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Will state GOP amend abortion, marriage stances?

Several California county GOP chairpeople are pushing to make sure the party doesn’t soften its stances against same-sex marriage, abortion rights, illegal immigration and gun control at its convention this September in Anaheim.

CA-GOP logoEight county chairs – including two from the Bay Area – wrote a memo to California Republican Party delegates last week urging support for the party’s current platform.

“We believe this is an excellent platform, reflective of our principles as a party,” the memo said. “It is one that Republicans have united around before and one that is consistent with Republican values nationwide. Tampering with the existing document at this juncture will divide the party and discourage the Republican voters.”

The chairs wrote that they expect the party’s drafting committee might amend four key planks at its meeting next Saturday, Aug. 1 in Los Angeles.

“There may be an effort to significantly change the language and message of three of these planks – Family/Marriage, The Right to Life, and Immigration. Also, we believe we may see an attempt to dilute a fourth plank – The Right to Bear Arms,” the memo said. “If this takes place, these four re-written and significantly weakened planks will be reflected in the Draft Platform. These changes would then make it to the Floor for a vote by all State Delegates at our Fall 2015 State Republican Convention.”

“It is crucial that these four planks be upheld rather than be incrementally chipped away,” the memo concluded. “This Platform will serve to motivate our numerous volunteers and voters who will be needed to Get Out the Vote and rally around our candidates in 2016.

The memo was signed by Alameda County GOP Chairwoman Lori Drake; Calaveras County GOP Chairwoman Vicky Reinke, Contra Costa County GOP Chairman Rohit Joy, Del Norte County GOP Chairwoman Karen Sanders, Fresno County GOP Chairman Fred Vanderhoof, Humboldt County GOP Chairwoman Annette De Modena, Mariposa County GOP Chairman Richard Westfall, and Siskiyou County GOP Chairman Richard Marshall.

The California Republican Party’s current platform says that because family is the foundation on which American society has grown and prospered, “we support the two parent family as the best environment for raising children, and therefore believe that it is important to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. We believe public policy and education should not be exploited to present or teach homosexuality as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle. We oppose same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption.”

On abortion rights, the current platform says the party supports “laws that protect unborn children from partial birth, sex selection, and tax-payer funded abortions, and abortions performed as a form of birth control or on minor girls without their parent’s notification and consent.”

“We believe that the question of abortion is a matter that should be left to the people through their elected representatives, not usurped by the United States Supreme Court, and believe that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be reversed,” the platform continues.

On immigration, the state GOP’s current platform says controlling the border and enforcing all current laws is the only way to be fair to those who’ve come to the country legally. English should be the government’s official language, it says, with all election ballots and other government documents in English only. It calls for a worker visa program with tamper-proof, biometric ID cards for participants and heavy fines for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. It calls for cross-deputization of state and county law enforcement personnel so immigrants who’ve come here illegally can be deported immediately upon completion of any criminal sentences. And it calls for “the termination of all federal and state benefits to illegal aliens other than emergency medical care.”

And on the right to bear arms, the state GOP’s current platform says “one of the first acts of a totalitarian society is to disarm its people. California’s gun control laws only serve to disarm law abiding citizens, not criminals. We oppose any further gun control legislation and support the right of all California citizens to own and bear guns and ammunition for any lawful purpose.”

The platform calls for statewide legislation setting reasonable criteria to let law-abiding citizens carry concealed weapons, and supports “allowing citizens to use deadly force to protect lives and property. We also support including all of these rights in the California constitution.”

“Finally, we call for the elimination of waiting periods to purchase firearms and instead support complete implementation of instant background checks,” the platform says.

See how these platform planks compare to polls of Californians’ public opinion, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, July 27th, 2015
Under: gun control, Immigration, Republican Party, Republican politics, same-sex marriage | No Comments »

CA17: Updated 2Q totals, and the ethics probe

Rep. Mike Honda’s campaign cash situation isn’t quite as dire as I first reported, although it still isn’t looking great.

A report filed this week with the Federal Election Commission shows Honda, D-San Jose, raised about $368,000 in the year’s second quarter while spending about $213,000, leaving him with about $360,000 cash on hand as of June 30 – or, less about $34,600 in debt, about $325,000 cash on hand.

But that’s somewhat better than the $265,000 cash on hand that his campaign estimated when I asked them earlier this month. Compared to the $1 million that Democratic challenger Ro Khanna had in the bank as of June 30, it’s a three-to-one margin rather than the four-to-one margin it had seemed.

Honda’s campaign told me a key member of its finance team was in labor at the time that I sought the figures earlier this month, so their estimates were a bit off. (Here’s hoping everything went well…)

Khanna’s report shows he still has much of the Silicon Valley elite on his side, with contribution from prominent venture capitalists like John Doerr, Bill Draper and Steve Krausz as well as executives like Integrated Archive Systems’ Amy Rao, Nexenta’s Tarkan Maner and a smattering of names from Salesforce and Google.

But Honda’s contributions include money from the corporate PACs of Intel, Oracle, Applied Materials, Yahoo!, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems and Microsoft, so it’s not as if he’s being shunned by the tech world.

Honda remains the pick of the Democratic establishment. He had contributions this past quarter from the campaign committees or PACs of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., as well as Reps. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo; Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose; Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park; John Larson, D-Conn.; Joaquin Castro, D-Texas; and Joe Crowley, D-N.Y.

In other CA17 news, San Jose Inside’s Josh Koehn reported this week that the Office of Congressional Ethics has been investigating the complaint Khanna supporters made last fall about allegedly improper coordination between Honda’s campaign and his official staff.

Koehn’s story links to a transcript of OCE’s interview with Ruchit Agrawal, a former Honda staffer and whistleblower. Agrawal was arrested in December 2013 after allegedly threatening violence against Honda staffers, but he was never charged and he has denied making any such threats.

Honda’s chief of staff apologized in October for her “oversight” in coordinating with Honda’s campaign, though she insisted she didn’t use official resources or time to do so. It’s not surprising that OCE is following up on the complaint, and it’ll be interesting to see what the office’s conclusion turns out to be.

Posted on Friday, July 17th, 2015
Under: Mike Honda, U.S. House | 5 Comments »

More from Jeb Bush’s San Francisco event

We’ve posted my story on Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s visit to San Francisco startup Thumbtack this morning, but as usual, there’s lots more in the notebook than there was room in the story.

Jeb Bush arrives at Thumbtack 7-16-2015 (photo by Josh Richman)Thumbtack cofounder and CEO Marco Zappacosta, 30, a Libertarian from Atherton, asked Bush what his motivation was for running for president. Bush quipped that the crowd might not realize that his father and brother served as president, a fact which “adds complication to my life” by creating expectations. He said he’s running “not to fulfill some sort of dynastic notion,” but to help the nation achieve the greatness of which he believes it’s on the cusp, and without which many Americans will suffer.

He added that he’s not “angry” like some of his rivals seem to be. “They’re good at preying on people’s angst and legitimate concerns about the future of our country.”

Bush praised the “well-intentioned” efforts of President Barack Obama to bring cutting-edge technology into government. “The reason it isn’t working is because all this institutional crud, if you will, needs to be cleaned out.”

That means not only reducing regulations and bureaucracy, but also addressing an educational system which spends more per student than any other in the world yet leaves only 40 percent of high-school graduates college- or career-ready. “We have to build quality, build capacity for people to achieve success.”

One Thumbtack employee identified himself as a Miami native and gun owner, but said he’s troubled by Bush’s lack of support for adequate gun controls including universal background checks for all firearms purchases. Bush said Florida’s background checks are “helpful,” but “that should be driven by the states;” he also noted that although Florida has a high number of concealed-carry permits, its crime rate fell during his gubernatorial tenure due to “a certainty of punishment when people commit a crime with a gun.”

“We may have to disagree on this,” Bush told the worker.

Bush said he believes in equal pay for women who do the same work as men, and said laws already are in place to let workers challenge discrimination in court.

Jeb Bush at Thumbtack 7-16-2015 (photo by Josh Richman)Afterward and outside, Bush told reporters he’s touched by the tragedy of Kathryn Steinle’s July 1 slaying on San Francisco’s Pier 14 allegedly at the hands of Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a 52-year-old felon who earlier had been deported five times. But he said fiery, anti-Mexican rhetoric from rival Donald Trump isn’t the answer: “I don’t think it’s appropriate as a potential president to prey on that fear.”

Asked about rival Rick Perry’s comment that Trump is offering “a toxic mix of demagoguery and nonsense,” Bush replied that Perry has been running the kind of principled campaign of policy proposals “that I’m respectful of.”

Bush also said “sanctuary cities” like San Francisco that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities should not be given federal law enforcement funding.

After Bush’s departure, Zappacosta said the issues likely to sway this election are less those of specific interest to Silicon Valley and more the broad areas of job creation, education and national security. As a company that represents “hundreds of thousands of small businesses across the country,” he said, Thumbtack was a great venue for Bush to discuss fostering small-business innovation. “It’s clearly a topic that he’s thought hard about.”

Posted on Thursday, July 16th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election | 1 Comment »

Jeb Bush names some Silicon Valley favorites

In advance of Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s upcoming visit Thursday to a San Francisco tech startup (and his fundraisers Wednesday night in San Francisco and Thursday in Woodside, the former Florida governor has made a brief video naming some of his Silicon Valley favorites.

As the campaign notes, “SPOILER: Jeb is the first politician in history to side against apple pie.”

Posted on Wednesday, July 15th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election | No Comments »

Good news for California beer & spirits lovers

There’s good news from Sacramento this week for Californians who enjoy a sip of this or a shot of that.

beer tastingGov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed into law AB 774 by Assemblyman Marc Levine, which will allow limited beer tastings at certified farmers’ markets.

“This bill recognizes that at farmers’ markets brewers meet consumers face-to-face and build a relationship,” Levine, D-San Rafael. “AB 774 allows tastings where brewers are already selling their products at certified farmers’ markets.”

The new law, which also lets nonprofits receive donated beer as items for auction, will give farmers’ market managers full discretion on whether or not to allow beer tastings; limit tastings to one brewery per day per market; allow tastings only in a controlled, cordoned-off area; and limit tastings to eight ounces per adult customer.

Brown one year ago signed Levine’s similar bill to allow wine tastings at farmers’ markets.

Levine also made headway this week with his bill to create a new license for craft distillers so they can sell up to three bottles of distilled spirits per person per day at an instructional tasting; hold private events at the distillery; and have ownership in up to three restaurants. AB 1295 was approved Tuesday by the Senate Governmental Organization Committee.

Current state law prevents distillers from selling their products directly to consumers.

“This historic legislation changes Prohibition-era laws for craft distillers to reflect the modern marketplace,” Levine said, letting craft distillers “operate in a similar manner as wineries and breweries under existing law. This bill helps craft distillers to be competitive with large out-of-state distillers. Growth of the craft distillery industry means jobs in our local communities.”

Bottoms up!

Posted on Wednesday, July 15th, 2015
Under: Assembly, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | No Comments »

Draft Biden 2016 names California chapter leader

A Riverside County woman will lead the California effort to draft Vice President Joe Biden into the race for 2016’s Democratic presidential nomination.

Linnie Frank BaileyDraft Biden 2016 on Wednesday announced the creation of state chapters across the nation, and named Linnie Frank Bailey of Corona, as the California chapter’s leader.

“I am supporting Joe Biden for President because of his experience and ability to understand the issues of everyday Americans,” Bailey, 59, said in a news release. “I think he can bring civility back to our political discourse with a focus on strengthening our country rather than dividing us.”

A 2008 Washington Post story outlined Bailey’s evolution from a small donor to Barack Obama’s campaign to a local and regional grassroots organizer to a Democratic National Convention delegate. She is a communications consultant, magazine editor and youth program coordinator.

“In addition to our work in Iowa and New Hampshire, we have solidified numerous state chapters across the nation with many more in the works,” Draft Biden 2016 Executive Director William Pierce said in the release. “Following the Organizing for America model, we are working to build a grassroots base in anticipation of Vice President Joe Biden’s announcement.”

A story in the New York Times this week implied Biden, still shaken by the recent death of his son, hasn’t made up his mind about his political future but has not made preparations for a presidential run.

Posted on Wednesday, July 15th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, Joe Biden | 5 Comments »

CA17: Honda and Khanna are busy as bees

Rep. Mike Honda and his Democratic challenger, Ro Khanna, are keeping busy at keeping themselves in the public eye this week.

honda.jpgHonda, D-San Jose, hosted a public town hall Tuesday in San Jose with Ted Osius, the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam. This month marks the 20th anniversary of normal diplomatic relations between the two nations, and San Jose – and the 17th Congressional District – have significant Vietnamese populations.

Honda also was among 72 House and Senate Democrats who wrote to President Barack Obama on Monday urging him to fight for expanded Social Security benefits.

“We have a duty, as a civil society, to take care of our vulnerable populations, including older Americans. They have worked a lifetime to earn these benefits and we must make sure that there is sufficient support for our seniors,” Honda said in a news release Tuesday. “Would you be accepting if I told you your grandparents… or even you, or your parents will be forced into poverty? Even as we face challenges today, we also know we are facing a looming crisis that needs to be handled now – over half of today’s working Americans are not expected to have sufficient resources once they retire.”

And Honda issued a news release noting he met this week with state officers of DECA, a student organization focused on career and technical education for high school and college students. Among them were Albert Zeng of Monte Vista High School, DECA’s state president; Zuhayer Quazi of Mission San Jose High School, the vice president of public relations; and Jacinta Cheng of Mission San Jose High School, the group’s Silicon Valley vice president.

“Speaking with these motivated young people showed me the amount of potential we have here in Silicon Valley,” Honda said in his news release. “They surprised me with their astute questions related to specific legislation about technical education. The combination of their civic engagement and interest in technical education points to a very bright future for Silicon Valley.”

These certainly aren’t the only constituents with whom Honda meets, but you might recall that one of the angry constituents Khanna showcased at a news conference last August was a teenager who complained Honda hadn’t had the time to talk with her during a D.C. visit.

Ro KhannaMeanwhile, Khanna – a former Obama administration Commerce Department appointee from Fremont – on Tuesday helped inaugurate his new employer’s Water Innovation Center in Santa Clara.

Khanna in January became vice president of strategic initiatives for Smart Utility Systems. The company, which already had offices in Irvine and in Noida, India, creates software to help water districts and utilities increase conservation efforts, better manage resources and make operations more efficient, from usage monitoring and leak detection to customer engagement and workforce management.

The company said its new Santa Clara facility “will provide a hub in Silicon Valley to help maintain the company’s leadership in the evolving utilities landscape.” Tuesday’s event included the unveiling of a new low-cost water reduction program for utilities, and a new mobile app that will let consumers partner with utilities to identify water waste and increase conservation.

Posted on Wednesday, July 15th, 2015
Under: Mike Honda, U.S. House | 5 Comments »

Barbara Boxer lands book deal for memoir

Publisher’s Weekly has the info:

Mauro DiPreta at Hachette Books has acquired world English rights to a memoir by California Senator Barbara Boxer. The Art of Tough: Inside the Battle for America’s Soul will, the publisher said, be a “no-punches-pulled” account of the author’s rise from her working-class Brooklyn roots to her Senate career, detailing the “challenges, heartbreak, and enduring sense of purpose that drove her.” Boxer, a Democrat who has served in Congress for 34 years, was represented by Kimberley Cameron. The book is set for spring 2016.

So Boxer’s book will go on sale while the primary to succeed her is in full swing. No word on the deal’s price tag.

Boxer is no stranger to publishing. With her daughter, Nicole Boxer, she authored 1993’s “Strangers in the Senate: Politics and the New Revolution of Women in America.” She contributed to 2001’s “Nine and Counting: The Women of the Senate.” And with Mary-Rose Hayes, she authored the 2006 novel, “A Time to Run” (bringing “been-there nuance to the backbiting, hazardous personal disclosures and naked power mongering of California and Washington politics,” Publisher’s Weekly said at the time) and its 2009 sequel, “Blind Trust.”

Posted on Tuesday, July 14th, 2015
Under: Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senate | 5 Comments »

Bush, Carson & Fiorina are Bay Area-bound

As the Republican presidential field keeps on expanding, the Bay Area continues to attract candidates in search of campaign cash.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will hit Los Angeles on Tuesday and Pasadena and Santa Barbara on Wednesday before arriving in the Bay Area.

In San Francisco, he’ll attend a reception Wednesday evening at the home of Cavalry Asset Management founder John Hurley and his wife, Kamilla. Tickets cost $2,700, but co-hosts can pay $10,000 to gain access to a separate photo reception while co-chairs can pay $27,000 for both events plus two tickets to a private VIP event with Bush in Los Angeles on Aug. 11.

And in Silicon Valley, Bush will attend a luncheon reception at midday Thursday in the Village Pub in Woodside; tickets for this cost the same as for the San Francisco event.

Politico’s Playbook says Bush’s Bay Area visit also will include hailing a ride with Uber in order to underscore the importance of innovation and disruptive technology to create jobs, as well as a tour of San Francisco-based Thumbtack, a startup that helps users connect with local professionals from disc jockeys to house painters.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson is scheduled to have a late-afternoon fundraiser next Thursday, July 23 at an undisclosed home in Alameda County, hosted by the Frederick Douglass Foundation of California. Tickets cost $250 per person.

And Carly Fiorina – no stranger to the Bay Area, as a former Los Altos Hills resident and former Hewlett-Packard CEO – will attend a fundraising reception on Monday, Aug. 10 at the Piedmont home of real estate brokerage founder Bill Cumbelich and his wife, Sara. Tickets start at $250; $1,000 buys entry into a private reception with a photo opportunity; and $2,700 admits the contributor to a host-committee roundtable.

Posted on Monday, July 13th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, campaign finance | 1 Comment »

Pelosi cites California as need for highway fund

California’s crumbling roads are a prime example of why Congress must pass long-term legislation to reauthorize and reinvigorate the Highway and Transit Trust Fund, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Friday.

Nancy Pelosi“With scant days left until the Highway Trust Fund expires in the middle of the summer construction season, Republicans have wasted this entire week tying themselves in knots to protect the Confederate Battle Flag,” Pelosi, D-San Francisco, said in a news release.

“Our nation’s infrastructure needs are too serious for another Republican manufactured crisis, or another meager, short-term extension,” she said. “We must have a long-term bill to invest in our roads, transit and bridges, and protect the good-paying jobs of hundreds of thousands of construction workers across the country.”

Pelosi cited Department of Transportation data showing that 68 percent of the Golden State’s roads are in mediocre or poor condition. This forces drivers to spend almost $13.9 billion a year – an average of $586 per motorist – on otherwise unnecessary automotive repairs, creating costs for commuters and businesses moving their goods to market. And almost 28 percent of California’s bridges also structurally deficient, too.

“Americans are tired of the potholes, the traffic delays, and the danger of our crumbling roads and bridges,” Pelosi said. “Hard-working American families deserve a long-term Highway bill that invests in world-class infrastructure and creates good-paying jobs.”

Posted on Friday, July 10th, 2015
Under: Nancy Pelosi, Transportation, U.S. House | No Comments »