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Gill wants you to parse McNerney’s TARP votes

The campaign of Lodi Republican Ricky Gill – who’s taking on Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District – is up in arms about a claim made in pro-McNerney mailers sent out by the California Democratic Party.

Two CDP mailers, aiming to paint McNerney as a fiscal conservative, say he voted “NO to a $350 billion bailout because McNerney believes in responsible spending.”

But Gill’s campaign notes that the January 2009 vote to which that refers – on releasing the second half of the $700 billion for the Troubled Asset Relief Program – was meaningless. As FactCheck.org explained two years ago:

As the law was structured, the treasury secretary (then Henry Paulson) had access to only $350 billion, half of the total package, at first. The second half would be available only if the administration went to Congress and asked for it. Treasury would get the money unless Congress said no. The first $350 billion of the TARP money was quickly spent.

By the time the Bush administration, at the request of President-elect Barack Obama, filed a request with the Senate for the rest of the money on Jan. 12, 2009, there were widespread complaints that too much of the first tranche had been used to bail out large institutions and not enough to help homeowners. The new funds could have been blocked had both houses of Congress voted to do so, but on Jan. 15, 2009, the Senate defeated a disapproval resolution, 52-42, effectively voting to release the funds. Treasury almost immediately announced it would use some of the money to shore up a deeply crippled Bank of America.

Where was the House in all this? Pretty much irrelevant. Eventually there was a similar vote in that body. … [I]t passed, 270-155. But the vote came on Jan. 22, a week after the Senate’s vote (and two days after Obama was sworn in). Treasury already had the money.

So the House vote was purely symbolic.

“The Democrats’ claim is doubly misleading because McNerney voted for TARP in the first place,” Gill spokesman Colin Hunter said in an email.

True, too – though it might be worth noting that the law creating TARP was proposed and signed by President George W. Bush, and approved by Congress with bipartisan support (including Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and 90 other House Republicans). And also that TARP both worked and cost the taxpayers less than expected, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Posted on Thursday, September 20th, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, Jerry McNerney, U.S. House | 10 Comments »

Ricky Gill wins Farm Bureau endorsement

Ricky Gill, the Lodi Republican challenging Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District, announced today that he’s been endorsed by the California Farm Bureau Federation.

Ricky Gill“Ricky Gill has grown up in the Central Valley and has firsthand experience in small business, dealing with regulations and encouraging the expansion of trade to grow our economy and create local jobs,” California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger said in Gill’s release. “His family’s roots in agriculture have guided his life’s path, and he will make the needs of farmers and ranchers a priority as he represents his district in Washington.”

Wenger said Gill will be “an energetic advocate for his constituents and will support policies to help turn our economy around, to provide jobs and business opportunities for the next generation.”

Gill, 25, is the son of immigrants who are physicians but also own a 1,000-acre cherry farm and vineyard, an RV park and other business interests; he finished his Cal law degree earlier this year. He said he’s honored by the Farm Bureau’s endorsement: “I look forward to standing up for our farmers and ranchers so they can create jobs right here in the 9th District, where my family has been farming for 30 years.”

The California Farm Bureau Federation protects agricultural interests for more than 74,000 members statewide.

Would McNerney liked to have had this endorsement? Certainly.

Was he likely to get it? Some Democrats have won the California Farm Bureau Federation’s nod, including Dianne Feinstein, Mike Thompson and Jim Costa, but McNerney’s votes haven’t been so popular.

Is he lost without it? No. The Farm Bureau can be a powerful Central Valley force, but the 9th District isn’t its very strongest province: Stockton, entirely within the district, is urban and firmly Democratic. In the 2001 bipartisan gerrymander of the Central Valley, as Democrats sought to make then-Rep. Gary Condit’s seat safe for any Democrat except the ag-popular but scandal-ridden Condit, it was accomplished by redrawing the district to include Stockton. Farming interests are powerful in the district, but not all-powerful.

Posted on Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, Agriculture, Jerry McNerney, U.S. House, water | 2 Comments »

Obama, Romney, Biden & Ryan on 9/11

President Barack Obama, at the Pentagon (excerpt):

“This anniversary allows us to renew our faith that even the darkest night gives way to a brighter dawn. Today, we can come here to the Pentagon, and touch these names and kneel beside a building where a single stone still bears the scars of that fire. We can visit the field of honor in Pennsylvania and remember the heroes who made it sacred. We can see water cascading into the footprints of the Twin Towers, and gaze up at a new tower rising above the New York skyline.

“And even though we may never be able to fully lift the burden carried by those left behind, we know that somewhere, a son is growing up with his father’s eyes, and a daughter has her mother’s laugh — living reminders that those who died are with us still.

“So as painful as this day is and always will be, it leaves us with a lesson that no single event can ever destroy who we are. No act of terrorism can ever change what we stand for. Instead, we recommit ourselves to the values that we believe in, holding firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

“That’s the commitment that we reaffirm today. And that’s why, when the history books are written, the true legacy of 9/11 will not be one of fear or hate or division. It will be a safer world; a stronger nation; and a people more united than ever before.”

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, in a statement:

“Eleven years ago, evil descended upon our country, taking thousands of lives in an unspeakable attack against innocents. America will never forget those who perished. America will never stop caring for the loved ones they left behind. And America shall remain ever vigilant against those who would do us harm. Today we again extend our most profound gratitude to our brave troops who have gone into battle, some never to return, so that we may live in peace. On this most somber day, those who would attack us should know that we are united, one nation under God, in our determination to stop them and to stand tall for peace and freedom at home and across the world.”

Vice President Joe Biden, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa. (excerpt):

“My hope for you all is that as every year passes, the depth of your pain recedes and you find comfort, as I have, genuine comfort in recalling his smile, her laugh, their touch. And I hope you’re as certain as I am that she can see what a wonderful man her son has turned out to be, grown up to be; that he knows everything that your daughter has achieved, and that he can hear, and she can hear how her mom still talks about her, the day he scored the winning touchdown, how bright and beautiful she was on that graduation day, and know that he knows what a beautiful child the daughter he never got to see has turned out to be, and how much she reminds you of him. For I know you see your wife every time you see her smile on your child’s face. You remember your daughter every time you hear laughter coming from her brother’s lips. And you remember your husband every time your son just touches your hand.

“I also hope — I also hope it continues to give you some solace knowing that this nation, all these people gathered here today, who are not family members, all your neighbors, that they’ve not forgotten. They’ve not forgotten the heroism of your husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers. And that what they did for this country is still etched in the minds of not only you, but millions of Americans, forever. That’s why it’s so important that this memorial be preserved and go on for our children and our grandchildren, and our great-grandchildren, and our great-great-grandchildren — because it is what makes it so exceptional. And I think they all appreciate, as I do, more than they can tell you, the incredible bravery your family members showed on that day.”

Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., in a statement:

“Eleven years ago today, from Capitol Hill, I could see the smoke rising from the fires burning in the Pentagon. Like all Americans, I will never forget the moment that our homeland came under attack. For me, this is a day to remember those who perished on that day of terror, including the first responders. It is also a day to pay tribute to all those who have worked quietly and tirelessly both on the home front and abroad to prevent a repetition of such terrible events. And it is a day to give honor to those in our military who have sacrificed so much, including their lives, for the same end. Their courage and heroism and willingness to answer the call of duty have kept America safe and strong and free. We are truly the home of the brave.”

See what some Bay Area members of Congress have been tweeting about today’s anniversary, after the jump…
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Posted on Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
Under: Barack Obama, Barbara Boxer, Barbara Lee, Jackie Speier, Jerry McNerney, Mitt Romney, Nancy Pelosi, Zoe Lofgren | 4 Comments »

Ricky Gill launches first general-election TV ad

Ricky Gill, the Lodi Republican challenging Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District, has launched his first television ad of the general-election season:

Gill campaign spokesman Colin Hunter said Monday that the ad is running on network TV in the Sacramento market and cable systems in the Delta; he declined to say how much was spent on the ad buy.

“The stars of this ad are the local citizens who came out to stand up for their community,” Gill said in a news release. “Our campaign isn’t about party or ideology – it’s about uniting and empowering the community we proudly call home.”

Gill’s campaign said the ad draws upon a 2011 book in which McNerney argued that “morality” and “patriotism” require imposing immediate, across-the-board energy taxes. The campaign says the Congressional Budget Office has concluded those taxes “would impose the largest loss in purchasing power on households near the middle of the income distribution.”

“Jerry McNerney’s interjection of terms like ‘morality’ and ‘patriotism’ to push for higher energy taxes on middle-class families underscores how ideological he really is,” d Gill consultant James Fisfis said in the news release. “McNerney isn’t just pushing a higher gas tax – he literally wrote the book on it.”

Asked to respond to the ad, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman Amber Moon on Monday cited an Associated Press story from April which reported that Gill’s father gave $2,000 to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s campaign during the 2003 gubernatorial recall election – one year before Gov. Schwarzenegger appointed Gill to the state Board of Education. The elder Gill also gave $5,000 to Schwarzenegger’s 2006 re-election campaign, the article reported.

“Wherever Ricky Gill goes, his parents’ money follows,” Moon said Monday. “Gill’s father gave campaign donations to Governor Schwarzenegger and Ricky Gill was appointed as the student representative on the State Board of Education. Ricky Gill continues to inflate his resume to cover up the fact that he has never even held a full-time job.”

Posted on Monday, September 10th, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, Jerry McNerney, U.S. House | 3 Comments »

Ricky Gill’s speech to the GOP convention

Here’s what Ricky Gill, the Republican from Lodi who’s challenging Rep. Jerry McNerney in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District, had to say just now at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.:

My name is Ricky Gill, and I am humbled to stand before you as a Republican nominee for Congress – and a proud son of California’s San Joaquin Valley.

My parents immigrated to the Valley from India and Africa with only their love for each other, a strong work ethic, and the enduring desire to pursue their American Dream.
We all work hard in the Valley, and we’re proud to live there. But today we face crippling unemployment and foreclosures—even the bankruptcy of Stockton, our largest city. Young people leave — or drop out of school to help their families make ends meet. Our friends and neighbors are suffering.

But the Valley is a cautionary tale of failed policies, not false ambitions. No one in this country dreams of dependency; no one hopes for mediocrity. We are ready again to seize the measure of our ambitions – not because the government says we can, but because we believe we can.

We need a new generation of leadership to chart the path – to fight for policies that create jobs, rather than red tape — and to help small businesses succeed, rather than helping green energy companies fail.

Like you, we Valley folks are tough, independent, and faithful – and we are ready to rebuild our American Dream.

Thank you, and God Bless America.

Looking over the convention’s schedule, it may be that Gill and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are the only speakers from the greater Bay Area who’ll be addressing the convention this week.

Posted on Tuesday, August 28th, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, Jerry McNerney, Republican Party, Republican politics, U.S. House | 8 Comments »

Ricky Gill to speak at Republican National Convention

Ricky Gill, the Republican candidate challenging Rep. Jerry McNerney in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District, will deliver a speech at the Republican National Convention next week in Tampa.

Ricky Gill“It will be an honor to speak on behalf of our Valley and Delta communities on a national stage,” Gill, 25, of Lodi, said in a statement issued this morning. “While we face some of the greatest challenges, our communities are among the most underrepresented in America. My remarks at the convention will focus not only on giving our communities a voice, but also on ensuring the survival of our American Dream for this generation and those to come.”

“I hope this opportunity will prompt Washington to take note not just of our communities’ current struggles, but also of their enduring potential,” he added.

It’s not yet clear on what day or at what time Gill will address the convention, which is expected to attract about 4,400 delegates and alternate delegates as well as about 15,000 journalists. A Gill campaign spokesman had said in June that he wasn’t sure whether Gill would attend the convention.

Convention Chief Executive Officer William Harris said candidates speaking at the convention, “like the many others running for office across the country, represent the future of our party and a better future for our country. Their participation will help inspire enthusiasm for Republicans up and down the ticket.”

Posted on Monday, August 20th, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, Jerry McNerney, U.S. House | 12 Comments »

Digging deeper into Jerry McNerney’s residency

Rep. Jerry McNerney on Wednesday said there’s nothing to a Stockton Record story questioning whether he actually now lives in Stockton, where he re-registered to vote and cast a ballot for June’s primary, or if he still lives at his longtime home in Pleasanton.

Jerry McNerney“I am living in Stockton,” McNerney said, calling from his Washington, D.C. office. “The transition has been more difficult than I expected, has taken longer than I expected … but I’ll be home (from Washington) in August and I’ll be there the whole month.”

Pressed on where he spends most of his nights while in the Golden State, McNerney replied, “when I’m in California, I’m spending a significant amount of time in Stockton, I haven’t counted the nights.” Asked about his legal residence, he replied, “Legally, it’s absolutely Stockton – I’m registered to vote there, I’m paying bills there, I’m sleeping there – it’s absolutely my legal address.”

The Democrat is seeking a fourth term in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District, which doesn’t include Pleasanton; however, a candidate isn’t required to live in the House district in which he or she runs, only in the same state. The question is whether McNerney ran afoul of the state Election Code by registering and voting in Stockton.

One of the key code sections seems to be:

2026. The domicile of a Member of the Legislature or a Representative in the Congress of the United States shall be conclusively presumed to be at the residence address indicated on that person’s currently filed affidavit of registration.

On its face, it sounds like this means that wherever a lawmaker is currently registered is his or her domicile, which would put McNerney in the clear. But the campaign of Ricky Gill, McNerney’s Republican challenger, today provided a 2011 California Court of Appeal decision that might indicate otherwise.

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

Posted on Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, Jerry McNerney, U.S. House, Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

Westlands farmers bank on Delta House aspirants

Two Republican House candidates from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta area took campaign cash from downstate farmers whom would benefit from a new water plan at the Delta’s expense, the area’s current lawmakers say.

Kim Vann, a Colusa County Supervisor challenging Rep. John Garamendi, D-Fairfield, in the newly drawn 3rd Congressional District received $5,000 from the California Westside Farmers PAC in late April. Ricky Gill, a Lodi law graduate challenging Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District, received $5,000 from the PAC in late June.

The PAC acts on behalf of farmers in the Westlands Water District, an agricultural powerhouse in the otherwise arid west reaches of the San Joaquin Valley. McNerney’s campaign noted today that Sarah Woolf, a member of the Westlands board of directors, is the PAC’s treasurer.

A new Bay Delta Conservation Plan proposal announced last week by Gov. Jerry Brown and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar includes a $14 billion tunnel system beneath the Delta to ship water southward, largely for agricultural purposes. Garamendi and McNerney are among lawmakers who say this plan would benefit Westlands farmers while economically and environmentally devastating the Delta.

“This development is a huge breach of the public trust,” McNerney had said last week. “The families, farmers, and small business owners in northern California stand to have their livelihoods destroyed. This will have ruinous consequences for our local economy at a time when we already struggle with record unemployment.”

McNerney campaign spokeswoman Lauren Smith said Tuesday that Gill has claimed to side with Delta area residents, “but his willingness to cozy up to the people intent on robbing us of our water, ultimately causing economic ruin for our area farmers and small business owners, is deeply disturbing. Once again, Ricky Gill has shown that he just doesn’t get it. It’s clear that peripheral canal supporters believe they have an ally and advocate in Ricky Gill and a staunch and vocal opponent in Jerry McNerney.”

Not so, replied Gill spokesman Colin Hunter.

Ricky Gill“Ricky has been and remains opposed to any plan to divert water around the Delta because of the devastating effect it could have on farmers in this region including his family, which has been farming here for 30 years,” he said. “Unlike Jerry McNerney, who carries an ‘F’ rating from the American Farm Bureau, Ricky intends to be an advocate for farmers when he’s elected to Congress.”

(Taking a quick glance around the interwebs, I see the American Farm Bureau rated McNerney at 41 percent in 2011; also, here’s a more specific rundown of how he voted on issues of importance to the bureau.)

Hunter called the new Delta plan “the culmination of Jerry McNerney’s failed tenure in Congress. He’s been sitting on the sidelines for five years and effectively allowed this to happen.”

As for the PAC money, Hunter said, “Ricky doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Westlands on several issues, but they are farmers like Ricky and they know that Ricky is going to stand up for farmers up and down the valley when he’s in Congress” on issues from free trade to regulatory reform. “McNerney is on the wrong side of all of them.”

Gill’s campaign also Tuesday was touting new poll results Tuesday showing Gill and McNerney in a dead heat. (UPDATE @ 8:07 p.m.: McNerney’s camp just produced its own new poll showing he has a commanding lead.)

In the 3rd District, Garamendi last week had said the tunnel proposal “could wreak havoc on the Delta and the jobs it sustains and put existing water rights in the Delta and Northern California at risk.”

“It is possible for California to solve its water problems, but the Delta and Northern California counties must be at the table, and it will take a comprehensive, multifaceted approach, not just a piece of plumbing in the Delta,” he said. “We must address the needs of all Californians by prioritizing storage, conservation, recycling, levee improvements, and habitat restoration.”

Kim VannVann campaign manager Alee Lockman emailed today that Vann “believes that any conveyance plans must also include authorizing language for increasing water storage. The proposed plan is by no means a perfect solution and there are a number of local issues at stake, but the dialogue of the past week underscores the need for all of us to come together and work toward a solution that will best serve the entire state’s water needs.”

Asked specifically about the PAC money, Lockman replied there’s “nothing to add that hasn’t already been included. We need an open dialogue and we need to find a solution that works best for the entire state of California.”

The PAC also has given $10,000 to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., as well as $5,000 each to Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif.; Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock; Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Clovis; and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield. Among other House challengers, the PAC has given $5,000 each to Republican David Valadao in the 21st District and to Democrat Denise Ducheny in the 51st District.

Posted on Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, economy, Environment, Jerry McNerney, John Garamendi, U.S. House, water | 4 Comments »

Ricky Gill cancels fundraiser in marijuana flap

Republican congressional candidate Ricky Gill cancelled a Stockton fundraiser that was to be co-hosted by a businessman whose son was just indicted on federal marijuana charges.

Those who brought the event to my attention believe Gill’s association with anyone under federal investigation or indictment is damning, especially given that this is the second instance. My colleague, Lisa Vorderbrueggen, has written about the Gill family’s business connections to – and Gill’s own campaign contributions, later returned, from – Harvey Whittemore, the Nevada lobbyist now under federal indictment in a campaign-finance scandal.

But this seems like a somewhat different matter, given the debate now raging in California and elsewhere over the Obama Administration’s crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries operating in accordance with state and local laws.

Gill fundraiserThe $125-per-person fundraiser was to be held tomorrow, Thursday, July 26, at Le Bistro, a Stockton restaurant co-owned by Bruce Davies, a local Realtor; the Davies family was listed among the event’s co-hosts. Bruce Davies in 2010 had applied to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Stockton, according to the Stockton Record, and had proposed using part of Le Bistro’s kitchen to produce edible marijuana products.

Matthew Davies, Bruce Davies’ son, was indicted by a federal grand jury this month on marijuana cultivation charges; he and two other Stockton men are accused of having grown marijuana in a warehouse and a home within the city.

The Stockton Record reports that a multi-agency probe began last September after Davies and told a CHP officer that he was on his way to his marijuana storage facility, where he stored marijuana for his Medizen dispensary in Sacramento, because the burglar alarm had gone off – hardly an effort to hide his activities. Federal agents later seized 1,962 plants and 40 pounds of processed marijuana from the warehouse, which also apparently had supplied the Central Valley Caregivers Cooperative in Stockton.

Gill is running against Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District. McNerney in 2008 reversed his previous opposition to medical marijuana, voicing support for an amendment that would bar the federal government from spending money to investigate and prosecute those who are operating in accordance with their states’ medical marijuana laws.

Ricky GillGill spokesman Colin Hunter today said the campaign cancelled the fundraiser as soon as Matthew Davies’ indictment was reported in the Record, and Gill has not received any contributions from the Davies family.

“This is a transparent attempt to distract from the real issue in this campaign: Jerry McNerney’s utter failure to stand up for our communities in Congress on jobs, foreclosures and agriculture,” Hunter said. “Perhaps the Democrats ought to worry about the real contributions McNerney took – from big banks and from Solyndra’s lead investor, to name just a few – rather than the hypothetical contributions Ricky didn’t.”

Hunter said Gill “does not object to the legitimate, physician-prescribed use of marijuana to treat serious, chronic or debilitating illnesses. He believes state and federal governments should work together to craft a sensible enforcement plan that will hold accountable those individuals operating outside or in clear violation of medical marijuana regimes, but will not penalize seriously ill patients seeking only to manage their pain.”

So, how scandalous would it have been if Gill had raised money from people linked to medical marijuana? Lots of Bay Area politicians have taken contributions from people connected to local dispensaries. But consider who and where Gill is: What flies in the mostly Democratic Bay Area might not fly for a Republican in that Central Valley-centric district (even if Democrats have a 7-point registration edge there).

Posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, campaign finance, Jerry McNerney, marijuana, U.S. House | 3 Comments »

Bobby Jindal coming to raise money for Ricky Gill

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will be in the Bay Area tomorrow, Thursday, July 12, to raise money for fellow Republican and Indo-American Ricky Gill, who’s challenging Rep. Jerry McNerney in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District.

Tickets to the 6 p.m. wine-and-hors-d’ouevres reception at the Fremont home of Kaval and Jasvir Gill cost $1,000, or $2,500 including a photo with the governor and the candidate.

Gill as of May 16 had raised about $1.38 million and spent about $675,000 with about $708,000 cash on hand remaining; McNerney, D-Stockton, had raised about $1.24 million and spent about $553,000 but had about $926,000 cash on hand.

UPDATE @ 4:26 p.m.: Jindal and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, also will be raising money Friday for a slew of California’s Republican House candidates with a midday reception and lunch at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in San Francisco, followed by a 6 p.m. reception at the Atherton home of Skip and Linda Law. For both events, a basic ticket costs $1,000, while co-hosts ($5,000), event hosts ($15,000) and event chairs ($30,000) get additional tickets, special access and photos.

I’ll be meeting with McCarthy and the candidates at around 2 p.m. Friday, and hope to post a blog item or story shortly thereafter.

UPDATE @ 2:04 P.M. MONDAY 7/16: I’m told Jindal cancelled his trip to California at the last minute.

Posted on Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, campaign finance, Jerry McNerney, U.S. House | 3 Comments »