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Archive for October, 2010

Bill Lockyer gives his wife’s campaign $110k more

Incumbent California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, who it seems has barely lifted a finger to fend off Republican challenger state Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel, dropped another $110,000 on his wife’s campaign for Alameda County Supervisor this week.

That brings Lockyer for Treasurer 2010’s total contributions to Nadia Lockyer‘s supervisorial campaign to almost $1.32 million. Nadia Lockyer, who directs the Alameda County District Attorney’s Family Justice Center, is competing with former state Sen. Liz Figueroa, D-Sunol, for the District 2 supervisor’s seat, which represents Hayward, Newark, Union City, a chunk of Fremont and unincorporated Sunol.

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters reports that the 2nd Supervisorial District has 128,168 registered voters; thus, Bill Lockyer has given Nadia Lockyer about $10.29 for every person who could possibly vote in this election. Of course, the turnout will be far less; watch for a cost-per-vote analysis once all the returns and campaign finance reports are in.

Bill Lockyer’s campaign committee still had $5,064,132.91 cash on hand as of Oct. 16, the end of the last reporting period.

Posted on Thursday, October 28th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Alameda County, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, campaign finance | 3 Comments »

Prop. 19 buys ads on ‘Daily Show,’ ‘Colbert’

For those who’d wondered how advocates for Proposition 19 would spend the cool million that billionaire financier George Soros dropped on them Tuesday, just watch Comedy Central’s popular Daily Show and Colbert Report programs for the next few days.

A 30-second spot advocating for the marijuana-legalization measure will air during the hit programs’ commercial breaks:

The ads were paid for by the Drug Policy Action Committee To Tax And Regulate Marijuana – Yes On Prop. 19, which is sponsored by Drug Policy Action; Drug Policy Action is affiliated with the Drug Policy Alliance, of which Soros is a board member and prime funder.

The ads will run in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose on Thursday and Friday. They will also run in Southern California on Friday and Monday, the night before the election.

“Comedy Central’s flagship shows are the perfect outlet for Prop. 19’s reform message,” said Stephen Gutwillig, Drug Policy Action’s California director. “Getting younger voters and progressive voters to the polls Tuesday could well make the difference for this historic initiative to end decades of failed, punitive and wasteful marijuana policies.”

Yes on 19 supporters also intend to bring the “Legalize Pot” message to Stewart and Colbert viewers when several hundred people gather at the “Rally to Restore Sanity” march Saturday in Washington, D.C. “Supporters will march in business suits – not Birkenstocks – to reinforce the message that there is no archetypal marijuana legalization supporter,” Drug Policy Action Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann said.

Meanwhile, the No on 19 campaign began airing a radio ad today in the Bay Area noting that the major-party candidates for U.S. Senate, governor and attorney general, as well as U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and President Barack Obama, all oppose the measure. It’ll remain on the air through Election Day.

Posted on Thursday, October 28th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, ballot measures, marijuana | No Comments »

Miller says Dems will keep the House

Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, sounded an optimistic and almost defiant note Thursday on Democrats’ chances of keeping control of the House of Representatives.

“I think we hold onto it with a rather smaller margin than we had,” he said, just after accompanying U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer on a campaign-stop tour of Contra Costa College’s automotive hybrid jobs training program. “It’s still ours to lose.”

Miller, who as co-chair of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee works closely with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the caucus’ political and policy agenda, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy and these final days won’t be either. “Of course, I’m concerned – this is a very tough election cycle.”

But asked what Democrats would do if they lost control of the House, he quickly replied, “we don’t plan to have that happen;” he said he, Pelosi and other leaders have been planning for the next session on the assumption that Democrats will still be in control and she’ll still be Speaker.

Posted on Thursday, October 28th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Barbara Boxer, George Miller, Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House, U.S. Senate | 4 Comments »

Tonight’s Prop. 19 Commonwealth Club event

Here’s the Proposition 19 forum we had earlier tonight at the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco, featuring Prop. 19 co-proponent Richard Lee; No on 19 campaign manager Tim Rosales; and RAND Drug Policy Research Center co-director Beau Kilmer:

Posted on Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, ballot measures, marijuana | No Comments »

Arnold on DC pols: ‘What wimps. No guts’

In an interview to air tonight on ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer,” Sawyer asked Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger about the clean energy policies that he says will be his legacy, and Schwarzenegger talked about how Washington has dealt with this issue.

“We need to go to Washington and say, ‘Look what happened. You, because oil companies have spent money against you, they have threatened you, you backed off the energy policy and the environmental policy in Washington. What wimps. No guts. I mean, here, you idolize and always celebrate the great warriors. Our soldiers, our men and women who go to Iraq and Afghanistan, and they’re risking their lives to defend this country and you’re not even willing to stand up against the oil companies. I said, that’s disgusting. You promised the people you’d represent them. You didn’t promise the people you’d represent the oil companies and the special interests.’ ”

Posted on Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, energy, Environment | 1 Comment »

Lawmakers tout $10.2 mil for East Bay trails

House members at Coliseum BART 10-27-10 -- photo by Josh RichmanFour of the East Bay’s five House of Representatives members gathered in Oakland this afternoon to tout a $10.2 million federal grant to improve the region’s pedestrian and bicycle trails and reduce local traffic congestion.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the grant last week through its Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery II (TIGER II) program, bankrolled by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act economic stimulus law. It’ll fund seven projects in Alameda and Contra Costa counties that are part of the East Bay Regional Park District’s Green Transportation Initiative, closing gaps in the nearly 200-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail system that can bring people to BART, Amtrak, bus and other transportation modes. From an overview of the initiative:

Providing low-cost, healthy transportation choices in crowded urban areas will improve the nation’s economic competitiveness by reducing transportation and health-care costs while increasing the mobility of the labor force. Walking and bicycling are the most environmentally sustainable forms of transportation, are energy efficient, and generate no greenhouse gasses or other pollutants. The EBGTI will help achieve these goals while creating hundreds of good-paying American jobs constructing and maintaining portions of the nation’s transportation infrastructure.

One of the seven projects is the East Bay Greenway, a proposed bicycle and pedestrian pathway running under the BART tracks from the Coliseum station to 105th Avenue in Oakland. And so Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez; Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont; and Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, gathered today at the Coliseum BART station. Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, held his own news conference announcing the grant last week.

EBRPD Board President Doug Siden introduced the lawmakers, noting $19 billion worth of projects competed for $600 million in TIGER II funding, and it was the East Bay’s House members’ efforts that helped seal the deal to bring some of the money here.

“We wanted the Secretary of Transportation and our entire federal government to understand the possibilities of what a TIGER II grant would do for the Bay Area,” Lee said – not only a means of getting people out of cars and onto their feet or bicycles on their way to work, but also a source of up to 500 new jobs as the projects get underway.

Garamendi said his call to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood came after those of several of his colleagues. “He said, ‘My God, how many represent this area?’ I said, ‘Enough to get you to do this.’”

Miller said the sell was made somewhat easier by the park district’s reputation as “one of the most respected park agencies in the world.”

Posted on Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
Under: Barbara Lee, George Miller, Jerry McNerney, John Garamendi, Pete Stark, Transportation, U.S. House | 3 Comments »

CD11: FEC and IEs

Finally. A week out from the Nov. 2 midterm election, the Federal Election Commission unveils a searchable, online database of independent expenditures.

Check it out at this link: http://www.fec.gov/data/IndependentExpenditure.action?format=html

Until this site, individuals interested in independent expenditures filed with the FEC — those expenses promoting or opposing a candidate that take place outside a candidate’s control — had to plod through gawd-awful online lists, deploy “find on screen” techniques and use (gasp) calculators.

Opensecrets.org has recently made this information more readily available, too, but it is nice to go directly to the source.

I did a quick search on the 11th Congressional District candidates, Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney and GOP nominee David Harmer, and found a total of $1.5 million has been spent. The bulk of the money has gone into anti-Harmer campaign.

I downloaded the data, did a quick pivot table and here is the breakdown:

  • Oppose Harmer: $1,038,292
  • Support Harmer: $6,471
  • Oppose McNerney: $391,235
  • Support McNerney: $68,228

Posted on Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, congressional district 11 | 1 Comment »

Brown ups ante on offer to end attack ads

Jerry Brown, going for the kill, is making maximum use out of the Matt Lauer proposition today.

The Democratic gubernatorial candidate upped the ante on the Today Show co-host’s request Tuesday at the California Women’s Conference that both campaigns drop their negative attacks for the remainder of the campaign.

Not only is Brown calling on Whitman to join him in going positive over the final six days, but he is also urging all third-party campaigns to drop their attack ads.

“Meg Whitman has had a full day to consult with her image makers and political handlers and it’s time for each of us to put our best foot forward and end this campaign on a high note,” Brown said.

“If Meg Whitman will join me in pledging to end the negative ads, all third party and independent expenditure groups should abide by the agreement and only run positive ads through Election Day.”

Below is an ad the Brown campaign released today, “Positive Finish,” to drive home the point.

It was a move made to order for Brown, given his widening lead in the polls –  the Los Angeles Times/USC poll had him up by 13 points over the weekend. Brown is fully mindful that Whitman’s only hope to pull out a victory is to intensify her attacks on him, but that by refusing to agree to a truce she only amplifies her own negatives.

Whitman, Brown said, has released 11 new TV attack ads over the last 15 days, in English and Spanish. He says they’ve distorted his record on jobs, taxes, spending, Proposition 13, pension reform, capital punishment, crime, campaign contributions, immigration and education.

Those ads have aired 80,000 times since the end of the primary, he said.

Whitman said Tuesday that there’s a distinction between character attacks that she’s endured and attacks on Brown’s record as governor and mayor of Oakland. She was booed by a large crowd of mostly women.

Whitman spokeswoman Andrea Rivera responded to Brown’s offer:

“Jerry Brown’s phony pledge is just what you would expect from a cynical career politician. Jerry Brown is hypocritically pledging to take down negative ads, while his allies are launching new negative spots at the very same time.  Jerry Brown and the public employee unions are running an around-the-clock character assault against Meg, and we’re supposed to buy this new ‘pledge’? It’s the height of hypocrisy.”

Here’s the full exchange Tuesday at the women’s conference:

Posted on Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
Under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Another disastrous moment for Whitman

It was a cheap trick by Matt Lauer, a pander move for the celebrity anchor of NBC’s Today Show.

Lauer asked both gubernatorial candidates, Democrat Jerry Brown and Republican Meg Whitman, to pledge to remove their negative ads for the rest of the campaign, to the approval of the cheering crowd at the California Women’s Conference.

It was an unfair question, really, if you understand the reality of politics and the flow of this particular campaign. And it could be seen as an ambush on Whitman, who has run an exceptionally negative campaign and couldn’t be expected to relinquish the last hope she has, which is to somehow make Brown less appealing than her.

Brown got some flak initially when he said that negative ads are in the “eye of the beholder,” but he quickly rebounded by promising he would take off all his attack ads if Whitman responded in kind.

It was a stroke of genius. Brown did what he does best: he understood the audience and tapped into the predominent sentiment, putting Whitman on the defensive.

It was an easy play for Brown, who can afford to appear magnanimous with his expanding lead in the polls. But, he also knew that Whitman would never agree to such a deal. Even if Brown has all intentions of going for the jugular in the final days, he gave the impression he was ready to do the right thing.

“Let’s be clear,” Brown said. “If she takes her negative ads down … I’ll take mine off, no question. We’ll do it together.”

Whitman, on the other hand, was cornered into the very awkward moment she was hoping to draw Brown into.

Heading into the women’s conference, it was the Brown campaign that was worried stiff that Brown might slip up, pull off a faux pas or blunder into a gaffe. And Whitman’s team was hoping that she could make inroads with women voters. She started off with a soft and gauzy story about her mother’s influence (something about her volunteering for the Red Cross, going to New Guinea and telling her daughter about the consequences of “inaction when the need” is great, which sounds like it came out of a JFK flier circa 1960, and certainly doesn’t appear to have influenced Whitman on her voting habits in all those years).

It probably wasn’t going to make much of a difference, since Whitman otherwise reverted to talking points and subtle attack lines, drawing some groans from the audience.

But when Lauer’s question came, she flopped completely.

“Here’s what I’ll do,” she said. “I will take down any ads that could even remotely be construed as a personal attack. But I don’t think we can take down the ads that talk about where Governor Brown stands on the issues.”

Amid boos, she continued: “People need to know where I stand. And also Jerry Brown has been in politics for 40 years and there’s a long track record there. And I want to make sure that people really understand what’s going on here. And I’m not doing it in a mean-spirited way.”

Her exasperation showed right through her smile as she defended her ability to attack Brown on his record. And her discomfort was all too apparent when the groans and boos came from the crowd.

Brown’s team, sensing yet one more opportunity to exploit, quickly put out a last-minute fund-raising pitch with a short video capturing Whitman’s disastrous moment.

The Whitman campaign responded afterwards twice, in overdrive to show that Brown couldn’t possibly mean that he would end the negative attacks and that he truly is the cynical one in this campaign.

Sarah Pompei offered this lengthy comment initially, referring to a story I’d done in July foreshadowing Brown’s camapaign manager Steve Glazer’s vow to go after Whitman on character.

“Our campaign is going to continue to advertise Meg’s positive vision for California, while also running fair and truthful ads that highlight Jerry Brown’s long record on the issues. For more than six months, the Brown campaign and its allies in the public employee unions have been running a negative campaign against Meg Whitman. Most of their advertising attacks have focused on character assassination, avoiding any real discussion of the important issues that are of interest to Californians.

“In July, Jerry Brown’s campaign manager foreshadowed the strategy behind their attack-style campaign and declared a ‘war on character issues’. A declaration that came just months after Jerry Brown was videotaped behind closed doors making pleas to his special interest allies in Sacramento to ‘attack’ so he could be ‘the nice guy’. California’s voters deserve better.

“Jerry Brown can keep trying to fool the public that he’s ‘the nice guy’ but in reality he’s a cynical career politician running a cynical and negative campaign. The Brown campaign should pull its misleading character attacks on Meg Whitman and instead use its advertising to conduct an honest debate on the issues, something that has been missing from the Brown campaign for months.”

Later, Andrea Rivera, another Whitman spokeswoman, released a second statement:

“Just moments after Jerry Brown committed to taking down his negative advertisements, one of the 30 different special interest groups that are attacking Meg on Brown’s behalf launched a new attack. Jerry Brown has been running a hard-hitting character assault on California’s airwaves for months, and the idea that he and his union attack groups would stop now is absurd.”

But the Whitman responses miss the point. Whitman answered Lauer’s question as if she was the cynical politician intent on tearing down her opponent in order to win. Meanwhile, Brown, the lifelong pol who has had some eviscerating ads attacking Whitman’s character, appeared above the fray and ready to try a fresh approach to campaigning.

It was a skillful maneuver by the old pol, leaving the rookie challenger wondering what hit her.

Posted on Tuesday, October 26th, 2010
Under: Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

Lawmakers decry Arnold’s child-care veto

Lawmakers and child-care advocates held a news conference in Oakland this morning to decry Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Oct. 8 veto of $256 million in CalWORKs Stage 3 child care funds which would’ve provided services to working parents.

State Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, had called the cuts “unnecessary, misguided, cruel and shortsighted” in a news release issued yesterday. “It will force millions of parents to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for their children. I can think of no action more destructive to our economy that forcing low-income workers to give up their jobs. That’s why we must overturn the Governor’s veto.”

Among those also at the news conference were state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell; Renee Sutton Herzfeld, executive director of Community Child Care Council (4C’s) of Alameda County; and state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro.

Corbett later Tuesday issued a statement saying she’s “disappointed that the Governor used a single pen stroke to take away funds that working families need. He slammed closed the door of opportunity for 60,000 families statewide, including 81,000 children.”

“Government should help people, not hurt them,” she added. “We fought to make sure the most draconian cuts proposed by the Governor did not become reality. Unfortunately, once again, the children of this state were targeted.”

Here’s what Herzfeld had to say last week about the governor’s veto:

My colleague, Katy Murphy, penned an article last week further describing the child-care cuts’ impact here in the East Bay.

Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear this afternoon questioned why, despite today’s news conference and the veto’s impending effects, I’m bothering to report about a veto that happened weeks ago – “We’re having a presser tomorrow to overturn Prohibition. Hope you can make it.” – and referred questions to state Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer.

(Asked if he really wanted to be so cavalier about a veto that will impact so many families, McLear responded by e-mail, “Sounds like you’re writing from a particular point of view — interesting reporting. Just making sure u know this story is weeks old.”)

Palmer said the governor vetoed $963 million in general-fund spending, including this child-care money, because lawmakers had sent him a budget with only $375 million in reserves, which he deemed too small given the state’s fiscal instability.

“Each of these vetoes involved trade-offs and some tough choices, and this veto clearly will present challenges for many,” Palmer said, although the budget does still include $1.7 billion in child-care for low-income Californians through other programs. “I do not and would not mean to suggest each family, each individual affected by this will have a vacant slot waiting for them – there are waiting lists, there are backlogs.”

Palmer also provided a primer explaining exactly what the “Stage 3 funds” are:

CalWORKs Stage 1, an entitlement program, is administered by the Department of Social Services through county welfare departments and provides child care services to individuals when they enter the CalWORKs program. It is funded with a combination of non-Proposition 98 General Fund and TANF.

CalWORKs Stage 2, also an entitlement program, is administered by the Department of Education and provides child care services to families transitioning off of CalWORKs. Families are eligible to receive services for up to two years after they no longer receive a CalWORKs grant. Stage 2 is funded through a combination of Proposition 98 General Fund and federal funds.

CalWORKs Stage 3, a capped program (not an entitlement), is also administered by the Department of Education and provides child care services to families that have exhausted their two-year time limit in Stage 2. Families remain eligible for services provided that their children are younger than age 13 and they meet the income eligibility criteria. The budget provides federal funding for services through October 2010.

Posted on Tuesday, October 26th, 2010
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, California State Senate, Ellen Corbett, Jack O'Connell, Loni Hancock, state budget | 7 Comments »