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CD11: Walnut Creek Mayor Lawson opts out of congressional bid

Walnut Creek Mayor Kristina Lawson

In yet another name of someone who will not run for the congressional seat being vacated by retiring Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, Walnut Creek Mayor Kristina Lawson says she has decided not to seek the job.

Her announcement was somewhat expected. A respected landuse attorney with a 4 and 9-year-old still at home, taking on a major congressional campaign would have been a life-altering family decision. And that is before she even gets the job and begins those bicoastal treks between California and the Capitol. I suspect we’ll see and hear a good deal more of Lawson in the coming years, though.

Lawson’s departure all but clears the field for state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, who declared himself a candidate within minutes of Miller’s retirement announcement.

Just about every politician who might have challenged DeSaulnier has taken his or her name off the table and many have outright endorsed the senator.

There’s still time to enter the fray, of course. The official filing period runs Feb. 10 through March 14. And the top two election system will give a second-place finisher in June a second bite at the seat in November. But time is running seriously short to raise money.

Here’s what Lawson had to say in an email this morning:

Dear Friends and Family,

I write this morning to thank you for your support and encouragement, and to let you know that I will not run for Congress in 2014.

I had the great fortune to be born and raised in California, and I want the same for my two children, Kate and Graham. And, I want to be here in California with them as they grow up.

I also have the great fortune to serve as the Mayor of Walnut Creek, and I am committed to working hard this year to honor our longstanding community commitments to a vibrant economy, the environment, and children and families of all types. I do plan to run for re-election to the Walnut Creek City Council.

Thank you again for your support and encouragement.

Sincerely,

Kristina

 

 

Posted on Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
Under: 2014 primary | 5 Comments »

CD11: Ex-Walnut Creek Councilman Kish Rajan won’t run

Kish Rajan, GO-Biz director

Former Walnut Creek Councilman Kish Rajan has taken his name out of the running for the 11th congressional district seat that Rep. George Miller will vacate at the end of the year after four decades  in the House of Representatives.

Rajan left the city council in 2012 when he was offered a job as the director of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

“I love working for Gov. Brown and feel we are doing good things for the California economy,” Rajan texted a few minutes ago. “So, I plan to stick with it.”

That leaves only one name still floating around as a potential serious challenger to state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier of Concord: Walnut Creek Mayor Kristina Lawson.

The senator declared his candidacy within minutes of Miller’s retirement announcement on Jan. 14 and has locked down endorsements from almost everyone who might mount a credible challenge against him.

Lawson has said she is seriously considering running for the rare open congressional seat and is expected to make an announcement within a few days.

The other declared candidates are retired immigration judge and Republican Tue Phan-Quang of Danville and Jason Ramey, a 33-year-old political newbie from Concord. You can check out Ramey’s website at www.jasonrameyforcongress.com.

Posted on Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
Under: 2014 primary | 4 Comments »

CD11: Buchanan will endorse rather than challenge DeSaulnier

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord

Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo

Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, is endorsing rather than challenging state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, in the race for Contra Costa County’s largest congressional district.

DeSaulnier hopes to succeed retiring Rep. George Miller of Martinez, who will leave office at the end of the year after serving 40 years in the House of Representatives.

District 11 encompasses north and central Contra Costa County, stretching from Richmond to Pittsburg along the shoreline and southward through Lamorinda, Walnut Creek, Concord, Pleasant Hill, Clayton, Alamo and Danville.  See map here.

Buchanan’s departure from the District 11 field is the latest in a series of potential challengers who have instead opted to endorse the senator including Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond, California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson of Pittsburg and Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord.

Buchanan was DeSaulnier’s most serious potential opponent. She and DeSaulnier both ran unsuccessfully in 2009 against then-Lt. Gov. John Garamendi for the neighboring congressional seat vacated by Ellen Tauscher.

“I’m pleased to support Mark DeSaulnier for Congress,” Buchanan said in a prepared statement from his campaign. “Mark and I share a common goal of improving California’s schools and making our K-12, community colleges, and universities the best in the nation. I’m confident that Mark will be a strong advocate for our students and families in Congress.”

The assemblywoman and former San Ramon Valley School board member will term out of office this year. Now that she has ruled out a congressional bid, she is expected to run for DeSaulnier’s senate seat.

DeSaulnier terms out in 2016 but if he is elected to Congress this fall, a special election will be set for March 2015 to fill the remainder of his term.

The senator’s campaign also released other endorsements including Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover. Other new names on the list include:

  • Antioch Mayor Wade Harper
  • Former Antioch Mayor Donald Freitas
  • Antioch City Council member Monica Wilson
  • Orinda City Council member Amy Worth
  • Orinda City Council member Victoria Smith
  • Former Richmond Mayor Jim McMillan
  • Former Richmond Mayor Erma Anderson
  • Pleasant Hill Vice-Mayor Ken Carlson
  • Pleasant Hill City Council member David Durant
  • Clayton City Council member & Former Mayor Julie Pierce
  • El Cerrito Mayor Janet Abelson
  • El Cerrito City Council member Mark Friedman

Posted on Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
Under: 2014 primary | 3 Comments »

CD11: DeSaulnier secures Tauscher support

Under Secretary for International Security and Arms Control Ellen Tauscher. Photo by Karl Mondon/2011/Bay Area News Group

Former East Bay Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher will endorse today State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, to succeed the retiring Democratic Rep. George Miller in the 11th Congressional District.

Tauscher represented the neighboring District 10 for seven terms until the Obama administration appointed her in 2009 as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs.

DeSaulnier ran for Tauscher’s seat in 2009 and she support him. But the state senator subsequently lost to then-Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, who now represents District 3 after the state’s political boundaries were redrawn in 2011.

Miller is retiring at the end of the year after serving 40 years in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Here’s what the DeSaulnier campaign will release later this morning:

MARK DESAULNIER SECURES BACKING OF FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN ELLEN TAUSCHER

Former Congresswoman Represented Large Portion of 11th District

CONCORD, CA— On the heels of his entrance into the race last week to fill Congressman George Miller’s soon to-be vacated 11th Congressional district seat, today State Senator Mark DeSaulnier picked up a highly coveted endorsement from former Congresswoman and former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, the Honorable Ellen O. Tauscher.

Prior to the 2012 redistricting, Tauscher represented California’s old 10th Congressional district. Roughly 50% of the communities in Tauscher’s old district are now included in the new 11th Congressional district.

 

Mark DeSaulnier

“Mark DeSaulnier has always been a brave, forward-thinking, and passionate fighter for the people he represents,” said former Congresswoman Tauscher. “Mark is deeply connected to the communities in the 11th district, and I’m confident he’ll be a bold and progressive voice for them in Washington.  Not only does he have enormous experience and the necessary qualifications for this office, but also Mark has a real vision for a better California that must be heard in the halls of Congress. I’m proud to endorse Mark for Congress.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, January 20th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary | 4 Comments »

CD11: Retired Danville judge announces candidacy

11th Congressional District courtesy of Redistricting Partners

Retired Judge Tue Phan-Quang, a 71-year-old Republican from Danville, has announced his candidacy for the congressional seat that will open when Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, retires at the end of the year.

Phan-Quang made the announcement Tuesday at a meeting of the Walnut Creek Rotary Club, according to a statement his son, Thong Phan-Quang, sent to this newspaper. Phan-Quang was a guest speaker.

As a Republican candidate in the heavily Democratic 11th Congressional District, Phan-Quang’s chances of success are slim.

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, has already entered the race. Walnut Creek Mayor Kristina Lawson and former Walnut Creek Councilman Kish Rajan are considering it. And Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, may run.

But the retired judge’s story is an interesting one, as his son tells it in the statement he sent:

Judge Tue is 71 years old, married with 4 sons and 8 grandchildren. He and  his wife have been residents of Danville, California since 1995.

Judge Tue immigrated to the United States after the fall of Saigon in April 1975. A trained attorney in Vietnam, he completed his law studies at Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa. He was a Hearing Officer with the Iowa Department of Job Service for 4 years. He was appointed Assistant Attorney General with the Iowa Department of Justice in 1987. 

Judge Tue moved his family to California in 1988. He was a trial attorney with the Immigration & Naturalization Service, District Counsel Office in San Francisco from 1988-1993. From 1993-1995 he was an Administrative Law Judge with the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board in Sacramento. 

He was appointed Immigration Judge In March 1995 in San Francisco where he served until his retirement in December 2012.

My colleague Josh Richman found a video about the retired judge (see below) and text of the judge’s 2012 remarks at a naturalization ceremony in Oakland.

Posted on Friday, January 17th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary | 4 Comments »

CD11: Great NYT story about Miller’s D.C. flophouse

Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez

Check out this super smart New York Times story by Ashley Parker at the NYT:

WASHINGTON — This week’s news that Representative George Miller, Democrat of California, is planning to retire at the end of the year reverberated around the House of Representatives, where Mr. Miller has served since 1975.

But the news hit even harder around another less stately, more fratlike house about a quarter-mile southeast of the Capitol, where Mr. Miller has lived for more than 30 years with a rotating cadre of congressional Democrats — and which served as the inspiration for the Amazon web series “Alpha House.”

Mr. Miller, 68, who owns the two-story, two-bedroom house — part messy crash pad, part political seminar — currently shares it with Senators Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the majority whip, and Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat … 

Read the rest of the story here.

Posted on Thursday, January 16th, 2014
Under: Congress, congressional district 11 | 1 Comment »

Cool Rep. George Miller factoids

Lafayette political blogger Jason Bezis at CalPolitical has posted some very cool factoids about retiring Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, and East Bay representation in Congress for the past 150 years:

East San Francisco Bay Area Members of Congress: 1865 to 2014: George Miller is Just Third to Retire Normally in 150 Years

 Thirty-five individuals (33 men and two women) have represented the East San Francisco Bay Area (Alameda and Contra Costa counties) in the U.S. House of Representatives since California’s first single-member districts were created in 1864.  (Not including the two congressmen who represented California at-large from 1883 to 1885.  California gained two seats in 1882 as a result of the post-1880 census re-apportionment but the Legislature postponed re-districting until the 1884 congressional elections.) 
 
The East Bay today has six U.S. representatives: George Miller, Barbara Lee, Eric Swalwell, Jerry McNerney, Mike Honda and Mike Thompson.
 
Here is how the 29 other East Bay U.S. representatives left their East Bay districts:
 
  • Defeated in primary or general elections: 14 (Higby, Page, Hilborn, English, MacLafferty, Eltse, Carter, Condon, Allen, Cohelan, George P. Miller, Baker, Pombo, Stark)
  • Died in office: 3 (Elston, Curry Sr., Baldwin)
  • Resigned mid-term: 4 (McKenna, Metcalf, Dellums, Tauscher)
  • Re-districting caused loss of all East Bay territory: 3 (Curry, Jr., Edwards, Garamendi)
  • Ran for another office at end of term: 3 (Sargent, Knowland, Waldie)
  • Retired at end of term: 2 (Budd, Tolan)
 

Retirements are very rare.  Just two East Bay representatives in the past 150 years have retired from the House and not sought another political office immediately thereafter: James Budd in 1884 and John Tolan in 1946.  George Miller III will become the third in 2014.

Link to the rest of CalPolitical’s post here.

Posted on Thursday, January 16th, 2014
Under: Alameda County, Congress, Contra Costa County | No Comments »

CD11: Bay Area Council worries about losing clout

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier’s decision to run for Congress when Rep. George Miller, D-Concord, retires has the Bay Area Council worried the region will lose clout in Sacramento. With DeSaulnier no longer being considered for Senate President Pro Tem, will leadership posts in state Senate and Assembly both go to electeds from the south?


Here’s what Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman had to say about it:

Northern California Threatened by Leadership Vote 

By Jim Wunderman 

If you are worried about the drought, growing traffic, the funding at your children’s schools, or a whole host of other issues and you live in Northern California, you should be very worried about upcoming elections in the state legislature for the next Assembly Speaker and Senate President Pro Tempore.  

For 40 years there has been an unspoken – and unbroken – rule that Southern California splits leadership of the legislature with the Bay Area and greater Northern California.  This year, Southern California leaders could seize complete control of the state legislature, winning leadership of both the Senate and the Assembly.  We respect the importance of Southern California and often work closely with leaders there on key issues, but, for the good of California, we must continue to share leadership.   As a region, therefore, we face an enormous and historic political test.

Northern California’s Senators and Assemblymembers should stand up for their districts, their voters, their region, and this historic balance of power, and ensure that either the next as the next leader of the Senate or the Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary | 2 Comments »

East Bay political calendar: Fire tax, congress and state measures

Check out these upcoming political events in the East Bay.

Concord

CONFIRE CHIEF TO TALK ABOUT TAX: Contra Costa Fire Chief Daryl Louder will address the county’s mayors Thursday about his agency’s fiscal woes and the fire safety parcel tax on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Measure Q asks voters to approve a $75 annual parcel tax on a single-family home and create a tiered commercial rate, The funds would help the county’s largest fire district keep up to a third of its 28 fire stations open. The tax would expire in seven years.

The fire chief’s presentation is free and open to the public. The dinner following the business meeting is $50 a person and tickets may or may not be available at the door for the meal.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Concord Hilton, 1970 Diamond Blvd., in Concord.

The Mayors Conference is an association of the county’s 19 mayors. It meets monthly and has a variety of statutory responsibilities including the appointment of city representatives.

San Ramon

SCHOOL BOARD FORUM SET: Candidates vying for two seats on the San Ramon Valley Unified School District board have been invited to participate in a forum on Oct. 8.

The San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs and the Danville-Alamo-Walnut Creek chapter of the American Association of University Women will sponsor the event. Contra Costa Times political reporter and columnist Lisa Vorderbrueggen will moderate.

The candidates are incumbent Greg Marvel and challengers Mark Jewett and Dwight Winn.

Candidates will answer questions posed by the moderator and submitted from the audience.

The public event will be held from 7-8:45 p.m. at Iron Horse Middle School multipurpose room, 12601 Alcosta Blvd., San Ramon.

Pinole

FORUM SET: Candidates for two seats on the Pinole City Council have been invited to participate in a forum on Oct. 9.

Co-sponsored by Common Cause and Concerned Citizens of Pinole, the event will be moderated by Contra Costa Times political reporter and columnist Lisa Vorderbrueggen.

Three candidates are incumbents Roy Swearingen and Peter Murray, and challenger Ivette Ricco.

The open public event will be from 7-9 p.m. in the Pinole City Council chambers, 2131 Pear St., Pinole.

Pinole Community TV will air the forum on Comcast Channel 26 and AT&T Channel 99.

Stockton

UOP TO HOST CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE: Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney and his GOP challenger Ricky Gill will debate on Oct. 15 at the University of the Pacific’s Stockton campus.

McNerney is seeking re-election in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District, which encompasses the bulk of San Joaquin County and slice of far eastern Contra Costa County.

The event is co-hosted by the League of Women Voters and the college’s political science department.

A team of panelists from the community will ask questions of the candidates, who will also make opening and closing statements.

The public event will be held at 6 p.m. at university’s Long Theatre, 3601 Pacific Avenue in Stockton,

Pleasant Hill

COMMISSION HOSTS FORUM: Candidates vying for the Mt. Diablo School District board will participate in a candidates’ forum Oct. 18 in Pleasant Hill.

The forum is sponsored by the Pleasant Hill Education/Schools Advisory Commission and moderated by Contra Costa Times political reporter and columnist Lisa Vorderbrueggen.

It will be held from 7-9 p.m. at Pleasant Hill City Hall, 100 Gregory Lane, in Pleasant Hill.

The five candidates are incumbent Sherry Whitmarsh, and challengers Ernie DeTrinidad, Brian Lawrence, Debra Mason and Barbara Oaks. Incumbent Gary Eberhart is not seeking re-election.

Questions will be a mixed of those prepared in advance and those submitted that evening from the audience. Residents may also submit a question via email to Martin Nelis at mnelis@ci.pleasant-hill.ca.us.

The forum will be broadcast on public access television Comcast Channel 28, ATT U-Verse Channel 99 and Astound Channel 29.

Lafayette

COLUMNISTS TACKLE 2012: Contra Costa Times’ editorial columnist Daniel Borenstein and Sacramento Bee political columnist Dan Walters will team up on Oct. 24 at the Commonwealth Club.

In “Ballot Box 2012: A Key to the CA Election,” the journalists will take a look at the issues facing Californians in the upcoming election.

In November, Californians will consider solutions to the state’s budgetary woes, campaign finance reform and a proposed repeal of the three-strikes law, among many other initiatives.

Check-in begins at 6 p.m. followed by the program at 6:30 p.m. at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette.

Tickets are $22 for the general public, $12 for Commonwealth Club members and $7 for students with valid identification.

For more information, visit www.commonwealthclub.org.

 

 

 

Posted on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Political calendar, Political events | No Comments »

CC city, mayor, school board and fire tax videos online

Election Preview 2012 is online! Watch televised round-tables with Contra Costa mayoral, city council and school board candidates plus an hour-long debate on the fire safety parcel tax for Contra Costa Fire Protection District here.

Races include:

Measure Q, fire parcel safety tax, Contra Costa Fire District: http://bcove.me/yw5ksh1l

Antioch mayor: http://bcove.me/qwanlnl0

Antioch City Council: TK. (We’re having some technical difficulties with this one!)

Antioch Unified School District: http://bcove.me/syoeerun

Brentwood City Council: http://bcove.me/lfiwnofn

Brentwood mayor: http://bcove.me/d8zhg8lt

Brentwood Union School District: http://bcove.me/zzlf28hv

Clayton City Council: http://bcove.me/lsrdrh5b

Concord City Council: http://bcove.me/bpyxrwvy

Danville Town Council: http://bcove.me/uq8vfiiz

Lafayette City Council: http://bcove.me/clrqqp0s

Lafayette School District: http://bcove.me/6j7fqfu8

Martinez City Council: http://bcove.me/it81cf48

Martinez Unified School District: http://bcove.me/jbncw58l

Moraga Town Council: http://bcove.me/2l8sc11w

Mt. Diablo Unified School District: http://bcove.me/a8oydwmq

Oakley City Council: http://bcove.me/56tn3kie

Orinda City Council: http://bcove.me/zisd0lo5

Orinda School District: http://bcove.me/sx7vsfey

Pittsburg City Council: http://bcove.me/j73gfj23

Pittsburg School District: http://bcove.me/wj5yxqan

Pleasant Hill City Council: http://bcove.me/fxmg09tk

Richmond City Council: http://bcove.me/njjftkd7

San Ramon Valley Unified School District: http://bcove.me/4nirq0sf

Walnut Creek City Council: http://bcove.me/trrmfbq2

West Contra Costa Unified School District:  http://bcove.me/eykpqn8k

 

 

 

Posted on Monday, October 1st, 2012
Under: 2012 Contra Costa County election | 1 Comment »