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Corbett offers care-home bills after East Bay snafu

State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett introduced two bills Monday that aim to prevent future snafus like that which led to more than a dozen senior citizens being abandoned at a Castro Valley residential care home in October after the state ordered it shut down.

Ellen CorbettCorbett says her SB 894 will strengthen and clarify the obligations of the California Department of Social Services and a licensee when that license is suspended or revoked, to ensure safe relocation of residents when a facility closure happens. And SB 895 will bolster the assisted-living facility inspection process by requiring that unannounced, comprehensive inspections of all residential care facilities for the elderly occur at least once per year, and more often if necessary to ensure the proper quality of care.

Corbett, D-San Leandro, said in a news release that the bills “are a direct result of the tragic gaps in care that occurred in Castro Valley at the Valley Springs Manor facility.”

“Particularly since the California Department of Social Services recently admitted that their oversight and response at the facility was inadequate, I believe that there continues to be an urgent need for increased protections for residents at these facilities,” she said. “We must ensure that families have the peace of mind of knowing that there are safeguards in place to protect their loved ones when they are residents of assisted living facilities, as well as if and when those facilities are closed by the state.”

Posted on Monday, January 13th, 2014
Under: California State Senate, Ellen Corbett | 1 Comment »

CA15: Stark vows to help Corbett beat Swalwell

The 2014 campaign for the 15th Congressional District seat has started sounding a lot like the 2012 campaign, as former congressman Pete Stark vengefully vows to support a challenger to the fellow Democrat who unseated him, Rep. Eric Swalwell.

Pete Stark“Hopefully Eric will lose, and I am doing everything I can to see that Ellen Corbett wins that primary election,” Stark told CQ Roll Call on Wednesday. “I remember Eric, during the campaign against me, suggested that I was too old and inept to be of any value in the political process, so I am going to see if I can prove that to be wrong.”

State Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, has trailed Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, thus far in fundraising and visibility, but Stark hopes to change that.

“I know that Eric used to say that I had $30 million,” Stark said. “I wish he was correct. But I have at least half that much at my disposal, and so I intend to broadcast far and wide his ethics problems and his inexperience and his failure to accomplish much in the Congress.”

Stark’s 2012 campaign committee contributed $2,000 to Corbett’s campaign in August.

Then again, Swalwell beat the 20-term incumbent last year in part because the district’s voters apparently were fed up with Stark’s behavior, including a series of unsupported accusations against Swalwell and others. And Stark’s vow to spend from his own pocket on Corbett’s campaign begs questions both of why he hasn’t done so thus far, and why he didn’t do so to keep himself in office last year.

Swalwell said Thursday that voters decided last year to replace a 40-year incumbent, and that he has kept his promise “to bring new energy and ideas to Congress. It’s time to move on and look forward and not go back to the tired politics of the past.”

“He’s trying to buy a seat in Congress for a friend that he couldn’t win for himself. But this seat isn’t for sale,” Swalwell added. “It’s one gift money can’t buy.”

Swalwell seems proud of the CQ Roll Call story, as he has been sharing it via social media.

“Last yr voters told Pete Stark, ‘bye, bye!’ But he took it as ‘buy, buy!’ & says he’ll spend $15M to help my opponent,” Swalwell tweeted Thursday morning.

He also posted the story on his Facebook page. “The voters have moved on and this seat is not for sale. I promise to keep bringing new energy and ideas to Congress,” he wrote there.

Corbett has not yet returned a call and an e-mail seeking comment.

UPDATE @ 2:35 P.M.: “I have a broad coalition of support from throughout the district, from people who realize I have a superior record of achieving for the district, and that includes Congressman Stark,” Corbett said Thursday afternoon. “It seems that Eric is picking a fight with the former Congressman, but I’m running to offer voters a choice and I will be standing on my own record of public service to this district. After all, that’s what democracy is all about, and I look forward to the campaign.”

Posted on Thursday, November 21st, 2013
Under: Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, Pete Stark, U.S. House | 7 Comments »

Bill Lockyer endorses Eric Swalwell for re-elction

Lest you think Rep. Mike Honda’s 17th Congressional District is the only Bay Area race where incumbents are trying to get an early leg up on their challengers, Rep. Eric Swalwell fired a shot across his challenger’s bow Monday morning.

Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, announced he has the endorsement of state Treasurer Bill Lockyer for re-election to his 15th Congressional District seat.

“I’m for Congressman Eric Swalwell because I’ve seen him bring great energy and smart thinking to his job, and the determination to listen well to the people and work very hard for them every day,” Lockyer said in Swalwell’s news release. “Eric is getting good things done in Washington and at home, he has earned another term in Congress, and his re-election will be good news for his district and the nation.”

Lockyer’s endorsement is significant not only because he’s the longest serving statewide elected official, but also because he’s a powerful figure in Alameda County politics – particularly in the areas where Swalwell’s challenger, state Sen. Ellen Corbett, runs strongest.

Corbett, D-San Leandro, is looking to her home base on the west side of the hills for strength, but Lockyer’s word could carry significant sway there: He served many of the same areas during his 25 years in the Legislature that Corbett now does. He lives in Hayward now, but started his career in elected office (in 1968!) as a San Leandro Unified School District board member. Corbett as a college student did an internship in then-Assemblyman Lockyer’s office; he spoke at Corbett’s Senate swearing-in ceremony in 2007.

Eric SwalwellSwalwell said he’s honored to have Lockyer’s support.

“He has always been a fierce defender of his constituents and committed to improving the lives of the middle class and those less fortunate,” Swalwell said. “I admire Treasurer Lockyer’s unwavering commitment to his Democratic ideals while also working toward compromise if it will benefit the people. He has provided steady stewardship of California’s finances as Treasurer and I share his priorities to improve our economy and responsibly manage the people’s money.”

Posted on Monday, November 18th, 2013
Under: Bill Lockyer, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, U.S. House | 9 Comments »

Brown signs Corbett’s ‘Made in California’ bill

You win some, you lose some.

So state Sen. Ellen Corbett discovered today as Gov. Jerry Brown signed one of her bills – creating a “Made in California” program to let manufacturers capitalize on the Golden State’s reputation – but vetoed another, which would’ve required that certain parts of prescription drug labels be printed in a larger, easier-to-read font.

Ellen CorbettCorbett’s SB 12 aims to let California manufacturers better market their products in increasingly competitive national and international economic environments. The statewide marketing strategy created by the bill will operate within the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) so that consumers are better able to recognize the high quality products developed in California.

It’ll be similar to the “Buy California” / “California Grown” program already promoting in-state agricultural products both within and outside of California. Products that meet program criteria will be eligible to use the state-sanctioned “Made in California” label.

Corbett, D-San Leandro, issued a statement thanking Brown for signing the bill “and recognizing the importance of helping California’s small businesses maintain a competitive edge against businesses that decide to manufacture out of state or even out of this country.”

But Brown vetoed SB 205, which would’ve required parts of the information on prescription labels – including the patient’s name – to be printed in at least 12-point sans serif typeface. Corbett had contended seniors have a hard time reading smaller print and so could be endangered, especially those who take multiple medications.

“The Board of Pharmacy is required to provide an update of its 2010 labeling guidelines to the Legislature next month,” Brown noted in his veto message. “I prefer to wait for their findings before mandating such a change.”

Posted on Friday, October 4th, 2013
Under: California State Senate, Ellen Corbett, Jerry Brown | 2 Comments »

Brown signs East Bay legislators’ bills into law

Community youth athletic programs can request state- and federal-level background checks for a volunteer coach or hired coach candidate, under an East Bay Assemblywoman’s bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

AB 465 by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, and Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, R-San Diego, closes what they and others said was a big loophole in California law: Sports coaches in public schools had to undergo background checks, but not coaches in youth sports leagues.

“On behalf of the thousands of young athletes in my district, I am proud that AB 465 is now law,” Bonilla, who has been involved in her daughters’ soccer activities, said Monday. “This legislation will improve the safety for these children who participate in community sports programs.”

The Assembly and state Senate had passed the bill unanimously.

Brown also on Monday signed SB 107 by state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, repealing the Jan. 1, 2014 sunset date which would’ve halted the state’s use of federal funds to cover the costs of medical evidentiary exams for sexual assault victims. Under this bill, the state can keep using Violence Against Women Act grant funds to pay for the “rape kits.” The Assembly and state Senate had passed the bill unanimously.

Posted on Monday, August 26th, 2013
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, Ellen Corbett, Susan Bonilla | 3 Comments »

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 | 14 Comments »

Swalwell outraises Corbett 20-to-1 in 15th District

I reported last week that challenger Ro Khanna far outraised incumbent Rep. Mike Honda in the race for for a South Bay House seat, but a far more lopsided Democrat-on-Democrat fundraising contest was revealed Monday in the East Bay.

In the 15th Congressional District, where state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, plans to challenge Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, Corbett filed a report Monday afternoon with the Federal Election Commission showing she raised $12,000 in the second quarter and had about $116,000 cash on hand as of June 30.

Swalwell’s report for the same period actually was even a bit rosier than the projections campaign consultant Lisa Tucker had offered last week. The freshman lawmaker raised more than $237,000 from April 1 through June 30 (about 20 times Corbett’s haul), leaving him with more than $405,000 cash on hand (about three and a half times Corbett’s war chest) at the quarter’s end.

Swalwell said Monday that former CIA director, Secretary of Defense, White House chief of staff and congressman Leon Panetta will be in Pleasanton in September to headline a fundraiser.

Corbett was going door-to-door in downtown Hayward on Monday afternoon, handing out fliers touting her Senate office’s constituent services and contact information to business owners and shoppers.

Though accompanied by a helper, she said her campaign at this point is mostly just her own shoe-leather and determination – which sounds not unlike Swalwell at the time he launched his campaign against Pete Stark in September 2011.

Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2013
Under: 2014 primary, campaign finance, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, U.S. House | 5 Comments »

Updates on House races: CA9, CA10 & CA15

After a spate of news about some of Northern California’s most notable House races of 2014, I thought it was time to examine some others that are flying under the radar.

I’ve reported recently that 2012 Republican U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Emken is moving to Fair Oaks to challenge freshman Rep. Ami Bera, D-Rancho Cordova, in the 7th Congressional District, and about the (lopsided) money race between Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, and Democratic challenger Ro Khanna in the 17th Congressional District.

Here’s a little more to chew on, based on who has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission and launched websites so far:

Steve Colangelo9th Congressional District: Now in his fourth term, incumbent Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, is perennially identified by the National Republican Congressional Committee as vulnerable, yet has stomped all comers; last year, he beat GOP challenger Ricky Gill by 12 percentage points in the newly drawn district. In 2014, he’ll face a challenge from Steve Anthony Colangelo, 53, of Stoctkon, a prominent member of the local business community who owns “the leading event supply company in the Central Valley for weddings, graduation parties and other important community and family events.” At least we know the campaign parties will be lavishly appointed.

Michael Eggman10th Congressional District: Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Modesto, won a second term last year by beating back a challenge from Democrat and former astronaut Jose Hernandez. Next year he’ll face a challenge by Michael Eggman, 48, of Kingsburg, an almond farmer and apiary operator who says he can identify with and act upon Central Valley farmers’ concerns. A key question will be whether he is also the walrus, goo goo g’joob. (Sorry, Mr. Eggman – I’m sure you get that a lot, but I couldn’t resist.)

Ellen Corbett15th Congressional District: Freshman Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, will face a challenge from state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro – note her relatively new campaign website, through which she’s seeking contributions via the progressive grassroots ActBlue organization. Corbett, you’ll recall, had hoped to succeed Rep. Pete Stark but chose not to run against him last year; Swalwell ran and won. Swalwell’s campaign tells me he raised about $233,000 in the second quarter, bringing his total receipts for the first half of this year to just shy of the half-million mark and leaving him with around $350,000 cash on hand as of June 30. I reached out to Corbett for a preview of her second-quarter numbers, but she didn’t respond.

Posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2013
Under: 2014 primary, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, Jeff Denham, Jerry McNerney, U.S. House | 17 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 »

Ellen Corbett introduces limousine-safety bill

After two Bay Area limousine fires in less more than a month, California State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett is pushing for new safety measures.

SB 109 by Corbett, D-San Leandro, would require two exit doors in the rear portion of a limousine, and at least two windows that can be pushed out in the passenger compartment, in order to allow a fast evacuation if there’s a fire or other emergency.

Ellen CorbettThe California Public Utilities Commission oversees the limousine industry, but has been criticized for not being more proactive in responding to safety needs, Corbett said.

“Though four young women luckily survived the horrible fire on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, the fact remains that five women perished unnecessarily and in a way that seems both incomprehensible and preventable,” she said in her news release. “SB 109 will hopefully ensure that a tragedy such as the one that occurred on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge on that fateful night never again happens. Families should not have to suffer the horrible pain associated with losing a loved one in this tragic manner. This legislation simply strengthens limo safety requirements in California by making sure that passengers can evacuate the vehicle quickly in the case of an emergency.”

The limo blaze on the bridge occurred May 4. In another incident, a group of elderly women escaped injury Sunday in Rossmoor when their limousine caught fire.

This is a “gut and amend,” in which the language of a previously introduced bill is being replaced with entirely new subject matter; SB 109 originally dealt with letting vehicles exceed length limits in order to accommodate aerodynamic devices that decrease drag and increase airflow over tractor-trailers.

Posted on Monday, June 10th, 2013
Under: California State Senate, Ellen Corbett | 3 Comments »