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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.

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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:

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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.’ ”

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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.”

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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
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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: