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Paying to work on a political campaign? Sort of.

The Obama campaign veterans now consulting with Democratic House candidate Ro Khanna have created a stir by charging young campaign newbies $5,000 each for a chance to learn at their knee and then get a five-week, unpaid campaign job somewhere, Buzzfeed reports.

Run by (Jeremy) Bird and (Mitch) Stewart’s consulting company, 270 Strategies, the new program’s emphasis on placing paying customers in essentially volunteer roles on Democratic campaigns is atypical in the campaign training industry, and some Democrats say it sets a dangerous precedent. The firm’s first-ever “270/360 Training Intensive” program is scheduled to begin in September.

The program’s website describes a six-week program, consisting of five days of “intensive” campaign training at 270’s Chicago HQ featuring Stewart and Bird and other “architects of the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns,” followed by five weeks of volunteer work on an “an important Democratic campaign in the United States.”

Participants must pay $3,500 for the five days of training, and another $1,500 to be placed in the volunteer campaign job, though 270 Strategies said it will offer scholarships and discounts on a case-by-case basis. Applications are due next Thursday, July 31.

Asked Friday whether any of these trainees might wind up working for Khanna’s campaign to unseat Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, 270 Strategies replied it has “not yet made decisions about campaign assignments.”

Khanna campaign spokesman Tyler Law said “I don’t know what their plans are, but we’re definitely excited about having 170 active fellows” working unpaid campaign jobs, drawn mostly from local high schools and colleges. “Every fellow that we have has been recruited by our campaign, or has shown up at one of our campaign offices because they are ready to work for someone who will provide forward-looking leadership for the 17th District.”

Honda campaign spokesman Vivek Kembaiyan declined to comment Friday.

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

Posted on Friday, July 25th, 2014
Under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Jeremy Bird’s Twitter account was hacked

Jeremy Bird, the rock-star Democratic political consultant who was President Obama’s national field director in 2012 before co-founding the 270 Strategies firm, apparently had his Twitter account hacked today.

Or he’s decided that peddling get-rich-quick schemes is more lucrative than political strategy.

Here’s a screen shot from just a few minutes ago:

(Click to enlarge)
Jeremy Bird hacked

Among Bird’s current clients is Ro Khanna, the former Obama Administration official who’s challenging Rep. Mike Honda in the 17th Congressional District.

Posted on Friday, July 11th, 2014
Under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

CA17: Honda and Khanna battle for GOP votes

With two Democrats having survived the 17th Congressional District’s primary to advance to November’s general election, the battle is on for the district’s Republican hearts and minds.

Weeks after Jim Cunneen – the last Republican to represent Silicon Valley in Sacramento – endorsed Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, for an eighth term, Republican former Rep. Ernie Konnyu has now cast his lot with Democratic challenger Ro Khanna.

Ernie Konnyu“I have been in touch with Ro and his staff and look forward to help unite Republican and independent voters who supported me in the western portion of the Congressional district with the thousands of voters already backing Ro Khanna,” Konnyu, 77, of San Jose, said in a statement issued Friday.

“My aim is to deliver to the House of Representatives a new bi-partisan Congressman from Silicon Valley ready to lead for jobs and greater Silicon Valley successes,” he said. “I trust that Ro will be good for America and great for Silicon Valley.”

Konnyu was a South Bay Assemblyman from 1980 to 1986, when he was elected to serve what was then the 12th Congressional District. He served only one House term, primaried out in 1988 by a more socially moderate Republican, Tom Campbell.

Honda finished first in last month’s primary with 48 percent of the vote, and Khanna – a former Obama administration official from Fremont – finished second with 28 percent. Republican Vanila Singh of Fremont got 17 percent and Joel VanLandingham of San Jose got 7 percent, and so they were eliminated.

Only 19 percent of the district’s voters are Republican while 44 percent are Democrats and 32 percent state no party preference, but that GOP fifth of the electorate could be a crucial bloc if either campaign can mobilize it. While many had assumed Republicans might favor Khanna – generally seen as being a smidgen to the right of the ultra-liberal Honda, or at least, more attuned to the tech sector’s needs – a poll in May found 19 percent of GOP voters favored Honda while 18 percent favored Khanna.

Singh sent a Fourth-of-July email to her supporters Friday saying that in recent weeks she has been “reaching out to voters, volunteers, and donors to keep this exciting and impressive movement that we have begun in motion! I am humbled by the endless amounts of phone calls I have been receiving both locally and nationally. This proves that we have laid the organizational foundation that will endure for those who share these ideals.”

“As we celebrate our independence today, I hope you can join me in preserving their vision by continuing to fight for our beloved country,” Singh wrote. “These next couple months are just the beginning of an inspirational movement and it is imperative that we keep a presence at this very pivotal time in our nation. I want you to remember that these campaigns are about the people – make sure your voice is loud this November!”

The message, however, made no mention of an endorsement.

Honda and Khanna appear to be equally matched in campaign money to spend from now to November. You can bet that some of that money will be spent wooing the Singh and VanLandingham voters who are now up for grabs.

Posted on Saturday, July 5th, 2014
Under: Mike Honda, U.S. House, Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

AD16: Glazer blasted for appeal to GOP voters

A Democratic Assembly candidate’s appeal to Republican voters has drawn a stern rebuke from state GOP Chairman Jim Brulte.

Steve Glazer, an Orinda councilman and former political advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown who now is seeking the 16th Assembly District seat, sent out a mailer recently urging Republicans to “put an effective fiscal conservative in the state Assembly” by voting for him.

The mailer included statements of praise for Glazer from three Republicans who hold local elected offices: Orinda Mayor Sue Severson, Lafayette Mayor Don Tatzin and Moraga Councilman Dave Trotter.

Click to enlarge:
Glazer Republican mailer

“The California Republican Party believes that a Republican can’t win in our Assembly District,” Severson said in her statement on the mailer. “Don’t throw away your vote. Vote Steve Glazer for Assembly.”

But the California Republican Party has included 16th Assembly District candidate Catharine Baker, a Dublin attorney, in its “Trailblazers” program – a recruitment, training and advisory program for state legislative candidates.

“A pro-tax liberal Democrat like Steve Glazer can try all he wants to deceive Republican voters to vote for him, however, as Chairman of the Republican Party, I speak on behalf of California Republicans,” Brulte said in a statement issued Friday morning. “I can assure you that the CRP, the Alameda Republican Party and the Contra Costa Republican Party are doing everything possible to win the 16th Assembly District. We are confident Republican Catharine Baker will be the top vote-getter in the primary. A Republican will win the 16th Assembly District and Catharine Baker is that Republican.”

The 16th District’s voters are about 40 percent Democrats, 32 percent Republicans and 22 percent nonpartisan. Two other Democrats – Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti and Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich – are also in the race, and experts believe either Glazer or Sbranti will finish with Baker in the top two in June 3’s primary.

Posted on Friday, May 23rd, 2014
Under: Uncategorized | 15 Comments »

John Burton agrees with Grover Norquist. Sort of.

Conservative political advocate Grover Norquist, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, also heads up a Ronald Reagan Legacy Project that aims to name something after the former president and California governor in each of the nation’s 3,141 counties or their equivalent.

And California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton thinks that’s a nifty idea.

May 19, 2014

Grover Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform
722 12th Street, NW
Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20005

Dear Mr. Norquist,

I’m very concerned that our political philosophies may be starting to merge.

I commend you on wanting to name three thousand items in the country after Ronald Reagan. As you know, I was in the state legislature when Ronald was governor and I fondly remember his signing the largest tax increase in the more than hundred year history of our state. That Reagan tax increase stood as the state’s largest until of course the early 1990s, when Governor Pete Wilson signed a $7.3 billion dollar tax increase.

I also fondly remember Governor Reagan signing the bill that liberalized abortion, the Therapeutic Abortion Act.

I think it’s wonderful that you’re willing to honor somebody who has such a liberal progressive record.

Peace and friendship,

John Burton
Chairman
California Democratic Party

Posted on Monday, May 19th, 2014
Under: Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Jennifer Granholm & Duf Sundheim on midterms

It’ll be my honor to moderate the Commonwealth Club of California’s “Midterm Election Forecast: Politics in 2014” next Monday, May 12, featuring former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and former California Republican Party chairman Duf Sundheim.

Check-in starts at 6 p.m. for the 6:30 program at the Lafayette Veterans Memorial Hall, 3780 Mt. Diablo Blvd.; tickets costs $15 for club members, $25 for non-members or $10 for students with valid ID, and are available online.

“Join our political pundits as they make predictions for this fall and discuss the key questions regarding this year’s race,” the club’s promo says. “Who are the major political players to watch? What does the political landscape look like just six months from Election Day? Will the Republicans win back the Senate? How might the rest of President Obama’s presidency look following this November?”

The participants and I have been swapping ideas on what to cover, and I can tell you confidently that it’ll be a lively program. Hope to see you there.

Posted on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014
Under: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Sheriff Joe Arpaio to visit Silicon Valley next week

Joe Arpaio, the controversial sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., will speak to the Conservative Forum of Silicon Valley next Tuesday, May 6, in Mountain View.

ArpaioTickets, costing $30 for forum members and $40 for non-members, are available online; doors open at the IFES Portuguese Hall, 432 Stierlin Road, at 6:15 p.m. and the program starts at 7 p.m.

The forum – perhaps one of the final bastions of conservatism in an increasingly blue region – welcomes Arpaio, 81, as a hero. First elected to his office in 1992 and since nicknamed by supporters as “America’s toughest sheriff,” Arpaio might best be known for his stance over the past decade as an outspoken advocate for stronger enforcement and laws against illegal immigration. He also has undertaken an investigation into the validity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

But a federal judge twice has ruled unsafe living conditions and inadequate health care at Arpaio’s jails violate inmates’ constitutional rights; he’s been accused of abusing his authority for political purposes against local officials; and he has been sued by the U.S. Department of Justice and by other plaintiffs for racial profiling.

Posted on Thursday, May 1st, 2014
Under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Hillary Clinton joins Political Shoe Hall of Fame

Hillary Clinton’s brush with flying footwear yesterday got us thinking about great shoes of political history. (Oh, just shut up and go with it.)

Naturally, we all went to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe on his delegate desk at the United Nations in 1960; we were stunned to find out that there is neither film footage nor a photograph of this moment. (No, he didn’t wield the shoe during his “We will bury you” speech at the podium, of which footage exists.)

Another reporter suggested the Imelda Marcos shoe collection, circa 1986.

President George W. Bush showed quick reflexes in December 2008 by dodging shoes hurled by an Iraqi journalist in Baghdad.

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard was the target in October 2010:

In October 2011, Egyptians in Cairo’s Tahrir Square held their shoes aloft in protest as Hosni Mubarak gave a speech:

Likewise in a January 2012 protest against German president Christian Wulff in Berlin:

And that brings us to yesterday’s moment as Hillary Clinton gave a speech in Las Vegas:

Posted on Friday, April 11th, 2014
Under: Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

CA17: GOP candidate Vanlandingham speaks out

San Jose Republican Joel Vanlandingham decided to enter the 17th Congressional District race because he “got a little frustrated with all the politics,” he said Thursday afternoon.

Joel VanlandinghamFremont Democrat Ro Khanna’s challenge to incumbent Mike Honda, D-San Jose, has been making headlines for almost a year, and though Fremont Republican Vanila Singh entered the race at the start of 2014, none of them impress Vanlandingham.

The 47-year-old father of three said none of them seem willing or able to address “what’s going on in this country … the complete lack of accountability and perpetuation of the problems.”

He said Honda’s seven terms in Congress and Khanna’s stint in President Obama’s Commerce Department haven’t led them to any concrete achievements or plans on behalf of the district’s constituents. “It just doesn’t make any sense, the things that they say and do.”

Instead, he said, the district needs someone who’ll be accountable for what they actually accomplish – and that takes knowing what constituents want and need. He noted he’s half-Latino and was raised in a working-class family, and has worked as a tech-sector job recruiter for almost 20 years.

“I understand the people who actually live here, who are striving to build something better for their children,” he said.

Both Vanlandingham and Vinesh Singh Rathore, a product counsel at Google, filed candidacy papers shortly before last Friday’s deadline, perhaps radically altering the electoral calculus for June’s primary election.

Vanlandingham – who finished a distant second to incumbent Democrat Ron Gonzales in San Jose’s 2002 mayoral election – isn’t concerned that the other 17th District candidates have raised enough money to drown him out.

“This is not about money for me, I don’t need to raise $6 million so I can put TV commercials on – I think the people who live in this area are much more intelligent than that,” he said. “If you want donate some money, donate it to a charity – I don’t need it, I don’t want it.”

Posted on Thursday, March 13th, 2014
Under: Uncategorized | 9 Comments »

Dueling petitions on the Chabot Gun Club’s fate

Activists are petitioning for and against an effort to shut down or significantly restrict the Chabot Gun Club, one of the East Bay’s most accessible and most used public outdoor shooting ranges.

The club, located in Chabot Regional Park, is open four days a week, never before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. Its lease with the East Bay Regional Parks District to operate for the marksmanship range in Chabot Regional Park expires this year, and critics’ MoveOn petition to the EBRPD board reads:

Require a schedule for specific, stringent limits on noise as a condition of any operation of a gun range in Anthony Chabot Regional Park after the lease of the Chabot Gun Club expires this year. Your website says, “We acquire, manage, and preserve natural and cultural resources for all to enjoy now and into the future. Our parks are ideal for healthful recreation and environmental education. We invite you to enjoy hiking, biking, picnicking, horseback riding, camping, fishing, golfing, and nature study in our parks.” Consistent with your statement, users of the parks and neighbors deserve to be able to enjoy the parks and their homes and yards without being assaulted by the sound of gunfire, which because of increased use of the gun range and the way the sounds reverberate in the canyons and hills, is incessant and intrusive sometimes for hours at a time.

But club supporters’ petition reads:

We support the Chabot Gun Club marksmanship range as a safe place to shoot. This is a valuable community resource in that it promotes firearms training and safe use among local citizens.

The latter petition – which has more than twice as many signatures as of now – bears a warning that says, “MoveOn volunteers reviewed this petition and determined that it may not reflect MoveOn members’ progressive values. MoveOn will not promote the petition beyond hosting it on our site. Click here if you think MoveOn should support this petition.”

Posted on Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »