Garamendi will host tele-town hall



Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, will invite Livermore residents tonight to join him in a tele-town hall. (Others may participate by calling the number listed in the news release below.)

It’s the first in a series of up to 10 planned tele-townhalls in the 10th Congressional District, his office says.

Tele-townhalls allow constituents to participate in a telephone version of a meeting with a member of Congress.

At 5:30 p.m., a vendor hired by Garamendi’s office will send automated calls to 10,000 Livermore households. Residents answering the call may opt to stay on the line and listen to the event. The congressman will also answer callers’ questions.

Critics say the tele-town hall format permits elected officials to avoid angry constituents or dodge questions they don’t want to answer. Gongressional staff usually screen the questioners.

But advocates say it provides an opportunity for thousands of voters to listen directly to their representatives without leaving their homes. A typical town hall meeting might draw a few dozen people, although public appearances of members of Congress have been used, as of late, as a platform for vocal protesters.

For all the details about Garamendi’s tele-town hall, read his press release below.

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CD10: AIP nominee passes away

Jerry Denham

Jerry Denham

Jerome “Jerry” Denham, the colorful face of the East Bay American Independent Party and its two-time candidate for the 10th Congressional District, has died. He was 74. (Watch the Contra Costa Times Web site for his obituary on Sunday.)

Denham passed away unexpectedly several days before the June 8 primary election, where he was unopposed in his second bid for his party’s nomination. He also ran in the 2009 special election to replace former Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, who left for a State Department post.

The American Independent Party on Thursday night selected Vincent May, an El Cerrito biofuels consultant, as the party’s new nominee. May expects to finalize all the necessary paperwork at the election office this afternoon. (May was seriously considering running for governor. You can visit his Web site at http://www.wantedcalgov.net/home.html. He says he will revamp this site when he launches his congressional campaign.)

May will run on Nov. 2 against Democratic incumbent John Garamendi, of Walnut Grove, and GOP nominee, retired peace officer and farmer Gary Clift, of Vacaville.

Denham was a unique political figure in the East Bay, where he often appeared at local events wearing red, white and blue and handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution.

During the 2009 special election, the dapper Walnut Creek insurance salesman and financial planner campaigned with the vigor and enthusiasm of a much younger candidate.

He said at the time that he never intended to run for Congress and was grooming others to take his place. Denham founded the Freedom Coalition, an educational organization that taught people about the U.S. Constitution.

But his protégés weren’t ready, so he put his own name on the ballot.

He was under no illusion that he would win. Only 2.3 percent of the district’s registered voters are members of his party.

Like many minority party candidates, Denham saw his candidacy as an opportunity to publicize his party’s platform.

And he was always good for a feisty quote.

“I look forward to the day when some real estate agent will pound a huge ‘For Sale’ sign in front of the Internal Revenue Services as well as many other buildings in the District of Criminals,” he said during the 2009 campaign.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on June 26 at the North Creek Church, 2303 Ygnacio Valley Road in Walnut Creek.


CD10: Take a 52-second tour of the district

Republican primary candidate Buddy Burke in the 10th Congressional District posted this clever 52-second tour of the district. His best line comes at the end.

Who is Buddy Burke? Well, that’s his chief obstacle although not the only one.

He is one of two Republicans — the other is Gary Clift — vying for the chance  to challenge incumbent Democratic Rep. John Garamendi, the former California lieutenant governor who won the seat in a special election last year.  Neither of the Republicans stand much of a chance: It’s a heavily Democratic district; Garamendi has high name identification; and he will have lots of money.


Garamendi named to Armed Services Committee

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove

House Democratic leaders have named Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, to the House Armed Services Committee.

Garamendi requested the assignment after his election in September but was unsuccessful. The committee has oversight of the U.S. military and the massive Department of Defense budget.

“Over the last six months, there have been some changes on the committee as members moved on and others wanted different assignments, and a seat opened up,” Garamendi said via telephone a few minutes ago. “The leadership thinks I am doing a good job and thought the Armed Services Committee would be a good fit for me and my district.”

The 10th Congressional District contains Travis Air Force Base and two national laboratories, the Livermore and Sandia labs.

In his new role, Garamendi will announce Monday the introduction of legislation that would permit the opening of a technology transfer campus adjacent to the two national laboratories, where private companies will rent space and collaborate with government researchers.

The congressman’s committee assignments now match that of his predecessor, former Rep. Ellen Tauscher, who resigned to take a high-level job in the U.S. State Department. Garamendi was elected in a special election on Sept. 1, 2009.

Garamendi is also a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and will retain his seat on the Science and Technology Committee.


Garamendi moves to bar new drilling leases

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, introduced his first bill today, which would permanently block all new oil and natural gas drilling leases off the coasts of Oregon, Washington and California.

Citing the BP disaster, a massive oil leak into the Gulf in the wake of an oil drilling platform explosion, Garamendi said the time to protect the West Coast is now.

It’s unclear whether the rest of the nation’s representatives in Congress will agree with Garamendi. But the sights and sounds of the Gulf oil spill have undeniably altered public opinion and lead to President Barack Obama’s decision to postpone his plan for the expansion of offshore drilling elsewhere in the country.

Read on for Garamendi’s full news release.

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Garamendi pushes for Highway 4 money

It’s YouTube meets Earmarks.

Rep. John  Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, has posted a YouTube video of his testimony in Washington, D.C., before the House Appropriations Committee where he speaks in favor of sending $40 million to Contra Costa for Highway 4 expansion.

Garamendi has submitted 22 earmark requests, which he lists on his web site. He barred from consideration all requests directly from for-profit companies, a source of frequent consternation for other colleagues who receive campaign contributions from people tied to earmarks.

Of course, asking and getting are two different things. Every member of Congress has a big list of his or her own.

For the masochistic wonks out there, click through for Garamendi’s full news release:

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