Former sheriff Plummer endorses Pete Stark’s foe

Eric Swalwell, the Alameda County prosecutor and Dublin councilman taking on Rep. Pete Stark in the newly drawn 15th Congressional District in 2012, rolled out law enforcement endorsements today including that of longtime Alameda County Sheriff Charlie Plummer.

“I’m supporting Eric because he has the character we need in our next Congressman,” the 81-year-old retired lawman said in Swalwell’s news release. “In the courtroom, as a prosecutor, Eric is known for being tough, fair, and always acting with integrity.”

It’s interesting to see Plummer, a contemporary of the 79-year-old Stark, D-Fremont, endorsing Stark’s 30-year-old Democratic opponent. Anyone who knows Plummer knows his penchant for (ahem) colorful rhetoric, so I figured I’d call him up for more details.

“I’ve known Pete Stark forever, we used to go to the same haircutter a long time ago, but I can’t think of anything worthwhile Pete Stark has ever done. He should follow my advice and know when it’s time to quit, and I think he should quit now,” said Plummer, of Hayward, who rose through the Berkeley Police ranks and was Hayward’s police chief before serving as the county’s sheriff from 1987 to 2007. “He’s not a young man. The reason I retired is I couldn’t jump over fences any more. You have to know when to step back… it doesn’t mean I’m mad at him, it just means I think it’s time to change.”

Stark couldn’t immediately be reached for comment this afternoon.

As for Swalwell, Plummer said, “I think he’s a comer, I really do, otherwise I wouldn’t lend my name to him, not that my name means that much. For the times that we’re in right now, I think he’s the one to put there.”

Plummer’s current voter registration shows he declines to state a party affiliation, but he was a fixture in East Bay politics for decades. His past endorsements have gone both to Democrats – such as state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, and then Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown for state attorney general in 2006 – and Republicans – such as former Assemblywoman Lynne Leach, R-Walnut Creek, and 2008 Assembly candidate Abram Wilson. Campaign finance records show he contributed $300 in 2006 to Stark’s Republican challenger, George Bruno, after having made several small donations to the Republican National Committee in the 1990s.

Stark announced his candicacy for re-election to a 21st term in Congress in August. The Congressional Record shows Stark sang Plummer’s praises on the House floor in February 2000, October 2002 and January 2007. In the latter remarks, Stark said Plummer “has never minced words nor failed to step up to the plate to take responsibility for activities or implementation of programs for the safety and welfare of residents in Alameda County. He leaves a legacy of commitment, straight-talk and no-nonsense service.”

Plummer today said that was “all appreciated, but as you know, nobody’s there when they do that kind of thing, it doesn’t mean a hell of a lot.”

Swalwell is touting his work as an Alameda County deputy district attorney, as which he says he has prosecuted more than 1,000 cases and 32 jury trials. Other endorsements he announced today include Alameda County District Attorney Chief of Inspectors Brad Kearns, Union City Police Chief Greg Stewart, retired Pleasanton Police Chief Tim Neal, the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of Alameda County, the Livermore Police Officers Association, the Pleasanton Police Officers Association and the Union City Police Officers Association.

June’s primary will be the first regular election using the “top two” system, in which candidates of all parties compete on the same ballot and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election.


Carly Fiorina to keynote anti-abortion group’s gala

Carly Fiorina, California’s Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 2010, will give the keynote address at the 40th anniversary gala of Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion-rights group.

Fiorina 6-17-10 in Sacramento (AP Photo)The former Hewlett Packard CEO, 57, of Los Altos Hills, will deliver the speech Nov. 2 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Fiorina was named in July as a vice chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, charged with fundraising for GOP candidates in the 2012 cycle.

“As the first woman to lead a Fortune 20 company, Carly Fiorina has lived a life of accomplishment and achievement that beautifully demonstrates that being pro-life is pro-woman,” AUL President and CEO Charmaine Yoest said in a news release issued early this morning. “We are honored to have Carly articulate her vision of moving forward toward restoring a culture of life while celebrating AUL’s four decades of pro-life victories.”

AUL’s release said the gala will celebrate “the accomplishments of four decades serving as the nation’s premier pro-life legal team and as the source of much of the pro-life model legislation that has had such an impact across the country.” It lists among its milestones successfully defending the Hyde Amendment before the U.S. Supreme Court, “establishing the intellectual groundwork for fetal homicide laws enacted in 37 states,” reducing abortions state by state through its model legislation, leading the fight against assisted suicide and testifying in state legislatures and the last two U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

The event’s honorary co-chairs are House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.; U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.; and Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Individual tickets cost $500 each while sponsorships range up to $25,000, all available online.

Fiorina outlined her anti-abortion stance to the San Francisco Chronicle in April 2010:

“I myself was not able to have children of my own, and so I know what a precious gift life is,” Fiorina said. She helped raised two stepchildren, the daughters of her second husband, Frank Fiorina. One, Lori Ann Fiorina, 35, died last year.

“My husband’s mother was told to abort him,” Fiorina said. “She spent a year in the hospital after his birth. My husband is the joy of her life, and he is the rock of my life. So those experiences have shaped my view.

“I recognize that a lot of women disagree with me on that,” Fiorina said. “But I also know that women in general are not single-issue voters. When I talk to women on this, it’s not the issue that is on the table in this election.”


GOP holds its own Silicon Valley town hall

Hours after President Obama held a town hall meeting on job creation Monday morning at the Mountain View headquarters of social networking site LinkedIn, three top House Republicans held a similar forum at the Palo Alto headquarters of Facebook.

The discussion and question-and-answer session with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.; and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield; and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, D-Wisc., was moderated by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who held a $35,800-a-plate fundraising dinner for President Obama on Sunday night at her Atherton home.

Generally, they spoke about the need to reform the tax code to eliminate corporate loopholes so that everyone pays, and so everyone pays less; reforming entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid so that we can afford them; and bringing the kind of innovative interaction to Washington that has made Facebook such a success.

Cantor said Republicans in coming weeks will be looking at rolling back regulations that they believe tie the hands of small businesses. Among those are environmental protection rules, which must be balanced with business’ needs, he said; they’ll also try to roll back some of the recent financial reforms that have made it too hard for small businesses to get credit and capital.

McCarthy said the key to entitlement reform could be a bipartisan agreement that neither side will demonize the other, but instead, everyone will put all options on the table and let the public decide. He exhorted citizens to “join in, engage, do not sit back.”

Ryan said he didn’t want to serve on the new Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction – often called the “super committee” – because he believes there’s so much more to do beyond that panel’s appointed task. Achieving $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction would be “a nice step in the right direction,” he said, but he’s contemplating a proposal to enact a whole new budgeting process to control future spending.

In a “lightning round” of mini-questions from Sandberg, Ryan opted for entitlement reform even over tax reform. “Our government, both political parties, has been making promises to people we can’t keep,” he said, so current recipients should be protected but future benefits should be reigned in with higher retirement ages and wage-indexed benefits for Social Security and private insurance options under Medicare.

The nation is at “a very precarious time right now” and must have a safety net for the needy, he said, but not “a hammock that lulls able bodied people into lives of complacency.”

Ryan will speak and answer questions on health care reform tomorrow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.


The scenes outside the president’s fundraisers

As always, there was a lot more going on than I could fit into the story.

I got to the site of the first fundraiser, at the Woodside home of Symantec chairman John Thompson, between 3 and 3:30 p.m. and soon realized any protestors or supporters would be held back elsewhere. The only folks I saw there who weren’t law enforcement or on their way through the security checks at the gate were some neighbors – two parents and their two daughters – just up the road, watching the bomb squad’s dog sniff their mailbox.

They told me they’re a Republican household. Asked what he’d tell the President if he were inside the event, the dad replied, “I’d say, ‘Your policies don’t work.’”

I headed back out to Sand Hill Road and Whiskey Hill Road, the rally point for a crowd of protestors that grew to more than 100 by the time the motorcade went by at 6:11 p.m.

Sharon Hiensley, 65, of Fremont, held a sign that said “Stop killing the dream of the young and poor – stop illegal aliens taking over our jobs.”

Owen Jones, 59, of Fremont, stood next to her; his sign said “Illegals cost U.S. trillions –no more ‘freebies’ 4 illegal aliens.” He described himself as a 40-year union carpenter “watching his trade and his livelihood stolen from illegal immigration,” and a member of the Golden Gate Minutemen.

Sandy, 46, of San Leandro, said she’s a Democrat and a postal worker who takes a lot of guff about both from her fellow members of the Bay Area Patriots. “I think our government is wasting too much money,” she said, holding a sign that implored the president to “stop giving jobs to illegal aliens.”

“I actually have a teenager who cannot find a job,” she said.

Jean, “old enough to know better,” another Bay Area Patriots member from Redwood City, said she believes “we need to change the government, it’s rotten to the core. All the stimulus was was a payoff to Obama’s cronies, and all those ‘green jobs’ are a farce.”

“We need E-verify so we can get ride of the illegals so we can have the jobs,” she added. “We need to close our borders… and we need to clean out Washington; all those guys are socialist-Marxists.”

Lots more, after the jump…
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Pete Stark’s challenger launches ‘listening tour’

Eric Swalwell, a Democrat who announced Wednesday that he’s taking on longtime incumbent Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, in the newly drawn 15th Congressional District, isn’t letting any grass grow under his feet.

The 30-year-old Alameda County prosecutor and Dublin City Council member is kicking off a “Downtown Listening Tour” of cities in the new district with a visit to Livermore tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 24. He’ll be at the fountain at First Street and South Livermore Avenue at noon, and then at the First Street Alehouse, 2106 First St., at 1 p.m.

His campaign says he’ll “talk with residents and small business owners about issues related to the economy, job creation, and hear their thoughts on how Congress can do better in Washington, DC.”

Stark, 79, first was elected to Congress in 1972; he’s the fifth most senior House member and dean of the California delegation. He announced his candidacy for a 21st term Aug. 2, saying he looks forward to continuing to serve old constituents while gaining new ones. He held town hall meetings last weekend in Union City and Hayward.

Polls show Californians have record low opinions of Congress, and the new district is vastly different from Stark’s existing 13th District. The new district boundaries lose much of Fremont and all of Alameda while adding Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon and Castro Valley. Also, June’s primary will be the first regular election using the “top two” system, in which candidates of all parties compete on the same ballot and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election.


FPPC to hold hearing on Durkee case Sept. 30

California’s political finance watchdog agency will hold a public hearing next Friday to hear from those affected by the Democratic campaign treasury scandal that has rocked the state.

Staff of the Fair Political Practices Commission, chaired by Ann Ravel, will hear from officials, campaigns and the public regarding regulatory questions arising due to the campaign fraud case surrounding longtime treasurer Kinde Durkee.

Durkee, who ran Durkee & Associates in Burbank, is accused of taking significant amounts of money from the campaign accounts of numerous California officials, the FPPC notes, and many banks have frozen campaign accounts during the ongoing investigation. Among the most prominent apparent victims are U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. – who sued Durkee and First National Bank on Friday – and Reps. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, and Loretta Sanchez, D-Anaheim, all of whom could be missing substantial sums.

“The far reaching impacts have given rise to numerous regulatory questions such as expenditure reporting and recordkeeping, replacement of contributions to state candidate election committees, and compliance with reporting deadlines,” the commission said in a news release. “Commission staff would like to obtain as much information as possible in order to consider any appropriate regulatory action to take in response.”

The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. next Friday, Sept. 30 in the FPPC’s hearing room, 428 J St., Suite 800, in Sacramento. It will be webcast on the commission’s website as well as at cal-span.org.