Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for the 'Jackie Speier' Category

Speier bill would revamp military justice for rape

A Bay Area congresswoman today re-introduced a bipartisan bill to overhaul how the military handles rape and sexual-assault cases.

Jackie SpeierRep. Jackie Speier said her Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention (STOP) Act is necessary in part because a half million U.S. veterans are survivors of military sexual trauma and an estimated 19,000 rapes or sexual assaults occur in the armed services every year, yet only about 13.5 percent are ever reported.

“The epidemic of military rape and sexual assault is a damning indictment of the military judicial system’s treatment of these cases,” Speier, D-San Mateo, said in a news release. “True justice demands impartiality which is absent in a system that relies on individual commanders who have no legal expertise to determine which assailants get prosecuted and which go free. Instead of commanders making decisions about guilt or innocence, no matter how senior, an independent military office of trained experts should determine how these cases are treated.”

The STOP Act would take the prosecution, reporting, oversight, investigation and victim care of sexual assaults out of the hands of the normal chain of command and put it in the hands of an autonomous Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Office, housed in the military and staffed by both civilian and military personnel.

“Victims of rape and sexual assault should not have to choose between career-ending retaliation and seeking judicial action against their attackers,” Speier said. “In 2011, only eight percent of sexual assailants were referred to courts martial, or military court, compared with 40 percent of similar offenders prosecuted in the civilian court system. If they believed that their perpetrator would be prosecuted, convicted, and punished, it would be worth it to come forward.”

“The STOP Act creates the fair judicial system that our service members deserve, one that relies on the facts of the case not the whims of a commander.”

The bill’s 83 original cosponsors include Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto; Sam Farr, D-Santa Cruz; Mike Honda, D-San Jose; Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton; George Miller, D-Martinez; and Mike Thompson, D-Napa.

It’s also supported by national advocacy groups including Protect Our Defenders, American Association of University Women, National Council of Jewish Women, Feminist Majority, and the makers and followers of the documentary “Service: When Women Come Marching Home.”

“We applaud Republicans and Democrats for coming together to protect our service men and women,” Nancy Parrish, president of Protect Our Defenders, said in a news release. “Fundamental changes are urgently needed. This crisis, this national embarrassment has gone on far too long.”

Posted on Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
Under: Jackie Speier, U.S. House | 3 Comments »

Swalwell raised big money in 2013′s first quarter

One of the Bay Area’s House freshmen was among the region’s top fundraisers in the first quarter of 2013, according to newly filed Federal Election Commission reports.

Eric SwalwellRep. Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, raised $262,810 in the first three months of the year, leaving him with $222,932 cash on hand as of March 31.

On its face, that’s more even than the $207,030 that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, collected in individual contributions to her campaign committee. But Pelosi also transferred in more than $136,000 from her Nancy Pelosi Victory Fund, which itself raised $671,400 in the first quarter. (Now THAT’s some serious scratch; don’t mess with the big dog, Congressman Swalwell.)

Still, Swalwell’s first-quarter fundraising outstripped that of every other Bay Area House member including Mike Honda, D-San Jose, who raised $214,000 while already in full campaign mode due to the challenge posed by fellow Democrat Ro Khanna.

Swalwell might also face a fellow Democrat in 2014: state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, who like Swalwell had hoped to succeed Pete Stark in the 15th Congressional District but chose not to run against him last year. Corbett, who’s favored by many of the same local Democrats who had backed Stark in 2012, raised $16,201 in the first quarter of this year and had $114,963 cash on hand as of March 31.

Here’s a readout of the rest of the greater Bay Area delegation’s first-quarter haul, looking only at their principal campaign committees:

    Barbara Lee, D-Oakland: $69,482 raised, $29,804 cash on hand
    George Miller, D-Martinez: $79,253 raised, $215,537 cash on hand
    Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose: $45,240 raised, $571,704 cash on hand
    Sam Farr, D-Santa Cruz: $32,650 raised, $70,731 cash on hand
    Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto: $50,186 raised, $319,929 cash on hand
    Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo: $34,728 raised, $976,878 cash on hand
    Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael: $95,152 raised, $116,503 cash on hand

Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
Under: 2014 primary, Anna Eshoo, Barbara Lee, campaign finance, Eric Swalwell, George Miller, Jackie Speier, Jared Huffman, Jerry McNerney, Mike Honda, Mike Thompson, Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House, Zoe Lofgren | 2 Comments »

Reactions to Boston Marathon bomb explosions

The Bay Area is reacting to horrific news of a bombing near the Boston Marathon’s finish line today that killed at least two people and injured at least 100.

Oakland Police said that although they have no reason to believe there’s any threat here, they’re keeping officers apprised of the situation in Boston and will have a more visible presence at tonight’s Oakland A’s and Golden State Warriors games in collaboration with BART Police, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies.

Elected officials are weighing in, too.

From President Barack Obama’s live press briefing at the White House:

“We still do not know who did this or why. And people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts. But make no mistake – we will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this; we’ll find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.

“Today is a holiday in Massachusetts – Patriots’ Day. It’s a day that celebrates the free and fiercely independent spirit that this great American city of Boston has reflected from the earliest days of our nation. And it’s a day that draws the world to Boston’s streets in a spirit of friendly competition. Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people. I’m supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other, and move forward as one proud city. And as they do, the American people will be with them every single step of the way.”

From U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:

“My heart goes out to the families who lost loved ones in these horrific explosions in Boston, and I am praying for the recovery of all those who were injured.”

From House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio:

“Words cannot begin to express our sorrow for the families who are grieving so suddenly right now. The House of Representatives offers its prayers to the victims and the city of Boston. We also give thanks for the professionals and Good Samaritans who prevented further loss of life. This is a terrible day for all Americans, but we will carry on in the American spirit, and come together with grace and strength.”

From House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Boston today and with the families of all of the victims of this brutal attack. We pray for the health and recovery of those injured, for the witnesses to the explosions, and for the first responders who arrived on the scene to tend to the wounded and secure the area.

“Words are inadequate to console the loved ones of those lost at the Boston Marathon. But we will do what we can to care for them. We will ensure that justice will be done.

“Members of Congress stand ready to assist our partners in Boston and Massachusetts as they respond to this unspeakable tragedy. The entire nation will stand as a source of support and comfort to this community in the days to come.”

From Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (who is California’s acting governor during Gov. Jerry Brown’s ongoing trip to China):

Jennifer and I are deeply saddened by the tragic events in Boston today and our hearts go out to the victims’ families and their communities. There’s no indication of any threats to California or our local communities at this time. However, these events are a reminder to remain vigilant and always report anything unusual to your local law enforcement agency.

More, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, April 15th, 2013
Under: Barbara Boxer, Gavin Newsom, Jackie Speier, John Boehner, John Perez, Nancy Pelosi, Obama presidency, Terrorism, U.S. House, U.S. Senate | 4 Comments »

Events planned Saturday against gun violence

As President Obama steps up the pressure on Congress to enact gun policy reforms, Bay Area officials and residents are planning to speak and act on the issue this Saturday, April 13.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, and South San Francisco, Daly City, San Bruno, Pacifica, Burlingame, Colma, Millbrae, Brisbane and Broadmoor police departments will hold a gun buyback from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the South San Francisco Courthouse, 1050 Mission Road. Any resident of those cities and towns can surrender weapons, no questions asked, and receive up to $100 cash for a handgun, shotgun or rifle, and up to $200 cash for an assault weapon.

People interested in participating in the gun buyback can call 650-829-3700 for more information. Participants must transport firearms unloaded and in their vehicles’ trunks.

“Fewer guns mean fewer accidents and fewer chances for guns to fall into the wrong hands,” Speier said in a news release.

At the same time, the Silicon Valley North chapter of Organizing for Action – the successor organization to the president’s 2012 campaign – plans a rally against gun violence at 11 a.m. in Centennial Plaza, next to the Mountain View Caltrain station. OFA activists from across the Bay Area will be joined by volunteers and speakers from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Safety Action, Silicon Valley Community Against Gun Violence, and Parents Against Gun Violence.

I’ll be at a different kind of gun-violence vigil this Saturday: the memorial service for my former colleague Lionel Fluker, who was killed by a stray bullet last Friday night as he drove near his Oakland home. The public service will be at noon in the CP Bannon Mortuary, 6800 International Blvd. in Oakland.

Lionel – a freelance photographer for the Oakland Tribune from 1995 to 2007 – was a man of immense professional talent but even greater cheer and charm. He was among the most upbeat, pleasant people I’ve met in this industry, and his ever-present smile will be sorely missed by all those who knew him. He was 54, and is survived by family members including a 20-year-old daughter, Dominique.

Posted on Tuesday, April 9th, 2013
Under: gun control, Jackie Speier, U.S. House | 9 Comments »

Speier launches Congressional Watchdog Caucus

Rep. Jackie Speier has founded a Congressional Watchdog Caucus to oversee federal programs so that they’re run properly, taxpayer dollars are spent effectively and employees are treated fairly.

Um, isn’t that one of Congress’ main functions anyway? So true, says Speier, D-San Mateo – but the usual channels are getting clogged with politics.

“Oversight is all about responsible governance, not about scoring political points or shaming public officials. Taxpayers rely on us to be good stewards of public funds. They can’t afford wasteful expenditures and neither can the government,” Speier said in a news release. “As Members of Congress, we are the watchdogs entrusted to investigate waste, fraud, and abuse, and we have the authority to hold leaders accountable for misconduct. The Congressional Watchdog Caucus will support Members and staff in oversight actions and work together to develop strategies for effective investigations.”

Speier is the caucus’ founder and chair, but lest you think this is just more partisan rhetoric, Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., will be its co-chair.

“There are many people and organizations interested in good government; this caucus will allow us to coordinate and leverage efforts, across the country, to monitor, report on, and conduct oversight of federal spending and federal activities,” Coffman said. “It’s our responsibility to watch over the federal government and make sure the money our citizens send to Washington isn’t wasted. Our families need to know their taxes are being wisely spent.”

Posted on Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
Under: Jackie Speier, U.S. House | 2 Comments »

Speier readies bill to reform military justice

Hot on the heels of stinging comments about military sex crimes made by former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at two Santa Cruz police officers’ funeral Thursday, a Bay Area congresswoman will introduce a bill she says would help reform the system.

Jackie SpeierRep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, will introduce her Military Judicial Reform Act to strip military commanders of their power to overturn legal decisions or lessen sentences handed down by judges and juries at courts martial. It’s inspired by the recent case of a lieutenant general at Aviano Air Base overturning the sexual-assault conviction of an officer who had been sentenced by a jury of his peers to a year in prison and dismissal from the service.

Speier’s office says a written statement from the Aviano victim will be read at her Capitol Hill press conference Tuesday by Nancy Parrish, president of the advocacy group Protect Our Defenders. Also scheduled to speak are Susan Burke, an attorney who has filed lawsuits on behalf of dozens of victims of military rape or sexual assault, and Kirby Dick, the director of the Academy-Award-nominated documentary “The Invisible War.”

Speier last year carried a bill to create a Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Council, composed mainly of civilians, as an independent entity outside the Defense Department’s chain of command. This council would appoint and advise an office responsible for investigating, preventing and reducing sexual assaults, and a director responsible for overseeing prosecution of all sex offenses in the military. Though it had 133 cosponsors, the bill never made it out of committee.

Posted on Friday, March 8th, 2013
Under: Jackie Speier, U.S. House | 5 Comments »

Bay Area gun control events this weekend

With Organizing for Action (the revamped Obama campaign) having held its “day of action” today – a grassroots push urging Congress to enact universal background checks for firearm purchases – the Bay Area still has a few gun-control events on tap over the next few days.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, will speak at a gun violence prevention rally at Palo Alto City Hall’s plaza, 250 Hamilton Ave., at 11 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 23. Also scheduled to speak are Vic Spicer of Silicon Valley Community Against Gun Violence; East Palo Alto Mayor Ruben Abrica; shooting survivor Mindy Finkelstein from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence; and a representative from the Protect Our Children Initiative.

The rally will draw attention to a gun buyback being held by the police departments of East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Palo Alto from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot at East Palo Alto City Hall, 2415 University Ave.

On Monday, Feb. 25, the Brady Campaign’s Contra Costa chapter will hold a candlelight vigil and bell-ringing for victims of the Newtown massacre and others killed with firearms, starting at 6:30 p.m. at Pleasant Hill City Hall, 100 Gregory Lane. Some local MoveOn.org chapters are participating as well, and Pleasant Hill Mayor Michael Harris is expected to attend.

Organizers say the event is in support of President Obama’s gun violence prevention proposals, including background checks on all gun sales, new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals, and banning assault weapons and large-capacity magazines.

Posted on Friday, February 22nd, 2013
Under: gun control, Jackie Speier, U.S. House | 1 Comment »

Bay Area lawmakers react to SOTU

From Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose:

honda.jpgI applaud the President’s talk tonight regarding jobs and technology. We must ensure the resilience of the American worker, and the adaptability and innovation inherent in our economy, to keep us at the forefront of global competitiveness.

This is the Silicon Valley way of life and business, where the manufacturing sector employs 1 in 5 workers (more than twice the national average), where breakthrough ideas are cultivated, and where the world’s most successful visionaries and businesses call home.

If we renew our national commitment to winning the manufacturing jobs of the future, bringing Silicon Valley sense to Washington, and employ strategies that play to our nation’s natural strengths, we should see a new golden age of American manufacturing.

That is exactly why my legislative platform, introduced this week, will reinvigorate a critical component of our national economy by focusing on three components: Next-generation technologies, startups and small manufacturers, and re-shoring production lines from overseas.

• The Market Based Manufacturing Incentives Act empowers an apolitical commission of private-sector experts to designate the next generation of disruptive, market-changing technologies.

• The Scaling up Manufacturing Act, endorsed by the American Small Manufacturers Coalition, the American Chemical Society, and Silicon Valley’s own Applied Ventures, provides support to this nation’s entrepreneurs at the most critical stage of their business’s growth. This proposal stops offshoring before it ever starts, keeps our bourgeoning businesses here at home, and helps turns ideas into success stories.

• The Re-Shoring Bonus Deduction Act is a draft proposal aimed at promoting growth in domestic manufacturing among this nation’s most established and global enterprises. We should reward companies that bring jobs back to the United States and contribute to our nation’s economic growth by employing American workers.

Additionally, my STEM agenda for the 113th Congress supports Obama’s SOTU call for leadership in these fields. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics must be infused into our public school curriculum, emphasized within the clinical teaching preparation programs and applied into vibrant learning experiences in the classroom.

In order to keep Silicon Valley competitive and stocked with highly-skilled, creative workers, we must improve STEM education coordination on a national scale. For our nation to remain a leader in scientific advancement and technological innovation, this is what is required of us, nothing less. It is time to step up and STEM it.

From Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa:

Mike Thompson“The state of our union is getting stronger, but we have more work to do. Whether it’s creating jobs, getting our fiscal house in order, fixing our broken immigration system, or putting policies in place that respect the Second Amendment while also reducing gun violence, our nation faces big challenges. We won’t overcome these challenges as Democrats versus Republicans – we must meet them together as Americans.

“We need to put people to work fixing our roads, bridges, overpasses and waterways while also building an economy that can compete long-term by investing in new industries like clean energy. To get our fiscal house in order, we need a balanced approach that focuses on job creation, makes sure taxpayers are getting the most bang for their buck, and reforms our tax code so everyone pays their fair share. We need to avoid manufactured crisis that do nothing but hurt our economy. And, we need a bipartisan, comprehensive fix to our broken immigration system.

“Finally, tonight President Obama once again called on Congress to pass legislation that will reduce gun violence. Last month the President acted by signing a series of executive actions that will have a meaningful impact on reducing gun violence. But as we know, the policies that would have the greatest impact require congressional action.

“Whether you’re an NRA member like Elvin Daniel, the guest I hosted at tonight’s State of the Union, a hunter and gun owner like me, or one of the millions of Americans who have never fired a gun, we can all agree that when thirty-plus people die every day from gun violence that it’s time for Congress act. My task force is already acting. Last week we released a comprehensive set of policy principles that both respect the Second Amendment Rights of law-abiding Americans and will prevent gun violence. We’re using these policy principles to develop and influence legislation in both the House and Senate and are working to get legislation based on these principles signed into law.

“But this can’t just be a Democratic effort. It’s time for our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to work with us and use the principles we developed to put laws in place that respect the rights of lawful Americans to own firearms and make our schools, neighborhoods, communities and country safer.

“As the 113th Congress moves forward, I will continue working to overcome the challenges we face. And I am confident that if we put the partisanship aside and work together then our nation has even better days ahead.”

More after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
Under: Barbara Boxer, Barbara Lee, Dianne Feinstein, Eric Swalwell, George Miller, Jackie Speier, John Boehner, Mike Honda, Mike Thompson, Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House, U.S. Senate | 27 Comments »

Jackie Speier to co-host gun buyback tomorrow

A Bay Area Congresswoman serving on House Democrats’ gun-violence task force is co-sponsoring an anonymous gun buyback tomorrow.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo; San Mateo County Supervisor Adrienne Tissier and San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks will host the event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26 in the San Mateo County Event Center, 2495 S. Delaware St. in San Mateo. Anyone can surrender weapons, no questions asked, and receive up to $100 cash for a handgun, shotgun or rifle, or up to $200 cash for an assault weapon.

“Gun buybacks are a powerful tool to make our streets and schools safer,” Speier said in a news release. “There is no reason we need 90 weapons per 100 Americans, making the U.S. the most heavily armed society in the world. Buybacks are convenient opportunities for responsible gun owners to get rid of guns they no longer want. Fewer guns also mean fewer accidents and fewer chances for guns to fall into the wrong hands.”

Speier – who attended a gun-violence task force hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill chaired by Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa – will also hold a town hall meeting with constituents from 1 to 2:30 p.m. tomorrow at Temple United Methodist Church, 63 Beverly St. in San Francisco.

Posted on Friday, January 25th, 2013
Under: gun control, Jackie Speier, U.S. House | 13 Comments »

Reactions to Obama’s gun control plan

From Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa, who chairs House Democrats’ task force on gun violence:

“The president and our task force agree that we need a comprehensive approach to reduce and prevent gun violence. Executive action can and should be part of the process, and many of the executive actions announced today will have a positive influence on reducing gun violence. Now it’s time for Congress to step up and do what needs to be done to save lives. Many of the policies that will have the greatest impact on reducing gun violence will require Congressional action.

“During the next several weeks our task force will examine the president’s proposals and the proposals of others. We will continue meeting with stakeholders on every side of this issue. And we will develop a comprehensive set of policy proposals that both respect peoples’ 2nd Amendment rights and help keep our communities safe from gun violence.”

From the National Rifle Association:

“Throughout its history, the National Rifle Association has led efforts to promote safety and responsible gun ownership. Keeping our children and society safe remains our top priority.

“The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law. We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America’s most valuable asset – our children.

“Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy.”

From Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, who has introduced a bill to regulate ammunition sales in California:

“I applaud President Obama for presenting a comprehensive plan that will help reduce the gun violence ravaging our communities and, hopefully, stop the rash of mass shootings that have become an all-too-common occurrence.

“California has tough gun laws but our ability to address gun violence is undermined when one can bypass California rules by crossing state lines. Federal action is needed to ensure the effectiveness of our state laws.

“As public opinion shows, strong support for gun control exists nationally in favor of enforcement and regulations to bulletproof our communities from devastating gun violence.”

From Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms:

“Suddenly Mr. Obama wants to get more criminal and mental health records into the NICS background check data base and get a permanent director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Where has he been for the last four years?

“Perhaps he was too busy during his first term, while his administration was running thousands of assault rifles, millions of rounds of ammunition and countless high capacity magazines to violent criminals and drug cartel thugs through his administration’s Fast & Furious program. Now he wants to take away our Second Amendment rights when he and his friends have put more assault weapons in the wrong hands than all of organized crime?

“These firearms have been used not only to kill a Border Patrol agent, but also hundreds of people including women and children. This policy has resulted in more deaths and carnage than all the mass shootings in the United States in last ten years.

“The measures being proposed by the president will not prevent a repeat of the Sandy Hook tragedy, and he knows it. The initials ‘B. O.’ stand for more than Barack Obama. They stand for the bad odor of his blame game.”

Lots more, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
Under: Assembly, Barbara Boxer, Barbara Lee, California State Senate, Dianne Feinstein, Eric Swalwell, George Miller, gun control, Jackie Speier, Leland Yee, Mike Honda, Mike Thompson, Nancy Skinner, Obama presidency, U.S. House, U.S. Senate | 30 Comments »