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Some upcoming political events around the Bay

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, will be scooting around the district tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 18, first taking part in a 1:30 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new local U.S. Census office at 1814 Franklin St. in Oakland, and then attending a 2 p.m. ceremony at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in the Port of Oakland, celebrating the completion of the 50-foot Oakland Harbor Deepening Project.

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and Board of Equalization Chairwoman Betty Yee will forecast state revenues and spending for the next year at the Alameda County Democratic Lawyers Club luncheon, at noon tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 18, at Cocina Poblana, 499 Embarcadero West in Oakland’s Jack London Square. It’s open to the public but space is limited so you’re encouraged to RSVP by email to treasurer@demlawyers.org. Tickets cost $25 for club members, $30 for non-members at the door, but there’s a $5 discount if you buy in advance through the club’s Web site.

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, is holding another of his “Congress At Your Corner” constituent meet-and-greets from 1 to 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21, at the Margaret K. Troke Branch Library at 502 W. Benjamin Holt Drive in Stockton. “Instead of asking community members to come to one of my offices, I am going to go to them to make it as easy as possible for them to meet their Member of Congress,” he says. “I am committed to meeting with residents throughout the district so that I can effectively serve them and address their needs.”

Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, chairman of the Assembly Select Committee on Biotechnology, will chair an informational hearing on “Maintaining California’s Status as the World’s Biotechnology Capital” at 11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 21, at Exelixis Inc., 210 E. Grand Ave. in South San Francisco. Executives from local life science companies will testify about the challenges of starting a biotech business and explain what other states are doing to lure companies away from California.

Rumored Democratic gubernatorial candidate and state Attorney General Jerry Brown; state Treasurer Bill Lockyer; and 10th Congressional District Democratic candidate Lt. Gov. John Garamendi will headline the 39th Annual Alameda County Democratic Unity Dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26 at the Oakland Airport Hilton, 1 Hegenberger Road; Board of Equalization Chair Betty Yee will emcee. All interested Democrats are invited to attend; tickets cost $75 per person in advance or $125 for patrons, with tables available at $1,000 and up. Advance tickets are available by calling 510-263-5222. A limited number of door tickets will be available at $85 each.

Posted on Thursday, September 17th, 2009
Under: 2009 CD10 special election, Assembly, Barbara Lee, Bill Lockyer, Calendar, General, Jerry Hill, Jerry McNerney, John Garamendi, Nancy Skinner, U.S. House | Comments Off

More you can and can’t do with your state IOUs

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission says its staff has determined that the IOUs being issued by cash-strapped California are securities under federal law. Tom Dresslar, spokesman for state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, says that’s a good thing.

“The SEC has sent a pretty clear warning to folks who plan to profit by buying and reselling IOUs: If you’re not registered as a municipal securities broker-dealer, you run the risk of violating federal law,” Dresslar said in an e-mailed statement. “The recipients of IOUs also should understand that if they sell their IOU to anyone who is not a licensed broker-dealer, they could well have no remedy under federal law if they get victimized by a con artist. So, they should check before selling.”

Dresslar said the SEC’s action might somewhat “reduce the shark factor and potential for taxpayers to get defrauded.” Or, he said, it could just make it harder for recipients of the IOUs to convert them into money if they can’t cash or deposit them with their banks.

“Our office will contact officials of banks that have set a July 10 cutoff date for accepting IOUs and urge them to extend that deadline,” Dresslar said. “We believe such action by the banks will help avoid hardship for IOU recipients, and help reduce taxpayers’ exposure to fraud.”

Oh, but hey – great news if you owe the state personal or corporate taxes: You can give your state-issued IOU back to the state! Yippee!

The Franchise Tax Board announced earlier this week that you can endorse the back of the IOU with the phrase “Pay to the order of Franchise Tax Board” and your signature, then mail it in with your tax bill or estimated tax voucher. Although – just like you – the FTB can’t deposit the IOU until it’s payable, the FTB will credit your account on the day it receives the IOU to stop the accrual of interest. If you owe more than the IOU, then either send the rest in real money or you’ll be billed for the difference.

Posted on Thursday, July 9th, 2009
Under: Bill Lockyer, state budget, taxes | 3 Comments »

Arnold: It’d be easier if you’d just do what I say.

Though building support for the special-election budget reform agenda was his main goal, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger touched on other topics in a Q&A session with the Bay Area Council on Thursday in San Francisco – and one of those topics is how hard it is when people disagree with him.

The governor went on a bit of a tirade against dissent, first talking smack about U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger’s 2007 order reducing the operation of pumps in the Delta to protect the endangered Delta Smelt, then about a three-federal-judge panel’s moves toward ordering the release of certain inmates to reduce California’s chronic and unconstitutional prison overcrowding, and then about Clark Kelso, the receiver empowered by a federal judge to demand $8 billion from the state to correct unconstitutional, decades-long underfunding of prison health care.

“It’s not productive for the state to have so many chefs in the kitchen,” the governor grumped. “Those are the kinds of things that make it very difficult.”

But his ire wasn’t just directed at the federal courts. Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, he said, opposes him on fiscal policy at every turn, he said: “He’s running for Congress now, so that’s good.”

And he cited state Controller John Chiang’s and state Treasurer Bill Lockyer’s opposition to his plans to cut state salaries last year. “How does a coach win a basketball game when all of the players are running off in different directions?” Schwarzenegger asked.

Maybe that’s why he’s so hot for Proposition 1A, which would give the governor new authority to unilaterally reduce some spending for state operations and capital outlay and eliminate some cost-of-living increases, all without legislative approval – shoo, you pesky compromises; begone, consensus! Also, maybe he’s forgetting that these federal judges’ job is to hold California to its obligations under federal law and the U.S. Constitution, and that the Democratic statewide elected officials he’s knocking are with this state’s majority party while he’s in the minority.

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

Posted on Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Barack Obama, Bill Lockyer, John Chiang, John Garamendi, Sacramento, state budget, State politics | No Comments »

Ladies and gentlemen… Gov. Bill Lockyer!

Hat tip to the Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert for noting that the East Bay’s own California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer is governor-for-a-day, what with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and everyone else above Lockyer in the line of succession — Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, Secretary of State Debra Bowen and Attorney General Jerry Brown — in Washington, D.C. today for Barack Obama’s inauguration.

I’ve e-mailed my congratulations to the “governor,” and asked whether he intends to sign a budget later today. No answer yet; I’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE @ 8:48 A.M. TUESDAY: Lockyer spokesman Tom Dresslar says:

“the little five meeting will take a few minutes. we’ve got the legislature ready to go. just waiting for the inaugural speech to conclude.”

Hmmm. Joking? Dunno.

Posted on Tuesday, January 20th, 2009
Under: Bill Lockyer, Inauguration 2009 | No Comments »

Lockyer to Schwarzenegger: Kiss my grits

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to require state workers to take two mandatory, unpaid furlough days — the first and third Fridays of every month — in order to help defray a tiny fraction of the state’s whopping budget deficit. State Treasurer Bill Lockyer is having none of it.

Gubernatorial directives can’t be imposed on constitutional officers such as the Treasurer, or the agencies they head; Lockyer sent a letter Friday to Department of Personnel Administration Director David A. Gilb rejecting the governor’s request.

“(W)e believe that the Governor has not established that he has the legal authority to impose furloughs and the related salary cuts on state employees,” Lockyer wrote in the letter, adding he’s “acutely aware of the serious financial issues” the State confronts and noting his office has “worked successfully with the Department of Finance throughout the year to reduce our costs and increase our revenues.”

He and his staff will keep cutting costs wherever possible, he wrote, but “we will not comply with an Executive Order that we are convinced does not rest on solid legal grounds and which would impose such a hardship on the backs of our employees.”

And what’ll the other constitutional officers — Lieutenant Gov. John Garamendi; Attorney General Jerry Brown; Controller John Chiang; Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell; and Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, practically all of whom have gubernatorial aspirations — do about Schwarzenegger’s furlough directive? Stay tuned.

UPDATE @ 1:35 P.M. MONDAY 1/12: This just in from Garamendi: “We have already cut the Lieutenant Governor’s budget by 10 percent this year and we will cut another 10 percent this year. We are public servants for the people of California so we will not be furloughing our staff.”

UPDATE @ 4:57 P.M. MONDAY 1/12: And there you have it: The Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert now says none of the Democratic statewide constitutional officers will go along with the furloughs.

Posted on Friday, January 9th, 2009
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Lockyer | No Comments »

Chiang: ‘Brother, can you spare $7 billion?’

State Controller John Chiang has announced his cash analysis found — based on projected declines in revenues coupled with shaky elements in California’s record-setting late budget — the state needs to borrow $7 billion to meet all of its obligations through the fiscal year ending June 30.

“There is no question that today’s economic uncertainties and a tight credit market may create enormous challenges to the State to borrow at one time the entire $7 billion I have determined the State will need to meet its obligations through the end of the fiscal year. The difficulty is also compounded by the short window of time between now and the final days of October, the period in which my office has projected the State will likely run out of cash,” Chiang said.

“It is critical that Congress take swift action to adopt an economic recovery plan that can calm the fears of American consumers, stabilize the market and loosen the credit stream we will need to continue to provide quality programs and services Californians expect and deserve.”

This is why Congress must act, rather than let “the free market” correct itself without any government intervention as some have so blithely suggested in recent days. It’s easy and right to argue against bailing out billionaires and for aiding those truly in need, but the bottom-line truth is that our economy, our very society relies on credit, from the short-term loans our state government takes to pay its bills to the college loans, car loans, home loans, small-business lines of credit and so forth on which ordinary citizens rely to survive.

State Treasurer Bill Lockyer spelled it out earlier today.

“For 10 days, state and local governments have been closed out of credit markets – long-term and short-term – in spite of the fact that they represent no default risk and provide a good tax-free return to investors,” he said. “The credit market is frozen because financial institutions are afraid to commit capital amid enormous uncertainty. Congress and the President need to adopt a responsible recovery plan, and get the job done quickly.”

“Without action, we will be unable to sell voter-approved bonds for highway construction, schools, housing or water projects,” he continued. “More urgently, because the State budget was so late, we have only four short weeks to complete what otherwise would be a routine revenue anticipation note sale to meet the State’s cash flow needs. Without prompt federal action to address the economic crisis, we may have no market access to conduct that short-term borrowing transaction. That means the State’s cash reserves would be exhausted near the end of October. Payments for teachers’ salaries, nursing homes, law enforcement and every other State-funded service would stop or be significantly delayed. And California’s 5,000 cities, counties, school districts and special districts would face the same fate.”

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger agrees. Read the letter he sent today to California’s Congressional delegation, after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, October 1st, 2008
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Lockyer, John Chiang, U.S. House, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

Lee/Reich, Bass/Newsom events Saturday

Interesting happenings in Oakland this Saturday, Sept. 20:

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, now a University of California, Berkeley professor, will discuss the need to craft better economic policy and how Lee’s 9th Congressional District can help end the war in Iraq from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday in the James Moore Theater at the Oakland Museum, 1000 Oak St. (Lee and Reich were early supporters of Barack Obama, so don’t be surprised if that’s where the discussion is headed.) It’s free and open to the public but seating is limited and reservations are required; if you want to go, call 510-763-0370 to provide your name, phone number and e-mail address.

Then, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will headline while state Treasurer Bill Lockyer emcees the 38th Annual Alameda County Democratic Unity Dinner, a 6 p.m. reception and 7:30 p.m. dinner Saturday at the Oakland Airport Hilton, 1 Hegenberger Road. All interested Democrats are invited to attend; tickets cost $75 per person in advance and $125 for patrons, and tables cost $1,000 and up, all available by calling 510-263-5222. A limited number of door tickets will be available at $85 each.

Posted on Thursday, September 18th, 2008
Under: Barack Obama, Barbara Lee, Bill Lockyer, Democratic Party, Gavin Newsom, General, Karen Bass | No Comments »

Jerry Brown’s 2010 campaign raises serious cash

That soft “whump” you might’ve heard if you were listening reallllllly hard yesterday was the sound of $205,000 being reported into Attorney General Jerry Brown’s “Jerry Brown 2010” campaign committee. All of it was raised in the second half of June, in increments of $12,000 or less, from an assortment of labor unions, attorneys and FOJs (Friends of Jerry).

The former Oakland mayor, elected to his current job in 2006, has been saying for a while that he might make a run for governor in 2010. (He can do so because the two terms he already served as governor, from 1975 to 1983, were before California’s term-limit law was enacted in 1990.) It’ll be a crowded Democratic primary field — among those confirmed or suspected to be interested in a 2010 gubernatorial run are, in no particular order, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, Treasurer Bill Lockyer, former state Controller Steve Westly, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez — but many say Brown is the man to beat, given his enormous name recognition and fundraising capabilities. This sudden burst of cash could be evidence that’s true.

See a list of all the donations reported Sunday by Jerry Brown 2010, after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, June 30th, 2008
Under: Bill Lockyer, Elections, Fabian Nunez, Gavin Newsom, General, Jack O'Connell, Jerry Brown, Sacramento | 1 Comment »

Loads of upcoming political events

Get out your calendars and start scribbling:

  • Thursday, March 6, 7-9 p.m. — Green presidential candidate and former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney headlines an evening of art, spoken word, humor, and music to celebrate International Women’s Day at the First Congregational Church of Oakland, 2501 Harrison St. Performers include Bushra Rehman, a Brooklyn-based Pakistani poet and co-editor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism; Brooklyn-based spoken word/performance artists Climbing PoeTree; and Oakland-based R&B world music singer Jennifer Johns.
  • Thursday, March 6, Noon – Political commentator and former White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers discusses her new book, “Why Women Should Rule the World,” at the Commonwealth Club of California’s offices, on the second floor of 595 Market St. in San Francisco. Tickets cost $8 for club members, $15 for nonmembers or $7 students and are available through the club’s Web site.
  • Saturday, March 8, noon-1 p.m. — Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, holds another “Congress At Your Corner” meet-and-greet to hear constituents’ comments and concerns at the Safeway supermarket at 1801 W. 11th St. in Tracy.
  • Wednesday, March 12, 7 p.m. — Israeli Gershon Baskin and Palestinian Hanna Siniora — both authors, activists and educators, and leaders of the first joint Israeli-Palestinian think tank, Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information — share a first-hand assessment of the state of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in the Kehilla Community Synagogue at 1300 Grand Ave. in Piedmont. This is part of a national tour sponsored by the national organization Brit Tzedek v’Shalom. A $10 donation is requested at the door.
  • Saturday, March 15, 9-11 a.m. — Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, cofounder of the Out of Iraq Caucus and member of the House Appropriations State Foreign Operations Subcommittee, hosts a special town-hall briefing on the fifth anniversary of the failed U.S. occupation of Iraq at the Grand Lake Theater, 3200 Grand Ave. in Oakland. The event includes a special screening of War Made Easy, a documentary exploring parallels between the Vietnam War and the war in Iraq.
  • Thursday, March 20, 5:30-9 p.m. — The Eden Area United Democratic Campaign holds its 10th Annual Democratic St. Patrick’s Day Dinner in the Carpenters Hall at 1050 Mattox Road in Hayward. State Treasurer Bill Lockyer will be the special guest, and state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, will emcee. Individual tickets cost $25 in advance or $30 at the door; seniors and students, $20 in advance or $25 at the door; children 12 or under get in free. Patrons can pay $150 for four tickets; sponsors can pay $300 for a table of eight. For more information or reservations, 510-264-0444 or 510-635-3121 by March 17.
  • Thursday, March 27, Noon — U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey speaks on “Public Corruption and Public Confidence” before the Commonwealth Club of California at the Intercontinental Hotel, 888 Howard St. in San Francisco. Tickets cost $15 for club members, $30 for nonmembers or $7 for students and are available through the club’s Web site.
  • Wednesday, April 2, 6 p.m. — Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and Former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry — distinguished and senior fellows, respectively, at the Hoover Institution — discuss “Toward a Nuclear-Free World” before the Commonwealth Club of California in the Gold Room of the Fairmont Hotel, 950 Mason St. in San Francisco. Tickets cost $15 for club members or $30 for nonmembers and are available at the club’s Web site.
  • Posted on Wednesday, March 5th, 2008
    Under: Barbara Lee, Bill Lockyer, California State Senate, Cynthia McKinney, Ellen Corbett, Iraq, Jerry McNerney, Oakland, U.S. House | No Comments »

    McAuliffe, Lehane & Lockyer in Oakland Saturday

    mcauliffe.jpgHillary Clinton presidential campaign chairman Terry McAuliffeDemocratic National Committee chairman from 2001 to 2005 and a noted FOB whom Al Gore once called “the greatest fund-raiser in the history of the universe” — will join state Treasurer Bill Lockyer and Democratic strategist Chris Lehane in headlining the 37th Annual Alameda County Democratic Unity Dinner tomorrow night (Saturday, Oct. 13) at the Oakland Airport Hilton; state Democratic Party chairman Art Torres will emcee.

    Cocktails at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m., all for the sum of $75 per person, $125 per patron or $750 per table in advance, though a few $85 door tickets will be in play, too; “unity” means “war chest.”

    Lockyer, being from Hayward, is a fixture at Alameda County events, but McAuliffe ranks among the national party’s most effective fundraising heavy hitters. CNN has reported McAuliffe once wrestled a 280-pound alligator to collect $15,000 from Florida’s Seminole Indian tribe. Now he’s heading up a campaign for a candidate who at present is well ahead in the money race and in the polls.

    lehane.jpgAnd San Francisco-based Lehane — who helped the Clinton White House spin the Whitewater investigation, spoke for Al Gore on the 2000 presidential campaign trail and advised former Gov. Gray Davis during the 2001 energy crisis and 2002 gubernatorial campaign — with partner Mark Fabiani earned the sobriquet “Masters of Disaster” for an uncanny ability to spin public opinion even in the face of political crises, often by digging up dirt on embattled clients’ critics.

    Posted on Friday, October 12th, 2007
    Under: Alameda County, Bill Lockyer, Democratic Party, Elections, Hillary Clinton | No Comments »