Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for the 'Democratic politics' Category

Mike Honda is no longer a DNC vice chair

After a more-contentious-than-usual election of the Democratic National Committee’s officers, Rep. Mike Honda is no longer a vice-chairman.

The LA Times has a good report on how “chaos reigned for a time as DNC members balked at rubber-stamping a White House-approved list of replacements for several veterans of the pre-Obama era.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., won another term as chairwoman of the national party as expected, but some lower-level offices changed hands. DNC sources tell me Honda, D-San Jose, had wanted to stay on as one of the vice-chairs but stepped aside when he saw the writing on the wall, and freshman Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii – whom Honda was helping raise campaign funds just months ago – now holds the post instead.

“The honor and distinct pleasure of serving for nine years in DNC leadership, at the request of the President and the Democratic Party, is one that I am now thrilled to see bestowed on an increasingly diverse Democratic National Committee helm,” Honda said by email this afternoon.

“Having pounded the political pavement for the President and the Party in over 35 states, I step down as vice-chair deeply satisfied with the diversity of color and creed that has entered our ranks,” he added. “As DNC leaders, we accomplished a great deal in this last decade, leaving Congress, and the White House, more diverse than ever before. The new Democratic leadership aptly reflects the new America and I look forward to working with them, as ardently as ever, to champion and campaign our democratic cause.”

Posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
Under: Democratic Party, Democratic politics, Mike Honda, U.S. House | 6 Comments »

Kamala Harris’ speech to the DNC

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has just finished addressing the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Harris – an East Bay native and former San Francisco District Attorney – was an early, ardent supporter of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and he endorsed and campaigned for her as she sought her current office in 2010.

Here’s what she said:

http://youtu.be/yq-Q5-kqfAY

On behalf of the great state of California, I thank you for the honor and the privilege to be here. Let’s get right down to business.

We are here because we love our country, and we firmly believe in the American ideal that our country should work for everyone. That ideal is written into our laws, the rules of the road that create a level playing field in this country. Those are the rules I became attorney general to uphold. And those are the rules Mitt Romney would have us roll back.

He would roll back the rules that protect the air we breathe and the water we drink. Roll back the rules that protect the health and safety of women and families. Roll back the rules that prevent the kind of recklessness that got our economy into this mess in the first place.

Well, we’ve all seen what happens when you roll back those rules. What happens are rows of foreclosure signs. What happens are mountains of family debt. What happens is a middle class that’s hurting. That’s what we’ve seen in towns across California and across this country.

Read the rest of Harris’ speech, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, September 5th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Democratic Party, Democratic politics, Kamala Harris | 5 Comments »

Tom Steyer’s speech to the DNC

Tom Steyer – co-founder of Advanced Energy Economy, co-senior managing member of Farallon Capital Management and chairman and funder of California’s Yes on Proposition 39 campaign – addressed the 2012 Democratic National Convention tonight in Charlotte, N.C.

Prop. 39 would require every company to use the so-called “single-sales factor” method to calculate their taxes, based on their sales within California. Companies could no longer choose the “triple factor” method, in which half the tax bill is based on California sales and half on property and employees here, allowing firms headquartered elsewhere to pay less. The loophole currently costs the state about $1 billion per year.

But Steyer, 55, of San Francisco, was in Charlotte to talk about President Obama’s long-term economic and energy plans – and to get in a few digs at Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney:

Hello, California. Hello, delegates. Hello, everyone else from America! I’m Tom Steyer. I’m a businessman, a professional investor, and a proud Democrat. I think Mitt Romney and I share the same income bracket— although I guess we’re never going to know. But the reason I’m here tonight is that Mitt Romney and I don’t share the same vision for the future, especially when it comes to energy. You see, this election is a choice—a choice about whether to go backward or forward. And that choice is especially stark when it comes to energy.

Take Mitt Romney’s approach. Governor Romney would do nothing to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and much to increase it. He would gut President Obama’s investments in clean energy. He wants to keep giving four billion taxpayer dollars to oil companies every year—the very same oil companies pouring millions into the outside groups backing his campaign.

Or we could follow President Obama’s long-term plan for the future for an economy fueled by a safe, secure, sustainable energy supply. During the last several years, we’ve seen tremendous progress on new technologies that can make us energy independent and create thousands of jobs. This is about investing for the long haul, not for a quick-and-dirty buck. This is about taking control of our destiny by doing what Americans do best: out-innovating, out-thinking, out-hustling our competitors. And President Obama has put us on track to do just that—making investments for the long term.

Read the rest of Steyer’s speech, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, September 5th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Democratic Party, Democratic politics | 1 Comment »

Assembly Speaker John Perez’s DNC speech

Fresh from the end of a contentious legislative session, California Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, addressed the 2012 Democratic National Convention tonight in Charlotte, N.C.

http://youtu.be/72Y9g5TGRz0

Good evening Democrats! I am so honored to join you tonight.

Certainly, this close to the election much of our attention is focused on the nuts and bolts of victory—how we’ll prevail in the swing districts and battleground states. But this convention gives us the chance to discuss something much more important than how or where we fight. It gives us the chance to reflect on the question of why we fight.
And the answer to that fundamental question can be summed up in one word — opportunity.

Opportunity is why we fight. Across the country, there are parents who want nothing more than the opportunity to have a job, and the ability to put food on the family table. We fight for them.

In too many states, even some folks who have a job wake up every morning in fear that they will lose that job simply for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. We fight for them.

On our nation’s campuses, students are seeking the opportunity to go to college, earn a degree, and find a career that will unleash their potential. We fight for them.

Women are fighting for the opportunity that comes with equal pay for equal work, and the respect that comes with having control of their medical decisions. We fight for them.

Inmigrantes de todo el mundo llegan a los Estados Unidos buscando una oportunidad para darles una mejor vida a sus hijos. Nosotros luchamos por ellos.

Read the rest of Perez’s speech, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, September 5th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Assembly, Democratic Party, Democratic politics, John Perez | 1 Comment »

Rep. Barbara Lee’s speech to the DNC

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, has just finished her speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.; as a member of the party’s platform drafting committee, she was tapped to speak in delivering that platform.

Here are her remarks as prepared:

I am so pleased I had a role in drafting this remarkable document. It embodies the values we hold dear as Democrats and as Americans. And it sets forth our great President’s vision for our future where together we will reignite the American Dream for ALL.

Because the reality is: four years ago, the American Dream had slipped out of reach for too many. And it had turned into a nightmare for millions.

President Obama changed our course. He invested in our future and put men and women back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges. He raised educational standards, invested in early childhood education and worked to make higher education more affordable for everyone. He invested in clean energy and enacted the broadest tax cut in history — reducing taxes on the middle class to near historic lows. He saved the American auto industry. He produced historic health reform. And he put forward a balanced deficit reduction plan that will put us on sound fiscal footing.

Today, our economy is growing again.

Our platform states that America faces a clear choice: move forward as a nation where everyone has the chance to get ahead, or go back to the same failed ideas that created the crisis in the first place. We will move forward, not backward.

Follow after the jump for the rest of Lee’s speech…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, September 4th, 2012
Under: Barbara Lee, Democratic Party, Democratic politics, U.S. House | 12 Comments »

Barbara Lee to present platform at convention

Rep. Barbara Lee, along with Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker and retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, have been tapped to present the party’s platform to the 2012 Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Sept. 4 in Charlotte, N.C.

Barbara Lee (Dec-2010)This is the first time that Lee, D-Oakland, has been asked to speak at a Democratic National Convention, and it won’t be lost on anyone that one of the House’s most outspoken liberals is helping to present the party’s statement of core values.

“As a member of the Democratic platform drafting committee, I’m excited about presenting the 2012 platform,” Lee said Friday. “It is a strong document that clearly illustrates the contrasts between our party and the party of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and sets out the vision of how under the leadership of President Obama we can and must move America Forward.”

Lee won’t be the only California presence at the convention’s podium: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is the convention’s chair, and California Attorney General Kamala Harris also is scheduled to speak.

Posted on Friday, August 24th, 2012
Under: Barbara Lee, Democratic Party, Democratic politics, U.S. House | 8 Comments »

County Dems seek $$$ from would-be endorsees

An anonymous caller directed me to the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee’s website, where candidates filling out an endorsement application are asked for a $50 contribution “to offset the cost of our endorsement process.”

“It just seems undemocratic,” said the caller (whom I assume meant that with a small “d”), acknowledging he’s running for a local office and so declining to provide his name lest he incur the party’s wrath. “I’ve been a Democrat all my life, and this is a little bit over the top; it’s not like I don’t already contribute to the president and other campaigns.”

Chairwoman Robin Torello said the county party started soliciting such contributions from candidates in 2010, although it just raised the suggested ante from $25 to $50 “because it was not covering our expenses, plus this is a bigger year with more races.”

Torello said her committee is looking at almost 200 Democrats running in more than 120 local races across the county this November. Vetting so many candidates for endorsement means spending on everything from printing, postage and phone costs to refreshments for the volunteer committee members who’ll be sitting through five full days of interviews, she said.

The process takes “dozens and dozens and dozens of hours, and we’re all volunteers except for one staff person, but one person can’t do all this,” she said, noting the $50 is just a suggested contribution. “We don’t not interview people if they don’t pay – it’s a donation to help defray the costs. And we’re just aligning ourselves with other county committees that have been doing this for years. We think it’s warranted.”

Contra Costa County Democratic Party officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on whether they charge such fees, too. (UPDATE @ 8:22 A.M. WEDNESDAY: They don’t, chairman Chuck Carpenter said in an e-mail last night.)

On the other side of the Bay, San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee Chairman David Burruto said his committee used to charge “a nominal fee just because we had to Xerox a lot of things,” but in this age of fast, cheap email has stopped doing so.

“We don’t charge anything,” he said. “The only thing we ask of candidates sometimes is if they want to be on a slate mailer.”

In the South Bay, chairman Steve Preminger said “at no point in our endorsement process does the Santa Clara County Democratic Central Committee state or imply that a candidate seeking our endorsement should make a financial contribution or pay any fees to the SCCDP.”

Posted on Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
Under: Alameda County, Democratic Party, Democratic politics | 3 Comments »

McNerney will skip convention, Garamendi unsure

Add Rep. Jerry McNerney to the list of Democratic elected officials who won’t attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., this September even as they try to retain their seats.

But it seems he has a pretty solid reason.

“The Congressman won’t be attending the convention, as it conflicts with his son’s wedding,” spokeswoman Lauren Smith said today.

McNerney, D-Stockton, is being challenged in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District by Ricky Gill, a recent law school graduate from Lodi whom the National Republican Congressional Committee named one of its Young Guns – a well-funded, well-organized up-and-comer taking on a vulnerable incumbent.

But Gill spokesman Colin Hunter said Gill hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll attend the Republican National Convention in Tampa this August; he declined comment on McNerney skipping Charlotte.

Various national media outlets have been building a list of Democrats avoiding the Charlotte convention, often from districts where President Obama’s approval ratings are low. Likewise, some Republicans who might benefit from distancing themselves from the GOP are avoiding Tampa.

It’s unclear whether Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, will go to Charlotte. Garamendi is challenged in the newly drawn 3rd Congressional District by Colusa County Supervisor Kim Vann, another of the NRCC’s Young Guns.

“A decision has not been made yet,” Garamendi spokesman Donald Lathbury said today. “We’ll have a better sense of his schedule closer to the convention.”

A spokeswoman for Vann didn’t immediately return a call or an e-mail.

UPDATE @ 1:05 P.M.: Alee Lockman, Vann’s campaign manager, says “no plans have been made as of yet” on whether Vann will go to the GOP convention in Tampa.

Posted on Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, Democratic Party, Democratic politics, Jerry McNerney, John Garamendi, Republican Party, Republican politics, U.S. House | 6 Comments »

Brown names Burton’s daughter to state board

Gov. Jerry Brown today nominated Kimiko Burton – daughter of California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton – to the State Personnel Board.

Kimiko Burton, 47, of San Francisco, has been a San Francisco deputy city attorney since 2003. Before that, she was San Francisco’s public defender – a job to which then-San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown had appointed her to fill a vacancy – since 2001; she lost the 2002 election for that office to Jeff Adachi. Willie Brown is a longtime, close political ally of her father, who at that time was the state Senate’s President Pro Tem.

Kimiko Burton had been director of the Mayor’s Criminal Justice Council in San Francisco under Willie Brown from 1996 to 2000, and staff attorney for the State Board of Equalization from 1995 to 1996. She holds a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

The State Personnel Board, according to its website, “was constitutionally created in 1934 to administer the civil service system and ensure that state employment is based on merit and free of political patronage.”

The nomination requires state Senate confirmation; the job pays $40,668. Burton is – need I say it? – a Democrat.

Posted on Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
Under: Democratic Party, Democratic politics, Jerry Brown | 3 Comments »

Dems and DTS gain, GOP loses voter registration

California’s Democratic and nonpartisan voter registration have increased from the last presidential election cycle to now, while Republican registration has fallen, according to the new report from Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s office.

The report shows that the 3.6 million voters who express no party preference now account for 21.2 percent of the state’s electorate, “a new all-time high” up from 19.4 percent (3 million voters) in January 2008, Bowen said.

The state’s 7.4 million registered Democrats – up from 6.6 million four years ago – now account for 43.6 percent of registered voters, up from 42.7 percent four years ago. Republican registration has dropped from 33.5 percent (5,197,897 voters) in January 2008 to 30.4 percent (5,170,592 voters) now.

“Republicans in California are a half percentage point away from an endangered species designation,” California Democratic Party spokesman Tenoch Flores said this afternoon. “Year after year voters see the GOP shrink away from their responsibilities and abdicate leadership on the tough issues facing our state. The numbers come as no surprise.”

California Republican Party spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns argued that while Golden State voters aren’t self-identifying as Republican, they’re voting like Republicans on the issues.

“Despite the increased numbers of decline-to-state voters, the fact is that Californians have voted our way on ballot initiatives, including overwhelmingly rejecting the last eight tax increases on the ballot,” she said via e-mail this afternoon. “The Republican Party has more work to do to communicate that THOSE principles are OUR principles, and we need to connect those dots for the voters. But the fact that voters are voting the way they do on those ballot measures indicates that they actually agree more with Republican principles of fiscal conservatism, smaller government, and less bureaucracy.”

California law requires statewide voter registration data updates 154, 60 and 15 days before each primary election, and 60 and 15 days before each general election. One “off-year” update is released in February of years with no regularly scheduled statewide election.

California’s new top-two primary system – in which the top two vote-getters in the primary advance to the general election, regardless of what parties they belong to – applies to statewide offices, state legislative offices and House and U.S. Senate offices, but does not apply to the presidential election, county party committees or local offices. Only the Democratic and American Independent parties are letting no-party-preference independents vote in their presidential primaries.

The last day to register to vote in the June 5 primary election is May 21; the last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot is May 29.

Posted on Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
Under: Democratic Party, Democratic politics, Republican Party, Republican politics, voter registration | 4 Comments »