‘Mr. Newsom Goes to Washington’

(Sorry, Frank Capra.)

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office says he’ll be making rounds in Washington, D.C., tomorrow trying to drum up business for California.

At 11 a.m. EST, he’s scheduled to meet with Brazilian Ambassador Mauro Vieira to discuss opportunities for continued cooperation between California and Brazil. The economic growth agenda Newsom rolled out in June cited the need to gear up for exports and global trade.

At 1:30 p.m., he’s to meet with former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who now is chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, to discuss California’s film and tourism industries.

And at 3 p.m., he’s supposed to meet with U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson to push California as a target for innovation and job creation. Newsom’s economic growth agenda also recommended that the state aggressively seek to host one of three new satellite sites of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which is a Commerce Department agency.

None of the meetings will be open to the press.


Emken self-funded in 2010, but won’t vs. DiFi

Elizabeth Emken, the Danville Republican who yesterday announced her bid to challenge U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein next year, must be hoping this campaign will be a better financial bet than her last one.

Emken, 48, ran in the June 2010 GOP primary for what was then the 11th Congressional District seat. She came in fourth in a field of four; the nominee was David Harmer, who then lost the general election to incumbent Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.

Campaign finance reports show Emken had loaned her primary campaign $300,000 – 54 percent of her campaign’s $556,000 in total receipts – but only ever got back $100,000 of that. Another $408,000 went to operating expenses, and the final $48,000 – which had been contributed for use in the general election – was refunded to those who gave it. That campaign committee shut down in September 2010.

Feinstein, 78, is worth about $69 million, making her the 12th-richest member of Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Though her $9.2 million campaign nest egg might’ve been decimated by the embezzlement of now-disgraced campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee, there’s little doubt that she can both afford to ante up a lot from her own pocket and raise a great deal from others at the drop of a hat.

“Elizabeth is not planning to self-finance this campaign. We’re focused on building a broad foundation of support,” Tim Clark, Emken’s campaign spokesman, said this afternoon.

“Elizabeth has tremendous appeal among California voters, particularly among those who want a more efficient, more effective government, and a thriving job market,” he said. “Feinstein has had 20 years to show Californians what she can do. Her votes have contributed to the inexcusable government debt and the excessive regulatory climate that is now a drag on our economy. Californians are ready for change. I have no doubt that Elizabeth will have the resources necessary to get her message out.”


Gingrich on Cain: Been there, buddy

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich expressed empathy with his embattled rival, Herman Cain, in an interview with CBS Evening News that will air tonight.

CBS News Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes interviewed Gingrich during a campaign stop today in Hilton Head, S.C. She asked Gingrich about the state of Cain’s candidacy, who announced today that he is “reassessing” his campaign strategy after an Atlanta woman stepped forward yesterday claiming she had a 13-year affair with Cain.

“No, he’s not disqualified,” Gingrich said of Cain in an interview excerpt already released. “Remember, I was supposed to be dead in June and July. I am not going to go around and declare anybody else dead. I think that any candidate has the right to try to recover. They have the right to try to get back in the game. They have the right to try to rebuild momentum.”

“I like Herman Cain personally, we have known each other for many years and I think that it must be very painful to go through what he’s going through right now.”

CBS says Cordes also talked to Gingrich about his own campaign, his recent surge in the polls, and concerns about his marital history, which has included cheating on his second wife.


Lawmakers sign brief vs. Alabama immigration law

The South Bay’s House members are among 39 Democrats who signed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Alabama’s anti-illegal immigration law, HB 56.

Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto; Mike Honda, D-San Jose; and Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, joined in the brief filed Monday, which argued six sections of Alabama’s law are unconstitutional.

“All of these sections are impliedly preempted by federal law and Congressional power and, if allowed to stand, will create an unworkable conflict between federal and state enforcement schemes and priorities,” the brief said. “Such a conflict will frustrate the orderly enforcement of federal immigration law and could jeopardize this Nation’s relationships with its closest allies.”

The brief also argues the law will harm the rights of all Alabamans, including citizens, under the First, Fourth, Sixth and 14th Amendments.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., spearheaded the effort to get lawmakers on board with the brief, including a Nov. 21 delegation trip to Birmingham, Ala., which Lofgren accompanied. Other signers of the brief included Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Xavier Becerra, D-Los Angeles.

“The Constitution is quite clear about the federal government’s preeminent role in immigration matters and having 50 inconsistent state policies towards immigrants is a level of chaos the Founders sought to avoid,” Gutierrez, who chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s Immigration Task Force, said in a news release. “HB 56 adds layers of punitive measures targeting Alabama residents that are inconsistent with federal policy. Congress has the responsibility to balance many concerns in legislating federal immigration policy, such as law enforcement, the economy, family unity, education, civil rights, and so on. HB 56 has and will cause irreparable harm to communities and families throughout Alabama, but will also cause irreparable damage to Constitutional principles if allowed to stand. We join the U.S. Department of Justice, civil rights organizations, immigrant advocates, educators and people of faith in calling for HB 56 to be stripped from Alabama’s law books.”


Why Occupy hopes to shut down West Coast ports

Organizers of the Occupy movement’s West Coast port shutdown, planned for Monday, Dec. 12, issued the following statement early this morning (to which I added links):

As of November 27, 2011, the Occupy movement in every major West Coast port city: Occupy LA, Occupy San Diego, Occupy Portland, Occupy Tacoma, Occupy Seattle have joined Occupy Oakland in calling for and organizing a coordinated West Coast Port Blockade and Shutdown on December 12, 2011. Other West Coast Occupies, including Occupy Anchorage and Vancouver, Canada are planning to join the economic blockade and disruption of the 1% on that date, according to organizers.

“We’re shutting down these ports because of the union busting and attacks on the working class by the 1%: the firing of Port truckers organizing at SSA terminals in LA; the attempt to rupture ILWU union jurisdiction in Longview, WA by EGT. EGT includes Bunge LTD, a company which reported 2.5 billion dollars in profit last year and has economically devasted poor people in Argentina and Brazil. SSA is responsible for inhumane working conditions and gross exploitation of port truckers and is owned by Goldman Sachs. EGT and Goldman Sachs is Wallstreet on the Waterfront,” stated Barucha Peller of the West Coast Port Blockade Assembly of Occupy Oakland.

“We are also striking back against the nationally’ coordinated attack on the Occupy movement. In response to the police violence and camp evictions against the Occupy movement- This is our coordinated response against the 1%. On December 12th we will show are collective power through pinpointed economic blockade of the 1%.”

Each Occupy is organizing plans for a mass mobilization and community pickets to shut down their local Port. The mobilization of over 60,000 people that shut down the Port of Oakland during the general strike on November 2, 2011 is the model for the West Coast efforts. Organizers state that a police attempt to disrupt the port blockade or police violence against any city participating will extend duration of the blockade on the entire coast.

“These Ports are public. People have a right to come to the Port and protest. The ILWU has historically honored picket lines at the Port.” stated Clarence Thomas, a member of ILWU Local 10.

ILWU longshore workers are involved as individuals in the planning of the Shutdown. “I am a longshoreman and I support the December 12th Blockade against EGT. EGT is a threat to the survival of the ILWU,” stated Anthony Leviege, a member of Local 10. Dan Coffman, the president of Local 21 in Longview, has publicly thanked the Occupy movement and Occupy Oakland for its actions on November 2nd.

Further interviews and details can be obtained through local Port Blockade committees and the Oakland West Coast Port Blockade Assembly.

UPDATE @ 8:11 P.M.: As one re-tweeter noted, and I agree: There’s no way 60,000 people attended the Nov. 2 general strike in Oakland – not even close.


Bay Area lawmakers among the wealthiest in U.S.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi: $101 million. Rep. Jerry McNerney: $9,000. OpenSecrets.com: Priceless.

About 47 percent of Congress, or 250 current members of Congress, are millionaires, according to a new study by the Center for Responsive Politics of lawmakers’ personal financial disclosure forms from 2010.

The Bay Area beats the national figure, where eight of its 13 regionally based federal lawmakers top the $1 million mark in assets and liabilities.

No. 8 nationally out of 530 members and the wealthiest of the Bay Area legislators, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, reported an average net worth of $101 million.

The poorest member was Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, with an average net worth of $9,000 and a national ranking of No. 494.

Talk about a gap between the haves and have nots.

Keep in mind, the disclosure numbers do not include personal property such as residences, artwork or retirement accounts but do include the spouses’ income and investments. The forms contain vast value ranges, however, which makes it impossible to make precise estimates, says the Center for Responsive Politics.

For the other Bay Area colleages and their national rankings:

  • No. 12 — Sen. Dianne Feinstein, $69 million
  • No. 49 — Rep. Jackie Speier, $12.5 million
  • No. 72 — Rep. John Garamendi, $6.9 million
  • No. 110 — Rep. Pete Stark, $3.9 million
  • No. 130 – Sen. Barbara Boxer, $3.5 million
  • No. 192 — Rep. Anna Eshoo, $1.8 million
  • No. 201 — Rep. Mike Thompson, $1.7 million
  • No. 211 — Rep. Zoe Lofgren, $1.5 million
  • No. 304 — Rep. George Miller, $668,000
  • No. 308 — Rep. Mike Honda, $639,505
  • No. 343 — Rep. Lynn Woolsey, $490,505
  • No. 370 – Rep. Barbara Lee, $392,503

Read the full 530-member list at the Center for Responsive Politics site.