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Bill advances to allow abbot’s burial at monastery

The abbot who founded the Bay Area’s only Orthodox Christian monastery can be buried on that monastery’s grounds, under a bill approved Thursday by the Assembly.

Archimandrite Theodor MickaState Sen. Ellen Corbett this month gutted and amended her SB 124 – which formerly required state agencies to give preference to clean-energy bidders who certify all their equipment was made in California – to address the plight of Archimandrite Theodor Micka, abbot of the Holy Cross Monastery in Castro Valley.

Micka, 76, is terminally ill and wishes to be buried on the monastery’s bucolic grounds. But state law prohibits burying un-cremated human remains outside of cemeteries, so the county registrar would be unable to issue a permit for disposition of the body. Corbett’s newly amended bill makes a special exception in this particular case; the bill still must be approved by the state Senate and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Holy Cross Monastery serves Orthodox Christians of all ethnic backgrounds; along with the monks’ daily prayers, they also provide weekly services, baptisms, weddings and memorial services for the region’s Orthodox Christians. Corbett, D-San Leandro, issued a news release saying she’s pleased to help honor the abbot’s final wishes.

“As a resident of the 10th State Senate District, Abbot Theodor has provided religious and personal guidance to persons of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds for many decades,” she said. “It certainly seems appropriate that the California State Legislature compassionately grant Abbot Theodor this last wish so that fellow monks and future visitors may pay him their respects at the Castro Valley monastery where he prayed, worked and lived during his latter adult monastic life.”

Students at the Stanford Law School Religious Liberty Clinic worked with the monastery to present the issue to Corbett.

UPDATE @ 1:35 P.M. TUESDAY 3/25: Gov. Brown signed this bill into law today.

Posted on Thursday, March 20th, 2014
Under: California State Senate, Ellen Corbett | 1 Comment »

CAGOP14: Dublin’s Catharine Baker a ‘trailblazer’

An East Bay Assembly candidate was among those shown off as the cream of the “California Trailblazers” crop Friday at the California Republican Party convention in Burlingame.

Modeled on the congressional “Young Guns” program cofounded by in the 2008 election cycle by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, California Trailblazers is a recruitment, training and advisory program for state legislative candidates. And gaining ground in the legislature is a key GOP goal this year, party chairman Jim Brulte and vice chair Harmeet Dhillon noted Friday.

Catharine Baker (photo by Karl Mondon)Catharine Baker, a Dublin attorney seeking the 16th Assembly District seat, said the trailblazers program has taught her how to “run a great ground game, and get our messaging out to the community in the most effective way.”

“It’s going well, really terrific,” she said of her campaign, adding she’s feeling energized by support from across the political spectrum despite the three Democrats also in the race. “I’m a sharp contrast from all three of them … and a Republican very different from what you see going to Sacramento.”

The Democrats in the race are Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich and Orinda Councilman Steve Glazer. Incumbent Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, is term-limited out. The district’s voter registration is 39.7 percent Democrat, 32.4 percent Republican and 21.5 percent nonpartisan.

Baker stood at a news conference with other California Trailblazers candidates from around California, as well as with Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff and Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway.

“Could we ask for a better candidate? I don’t think so,” Conway said of Baker after the news conference. “She has worked tirelessly and I’m so impressed with her.”

Posted on Friday, March 14th, 2014
Under: Assembly, Republican Party, Republican politics | No Comments »

Crush something in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tank

Ladies and gentlemen, the former governor of the great state of California:

You’re welcome.

Posted on Friday, March 14th, 2014
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger | 1 Comment »

CA11: DeSaulnier’s endorsement blitz continues

My inbox cries out for mercy.

There have been only three business days in the past four weeks on which Mark DeSaulnier has not announced another endorsement in his bid to succeed Rep. George Miller in the 11th Congressional District.

DeSaulnierBetter safe than sorry? Sure, the Democratic state Senator from Concord thought he had punched his ticket to Washington in 2009 when Rep. Ellen Tauscher resigned to take a State Department post; despite having Tauscher’s and Miller’s endorsements, he lost that special election to fellow Democrat John Garamendi.

So ever since announcing his candidacy for this seat even as Miller was announcing his retirement, DeSaulnier has sought to flood the field. And those first few days of endorsements were important, as they included support from several people who were thought to be possible rivals for the seat, and from Miller himself.

Since then, other candidates have emerged: retired immigration judge Tue Phan of Danville; disability rights and employment advocate Cheryl Sudduth of El Sobrante; oil refinery employee Jason Ramey of Concord; Alameda Councilman Tony Daysog; and attorney Ki Ingersol of Benicia. The first is a Republican and the latter four are Democrats; Daysog and Ingersol live outside the district, though that’s no barrier to candidacy.

So DeSaulnier has kept cranking out the endorsements – other Democrats, labor unions, and many other non-surprises. Today’s might take the head-scratching record: “Former Massachusetts Governor and Democratic Presidential Nominee Mike Dukakis Endorses Mark DeSaulnier for Congress.”

“George Miller has been an extraordinary public servant and a leader in Congress who has stood up time and time again for middle class America. Mark will provide us with that same kind of inspired leadership,” Dukakis, the 1988 nominee, said in DeSaulnier’s news release.

DeSaulnier replied that “it’s an enormous honor to receive this endorsement from such a renowned an celebrated member of the Democratic Party. Governor Dukakis’ support means a great deal to me personally. I greatly admire his intelligence and determination, and few leaders have accomplished more over their career. I’m grateful for his support.”

Sure, some people remember Dukakis’ name, short as the American political memory might be, but how many votes will this sway in the 11th District, or how many rivals will it intimidate?

Whatever. I’ll stand by for Walter Mondale to weigh in.

Posted on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
Under: George Miller, Mark DeSaulnier, U.S. House | 11 Comments »

Jerry Brown rakes in some Silicon Valley cash

Gov. Jerry Brown’s re-election campaign reported almost a third of a million dollars in Silicon Valley and Bay Area campaign contributions Tuesday.

Among those listed on the filing as having made contributions Monday:

Venture capitalist Reid Hoffman, Mountain View – $54,400
Michelle Yee (Hoffman’s wife) – $54,400
Angel investor Ron Conway, Danville – $54,400
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Santa Cruz – $27,200
Patty Quillin (Hastings’ wife) – $27,200
California Teachers Association, Burlingame – $27,200
TechNet California PAC, Los Gatos – $17,000
Qualcomm Inc., San Diego – $10,000
Attorney Jon Streeter, Berkeley – $10,000
Attorney John Keker, San Francisco – $10,000
Venture capitalist Nicholas Pritzker, San Francisco – $10,000
Venture capitalist Joseph Pritzker, San Francisco – $10,000
Qatalyst CEO Frank Quattrone, Los Altos Hills – $10,000
Denise Foderaro (Quattrone’s wife) – $10,000
Former U.S. Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C. – $1,000

Perhaps not coincidentally, Democratic rainmaker and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff on Monday reported a $20,657.82 “in-kind contribution of fundraising event expenses” for Brown’s campaign.

Posted on Tuesday, March 11th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, campaign finance, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | No Comments »

AD20: GOP’s Jaime Patino builds campaign

Jaime Patino doesn’t dislike Assemblyman Bill Quirk; he just thinks he’s wrong.

Jaime PatinoPatino is a Republican challenging Quirk, D-Hayward, for the East Bay’s 20th Assembly District seat. He said he ran into Quirk at a recent Rotary breakfast.

“I don’t question his integrity at all, I think he’s a good man,” said Patino, 42, of Union City. “I just think that we come from two very different philosophies of the role government plays in people’s lives.”

They probably agree on most social issues, he acknowledged – Patino says he’s a mind the public’s pocketbook, not private bedrooms type of Republican. But Patino said Quirk and other Democrats are putting too much emphasis on higher taxes and spending in order to solve California’s economic issues, while he believes private-sector job creation and education that focuses on modern job skills is a better way to go.

Patino said last year’s BART strike reinforced his desire to run.

“Our whole Bay Area delegation was just silent,” said Patino, who uses BART to commute to his UC-Berkeley job as a research financial administrator. “Who’s looking out for the regular guy? They’re more afraid of the unions than of their constituents, the people who elected them.”

Patino – a lifelong Union City resident who now chairs its Human Relations Commission -said he also was deeply shaken by the killings of two young men last August about three blocks from his home; he said his has nephews just a few years younger than those victims. “Those kids need more role models, more input from people who look like them and come from where they come from.”

“And I want to show people there are Latino Republicans, and we’re not the boogeyman,” he added, noting he’ll be campaigning heavily in the Latino community. “They can’t call me a country-club Republican.”

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

Posted on Thursday, March 6th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Assembly, Bill Quirk | 1 Comment »

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.

Swalwell1

Swalwell2

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 »