Mike Honda’s poll shows few know Ro Khanna

Rep. Mike Honda continued his double-barreled defense against a potential Democratic challenger Thursday by releasing a poll showing he has 10 times that person’s support.

honda.jpgAccording to the poll Honda’s campaign commissioned from Lake Research Partners, Honda starts with 57 percent support to Ro Khanna’s 5 percent. Khanna, a former Obama Administration official with $1.26 million in his campaign coffers, is rumored to be announcing a 2014 campaign against Honda soon.

Republican Evelyn Li, who challenged Honda last year, shows at 13 percent in this poll, and 23 percent of voters are undecided. The live telephone poll of 503 likely 2014 open primary voters, conducted Feb. 17-20, has a 4.4-point margin of error.

“Mike Honda is well-known and well-liked by the people he represents,” pollster David Mermin said in Honda’s news release. “His potential challengers are unknown and will face a long road to persuade voters to choose them over the Congressman.”

Khanna declined to comment on the poll Thursday: “I haven’t made any announcements yet about my future plans, but I am committed to serve where I can do the most for Bay Area residents.”

Mermin also noted that among voters who are tech-industry workers, Honda leads Khanna 56 percent to 6 percent. Khanna, who served as a deputy assistant secretary of commerce from 2009 through 2011, last year released his book “Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key To America’s Future,” and he has worked to cast himself as a young, aggressive policy maker who’s in tune with the high-tech sector’s needs.

California’s 17th Congressional District is the first in the continental United States to have an Asian-American majority. Honda’s poll shows he holds 68 percent support from East and Southeast Asians, 59 percent from South Asians, 63 percent of Latinos and 49 percent of white voters.

Ro KhannaNone of this comes as much of a surprise, as Khanna, 36, remains largely unknown in the district – he has not yet even confirmed he’s a candidate, and the Honda’s poll shows 86 percent of voters don’t know who he is.

That hasn’t stopped a clearly-spooked Honda, 71, from moving swiftly and aggressively to try to quash his campaign before it starts; Honda in the past two months has rolled out endorsements from big guns such as President Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz, and former DNC chair Howard Dean – and we’ve still got a year and two and a half months until the June 2014 primary.


San Francisco nudists’ latest court action flops

A federal judge has declined to issue a temporary restraining order blocking San Francisco’s new public-nudity law.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen ruled Thursday that nudists failed to present specific evidence of how the nudity ban has infringed their constitutional rights, or of why they’d be likely to succeed if the case went to trial.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors late last year adopted an ordinance barring people from baring their genitals on public streets, sidewalks, and most other public rights-of-way as well as on transit vehicles and in transit stations. Exceptions were carved out for permitted events and festivals, and for children under the age of five.

Chen in January issued an order dismissing these same nudists’ effort to keep the law from taking effect Feb. 1. His order back then sided with the city’s arguments that the constitutionality of local restrictions on public nudity has been repeatedly upheld in the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and that such bans are a valid and longstanding feature of municipal codes throughout the nation.

Thursday’s ruling dealt with an “as-applied” challenge filed last week, after the law was in effect, claiming the city and its police were chilling their First Amendment rights to engage as in political speech as nudists by taking them into custody rather than writing them tickets for violating the law. The city countered that the nudists have no constitutional right to expose themselves in public.

“And Plaintiffs do not explain, much less submit any evidence demonstrating, how the ordinance prevents them from engaging in political speech or artistic expression,” Deputy City Attorney Tara Steeley wrote in the city’s brief. “Plaintiffs remain free to express any message they want. They simply must cover their ‘genitals, perineum, or anal region’ while on streets, sidewalks and certain other public places.”


Bill would force police to get warrants for emails

A Bay Area lawmaker’s new bill would require California law enforcement agencies to get a search warrant before asking service providers to hand over a private citizen’s emails.

SB 467 by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, is sponsored by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based civil liberties group. Leno introduced a place-holder version of the bill last month, but rolled out its operative language today.

go get a warrant“No law enforcement agency could obtain someone’s mail or letters that were delivered to their home without first securing a search warrant, but that same protection is surprisingly not extended to our digital life,” Leno said in a news release.

“Both state and federal privacy laws have failed to keep up with the modern electronic age, and government agencies are frequently able to access sensitive and personal information, including email, without adequate oversight,” he said. “SB 467 repairs the existing holes in California’s digital protection laws, ensuring that electronic communications can only be accessed by law enforcement with a warrant.”

Some law enforcement agencies have claimed investigators don’t need a warrant to obtain any email that has been opened or has been stored on a server for 180 days. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy recently announced it would support changes to federal law that would require a warrant in such cases.

“California, the home of many technology companies, should be a leader in protecting the privacy of people’s electronic communications,” EFF staff attorney Hanni Fakhoury said in Leno’s release. “Many of the state’s technology companies have already indicated that they require a search warrant before disclosing the contents of communications. With SB 467, the warrant requirement becomes the status quo for all electronic communication providers and all law enforcement agencies across the state.”

The American Civil Liberties Union also supports the bill, which “would ensure that content stored in the cloud receives the same level of protection as content stored on a laptop or in a desk drawer,” said Nicole Ozer, the Northern California ACLU’s technology and civil liberty policy director.


Eric Swalwell pursues ‘Mobile Congress’ via Skype

Rep. Eric Swalwell seems to be following up on his campaign promise to produce a “Mobile Congress” that’s more accessible to constituents via video technology and social media.

Swalwell via SkypeSwalwell, D-Dublin, did a Skype video conference with the Fremont City Council during the council’s meeting Tuesday, offering an update on Congress’ doings and taking questions from council members and Mayor Bill Harrison.

Simple as it seems, Swalwell says he’s not aware of any other member of Congress ever connecting with a local government meeting like this before. Swalwell says he intends to make it a habit with city councils throughout his 15th Congressional District.

“Just because I am in Washington, D.C., does not mean that the work at home stops. I want to stay as close to the district as possible even when 3,000 miles away, and I will take advantage of technology to stay in touch with folks at home and keep constituents informed about what we’re doing,” Swalwell said in a news release. “The idea of ‘Mobile Congress’ is about bringing Congress closer to the people, and video conferencing into the Fremont City Council meeting was a step to achieving this.”

Said Harrison: “The City of Fremont was proud to be the first city to have Skyped with Congressman Swalwell. We are appreciative of the federal update he provided to our community and his continued commitment to Fremont.”


Feinstein won’t give up on assault weapons ban

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein sounded pretty ticked off when she spoke on CNN a few moments ago about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pronouncing dead her effort to reinstate the federal assault-weapons ban.

Feinstein, D-Calif., said Reid, D-Nev., told her she would have an opportunity for a vote and “I take him at his word.”

More specifically, Feinstein said she left her meeting with Reid under the impression that she’d get a vote both on her overall bill and on a broken-out section that would only ban large-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

“This is very important to me and I’m not going to lay down and play dead,” she told CNN, noting polls show public support for an assault-weapons ban and her bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday on a 10-8 vote. “Not to give me a vote on this would be a major betrayal of trust, as I would see it.”

The Judiciary Committee passed the bill on a strict party-line vote, and Reid told reporters Tuesday that the proposed assault weapons ban isn’t holding up against Senate rules requiring at least 60 votes to end debate and move to final passage. It’s been known all along that Reid and several other Democratic senators from relatively conservative states probably wouldn’t support such a bill.

The White House replied that the assault-weapons ban can still be brought up as an amendment, and the votes can be found to pass it.

Polls have shown majority support for an assault weapons ban, though far weaker than that for universal background checks or a large-capacity magazine ban. A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll pegged support for an assault-weapons ban at 57 percent; Quinnipiac University put it at 54 percent; and the Pew Research Center/USA Today put it at 56 percent.


Ousted from House, Mary Bono Mack finds a job

One of the three California Republican House members unseated in November has found new, gainful employment with a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm

Mary Bono MackMary Bono Mack, who lost her seat to Democrat Raul Ruiz, has joined FaegreBD Consulting as a senior vice president; the firm says she’ll focus her government advocacy and consulting practice on legislative, regulatory and policy matters related to the entertainment, media and information technology sectors.

“I’m excited to build on the groundwork already in place with FaegreBD Consulting’s national practices,” Bono Mack said in the company’s news release. “In looking toward the next phase of my career, it was important to me to join an organization with international reach and tremendous growth potential, where I could provide value and leadership in continuing to shape public policies that impact some of our most dynamic economic sectors. FaegreBD Consulting is a great fit.”

The eight-term congresswoman had served on the Energy and Commerce, Judiciary and Armed Services committees. FaegreBD says she’ll “continue her focus on the telecommunications industry by working with clients to develop thoughtful policies that grow the Internet economy and maximize broadband networks throughout the U.S.”

FaegreBD Consulting Chair Dave Zook said his company is “confident that she will bring the same intensity to serving clients that need sound legislative and regulatory actions in a highly competitive economy. Mary will be a great resource as well for our 750 consulting and Faegre Baker Daniels legal professionals worldwide who need to understand where Washington is headed on key issues.”

The company also notes that as the late Sonny Bono’s wife and the administrator of his collection, Bono Mack will focus on the protection of artists’ intellectual property rights as an important aspect of her entertainment practice.

House Republicans Dan Lungren and Brian Bilbray also were unseated by Democrats in November, but have not yet publicly announced their next career steps.