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Brown to meet with Netanyahu in Silicon Valley

Gov. Jerry Brown will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week in Silicon Valley to sign a trade agreement expanding California’s partnership with Israel on economic development, research and trade.

Brown’s office says the agreement – to be signed Wednesday at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View “will boost economic, cultural and academic cooperation between California and Israel, with an emphasis on water conservation, alternative energy, cybersecurity, health and biotechnology, education and agricultural technology.”

The pact also will let Israeli companies access the state’s Innovation Hubs (iHUB), a network including 16 clusters of research parks, technology incubators, universities and federal laboratories, plus economic development organizations, business groups and venture capital funds.

Brown this past Wednesday met in San Francisco with Portugal’s President Cavaco Silva and with Harold Forsyth, Peru’s ambassador to the United States. In the latter meeting, he signed an agreement with Peru to strengthen cultural, economic and academic ties and tackle shared challenges, including climate change.

Posted on Friday, February 28th, 2014
Under: economy, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | No Comments »

Gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly in Dublin

Gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly is meeting with fellow Republicans in the East Bay on Wednesday night, and let’s all hope he’s not packing heat.

Tim DonnellyThe reception for Donnelly – co-hosted by the Tri-Valley Republican Women Federated, the Frederick Douglas Foundation of California, the New Republicans, and the East Bay Tea Party – from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Coco Cabana in Dublin coincides with a Los Angeles Times story that says the handgun Donnelly tried to take through airport security in 2012 was not registered to him.

“He will decline to comment on this,” Donnelly campaign manager Jennifer Kerns said Wednesday afternoon. “That information in that story is two years old and was written about when that incident first happened. Old news…”

The Assemblyman from Twin Peaks had a loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun in his carry-on bag as he tried to board a plane Jan. 4, 2012 at the Ontario airport. He pleaded no contest later that year to misdemeanor charges of carrying a loaded firearm in public without a concealed weapons permit and possessing a gun in an airport; he paid a $2,125 fine and is still on his three years of probation.

The Times nailed Donnelly earlier this month for apparently violating that probation by firing borrowed handguns at a Santa Cruz shooting range while on the campaign trail. San Bernardino District Attorney Michael Ramos said last week he won’t charge Donnelly with a probation violation.

I’d ask Donnelly about the unregistered handgun tonight, but it’s my birthday and my wife is taking me out to dinner – no work for me this evening! Instead, you can go: The event is free and requires no RSVP.

“Come on out and meet Tim Donnelly in a relaxed, personal setting after work. He wants the chance to talk with his fellow conservative Republicans in our 16th (Assembly) district, and to hear about what’s important to you,” the invitation says. “This is your chance to share your priorities with him, and to learn how he intends to help us preserve our cherished way of life here in the Tri-Valley, stop the spending spree in Sacramento, lower our taxes, protect our guns and our borders, and restore and defend our God-given liberty!”

Posted on Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Tim Donnelly | 4 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 »

CA15: Corbett accuses Swalwell of dishonesty

State Senator Ellen Corbett has accused Rep. Eric Swalwell, whom she’s challenging in this year’s election, of a “lack of integrity and honesty” over pay he accepted for the time in which the federal government was shut down last October.

Yet it seems Swalwell kept his word.

This dustup started when KTVU aired a report this week following up on whether Bay Area lawmakers had kept their word about rejecting or giving away their pay during the shutdown. The report said Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, “sent a letter to the House’s Chief Administrative Officer asking to have his pay withheld. But we found out he did get paid.”

Ellen CorbettCorbett, D-San Leandro, posted a statement on Facebook saying that’s a problem.

“This lack of integrity and honesty by Mr. Swalwell is very disappointing,” she wrote. “The public has a right to expect honesty from their elected officials. Thousands of unemployed Californians who are struggling to make ends meet after their benefits were terminated by Congress deserve better.”

However, in the Sept. 30 letter that KTVU cited, Swalwell had asked that “until federal employees who must work during a federal government shutdown are paid, I not be given my paycheck.” Swalwell announced this in a news release the same day: “I will refuse my paycheck until federal employees who must work during the shutdown are paid.”

And that seems to be what happened. Swalwell’s office noted Thursday that the House’s Chief Administrative Officer had notified Swalwell at the time that his salary would be placed in escrow for any pay periods that occurred while the government was shutdown. The government re-opened Oct. 16, Congress voted to give back pay to all federal workers, and the federal workers were paid that month; on Nov. 1, Swalwell was paid his monthly salary for work performed during October.

Posted on Friday, February 14th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, U.S. House | 8 Comments »

Mary Hayashi rolls out her state Senate campaign

Former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi has rolled out her campaign for the 10th State Senate District, presenting a top-shelf team of advisors and poll numbers that claim she’s a serious contender.

Mary HayashiBut that team will have to find a way to convince voters it’s no big deal that Hayashi, 47, of Hayward, was convicted two years ago of shoplifting $2,450 worth of clothes from San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus. That certainly seemed to be an uphill battle when the three-term Democratic assemblywoman ran for an Alameda County supervisorial seat later in 2012, and finished third out of four.

Now Hayashi will be competing the 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.

“I am excited about working on improving the lives of people in the 10th Senate District,” Hayashi said in a news release. “Whether it is improving access to healthcare, raising the quality of education or creating better economic opportunities, I want to work hard for the families and individuals in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties.”

Josh Pulliam of JPM&M will serve as Hayashi’s general consultant; Daniel Weitzman will handle fundraising; Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners will handle polling and research; David Gould is the campaign treasurer; and Roger Salazar of Alza Strategies will serve as media advisor.

One thing she has in spades is campaign cash. 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.

What she seems to lack is party support. At a regional caucus meeting last weekend, local Democrats 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.

Hayashi’s release touted a poll by Lake which found she got a plurality of votes over her potential rivals, and that after all candidates’ bios were read, her lead expanded to 11 points over her nearest opponent. This poll was conducted Feb. 4-6 among 405 likely primary voters in the district, with a 4.9-percentage-point margin of error, the campaign said, but no copy of the poll script or detailed results were provided.

Posted on Friday, February 14th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Bob Wieckowski, California State Senate, Mary Hayashi | 11 Comments »