Cain’s lawyer: 13-yr affair should be off-limits

Atlanta’s Fox 5 News today broke the story of a Georgia woman who claims she had a 13-year extramarital affair with Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. The station reported that Cain’s attorney, Len Wood, sent the following statement:

“Mr. Cain has been informed today that your television station plans to broadcast a story this evening in which a female will make an accusation that she engaged in a 13-year long physical relationship with Mr. Cain. This is not an accusation of harassment in the workplace – this is not an accusation of an assault – which are subject matters of legitimate inquiry to a political candidate.

“Rather, this appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults – a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public. No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life. The public’s right to know and the media’s right to report has boundaries and most certainly those boundaries end outside of one’s bedroom door.”

“Mr. Cain has alerted his wife to this new accusation and discussed it with her. He has no obligation to discuss these types of accusations publicly with the media and he will not do so even if his principled position is viewed unfavorably by members of the media.”

Really? “Not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public? Nobody, including those in public life, “should be questioned about his or her private sexual life?” I guess Wood and Cain weren’t reading the news around the time that this alleged affair began 13 years ago.

And I’m sure the names Larry Craig, Anthony Weiner, Chris Lee, John Ensign and David Wu don’t mean anything to them, either.

Well, I guess at least ascendant GOP candidate Newt Gingrich welcomes news of Cain’s extramarital affair… oh, wait, never mind.


Ex-Pinole councilman to be fined $111,500

The Fair Political Practices Commission will consider levying a fine of $111,500 on  former Pinole Councilman David Cole for repeatedly failing to disclose a financial relationship with a company while simultaneously casting votes that involved the business.

The FPPC will meet Dec. 8 in Sacramento.

Here’s what the staff report summary says:

In the Matter of David Cole, FPPC No. 06/1148 (Default Decision). Staff: Senior Commission Counsel Angela Brereton and Special Investigator Leon Nurse-Williams. Respondent David Cole was a member of the Pinole City Council and also a board member of the Pinole Redevelopment Agency in Pinole, CA, from 2000 to 2007. Respondent Cole owned and operated Pinole Valley Landscape (PVL). PVL provided services to and received substantial income from The Kivelstadt Group (TKG), a real estate developer and property management company active in the City of Pinole. Respondent Cole, through PVL, earned $253,353 from TKG from 2003 through 2006. On at least 16 occasions from 2003 – 2007, Respondent Cole made governmental decisions in which he had a material financial interest, by voting on matters before the Pinole Redevelopment Agency and the Pinole City Council involving TKG, which was a source of income to Respondent Cole, in violation of Government Code Section 87100 (16 counts); failed to disclose his income from and business position with PVL in his annual Statements of Economic Interests for 2003 – 2006, in violation of Government Code Sections 87207, subdivision (b) and 87209 (4 counts); and failed to disclose TKG as a source of income to him through PVL in his annual Statements of Economic Interests for 2003 – 2005, in violation of Government Code Section 87207, subdivision (b)(2) (3 counts). Total Proposed Penalty: $111,500.


Hearing planned on underground gas tank leaks

An East Bay lawmaker will chair a hearing Wednesday in San Jose on progress toward cleaning up thousands of leaking underground tanks that pose environmental threats.

The Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee’s hearing will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday in the Isaac Newton Senter Auditorium in the Santa Clara County Government Center, 70 W. Hedding St.

“Cleaning up leaking gas station tanks and restoring abandoned sites is critical to our local economies and environmental safety,” committee chairman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, said in a news release. “We passed some important measures last year to fund clean-up efforts and this hearing will help us better address the challenges and impediments to restoring these sites in a timely way.”

The committee will hear testimony from the State Water Resources Control Board; an official from Robinson Oil (Rotten Robbie); environmental clean-up firms; Santa Clara, Alameda, Calaveras and Merced county environmental health officials; and the California Independent Oil Marketers Association, among others.

Gov. Jerry Brown last month signed a pair of related bills authored by Wieckowski and Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita. Wieckowski’s AB 291 extended for two more years a temporary petroleum storage fee that owners of underground storage tanks must pay; the fee currently generates about $270 million per year, used to reimburse underground tank owners who clean up leaks. Smyth’s AB 358 reformed the reporting and review process for such clean-ups.


UC Berkeley police speak out on Occupy protest

Reporters this morning received an e-mailed statement from Concord political and media consultant Mary Jo Rossi on behalf of the UC Berkeley Police Officers Association regarding officers’ clash with students during the Occupy Cal protest on Nov. 9. Here’s the statement in its entirety; I’ve inserted the video to which I believe it refers.

It is our hope that this letter will help open the door to a better understanding between UC Berkeley police and the University community.

The UC Berkeley Police Officers’ Association, representing approximately 64 campus police officers, understands your frustration over massive tuition hikes and budget cuts, and we fully support your right to peacefully protest to bring about change.

It was not our decision to engage campus protesters on November 9th. We are now faced with “managing” the results of years of poor budget planning. Please know we are not your enemy.

A video clip gone viral does not depict the full story or the facts leading up to an actual incident. Multiple dispersal requests were given in the days and hours before the tent removal operation. Not caught on most videos were scenes of protesters hitting, pushing, grabbing officers’ batons, fighting back with backpacks and skateboards.

The UC Berkeley Police Officers’ Association supports a full investigation of the events that took place on November 9th, as well as a full review of University policing policies. That being said, we do not abrogate responsibility for the events on November 9th.

UC Berkeley police officers want to better serve students and faculty members and we welcome ideas for how we can have a better discourse to avoid future confrontations. We are open to all suggestions on ways we can improve our ability to better protect and serve the UC Berkeley community.

As your campus police, we also have safety concerns that we ask you to consider.

Society has changed significantly since 1964 when peaceful UC Berkeley student protesters organized a 10-hour sit-in in Sproul Hall and 10,000 students held a police car at bay – spawning change and the birth of our nation’s Free Speech Movement.

However proud we can all be of UC Berkeley’s contribution to free speech in America, no one can deny this: Our society in 2011 has become an extremely more violent place to live and to protect. No one understands the effects of this violence more than those of us in law enforcement.

Disgruntled citizens in this day and age express their frustrations in far more violent ways – with knives, with guns and sometimes by killing innocent bystanders. Peaceful protests can, in an instant, turn into violent rioting, ending in destruction of property or worse – the loss of lives. Police officers and innocent citizens everywhere are being injured, and in some instances, killed.

In the back of every police officer’s mind is this: How can I control this incident so it does not escalate into a seriously violent, potentially life-threatening event for all involved?

While students were calling the protest “non-violent,” the events on November 9th were anything but nonviolent. In previous student Occupy protests, protesters hit police officers with chairs, bricks, spitting, and using homemade plywood shields as weapons – with documented injuries to officers.

At a moment’s notice, the November 9th protest at UC Berkeley could have turned even more violent than it did, much like the Occupy protests in neighboring Oakland.

Please understand that by no means are we interested in making excuses. We are only hoping that you will understand and consider the frustrations we experience daily as public safety officers sworn to uphold the law. It is our job to keep protests from escalating into violent events where lives could be endangered.

We sincerely ask for your help in doing this.

Like you, we have been victims to budget cuts that affect our children and our families in real ways. We, too, hold on to the dream of being able to afford to send our children and grandchildren to a four-year university. Like you, we understand and fully support the need for change and a redirection of priorities.

To students and faculty: As 10,000 students surrounded a police car on campus in 1964, protesters passed the hat to help pay for repairs to the police car as a show of respect. Please peacefully respect the rules we are required to enforce – for all our safety and protection. Please respect the requests of our officers as we try to do our jobs.

To the University Administration and Regents: Please don’t ask us to enforce your policies then refuse to stand by us when we do. Your students, your faculty and your police – we need you to provide real leadership.

We openly and honestly ask the UC Berkeley community for the opportunity to move forward together, peacefully and without further incident – in better understanding of one another. Thank you for listening.


Shopping for votes on Black Friday

At least one East Bay candidate turned Black Friday into a campaign opportunity.

Eric Swalwell, the Dublin city councilman and Alameda County deputy district attorney who’s challenging Rep. Pete Stark for the newly drawn 15th Congressional District, was pounding the pavement overnight, serving hot coffee to shivering shoppers who’d gone out hunting bargains in the wee hours. The Democrat tweeted his stops at a Toys R Us and a Best Buy in Dublin, at the Macy’s at the Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton, and at Hayward’s Southland Mall.

“Shoppers were surprised to see me but were eager to share their frustration of a broken, dysfunctional Washington, D.C.,” Swalwell said this afternoon. “It’s disappointing that Congressman Stark is not in his own district for Thanksgiving. I’m sure the Baltimore Sun has a story of him greeting shoppers at an Annapolis mall.”

That jab, of course, references past criticisms of Stark living most of the year at his Maryland home rather than here in the district. Stark couldn’t be reached Friday afternoon for comment.

“At the top of voters’ shopping list for 2012 is an upgrade in Congress,” Swalwell continued. “Even after the discounts are over, I pledge to be a candidate who will stand with the people of this district, listen to their concerns in person, and make their economic priorities my priorities.”

Swalwell, 31, has been waging an aggressive campaign including a listening tour of the district’s downtown areas – including Fremont, Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton, Castro Valley and San Ramon – on weekends over the past two months.

Stark, 80, first was elected to Congress in 1972; he’s the fifth most senior House member and dean of the California delegation, and announced his candidacy for a 21st term in August.

Swalwell is counting on several factors to help him topple this mega-incumbent.

Polls show Californians have record-low opinions of Congress, Swalwell sees Stark as vulnerable as he shifts from his old 13th District to this new one, losing 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, with all candidates competing on the same ballot and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, advancing to the general election. Given the district’s Democratic registration edge, and the absence of any declared Republican candidates so far, it’s not beyond the pale to imagine a Stark-vs.-Swalwell faceoff come next November.

But Stark has almost 40 years of name recognition, the bully pulpit of incumbency and a well-honed fundraising network; his campaign had $544,460 cash on hand as of Sept. 30, while Swalwell’s had $69,526.


Who’s thankful for what this Thanksgiving?

What are our politicos and public officials thankful for this Thanksgiving?

I didn’t ask. If I had, they’d have given some sort of boilerplate answer about being thankful for an opportunity to serve the great state or nation they love, to give back to the land that’s given them so much, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.

But I have some guesses.

Gov. Jerry Brown and President Barack Obama are thankful that no matter what their job-approval ratings are, the ratings for the Legislature and Congress are waaaay lower.

President Obama also is thankful for the whole field of GOP presidential contenders, but maybe not for Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney is thankful for the rest of the field of GOP presidential contenders, too, as they’ve been doing his work for him.

Newt Gingrich is thankful for second, third, fourth and fifth chances.

Rick Perry is thankful for his career, his family and… um, oh, what was that third one? Career, family… the EPA? (Oops!)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is thankful to be in a better mood than she was in last Thanksgiving.

The “Super Committee” can’t agree on anything it’s thankful for, other than that it worked really, really hard and had good staff and support – just nifty, really.

Former Gov. Arnold Scwharzenegger is thankful that anyone in his family still talks to him, and that most people outside his family no longer talk about him.

Former Gov. Gray Davis is thankful that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker might be coming to keep him company in the history books.

Chancellor Charles Reed isn’t thankful to be presiding over California State University’s sixth tuition hike since 2009, but at least is thankful to be presiding over Cal State and not Penn State.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan is thankful to be out of the headlines for a few days.

Every other elected official in Oakland is thankful not to be Jean Quan.

Rebecca Kaplan, Libby Schaaf and maybe even Doug Boxer are thankful that Jean Quan is Jean Quan.

And Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, isn’t thankful for much at all right now.