East Bay political calendar: Fire tax, congress and state measures

Check out these upcoming political events in the East Bay.


CONFIRE CHIEF TO TALK ABOUT TAX: Contra Costa Fire Chief Daryl Louder will address the county’s mayors Thursday about his agency’s fiscal woes and the fire safety parcel tax on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Measure Q asks voters to approve a $75 annual parcel tax on a single-family home and create a tiered commercial rate, The funds would help the county’s largest fire district keep up to a third of its 28 fire stations open. The tax would expire in seven years.

The fire chief’s presentation is free and open to the public. The dinner following the business meeting is $50 a person and tickets may or may not be available at the door for the meal.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Concord Hilton, 1970 Diamond Blvd., in Concord.

The Mayors Conference is an association of the county’s 19 mayors. It meets monthly and has a variety of statutory responsibilities including the appointment of city representatives.

San Ramon

SCHOOL BOARD FORUM SET: Candidates vying for two seats on the San Ramon Valley Unified School District board have been invited to participate in a forum on Oct. 8.

The San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs and the Danville-Alamo-Walnut Creek chapter of the American Association of University Women will sponsor the event. Contra Costa Times political reporter and columnist Lisa Vorderbrueggen will moderate.

The candidates are incumbent Greg Marvel and challengers Mark Jewett and Dwight Winn.

Candidates will answer questions posed by the moderator and submitted from the audience.

The public event will be held from 7-8:45 p.m. at Iron Horse Middle School multipurpose room, 12601 Alcosta Blvd., San Ramon.


FORUM SET: Candidates for two seats on the Pinole City Council have been invited to participate in a forum on Oct. 9.

Co-sponsored by Common Cause and Concerned Citizens of Pinole, the event will be moderated by Contra Costa Times political reporter and columnist Lisa Vorderbrueggen.

Three candidates are incumbents Roy Swearingen and Peter Murray, and challenger Ivette Ricco.

The open public event will be from 7-9 p.m. in the Pinole City Council chambers, 2131 Pear St., Pinole.

Pinole Community TV will air the forum on Comcast Channel 26 and AT&T Channel 99.


UOP TO HOST CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE: Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney and his GOP challenger Ricky Gill will debate on Oct. 15 at the University of the Pacific’s Stockton campus.

McNerney is seeking re-election in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District, which encompasses the bulk of San Joaquin County and slice of far eastern Contra Costa County.

The event is co-hosted by the League of Women Voters and the college’s political science department.

A team of panelists from the community will ask questions of the candidates, who will also make opening and closing statements.

The public event will be held at 6 p.m. at university’s Long Theatre, 3601 Pacific Avenue in Stockton,

Pleasant Hill

COMMISSION HOSTS FORUM: Candidates vying for the Mt. Diablo School District board will participate in a candidates’ forum Oct. 18 in Pleasant Hill.

The forum is sponsored by the Pleasant Hill Education/Schools Advisory Commission and moderated by Contra Costa Times political reporter and columnist Lisa Vorderbrueggen.

It will be held from 7-9 p.m. at Pleasant Hill City Hall, 100 Gregory Lane, in Pleasant Hill.

The five candidates are incumbent Sherry Whitmarsh, and challengers Ernie DeTrinidad, Brian Lawrence, Debra Mason and Barbara Oaks. Incumbent Gary Eberhart is not seeking re-election.

Questions will be a mixed of those prepared in advance and those submitted that evening from the audience. Residents may also submit a question via email to Martin Nelis at mnelis@ci.pleasant-hill.ca.us.

The forum will be broadcast on public access television Comcast Channel 28, ATT U-Verse Channel 99 and Astound Channel 29.


COLUMNISTS TACKLE 2012: Contra Costa Times’ editorial columnist Daniel Borenstein and Sacramento Bee political columnist Dan Walters will team up on Oct. 24 at the Commonwealth Club.

In “Ballot Box 2012: A Key to the CA Election,” the journalists will take a look at the issues facing Californians in the upcoming election.

In November, Californians will consider solutions to the state’s budgetary woes, campaign finance reform and a proposed repeal of the three-strikes law, among many other initiatives.

Check-in begins at 6 p.m. followed by the program at 6:30 p.m. at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette.

Tickets are $22 for the general public, $12 for Commonwealth Club members and $7 for students with valid identification.

For more information, visit www.commonwealthclub.org.





McCain and Black, chroniclers of the weird, to speak in San Francisco

The couple who scoured America in search of the weird and wonderful and wrote a book about their encounters, Meghan McCain and Michael Ian Black, will be the featured speakers at a July 17 event sponsored by the Commonwealth Club of California‘s INFORUM series.

Here’s what the club says about the authors of  “America, You Sexy Bitch,”:

 Odd couple of the year, McCain and Black have written a love letter to America. In a cross-country tour to probe our beautifully weird country, encountering everyone from gun lovers, flag burners, teen moms, poker players to politicians and gay parents, the liberal comedian dad and the rising pundit and media darling explored all the nooks of American life, while stopping at every Olive Garden they come across, of course. 

Click here to see the event invite page.

Or here are the details:

  • Date: Tuesday, July 17, 7 p.m.
  • Moderator is Joan Walsh, editor at Salon.com
  • Location: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., San Francisco
  • Time: 3 p.m. will call opens to pick up tickets, 6 p.m. check-in and premium reception with appearance by McCain and Black, 7 p.m. program, 8 p.m. book signing
  • Cost: $25 standard, $15 members, $7 students (with valid ID). Premium (includes reception with McCain and Black, book and priority seating – limited number available) $45 standard, $30 members
  • For tickets, contact the Commonwealth Club at Tel (415) 597-6700 or club@commonwealthclub.org



Political analyst Gerston to speak in Lafayette

Political analyst and oft-quoted California expert Larry Gerston is the featured speaker at the May 2 meeting of the Commonwealth Club in Lafayette.

Gerston, a political-science professor at San Jose State University, is the author of “Not So Golden After All: The Rise and Fall of California.”

He will “take us step-by step through the economic, cultural and political factors contributing to California’s upsurge and historic fall from grace,” wrote the Commonwealth Club in a prepared release.

The event begins at 5:45 p.m. with registration followed by the program at 6:30 p.m.

It will be held at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, at 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd.

Tickets cost $22 for the general public or $12 for Commonwealth Club members. Students are free with valid student identification.

For more information, visit http://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/2012-05-02/larry-gerston-california-not-so-golden-state.



Contra Costa supervisor candidate debate set for April 23

Contra Costa District 2 supervisor candidates Candace Andersen and Tomi Van de Brooke will face off at the April 23 lunch meeting of the Contra Costa Council.

Van de Brooke, an Orinda resident and elected member of the Contra Costa Community College District, and Andersen, mayor of Danville, will answer questions and discuss their platforms.

The third supervisor candidate, Sean White of Lafayette, is out of town and cannot attend.

The Contra Costa Council is a nonprofit membership and nonpartisan organization that advocates for economic development throughout the East Bay.

I am the moderator and the event is open to the public.

Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. followed by the program at noon. It will be held at the Lafayette Veterans Memorial Building, 3780 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette.

Tickets are $45 for non-members and $35 for members. For reservations, contact the Contra Costa Council at www.contracostacouncil.com or 925-246-1880.



CoCo supervisor candidates square off on environment April 12

Candidates for Contra Costa County supervisor will participate in a forum focused on environmental issues in San Ramon on April 12.

The free public event begins at 7 p.m. in the San Ramon Community Center, Terrace Room, 12501 Alcosta Blvd., in San Ramon.

Vying for the open District 2 seat on the June 5 ballot are Danville Mayor Candace Andersen, Contra Costa Community College Trustee Tomi Van de Brooke of Orinda and Sean White of Lafayette. Incumbent Gayle Uilkema of Lafayette is retiring.

Sponsored by area environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, Greenbelt Alliance, Save Mount Diablo and the League of Conservation Voters of the East Bay, the candidates will answer questions submitted by the audience and moderator Contra Costa Times political reporter and columnist Lisa Vorderbrueggen.  (As always, I will decide which questions will be asked and no one will see them in advance. Please email me your suggested questions at lvorderbrueggen@bayareanewsgroup.com.)

Likely areas of questioning include the county’s urban limit line, smart growth concepts such as transit villages and given the forum’s location, whether or not the county should permit development in the nearby Tassajara Valley.



St. Mary’s announces January speaker series

The death penalty, community responses during disaster and white privilege are among the topics of speakers scheduled for St. Mary’s annual January speaker series.

All lectures are free and open to the public. All start at 7 p.m. in the Soda Activity Center at St. Mary’s College in Moraga.

Jan. 10: Former California Director of Corrections and Rehabilitation Jeanne Woodford, who carried out four executions during her tenure, speaks about her national organization opposing the death penalty. The group is gathering signatures for a California ballot measure that would replace capital punishment with prison without parole.

Jan. 17: Cultural historian Rebecca Solnit will speak on “Crossing the Public/Private Divide,” exploring the boundaries between public and private life and how they are policed during natural disasters and times of dissent such as the Occupy movement.

Jan. 24: Actor, hip hop poet and playwright Ariel Luckey speaks on “Free Land: Race and Land in the United States” and expands on his one-man hip hop0 theater production. The descendant of white homesteaders from Wyoming, Luckey looks at the dark side of free government land grant program of the 1800s.

In addition to the nighttime lectures, the speakers will visit classes during the day and participate in roundtable discussions.

For more information, visit http://www.stmarys-ca.edu/saint-mary%E2%80%99s-announces-2012-jan-term-speaker-series-0