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Money matchup: Mary Hayashi vs. Bob Wieckowski

One of the more interesting tidbits I’ve run across today, the deadline for California candidates to file their semi-annual campaign finance reports, is in the East Bay’s 10th State Senate District.

Mary HayashiWith incumbent Ellen Corbett term-limited out at the end of next year, former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi – convicted in January 2012 of shoplifting, and defeated in her November 2012 bid for an Alameda County supervisor’s seat – plans to run against Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont.

Hayashi raised only $5,900 in the first half of this year – $3,200 from the Sycuan Band Of The Kumeyaay Nation, $2,500 from the Independent Insurance Political Action Committee, and $200 from Sempra Energy – while spending about $25,000, leaving her with about $732,000 cash on hand as of June 30.

Wieckowski raised much more – almost $135,000 – and spent almost $72,000, but finished with a lot less cash on hand: about $76,000 as of June 30, with almost $11,000 in outstanding debts.

Sure, it’s early, and Wieckowski as an incumbent probably can raise more money faster as people start tuning in to this race. But that’s a biiiiiig pot of money Hayashi is sitting on, and it’ll be interesting to see how effectively she can use it to rehabilitate her public image and build a serious campaign.

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GOP donors urge action on immigration reform

More than a dozen prominent Republican campaign donors and donor groups from California wrote to the state’s GOP House members Tuesday, urging them to pass substantive immigration reform this year.

“We believe that it is the responsibility of our elected leaders to ensure that our laws keep us safe and help our economy grow. Our current immigration system does neither,” the GOP donors wrote. “It rewards law-breakers at the expense of those who follow the rules. It turns away talented workers who can help our economy. And, by not controlling our borders, it makes all Americans less safe.

“Doing nothing is de facto amnesty. We need to take control of whom we let in our country and we need to make sure everybody plays by the same rules.”

The letter was signed by:

  • Former U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay Frank Baxter of Los Angeles
  • San Diego-area developer James S. Brown and his wife, Marilyn, of Jamul
  • David Hanna, chairman and CEO of FHP Wireless Inc. & Hanna Ventures LLC, of Laguna Beach
  • conservative writer David Horowitz of Laguna Niguel
  • Diving Unlimited founder Dick Long of San Diego
  • former San Francisco Giants managing partner Peter Magowan of San Francisco
  • CKE Restaurants CEO Andrew Puzder of Santa Barbara
  • Orange County Business Journal publisher and CEO Richard Reisman of Laguna Beach
  • former U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Robert Tuttle of Los Angeles
  • Hispanic 100
  • Lincoln Club of Orange County
  • New Majority Orange County
  • New Majority San Diego
  • Many of them also were among 102 from across the nation who co-signed a letter going to all Republican House members.

    “Immigrants coming to this country for a better life have helped build and sustain America. They are a vital part of our future prosperity. They remind us of our potential as a free people,” Puzder said in a news release. “If our great nation is to continue to grow and prosper, we need to reform and modernize the U.S. immigration system. I strongly encourage the California Republican Congressional Delegation to strengthen our nation by working with their House colleagues to advance substantial immigration reform legislation this year.”

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    House OKs Speier’s plan for FAA low-speed study

    The House today agreed by voice vote to pass an amendment by Rep. Jackie Speier that would requiring the Federal Aviation Administration to study whether existing commercial aircraft should be required to install low-airspeed voice warning systems.

    PLANE CRASH AT SFOThe amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act is in response to the Asiana Airlines Flight 214, which crashed on its final approach to San Francisco International Airport on July 6. Initial reports found low airspeed was a crucial factor in this crash.

    The FAA will have one year to complete this study and make a determination if both new aircraft and existing aircraft should be required to incorporate a verbal warning system.

    “Pilots make life-or-death decisions in a matter of seconds,” Speier, D-San Mateo, said in a news release. “It is vital that planes have alerts that are instantly recognizable, clear, and unambiguous. After numerous incidents and nearly a decade of concerns, the FAA continues to drag its feet on the question of low-airspeed warning systems.”

    Jackie SpeierSpeier said low airspeed has been an air-safety concern for almost 20 years: The FAA’s Human Factors Team concluded in 1996 that flight crews needed better warnings that the aircraft was reaching low speeds. After the 2003 crash that killed U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended the FAA study whether to require installation of low-airspeed aural and visual alert systems. And after the Colgan Air crash in Buffalo, N.Y., a recommendation was reissued in 2010 on installation of low-speed warning systems.

    “We have plenty of evidence that giving pilots this tool could have – and will – save lives,” Speier said. “The FAA needs to translate this evidence into action.”

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    Daniel Ellsberg speaks on Bradley Manning verdict

    “All one can say is, ‘It could’ve been worse’ – a lot worse, not just for Bradley but for American democracy and the free press on which it depends,” said Daniel Ellsberg, who was a military analyst in 1971 when he leaked the Pentagon Papers: secret documents about U.S. decision-making in Vietnam.

    Daniel EllsbergEllsberg, now 82 and of Kensington, said he initially had seen the “aiding the enemy” charge of which Bradley Manning was acquitted Tuesday as so unsupported and over-the-top that he wondered whether prosecutors had filed it just to distract the public from other, lesser-but-still-severe charges.

    Manning’s prosecution is all about “shutting off any sources to investigative journalists from the Pentagon, NSA, CIA, the State Department – any information to the public about how they’re being served by the government, other than what the government wants them to know,” Ellsberg said, and that is “a kind of tyranny.”

    Jeff Paterson, director of Oakland-based Courage to Resist and a steering committee member of the Bradley Manning Support Network, said Tuesday he sees the verdict as “a limited victory.” He said the judge, despite having “openly sided with the military prosecution,” still didn’t buy prosecutors’ arguments that Manning aided America’s enemies; such a conviction would have set “a chilling precedent against any future whistleblower,” he said.

    Paterson – whose group was organizing a protest at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Market and Powell streets in San Francisco – said he’s disappointed by the Espionage Act convictions, but is confident the sentencing hearing will let Manning’s lawyers explain “why he felt compelled to give up his freedom in order to share this information with the American public for the good of democracy.”

    Click here for a sampling of social media reactions to the Manning verdict.

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    County GOP’s support of gay marriage draws fire

    California Republicans are abuzz following the Marin County Republican Central Committee’s vote Thursday to support same-sex marriage, becoming the nation’s first Republican county central committee to do so.

    “We recognized that we were not providing Marin voters with a viable choice at the polls, and we looked at ways to begin correcting that perception,” Kevin Krick of Fairfax, the committee’s chairman, told my Marin Independent Journal colleague Richard Halstead.

    But Harmeet Dhillon – chairwoman of the San Francisco Republican Party and vice chair of the state GOP – on Monday said the feedback she’s hearing from Republicans all around California is “pretty overwhelmingly in opposition” to the Marin GOP’s vote. She called the vote “ill-advised politically and premature at best,” and said she doesn’t know of any other county that’s considering following suit.

    Harmeet Dhillon“I don’t think it’s appropriate to have platform positions at the local level that contradict what the party positions are at the state and national level,” she said. “I don’t believe in meaningless gestures, and we don’t engage in them at the San Francisco Republican Party.”

    Activists have not been agitating for the San Francisco GOP to take a position on the issue, she said, “and I don’t expect that to change because they’re not single-issue voters and it’s not the most important issue for them.” Dhillon said gay Republicans like other Republicans are more focused on economic issues, and though she considers Krick a friend, she finds this decision surprising: “I don’t think it was properly aired, vetted, thought out.”

    “There’s really no groundswell for taking what I think is a premature position on the issue,” she said. “It’s not decided by any stretch of the imagination in the courts, by the Legislature or by the people.”

    Nor does she believe it’ll attract new voters to the party, Dhillon said: People for whom same-sex marriage is a prime issue usually disagree with the GOP on many other issues as well, so all this does is vex the party’s conservative base.

    Stuart Gaffney of San Francisco, spokesman for Marriage Equality USA, said though this is a first for the Republican Party, “it confirms what we already know: Support for marriage equality is increasing on a daily basis across all spectrums of our society.”

    Stuart Gaffney“It wasn’t that long ago where marriage equality might’ve been thought of as a partisan issue, but we see more and more politicians and leaders working across the aisle,” he said, noting actions like those of U.S. Sen. Rob Portman – who last year became the first GOP senator to support same-sex marriage – and the Marin GOP’s “are a result of seeing their LGBT constituents as human beings worthy of full dignity in all aspects of their lives.”

    “Any politician and any political party needs to be looking at how they can put together a majority, because they need to win elections,” Gaffney said, citing a new Gallup Poll that shows 52 percent of Americans would vote in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.

    “The numbers are only getting stronger and stronger… so any party that hopes to remain relevant needs to get on board or get out of the way. It’s a question for politicians and political parties now whether they want to be on the right side of history or not.”

    UPDATE @ 1:25 P.M.: Gregory Angelo, executive director of the national Log Cabin Republicans, said the Republican Party of Washington, D.C., in June 2012 became the first GOP affiliate to officially declare its support of same-sex marriage, but Marin is the first county committee.

    “This news is encouraging and only further shows what we’ve long said: that the GOP is no longer walking in lockstep on this issue,” Angelo said. “Enabling local Republican party central committees to take their own positions on marriage equality is an inherently conservative choice because it lets those closest to the ground have the ability to make policy and platform decisions that best meet the needs of their community and constituencies. That’s what the Republican Party advocates across the board.”

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    President Obama welcomes & praises SF Giants

    President Barack Obama today welcomed the San Francisco Giants to the White House to honor their 2012 World Series win.

    Mayor Ed Lee and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were on hand for the event, too. No mention was made of the Giants’ current position at the bottom of the NL West division.

    Read the president’s full remarks, after the jump…
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