DeVore’s attack ad against Boxer is a reach

It’s been less than a month since Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, announced he’ll be vying for the GOP nomination to run against U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., in 2010, and he has wasted no time in putting together his first online attack ad. It seems a little long on bluster and a little short on facts, better geared toward turning opinion against House Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., than against Boxer.

From the Associated Press:

The idea of the visitor center dates back to the 1970s, and in 1991 Congress authorized funds for planning.

But momentum for the project did not come until 1998, when a mentally unstable man burst through the doors of the Capitol, killing two police officers before being subdued in the office of then-Republican Whip Tom DeLay. That impressed on lawmakers the need to move security stations for visitors away from the main building. The groundbreaking ceremony took place in 2000.

And while the funding has been complex, it’s hard to see how DeVore lays it at Boxer’s feet.

Oversight of the Capitol Visitor Center’s planning, engineering, design, and construction is vested in the U.S. Capitol Preservation Commission, a bipartisan panel of lawmakers on which Boxer does not and has never served.

Also, it looks as if the money to cover the center’s cost overruns was earmarked via the annual Legislative Branch Appropriations bills; it looks like $70 million in 2002, $49.8 million in 2004 and $44.2 million in 2006. The Senate approved the conference reports on those bills by unanimous consent in 2002 and 2004, and on a 96-4 vote in 2006. And those spending bills were authored, respectively, by then-Rep. Charles Taylor of North Carolina; Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia; and then-House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis of California, with — all Republicans.

So how is this Barbara Boxer’s problem?


Self-storage firm boycotted for Prop. 8 support

The latest attempt to boycott a company associated with Proposition 8 targets a self-storage chain with several Bay Area locations.

Californians Against Hate founder Fred Karger said he’s running an online campaign to boycott San Diego-based A-1 Self Storage because of owner Terry Caster’s financial support of the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. A-1 has 30 locations throughout California, including Oakland, Concord, Belmont and four in San Jose.

From Karger’s Huffington Post column yesterday:

Why would someone contribute $693,000 to take away the rights of an entire minority group in California? Terry Caster and his family did just that. Caster, his 8 children and many of their spouses gave a total of $293,000 to help qualify Proposition 8 for the ballot earlier this year. Then when the plea went out for more money from the Yes on 8 campaign in late October, Caster opened up his checkbook and gave an additional $400,000 to take away same-sex marriage in
California. That’s $693,000 to Yes on 8! Terry Caster was the 2nd largest contributor in California to the Yes on 8 campaign.

Caster told the San Diego Union-Tribune in May that marriage equality threatens society. “Without solid marriage, you are going to have a sick society,” he said.

This is the third boycott launched by Karger’s group against Proposition 8 contributors. One of the earlier efforts targeted Doug Manchester, owner of San Diego’s Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel and Grand del Mar Resort as well as another resort in Idaho; that boycott is still ongoing. Another boycott targeted Bakersfield-based Bolthouse Farms after former CEO William Bolthouse Jr. gave $100,000 to the Yes on 8 campaign; Karger dropped that one in October after Bolthouse’s current CEO launched a comprehensive diversity program and agreed to contribute to several LGBT groups.

Californians Against Hate already began a “Call Terry Caster” campaign back in August, asking people to call Caster’s personal office and A-1’s headquarters; that’s now being replaced with the boycott, Karger said. He’s also asking people to leave comments on A-1’s Yelp pages.

Now, I blogged earlier this week about how boycotts are a time-honored, fair-game means of political expression, and one that conservative groups have used in the past against businesses supporting gay rights. I’d neglected then to note that Proposition 8’s proponents just last month sent a letter to almost three dozen businesses which had contributed to the campaign against the initiative, essentially demanding that they give equal money to Yes on 8 or risk conservative blowback.

Many thought that skated pretty close to extortion, so let’s not hear any whining about boycotts, OK?


Watching the dominoes fall

It’s never too early for a politician to think about the next office he or she will hold, and each one’s decision ripples through the political ecosystem. The start of a two-year electoral cycle is a time of great flux, ripe with possibilities as ambitious lifelong politicos decide how to structure the next round of musical chairs.

For example, you’ll recall San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris last week announced she’ll run for state Attorney General in 2010, but only if current Attorney General Jerry Brown runs for governor rather than a second term, a decision that could be influenced by whether U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein jumps into the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

So assuming Feinstein’s decision affects Brown’s, and Brown’s affects Harris, then whose does Harris’ affect? Word on the street is that it’s state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, who might run for mayor of that fine city (rather than a second Senate term) if Harris doesn’t; current Mayor Gavin Newsom will be termed out (and is also exploring a 2010 gubernatorial run).

And then, who’ll run for Yee’s state Senate seat if he doesn’t? Ah, all the pretty ripples…


Boycotted for backing Prop. 8? Too bad.

I’ve had a slew of e-mails and phone calls in the past few days complaining that I, or my paper, or the mass media overall have failed to adequately report the “terror campaign” against supporters of Proposition 8.

I’ve seen plenty of media stories about protests both peaceful and illegal, and based on the information I’ve got, I can say that most have been peaceful. There are some thugs out there who are using the high emotion and constitutional battle over same-sex marriage to excuse criminal behavior, and that’s unequivocally wrong, but the vast majority of people who’ve taken to the streets and the Internet since Nov. 4’s vote have done so legally and peacefully.

The Yes on 8 camp put out a release Friday complaining of “outrageous activities” such as:

  • In Sacramento, a musical theater director was forced to resign after he was blacklisted for contributing $1000 to the initiative;
  • A Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles has been boycotted after a relative of the owner donated to the coalition;
  • Numerous churches have had their property defaced;
  • And an unknown white powder was mailed to several LDS temples and the National Headquarters of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization that supported the campaign.
  • As to the latter two: Anyone committing acts of vandalism, violence or terrorism should be hunted down and prosecuted to the full extent of the law, no question.

    As to the former two: Tough cookies.

    The Mormon Church and all those who supported Prop. 8 expressed their convictions and participated part in the political process, true enough, but that doesn’t mean others can’t hold them accountable. They chose to involve themselves in a question of other people’s civil rights. Standing by their convictions means accepting the consequences; in this case, the consequence is that those who disagree may choose not to associate with them, and to encourage others to do the same. They can’t jump into the public discourse and then claim some special protection from criticism.

    It takes a lot of nerve for opponents of same-sex marriage to whine about boycotts and blacklisting, after all the boycotts and blacklists endured over the years by gays and lesbians and those who’ve stood up for their rights. Given how gays and lesbians long have been ostracized simply for who they are, it’s amazing to see those same ostracizers complain now about being ostracized themselves for their beliefs.


    And now, some shameless self-promotion

    It’s bloviatin’ time! Come join me as I take part in a panel discussion on the 2008 presidential election and what it meant for the nation, next Wednesday, Nov. 19 at the Commonwealth Club of California’s office on the second floor of 595 Market St. in San Francisco. Also on the panel will be Oakland’s own Frank Russo, founder of the California Progress Report; Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo; and state GOP vice chairman Thomas Del Beccaro, publisher of the Political Vanguard. It’s a 6 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program and 7:30 p.m. reception; tickets are available online at $12 for club members, $20 for non-members and $7 for students with valid ID.


    Chuck DeVore launches 2010 run against Boxer

    Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, officially threw his hat into the ring today to challenge U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., in 2010.

    In a live Webcast this afternoon, DeVore said he stands for the classic Republican platform of fiscal responsibility, strong national defense and protecting individual rights against government encroachment. He noted it’s “a long way from here to the general election in 24 months,” first through a GOP primary and then against Boxer “and her far-left friends,” but he predicted victory. “I will put my record against hers any day.”

    “California is my home and I love it second only to my God and my family,” he said. “We have a long road ahead but I know that with the grace of god, the courage of our convictions and the blessings of the good people of California, our best days are yet to come.”

    DeVore from 1986 to 1988 was a Special Assistant for Foreign Affairs in the Department of Defense, working on Capitol Hill and traveling the world. He then went to work on Chris Cox’s Congressional campaign, and after Cox won, served as a senior assistant during Cox’s first term. An Army Reservist, he was deployed during the Gulf War; upon returning, he joined SM&A, a Newport Beach aerospace engineering and management services firm. He also was an Irvine Community Services Commission member from 1991 to 1996, and a GOP county committeeman from 1993 to 2003; he won his Assembly seat in 2004.

    Earlier this year he headed up Citizens for a Safe and Prosperous America, a “section 527” issue-advocacy group that ran attack ads against Democratic presidential primary contenders Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Here’s one of those ads:

    So if DeVore helped air an ad saying Obama’s record is the Senate’s most liberal, I guess that’s not a claim we’ll hear him make against Boxer – right?

    Now, to the numbers… DeVore won his 70th Assembly District seat in 2004 with 61.1 percent of the vote against a Democrat and a Libertarian. He kept it in 2006 with 60.5 percent against only a Democrat, and again last week with 58.2 percent against that same Democrat – still a comfortable margin, but with some slow slippage over the years.

    Boxer was elected to the Senate in 1992 with 47.9 percent; she was re-elected in 1998 with 53 percent of the vote and in 2004 with 57.8 percent of the vote – a steady gain over time. And both Republicans who unsuccessfully challenged her incumbency earlier had won election to statewide office – 1998’s Matt Fong as state Treasurer, and 2004’s Bill Jones as a two-term Secretary of State.

    Add to that the facts that Boxer has a formidable fundraising record and $3.6 million cash on hand in her campaign war chest; a bully pulpit as chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee; and a sitting president almost certainly willing to come stump for her, and one’s left with the impression that DeVore enters this race as a long-shot at best.