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Archive for April, 2014

Campaign roundup: Gov, CA15, SD10, AD16, AD20

NEEL KASHKARIGovernor: Republican candidate Neel Kashkari announced his endorsement Tuesday by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who describes the former Treasury Department official and asset manager as “a bold conservative Republican leader” and “a principled man of action – not someone who simply leads from behind.” Kashkari said he admires Bush “and the tremendous work he did as governor to improve Florida’s schools and transform the lives of millions of kids.” Kashkari will be speaking at the Alameda County GOP’s annual leadership dinner this Friday, May 2 in Pleasanton. Meanwhile, Laguna Hills Mayor Andrew Blount – who’d edged Kashkari in recent polls despite having barely campaigned and raising no money – dropped out of the race Tuesday, citing health problems.

Ellen Corbett15th Congressional District: State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, is holding a garden-party fundraiser this Sunday, May 4 to help bankroll her bid to unseat Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin. Hosted by Winnie and Gerry Thompson of Castro Valley, the event seeks donations ranging from $35 for students or seniors and $50 for individuals up to $2,600 for sponsors. “We’ll be having a lively and exciting discussion about my run for Congress and what I plan to accomplish when elected as the 15 District’s new member of Congress,” Corbett wrote in an email to supporters.

Peter Kuo10th State Senate District: A snafu left Republican candidate Peter Kuo of Santa Clara without an invitation to the League of Women Voters candidate forum held this past Friday in Fremont. Co-president Sam Neeman issued a statement Tuesday saying “the League of Women Voters of Fremont, Newark and Union City is sorry for failing to include Peter Kuo,” and “to rectify this oversight, we have invited Mr. Kuo to an interview on May 3rd which will be taped and made available along with the Candidate Forum. We thank Mr. Kuo for generously making himself available for the interview.” Kuo issued a statement saying the League “provides a valuable service to the community, especially at election time. Honest oversights are made by professionals and volunteers alike, and clearly this was just that.” Kuo has fundraisers scheduled for tonight in Sunnyvale with Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, and for next Thursday, May 8 in Fremont with state Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Brea.

Steve Glazer16th Assembly District: Steve Glazer is touting a poll he commissioned that shows him leading the other Democrats in the field. The poll of 350 likely voters, conducted April 18-23 by J. Moore Methods of Sacramento found Glazer, an Orinda councilman and former campaign advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown with 21 percent of the vote, Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti with 17 percent and Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich with 6 percent, while Dublin attorney Catherine Baker – the only Republican in the race – takes 28 percent and 28 percent have no opinion or picked none of the above. But with a margin of error of 5.3 percentage points, this poll shows what most already knew it’s a death match between Glazer and Sbranti to finish with Baker in the top two. Huff is headlining a fundraising luncheon for Baker this Sunday, May 4 in Pleasanton.

20th Assembly District: Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, has his next fundraiser scheduled for the evening of Thursday, May 8 at Hayward’s Acqua e Farina Ristorante, with tickets starting at $100 and ranging up to $8,200 for co-host committee “superstars.”

Posted on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Bill Quirk, California State Senate, Ellen Corbett, Neel Kashkari, U.S. House | 8 Comments »

Jerry Brown will lead trade mission to Mexico

Gov. Jerry Brown will lead a trade and investment mission to Mexico – California’s largest export market – in the last week of July, he announced Tuesday.

California’s neighbor has a role to play in the Golden State’s push to address its energy and environmental needs, Brown had said in his State of the State address in January.

“Reducing our oil consumption, two-thirds of which is imported by ships and tank cars, will take time, breakthrough technologies and steadfast commitment. It will also require that the countries which burn the most fossil fuel join with us,” he said at the time. “We’ve started building those partnerships with other states and countries like China. We will go to Mexico next. California can’t do this alone.”

A delegation of California government, business, economic development, investment and policy leaders will join Brown on this mission, which is being organized by the California Chamber of Commerce. The focus will be on boosting direct investment in the state, expanding bilateral economic and environmental cooperation, and connecting California businesses with new opportunities and partnerships.

Brown met last month with Mexican consuls general from cities across California.

The governor one year ago led a similar mission to China, during which he met with government leaders including China Premier Li Keqiang, opened the California-China Office of Trade and Investment in Shanghai and signed the first economic and environmental agreements ever between a subnational entity and Chinese Ministries. Brown later last year met with China’s President Xi Jinping in California to sign a climate-change pact; he also has signed pacts in the past year with leaders from Canada, Israel and Peru to combat climate change, strengthen economic ties and cooperate on research.

Posted on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
Under: economy, energy, Environment, Gov. Jerry Brown, International politics, Jerry Brown | No Comments »

SD10: ‘Mug Shot Mary’ website targets Hayashi

The gloves are off in the 10th State Senate District race, where Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski has brought former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi’s shoplifting conviction front and center.

A MugshotMary.com website created by Wieckowski’s campaign highlights Hayashi’s October 2011 arrest for shoplifting $2,450 worth of clothes at San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus store; she remains on probation still. “Character matters,” the website claims, offering the hashtag #DontVoteForCriminals.

MugshotMary website

Part of the website outlines criminal problems of three sitting state Senators. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, has been indicted for allegedly selling official favors and conspiring to traffic in firearms without a license and to illegally import firearms. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, was indicted last month on bribery charges. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood, was convicted in January of voter fraud and perjury related to not living in the district he represents.

“Corruption in the California Senate is out of control. Three State Senators arrested or convicted in three months,” the website says. “Now, Mary Hayashi, who is on probation for shoplifting, wants to be your next State Senator. Do we really need another criminal representing us in Sacramento?”

Josh Pulliam, Hayashi’s campaign strategist, noted Monday that the website appeared right after Hayashi – who as of last month had four and a half times as much money banked for this campaign as Wieckowski – launched her first television ad and sent out three mailers to the district voters last week.

“So Bob’s opening salvo is an over-the-top personal attack against Mary Hayashi, and I think that says a lot about his character and the type of politician he is and why he hasn’t been able to be a very effective assemblyman,” he said. “And by attacking the institution of the state senate, it shows he wont be able to be a very effective state senator, either.”

Pulliam also said Wieckowski, D-Fremont, has skipped several forums and debates around the district, and when asked about ethics issues at a recent event he did attend, he didn’t say a word about Hayashi’s conviction. “He’s a big man when he hides behind a website.”

Wieckowski campaign strategist Lisa Tucker replied that he has the vast majority of endorsements in this race, indicating most “people and organizations think he’s going to be a very effective senator and like what he’s done in the Assembly.”

“If Mary was actually in the district and paying attention, she would know Bob has been talking to voters for months,” Tucker added, noting the campaign has made more than 50,000 door knocks or phone calls so far. “This is not the first thing to come out of the box from our campaign.”

Wieckowski’s campaign seems to have missed the mark with two details.

One, the website says Hayashi pleaded guilty; actually, she pleaded “no contest,” which means she neither admitted nor disputed the charge against her. While not technically the same as a guilty plea, it has the same legal effect: conviction.

And two, the website said she never apologized. In a July 2012 interview, Hayashi said she had been distracted by a phone call when she left with the unpaid items. “Of course, I intended to pay for them,” she said. “But I accept responsibility and offer apologies, not excuses.”

Hayashi in that 2012 interview also said that “my opponents may use the issue to try to smear me, but I trust the voters to be smarter than that.” She was speaking about the Alameda County Board of Supervisors seat she was seeking at that time – she later finished third out of four contenders – but she might as well have been talking about this race, too. So perhaps the website is Wieckowski’s bid to gauge just how smart the voters are.

Meanwhile, Republican candidate Peter Kuo – an insurance agent from Santa Clara – has been busy shoring up support and holding fundraising events. He’ll have a fundraiser Tuesday night in Sunnyvale with Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, and then another on Thursday, May 8 in Fremont with state Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Brea.

Also seeking the 10th State Senate District seat are Democrat Roman Reed, a spinal-injury research advocate and planning commissioner from Fremont, and former Assemblywoman Audie Bock of Hayward, running as a nonpartisan.

Posted on Monday, April 28th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Bob Wieckowski, California State Senate, Mary Hayashi | 33 Comments »

Neel Kashkari endorsed by Romney, Wilson & Issa

Struggling in the polls, Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari rolled out some high-profile endorsements Monday clearly aimed at shoring up his bona fides among the GOP rank and file.

Kashkari, a former Treasury Department official and asset manager from Laguna Beach, announced his endorsement by Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, former California Governor Pete Wilson, and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Vista.

“Democrats’ big-government policies have hurt the middle class and reduced opportunity for Americans across the country, and that’s the reason it’s so important to elect leaders like Neel Kashkari who understand how to jumpstart the private sector, fix our schools and get people working again,” Romney said in the news release. “Republicans in California and across the nation must unite behind candidates who will fight for our Party’s principles of fiscal responsibility and hard work – and I believe Neel is that candidate. He has demonstrated courage and steady leadership in tough times, and his resilience and focus is exactly what we need leading California today.”

Wilson called Kashkari “the right candidate with the right message to challenge Gov. Brown, support Republican candidates up and down the ticket, and help us grow the Party in the long term. California needs new, fiscally conservative leadership in Sacramento to strengthen our state’s economy, and that’s the reason I urge Republicans across the state to join me in supporting Neel this June.”

And Issa said “Sacramento Democrats have a disastrous record of passing job-killing laws and regulations that have destroyed the middle class; it’s clearly time for new leadership to help restore the strength of our private sector and put people back to work. I’m pleased to endorse Neel because he is an honest, hard-working person who is clearly committed to public service, and I believe he’s the right candidate to lead the Republican ticket in California this November.”

A Field Poll released earlier this month showed Kashkari, who entered the race in January, trailing far behind the generally more conservative Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Hesperia, while both are being pummeled by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown. And just last week, a private poll found Kashkari trailing even fellow Republican Glenn Champ, a registered sex offender who’s running a religiously oriented campaign.

But Kashkari has had more fundraising success than any of his Republican rivals, and said earlier this month that he intends to launch targeted television ads and direct mail as vote-by-mail ballots go out starting May 5.

Posted on Monday, April 28th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Jerry Brown, Mitt Romney, Neel Kashkari | No Comments »

Beer breeds bipartisanship in House

What has the power to make California’s House members work across the aisle? Beer.

Reps. John Garamendi, D-Fairfield, and Doug LaMalfa, R-Oroville, sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration earlier this month urging it to reject a proposed regulation that would’ve put a burden on small breweries while contributing to an increase in food waste. The letter was signed by 11 other California House members – six Democrats and five Republicans.

At issue were spent grains: by-products of alcoholic beverage brewing and distilling that are commonly used as animal feed. The FDA had proposed that breweries be forced to dry, package, and inspect all food, including spent grain used for cattle. But the agency announced Thursday it won’t pursue the regulation.

“We’ve heard from trade groups and members of Congress, as well as individual breweries raising concerns that FDA might disrupt or even eliminate this practice by making brewers, distillers, and food manufacturers comply not only with human food safety requirements but also additional, redundant animal feed standards that would impose costs without adding value for food or feed safety,” Michael Taylor, the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, explained in a blog post. “That, of course, would not make common sense, and we’re not going to do it.”

Garamendi issued a news release Friday saying food safety is important, but “the FDA was proposing a burdensome and unnecessary regulation, and I’m glad they’re reversing course.”

“Many small breweries are helmed by people who believe deeply in conservation and sustainable agriculture,” he said. “They like to buy local and stay local, partnering with area farmers to reduce food waste. It’s great news that this practice can continue in California and across the nation.”

Among the small breweries in Garamendi’s district are Berryessa Brewing Company in Winters, Black Dragon Brewery in Woodland, Heretic Brewing Company in Fairfield, Sudwerk Brewery in Davis, and Sutter Buttes Brewing in Yuba City.

Posted on Friday, April 25th, 2014
Under: John Garamendi, U.S. House | 2 Comments »

SD10: Mary Hayashi airs first TV ad, sends mailers

Former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi has launched her first television ad and sent her first mailers in her bid to win the 10th State Senate District seat, making use of the substantial fundraising lead she has amassed.

The 30-second spot was launched with “a robust ad buy” Thursday, her campaign said, and reportedly aired during the Golden State Warriors playoff game.

Also, district voters received two mailers from Hayashi this week. Here are the front and back of one of those mailers (click to enlarge):

Hayashi mailer 1

Hayashi mailer 2

One of the people depicted in the TV ad and in one of the mailers – Jessica Gutierrez, identified in the ad as a student – worked for Hayashi as a district-office field representative from January 2010 through the end of 2012, when Hayashi was term-limited out of office. Gutierrez is now a UC-Berkeley student. Asked whether Gutierrez’s former employment by Hayashi should’ve been disclosed, Roger Salazar, Hayashi’s campaign consultant, replied it’s “a BS question. She’s a student and a supporter and what she’s saying and how she is identified is true.”

Hayashi, a Democrat, represented what was then the 18th Assembly District from 2006 to 2012. She was convicted in early 2012 of shoplifting $2,450 worth of clothes from San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus; she was sentenced to three years of probation. She ran unsuccessfully for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors later in 2012, finishing third out of four.

Also seeking the 10th State Senate District seat are Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont; Democrat Roman Reed, a spinal-injury research advocate and planning commissioner from Fremont; Republican Peter Kuo, an insurance agent from Santa Clara; and former Assemblywoman Audie Bock, running as a nonpartisan.

Posted on Friday, April 25th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Bob Wieckowski, California State Senate, Mary Hayashi | 20 Comments »

Reich visits Capitol on CEO pay, oil extraction tax

It’s Robert Reich day at California’s State Capitol.

No, there hasn’t been an official proclamation. But the former U.S. Secretary of Labor, now a UC-Berkeley public policy professor, will be under the dome Thursday to speak on behalf of two bills introduced by Bay Area lawmakers.

Reich is doing a news conference with state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord; state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley; and California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski in support of DeSaulnier’s SB 1372, which would create a new corporate tax table that increases taxes on businesses with big disparities between the salaries of their workers and their CEOs. The bill is being heard Thursday morning by the State Governance and Finance Committee.

“For example, if the CEO makes 100 times the median worker in the company, the company’s tax rate drops from the current 8.8 percent down to 8 percent. If the CEO makes 25 times the pay of the typical worker, the tax rate goes down to 7 percent,” Reich wrote on his blog Monday. “On the other hand, corporations with big disparities face higher taxes. If the CEO makes 200 times the typical employee, the tax rate goes to 9.5 percent; 400 times, to 13 percent.”

“Pushing companies to put less money into the hands of their CEOs and more into the hands of average employees creates more buying power among people who will buy, and therefore more jobs,” he wrote. “For the last thirty years, almost all the incentives operating on companies have been to lower the pay of their workers while increasing the pay of their CEOs and other top executives. It’s about time some incentives were applied in the other direction.”

And, Reich will testify to the Senate Public Education Committee in favor of SB 1017 by state Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, which would create an oil extraction tax to fund higher education, health and human services, state parks and more.

Reich endorsed a similar student-organized ballot measure effort last year, saying that using oil severance tax revenue for education “should be a no-brainer. It will only improve our schools. The real question is why California hasn’t done this long before now.”

The California Chamber of Commerce this month put both bills on its list of “job killers,” arguing they create barriers to economic development.

“The economic recovery is still the number one issue for Californians,” Chamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg said when announcing the list. “These bills pose a serious threat to our economy and, if enacted, would dampen job growth in the state.”

Of Evans’ bill, Zaremberg said “an oil extraction tax will drive up consumer prices, push jobs away and upset a fragile economy that is showing strong signs of life.”

Posted on Thursday, April 24th, 2014
Under: economy, education, state budget, taxes | 12 Comments »

Signatures sent in for Medi-Cal funding measure

Health care providers and community groups have gathered and are submitting 1.3 million signatures to put a measure on November’s ballot that they say will provide stable funding for health care for children and, through Medi-Cal, for seniors and low-income residents.

“California voters will get the chance this fall to strengthen this critically important law, and improve access to quality affordable medical care for those who need it most,” California Hospital Association President and CEO C. Duane Dauner said in a news release.

The Medi-Cal Funding and Accountability Act of 2014 “will ensure California receives ongoing access to approximately $3 billion annually in federal matching funds,” Dauner said. “This is California’s fair share, money that would otherwise be left on the table in Washington, D.C.”

California’s hospitals for the past several years have taxed themselves to get access to the federal funds, but the budget-crunched state at times has diverted some of that money to its general fund. Last year’s SB 239, passed by the Legislature without any opposing votes and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, extended this fee through 2017 and specified how the money could be spent.

This measure would make that law permanent, and would require that “any changes in the program or to how the money is spent would have to be approved by voters first,” Christopher Dawes, president and CEO of Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford Children’s Health, noted in the release.

Patients aren’t assessed any fees, and there are no new or increased taxes.

“We don’t have a single voice of opposition – this is a win-win for everybody… and it doesn’t cost a dime to California taxpayers,” said Anne McLeod, the California Hospital Association’s senior vice president of health policy.

The money must be spent to provide health care services to children and, through Medi-Cal, to elderly and low-income Californians. Without the federal funds, money would have to come from privately insured patients; the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office finds the measure would save state taxpayers $500 million for children’s health coverage starting in 2016-17, growing to more than $1 billion per year by 2019-20.

Dauner said people with private insurance shouldn’t face higher rates to subsidize unpaid Medi-Cal bills if federal money is available to cover the cost. “The Act is a common-sense answer to helping people provide health care to those who need it most, at great benefit to California taxpayers.”

Posted on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
Under: ballot measures, state budget | No Comments »

CA17: Tammy Duckworth coming to Honda’s aid

War hero Rep. Tammy Duckworth will visit Silicon Valley on Friday to do a veteran’s roundtable and some phone-banking for Rep. Mike Honda’s re-election campaign.

Tammy DuckworthHonda, D-San Jose, and Duckworth, D-Ill., have worked together since 2006 when Honda supported her first race for Congress. Then and in 2012, Honda attended events in her district and helped her raise funds nationwide; now she’s returning the favor, as Honda faces challenges from fellow Democrat Ro Khanna, Republican Vanila Singh and Republican Joel Vanlandingham.

The two House members will hold a one-hour roundtable with local veterans at 4 p.m. Friday in Honda’s campaign headquarters, in the SEIU building at 2302 Zanker Road in San Jose; after that, Duckworth will join campaign volunteers to work the phones for an hour.

Duckworth was a National Guard captain serving in Iraq in 2004 when the Black Hawk helicopter she was piloting was hit by an rocket-propelled grenade; she lost both legs and partial use of her right arm. She has since served as Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and as an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; she remains a lieutenant colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard, and now serves on the House Armed Services and the Government & Oversight committees.

Honda’s campaign said he has worked to increase funding for veterans’ health care services and for college scholarships for returning veterans, including $2.8 million in grants for homeless and at-risk veterans in his district that he helped secure last year. He also played a role in seeking compensation and recognition for Filipino-American veterans who served in World War II.

Khanna is keeping up his breakneck pace this week by speaking to Santa Clara University law students on Wednesday; serving as a panelist at the Latinos Information Technology and Science Association conference in Redwood City and then canvassing in Sunnyvale on Thursday; giving an inaugural address and taking part in a panel discussion at the Indian Institute of Management conference at Google in Mountain View before doing a Sunnyvale neighborhood meet-and-greet Saturday; and then doing neighborhood meet-and-greets in Sunnyvale and Cupertino on Sunday.

And, as previously reported here, Singh is holding a happy hour from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at C&J’s Sports Bar, 1550 Lafayette St. in Santa Clara, and then will hold a campaign kickoff at 10 a.m. Saturday at her headquarters, 1313 N. Milpitas Blvd. Suite 215, in Milpitas.

Posted on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Mike Honda, U.S. House, veterans | 6 Comments »

CA15: Swalwell launches first TV ad

Freshman Rep. Eric Swalwell will launch his re-election campaign’s first television advertisement Wednesday.

“It starts tomorrow and we’re not going to go dark – it’ll stay on through the duration of the campaign,” Swalwell campaign consultant Lisa Tucker said Tuesday, adding it’s a six-figure buy on local cable channels.

So Swalwell, D-Dublin, is bringing his significant fundraising edge to bear. Meanwhile, his Democratic challenger, state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, is keeping her profile high with official events in her district.

Last week, she held a “walking town hall” with constituents at the Sunol-Ohlone Regional Wilderness and hosted a summit on sexual assaults on college campuses at CSU-East Bay in Hayward. This Friday, Corbett will hold a news conference in San Leandro touting her two bills – SB 894 and SB 895 – to reform oversight of assisted living facilities, in response to the fiasco at Castro Valley’s Valley Springs Manor last fall.

Republican candidate Hugh Bussell, the Alameda County GOP vice chairman from Livermore, will attend the county GOP’s leadership dinner on Friday, May 2 in Pleasanton, along with Republican candidates including gubernatorial contender Neel Kashkari.

Posted on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Eric Swalwell, U.S. House | 14 Comments »