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Warren & Frank to headline state Dem convention

Once again underscoring deep-blue California’s penchant for pulling the Democratic party leftward, the state party will have progressive favorites U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and retired Rep. Barney Frank headline its convention May 15 through 17 in Anaheim.

My Approved Portraits“Sen. Warren and retired Rep. Frank embody Democrats’ fight for fairness in our economy and financial reforms that reward Americans’ hard work and hope for the future,” California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton said in a news release.

“As California Democrats, we’re proud to count so many elected leaders who are in the same tradition and are showing leadership through action,” he said. “Democrats must redouble their efforts to combat growing income inequality so that the American dream is attainable for a new generation of Americans, and California Democrats must lead that charge.”

Barney FrankThe Massachusetts liberals represent much that some Democrats fear presidential candidate Hillary Clinton does not. Warren, who in 2012 became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts, has been a leader on protecting workers and consumers. Frank, who served in the House from 1981 to 2013, was its first openly gay member and championed reforms to repair the U.S. economy with 2010’s Dodd-Frank Act.

Others scheduled to speak at the convention include House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco; Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who’s running for governor in 2018; Attorney. General Kamala Harris, who is running for the U.S. Senate in 2016; Controller Betty Yee; Treasurer John Chiang; Secretary of State Alex Padilla; Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones; state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles; and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.

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Brownie Mary Democratic Club rises in East Bay

The East Bay has its first marijuana-oriented Democratic club.

As Brownie Mary Democratic Club, created to advocate for the rights of California marijuana. has been chartered by the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee with members including Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward; county Democratic chairwoman Robin Torello; and county committeewoman Ginny DeMartini. It’ll be chaired by committeewoman Denise Martellaci and vice-chaired by committeeman Rick Trullinger.

“The Brownie Mary Club will help bridge the cannabis community throughout Alameda County and educate our elected and future elected with cannabis reform issues,” Martellacci said in a news release. “Our Brownie Mary members are representatives from a wide spectrum and will demonstrate to the Democratic community our seriousness and abilities to meet our 2016 goal of full marijuana legalization for adults in the state of California.”

Members of the club are already walking precincts for cannabis-friendly candidates, and plan to help with phone banking and fundraisers. But its first order of business was to make endorsements – no surprises in the state, congressional and legislative races – including Rebecca Kaplan for Oakland mayor and taking a “no” position on Proposition 46 and a “yes” on Proposition 47.

The new club also is working on a pending Alameda County ordinance that would limit use of e-cigarettes, by advocating for patients who vaporize their medical marijuana.

It’s named for “Brownie Mary” Rathbun, a renowned activist who baked brownies for AIDS patients in San Francisco in the run-up to California voters’ approval for legal medical marijuana in 1996.

The Alameda County club is the sixth such group chartered in the state, after Riverside, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Francisco. The previous clubs were a visible presence at the March 2014 state Democratic convention in Los Angeles, and succeeded in getting the party to add a platform plank supporting “the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana in a manner similar to that of tobacco or alcohol.

Also represented in the club are cannabis reform groups California NORML, the Drug Policy Alliance and the California Cannabis Industry Association, along with cannabis advocates Dan Grace of Dark Heart Nursery, Sean Luce of Berkeley Patients Group, attorney James Anthony, and Hank Levy, CPA. Union representative Debra Pearson, with SEIU Local 1021’s Alameda County Committee on Political Education, and campaign strategist Mark Goodwin are also on board.

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Dems gather in Oakland to mull ballot measures

The California Democratic Party’s Executive Board convenes this weekend in Oakland, where it will decide whether to endorse the propositions – including two costly, controversial ones – on November’s ballot.

Proposition 45 would give the state insurance commissioner the authority to reject health-insurance premium hikes, and Proposition 46 would raise the $250,000 cap on punitive medical-malpractice damages. Opponents already have anted up tens of millions to fight the measures, and so pressure will be high as party delegates gather at Oakland’s Marriott convention center.

The votes are scheduled for Sunday. But the agenda includes various caucus and committee meetings Friday and Saturday, with speakers and visitors such as Board of Equalization member Betty Yee, a candidate for state controller now embroiled in rival John Perez’ recount; state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Van Nuys, a candidate for secretary of state; and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, now seeking a second term.

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John Burton’s letter to Texas Gov. Rick Perry

The California Democratic Party just provided a copy of the letter that chairman John Burton sent Thursday to Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

June 19, 2014

Governor Rick Perry
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428

Rick,

The Associated Press has reported that for all of your incessant California-bashing, you may be considering a move to the Golden State after your term as Governor of Texas ends.

We don’t blame you.

California has a lot to offer. From some of the best coastline in the world, national parks like Yosemite and Joshua Tree, from Hollywood to Silicon Valley, from San Diego to the crown jewel of San Francisco, this is simply the place to be.

That said, you really ought to know what you’re signing up for here. It may not be your scene.

Here in California we don’t stick our heads in the sand or twiddle our thumbs when it comes to Global Warming. We know it’s real, and our Governor Jerry Brown is leading the way to combat the threat we all face. California signed the Climate Change Pact together with the Governors of Oregon, Washington State and British Columbia. We’re building the nation’s first high speed rail system and we passed the Global Warming Solutions Act close to ten years ago.

Then there’s the matter of you equating homosexuality with alcoholism. Rick, it will take more than marching in this month’s San Francisco Pride Parade for you to begin to walk those comments back, but if you’re planning to make the move, it couldn’t hurt to start there.

This is California, the home of Harvey Milk. We’re a national leader in the fight for equal rights and marriage equality. Our Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom threw the gauntlet down way back in 2004 when, as mayor of San Francisco, he decided enough was enough and fought to give gay and lesbian couples the right to get married (and divorced for that matter) just like everyone else.

You should also know our minimum wage is set to go up to $10 an hour here thanks to our Democratic legislators and Governor Jerry Brown.

We understand even our state’s harshest critics would love to call California home, and apparently you’re no different. We’re just saying it wouldn’t hurt to do a little research before you load up the U-Haul and head west.

Peace and friendship,

John Burton
Chairman
California Democratic Party

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President Obama returns to Bay Area on July 23

But… we’ve barely even had time to miss him! {sarcasm}

President Barack Obama will return to Silicon Valley for a July 23 fundraiser to benefit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Tickets for the luncheon at the Los Altos Hills home of real estate developer and Democratic benefactor George Marcus start at $10,000 per person (including a photo opportunity and lunch) or $32,400 per couple (including a VIP photo opportunity and lunch).

Also scheduled to attend are House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco; DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, D-N.Y.; and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto.

Obama headlined two Democratic National Committee fundraisers May 8 in Los Altos and San Jose. Earlier, he was in the Bay Area for Democratic fundraisers in November 2013, June 2013, and April 2013.

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Obama returns to Bay Area on May 8

President Obama will return to the Bay Area on Thursday, May 8 for a pair of high-priced events to raise money for the Democratic National Committee.

Tickets for a reception at the Palo Alto home of Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer start at $1,000 for individual guests, while $5,000 buys a place in the photo line; $7,500 buys access and photos for two; $10,000 buys co-chair status; and $32,400 buys all that plus membership in the DNC Presidential Partners Program.

Mayer hosted Obama for a DNC fundraiser in October 2010, when she was still an executive at Google.

“We need the resources to put Democrats in office to move our country forward,” says the invitation to this upcoming event. “Since we do not take money from special interests, corporate lobbyists, and political action committees, we rely on dedicated Democrats like you. Please join us for a reception to support this important work.”

Obama also is expected to do a roundtable with about 20 tech executives that same day somewhere in Silicon Valley, with seats going for the $32,400 maximum contribution. It’s not yet known whether he’ll do any official events while he’s here, or whether he’ll be staying overnight.