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Maldonado, crime lab, Salinas gangs on ‘TWINC’

I was on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California” last night to talk about the politics behind state Sen. Abel Maldonado’s confirmation as lieutenant governor, as well as the latest poll numbers in a few hot primary contests. The panel also featured the Chronicle’s Rachel Gordon on the San Francisco crime lab scandal, and the Monterey Herald’s Julia Reynolds on this week’s big gang sweep in Salinas.

Posted on Saturday, April 24th, 2010
Under: Abel Maldonado, California State Senate, Lt. Governor | 1 Comment »

Campaign finance: Brown, Perata, Duvall, Newsom

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and state Attorney General Jerry Brown received a $10,000 campaign contribution Monday from Forest City Residential Group, the developer of Oakland’s Uptown Apartments – a project of which Brown, then the city’s mayor, was an avid supporter who helped land $54.4 million in city subsidies.

In other campaign finance news, former State Senate President Pro Tem and current Oakland mayoral candidate Don Perata’s Hope 2010 ballot measure committee dumped another $20,000 Monday into Californians for a Cure, the committee run by the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association to support a proposed measure that would raise tobacco taxes to fund cancer research. That brings Hope 2010’s total ante since November for this ballot measure to $410,000.

Disgraced former Assemblyman Mike Duvall, R-Yorba Linda, who resigned last year after his boasts of extramarital affairs were caught by an open microphone at a legislative hearing, gave $2,000 Wednesday to the re-election campaign of Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries, R- Lake Elsinore.

PayPal cofounder Elon Musk, now CEO of Hawthorne-based space-transport company Space X, gave $6,500 Monday to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s campaign for lieutenant governor. This item is mainly just an excuse to re-run this photo:


On the celebrity watch, movie mogul Steven Spielberg and his wife, actress Kate Capshaw-Spielberg, each gave $1,500 Tuesday to San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris’ campaign for state attorney general; Jeffrey Katzenberg, Spielberg’s partner at Dreamworks, and his wife, Marilyn, each gave Harris $6,500 the same day. And radio icon Casey Kasem gave $1,000 Tuesday to Brown’s gubernatorial campaign.

Posted on Thursday, April 15th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, 2010 governor's race, Assembly, Attorney General, campaign finance, Gavin Newsom, Jerry Brown, Kamala Harris, Lt. Governor, Oakland | 1 Comment »

Campaign finance: Self-funders, Gray, celebs

Republican Jack Sieglock anted up $100,000 last Wednesday for his rematch with incumbent Assemblywoman Alyson Huber, D-El Dorado Hills, who defeated him in 2008’s general election. Andy Pugno – chief counsel for the Yes on 8 campaign against same-sex marriage – put up $100,000 the same day for his own bid in the 5th Assembly District, where incumbent Roger Niello, R-Fair Oaks, is term-limited out.

Former Gov. Gray Davis, now of counsel at the firm of Loeb and Loeb in Los Angeles, contributed $2,500 last Thursday to the Democratic gubernatorial campaign of California Attorney General Jerry Brown.

On the celebrity watch, actress Reese Witherspoon gave $1,500 last Wednesday to San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris’ campaign for the Democratic nomination for state attorney general. Harris also got $1,000 each that day from Double Features Films producers Michael and Carla Shamberg, whose company’s credits include movies such as “Garden State,” “The Skeleton Key” and “Reno 911!: Miami;” $2,000 from “Lost” co-creator and co-executive producer Damon Lindelof; and $1,000 each from MGM executive Mary Parent and chairman Harry Sloan. Also, director/producer Brett Ratner gave $1,000 Tuesday; Golden State Warriors co-owner Angela Cohan gave $1,500 Thursday; and NFL Network host Richard Eisen gave $1,000 Friday.

Also, film director/producer Rob Reiner gave $3,000 last Wednesday to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. Newsom also received $6,500 each that day from Starz LLC CEO Christopher Albrecht and from from real estate heir/movie producer Steve Bing, California’s top individual political spender of the last decade. ($6,500 is .0112 percent of $58,050,783, in case you were wondering.)

Posted on Monday, March 22nd, 2010
Under: 2010 election, 2010 governor's race, Assembly, Attorney General, campaign finance, Gavin Newsom, Jerry Brown, Kamala Harris, Lt. Governor | No Comments »

Hahn complains to FPPC about Gavin’s fundraising

Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Janice Hahn, a Los Angeles City Councilwoman, filed a complaint today with California’s Fair Political Practices Commission claiming San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who jumped into the lieutenant governor’s race last week, has violated the Political Reform Act:

Under the unique circumstances resulting from his actions as a former candidate for Governor in this same election, Mr. Newsom, who recently announced his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor, is violating the PRA by raising and spending money in contravention of the contribution and voluntary expenditure limits imposed on candidates for Lieutenant Governor.

The clear intent of Proposition 34, the voter approved initiative in 2000, is to limit the amount of money used to influence candidates. State law imposes a higher $25,900 limit on contributions to candidates for Governor, compared with the $6,500 limit on contributions to other statewide candidates. By raising and spending large contributions up to $25,900 through his gubernatorial committee, spending all of that money, dropping out of the race for Governor, and then raising additional contributions from the same contributors for a down ballot office in the same election, Gavin Newsom has flouted state law in an unprecedented manner.

It’ll be up to the FPPC to decide, but on its face this looks like a technical tactic for a candidate who’s running scared, and something that’s not going to matter a whit to most voters. Until Newsom got into the race last week, Hahn had seemed to have the edge in this race, raking in all the right endorsements and contributions over the other guy in the field, state Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter. But polling last month (albeit a poll conducted by a Newsom ally) showed Newsom would lead the pack if he got in, and when he did so last week, Florez dropped out and endorsed him.

UPDATE @ 2:09 P.M.: Attorney Tom Willis responds on behalf of Newsom’s campaign:

“Janice Hahn’s complaint to the FPPC ignores two important things: the law and the fact the FPPC has already rejected her argument.

“When Hahn’s campaign first floated this idea in the press a month ago, a reporter asked the FPPC’s Executive Director Roman Porter whether there was any merit to it. Mr. Porter said no, stating that the Political Reform Act’s contribution limits apply “per candidate, per election – it’s a separate election.” (See CalBuzz,

“The law and facts could not be more clear: Under the Political Reform Act, a candidate can open separate committees for different offices being voted on at the same election, and each of those committees is subject to separate contribution limits. There is no such thing as an aggregate contribution limit that restricts a contributor’s ability to give to more than one committee of a candidate. If the law where written as Janice Hahn suggests, many past and present candidates and officeholders would have violated the law.

“The fact is that the funds raised by Mayor Newsom for his gubernatorial committee were spent supporting his run for Governor, an election from which he withdrew from in October 2009. Now, five months later, he is running for a different office, involving different issues and different opponents. In fact, as Janice Hahn’s campaign often likes to point out, Mayor Newsom had no intention of running for Lieutenant Governor when he was a candidate for Governor. That puts the lie on her argument that Mayor Newsom was somehow using his gubernatorial committee to advance his Lieutenant Governor campaign.”

Read Hahn’s letter in its entirety, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, campaign finance, Gavin Newsom, Janice Hahn, Lt. Governor | No Comments »

Campaign update: Gov, AG, Senate and more

Rolling into this weekend’s California Republican Party convention, it seemed this was a much better week for Steve Poizner than for Meg Whitman in the Republican gubernatorial primary. He got endorsements from the California Republican Assembly and conservative mainstay Congressmen Tom McClintock and Dana Rohrabacher; she got bogged down in bad press over refusing to talk to reporters and then turning a town-hall meeting into a carefully scripted infomercial. On the other hand, a Research 2000 poll conducted Monday through Wednesday on behalf of Daily Kos showed Whitman supported by 52 percent of likely voters in the GOP primary compared to Poizner’s 19 percent. So for whom was it truly a good week?

Steve CooleyThe run-up to the convention saw a flurry of endorsement roll-outs, but perhaps nobody has had ‘em so hot and heavy as Attorney General candidate and Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley. This week he announced the endorsements of the California Police Chiefs Association (in the GOP primary – the CPCA picked Alberto Torrico in the Democratic primary); former governors Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian; and former state GOP chairmen Mike Antonovich, Dr. Tirso del Junco, Mike Montgomery and Frank Visco.

(UPDATE @ 12:19 P.M.: I’m now told that, in yet another case of multiple endorsement, the CPCA has endorsed Ted Lieu in the Democratic AG primary, too.)

Carly FiorinaRepublican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina announced her campaign’s regional grassroots co-chairs. In the Bay Area, one is Laurel Pathman of San Jose, who seems to be senior manager of commercial and government contracts at Sunnyvale-based Cepheid, which deals in genetic testing technology; I can’t find much else about Pathman online besides her signature (#86) on a 2008 petition supporting controversial evangelical pastor John Hagee. The other is Shahin Shabahang of Los Altos, an attorney at San Jose-based Pedersen, Eichenbaum, Lauderdale & Siehl, which is the in-house staff counsel of the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies.

Janice HahnEven as San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom formally announces his bid for lieutenant governor (note the updated Web site!), the candidate who has been leading that Democratic primary so far, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, is campaigning practically in his backyard. She’s keynoting the monthly luncheon of the National Women’s Political Caucus’ Marin Chapter at noon today in San Rafael. Hahn picked up the endorsement of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Wednesday, but I’m sure Newsom’s entry into the race – in which Hahn had been seeming to trounce state Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter – made this week pretty grim at Hahn HQ.

Nadia LockyerOn the local front, Alameda County Family Justice Center Executive Director Nadia Lockyer this week scored the endorsement of the Alameda Labor Council AFL-CIO in her bid for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors District 2 seat. But not every union member in the county will be behind her: One of her rivals, Hayward City Councilman Kevin Dowling, announced his endorsement by Hayward Firefighters Local 1909.

Posted on Friday, March 12th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, 2010 governor's race, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, Attorney General, Carly Fiorina, Gavin Newsom, Janice Hahn, Lt. Governor, Meg Whitman, Steve Poizner | No Comments »

Newsom’s former advisor smacks him down

It seems like only a short while ago that I sat down for a cup of coffee with veteran Democratic campaign strategist Garry South so he could tell me how San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was going to clean state Attorney General Jerry Brown’s clock in the 2010 Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Of course, no. But now South works for Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s campaign for lieutenant governor, and now that Newsom is threatening to jump into that race and rain on Hahn’s parade, suddenly he doesn’t think Gavin’s all that anymore:

“I am surprised and perplexed that my friend and former client Mayor Gavin Newsom apparently has decided to jump into the lieutenant governor’s race at the last minute – especially against an already-announced candidate who would be the first woman lieutenant governor in California history.

“In every one of several conversations we had about the job while he was running for governor, the Mayor expressed nothing but disinterest in and disdain for the office of lieutenant governor. In fact, he was derisively dismissive of Gray Davis’s decision to run for and serve as lieutenant governor prior to running for governor (‘I’m not a Gray Davis,’ he said). On a couple of occasions, he directed me to repudiate publicly in the strongest terms that he had any interest in ever running for lieutenant governor.

“The Mayor himself told the Chronicle in October that rumors he may run for lieutenant governor were ‘absurd’ and ‘a complete lie,’ and angrily accused Jerry Brown of personally spreading false information to that effect. As recently as December, he himself said flatly ‘no’ when asked directly on a San Francisco radio show whether he intended to run for lieutenant governor.

“In addition, when he precipitously pulled out of the governor’s race in late October – against my advice – he said he couldn’t continue as a statewide candidate because he was a husband, a new father and the mayor of San Francisco. So far as I know, he’s still a husband, a new father and the mayor of San Francisco. So it’s pretty hard to see what’s changed over the last four months that would now allow him to run for another statewide office.

“If the Mayor does run, it is his responsibility to explain why he now claims to want an elected office he summarily dismissed publicly numerous times over the last several months, and which just earlier this year he called ‘a largely ceremonial post’ … ‘with no real authority and no real portfolio.’”

Maybe that first paragraph should’ve read “former friend.”

Posted on Thursday, February 25th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Gavin Newsom, Janice Hahn, Lt. Governor | 3 Comments »

Newsom takes step to run for lite gov

Democratic San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has apparently spent enough time already with the family. After bailing on his lackluster gubernatorial campaign, he filed today a candidate declaration of intent to run for California lieutenant governor.

Called a Form 501, it is the first step in a candidate’s big stack of required paperwork. It allows a candidate to start raising money. Newsom also agreed to abide by the state’s voluntary campaign spending limits, which makes him eligible to submit a statement for inclusion on the state ballot pamphlet. The deadline was today at 5 p.m. to submit the ballot statements. (Interestingly, the Secretary of State does not release a list of who filed statements or the contents until the official public review period starts Feb. 23.) In order to appear on the ballot, Newsom must also file candidate nomination papers with the San Francisco election’s office by the end of the day March 12, the deadline to enter the June primary.

Other declared lieutenant governor candidates on the Democratic side include state Sen. Dean Florez of Shafter, state sen. Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn. On the Republican side, of course, we’ve been following the sage of Schwarzengger-appointee and Republican Sen. Abel Maldonado, who has been unable to win confirmation to occupy the post for a few months. GOP Sen. Sam Aanstad of Grass Valley has also been raising money for the post.

Folks interested in meeting Hahn in person can attend the Contra Costa Central Committee meeting on Thursday, where Hahn is expected about 8 p.m. The committee meets at the Union Hall of Electricians Local 302 at 1875 Arnold Drive in Martinez.

Posted on Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Lt. Governor | No Comments »

Maldo’s Lt. Gov. campaign has little in the bank

State Sen. Abel Maldonado’s drive toward confirmation, which got hung up by Assembly Democrats on Thursday and reset for another 90 days by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday, hasn’t helped him land a lot of contributions to his campaign for that office.

After Schwarzenegger nominated him in late November to fill the rest of former Lt. Gov. John Garamendi’s term, Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, announced his intent to seek election to a full term of his own in June’s GOP primary and November’s general election. Of course, now that the governor has withdrawn and re-submitted his nomination, it seems he’ll have to simultaneously convince the Assembly to support him and convince the public to vote for him in the primary.

“Abel Maldonado for Lt. Governor 2010” qualified as a committee Jan. 19, according to records filed with the Secretary of State’s office, even as Maldonado and Schwarzenegger were starting to ramp up public awareness and pressure on the Legislature in advance of this week’s votes. Yet the committee has received only three major contributions totaling $23,400 so far: $6,500 from Michael Fox of M.E. Fox & Co. Inc. in San Jose on Jan. 19; $11,900 from the California Professional Firefighters PAC on Feb. 1; and $5,000 from former Assemblyman and former Santa Barbara County Supervisor Brooks Firestone of Solvang on Feb. 1.

Maldonado’s state Senate campaign account showed $9,106 cash on hand at the end of 2009, and no major contributions since then.

Not that his GOP primary rival, state Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, has been making bank, either. Aanestad’s campaign committee reported $97,499 cash on hand as of the end of 2009, but he’d put in $50,000 from his own pocket in December and the only major contribution since then has been $5,000 from The Dentists Insurance Co. this Thursday.

The money is bigger on the other side of the aisle. Democratic primary candidate state Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, reported $957,381 cash on hand at the end of 2009, while Democratic primary candidate Janice Hahn, a Los Angeles City Council member, reported $341,341 cash on hand; neither has raised many big contributions since.

Posted on Saturday, February 13th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Abel Maldonado, campaign finance, Dean Florez, Janice Hahn, Lt. Governor, Sam Aanestad | 3 Comments »

Maldo, Anthem, subway and more on ‘TWINC’

I was on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California” last night talking about the Abel Maldonado mess. The show also featured the Chronicle’s Victoria Colliver on Anthem Blue Cross’ rate hikes; KQED Public Radio’s K. Oanh Ha on the 2010 State of the Valley Conference; and the Chronicle’s Rachel Gordon on the groundbreaking for the new MUNI subway line to San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Posted on Saturday, February 13th, 2010
Under: Abel Maldonado, Lt. Governor | No Comments »

Maldo withdrawn, re-submitted for Lt. Gov.

Looks like the governor has backed off his initial plan to swear in Abel Maldonado as lieutenant governor later this month despite last night’s Assembly vote – he has withdrawn Maldonado’s name from nomination and then resubmitted it, effectively restarting the 90-day clock for another vote.

Maldonado issued this statement:

“I’m humbled and thankful to my colleagues in the Senate for confirming me to the Lieutenant Governor’s office and very disappointed with yesterday’s show of extreme partisanship and politicking in the Assembly.”

“The inability to come to a simple majority consensus on important issues is why Californians are rightfully disillusioned by Sacramento politics. I’ve said time and time again—I put the people first. The office of Lieutenant Governor is their office—it does not belong to Democrats or Republicans. For this reason, I wholeheartedly support the rescinding of my nomination. We must do the people’s work first.

“I agree with the governor’s interpretation of the constitution, and furthermore, I agree that we cannot waste time and resources on a lawsuit sure to be brought by politicians trying to protect a seat they believe belongs to them. Our focus should be acting on the budget deficit and improving our economy.

“So, it’s with the people in mind that I refuse to participate in what Democrats have promised to be a costly, wasteful lawsuit over their inability to act.

“Let me be clear – I will not waste a dollar of tax payer money fighting the lawsuit Democrats are sure to bring to protect what they feel is their office. I also refuse to waste another minute of time that should be spent on the business of the people. It’s time to balance the budget and create jobs.

“I’m honored to accept the Governor’s re-nomination and implore my colleagues to reject partisan influences as my colleagues in the Senate exemplified yesterday.”

UPDATE @ 3:46 P.M. FRIDAY: Here’s the governor’s statement:

“I am grateful to the leadership of the California State Senate for acting decisively and in a bipartisan manner in confirming Senator Abel Maldonado to the post of Lieutenant Governor. The display of extreme partisanship among Democrats in the Assembly yesterday resulted in legislative stalemate that can only be resolved through protracted litigation.

“If we are going to move California forward, create jobs and get our economy back on track, the Assembly Democrats cannot continue the political paralysis that throws every difficult decision to the courts. This kind of hyper-partisanship is exactly what the voters have rejected time and time again. It doesn’t produce new jobs; it doesn’t balance our budget; it doesn’t lower people’s taxes or provide health care to one sick child. It has to stop.

“The California Constitution is clear: the Legislature must confirm or reject my nominee for Lieutenant Governor within 90 days. Refusal to make a decision results in the nominee taking office. I believe the public good is not served by continued paralysis and protracted litigation because the Assembly Democrats cannot produce a simple majority to make a decision.

“Therefore, in an effort to avoid wasting time and energy on litigation that should be spent passing a jobs package that will get Californians back to work, I intend to withdraw and resubmit the nomination of Abel Maldonado for Lieutenant Governor back to the legislature and ask the Assembly to take the vote again until a majority decision is reached, one way or another.

“I believe Senator Abel Maldonado is most qualified to be Lieutenant Governor and I am proud to re-nominate him. I urge the Assembly to set aside partisan bickering and act swiftly and decisively on his nomination.”

Posted on Friday, February 12th, 2010
Under: Abel Maldonado, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lt. Governor | 6 Comments »