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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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
Under: Congressional District 10, Environment | 3 Comments »

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:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, April 16th, 2010
Under: Congressional District 10, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics, Transportation | No Comments »

Tauscher helps broker Russia-U.S. arms deal



Former East Bay Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, now serving as the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security in the Obama Adminstration, played a key role in the negotiation of a nuclear arms pact that would reduce U.S. and Russian arsenals by one-third, according to the Washington Post.

The Senate confirmed Tauscher to the post in June, and former California Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi was elected as her replacement in the 10th District in a special election in September.

Read full Washington Pot article here.

The Post wrote, in part:

“Work must still be finished on the technical annexes to the treaty that lay out details of inspection and verification regimes, Ellen Tauscher, the U.S. under secretary of state for arms control, told reporters at the State Department.

She said officials hoped to finish those annexes by the end of April and then submit the full package to the Senate, where a vote of two-thirds is required for ratification.

“Our goal is to submit the treaty in the late spring and to seek ratification by the end of the year,” Tauscher said.

Tauscher insisted the new treaty placed no limits on U.S. missile defense systems, despite Russian suggestions last week that either side had the right to pull out of the offensive nuclear arms agreement if the other beefs up missile defenses.”

Posted on Monday, March 29th, 2010
Under: 2009 CD10 special election, Congressional District 10 | 7 Comments »

Garamendi signs on to insurance anti-trust bill



Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, has signed on as a co-author of legislation that would require the the health insurance industry to follow the same anti-trust laws imposed on other businesses.

The legislation comes on the heels of outcry over Anthem Blue Cross’ announcement that it would raise premiums as much as 39 percent for some customers.

“When almost every other industry colludes at the expense of consumers, we call it a crime,” Garamendi said in a prepared statement. “When the health insurance industry colludes, we call it business as usual. This legislation removes one of the most damaging weapons in the insurance industry’s arsenal: the ability to manipulate the market together behind closed doors.”

Garamendi is the former California insurance commissioner.

The Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act, H.R. 4626 was introduced by reps. Tom Perriello of Virginia and Betsy Markey of Colorado. According to Garamendi’s office, it will “restore competition and transparency to the health insurance market.”

Among its provisions, Garamendi said it removes the health insurance industry’s blanket antitrust exemption and allow federal agencies to investigate allegations of collusion.

“Anthem Blue Cross’s recent decision to increase rates on customers nearly 100 percent in the past two years, despite earning $2.4 billion in profits in the final three months of 2009, is Exhibit A of what happens when we let insurance companies operate behind a veil of legalized secrecy,” Garamendi said. “Removing the anti-trust exemption and including a robust public option are two of the most important tools available to us to improve public health and hold the insurance industry accountable for its actions.”

Posted on Monday, February 22nd, 2010
Under: Congressional District 10 | 1 Comment »

Garamendi hosts four town halls

Let no one accuse newly elected Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, of hiding from his constituents.

He has scheduled four public town hall meetings each of the next four nights:

Tonight: Concord Town Hall, Plumbers and Steamfitters Hall, 935 Detroit Avenue, Concord, 6-7:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Moraga Town Hall, St. Mary’s College’s Soda Activity Center, 1928 St. Mary’s Road, 6-7:30 p.m.

Thursday: Suisun City Town Hall, Suisun City Hall, 701 Civic Center Boulevard, 6-7:30 p.m.

Friday: El Cerrito Town Hall, El Cerrito City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Avenue, 6-7:30 p.m.

Posted on Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
Under: Congress, Congressional District 10 | No Comments »

Garamendi speaks to CCT editorial board

Watch my FlipVideo of Rep. John Garamendi’s visit this morning with members of the Contra Costa Times’ editorial board.

Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, was relaxed and clearly enjoying his new role as a member of Congress, where he can immerse himself in policy issues.

Among the issues he discusses are his assessment of the health insurance reform legislation, California’s budget, his recent cross-country driving trip from California to Washington, D.C., the new federal transportation spending blueprint, higher education funding and the prospects of redistricting in 2012:

Healthcare legislation — He hopes it will survive but if it doesn’t, it probably won’t come back onto the table for several years.

Driving cross-country: His wife and daughter bought an Elvis love songs CD in Memphis and he has heard enough Elvis for a while.

Transportation spending reauthorization bill: Debate centers around whether it should come up before or after the November election.

Higher education funding: California needs to get its act together and view education spending as an investment in its economy and future.

Redistricting: The job of drawing congressional boundaries should remain with the state Legislature and not turned over to an independent commission, a process he describes as chaotic and unlikely to produce a workable plan. And he would love to see the 10th District redrawn to include his house in Walnut Grove.

Click below to watch the video:

Posted on Monday, January 18th, 2010
Under: Congressional District 10 | No Comments »

Garamendi speaks to Contra Costa mayors

Watch video of Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, speaking to the Contra Costa Mayors Conference on Jan. 7 in Pleasant Hill.

Posted on Friday, January 8th, 2010
Under: Congressional District 10 | No Comments »

CD11: Harmer will run in neighboring district

David Harmer

David Harmer

At this moment, last year’s unsuccessful Congressional District 10 candidate David Harmer is scheduled to announce on KFSO radio with talk show host Brian Sussman his plans to run this year in the neighboring District 11 Republican primary.

Okay, so let’s get this out of the way. No, Harmer doesn’t live in District 11. He lives in Dougherty Valley in District 10. Yes, he can run. The Constitution requires that members of Congress live in the state from which they are elected, not the specific district.

Harmer, an attorney, joins six other declared CD11 GOP candidates: Brad Goehring, a Lodi grapegrower; children’s advocate Elizabeth Emken of Danville; construction safety signage company owner and author Robert Beadles of Lodi; former U.S. Marshal Tony Amador of Lodi; Manteca teacher Jeff Takada and former San Jose Councilman Larry Pegram, now living in Tracy.

The primary victor will presumably challenge incumbent Democrat Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton.

Harmer’s entry into the CD11 race will prove very interesting. Harmer waged a surprisingly strong although ultimately unsuccessful campaign in the heavily Democratic CD10. The party registration is much closer in CD11 — less than one-third of one percentage point in favor of the GOP.

On the other hand, Harmer made a big deal in the CD10 race about how Garamendi doesn’t live in the district. His primary opponents will undoubtedly make the same observation about his residency.

At least this explains the email note Harmer sent out to his supporters earlier in the day.

Read on for Harmer’s press release sent out just after he announced: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, January 7th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Congress, Congressional District 10, congressional district 11 | 5 Comments »

Will Harmer run again?

The campaign of former CD10 GOP candidate David Harmer says he will appear live on the Brian Sussman show on KSFO AM 560 at 6:45 p.m. tonight to make a special announcement. Listen at

Is he running again? And for what seat?

Posted on Thursday, January 7th, 2010
Under: Congress, Congressional District 10, congressional district 11 | No Comments »

Is Harmer saying goodbye or hello?

David Harmer

David Harmer

This very curious email just came in from former Congressional District 10 GOP candidate David Harmer of Dougherty Valley.

It appears to be a message to the folks up on his campaign email distribution list. It’s a treatise on why he ran against John Garamendi, the Democrat who won the November special election.

It’s unclear why Harmer sent this message out now. But there have been rumors that the strong support he received in the CD10 race might push him to run in the neighboring GOP District 11 primary.

Here’s the message:

Already two months have passed since the election. Since then, I’ve been reflecting on why I ran, what we accomplished, and what lies ahead. May I share some of my thoughts with you?

When the vacancy occurred in California’s 10th Congressional District, I understood the odds. The district boundaries had been drawn to dilute Republican voting strength, dividing my city, my county, and my school district. It worked: fewer than 29% of the district’s registered voters were Republicans, and no Republican congressional candidate had gotten more than 35% of the vote.

But motivated by love for my family, our country, and the Constitution, and desiring to do my part to help preserve the freedoms that I perceived as under siege, I ventured to beat the odds.

I chose to run because I love freedom, and I’m alarmed by Congress’s encroachments upon it. Freedom means that we enjoy the fruits of our own labors, with government entitled to only the minimal share necessary to fulfill its constitutional duties. Freedom means that we make wise choices and enjoy the rewards of success, or make foolish choices and suffer the consequences of failure — but they’re our choices.

Now federal policy is trying to prevent failure. But we can’t suppress the freedom to fail without commensurate suppression of the freedom to succeed.

I am appalled by the bailouts begun under the Bush Administration and accelerated under its successor. In essence, the greatest failures in American industry stood arm in arm with the U.S. Treasury and said to the taxpayer: “We’re going to make you a deal you can’t refuse: heads we win, tails you lose. We’re going to take imprudent risks, employ extravagant leverage, or mismanage our businesses into insolvency. So long as the risks pay off, we pocket the profits. When they blow up, you cover the losses.”

The executives, shareholders, and bondholders who took imprudent risks should suffer the consequences. Instead, federal policy subsidizes them. When we subsidize irresponsibility and waste, we get more of them. When we penalize independence, integrity, industry, self-reliance, thrift, prudence, and discipline, we get less of them — and less freedom.

A similar dynamic is at work in the pending health-care reform bill. Suffused with mandates, taxes, and penalties, it illustrates Mencken’s dictum that the urge to save humanity almost always cloaks the urge to rule it.

Likewise, the so-called stimulus isn’t stimulating anything but federal spending — leading to record-shattering budget deficits and an unprecedented rise in the national debt, impeding economic recovery now and burdening generations to come.

I ran for Congress because I wanted to grow the economy, not the government. I wanted to balance the budget by controlling spending, not raising taxes. And I wanted to liberate small businesses from excessive taxation and regulation so they could once again prosper and create new jobs.

Most of all, I ran to be able to tell my children that when the opportunity arose, I did everything within my power to keep them free.

For your support in that endeavor, I am most grateful.


David Harmer

Posted on Thursday, January 7th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Congress, Congressional District 10, congressional district 11 | 2 Comments »