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Rep. Mike Honda calls on Fox to fire Bob Beckel

Rep. Mike Honda has joined the chorus of Asian-American politicians calling for the resignation or ouster of Fox commentator Bob Beckel following Beckel’s racially charged tirade last week.

Here’s the Beckel clip:

Honda, D-San Jose, issued this statement Monday:

honda.jpg“I am outraged and disgusted by Fox News commentator Bob Beckel’s use of the word ‘Chinamen’ and his other racist and xenophobic comments. I agree with State Senator Ted Lieu, Campbell CA Councilmember Evan Low, and everyone else who has called on Fox News to fire Beckel. The ignorance and hatred in his comments are repugnant. The fact that he has yet to apologize for these comments is inexcusable. As the founder of the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus, I know that words hurt, and slurs are used to intimidate. Fox News needs to do the right thing and fire Bob Beckel.”

State Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, who is currently a 33rd Congressional District candidate, issued his statement Saturday:

Ted Lieu“I am one of those ‘Chinamen’ with ‘Oriental’ eyes that immigrated to America and majored in computer science. I also served on active duty in the United States Air Force and continue to serve my country in the Reserves. And today, as an American and as a California State Senator, I call on Mr. Beckel to resign.

“America is great because anyone can be an American. Our country is the strongest in the world because of our diversity. Unfortunately, Fox News host Bob Beckel does not understand what it means to be an American.

“But Mr. Beckel’s comments are more than just racist and stupid. His ignorant views are dangerous because it is precisely those types of extreme xenophobic and racist views that caused our government to massively violate constitutional rights during World War II and force more than 100,000 Americans into internment camps.

“It is Mr. Beckel’s extreme racist and xenophobic views that are a threat to the American people and he should resign now.”

But Peter Kuo, the Santa Clara Republican now seeking the 10th State Senate District seat, took a more conciliatory tone Saturday:

Peter Kuo“Beckel’s remarks have invoked strong emotion and sadness among immigrants who call America their home. Having endured racist remarks growing up and hearing these comments from a major media figure is shocking and hurtful. Many have moved to the United States in search of the American Dream and found it through hard work, education and job opportunities. The United States is the home to the greatest technological and medical innovation in the world, in great part because of the diverse group of people that have made these fields their careers.

“Today, I observed public calls for Bob Beckel to be fired from Fox News. I completely understand those emotions and feelings as his actions are very insulting. However, I think we have an opportunity to rise above his insensitive comments and use this sad moment in time to grow as a nation. Calling for termination because my feelings are hurt would be easy, and likely very much understood by the media, the voters and most certainly the Chinese-American community. And that may just be the solution. But in the ever increasingly sensitive, racially charged environment we all seem to live in these days, why not take a step back and reflect and recognize that while regrettable, it is quite possible that Mr. Beckel made a mistake albeit a terrible one. Instead of rallying everyone to call for his termination, I prefer a different approach. I would ask Mr. Beckel to offer a formal apology on the air. If Mr. Beckel were to apologize, and those of us offended were to accept said apology, wouldn’t we have already accomplished so much more than the alternative? If I’m to ask the voters of Senate District 10 and California to trust my ability to make sound judgements, to listen to both sides of the aisle, to think my way through problems and controversy instead of always acting on pure emotion, as many issues like this are often handled, then it is important for me to treat this issue no differently.

“Mr. Beckel, I’m offended by your comments as is the Chinese-American community. Do what is right, apologize and move forward better aware of the repercussions of your actions. If this is done, I call on the Chinese-American community to accept his apology, and hope that Mr. Beckel will reach out to members of the Chinese-American community and offer a meeting or a conversation to discuss these events. I will gladly welcome him to my district to meet with Chinese-American community members if he is willing. Instead of dart throwing and mud slinging, let’s figure out a way to move forward so that we may be a more resilient, unified and a compassionate nation.”

Posted on Monday, July 14th, 2014
Under: California State Senate, Mike Honda, Ted Lieu, U.S. House | 6 Comments »

State senators seek campaign finance reform

A pair of state Senators intend to introduce bills to beef up California’s laws requiring disclosure of political contributions.

State senators Leland Yee, D-San Francsico, and Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, said they’re still finalizing the exact language of their two bills, they plan to increase penalties for failing to properly disclose campaign contributions, require greater disclosure of funding sources on mass mailings and media advertisements, and close a loophole that lets some nonprofits finance campaigns without naming their donors.

As an example of that loophole, they cited the $11 million contribution made in October by Arizona-based Americans for Responsible Leadership to oppose Proposition 30 and support Proposition 32 on last month’s ballot. It took a lawsuit filed by the state’s Fair Political Practices Committee to win disclosure of the money’s true donors.

“Laundering money through nonprofits in an attempt to avoid transparency is fundamentally undemocratic,” Yee said in a news release today. “Our democracy should not be bought and sold in shady backroom deals. The California Disclose Act will close this loophole and ensure that Californians are well aware of who is funding campaigns and ballot measures.”

Ted Lieu“As alert voters were chagrined to learn, last-minute donations from what essentially were anonymous special interests was a blatant attempt to unfairly shape election results,” said Lieu. “This must stop.”

Good-government groups already are lining up behind the senators’ bills.

“With these proposals, California will continue to lead the country in campaign finance disclosure,” California Common Cause policy advocate Phillip Ung said in Yee’s news release. “These bills show policymakers are listening to voters’ demands and the Legislature will take action to shine a light on the interests behind campaign laundering schemes.”

Jennifer Waggoner, president of the League of Women Voters of California, said voters’ trust in government is eroded when they can’t see behind big donations from special interests. “Effective regulation of money in politics ensures the public’s right to know and promotes confidence in the political process.”

Posted on Monday, December 3rd, 2012
Under: California State Senate, campaign finance, Leland Yee, Ted Lieu | 4 Comments »

Former rival antes up for Ted Lieu’s campaign

Rivals not long ago, two 2010 Democratic primary candidates for state attorney general are apparently on much better terms today.

Chris KellyFormer Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly of Palo Alto – who spent $12.3 million of his own money on his primary campaign last year, only to place third behind winner Kamala Harris and second-place finisher Alberto Torrico – gave $3,900 Monday to the state Senate campaign of Ted Lieu, the termed-out Assemblyman from Torrance who finished fourth in last year’s AG primary.

Lieu is running in the 28th State Senate District’s special election, necessitated by the Oct. 20 death of Sen. Jenny Oropeza, D-Carson. The special primary is scheduled for Feb. 15; if nobody gets more than 50 percent of that vote, there’ll be a special general election April 19.

Also running are Republicans Martha Flores Gibson, an educator from Long Beach, U.S. Customs and Border Protection retiree Jeffrey Fortini of Hawthorne, Lomita attorney James Thompson, and businessman/attorney Bob Valentine of Manhattan Beach; Democrat Kevin McGurk, a Venice attorney; Libertarian Peter “Pedro” De Baets, a small-business owner from Los Angeles; and nonpartisans Mark Lipman, a publisher and community organizer from Mar Vista, and Venice community activist Michael Chamness.

Ted LieuThe 28th District’s voter registration is 48 percent Democrat, 25 percent Republican and 22 percent decline to state, so Lieu – as the best-known Democrat in the field – looks like a presumptive front-runner.

Kelly’s olive branch is a tiny fraction of the whopping $320,538.12 in contributions that Lieu logged this week. Well-known Democratic contributors include former state Controller and 2006 gubernatorial primary candidate Steve Westly, campaign consultant Garry South, and state Senators Joseph Simitian, D-Palo Alto; Mark Leno, D-San Francisco; Elaine Alquist, D-Santa Clara. Lieu also got money from corporate entities including Visa U.S.A., Microsoft and Anthem Blue Cross, as well as from unions including the California Professional Firefighters, the State Building and Construction Trades Council and the American Council of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Posted on Thursday, January 6th, 2011
Under: California State Senate, campaign finance, Chris Kelly, Ted Lieu | 1 Comment »

More campaign finance fun: Lt.Gov. and AG

In the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom far outpaced Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn in fundraising during this period from March 18 to May 22. Newsom raised $792,311 and spent $453,291, finishing the period with $770,776 cash on hand; Hahn raised $336,331 and spent $316,670, finishing the period with $315,430 cash on hand.

Mike Trujillo, Hahn’s campaign adviser, called me tonight to note that the two candidates are more evenly matched if you look at contributions since their campaigns began – it looks to me as if Newsom’s at about $1.06 million to Hahn’s $898,000, by that measure – and that about $200,000 of Newsom’s cash on hand is earmarked for November’s general election, while all but $9,000 of Hahn’s stash can be spent in the next 10 days.

In the GOP primary for Lieutenant Governor, appointed incumbent and former state Sen. Abel Maldonado smoked his more conservative rival, state Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley. Maldonado raised $318,898 during this period and spent $121,872, leaving him with $139,060 cash on hand; Aanestad raised $44,470 during this period and spent $44,441, leaving him with $43,297 cash on hand.

In the Republican primary for Attorney General, Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley trumped the fundraising during this period, with $916,066 in contributions compared to $295,302 for former Chapman University Law School Dean John Eastman – including the $25,000 he loaned his own campaign – and $150,294 for state Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach. Cooley finished with the most cash on hand, too: $222,280 compared to Eastman’s $158,444 and Harman’s $112,644.

In the Democratic primary for Attorney General, former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly rules the campaign cash roost only because he put $5.6 million into his own campaign during this period (atop the $4 million he’d put in earlier). His new investment accounted for all but $79,679 of his contributions in this period and he spent $8,953,697, leaving him with cash on hand of $102,984.

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris raised $810,884 during this period and spent $1,546,812, finishing with $636,471 cash on hand; former Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo raised $268,995 and spent $1,251,446, finishing with $149,762 cash on hand; Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, raised $239,162 and spent $671,100, finishing with $577,002 cash on hand; and Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, raised $17,532 and spent $86,956, finishing with $24,534 cash on hand. Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, had $1,029,186 cash on hand as of March 17, the close of the last reporting period, but hasn’t yet filed this period’s report as of this time; Emeryville attorney Mike Schmier didn’t raise enough to require a report.

UPDATE @ 10:33 A.M. FRIDAY: Torrico raised $180,371.79 in this period, spent $676,560.78 and finished with $522,334.73 cash on hand.

UPDATE @ 9:30 A.M. TUESDAY 6/1: Sorry, my bad: Schmier says he has raised $12,450 to date and has $3,166.88 cash on hand remaining.

Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Abel Maldonado, Alberto Torrico, Attorney General, campaign finance, Chris Kelly, Gavin Newsom, Janice Hahn, Kamala Harris, Lt. Governor, Pedro Nava, Sam Aanestad, Ted Lieu | 1 Comment »

Torrico leads in tribal casino campaign money

I was talking with someone the other day about Indian gaming in California – about how it remains wildly lucrative and politically influential, and about how nascent casino developments like the one right here at the East Bay’s Point Molate are likely to keep it a hot issue in the next few years.

Gaming tribes have always been a formidable force in campaign contributions, so I figured I’d check the candidates for attorney general – whose office includes the Bureau of Gambling Control that ensures tribes comply with their gaming compacts – and the candidates for governor, as the governor has authority to negotiate those gaming compacts with tribes.

Attorney General candidate and Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, has received the most in this election cycle of any candidate – $74,124.82 – in either of these races, by far. Next-closest in either race is Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current state Attorney General Jerry Brown, who got $47,000; next closest in the AG’s race is Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, who got $36,400.

None of which is all that surprising: Torrico until recently chaired (ed. note – 2006-2008, until his ascension to Assembly Majority Leader, though he serves on the committee still; my bad) the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, which has dominion over Indian gaming matters, and now he’s running for another post with important Indian gaming oversight duties. Lieu is a member of that committee, too. (State Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, is vice chair of the Senate Governmental Oversight Committee; tribes gave him $26,400 for his run for AG.) And Brown’s hoping to go from one post crucial to Indian gaming to another.

Four candidates for AG reported no Indian gaming contributions at all – Democrats Kamala Harris and Chris Kelly, and Republicans Steve Cooley and John Eastman (though both the Republicans entered the race recently and haven’t filed campaign finance reports yet other than late and $5,000+ contributions requiring immediate disclosure).

In total, it looks as if tribes have spent almost $229,000 on these contests so far, but it’s still a long way to the primaries in June.

For the full breakdown of what Indian gaming money has gone where, follow me after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, March 8th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, 2010 governor's race, Alberto Torrico, Assembly, Attorney General, campaign finance, Indian gaming, Jerry Brown, Kamala Harris, Meg Whitman, Pedro Nava, Steve Poizner, Ted Lieu | 2 Comments »

Today in the Democratic AG primary race

Three of the six Democrats vying for California Attorney General had news to report today.

Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, led a news conference with other Assembly Democrats this morning in Sacramento asking their colleagues to vote against confirming state Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, for lieutenant governor. Nava said a look at Maldonado’s record shows that “99.9 percent of the time he has not stood with the everyday working men and women of this state who are struggling to raise their families.” (Meanwhile, the California Republican Assembly – the GOP’s conservative grassroots – sent out a release this morning also urging that Maldonado be rejected, claiming he “has not exhibited the honor, integrity or principles that merit support for this position. A confirmation would provide a stark contrast of the disconnect between the elitists and the Tea Party movement.”)

Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, was promoted today to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. Lieu, who has served for 15 years, is a military prosecutor in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

And former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly announced today that veteran campaign strategist Robin Swanson is joining his campaign as communications director. Swanson’s resume includes several Legislative races as well as state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell’s 2002 win.

Posted on Monday, February 8th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Abel Maldonado, Attorney General, Chris Kelly, Pedro Nava, Ted Lieu | No Comments »

Quadruple endorsement lovefest in AG’s race

Ted LieuYesterday, the campaign of Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, issued a news release saying his candidacy for state Attorney General had been endorsed by the California Federation of Teachers.

“As the son of a school teacher, I am honored and humbled to receive the endorsement of CFT’s over 120,000 members,” Lieu said. “My commitment to education goes well beyond sending my own children to public schools. I strongly support the role of public schools as a cornerstone of our democracy. As California’s Attorney General, I will continue that support.”

Today, the campaign of San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, also a Democrat, issued a news release saying her candidacy for state Attorney General had been endorsed by… the California Federation of Teachers.

“There is a direct connection between public safety and public education, and I believe that California’s Attorney General can use her office to keep our streets safe by injecting innovative ideas into our justice system,” Harris said. “I am honored to have earned the endorsement of CFT, and I look forward to working with CFT’s members to protect public education and public safety as California Attorney General.”

CFT spokesman Fred Glass confirmed both endorsements this afternoon, and said the union actually endorsed Democrats Alberto Torrico and Pedro Nava, too.

“We interviewed eight candidates and we actually liked four enough to endorse them,” he said. “It’s not something we usually do, but there it is – it happens sometimes. I think it has to do with the fact that they’re all decent candidates plus there’s probably been pushing from local folks in those local areas that like those people.”

Which, I guess, doesn’t say much for unendorsed Democrats Chris Kelly and Rocky Delgadillo or Republicans Tom Harman and Steve Cooley. Then again, it’s not like getting a quarter of a quadruple endorsement is going to put anyone over the top, either.

UPDATE @ 8:02 P.M.: Better late than never, Nava stakes his claim, too:

“I am honored to have the endorsement of the California Federation of Teachers and add them to my growing list of supporters. The organization represents thousands of dedicated teachers and frontline school employees who put our young people first. I am pleased to have their support and confidence in my Attorney General candidacy.”

Posted on Thursday, January 14th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Alberto Torrico, Attorney General, Kamala Harris, Pedro Nava, Ted Lieu | 3 Comments »