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Another award for Schwarzenegger

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke at the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business Gala in celebration of a new building’s opening last night in Washington, D.C..

McDonough School Dean George Daly also presented Schwarzenegger with the school’s Dean’s Medal, “which is the highest honor bestowed by the dean,” according to news releases from the school and the governor. The school says former recipients have included Prince Philipp of Liechtenstein; former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez; and Ann Misiaszek Sarnoff, chief operating officer of the Women’s National Basketball Association.

I contacted Teresa Mannix, the school’s media relations director, to inquire about whether there are any criteria for this honor, or whether it’s basically an honorary award bestowed upon notable people when they come to speak at the school. After all, it seems a little puzzling for a distinguished business school to bestow its highest honor upon a chief executive whose “business entity” — the State of California — is in such a severe state of fiscal disarray, and who seems to have lost the confidence of his “board of directors” — the people who elected him.

That would be like the National Park Trust giving an award to someone for leadership and innovation in protecting public lands, just one day after that same someone announced state park closures due to budget cuts. Oh, wait – that happened, too.

Mannix’s response is that the medal “recognizes those who have distinguished themselves in various fields. It is not bestowed on all of our notable speakers.”

There you have it – “distinguished.”

Posted on Friday, October 30th, 2009
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, General | 3 Comments »

What they’re saying about the rise in GDP

From President’s Council of Economic Advisers Chairwoman Christina Romer:

“Data released today by the Commerce Department show that real GDP [Gross Domestic Product] grew at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the third quarter of the year. This is in stark contrast to the decline of 6.4 percent annual rate just two quarters ago. Indeed, the two-quarter swing in the rate of growth of 9.9 percentage points was the largest since 1980. Analysis by both the Council of Economic Advisers and a wide range of private and public-sector forecasters indicates that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 contributed between 3 and 4 percentage points to real GDP growth in the third quarter. This suggests that in the absence of the Recovery Act, real GDP would have risen little, if at all, this past quarter.”

“After four consecutive quarters of decline, positive GDP growth is an encouraging sign that the U.S. economy is moving in the right direction. However, this welcome milestone is just another step, and we still have a long road to travel until the economy is fully recovered. The turnaround in crucial labor market indicators, such as employment and the unemployment rate, typically occurs after the turnaround in GDP. And it will take sustained, robust GDP growth to bring the unemployment rate down substantially. Such a decline in unemployment is, of course, what we are all working to achieve.”

From House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio:

“Any positive signs for our economy are welcome, but a jobless recovery is not what the American people were promised. President Obama and his economic team said the trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ would create jobs immediately and keep the unemployment rate below eight percent. Since then, roughly three million jobs have been lost and unemployment has risen to near 10 percent.

“For millions of out-of-work families struggling to make ends meet, this recession feels far from over. Yet even now, after the Obama Administration’s top economist has stated that the ‘stimulus’ already had its greatest impact on the economy, Washington Democrats are intent on staying the course and trying to spend, tax, and borrow their way to prosperity. Republicans have proposed fiscally responsible solutions to help small businesses create good-paying jobs and get our economy moving again.”

From House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez:

“Today’s news is another important indicator that the Recovery Act is beginning to repair our economy and get our nation back on its feet. While it will take time for all these investments to kick in, we know that the Recovery Act has already helped to stave off hundreds of thousands of pink slips being planned.

“While saving and creating jobs must be a central concern, we also must ensure that Americans still looking for work have the temporary support they need to get by and that displaced workers have access to the education and training they need to succeed in the jobs of the future. We won’t rest until the millions who lost their jobs during this economic crisis have an opportunity to work and are ready to help shape a new era of economic growth and innovation.”

Posted on Thursday, October 29th, 2009
Under: economy, General, George Miller, John Boehner, U.S. House | 2 Comments »

Brentwood recall effort resurrected

Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor

Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor

A Brentwood resident angry over the city’s decision to build a new civic center that will encroach on a downtown park served a second set of recall notices last night on Mayor Bob Taylor and councilmembers Chris Becnel and Bob Brockman.

Kathy Fredenberg’s first attempt fell victim to a missed deadline and she had to restart the process. Click here to see CCT reporter Rowena Coetsee’s story on the dispute.

Whether or not Fredenberg will gather sufficient signatures is an open question. She needs to collect 4,800 valid signatures of Brentwood registered voters in order to put the recalls on the ballot.

Becnel and Taylor don’t believe voters want to recall them over the civic center vote, and argue that the reconfigured park will actually be larger than the current park.

Posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
Under: General | No Comments »

Ammiano responds to Arnold’s veto dig

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, seemed to accept Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s encoded upbraiding – hidden in an Oct. 12 veto message, responding to Ammiano’s Oct. 7 invitation to “kiss my gay ass” – with bemused resignation this morning.

He called it “a very creative way of exercising veto power,” and said he’ll reintroduce his bill – dealing with financing mechanisms for the Port of San Francisco – next year despite being “very disapponted” by this veto.

“I guess the governor is feeling his oats,” Ammiano said, discounting any possibility that the message was coincidental. “I feel there was a point to the way it was designed, yes.”

Ammiano took questions about the matter during a news conference before an informational hearing about marijuana legalization, on which he introduced a bill earlier this year. Asked whether he believed Schwarzenegger would sign such a bill, he quipped, “It would be an interesting veto message, wouldn’t it? Rich in potential.”

Posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly, General, Tom Ammiano | 1 Comment »

FPPC clears Fabian Nunez of two complaints

California’s Fair Political Practices Commission has cleared former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, of accusations that he illegally lived high on the hog using campaign funds and funneled contributions through a nonprofit organization.

One FPPC letter to Nunez dated Oct. 14 deals with a complaint the commission received two years ago alleging that his and his committee’s spending “appeared inappropriate and were in violation of the personal use provisions of the Political Reform Act.” That complaint had included detailed listings of more than $155,000 in spending between January 2005 and June 2007.

Several days before this complaint was filed, the Los Angeles Times had run an article detailing some of Nunez’ spending at high-end restaurants, hotels and boutiques around the world.

The letter says the FPPC reviewed the complaint’s information, and notes that the Franchise Tax Board had audited Nunez’ campaign statements for January 2004 through December 2006, making no findings of impropriety.

“Based on our review, it appeared likely that the expenditures identified in the complaint were legitimate and would not violate the personal use laws,” the letter says. “Expenditures for items such as florists, food, gifts, meetings, fundraising and travel are routinely made by many candidates and officeholders using campaign funds, and these expenditures are reasonably related to a political, legislative or governmental purpose. For expenditures that may have conferred a substantial personal benefit on you, we determined that it appeared likely or that you would be able to establish that these expenditures were directly related to a political, legislative or governmental purpose.”

Based on that, the letter says, the FPPC didn’t conduct an in-depth investigation and has now closed its file on the matter.

In another Oct. 14 letter, the FPPC said it also has closed its file on a 2008 complaint that Nunez violated the Political Reform Act’s contribution-limit provisions in 2005 and 2006 with payments made through a nonprofit called Collective Space Inc. The complaint claimed some contributors who’d already maxed out their legal contributions to Nunez gave more money through the nonprofit for charitable events featuring Nunez and benefiting him politically.

This letter says the FPPC’s review found payments were made to Collective Space at Nunez’ behest even while he and his staff were involved with its events, but “this is not prohibited, and the Speaker’s or his staff’s involvement in the event, or the inclusion of the Speaker’s name in a charity event or its advertising, would not violate the Act or cause the payments to Collective Space to qualify as contributions.”

Posted on Tuesday, October 27th, 2009
Under: Assembly, campaign finance, Fabian Nunez, General | 3 Comments »

Torrico tries to make hay from straw poll

The state Attorney General campaign of Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, today trumpeted its “overwhelming victory” in a straw poll taken yesterday by the San Mateo County Democratic Party.

The county party, meeting at the South San Francisco Conference Center, heard from candidates for several statewide offices or their surrogates.

County committee chairman David Burruto said Torrico and former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly were the only candidates for Attorney General who were there in person, while San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris sent a surrogate to speak on her behalf and Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance; Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara; and former Los Angeles City Attorney (and 2006 Attorney General Democratic primary candidate) Rocky Delgadillo were absent and unrepresented.

The straw poll’s results:

    Torrico — 85 votes (51.2%)
    Harris — 44 votes (26.5%)
    Kelly — 31 votes (18.7%)
    Lieu — 5 votes (3%)
    Delgadillo — 1 vote (0.6%)
    Nava — 0 votes

Now, this is about as far from a scientific survey that you can get: Bless their souls for not being apathetic, but it’s a bunch of party apparatchiks from a pretty liberal county, not a representative sampling of the party’s sentiment statewide. And it’s only 166 votes, too small a sample to mean much of anything.

That said, Torrico – whether by virtue of actually showing up and pressing the flesh, or of being an accomplished party player himself, or of being a better candidate – did have a wide victory margin in a county right next to both his and Harris’.

Posted on Monday, October 19th, 2009
Under: 2010 election, Alberto Torrico, General, Kamala Harris | Comments Off

Ron Dellums’ double-take on new police chief

(This just in from Oakland Tribune city hall reporter Kelly Rayburn…)

Mayor Ron Dellums believes Oakland’s next police chief, Anthony Batts, is “an extraordinarily capable police chief” and is confident the city’s “residents, police department staff and city officials” will find him a good fit for Oakland.

How do we know? Because Dellums said so.

Twice.

Here’s a statement from Dellums when he announced Batts’ appointment in August:

“Chief Batts is an extraordinarily capable police chief whose professional expertise, outstanding leadership skills and brilliant operational savvy make him the right choice for Oakland. Coming from a similar-sized port city with one of the most diverse populations in the country, Chief Batts understands the complexity of running an urban police department and implementing change to improve the quality of life in Oakland and engage the community to enhance public safety. I am confident that our residents, police department staff and city officials alike will find Chief Batts to be an accomplished leader and a great police chief for Oakland.”

And here’s the mayor’s statement from this afternoon when his office announced the mayor would be officiating a swearing-in ceremony for Batts on Tuesday:

“Chief Batts is an extraordinarily capable police chief whose professional expertise, outstanding leadership skills and brilliant operational savvy make him the right choice for Oakland. I am confident that our residents, police department staff and city officials alike will find Chief Batts to be an accomplished leader and a great police chief for Oakland.”

At least he’s staying on message.

Posted on Friday, October 16th, 2009
Under: General, Oakland, Ron Dellums | 2 Comments »

CoCo DA’s union endorses O’Malley

Dan OMalley

Dan O'Malley

The Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorneys Association last night endorsed Dan O’Malley to replace retiring District Attorney Bob Kochly, said group spokesman Barry Grove:

The Deputy DA’s Association is pleased to announce its endorsement of Judge Dan O’Malley for Distirict Attorney. We believe Judge O’Malley to be, by far, the best qualified of any candidate and fully support his election to lead us in the fight against crime in Contra Costa County. Therefore, once again, the Deputy DA’s Association endorses Judge Dan O’Malley for District Attorney.

Other declared district attorney candidates including Concord Councilman and Deputy District Attorney Mark Peterson and Danville attorney Elle Falahat.

Endorsements are rarely newsworthy. Most are predictable. But in professional occupation offices such as the district attorney or sheriff, support from within the department signals to the public which of the candidates has the most confidence of the employees from within the agency that he  the endorsement from the agency they may one day manage.

Posted on Friday, October 16th, 2009
Under: Assembly, Contra Costa politics, General | 6 Comments »

Schwarzenegger film marathon tomorrow

Haven’t had enough of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the last few weeks? (Months? Years?) Well, if you’re part of the 27 percent of voters who still like him and you’ve got enough moolah to spring for premium cable, you can get your fill tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 17, as Encore presents a daylong Arnold-a-thon:

  • 8:30 a.m. – Conan the Destroyer (with Grace Jones, Wilt Chamberlain)
  • 10:15 a.m. – Red Sonja (with Brigitte Nielsen, Sandahl Bergman)
  • 11:50 a.m. – Kindergarten Cop (with Penelope Ann Miller, Pamela Reed)
  • 1:45 p.m. – Last Action Hero (with Austin O’Brien, Charles Dance)
  • 4 p.m. – Batman & Robin (with George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell)
  • 6:10 p.m. – Twins (with Danny DeVito, Kelly Preston)
  • 8 p.m. – Eraser (with James Caan, Vanessa Williams)
  • 10 p.m. – The Running Man (with Maria Conchita Alonso, Yaphet Kotto)
  • 11:45 p.m. – The Terminator (with Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn)
  • What, no “Hercules in New York?” Forget it, I’m boycotting.

    Posted on Thursday, October 15th, 2009
    Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, General | Comments Off

    House passes Miller’s water recycling bill

    The House today passed Rep. George Miller’s H.R.2442, the “Bay Area Regional Water Recycling Program Expansion Act of 2009,” on a 241-173 vote, advancing a bill that would help ease the region’s water issues.

    The bill provides $38 million for six Bay Area water recycling projects: The CCCSD-Concord Recycled Water Project, the Central Dublin Recycled Water Distribution and Retrofit Project, the Petaluma Recycled Water Project, the Central Redwood City Recycled Water Project, the Palo Alto Recycled Water Pipeline Project and the Ironhouse Sanitary District-Antioch Recycled Water Project.

    Together, Miller said, they’ll provide 7.2 million gallons of water per day for landscape irrigation and other uses, meaning that same amount of drinkable water gets freed up for nearly 25,000 households. And the projects are expected to create more than 3,000 jobs, he added.

    “Today’s bill responds to the request for assistance from the state of California and local water managers to expand the supply of water in our drought-stricken state,” Miller said in his news release. “This bill is good for our economy – it will create thousands of jobs and it will help reduce stress on our oversubscribed fresh water systems.

    House Republicans had fought the bill to a standstill two weeks ago; it was brought up Sept. 30 under suspension of the rules, meaning it needed a 2/3 majority to pass, and it went down on a near-party line, 240-170 vote. Today the bill was brought up under a rule, meaning it needed only a simple majority. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, tried again to have it sent back to committee, but failed.

    “This legislation is an insult to the water-starved communities of the San Joaquin Valley,” Nunes raged in a statement issued today. “It is offensive to those of us who have fought for and been denied any legislative relief for the real water crisis in California – the one that has turned half a million acres into desert.”

    Nunes has been pushing hard for a waiver to the Endangered Species Act so the water flow to Central Valley agribusiness can be restored regardless of the pumping’s impact on the endangered Delta smelt. “George Miller and his friends on the left supported the ESA waiver for New Mexico in 2003. Now they are telling the people of the San Joaquin Valley ‘no,’” Nunes said. “The hypocrisy of my colleagues on the Democratic side of the isle is very telling. Their actions today do not reflect the values of the American people.”

    But Miller said water recycling is supported by the major water coalitions including the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Association of California Water Agencies.

    “This legislation will not only help my congressional district, which has pioneered water recycling efforts, but is one of a series of water recycling bills that the House has approved this year to expand water supply in communities up and down California, in Republican and Democratic districts alike — without controversy, and without amendment, and without debate on larger California water policy issues,” Miller said. “This year alone, the House has passed five local water bills for Republican members of the House. Those members asked for and received support from the House for their bills, and did not ask for an amendment for any one of those bills.”

    Posted on Thursday, October 15th, 2009
    Under: General, George Miller, U.S. House, water | 1 Comment »