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Archive for June, 2012

Obama nominates judge with Bay Area roots

A Sacramento County Superior Court judge who was raised and worked in the Bay Area was nominated to the federal bench today by President Barack Obama.

Troy NunleyTroy Nunley, 48, has served on the Sacramento bench since his 2002 appointment by Gov. Gray Davis; before that he had been a state deputy attorney general since 1999. Earlier, Nunley was an Alameda County deputy district attorney from 1991 to 1994; a sole practitioner from 1994 to 1996; and a Sacramento County deputy district attorney from 1996 to 1999.

He earned a law degree in 1990 from the University of California Hastings College of the Law and a bachelor’s degree in 1986 from St. Mary’s College of California in Moraga. He’s a 1982 graduate of San Francisco’s Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory School; a 2002 article in Sacramento Lawyer says he and his three siblings were raised by their mother in public housing projects in San Francisco.

The president nominated Nunley to the U.S. District Court for California’s Eastern District, which includes 34 counties in eastern and central California from Los Angeles County’s northern edge to the Oregon border.

The nomination is subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Federal judges are appointed for life, and currently earn a $174,000 annual salary.

Posted on Monday, June 25th, 2012
Under: Obama presidency | 1 Comment »

Bay Area gets $7.4 mil to hire veterans as cops

The U.S. Justice Department today announced more than $111 million in Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant funding awards to more than 220 cities and counties to create or save about 800 law enforcement positions. All of the 600-plus new positions must be filled by veterans who served at least 180 days since Sept. 11, 2001.

In the greater Bay Area, Alameda County got $1,875,000 for 15 positions; Antioch got $1,502,680 for five positions; Hayward got $3,602,644 for nine positions; and Santa Cruz got $375,000 for three positions.

Vice President Joe Biden, on a conference call with reporters today, said the administration believes veterans who had to “fight like hell” overseas shouldn’t have to fight quite so hard to find jobs here at home.

The COPS Hiring Program makes grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire or rehire community policing officers, providing the salary and benefits for officer and deputy hires for three years. President Obama announced in February that preference for this year’s COPS and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants would be given to communities that recruit and hire post-9/11 veterans to serve as police officers and firefighters.

Along with the pledge to hire military veterans, grantees for the COPS 2012 Hiring Program were selected based on fiscal need and local crime rates. Also factored in was each agency’s strategy to address specific problems such as increased homicide rates and gun violence.

Posted on Monday, June 25th, 2012
Under: Obama presidency, Public safety, veterans | No Comments »

Chris Pareja: independent no more

Chris Pareja, the conservative independent candidate who finished third (and so was eliminated from the race) in this month’s 15th Congressional District primary, announced today on Facebook that he re-registered as a Republican at this past Tuesday night’s Alameda County GOP meeting.

It begs the question, I think, of whether our new top-two primary system encourages candidates to obfuscate their true political leanings by claiming to have no party preference – a means of fooling less-informed citizens into giving them their votes.

However, Pareja – a businessman from Hayward – always has been very candid about his views, even if he wasn’t an avowed member of the GOP.

Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, finished first in this primary, followed by fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell – a Dublin councilman and Alameda County prosecutor; they’ll go mano-a-mano in November.

Pareja announced last week he couldn’t endorse the more moderate Swalwell over Stark, saying Swalwell “lacks the life experience and character to effectively represent this district” and “is actually more dangerous to the future of the country.”

(Sorry the blotter has been so slow lately; I’ll be back to work on Monday, and the posting pace will pick up again.)

Posted on Friday, June 22nd, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, Pete Stark, U.S. House | 12 Comments »

Pareja picks Stark over Swalwell

Hayward businessman Chris Pareja, the conservative independent candidate who lost last week’s primary in the 15th Congressional District (in which Democrat Eric Swalwell will advance to challenge Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, in November) has given Swalwell what he calls an “anti-endorsement.”

“Following last Tuesday’s results I called to congratulate Congressman Stark and Eric on qualifying for the November General Election.

I may not agree with Congressman Stark on most issues – but his service to the community and the country should be respected. I will continue a candid and respectful dialogue with the Congressman on the direction I believe our country should be moving.

I believe Eric lacks the life experience and character to effectively represent this district. I also wonder whether he has a firm grasp of the proper role of the federal government or where the money will come from to implement the promises he is already beginning to make.

I am concerned that Eric wants to accelerate the implementation of Obama’s failed agenda. I am worried about his positions on property rights and individual liberties.

My preference would be to have a conservative representative that would be focused on responsible spending of tax payer dollars, protecting individual liberties and growing the economy.

Due to the top two primary system, voters have been given the choice of two candidates who are much more liberal than I would prefer. In assessing both options, I believe that Eric is actually more dangerous to the future of the country. As such, I cannot in good conscience recommend that anyone who voted for me support Eric in his campaign for the House of Representatives.”

Swalwell declined to comment.

Posted on Thursday, June 14th, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, 2012 primary election, Pete Stark, U.S. House | 24 Comments »

Contra Costa public employee union seeks Andersen appointment

Candace Andersen

Contra Costa Public Employees Union Local One may have endorsed her opponent but now that Danville Mayor Candace Andersen has won the District 2 supervisor seat in a landslide, the labor group is graciously asking Gov. Jerry Brown to appoint the victor.

“Ms. Andersen was decisively elected to the District 2 seat,” wrote Local One General Manager Larry Edginton in a letter to the governor’s office. “The voters of that district have spoken. They have elected Mayor Andersen to represent them on the Board of Supervisors. There is no reason not to fill it or appoint someone else.”

The Contra Costa Building Trades and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo — both endorsed Contra Costa Community College District board President Tomi Van de Brooke — have also sent letters recommending the appointment.

Local One, which represents 2,000 Contra Costa County employees, rightly argues that District 2 residents deserve a representative as soon as possible and the restoration of a fifth supervisor will avert any potential tie votes that might create governance programs.

Andersen beat Van de Brooke on June 5 by 31 percentage points. She will take the office held by the late Gayle Uilkema, who intended to retire at the end of the year but died in May from ovarian cancer.

The district office has been without a full-time supervisor since last winter, however. Uilkema had been unable to work for much of the year although she tried to keep up from home until very close to her death.

Andersen’s term doesn’t  officially start until Jan. 1, 2013, but the governor could appoint her to the post early. As a general law county, only the governor may fill vacant supervisor positions.

The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors is expected to approve a similar request of the governor at its June 26 meeting.

There’s no official word out of the governor’s office yet although nothing is likely to happen until after the election results have been certified.

But there is no obvious barrier to the appointment. Partisanship is unlikely to disqualify the Republican mayor because she won by such a vast margin. She also generally opposes new taxes but says she hasn’t taken a position on the governor’s tax initiative, hasn’t signed a “no new taxes pledge” and says she won’t, and has supported all the school bonds and tax measures in the San Ramon Valley.

“I’ve been in contact with the governor’s appointment in office to find out what they need from me,” Andersen said. “I’m hopeful it will happen in July but it is in the governor’s hands.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on Thursday, June 14th, 2012
Under: 2012 primary election, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 16 Comments »

NRCC reserves fall airtime in four CA contests

House Republicans have reserved $18.2 million for fall airtime in 27 congressional districts including four in California, reports Roll Call.

The line-up, according to Roll Call, includes $3.08 million in the Sacramento market, which covers races in Democratic Rep. John Garamendi’s 3rd District, GOP Rep. Dan Lungren’s 7th District, Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney’s 9th District and Republican Rep. Jeff Denham’s 10th District.

All four incumbents are seeking re-election in substantially redrawn districts and face well-funded challengers: Republican Kim Vann in District 3; Democrat Ami Bera in District 7; Republican Ricky Gill in District 9; and Democrat Jose Hernandez in District 10.

Click through to read the full story but here’s a bit of what Roll Call’s Shira Toeplitz wrote today:

House Republicans have reserved $18.2 million in post-Labor Day television airtime, spread across 27 competitive districts.

 According to a breakdown of the buy obtained by Roll Call, the National Republican Congressional Committee’s independent expenditure arm plans to invest heavily in the Boston, Denver, Las Vegas and Sacramento, Calif., markets, with a combined $8.6 million buy. The committee’s IE reservation is split between Democratic- and Republican-held seats — an early signal that the committee plans to go on the offensive and is not content to simply defend the GOP’s 25-seat majority.

 The buy, reserved this week, marks the NRCC’s first foray into the fall advertisement air war. The Congressional campaign committees have reserved more than $100 million in television time for an air war that is shaping up as among the earliest and most competitive in recent history.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

 

 

Posted on Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election | 3 Comments »

Former Hercules Mayor Joe Eddy McDonald dies

Joe Eddy McDonald, the lively former Hercules mayor who leveraged a personal tragedy to make Highway 4 in West Contra Costa County safer for all drivers, has died.

Read my colleague Tom Lochner’s story here. http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_20832382/former-hercules-mayor-joe-eddy-mcdonald-dies?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com

 

 

Posted on Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
Under: Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 2 Comments »

Is one of these ‘Young Guns’ shooting blanks?

Two of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” are near the Bay Area, but one of them might be shooting blanks.

Unofficial results from Tuesday’s primary in the 3rd Congressional District show incumbent John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, got 52.5 percent of the vote while “Young Gun” Kim Vann – a Colusa County supervisor – got 25.4 percent.

It’s true that Vann had to beat back three other Republican challengers, but the long and short of it is that Garamendi still managed to pull a majority of the votes in a low-turnout election that should’ve favored Republicans. In November, with the presidential election drawing many more voters to the polls and Democratic turnout improving accordingly, Vann’s going to have a much tougher time. The well-respected Cook Political Report agrees, listing Garamendi’s district – which has pieces of Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Sacramento, Solano, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties – as a “likely Democratic” win this fall.

Not that Vann is letting any grass grow under her feet. Here’s the video she released yesterday:

It could be somewhat different story over in the 9th Congressional District, listed by Cook as “lean Democratic” as incumbent Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, seeks re-election.

Unofficial results show McNerney got 48.4 percent of the vote, while “Young Gun” Ricky Gill – a Lodi native who just finished law school at UC-Berkeley – drew 39.5 percent; another Republican, Mountain House businessman John McDonald, got 12.1 percent.

Unlike Garamendi, McNerney didn’t manage to get a majority on Tuesday. Spokeswoman Lauren Smith told me late Tuesday night that he’s not worried; he believes stronger Democratic turnout in November will buoy him to victory. The district – with parts of San Joaquin, Contra Costa and Sacramento counties – is registered 43.8 percent Democrat, 36.5 percent Republican and 15.8 percent no-party-preference, which gives him a better edge than the tiny GOP advantage he overcame in his old district in November 2010. But Gill is playing up his local roots and has raised a lot of money, and McNerney certainly can’t kick back and relax this summer.

Posted on Thursday, June 7th, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, 2012 primary election, Jerry McNerney, John Garamendi, U.S. House | 12 Comments »

No taxpayer-funded lawyers for Ross Mirkarimi

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera today rejected embattled Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s request that taxpayers foot the bill for lawyers he hired to defend himself against an attempt to boot him from office for official misconduct – having bruised his wife in an argument.

Mirkarimi sent a letter to Herrera dated May 15 but received just this Tuesday citing a San Francisco Charter section dealing with elected officers’ and department heads’ right to engage outside counsel in instances when the city attorney’s office has a conflict of interests.

The city attorney’s office has erected a “screen” to separate lawyers representing Mayor Ed Lee from those advising the Ethics Commission or Board of Supervisors in Mirkarimi’s misconduct hearing, the sheriff wrote, but has not carved out anyone to represent him.

“Moreover, the actions of your office thus far in these proceedings demonstrate that neither you nor anyone in your office could ethically represent me,” Mirkarimi wrote. “Without cataloging every action you have taken, suffice it to say you chose to represent the Mayor in derogation of your equally compelling legal duty to represent me.”

Not so, Herrera responded today in a letter to Mirkarimi’s lawyers.

The charter section Mirkarimi cited doesn’t apply here, in that it doesn’t require the city to provide personal representation to suspended city officers, Herrera wrote; rather, it makes clear that the city attorney’s client is the city and county, not individual elected officials. “There is simply no basis for your client’s demand for City funded representation.”

“Contrary to your client’s implication, this proceeding is not a private dispute between the Mayor and the Sheriff,” he wrote, citing a Superior Court’s recent ruling. “As the court recognized, the City Attorney’s Office represents the Mayor’s Office in the pending official misconduct proceedings, just as we continue to represent and advise the Sheriff’s Office regarding City business. This office has no conflict of interest here.”

“(T)he City does not pay for private counsel to represent employees charged with misconduct,” he concluded. “Your client’s position as an elected official is no different and does not entitle him to that personal benefit at taxpayer expense.”

Mayor Ed Lee suspended Mirkarimi, 50, after he pleaded guilty to false imprisonment related to a New Year’s Eve altercation that left a bruise on the arm of his wife, Venezuelan former telenovela star Eliana Lopez. If the Ethics Commission upholds the charges, it would take a vote of nine of 11 city and county supervisors to toss him from office.

Posted on Thursday, June 7th, 2012
Under: San Francisco politics | 8 Comments »

Primary post-mortems on CA15, AD20 and AD25

I spent yesterday starting to unpack what the new top-two system hath wrought upon California’s state legislative and House races – something we’ll be unpacking for years, I suspect – but today I’ve some time to dissect the still-unofficial results in few interesting Bay Area races.

15th Congressional District

Incumbent Pete Stark, D-Fremont, finished first with 41.8 percent of the vote, followed by Democrat Eric Swalwell, a Dublin councilman and Alameda County prosecutor, at 36 percent; eliminated was conservative independent Chris Pareja, a Hayward businessman, at 22.2 percent. Stark is in trouble – I can’t imagine a single, solitary Pareja voter switching to Stark, but I can imagine lots of them voting for anybody but Stark. Stark won the Alameda County sections of the district 42.9 percent to Swalwell’s 35.3 percent, but Swalwell prevailed in the smaller Contra Costa area, 40 percent to Stark’s 33.1 percent.

Stark’s best hopes are that elevated Democratic turnout and the coattails of President Obama (who endorsed him) will give him an edge in November, while the more moderate Swalwell will continue romancing not only Democrats but also independents and Republicans. The key to Stark’s strategy might be saying as little as possible in live public appearances, given his disastrous spring gaffes.

20th Assembly District

Hayward councilman Bill Quirk, a Democrat, finished first in the race for this open seat, with 30.2 percent of the vote, followed by fellow Democrat Jennifer Ong, an optometrist from Hayward, at 24.9 percent. Eliminated were Union City Mayor Mark Green, an independent, at 20.9 percent; Hayward school board member Luis Reynoso, a Republican, at 18.1 percent; and Union City school board member Sarabjit Cheema, a Democrat, at 5.8 percent.

This was somewhat surprising, as I thought Green – mayor for 19 years – would have the name recognition to finish second behind Quirk. But Green, a longtime Democrat, switched to no-party-preference in 2010 and probably had hoped he’d attract the district’s voters who wouldn’t vote for a Democrat; that was foiled by Reynoso’s relatively late entry into the race. Ong, meanwhile, staged a direct-mail blitz – my household got 13 pieces of mail from her (including my favorite of this season), compared to two from Quirk, two from Green and one from Cheema. Quirk has the party establishment’s support, and easily is the odds-on favorite for November.

25th Assembly District

Incumbent Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, finished with 41.4 percent of the vote, followed by Republican ArLyne Diamond, a management consultant from Santa Clara, at 30.7 percent; eliminated was Democrat Pete McHugh, at 27.9. This district was radically redrawn last year, splitting Wieckowski’s power base in Fremont (where he was a councilman) and extending much further down into Santa Clara County. That’s where McHugh, Milpitas’ vice mayor and a former county supervisor, hoped his name recognition would give him an edge.

But ultimately, Wieckowski ran neck-and-neck with McHugh in Santa Clara County – a difference of only 10 votes out of the almost 20,000 cast for the two of them – while beating McHugh 4-to-1 in Alameda County. The district is registered 45.3 percent Democrat, 19.7 percent Republican and 30.5 percent no-party-preference, so it’ll be tough (read as: nothing short of a miracle) for Diamond to carry it in November.

Posted on Thursday, June 7th, 2012
Under: 2012 Assembly election, 2012 Congressional Election, 2012 primary election, Assembly, Bob Wieckowski, Pete Stark, U.S. House | No Comments »