Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for September, 2012

Ricky Gill wins Farm Bureau endorsement

Ricky Gill, the Lodi Republican challenging Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District, announced today that he’s been endorsed by the California Farm Bureau Federation.

Ricky Gill“Ricky Gill has grown up in the Central Valley and has firsthand experience in small business, dealing with regulations and encouraging the expansion of trade to grow our economy and create local jobs,” California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger said in Gill’s release. “His family’s roots in agriculture have guided his life’s path, and he will make the needs of farmers and ranchers a priority as he represents his district in Washington.”

Wenger said Gill will be “an energetic advocate for his constituents and will support policies to help turn our economy around, to provide jobs and business opportunities for the next generation.”

Gill, 25, is the son of immigrants who are physicians but also own a 1,000-acre cherry farm and vineyard, an RV park and other business interests; he finished his Cal law degree earlier this year. He said he’s honored by the Farm Bureau’s endorsement: “I look forward to standing up for our farmers and ranchers so they can create jobs right here in the 9th District, where my family has been farming for 30 years.”

The California Farm Bureau Federation protects agricultural interests for more than 74,000 members statewide.

Would McNerney liked to have had this endorsement? Certainly.

Was he likely to get it? Some Democrats have won the California Farm Bureau Federation’s nod, including Dianne Feinstein, Mike Thompson and Jim Costa, but McNerney’s votes haven’t been so popular.

Is he lost without it? No. The Farm Bureau can be a powerful Central Valley force, but the 9th District isn’t its very strongest province: Stockton, entirely within the district, is urban and firmly Democratic. In the 2001 bipartisan gerrymander of the Central Valley, as Democrats sought to make then-Rep. Gary Condit’s seat safe for any Democrat except the ag-popular but scandal-ridden Condit, it was accomplished by redrawing the district to include Stockton. Farming interests are powerful in the district, but not all-powerful.

Posted on Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, Agriculture, Jerry McNerney, U.S. House, water | 2 Comments »

Bay Area politicos speak about Libya slayings

Here’s what some California politicos are saying about the slaying of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

From Gov. Jerry Brown:

“All Californians mourn the loss of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the other three Americans killed in Libya on September 11th. As a graduate of Piedmont High School and UC Berkeley, Ambassador Stevens represented the very best that California and the United States have to offer. His dedicated service to our country and our world will never be forgotten.”

From U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:

“I am heartbroken by the loss of four Americans in Libya, including United States Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, a Californian who dedicated his life to service and diplomacy.

“These extraordinary public servants were working to help the Libyan people build a better future and will go down in history for their contributions to the cause of peace and freedom.

“Today we must all stand together to honor the service of these exemplary Americans and commit ourselves to bringing the perpetrators of these heinous acts to justice.”

From House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco:

“Our thoughts and prayers rest with the families and loved ones of Ambassador Stevens and the three other Americans killed in this vicious and heinous attack against the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi. We condemn this brazen assault in the strongest possible terms.

“These American diplomats served on the front lines of our efforts to work with the Libyan people toward a future of democracy, freedom, justice, and stability. Their commitment to peace and security stand in stark contrast to those who perpetrated this violent act.

“On my visit to Libya and the region earlier this year, I met with some of the courageous foreign service officers representing our nation in the Middle East, despite enormous risk to their own safety. As we mourn the loss of the Americans in Benghazi, we pay tribute to all of the men and women standing their post abroad on behalf of our values and our partnerships across the globe.”

From Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland:

“I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi and I extend my thoughts and prayers to the families, friends and loved ones of all the victims of these heinous acts. Among those killed was a son of California and the Bay Area, Ambassador Chris Stevens, who attended Piedmont High School and Cal Berkeley in my congressional district. By any account, his service to our nation was exceptional. Those who knew him well describe him as an “unflappable” diplomat. Certainly, his service, and the service of those lost must be held up as an example of what is best about our nation and the better, stronger future for our country they were working to achieve.”

From Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo:

“I am deeply saddened by the tragic killings of Chris Stevens, the US Ambassador to Libya, and three State Department workers in Benghazi, Libya who worked toward the development of democratic institutions in the war-torn country. I strongly condemn the acts of violence by extremists who attacked the consulate.

“Ambassador Stevens, a Northern California native, dedicated his professional life to conflict resolution and aiding countries in transition from conflict to peace.

“He, and the other State Department workers and their families are in my thoughts and prayers at this time.”

From Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa:

“Last night, four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens who grew up in my district, lost their lives in a senseless, coldblooded and violent attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. The families of those we lost are in our thoughts and prayers. And those responsible will be brought to justice.

“Now is not the time for politics or politically provocative language. Now is a time to honor these brave Americans and ensure that all American diplomats serving the United States are safe, and their mission of international peace and partnership is continued.”

From Rep. John Garamendi, D-Fairfield:

“I strongly condemn the murder of Ambassador Stevens and the three other members of the diplomatic mission to Libya. These men and women dedicated themselves to selflessly serving our country and partnering with the Libyan people to build a new democratic government. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of these patriots. Their legacy of service will live on.”

From Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Modesto:

“I condemn the violent assault on our consulate in Benghazi and Embassy in Cairo, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the other brave Americans who lost their lives. There is never justification for such violence, and the United States remains committed to liberty, democracy and religious tolerance throughout the region and the world.”

Posted on Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
Under: Barbara Boxer, Barbara Lee, Jeff Denham, Jerry Brown, John Garamendi, Mike Thompson, Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House, U.S. Senate | 25 Comments »

Obama, Romney, Biden & Ryan on 9/11

President Barack Obama, at the Pentagon (excerpt):

“This anniversary allows us to renew our faith that even the darkest night gives way to a brighter dawn. Today, we can come here to the Pentagon, and touch these names and kneel beside a building where a single stone still bears the scars of that fire. We can visit the field of honor in Pennsylvania and remember the heroes who made it sacred. We can see water cascading into the footprints of the Twin Towers, and gaze up at a new tower rising above the New York skyline.

“And even though we may never be able to fully lift the burden carried by those left behind, we know that somewhere, a son is growing up with his father’s eyes, and a daughter has her mother’s laugh — living reminders that those who died are with us still.

“So as painful as this day is and always will be, it leaves us with a lesson that no single event can ever destroy who we are. No act of terrorism can ever change what we stand for. Instead, we recommit ourselves to the values that we believe in, holding firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

“That’s the commitment that we reaffirm today. And that’s why, when the history books are written, the true legacy of 9/11 will not be one of fear or hate or division. It will be a safer world; a stronger nation; and a people more united than ever before.”

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, in a statement:

“Eleven years ago, evil descended upon our country, taking thousands of lives in an unspeakable attack against innocents. America will never forget those who perished. America will never stop caring for the loved ones they left behind. And America shall remain ever vigilant against those who would do us harm. Today we again extend our most profound gratitude to our brave troops who have gone into battle, some never to return, so that we may live in peace. On this most somber day, those who would attack us should know that we are united, one nation under God, in our determination to stop them and to stand tall for peace and freedom at home and across the world.”

Vice President Joe Biden, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa. (excerpt):

“My hope for you all is that as every year passes, the depth of your pain recedes and you find comfort, as I have, genuine comfort in recalling his smile, her laugh, their touch. And I hope you’re as certain as I am that she can see what a wonderful man her son has turned out to be, grown up to be; that he knows everything that your daughter has achieved, and that he can hear, and she can hear how her mom still talks about her, the day he scored the winning touchdown, how bright and beautiful she was on that graduation day, and know that he knows what a beautiful child the daughter he never got to see has turned out to be, and how much she reminds you of him. For I know you see your wife every time you see her smile on your child’s face. You remember your daughter every time you hear laughter coming from her brother’s lips. And you remember your husband every time your son just touches your hand.

“I also hope — I also hope it continues to give you some solace knowing that this nation, all these people gathered here today, who are not family members, all your neighbors, that they’ve not forgotten. They’ve not forgotten the heroism of your husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers. And that what they did for this country is still etched in the minds of not only you, but millions of Americans, forever. That’s why it’s so important that this memorial be preserved and go on for our children and our grandchildren, and our great-grandchildren, and our great-great-grandchildren — because it is what makes it so exceptional. And I think they all appreciate, as I do, more than they can tell you, the incredible bravery your family members showed on that day.”

Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., in a statement:

“Eleven years ago today, from Capitol Hill, I could see the smoke rising from the fires burning in the Pentagon. Like all Americans, I will never forget the moment that our homeland came under attack. For me, this is a day to remember those who perished on that day of terror, including the first responders. It is also a day to pay tribute to all those who have worked quietly and tirelessly both on the home front and abroad to prevent a repetition of such terrible events. And it is a day to give honor to those in our military who have sacrificed so much, including their lives, for the same end. Their courage and heroism and willingness to answer the call of duty have kept America safe and strong and free. We are truly the home of the brave.”

See what some Bay Area members of Congress have been tweeting about today’s anniversary, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
Under: Barack Obama, Barbara Boxer, Barbara Lee, Jackie Speier, Jerry McNerney, Mitt Romney, Nancy Pelosi, Zoe Lofgren | 4 Comments »

Ricky Gill launches first general-election TV ad

Ricky Gill, the Lodi Republican challenging Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District, has launched his first television ad of the general-election season:

Gill campaign spokesman Colin Hunter said Monday that the ad is running on network TV in the Sacramento market and cable systems in the Delta; he declined to say how much was spent on the ad buy.

“The stars of this ad are the local citizens who came out to stand up for their community,” Gill said in a news release. “Our campaign isn’t about party or ideology – it’s about uniting and empowering the community we proudly call home.”

Gill’s campaign said the ad draws upon a 2011 book in which McNerney argued that “morality” and “patriotism” require imposing immediate, across-the-board energy taxes. The campaign says the Congressional Budget Office has concluded those taxes “would impose the largest loss in purchasing power on households near the middle of the income distribution.”

“Jerry McNerney’s interjection of terms like ‘morality’ and ‘patriotism’ to push for higher energy taxes on middle-class families underscores how ideological he really is,” d Gill consultant James Fisfis said in the news release. “McNerney isn’t just pushing a higher gas tax – he literally wrote the book on it.”

Asked to respond to the ad, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman Amber Moon on Monday cited an Associated Press story from April which reported that Gill’s father gave $2,000 to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s campaign during the 2003 gubernatorial recall election – one year before Gov. Schwarzenegger appointed Gill to the state Board of Education. The elder Gill also gave $5,000 to Schwarzenegger’s 2006 re-election campaign, the article reported.

“Wherever Ricky Gill goes, his parents’ money follows,” Moon said Monday. “Gill’s father gave campaign donations to Governor Schwarzenegger and Ricky Gill was appointed as the student representative on the State Board of Education. Ricky Gill continues to inflate his resume to cover up the fact that he has never even held a full-time job.”

Posted on Monday, September 10th, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, Jerry McNerney, U.S. House | 3 Comments »

You write the photo caption: Joe Biden & bikers

My favorite photo (thus far, at least) of the 2012 campaigns, bar none. Just look at the expressions on those guys’ faces:

Per the Washington Post:

The vice president made a stop Sunday at ‘50s-style Cruisers Diner in Seaman, Ohio, where he plunked down in a booth between two male bikers, then called over their female companion saying, “I know who runs the show.” Biden pulled a chair in front of him (no, she’s not sitting on his lap), then leaned over to whisper in her ear. No word on the identity or political preference of the trio — reporters with the veep referred to them as the “Shadowmen” in a pool report; an employee at the diner Monday said they’re not regulars and didn’t know their names.

Add your best caption in the comments; please keep it clean or else be deleted.

Posted on Monday, September 10th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Joe Biden | 6 Comments »

Paul Ryan will be in Danville on Saturday

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan will be in Danville on Saturday morning for a fundraising breakfast.

Tickets to the 8:15 a.m. event at the home of Brent and Dana Jones start at $1,000, with “Club Mitt” members asked to pay $5,000. A $10,000 contribution gets a person or couple into a photo reception, and a person would have to give and raise from $10,000 to $25,000 for entry into a host committee reception.

Brent Jones played tight end for the San Francisco 49ers from 1987 to 1997, winning Super Bowl rings with the team in 1989, 1990 and 1995.

Proceeds from this event will flow through Romney Victory Inc., a joint fundraising committee, to the Romney campaign, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Ryan has another fundraiser scheduled for later Saturday in Fresno.

UPDATE @ 5:24 P.M. FRIDAY: Many, many more details in our story here.

Posted on Thursday, September 6th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election | 5 Comments »

Stark and Swalwell lay it out for Dem lawyers

Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, and his Democratic challenger, Alameda County prosecutor and Dublin Councilman Eric Swalwell, have written to seek a local Democratic club’s support, and their requests very neatly encapsulate what their respective campaigns are all about.

Pete Stark (photo by Aric Crabb)The Alameda County Democratic Lawyers Club meets Friday in Oakland to decide its endorsements. Stark’s letter to club, dated Tuesday, notes he has “enjoyed a long and beneficial relationship with the legal community in Alameda County and worked with you to protect consumers, homeowners and tenants, patients, children with special educational needs, workers, women, and our environment.”

After rattling off some names from his list of endorsements, Stark, 80, noted he “worked with the Obama Administration to craft the Affordable Care Act, and with prior Administrations to create COBRA and ensure care is not denied at emergency rooms. As we fight increasingly deceptive attacks against Medicare and Social Security, I am committed to using my experience and seniority to protect benefits people have paid for, and prevent insurance companies and Wall Street from taking over Medicare and Social Security.”

Swalwell, 31, received the club’s primary-election endorsement, and in seeking it again today he played up his prosecution of hundreds of cases with the Alameda County District Attorney’s office.

Eric Swalwell“Congress is a mess. And, we have a Congressman representing us who does not live here – he lives in Maryland – and does not vote there, in Washington, DC – he has one of the worst career voting records of any Member of Congress. I think you deserve better. And, so do the voters,” Swalwell wrote. “In Congress, I promise to bring new energy to Congress and show up to work every day. I will fight for our Democratic principles and will never take my constituents for granted.”

UPDATE @ 12:10 P.M. SATURDAY: Though it had endorsed Swalwell before the June primary, the club chose Friday to endorse neither candidate now. Only Swalwell had attended the club’s endorsement meeting in May; both Stark and Swalwell attended Friday’s meeting.

Read the two letters in their entireties, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, September 6th, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, Pete Stark, U.S. House | 24 Comments »

Jews more open to (politically) mixed dating?

More than twice as many Christians as Jews say they wouldn’t date someone of a different political party, according to a not-so-scientific survey by a pair of religious-based dating websites. and – both owned by Beverly Hills-based Spark Networks USA – polled more than 2,000 of their members with a series of questions about dating and politics. The results indicate Jews are more open than Christians to dating someone of a different political party, though a solid majority of each faith is open to the idea. Respondents of both faiths overwhelmingly said that if dating someone with different political beliefs, they would choose to “agree to disagree” on the subject.

Keep in mind this survey only reached people who’d enrolled in these religious-oriented dating websites in the first place, so it’s a somewhat limited sample.

Here’s some of the breakdown:

  • Jewish men are the most open to dating someone of a different political party, with 92 percent saying they would do so.
  • Though a majority of Christian men (75 percent) are open to dating someone of a different political party, they were the least likely of all groups polled to do so.
  • Twice as many Christian men than Jewish men said they’d try to change their partner’s beliefs if different from their own (10 percent of Christian men vs 5 percent of Jewish men).
  • Twice as many Christian women than Jewish women said they’d break up with someone who has opposing beliefs (7 percent of Christian women vs 3 percent of Jewish women).
  • Here’s how the questions were asked:

    Q: Would you ever date someone who belongs to a different political party?
    1,454 ChristianMingle responses, 1,204 JDate responses)

      JDate – Yes: 90%, No: 10%
      ChristianMingle – Yes: 79%, No: 21%

    Q: If you found out the person you were dating had opposing political beliefs to you, what would you do?
    (1,304 ChristianMingle responses, 1,347 JDate responses)
    JDate –

      Agree to disagree: 86%
      Break up with them: 4%
      Never discuss politics again: 6%
      Try to change their beliefs: 4%

    ChristianMingle –

      Agree to disagree: 80%
      Break up with them: 8%
      Never discuss politics again: 7%
      Try to change their beliefs: 5%

    Posted on Thursday, September 6th, 2012
    Under: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

    Oaklander is a White House ‘Champion of Change’

    The White House today announced it’s welcoming Dana Harvey, executive director of Oakland’s Mandela MarketPlace, as one of 11 “Champions of Change” who have committed themselves to strengthening food security in the United States and around the world.

    “Today’s champions are examples of the groundbreaking work being done to tackle hunger at home and abroad. These individuals are making improved access to healthy food a reality for millions of individuals in need,” Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said in a news release. “Establishing global food security isn’t just critical for those now suffering from hunger. It is also vital to our long-term economic prosperity. We applaud the champions for their efforts to empower families and communities and to reduce the depth and severity of hunger around the world.”

    The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative; each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of champions are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities. President Obama is not at the White House today; he’s in Charlotte, N.C., where he’ll be accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination to run for re-election.

    Harvey, 55, of Oakland, has spent the last decade in nonprofit management and development in areas of environmental justice, food security, education and economic development, according to the White House.

    At Mandela MarketPlace, she’s building a community-led food system that combines increased access to healthy foods with economic development to build community health and wealth. Harvey led a campaign resulting in the June 2009 opening of Mandela Foods Cooperative to address West Oakland’s longtime status as a food desert, and since then has helped catalyze and grow other successful food enterprises in the area.

    Posted on Thursday, September 6th, 2012
    Under: Oakland, Obama presidency | 7 Comments »

    Rep. Jackie Speier’s father has died

    Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, this evening announced the death of her father, Manfred (Fred) Speier; she said he passed away peacefully and surrounded by family on Monday at her Hillsborough home at the age of 91.

    Jackie Speier“My father was the rock and foundation of my life. He was always there for me during my darkest days, and for the most joyous moments such as the births of my children. He lived a long and full life and was alert and sharp as a tack until the very end,” Speier said in an e-mailed statement. “On Saturday, just two days before he passed, he was regaling us with stories of his life. He was most proud of being a naturalized U.S. citizen, so much so that he requested to be buried in a simple pine box draped in an American flag.”

    The congresswoman said her father was born in Germany, came to the United States after World War II and married Nancy Kanchelian in 1949. Speier’s mother passed away in February 2009; Speier’s brother, Eric Speier, lives in Elk Grove.

    The lawmaker described her father as an incurable optimist who came to San Francisco and found a job within two hours, eventually working as a nurse, a short order cook, and a manager for a local, family-owned company. His work ethic and civic awareness were examples that set the tone for family life, she said.

    A funeral mass will be held this Saturday at Saint Bartholomew Catholic Church, 300 Alameda de las Pulgas in San Mateo.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 5th, 2012
    Under: Jackie Speier, U.S. House | 3 Comments »