Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for the 'Democratic politics' Category

One-stop shopping for Democratic candidates

The Coalition of Bay Area Young Democrats, conjunction with the San Francisco Young Democrats, will host a massive candidates’ forum at 1 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 6 at the SEIU Local 87 hall, 240 Golden Gate Ave. in San Francisco.

Free and open to the public, the forum aims to hear from, and give attendees a chance to ask questions of, candidates in some of 2010’s highest-profile races. Confirmed speakers include gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown; lieutenant governor candidate Janice Hahn; Attorney General candidates Kamala Harris, Chris Kelly, Pedro Nava and Alberto Torrico; incumbent state Treasurer Bill Lockyer; Insurance Commissioner candidates Hector De La Torre and Dave Jones; Superintendent of Public instruction candidates Larry Aceves and Tom Torlakson; and incumbent Board of Equalization member Betty Yee.

Posted on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
Under: 2010 election, 2010 governor's race, Alberto Torrico, Attorney General, Bill Lockyer, Democratic Party, Democratic politics, Elections, Janice Hahn, Jerry Brown, Kamala Harris, Lt. Governor, Pedro Nava, Political events, Tom Torlakson | 1 Comment »

GOP smacks California Dems for bad behavior

The California Republican Party sent out this video smackdown over the ill-mannered behavior of Democrats toward Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at a recent San Francisco event.

Really, what is wrong with these people?

On the other hand, as it appeared in the Bee’s Capitol Alert today, Attorney General Jerry Brown aptly pointed out that “Compromise in the rough-and-tumble legislative process is not achieved by doilies and tea.”

Warning: This video contains really bad language.

Posted on Friday, October 9th, 2009
Under: Democratic politics, Republican politics | No Comments »

CD10: Get your loophole here

In the interest of keeping up with the fast-moving events of the 10th Congressional District special election, here is a round-up of what caught my attention today. (Sidenote: I’ll post round-ups between now and Sept. 1 as warranted. You can also find the latest list and links to the declared candidates and/or those who have filed for the seat at the bottom of this post.)


From the Arcane Political Bureaucracy files, the Democratic congressional candidates have been busy exploiting a loophole in the California Democratic Party bylaws in an effort to secure the party’s endorsement.

Here’s how it works.

The party delegates who live in the 10th District will hold a caucus on Aug. 1 at a yet-to-be named location hold an endorsement vote. Delegates within the district typically include about 100 or so elected officials and their appointees, members of the Central Committee and other local activists. The winner must obtain at least 60 percent of the vote of delegates who attend the caucus.

But here’s the rub: Democrats with authority to appoint delegates to the party from throughout California may appoint as delegates any Democrat in the state. There are no restrictions based on their home districts. For example, a San Diego Democratic Assemblymember can appoint Yreka registered Democrats as his delegates.

So, several of the CD10 Democratic candidates’ campaign teams have in the past couple of weeks lobbied elected officials from up and down the state and asked them to appoint as their delegates folks who live in the 10th District and support their respective candidates.

As a result, the number of delegates in the 10th District has expanded to as many as 300, sources say. Reports put state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier in the delegate count lead over Lt. Governor John Garamendi and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan.

Folks can debate the value of a party endorsement in a low turnout primary election where most of the voters will be die-hard partisans who probably already know the candidates. On the other hand, the winner can take advantage of the California Democratic Party’s reduced bulk mailing rate.

But for the most part, it sounds like an exercise in campaign organization rather than democracy.




Tiffany Attwood of Danville –

Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan of Alamo –

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier of Concord –

Lt. Governor John Garamendi of Walnut Grove –

Adriel Hampton of Dublin –

Anthony Woods of Fairfield –


David Harmer of Dougherty Valley –

David Peterson of Walnut Creek –

John Toth of Pleasant Hill

Chris Bunch of Fairfield – (added 7/8/09)


Jeremy Cloward of Pleasanton Hill –


Mary McIlroy of El Cerrito –


Jerome Denham of Walnut Creek –


Gino Van Gundy of Fairfield –

Posted on Thursday, July 9th, 2009
Under: 2009 CD10 special election, Democratic Party, Democratic politics | 1 Comment »

Potential CD10 candidates differ on May 19 propositions

Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo

Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord

Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord

Lt. Gov. John Garamendi

California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi

The special election date in the 10th Congressional district to replace outgoing Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, has not been set yet. And two of the three people on the stage at last night’s Contra Costa County Democratic Central Committee meeting in Martinez have not made a final decision about their candidacies.

But their positions on the six ballot measures on the May 19 special election ballot could not have been any clearer.

On the yes side is the man who is definitely running for Congress, state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, along with his potential challenger, Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo

California Lt. Governor John Garamendi of Walnut Grove opposes them, a view held by a majority of voters according to recent polls.

Central Committee Chairman Chuck Carpenter gave each legislator time to make a statement to the group and answer a few questions. These appearances before the local party leaders — where a lot of the work on the ground during an election gets done — are part of the courting process that serious candidates undertake when they run for office.

Garamendi says the propositions will further tie up California’s already knotted budget process while the deficits continue to mount. (Click here to view the voting pamphlet with all the details of the measures.)

“Where do I stand on the measures? No, no, no, no, no, no,” Garmendi said.

Of course, it is far easier for Garamendi to say no to the measures. Unlike state legislators Buchanan and DeSaulnier, he did not note vote to put them on the ballot as part of the negotiated budget settlement. A lieutenant governor typically plays little or no role in budget negotiations.

Buchanan, who came to the meeting to talk about the propositions and not about a congressional race, reluctantly endorsed the measures even though she said it felt like she was “selling her soul to the devil” when she voted to put them on the ballot.

But Buchanan said the impacts of failing to adopt the budget negotiated between the Democrats, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a handful of Republicans were too dear.

And she said she will vote for the ballot measures — holding her nose — because the alternative is also too costly. If voters do not pass these measures, the state deficit could double from $8 billion to $16 billion and more draconian cuts will be on the table.

DeSaulnier was the most positive of the three speakers. He not onnly pointed out the fiscal impacts of failing to pass the measures but talked about a few of the pluses of the legislation, including what he views as added protection for education funding.

And he also promoted, as a solution to the annual budget stalemate between Democrats and Republicans, an end to the two-thirds voting threshold in the Legislature to a pass a budget or new taxes. There is a bill in process that would place the question before voters in 2010 and proponents are also prepared to seek signatures and place an initiative on the ballot if the Legislature fails to do it.

Posted on Friday, April 17th, 2009
Under: Congressional District 10, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics, Democratic Party, Democratic politics, Joan Buchanan, John Garamendi, Mark DeSaulnier | No Comments »

How other campaigns see Bobby Shriver for AG

The Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert had the scoop this morning that Santa Monica City Councilman Bobby Shriver – brother of California first lady Maria Shriver and nephew of U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy and the late President John F. Kennedy – is mulling a 2010 run for California Attorney General.

If he’s in, Shriver would join a crowded Democratic primary field including San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who has been busy raising money from many of the same people with whom she rubbed elbows in the Obama campaign last year; Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, who entered the race with the biggest pot of money already in the bank; Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, who might’ve gained some valuable experience while taking a drubbing from Jerry Brown in the 2006 primary; Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance; and Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara.

If someone can clearly break from the pack as a front-runner in the next few months, he or she could benefit from having so many others split what’s left of the pie.

“We expect there are going to be more people who will be entering this race,” Torrico campaign consultant Phil Giarrizzo told me today – they’d expected Shriver, he said, and they still think Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly will jump in, too.

As for Shriver, with whom Giarrizzo said he has worked on environmental issues, “he’s a talented, bright, articulate person, but we’ve seen many times, in the sense that ‘he’s a Kennedy,’ that people look to accomplishment, they look to a record,” Giarrizzo said. Primary voters tend to be very discerning, he noted, and “it doesn’t work that you can just pass along a family name; he will have to run on his own merits … a level of experience he’ll have to communicate. I don’t think we look at him as ‘a Kennedy’ – I think we look at him as Bobby Shriver, an activist and city councilman.”

“Politics is a debate of ideas and we’ll see as we go forward what his ideas are,” he said.

Harris campaign manager Ace Smith said Friday that “As the only career prosecutor in the race, District Attorney Harris looks forward to having a spirited debate about all the issues of law enforcement.”

Posted on Friday, March 13th, 2009
Under: 2010 election, Alberto Torrico, Assembly, Attorney General, Democratic politics, Kamala Harris | 7 Comments »

California Dems to elect party delegates

The deadline to file as a delegate candidate to the California Democratic Party’s 2009 state convention is Dec. 31 at noon. Click here for an online application.

Party members will gather at caucuses to elect 12 representatives per each of the state’s 80 Assembly districts on Jan. 10-11. Click here for the caucus schedule.

The party will select its platform, elect its leaders, vote on other party issues and generally gloat about its 2008 election successes on April 24-26, 2009, in Sacramento.

Sans the gloating, the state Republican Party will also hold a convention in Sacramento this spring — Feb. 20-22. Click here for the GOP convention web site.

Posted on Monday, December 29th, 2008
Under: Democratic politics, Political conventions, Republican politics | No Comments »

Contra Costa Dems release endorsement list

For those who follow these things, the Contra Costa County Democratic Party Central Committee has released its endorsement list of local candidates here.

Or read below for the list as of 9/20/08.

Office Candidate Name
Antioch City Council Brian Kalinowski
Antioch City Council Mary Rocha
Antioch Treasurer Bob Kalafate
Contra Costa Community College Jo Ann Cookman
County Supervisor Federal Glover
Director- Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District Chris Peeples
EBMUD Lesa McIntosh
Hercules City Council Ed Balico
Hercules City Council John Delgado
John Swett School Board Norma Clerici
John Swett School Board Jim Delgadillo
Kensington Police Protection District Charles Toombs
Martinez City Council Janet Kennedy
Martinez City Council Mark Ross
MDUSD Gary Eberhart
MDUSD Sherry Whitmarsh
Moraga Town Council Karen Mendonca
Orinda City Council Steven Glazer
Orinda City Council Victoria Smith
Pinole City Council Maria Allegria
Pleasant Hill City Council Karen Mitchoff
Pleasant Hill City Council David Durant
Richmond City Council Harpreet Sandhu
Richmond City Council Nat Bates
Richmond City Council John Marquez
San Pablo City Council Arturo Cruz
San Pablo City Council Cecilia Valdez
School Board, West Contra Costa Unified School District Tony Thurmond
School Board, West Contra Costa Unified School District Antonio Medrano
Walnut Creek City Council Kish Rajan

Posted on Monday, September 22nd, 2008
Under: 2008 November election, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics, Democratic politics | No Comments »

Post-convention update: Local bloggers

I somehow missed these emails about local blogs amongst the many I received while I was on the road at the two political conventions.

Jeff Nibert, an Obama delegate from Pleasanton, blogged on his convention experiences at

You can also read Obama delegate and Tracy resident Lea Austin’s blog at

If I had it to do over again – dare we even think about 2012? — I would definitely do a better job of promoting the local bloggers. I also suspect that a lot more people will be blogging in four years as the technology becomes more familiar to more people.

Posted on Tuesday, September 9th, 2008
Under: 2008 presidential election, Democratic politics, Political conventions | No Comments »

Dem convention: The ‘Super Bowl’ of politics

It feels like a football game and rock concert mashed together only without the beer.

I’m sitting in Mile High stadium in Denver, home of the Denver Broncos, and Jennifer Hudson just sang the national anthem and fireworks just exploded. (At 4:15 in the afternoon? It was just a puff of smoke.)

The place is only about three-quarters full as people with brains opted to wait until the sun droipped a little lower in the horizon before they brave the traffic, long lines and plastic stadium seats.

Security is incredibly tight. Guards checked our press badges at least five times and I had to dump out my water lest it contain some unwelcome substance.

It’s hard to describe the sheer scale of this scene.

This stadium holds 75,000 people and that may not include the thousands of delegates on the field. I count six television platforms, including CNN. I can see Wolf Blitzer on-air right in front of me.

I’m learning what “laptop” really means, too.  This is by far the most challenging blogging conditions I have ever worked in. It’s unbearably loud. It’s 90 degrees and I’m in the sun. I can’t hear anything on the phone; thank goodness for texting on my new Blackberry.

There’s been a lot of talk about the stage. I can’t see it terribly well from here but it does have a certain temple quality to it with its Greek-style columns. I suspect the party planners wanted to evoke a sense of the birth of democracy allthough the Republicans put out a pretty funny email detailing recommended toga styles for conventioneers.

Some critics say this large stadium was a mistake for Obama, that it is too big and too grand for an America in a near recession. Some of the Californians expressed concern about the delegates’ ability to withstand so many hours sitting in folding chairs on a football field in the sun. This event started at 3:15 and won’t finish until 9.

Was it really necessary to have a six-hour floor session? There had been 90 speeches after three days. By the fouth day, what more could be said?

But tonight is what these delegates have been waiting for and given the heavy demand for tickets, this promises to be quite an interesting evening … if we don’t all melt first.

Posted on Thursday, August 28th, 2008
Under: 2008 presidential election, Democratic politics, Political conventions | No Comments »

Dem convention: Obama makes surprise visit

Barack Obama is in the house. He just came out as a “surprise” to cap the acceptance speech from this vice presidential running mate Joe Biden.

We should have known when the ushers started handing out “Obama-Biden” signs.

Obama shook hands to “The Risin’ ” by Bruce Springstein, who is reportedly not going to show up tomorrow night at Mile High stadium. Speculation about The Boss has run rampant here all week. (I’ll be disappointed; one of the things I want to do before I die is go to a Bruce Springstein concert.)

Now, we’re listening to “We Are Family,” which has been one of the Democrats’ key themes this week at this convention.

Here’s a video clip of Obama’s first few minutes on stage with Biden.

Posted on Wednesday, August 27th, 2008
Under: Democratic politics, Political conventions | No Comments »