Lloyd reflects on passing of GOP fundraiser

Former San Ramon Valley Assembly Republican candidate Judy Lloyd, who runs her own campaign consulting firm, Altamont Strategies, sent me this personal essay about the Jan. 1 death of prominent Bay Area GOP fundraiser, Jane Clark.

Bay Area Republicans are saddened at the loss of one of our most dynamic Republican fundraisers, Jane Clark this New Year’s Day.  Reports are that Jane had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer just a week before.  At first the prognosis was for aggressive chemotherapy then the tragic news that Jane only had one week to live.  Sadly, Jane passed on New Year’s Day, with Bruce McPherson, the former Secretary of State, her friend and former client, at her side as well as her dear friend Anne Appleman.

I had many opportunities to work with Jane during various campaign efforts and through my role as the Vice Chairman of the Lincoln Club of Northern California.

Jane had been a great friend and trustworthy colleague for many in state politics.  She helped national, Bay Area and Central Valley Republicans including Bruce McPherson, Jeff Denham, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Jim Cunneen, Dick Rainey, Guy Houston, and most recently Carly Fiorina.  She also had several non-profit clients who adored working with her and for whom she showed great passion.

Everyone who knew Jane Clark appreciated her sense of humor, honesty and loyalty.  Jane was a popular speaker for the Lincoln Club of Northern California and other Republican organizations.

Jane became a mentor and friend to me when I ran for Assembly in 2008.  She opened doors and paved the way for me to build a meaningful coalition with business leaders who remain my friends today. She taught me how to build lasting relationships, develop successful fundraising campaigns, what to do and what not to do in the business.  I remember one strenuous day of five hours of phone calls for an event.  At the end, we just looked at each other, exhausted, realizing we had made our goals and said “OK – we did it.  See you the same time tomorrow, right?”

I talked with Jane just a few weeks ago.  She asked me to talk with Carly Fiorina and sign on to co-host a fundraiser for her.  I remember telling Jane that I’d do just about anything she asked of me.  We were colleagues with the same passion for the business of fundraising, but more than that, we were friends.

Jane Clark approached her life’s passion of raising money for causes she loved with style, grace, resolve, honesty and ability.  She truly believed in helping Republicans succeed, chose her clients carefully, and went out of her way for each one of them.  She will absolutely be missed by all who had the opportunity to know her.

Judy Lloyd, president, Altamont Strategies


Few flags flying at half-mast for the late President Ford

An El Cerrito reader expressed angst in a note to my on-line Q&A last night about the failure of the El Cerrito Plaza shopping center (see his note at the bottom) to fly its American flag at half-mast as a sign of respect to former President Gerald Ford, who died this week.

President Bush, of course, immediately ordered flags to be flown at half-mast but he has legal jurisdiction only over flags at federal buildings. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered flags lowered at the Capitol.

But like most of us, I thought all organizations that fly American flags observe the death of an American president.

That’s not the case.

I did some driving around on my way to work this morning between my home in Martinez and Walnut Creek and out of the six flagpoles I saw with flags, only one flew at half-mast. (Kudos to the Countrywood Shopping Center on Bancroft Ave. in Walnut Creek.)

My own employer’s flagpole was still empty at 10 a.m. and no word yet on whether it will fly at half-mast.

Is it a sign of disrespect, as Sgt. F of El Cerrito asks? Is it laziness? Is it apathy? Is the person responsible for putting up the flag on vacation during the holidays? It could be one or all of these scenarios.

Let’s hope everyone observes the official day of mourning on Jan. 2, 2007, and shows the proper respect for the country’s top office.

Here’s what Sgt. F of El Cerrito sent me this morning:

Recently our country suffered the loss of President Ford.

As a sign of respect for the office he held, as well as the man himself, we lower the American flag to half mast.

Well, it would seem that once again the Plaza has no respect for our flag or the people that hold our country’s greatest trust … those that serve as President.

I can understand if someone else is tending to it for them. In the end it reflects badly on everyone, the stores and tenets of the Plaza, the Plaza itself, and the city that allows them to be so offensive.

I serve our country as my small part to defend our freedoms. Even if it is for a person I may disagree with.

Yet at some point a line has to be drawn. If the flag can not be lowered, then perhaps a streamer of black crepe 7 feet long and 1 foot wide will be attached to the staff immediately below the spearhead of the U.S. flag.

Why have the American people at large lost respect for what represents us?

SGT F, El Cerrito, CA 12/28/06

P.S. For the complete etiquette on how to display the American flag, visit www.usflag.org.


Ford campaigned in Walnut Creek

The death of former President Gerald Ford reminded several readers of his visit to Walnut Creek on May 25, 1976, during his presidential primary campaign against then-Gov. Ronald Reagan.

Jason Beziz of Lafayette found this link to photo on the Ford Library and Museum web site taken during the event.

Ford’s comments during that event can be found on-line at the American Presidency Project. Beziz notes that a plaque about Ford’s appearance and his dedication of an American bicentennial bell remains in the Liberty Bell Plaza at the northwest corner of Mt. Diablo and Broadway streets.

Former Martinez councilman Tim Farley has fond memories of that day. He was just 16 years old, the proud possessor of a new driver’s license.

“I remember driving to Walnut Creek to see (Ford),” Farley wrote in an e-mail. “The drive itself was memorable as it was my first solo trip ‘All the way to Walnut Creek.’ ”

If you attended that Ford rally and especially if you are pictured in the photo, I would love to hear from you. Use the comment feature on the blog or e-mail me at lvorderbrueggen@cctimes.com


Nello Bianco, longtime former BART director dies

Longtime BART director Nello J. Bianco of Lafayette, died Sunday. He was 78 years old.

The colorful and often controversial Bianco retired from the BART board in 1994 after serving 25 years, citing health concerns and desire to spend more time with his family.

Appointed to BART in 1969, he would be elected five consecutive terms. No other BART director had served as long as Bianco.

“He was incredibly tenacious,” said retired BART public affairs chief Mike Healy. “And he always knew where the votes were. He was a very strong director.”

During Bianco’s tenure, he helped oversee the transit agency’s troubled start-up operations and survived rough labor negotiations.

He opposed charging for parking and led the charge for tougher spending rules on board members after some members abused travel and the use of staff cars.

Bianco is best remembered for his staunch support of the Pittsburg-Bay Point extension, and has called the line one of his proudest accomplishments. He was particularly concerned that extensions to the San Francisco Airport and elsewhere would strip the agency of the money it needed for Contra Costa lines.

“The Pittsburg extension was because of Nello, no question about it,” said friend and former BART Director Dan Richard of Walnut Creek. “It was also because of Nello that I was elected to BART. When I wanted to run, I went to him and he supported me.”

Born on May 29, 1928, in Weed, Bianco moved to Richmond with his family in 1938. A veteran of the Korean War, he and his wife owned and ran the popular Capri Delicatessen in Richmond and El Sobrante.

Bianco is survived by his wife of 53 years, Betty; a daughter, Connie; sons Robert and Gary; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

A funeral mass will be held Friday, 9:30 a.m., at Christ the King Church in Pleasant Hill.