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.)


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.


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.”








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.




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




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.