’s chief counsel asked members of the House Ways and Means Committee for these changes at a June hearing on Medicare fraud.

Pete Stark“This legislation gives the Office of Inspector General the authority to go after crooked executives and corporations that continue to bilk Medicare,” Stark, chairman of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, said in a news release. “Stopping these swindlers will save taxpayer money and protect Medicare beneficiaries. I appreciate the OIG making this request for more authority, and thank my Democratic and Republican colleagues, especially Mr. Herger, for working together to address this issue.”

Herger, the subcommittee’s ranking Republican, called Medicare fraud “a crime against senior citizens, legitimate health care providers, and every American who pays taxes.

Wally Herger“It is imperative for us to remain vigilant to prevent Medicare fraud, and to ensure that those who do commit fraud don’t get a second chance at their crimes,” he said. “With Medicare already on an unsustainable fiscal path, it is inexcusable to allow more and more taxpayer dollars to be defrauded. Law enforcement officials have informed Congress that there are gaps in our current anti-fraud laws, and I am pleased to join Chairman Stark in offering legislation to close the loopholes so that these offenders will pay the price for their crimes.”

Besides Stark and Herger, the bill’s 17 other original cosponsors include six Republicans and 11 Democrats.

Posted on Wednesday, September 15th, 2010
Under: Pete Stark, U.S. House | 5 Comments »

Alcohol industry ponies up against Prop. 19

Marijuana legalization advocates are complaining that part of the alcohol industry has invested $10,000 in defeating Proposition 19, the marijuana legalization measure on California’s ballot this November.

California Beer and Beverage Distributors made a $10,000 contribution Sept. 7 to Public Safety First, the main coalition opposing Prop. 19.

“Unless the beer distributors in California have suddenly developed a philosophical opposition to the use of intoxicating substances, the motivation behind this contribution is clear,” Marijuana Policy Project government relations director Steve Fox said in a news release today. “Plain and simple, the alcohol industry is trying to kill the competition. They know that marijuana is less addictive, less toxic and less likely to be associated with violent behavior than alcohol. So they don’t want adults to have the option of using marijuana legally instead of alcohol. Their mission is to drive people to drink.”

Fox notes the California Police Chiefs Association has given at least $30,000 to oppose Prop. 19, while the California Narcotics Officers’ Association has given at least $20,500.

“Members of law enforcement have argued against Proposition 19 by asserting, ‘We have enough problems with alcohol, we don’t need to add another intoxicating substance to the mix,’ implying that marijuana is just as bad as alcohol,” he said. “But the truth is that a legal marijuana market would not add another dangerous intoxicant to the mix; rather it would provide adults with a less harmful legal alternative to alcohol.”

California Beer and Beverage Distributors public affairs director Rhonda Stevenson wasn’t in her office today; her receptionist said only she could take media calls. Stevenson didn’t return an e-mail or a voice mail.

But Public Safety First spokesman Roger Salazar said it’s a public-safety issue, pure and simple.

“Last time I checked, alcohol is regulated by the ABC, whereas Prop 19 leaves it up to an unmanageable patchwork of 536 different jurisdictional entities to try and ‘regulate’ and ‘control’ marijuana,” he said. “The state has set standards on what constitutes DUI of alcohol but this measure omits any definition of what constitutes DUI of marijuana. California leaders and law enforcement from throughout California are opposing this poorly written initiative because it sets no regulations, no state oversight and does not collect one dime in tax revenue.”

Salazar also noted the beer and beverage industry owns and operates large truck fleets in California to bring their products to market. “I would think they would no more support allowing their drivers to drink beer before getting behind the wheel of their trucks or vans, than they would want them smoking marijuana.”

In other Prop. 19 news, co-proponent Richard Lee – who had put $1.41 million into this effort, mostly to gather the petition signatures to get it on the ballot – had told me in June that he was finished spending, but that no longer seems to be the case.

Lee has put an additional $40,166 into the campaign in the past month, accounting for almost 59 percent of the $68,615.97 in big-ticket donations that the campaign has raised since the start of August.

In other words, that online, grassroots, small-denomination micro-fundraising he was talking about over the summer – “We hope to raise $10 million, $10 each from a million people” – better have materialized (it wouldn’t have shown up in the database yet), or else not many people are funding the campaign except him.

Posted on Wednesday, September 15th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, ballot measures, campaign finance, marijuana | 4 Comments »