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Big Assembly hearing Thursday on digital privacy

Three Assembly committees are holding a hearing in Silicon Valley on Thursday to explore how to balance privacy and opportunity in the digital age.

The event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Santa Clara University’s Mayer Theater is drawing in some of the region’s top business and academic experts on a topic of growing concern: How, by whom and for what the data you put online is used.

“The goal of the hearing is to learn how current policies are working and to help us balance the economic and social benefits of online communication technologies with our desire to protect personal privacy,” said Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont.

Paul Schwartz and Deidre Mulligan, co-directors of the UC-Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, will join Google privacy policy counsel Daivd Lieber and Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman for a panel on the collection, aggregation and sale of personal information online.

Aleecia McDonald, director of privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society; Jules Polonetsky, executive director and co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum; and Chris Hoofnagle, director of information privacy programs at the UC Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, will discuss whether disclosure and transparency – those privacy policies you see on most websites – adequately protects consumers’ privacy.

Joanne McNabb, the state Justice Department’s director of privacy education and policy; Jim Halpert, co-chair of the global privacy practice at DLA Piper Lewis; and Chris Conley, technology and civil liberties fellow with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, will discuss whether California’s “Shine the Light” law has been effective in protecting online privacy, and what more should be done to inform consumers and control use of their data.

And finally, Mulligan and Eric Goldman, director of the Santa Clara University High Tech Law Institute, will discuss the major privacy challenges Californians could face in the next five to 10 years, and how government and industry might partner to address them.

There’ll be a public comment period and post-hearing reception – plenty of chance for you to share your thoughts on these issues with the experts and lawmakers.

This joint hearing of Wieckowski’s Judiciary Committee; the Business, Professions & Consumer Protection Committee; and the Select Committee on Privacy also will be webcast live.

Posted on Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
Under: Assembly, Bob Wieckowski | 2 Comments »

Ex-Fremont Police Chief launches Assembly bid

Former Fremont Police Chief Craig Steckler formally announced his candidacy Thursday for the 25th Assembly District seat.

Craig StecklerSteckler, 69, a Democrat from Fremont, had said last month that he was gearing up for this. He announced Thursday that Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison, Alameda County Democratic Central Committee Member Cybil Smith, and retired Santa Clara Police Chief Steve Lodge will co-chair his campaign, with other endorsers including Alameda County Board of Education President Eileen McDonald and Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern.

“I’m very grateful for the support my campaign has already received from the community, and I look forward to a conversation about the future of our diverse and vibrant district,” Steckler said in a news release. “The priorities of this community are my priorities – schools, innovation and technology, small business, public safety, and more cooperation between state and local government. I’m not a career politician, but I know how to listen, lead and get results.”

Steckler retired last year after 21 years as Fremont’s top cop. His term as president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, an organization with 22,000 members in about 100 countries and a post that has had him globetrotting quite a bit this year, ends this month.

Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, is seeking the 10th State Senate District seat in 2014, which will leave the 25th Assembly District seat up for grabs. Also in the race are San Jose City Councilman Kansen Chu, Ohlone College Board of Trustees member Teresa Cox, and Milpitas Councilman Armando Gomez, all Democrats.

The 25th Assembly District includes the southern reaches of Alameda County including Newark and part of Fremont, and a swath of Santa Clara County including Milptias, Santa Clara and part of San Jose. As of February, about 45.7 percent of its voters were Democrats, about 18.5 percent were Republicans, and about 30 percent registered with no party preference.

Posted on Thursday, October 10th, 2013
Under: 2014 primary, Assembly, Bob Wieckowski | 2 Comments »

Money matchups: AD15, AD16, AD25 & AD28

There just wasn’t room in today’s campaign fundraising article for these juicy tidbits about some Bay Area Assembly seats.

As many as six Democrats might vie to succeed Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, who’ll be term-limited out of her 15th Assembly District seat:

  • Elizabeth Echols of Oakland, former regional administrator for the Small Business Administration, raised almost $85,000 in the year’s first half and had almost $80,000 cash on hand as of June 30, but also had almost $18,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Sam Kang of Emeryville, the general counsel for an economic justice advocacy group, raised $74,000 in the year’s first half and had $69,000 cash on hand with about $4,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Andy Katz of Berkeley, president of the East Bay Municipal Utilities District’s board, raised about $56,000 and had about $49,000 cash on hand with $7,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Tony Thurmond, a former Richmond councilman and former West Contra Costa County School Board member, raised more than $52,000 in the year’s first half and had almost $36,000 cash on hand with about $12,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Peggy Moore of Oakland, who was the California political director of President Obama’s re-election campaign, raised $30,000 in the year’s first half and had $25,000 cash on hand and no outstanding debts.
  • Cecilia Valdez, a San Pablo councilwoman, also has declared her intent to run for the seat, but had not filed an electronic report of her fundraising as of Thursday morning.
  • Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, also will be term-limited out in the 16th Assembly District. Among those potentially competing to succeed her:

  • Orinda Councilman Steve Glazer, a Democrat who was political adviser to Brown’s 2010 campaign, raised about $245,000 in the year’s first half and with about $240,000 cash on hand but $2,000 in outstanding debts as of June 30.
  • Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, a Democrat, raised about $112,000 in the year’s first half and had about $101,000 cash on hand but $10,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich, raised $50,000 in the year’s first half and had $39,000 cash on hand but $7,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Attorney Catharine Baker, a Republican from Dublin, also has declared her intent to run for the seat, but had not filed an electronic report of her fundraising as of Thursday morning.
  • Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, is raising funds to run for the 10th State Senate District seat, leaving his 25th Assembly District seat up for grabs:

  • San Jose City Councilman Kansen Chu, a Democrat, raised about $170,000 in the first half of 2013 and had about $153,000 cash on hand as of June 30, with $1,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Ohlone College Board of Trustees member Teresa Cox, a Democrat, raised about $16,000 in the year’s first half and had about $15,000 cash on hand as of June 30, with almost $4,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Milpitas Councilman Armando Gomez, a Democrat, also has declared his intent to run for the seat, but had not filed an electronic report of his fundraising as of Thursday morning.
  • In the South Bay, Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Campbell, also is term-limited out of his 28th Assembly District seat in 2014. Those who might vie to replace him include:

  • Campbell Mayor Evan Low, a Democrat who works as an aide to Fong, raised more than $113,000 in the year’s first half and had about $240,000 cash on hand as of June 30, with about $3,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Both Cupertino City Councilman Barry Chang, a Democrat, and silicon chip processing engineer Michael Hunsweck, a Republican from Stanford, have declared intent to run for the seat, but neither had filed electronic reports on their fundraising as of Thursday morning.
  • Posted on Thursday, August 1st, 2013
    Under: 2014 primary, Assembly, Bob Wieckowski, campaign finance, Joan Buchanan, Nancy Skinner, Paul Fong | 1 Comment »

    Money matchup: Mary Hayashi vs. Bob Wieckowski

    One of the more interesting tidbits I’ve run across today, the deadline for California candidates to file their semi-annual campaign finance reports, is in the East Bay’s 10th State Senate District.

    Mary HayashiWith incumbent Ellen Corbett term-limited out at the end of next year, former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi – convicted in January 2012 of shoplifting, and defeated in her November 2012 bid for an Alameda County supervisor’s seat – plans to run against Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont.

    Hayashi raised only $5,900 in the first half of this year – $3,200 from the Sycuan Band Of The Kumeyaay Nation, $2,500 from the Independent Insurance Political Action Committee, and $200 from Sempra Energy – while spending about $25,000, leaving her with about $732,000 cash on hand as of June 30.

    Wieckowski raised much more – almost $135,000 – and spent almost $72,000, but finished with a lot less cash on hand: about $76,000 as of June 30, with almost $11,000 in outstanding debts.

    Sure, it’s early, and Wieckowski as an incumbent probably can raise more money faster as people start tuning in to this race. But that’s a biiiiiig pot of money Hayashi is sitting on, and it’ll be interesting to see how effectively she can use it to rehabilitate her public image and build a serious campaign.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31st, 2013
    Under: Assembly, Bob Wieckowski, California State Senate, campaign finance, Ellen Corbett, Mary Hayashi | 19 Comments »

    Politicians react to same-sex marriage rulings

    EVERYBODY has something to say about today’s U.S. Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage. Here’s the latest from your Bay Area elected officials.

    From U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.:

    “As author of the bill to repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, I am thrilled by today’s Supreme Court decision.

    “Today’s ruling clearly establishes that the 14 senators who opposed DOMA in 1996 were correct. It also states that one class of legally married individuals cannot be denied rights under federal law accorded to all other married couples. Doing so denies ‘equal protection’ under the Constitution. This is an important and significant decision.

    “Because of inequities in the administration of more than 1,100 federal laws affected by DOMA, it is still necessary to introduce legislation to repeal DOMA and strike this law once and for all. I will introduce that legislation today with 39 cosponsors in the Senate.

    “As a Californian, I am thrilled by the Supreme Court’s decision on Proposition 8. The court’s ruling on technical grounds leaves in place former Chief Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision that Prop 8 is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced.

    “I believe this decision means marriage equality will finally be restored in California.”

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

    “Today my spirits are soaring because the Supreme Court reaffirmed the promise of America by rejecting two blatantly unconstitutional measures that discriminated against millions of our families.
    “I was proud to have voted against the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, and it is so heartening to see that the federal government will now treat all marriages equally.

    “Because of the Court’s ruling on Proposition 8, millions of Californians will be able to marry the person they love – with all the rights and responsibilities that go along with it.”

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

    “Today, the Supreme Court bent the arc of history once again toward justice. The court placed itself on the right side of history by discarding Section 3 of the defenseless Defense of Marriage Act and by allowing marriage equality for all families in California. The highest court in the land reaffirmed the promise inscribed into its walls: ‘equal justice under law.’

    “Soon, the federal government will no longer discriminate against any family legally married in the United States. California will join 12 other states and the District of Columbia in recognizing the fundamental rights of all families. Our country will move one step closer to securing equal protection for all of our citizens.

    “Nearly 44 years to the day after the Stonewall Riots turned the nation’s attention to discrimination against LGBT Americans, the fight for equal rights took a giant step forward. Yet even with today’s victory at the Supreme Court, the struggle for marriage equality is not over. Whether in the courts or in state legislatures, we will not rest until men and women in every state are granted equal rights. We will keep working to ensure that justice is done for every American, no matter who they love.”

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

    Posted on Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
    Under: Assembly, Barbara Boxer, Barbara Lee, Bob Wieckowski, California State Senate, Dianne Feinstein, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, George Miller, Jackie Speier, Jared Huffman, John Garamendi, Leland Yee, Mark DeSaulnier, Mark Leno, Mike Honda, Mike Thompson, Nancy Pelosi, Nancy Skinner, Nora Campos, Paul Fong, Rich Gordon, Rob Bonta, Tom Ammiano, U.S. House, U.S. Senate, Zoe Lofgren | 40 Comments »

    Wieckowski to launch 10th Senate Dist. campaign

    Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, is rolling out his campaign for the 10th State Senate District with help from some of California’s Democratic heavyweights.

    Bob WieckowskiAmong those whose names grace the invitation to Wieckowski’s June 20 reception are state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, state Controller John Chiang, Board of Equalization Member Betty Yee, Rep. Mike Honda, state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, state Sen. Jim Beall, state Sen. Jerry Hill, state Sen. Bill Monning, Assemblyman Rich Gordon, Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, and Union City Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci.

    Tickets to the event, at Massimo’s restaurant in Fremont, range from $100 to $4,100.

    The only other person so far who has filed a statement of intention to seek the 10th District seat in 2014 is former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi of Hayward, whose Alameda County supervisorial bid last year might’ve been doomed by her recent shoplifting arrest and conviction of misdemeanor grand theft.

    But don’t count Hayashi out just yet – her senate campaign committee had $750,983 in the bank as of the end of 2012.

    Posted on Friday, June 7th, 2013
    Under: 2014 primary, Assembly, Bob Wieckowski, California State Senate, Mary Hayashi | 4 Comments »

    Californians might weigh in on Citizens United

    An East Bay Assemblyman wants Californians to vote on whether the state’s congressional delegation should push for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow new limits on political contributions and spending.

    Bob WieckowskiAB 644 by Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, calls for a November 2014 ballot measure in which voters could instruct members of Congress to work toward an amendment reversing the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling. Wieckowski last year authored a successful resolution expressing the Legislature’s support for such an amendment.

    “Now it’s time to let all Californians have their voices heard,” he said in a news release Thursday. “This is an issue people feel passionately about because they know the campaign finance system is skewed against the interests of the working poor and middle class.”

    Common Cause, a nonprofit group that advocates for open, honest and accountable government, is sponsoring the bill.

    “Giving every Californian a chance to declare that money isn’t free speech is exactly the sort of high-profile step that is required if we are serious about reversing the Supreme Court,” said Derek Cressman, director of Common Cause’s campaign to reverse Citizens United. “Voter instruction measures such as this have spurred previous constitutional amendments.”

    CREDO, a progressive mobile phone company with more than three million activist members nationwide including more than 500,000 members in California, supports the bill as well.

    “California would be the biggest state yet to throw its support behind a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United,” said CREDO political director Becky Bond. “Corporate money in politics is literally destroying our democracy and CREDO will help organize millions of Californians help us take back our elections.”

    Similar grassroots ballot measures were approved in November by voters in Montana and Colorado, as well as in San Francisco and Richmond. Los Angeles last month approved a voter instruction measure that will appear on the city’s May 2013 ballot.

    Posted on Thursday, February 21st, 2013
    Under: Assembly, Bob Wieckowski, campaign finance | 8 Comments »

    What they’re saying about the governor’s budget

    From Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles:

    “This is a proposal that clearly shows California has turned the corner. The Governor’s budget is sober, restrained and forward thinking, and I believe it’s a solid foundation for the budget process. I am looking forward to thorough and insightful public hearings as we work with the Governor to adopt the final budget by our Constitutional deadline.”

    From California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro:

    “It’s easy for Gov. Brown to tout austerity and fiscal restraint when he has more of the taxpayers’ money in his pocket. His challenge will be to follow through on those promises when the economy continues to stagnate and the Democrats’ pie-in-the-sky projections don’t come to pass. That’s why Republican legislative leadership correctly proposed this week for the Governor to mandate that his new Prop 30 taxes fund our classrooms and protect our communities.

    “What’s disappointing about Gov. Brown’s announcement is that job creation was never mentioned. Cutting the regulatory burden was ignored. Working with Republicans to unify the state is sadly not part of his agenda. In order for California to finally emerge from its economic doldrums and enter a new Golden Age, the answer lies with policies that encourage job growth and unleash the innovation of small business owners, not with budget wrangling and deferred payments that mask billions in debt to the federal government for unemployment insurance and more.

    “We need bold reforms to go hand in hand with accountability and responsible fiscal governance if we want to return California and its citizens to prosperity. If Jerry Brown thinks we’re out of the woods just because, on paper, we’ll finally be ‘living within our means,’ he’s sadly mistaken.”

    From state Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco:

    “The budget proposal released today by Governor Brown is the most positive one we have seen in half a decade. The budget is narrowly balanced and contains elements that ensure a modest reserve. However, it reflects the difficult cuts and decisions the Legislature and Governor have made in the past few years to address the state’s structural budget deficit. It also demonstrates the confidence entrusted in us by voters in November who recognized that our fiscal situation was untenable without new temporary revenues. Although we are still under fiscal constraints, I am hopeful we are now past the period of devastating cuts we saw in previous years to education and programs that provide critical aid to elderly Californians, disabled people and working families.

    “With the improvement of our fiscal outlook comes the opportunity to continue our work to restore California. While our recent efforts have focused largely on making cuts in the least harmful manner possible, we will now have more capacity to refine our work to improve essential programs and analyze the role of government and its effectiveness. I look forward to working with Governor Brown and my colleagues in the Legislature to evaluate this year’s budget to help ensure it is the best possible plan for a state on the mend.”

    From state Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar:

    “New funding for our classrooms is a positive step forward for California. However, the Governor’s budget only seems to include $2.7 billion in new funding for K-12 schools and community colleges even though Proposition 30 taxes will generate $6 billion this year alone – Californians should be disappointed.

    “I remain concerned that while state spending is being increased by $5 billion over last year, much of this money is used to expand state programs and provides major pay and benefit increases for state employees.

    “Basically, this budget is balanced by a $50 billion tax increase, and Californians have yet to see any real, long-term plan to bring back jobs and help our struggling families.”

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

    Posted on Thursday, January 10th, 2013
    Under: Assembly, Bob Wieckowski, California State Senate, Gavin Newsom, Jerry Brown, John Perez, Kamala Harris, Loni Hancock, Mark DeSaulnier, Mark Leno, Rob Bonta, state budget | No Comments »

    Bay Area’s new Assembly leadership assignments

    Here are your Bay Area Assembly members’ leadership assignments for the 2013-14 session, made today by Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles:

    Leadership
    Speaker pro Tempore: Nora Campos, D-San Jose
    Assistant Speaker pro Tempore: Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco
    Rules Committee Chair: Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley

    Committee and Subcommittee Chairs
    Accountability and Administrative Review Committee: Jim Frazier, D-Oakley
    Budget Subcommittee No. 2 (Education Finance): Susan Bonilla, D-Concord
    Business, Professions & Consumer Protection Committee: Rich Gordon, D-Los Altos
    Education Committee: Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo
    Elections and Redistricting Committee: Paul Fong, D-Mountain View
    Judiciary Committee: Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont
    Public Employees, Retirement & Social Security Committee: Rob Bonta, D-Alameda
    Public Safety Committee: Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco

    Also, Fong was elected chairman of the Asian & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus.

    Posted on Monday, December 3rd, 2012
    Under: Assembly, Bob Wieckowski, Jim Frazier, Kevin Mullin, Nancy Skinner, Nora Campos, Paul Fong, Rich Gordon, Rob Bonta, Susan Bonilla, Tom Ammiano | No Comments »

    Brown nixes traffic ticket/spinal cord research bill

    Gov. Jerry Brown today vetoed an Bay Area lawmaker’s bill that would’ve added a $1 fee to the cost of a moving traffic violation in order to fund spinal-cord injury research.

    AB 1657 by Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, would’ve directed the money to the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund, which was created in 2000 and is administered by the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at UC-Irvine.

    Originally bankrolled by the state’s general fund, the program has been zeroed out by budget cuts even though every $1 of state money had leveraged another $5 in federal funds. It’s named after Fremont Planning Commissioner Roman Reed, who suffered a spinal cord injury in the 1990s and became a nationally-known research advocate.

    The Assembly had passed the bill 46-24 in May; the state Senate 22-14 in August; and the Assembly approved it again on a 48-28 concurrence vote in August.

    Wieckowski’s office said eight other states use a similar method to fund spinal cord research, but Brown today said California won’t be the ninth.

    “Spinal cord injury research is certainly worthwhile, but the funding method chosen is not,” the governor wrote in his veto message. “Loading more and more costs on traffic tickets has been too easy a source of new revenue. Fines should be based on what is reasonable punishment, not on paying for more general fund activities.”

    Wieckowski said he’s disappointed.

    “This is not only a loss for all the Californians living with paralysis, it’s also a loss for scientific research and innovation,” he said, noting top researchers had supported the bill. “I think $1 is a reasonable penalty for irresponsible drivers when you consider the fact that traffic accidents are the number one cause of spinal cord injuries. I will keep on working to make sure California reinvests in this vital research.”

    Posted on Monday, September 17th, 2012
    Under: Assembly, Bob Wieckowski | 2 Comments »