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Archive for July, 2013

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.

Posted on Wednesday, July 31st, 2013
Under: Assembly, Bob Wieckowski, California State Senate, campaign finance, Ellen Corbett, Mary Hayashi | 14 Comments »

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.”

    Posted on Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
    Under: campaign finance, Immigration, Republican politics | No Comments »

    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.”

    Posted on Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
    Under: Jackie Speier, U.S. House | 16 Comments »

    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.

    Posted on Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
    Under: national security | 3 Comments »

    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.”

    Posted on Monday, July 29th, 2013
    Under: Republican Party, Republican politics, same-sex marriage | 10 Comments »

    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…
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted on Monday, July 29th, 2013
    Under: Obama presidency | 2 Comments »

    Honda & Khanna duke it out over tech bona fides

    Rep. Mike Honda and his Democratic challenger, Ro Khanna, continue their sparring over who can deliver best for Silicon Valley.

    honda.jpgHonda, D-San Jose, on Friday convened the first meeting of his newly formed STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) Advisory Board, which will meet quarterly to advance school programs that ensure students have a strong educational foundation to compete and innovate in a tech economy.

    The board includes the presidents of San Jose State University and De Anza College as well non-profit board members and executives from Intel, IBM, Apple, Cisco Systems, and other tech firms. White House Deputy Director of Science and Technology Policy Tom Kalil delivered a keynote speech to more than 40 board members at the launch event, held at the Santa Clara headquarters of Applied Matierals.

    “The children of Silicon Valley, the state, and indeed the country are at a disadvantage if we do not continue to give them the educational tools they need to grow and succeed in a global, high-tech economy,” Honda said in his remarks at the event. “I have long fought in Congress to ensure that every student in our public schools has access to an equitable education from pre-K to college, and a structured curriculum of math and science programs must serve as its foundation.”

    Honda recently introduced H.R. 2592, the STEM Innovation Networks Act, which authorizes federal grants to establish state networks of public-private partnerships for STEM education.

    Meanwhile, Khanna on Monday touted his endorsement by more than 100 Silicon Valley businesses figures – some of whom had been disclosed before as members of his campaign’s executive committee or as fundraisers, but many of whom are newly announced. Khanna said he’s “humbled” by the support.

    Ro Khanna“People across the district – from those that started companies to those who work hard every day to develop the next big idea – are calling for a new type of thought leadership that has been absent from our political discourse,” he said. “Not only do these incredible technology leaders keep Silicon Valley at the forefront of innovation, they also create and sustain hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs for our community.”

    Khanna, who served as a deputy assistant secretary of commerce for two years during President Obama’s first term, favors immigration reform to attract the world’s best and brightest to Silicon Valley; expanding broadband to every classroom and teaching code in schools; developing a strategy to get more women into STEM fields; supporting small businesses by simplifying bureaucratic red tape; supporting entrepreneurs by deferring student loan payments, allowing tax deductions for software purchases and applying the Research and Development Tax Credit to employer taxes instead of income; reforming the tax code; and more.

    See Khanna’s list of Silicon Valley endorsers, after the jump…
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted on Monday, July 29th, 2013
    Under: 2014 primary, Mike Honda, U.S. House | No Comments »

    Antioch soldier to receive Medal of Honor

    A soldier from Antioch will become the fifth living recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan, the White House announced today.

    President Barack Obama on Aug. 26 will award U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ty Carter the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry, recognizing his courage while serving as a cavalry scout with Bravo Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, during combat operations in Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on Oct. 3, 2009.

    Here’s how the incident was described when Carter received the USO’s most prestigious leadership honor, the George Van Cleave Military Leadership Award, in 2011:

    Ty CarterWhen his fellow soldiers and a nearby combat outpost came under attack from a battalion-sized enemy force, Carter, a specialist at the time, ran repeatedly through heavy enemy fire to bring critical ammunition to his position.

    Armed only with only an M4 carbine, he beat back the assault force for several hours. Despite being wounded, he disregarded his own personal safety to assist a critically wounded comrade. He administered first aid and carried the wounded soldier through withering enemy fire. Throughout the battle, Carter exposed himself to the enemy no fewer than six times as he crossed treacherous ground where eight fellow soldiers were killed.

    Carter grew up in Spokane, Wash., but now calls Antioch home; he’s married to Shannon Carter and they have three children, Jayden Young, Madison Carter and Sehara Carter.

    He enlisted in the Army in January 2008 as a cavalry scout, and after training at Ft Knox, Kentucky, he was assigned to 3-61 Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, where he deployed to Afghanistan from May 2009 to May 2010. In October 2010 he was assigned as a Stryker gunner with 8-1 Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He completed a second deployment to Afghanistan in October 2012, and now is stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., assigned to the 7th Infantry Division.

    His other military decorations include the Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Army Good Conduct Medal, Navy Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon w/Numeral 2, Army Service Ribbon, Oversea Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, the Combat Action Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge and Air Assault Badge.

    The Medal of Honor is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

    The meritorious conduct must involve great personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life. There must be incontestable proof of the performance of the meritorious conduct, and each recommendation for the award must be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.

    Posted on Friday, July 26th, 2013
    Under: Afghanistan, Obama presidency | 2 Comments »

    Lee to host ‘Fruitvale Station’ screening in D.C.

    Rep. Barbara Lee will host a screening of “Fruitvale Station,” the critically acclaimed movie about the last day of BART Police shooting victim Oscar Grant, with other lawmakers next week in Washington, D.C.

    Fruitvale_Station_posterLee, D-Oakland, is organizing the event in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

    “It is an especially timely film considering the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin and resulting verdict,” Lee wrote in an invitation.

    Lee’s office says Grant’s mother, Wanda Johnson, is planning to attend.

    The screening is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday, July 30; the invitation says lawmakers will be offered transportation from the Rayburn House Office Building at 7 p.m. or immediately after the day’s last votes.

    Posted on Friday, July 26th, 2013
    Under: Barbara Lee, U.S. House | 6 Comments »

    Bonta helps raise money for slain child’s funeral

    Here’s a role no lawmaker should ever have to play: helping to raise funds to cover the funeral expenses of a murdered child from his district.

    Alaysha Carradine   (Family photo)Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s campaign sent out an e-mail this morning soliciting donations to help cover the funeral and burial costs for Alaysha Carradine, 8, who was killed last week during a sleepover at a friend’s home when someone sprayed the friend’s Oakland apartment with gunfire. Two other children were wounded.

    “Now, a family which should have been buying clothes and supplies for third-grade is faced with funeral and burial expenses they cannot afford,” said the e-mail from Bonta, D-Oakland.

    Bonta chairs the Assembly’s Select Committee on Gun Violence in the East Bay, which held its first hearing May 17 in Oakland.

    Bonta’s e-mail says he and other East Bay figures including Oakland City Council members Rebecca Kaplan, Libby Schaaf and Lynette McElhaney as well as Port of Oakland Commissioner (and mayoral candidate) Bryan Parker have joined with the Khadafy Foundation for Non-Violence to raise the funds online.

    All contributions are tax-deductible and any funds raised over the target amount will be donated to the foundation and used to help defray burial expenses for other children who might become victims of gun violence.

    Posted on Friday, July 26th, 2013
    Under: Assembly, Rob Bonta, Uncategorized | 38 Comments »