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CA15: Swalwell feeling heat on women’s issues?

Perhaps Rep. Eric Swalwell is feeling some heat from his Democratic challenger after all.

State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, is both running on her state legislative record and trying to make a play more specifically for women’s votes this year. Among the three priorities on her campaign website:

TO SECURE AND BOLSTER WOMEN’S RIGHTS
I will push back against the seemingly endless efforts to roll back the progress that generations of women before us have made. During my time in the State Legislature I passed legislation expanding the rights of victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault as well as voted in favor of expanding access to maternity leave and services. In 2011 I was awarded the Women of Achievement Award by the National Women’s Political Caucus of California. This year, I secured continued funding from the Violence Against Women Act to ensure that California women can get no costs forensic exams.

So it’s probably not coincidence that Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, sent a mailer to his 15th Congressional District constituents in the past few days touting how he’s “standing strong for women” by fighting to raise wages for women and their families through the Paycheck Fairness Act; protecting the work-family balance by supporting the Healthy Families Act to ensure paid sick leave for workers; supporting an increase in the minimum wage, as two-thirds of minimum-wage workers are women; and supporting the Strong Start for America’s Children Act to increase access to affordable, quality child care.

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Posted on Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
Under: Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, U.S. House | 17 Comments »

SD10: Another endorsement for Mary Hayashi

It seems I was premature in assuming former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi would have trouble securing endorsements in her run for the 10th State Senate District seat.

Mary HayashiThe Hayward Democrat’s campaign announced Tuesday evening that she has been endorsed by the California School Employees Association; this comes one week after the United Farm Workers announced its support.

According to Hayashi’s news release, CSEA Executive Director Dave Low wrote that his group’s support is based on Hayashi’s “support for public education and labor issues of importance to classified employees. Once elected, we will continue to work with you to find practical, equitable solutions to issues of mutual concern.”

CSEA represents more than 216,000 classified employees in California’s public school and community college systems: instructional aides, peace officers, secretaries, groundskeepers, food service, transportation and maintenance personnel and more.

Hayashi, who represented what was then the 18th Assembly District from 2006 to 2012, was convicted two years ago of shoplifting $2,450 worth of clothes from San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus; she was sentenced to three years of probation.

Also seeking the 10th State Senate District seat are Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont; Democrat Roman Reed, a spinal-injury research advocate and planning commissioner from Fremont; Republican Peter Kuo, an insurance agent from Santa Clara; and former Assemblywoman Audie Bock, also a Republican. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Roy Hashimoto also has taken out papers for this race; this Friday, March 7 is the filing deadline.

Wieckowski has the lion’s share of endorsements so far and – based on the results at a local caucus meeting last month – is likely to win the California Democratic Party’s endorsement at its convention this weekend in Los Angeles.

UPDATE @ 3:27 P.M.: It turns out the CSEA also has endorsed Wieckowski, who also Wednesday announced his backing by Teamsters Joint Council 7.

“Supporting working women and men and ensuring they have a voice in the workplace has been a priority for me in the Assembly and will continue to be a priority for me in the Senate,” Wieckowski said.

As I think I’ve noted before, dual endorsements – like tied sports scores – are like kissing your sister, boring enough to mean practically nothing at all.

UPDATE @ 3:16 P.M. THURSDAY: Teamsters Joint Council 7 endorsed Hayashi, too; this is fast becoming the “duel of the duals,” though Wieckowski’s overall endorsement list dwarfs Hayashi’s.

Posted on Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, California State Senate, Mary Hayashi | 5 Comments »

State Senator grows teary about multiple sclerosis

State Sen. Noreen Evans was overcome with emotion Monday as she introduced a resolution to declare this week Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week.

Noreen Evans speechThe debilitating neurological disease has hit close to home for Evans, D-Santa Rosa, who said four close family members have struggled with it. Her floor speech started out shaky, grew steadier for a time, and then ended in tears as she spoke of how the disease often strikes people in the prime of their lives. State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and state Sen. Holly Mitchell moved to comfort her as she finished; the Senate passed her resolution 31-0. The California Channel has video of her speech here – it starts at about 38 minutes and 45 seconds – but I’m having trouble embedding it.

Evans – a mother of three who announced in August that she’ll return to her law practice rather than seek a second Senate term this year – wouldn’t discuss her family’s specific situation later Monday afternoon except to say “it is something that has affected my family very deeply.” She did say one relative who had struggled with the disease passed away last year.

“I always like to try to find to turn a negative into a positive, and if I can turn this into a way of helping other people understand… then that’s something I’d like to do,” she said, adding public attention can help lead to more resources and support for research toward treatment, from reversing the disease’s effects to an overall cure. “There are a lot of people in our communities who struggle with this disease and nobody ever knows about it.”

Posted on Monday, March 3rd, 2014
Under: California State Senate | 3 Comments »

CA15: President Obama endorses Eric Swalwell

Rep. Eric Swalwell announced Monday that he has President Barack Obama’s endorsement for re-election in the 15th Congressional District.

Eric Swalwell“Congressman Eric Swalwell has proved to be a tireless champion for families throughout California’s 15th District, bringing new energy and ideas to Congress,” Obama said in a statement released by Swalwell’s campaign. “Eric is a strong voice for creating good jobs, expanding economic opportunity, and growing the middle class.”

“Since day one, Eric has shown unwavering dedication to the needs of his constituents – helping veterans secure the benefits they’ve earned, protecting seniors, and ensuring women receive equal pay for equal work,” the president added. “I enthusiastically support Eric Swalwell’s reelection to Congress so the East Bay can continue to move forward.”

Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, said he’s honored by the endorsement and has worked with the president to protect the middle class and help workers find jobs. “I look forward to working with President Obama to address the many challenges faced by my constituents, including ensuring women receive equal pay for equal work, taking care of our veterans, and growing our middle class.”

Ellen CorbettSwalwell’s sole challenger is a fellow Democrat, state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro; no other candidates have taken out papers in Alameda or Contra Costa counties so far for this race, and the filing deadline is this Friday, March 7.

“The president tends to endorse incumbents, the president endorsed the incumbent that Congressman Swalwell ran against last time and the incumbent didn’t win,” Corbett said Monday afternoon, referring to former Rep. Pete Stark. “People have an opportunity to take a look at the candidates and choose who they feel is most qualified for the job based on their qualifications and experience.”

Swalwell already has announced endorsements from national Democratic figures such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., as well as from various other members of Congress and all the mayors in his district.

But Corbett has been endorsed by her fellow state Senate Democrats, and drew enough votes at a local caucus last month to deny Swalwell a Democratic Party “pre-endorsement.” Both candidates will make their cases at the California Democratic Party convention this weekend in Los Angeles.

Posted on Monday, March 3rd, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Barack Obama, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, U.S. House | 17 Comments »

GOP senators seek to force Rod Wright’s explusion

Three Republican state senators will move for a vote Thursday to expel state Sen. Roderick Wright from the Legislature.

Wright, D-Inglewood, was convicted of last month of eight felony counts of perjury and voter fraud related to not living in the district he represents. The California Constitution disqualifies anyone convicted of crimes including perjury and malfeasance in office from keeping their seat, but state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has said he won’t seek Wright’s resignation before the judge makes the jury’s verdict final at sentencing.

Wright’s sentencing was delayed last week until May 16. Steinberg announced Tuesday that he had “met with Senator Wright and he requested an indefinite (paid) leave of absence pending the conclusion of the legal process now before the trial court in Los Angeles. I’ve accepted his request and wish him well going forward.”

That won’t fly for senators Steve Knight, R-Antelope Valley; Joel Anderson, R-El Cajon; and Andy Vidak, R-Hanford. They’ll be moving for a vote during Thursday’s floor session on Senate Resolution 29, for Wright’s explusion.

Read the full text of SR 29, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Under: California State Senate | 7 Comments »

SD10: United Farm Workers endorses Hayashi

If you were wondering whether anyone would endorse former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi in her run for the state Senate, wonder no more.

Mary HayashiHayashi, 47, of Hayward – who was convicted two years ago of shoplifting $2,450 worth of clothes from San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus – announced Tuesday that she has the United Farm Workers’ endorsement in her campaign for the 10th State Senate District.

Hayashi’s news release said UFW President Arturo Rodriguez wrote that Hayashi’s actions “have demonstrated a strong commitment to the farmworker movement and helped improve the lives of farmworkers. We hold you in the highest regard and consider you to be an individual with platinum status in the eyes of farmworkers.”

Hayashi will be competing for the state Senate seat – from which Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, is term-limited out – against Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont; Democrat Roman Reed, a spinal-injury research advocate and planning commissioner from Fremont; and Republican Peter Kuo, an insurance agent from Santa Clara.

Wieckowski announced last week that he had received the sole endorsement of the Alameda and South Bay Labor Councils. Also, local Democrats at a regional caucus meeting earlier this month gave Wieckowski 105 votes for pre-endorsement while Reed got eight and Hayashi got none; that means Wieckowski’s name will be placed on the consent calendar at state Democrats’ convention next month in Los Angeles, an almost sure-fire route to the party’s endorsement.

But endorsements don’t pay for elections. Campaign finance reports filed at the end of last month show Hayashi finished 2013 with $734,000 in her campaign account and no outstanding debts. Wieckowski had about $125,000 in the bank and owed $32,000; Reed had about $49,000 after lending his campaign $40,000; and Kuo had $24,000 including a $5,000 loan from his own pocket.

Kuo is holding a campaign kick-off fundraiser this Thursday, Feb. 27, at the Bay Club Santa Clara (formerly the Decathlon Club), seeking from $100 to $1,000 per person.

And the fun might not be limited to these four candidates. The Alameda County Registrar of Voters’ log shows two other people have taken out papers for this race, which they might or might not file by the March 7 deadline: Alameda County Superior Court Judge Roy Hashimoto, and former Assemblywoman Audie Bock.

Bock, you’ll recall, was elected to the Assembly as a Green, then went decline-to-state for her unsuccessful re-election bid, then switched to the Democratic party – and now seems to be a registered Republican.

Yes, this 10th State Senate District race seems to be the gift that keeps on giving. Stay tuned…

Posted on Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, California State Senate, Mary Hayashi | 5 Comments »

Darrell Steinberg urges Ron Calderon to resign

State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg on Friday urged state Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, to resign, hours after federal prosecutors announced he and his brother are charged with 24 counts involving bribery, kickbacks and cover-ups.

Here’s the full statement from Steinberg, D-Sacramento:

“I make this statement with the full support of my caucus.

“I value and respect the legal principle that a criminal defendant is innocent unless proven guilty. I also know that the Senate has an ethics code that governs the behavior of elected officials, regardless of whether they are convicted or not. Senator Calderon is entitled to his full due process in all venues. It may be difficult, if not impossible, for the Senate to conduct a full investigation of the issues contained in the indictment because the U.S. Attorney has asked us specifically not to call any witnesses who are part of their investigation.

“Given the seriousness of charges that strike at the very heart of what it means to be a public official, Senator Calderon’s continued service is a cloud over all the important work that we must get done this year. It is in the best interests of the people and the Senate if he resigns. I call on him to do so. The Senate Rules committee has already stripped him of his committee chairmanship and his committee assignments.

“At a minimum, he should take a complete leave of absence until the criminal proceedings are finished. If he does not resign, or take that leave of absence voluntarily, the Senate will seek to suspend him.”

This is quite a departure from Steinberg’s refusal just a few weeks ago to urge state Sen. Roderick Wright, D-Inglewood – convicted of eight felonies related to not living in the district he represents – to resign his seat. One could argue that the charges against Calderon are significantly more serious; one also could argue that Calderon has not yet been convicted of anything, while Wright has.

Posted on Friday, February 21st, 2014
Under: California State Senate, Darrell Steinberg | 6 Comments »

Proposal for oil severance tax rises anew

From the Legislature, to an unsuccessful effort toward a ballot measure, and to the Legislature again: The oil-severance tax is back.

State Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, rolled out her SB 1017 on Wednesday with a rally at California State University, Sacramento. Flanked by student leaders and California Tax Reform Association executive director Lenny Goldberg, Evans said the tax is estimated to raise about $2 billion per year.

“California is realizing an economic recovery but as both the State Auditor and California Budget Project have concluded, without new revenues the state remains on unstable financial footing,” Evans said. “California remains the only oil-producing state in the nation that does not impose an oil extraction tax. Meanwhile, our debts grow, our population increases, and our services are strained while new revenues from our own natural resources earn $331 million a day for big oil companies. Not taxing oil extraction is simply fiscally unsound.”

SB 1017 would impose a 9.5 percent severance tax on the extraction of oil from ground or water within California’s jurisdiction. Half the revenue would be distributed into an endowment and split three ways among the University of California, California State University and California Community College systems, while health and human services would get 25 percent and state parks would get 25 percent.

The idea has been kicking around here for many years, and this isn’t even Evans’ first bite at the apple: She carried SB 241 just last year, but it never made it out of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

A UC-Berkeley-based student group called Californians for Responsible Economic Development began circulating petitions for an oil-extraction-tax ballot measure last April; when they missed their signature-gathering deadline in September, they started anew with a revised measure. But in November, the group changed its name to Students’ Voice Now and announced it would partner with lawmakers to push for a bill instead.

“Tuition levels are vulnerable to a fluctuating economy,” said Harrison “Jack” Tibbetts, a UC Berkeley senior and author of the California Modernization and Economic Development Act. “The endowment avoids this reality by growing during a booming economy and protecting students and their families during the bust. Many other states who tax oil extraction use this same model and have a flourishing education system.”

But Gov. Jerry Brown has pledged not to raise or create any taxes without voter approval, and so isn’t likely to break his promise and embrace this bill, especially as he seeks re-election this year. Anti-tax groups quickly noted this amid their own opposition.

“Governor Brown has been very clear: now is the time for fiscal restraint and government efficiency,” said Beth Miller, spokeswoman for Californians Against Higher Taxes. “But Senator Evans clearly isn’t listening. Instead she is focused on raising taxes on hard-working Californians and creating a huge new, unaccountable government bureaucracy.

SB 1017 promotes a tax Brown already said he doesn’t support, and for which voters have no appetite, Miller said. “Just two years ago, voters approved more than $6 billion in higher taxes and earlier this year the governor announced the state had a $4 billion budget surplus. Voters want Sacramento politicians to hold the line on taxes and work to make government work better and smarter – not create more government and taxes.”

Posted on Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
Under: California State Senate, taxes | 4 Comments »

CA15: DeSaulnier doesn’t recall endorsing Corbett

Corbett-DeSaulnierState Sen. Ellen Corbett announced on her Facebook page Monday that State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier had endorsed her in her campaign to unseat Rep. Eric Swalwell – and this came as news to DeSaulnier.

“I was actually surprised to see it, but having said that, I just talked to her and she says I signed a card eight months ago,” DeSaulnier, D-Concord, said Tuesday. “I don’t remember that.”

“This is a tough situation because they’re both friends, and (former Rep.) Ellen Tauscher is a very, very good friend and she’s supportive of Eric,” DeSaulnier added. “I need to talk to Ellen (Corbett) and see that card. … I think right now there definitely was a miscommunication, and it may be my fault.”

I had called DeSaulnier because it seemed odd that he would take a side in the 15th Congressional District’s intra-party battle between Corbett, D-San Leandro, and Swalwell, D-Pleasanton. DeSaulnier is now running to succeed George Miller in the 11th Congressional District, but still has one more year ahead of him working alongside Corbett, the state Senate Majority Leader.

The crystal ball says: Dual endorsement to come.

UPDATE @ 5:42 P.M.: DeSaulnier just called back to say he spoke with Corbett today, and he indeed is making a dual endorsement of both her and Swalwell.

UPDATE @ 5:52 P.M.: Corbett was completely on the up-and-up here. Her campaign just tweeted out this photo of the endorsement card with DeSaulnier’s signature:
endorsement card

Posted on Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, Mark DeSaulnier, U.S. House | 20 Comments »

CA11: Alameda’s Tony Daysog is considering a run

Alameda Councilman Tony Daysog says he’s considering a run for the 11th Congressional District seat from which Rep. George Miller will retire at this year’s end.

And here I thought state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier – already endorsed by Miller and about a half-dozen other Democrats who might’ve sought the seat – was being over-cautious by rolling out another endorsement almost every day. (Well, maybe that’s still true.)

Tony DaysogDaysog, 48, of Alameda, said in an email Friday afternoon that he had just taken out papers to file for candidacy, and is exploring the possibility of a run.

“In the days leading up to the March 7th filing deadline, I will talk with Contra Costa County residents of the 11th Congressional [District] to gauge responses to an out-of-district person such as myself running for this important office,” he wrote.

Daysog, an urban planner, was an Alameda councilman from 1996 through 2006; placed last in a field of four in the June 2006 Democratic primary for what was then the 16th Assembly District seat; ran unsuccessfully for the Alameda mayor’s office in 2010; and was re-elected to the city council in 2012.

Daysog’s website says his priorities are securing individual freedoms by safeguarding individual rights from high-tech snooping; protecting small investors, including owners of 401(k) retirement accounts; protecting abortion choice; making college affordable without massive debt; and supporting small business owners to create jobs while supporting workers to pursue life-long learning.

Posted on Friday, February 14th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, George Miller, Mark DeSaulnier, U.S. House | 10 Comments »