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Bernie Sanders will be in California next week

After the first Democratic presidential debate Tuesday night in Las Vegas, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is California-bound.

Sanders will head to Los Angeles for a fundraising reception Wednesday evening at the Avalon Hollywood nightclub, where he’ll “discuss a wide range of issues including income and wealth inequality and the disappearing middle class, immigration reform, getting big money out of politics, criminal justice reform, and his college affordability plan.” Tickets cost $25, $50 or $100.

Sanders trails Hillary Clinton by 16 points in an average of nine recent national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics; he trailers her by six points in Iowa, but leads her by 11 points in New Hampshire.

Posted on Friday, October 9th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election | No Comments »

SD9: Robert Reich endorses Nancy Skinner

A state Senate battle between two like-minded progressives rolls on in the East Bay, with some new heat from a prominent liberal’s endorsement.

Nancy SkinnerFormer U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, now a UC-Berkeley professor, endorsed former Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner this week in next year’s 9th State Senate District race. Skinner, D-Berkeley, is vying with former Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda, in this race – two labor-backed liberals with no daylight between them on most notable issues.

“Nancy Skinner is a proud progressive leader who is not afraid to take on powerful corporate interests and fight for our families,” Reich said in Skinner’s news release. “We need a fighter like Nancy Skinner in the State Senate.”

Skinner, who was term- limited out of the Assembly late last year and now is an energy and transportation senior fellow at UC-Davis, said she’s honored to have Reich’s support. “Not only is he a personal hero, he is one of the most thoughtful, compelling and effective progressive leaders in America. Reich has dedicated his career to combating injustice and making a real difference in the world.”

Skinner less than two weeks ago announced her endorsement by 12 current state Senate Democrats. But Swanson began rolling out his own endorsements at the start of this past summer, which have included nods from both the assemblymen now representing the district; Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; Teamsters Joint Council 7; and 9th District incumbent Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, who’ll be term-limited out next year.

Skinner had about $922,000 ($925,176, less $2,878 in outstanding debt) banked for this race as of June 30, while Swanson had about $50,000 ($80,387, less $30,443 in outstanding debt).

Republican Richard Kinney, San Pablo’s vice mayor, also is running for the seat; he had about $750 banked as of June 30. But in a district that’s 63 percent Democrat to 8 percent Republican, it’s hard to imagine him making it into the June primary’s top two in order to advance to November.

A third prominent Democrat, former Assembly Majority Leader and current Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, dropped out of this race late last month.

“Over the past six months, I am proud to say that we had successfully begun to build a campaign based on local support, community action and alliances with like-minded groups in Sacramento, Chan wrote in message to supporters. “Unfortunately, political races are increasingly dependent on money and less on grassroots support and action. It has become clear that the window of time I have to raise the necessary funds will be difficult given my responsibilities to my constituents. It has also become clear that the needs of my family must come first.”

Chan noted that although she can use some of the money she had raised for this race for her supervisorial campaign committee and the rest for like-minded candidates and causes, she will honor individual contributors’ requests for refunds.

The 9th District is a swath of Contra Costa and Alameda counties from Rodeo in the north to San Leandro in the south, including Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Piedmont, Emeryville, Richmond, El Cerrito, San Pablo, Hercules, Kensington and other communities.

Posted on Friday, October 9th, 2015
Under: California State Senate, Nancy Skinner, Sandre Swanson | No Comments »

Riverside’s Takano creates Craigslist ad for Speaker

Rep. Mark Takano, D-Riverside, gets the quick-thinking snark award for his response to news that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, was withdrawing from the race to be the next House Speaker.

He created a Craigslist-style help-wanted ad.


Are you an American Citizen? Do you have experience negotiating hostage situations? Are you ready for the challenge of a lifetime? Then this job is for you!
We are seeking an extremely patient and motivated person to lead the U.S. House of Representatives.


-Keeping the government open
-Avoiding a default on U.S. debt
-Maintaining women’s access to health care
-Managing multiple investigative committees aimed at attacking Hillary Clinton
-Explaining to the “Freedom Caucus” the concepts of compromise and democratic governance

-Proven ability to work with irrational people who pursue narrow priorities at the expense of millions of others
-Proficiency in Word, Excel and PowerPoint
-Babysitting experience STRONGLY PREFERRED
-No Congressional experience necessary

Please e-mail resume and an outline of your plan to TheNextFrankUnderwood [at] gmail [dot] com.


craigslist ad

I couldn’t find the ad on Craigslist, so I checked with Takano’s office. “It was just a mock-up,” communications director Josh Weisz said this evening. “Craigslist deletes that stuff pretty quickly.”

The two-term Takano has practiced Jedi-level snark before. The former high-school teacher in 2013 took a red pen to a draft letter on immigration policy that Republican lawmakers were circulating, pointing out flaws, grading it with an “F” and asking them to “see me after votes.”

Posted on Thursday, October 8th, 2015
Under: U.S. House | No Comments »

Cisco’s Chambers to co-chair Sundheim Senate bid

Cisco Systems Executive Chairman John Chambers will be a co-chair of Republican Duf Sundheim’s U.S. Senate campaign.

Sundheim, 62, a former California Republican Party chairman from Los Altos Hills, issued a statement noting his campaign is focused on “‘Solutions through Innovation.’ No one has done more in the last two decades to change the way we live, work, learn and play than John Chambers.”

Chambers helped grow Cisco from $70 million when he joined Cisco in January 1991, to $1.2 billion when he assumed the role of CEO, to $47 billion in FY15, Sundheim noted.

John ChambersChambers said the nation needs “strong, principled leaders in Washington, DC who can bring together people from all political perspectives to craft workable solutions to our country’s most pressing problems. Duf Sundheim is that kind of leader.”

“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with Duf for two decades, and I’ve seen how much he cares about the future of California and is inclusive of every one of its citizens,” Chambers added. “At a time when trust in our leaders is low, Duf will bring honesty, integrity, and compassion to the United States Senate. I’m honored to support his campaign and proud to call him my friend.”

Chambers has given generously to Republican causes and co-chaired John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. He said a few weeks ago that he believes the GOP has moved too far to the right, Business Insider reported.

“I’m a moderate Republican — an endangered species – who likes Democrats, so that’s even worse,” Chambers quipped on stage to Box CEO Aaron Levie, a guest at the Boxworks tech conference in San Francisco.

Asked how he feels about Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Chambers paused and then replied, “Let’s be very candid. Americans like to be led from the middle. We like to be led by people who have experience. What I’d like to see from the Republican party is a moderate Republican who’s really in touch on the social and the immigration issues who has had tremendous track record in their state … I’d like to see a moderate Republican governor.”

Sundheim last week named former U.S. Secretary of State, Treasury and Labor George Shultz, whom he counts as a mentor, as another of his campaign’s co-chairs.

Sundheim is vying with fellow former California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro; Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside; California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a Democrat; and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana, in next June’s top-two primary to succeed U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. Another Republican, Santa Monica businessman Al Ramirez, is exploring a run.

Posted on Thursday, October 8th, 2015
Under: U.S. Senate | No Comments »

State Sen. Steve Glazer hires Antioch’s mayor

Antioch Mayor Wade Harper has joined state Sen. Steve Glazer’s staff as a senior field representative in the district office.

Wade HarperHarper, 51, has been a councilman since 2010 and mayor since 2012. He was a law enforcement officer from 1998 to 2013, rising through the ranks as an officer, detective and sergeant in the Emeryville Police Department before finishing as lieutenant for the Tracy Police Department.

He joins two other local elected officials on Glazer’s staff. Lafayette School District Governing Board member Teresa Gerringer is Glazer’s district director, and Pittsburg Vice Mayor Ben Johnson is a senior field representative.

“The elected officials on my staff are actively in touch with the issues of the communities they represent, so they are excellent resources for me and my team,” Glazer, D-Orinda, said in a news release.

Glazer also announced he has hired Elizabeth Patton of Oakland as his constituent services coordinator; she was an intern on Glazer’s campaign earlier this year.

Glazer’s 7th State Senate District includes the Lamorinda area, Walnut Creek, Concord, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Pittsburg, Antioch, Oakley and Brentwood in Contra Costa County, as well as Alameda County’s tri-valley area including Dublin, Pleasanton, Livermore and Sunol.

Posted on Wednesday, October 7th, 2015
Under: California State Senate, steve glazer | No Comments »

Gavin Newsom raises money with Train tickets

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is raising money for his 2018 gubernatorial campaign by raffling off tickets to a Grammy-winning band that prides itself on its San Francisco pedigree.

“We’re putting on a small concert with Train on November 3 in San Francisco, and I’m hoping you’ll be able to join me!” Newsom wrote in an email to supporters Wednesday. “When Train played the Bay Area this summer, it was for a crowd of 22,000 – but this will be a small crowd and an intimate venue (not a bad seat in the house!). We’ll get to hang out with the band before the show, and I’ll also introduce you to some of my family and friends – and Jen will be there, too, of course!”

A donation of $5 or more automatically enters the contributor to win two tickets, plus travel and hotel costs for winners coming from out of town.

Formed in San Francisco in 1993, Train has had platinum-album hits including “Meet Virginia” (1998), “Drops of Jupiter” (2001), “Calling All Angels” (2003), and “Hey, Soul Sister” (2009) – the latter from the album “Save Me, San Francisco,” of which the title track is a paean to the city by the bay.

Posted on Wednesday, October 7th, 2015
Under: Gavin Newsom | 3 Comments »

CA17: Khanna outraises Honda again, though closer

Congressional candidate Ro Khanna raised only slightly more money than incumbent Rep. Mike Honda in this year’s third quarter, but has more than twice as much cash banked for the race, according to both campaigns.

Both Democrats want to represent the 17th Congressional District, which lies in the heart of Silicon Valley and is the first district outside Hawaii in which Asian-Americans make up a majority of voters. Khanna, a Fremont resident who served for two years in President Barack Obama’s Commerce Department, lost last year’s bruising, nationally watched election by 3.6 percentage points as Honda held on for an eighth term.

Khanna collected about $380,000 – mostly in the quarter’s last 10 days – and spent about $103,000 from July 1 through Sept. 30, leaving him with about $1.3 million cash on hand and about $41,000 in debt, according to his campaign’s news release.

“These past few months my priority has been, of course, my wedding and honeymoon,” Khanna said in the release. “So, I am humbled to still see the outpouring of support. It’s a signal that this district wants a new beginning.”

Despite being embroiled in an ongoing House Ethics Committee investigation into whether his office and campaign blurred or crossed their lines, Honda, D-San Jose, raised about $350,000 and spent about $160,000 – including $26,000 on legal fees – during the third quarter, campaign spokesman Adam Alberti said Tuesday.

That left him with about $545,000 cash on hand as of Sept. 30, though his campaign declined to provide the amount of outstanding debt he has. At midyear, Honda had reported almost $35,000 in debt.

“Overall the pace of fundraising is steady, and we are on plan to have the resources necessary to fend off what know will be a big-money challenger who outspent the congressman 3-to-1 in his last attempt,” Alberti said.

Neither candidate’s full report to the Federal Elections Commission is available yet; the filing deadline is Oct. 15.

Khanna outraised Honda in the year’s first and second quarters, too.

Posted on Wednesday, October 7th, 2015
Under: Mike Honda, U.S. House | 4 Comments »

DeSaulnier bill would lower student loan rates

Student loan borrowers would be able to refinance their interest rates at the rate offered to banks by the Federal Reserve, under a bill announced Monday by Rep. Mark DeSaulnier.

DeSaulnier, D-Concord, held an event at the University of California, Berkeley to roll out H.R. 3675, the Student Borrower Fairness Act, which would offset its costs by increasing corporate tax rates on companies that pay their CEOs or highest paid employees more than 100 times the median compensation of all employees.

Mark DeSaulnier“It is patently unfair that the same big banks that toppled our economy borrow from the federal government at extremely low interest rates while student borrowers are struggling to pay back their loans,” DeSaulnier said in a news release. “Meanwhile, people of all ages are buried in student loan debt which holds them back from being able to buy a car, purchase a home, save for retirement, or start a family. This bill is a first step toward making sure our students can emerge from under their piles of crippling debt and enter tomorrow’s highly-trained workforce.”

Congress acted on student loan rates in 2013, but the changes only applied to new borrowers.

UC-Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks applauded the bill. “College students and their families depend on student loans to access higher education,” Dirks said in the congressman’s release. “At Berkeley, we are proud that 61 percent of our undergraduates graduate without debt and the average debt of students who do borrow is only $17,584, much lower than the national average. This legislation would benefit all borrowers because it will help them manage their debt and repayment.”

James Donahue, president of St. Mary’s College of California in Moraga, said his college “is built on the idea that education has the power to transform lives. The Student Borrower Fairness Act will provide opportunities for all students to pursue their dreams of a higher education, and ultimately highly successful lives. Student loan debt is a national issue and reducing it must be a national priority.”

DeSaulnier’s office said outstanding student loans now total more than $1.3 trillion, surpassing total credit card debt. More than 37 million Americans have outstanding student loan debt, with an average outstanding balance of $29,400 for those who borrowed to get a bachelor’s degree. From 2004 to 2012, student loan debt rose an average of 14 percent per year.

Posted on Monday, October 5th, 2015
Under: education, Mark DeSaulnier, U.S. House | 4 Comments »

Jerry Brown signs beer-bike bill, goes for a spin

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Sunday creating inspection and safety standards for pedal-powered quadricycles – sometimes called “beer bikes” – on which up to 15 people can tool around town knocking back drinks.

Off the Chain beer bikeCompanies in cities including Sacramento, San Diego and Palm Springs already have been offering guided tours through tourism and entertainment areas, often including stops at bars and restaurants. But until now they’ve been licensed by host cities without any state involvement, creating some uncertainty about whether the car-sized rigs can lawfully use city streets because there was no existing vehicle definition that covered them, according to a legislative analysis. And while they could stop at bars, no alcohol could be consumed on board.

State Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, pedaled to the rescue with SB 530, which expands the definition of a pedicab to include a device which is primarily pedal-powered, has a seating capacity of not more than 15 passengers, and cannot travel faster than 15 miles per hour.

The new law requires this type of pedicab to have basic safety equipment including seat belts, seat backs, brakes, reflectors, headlights, and grab rails, and to be operated by a 21-year-old adult with a valid California driver’s license. Existing devices have until January 1, 2017, to retrofit with this equipment. The quadricycles still must be authorized by local ordinance and cannot operate on a road with a speed limit greater than 30 mph, and any accidents in which they’re involved must be reported to the California Highway Patrol.

But perhaps most important to keeping the party a’pedalin’, the law now provides for allowing consumption of alcohol on board so long as the locla municipality allows it and the operator provides an on-board adult safety monitor; both this monitor and the driver must have completed the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s licensee education program.

The Assembly and state Senate both passed the bill unanimously last month.

But Brown didn’t just sign the bill Sunday. Oh, no – he signed it in style.

Brown signs SB530

Brown signed his name to the new law aboard a quadricycle run by Sacramento’s Off The Chain Bike Bus Tours and then – accompanied by his wife, Anne Gust; his top aide, Nancy McFadden; and Senator Pan – immediately took off on a ride.

Cue the Chris Christie jokes here.

Posted on Monday, October 5th, 2015
Under: California State Senate, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | 2 Comments »

White House confirms upcoming Obama visit to SF

As previously reported here, the White House now confirms President Barack Obama will return to the Bay Area next week to raise money for his fellow Democrats.

“On Friday, the President will travel to the Seattle, WA area to attend an event for Senator Patty Murray and the Washington State Democratic Party and a DNC event. Later in the day, the President will travel to the San Francisco, CA area for a DNC event. The President will remain overnight in San Francisco,” a White House official said. “On Saturday, October 9, the President will attend a DNC event and travel to the Los Angeles area for DNC and DSCC events. Further details about the President’s travel to Washington and California will be made available in the coming days.”

No comment from the White House on the president’s potential “come to Yeezus” moment.

Posted on Friday, October 2nd, 2015
Under: Barack Obama, Obama presidency | 5 Comments »