CoCo supervisor forum to air May 7 and 9

An election forum featuring two candidates for Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors will air on public access television on May 7 and May 9.

The Contra Costa Council sponsored the lunchtime debate with candidates Tomi Van de Brooke, president of the Contra Costa Community College District Board of Trustees, and Danville Mayor Candace Andersen.

The pair answered questions earlier today in Lafayette about a wide range of topics including pension reform, water policy, tax initiatives and county budget trade-offs. And they sparred over campaign finances and whether positions on social issues matter in the local, nonpartisan race.

The third candidate, solar technology professor Sean White of Lafayette, was out of town on business and could not attend.

Held in Lafayette, the debate will air at 8 p.m. on May 7 and 10 a.m. on May 9 on Contra Costa Television. For Comcast customers, CCTV is on Channel 27; Astound, Channel 32; and AT&T U-verse, Channel 99.

For information, visit www.contracostatv.org.




Contra Costa supervisor candidate debate set for April 23

Contra Costa District 2 supervisor candidates Candace Andersen and Tomi Van de Brooke will face off at the April 23 lunch meeting of the Contra Costa Council.

Van de Brooke, an Orinda resident and elected member of the Contra Costa Community College District, and Andersen, mayor of Danville, will answer questions and discuss their platforms.

The third supervisor candidate, Sean White of Lafayette, is out of town and cannot attend.

The Contra Costa Council is a nonprofit membership and nonpartisan organization that advocates for economic development throughout the East Bay.

I am the moderator and the event is open to the public.

Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. followed by the program at noon. It will be held at the Lafayette Veterans Memorial Building, 3780 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette.

Tickets are $45 for non-members and $35 for members. For reservations, contact the Contra Costa Council at www.contracostacouncil.com or 925-246-1880.



East Bay events round-up

Here’s a look at upcoming political events:


Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, is the first congressman to host a mobile video town hall.

On Tuesday, starting at 6:16 p.m., residents may sign up for the video conference through Visible Vote’s free application for Facebook and smartphones including iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

Viewers may watch the congressman answer questions real-time posed from those who have signed up for video conference. Many elected officials already deploy the use of telephone town halls, which allow thousands of people to listen and ask questions via the telephone.

But this is the first opportunity for constituents to see Garamendi on their phones as he answers their questions.

Learn how to set up Visible Vote is available at http://visiblevote.us/get-started. php. A video on how Visible Vote works is available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=HulPk2dJ3OA.


Contra Costa Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Gayle Uilkema will deliver the annual State of the County Address at a Feb. 10 luncheon sponsored by the Contra Costa Council.

The luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 45 John Glenn Boulevard, Concord.

Tickets at $35 for council members and elected official and $45 for nonmembers.

The council is a nonpartisan public policy advocacy organization funded through membership of businesses and other local groups.

For more information, visit www.contracostacouncil.com, e-mail info@contracostacouncil.com or call 925-246-1880.

Pleasant Hill

UC-Berkeley Statewide Database Director Karin MacDonald is the keynote speaker at the inaugural Feb. 22 lunch meeting of Community Connections, a lecture series sponsored by Contra Costa Supervisor Karen Mitchoff.

MacDonald leads the research center that will process Census 2010 data and geographic information system mapping for use in the state’s redrawing of its congressional and state legislative boundaries.

For the first time, an independent commission of residents will draw the boundaries after voters stripped legislators of the job.

The luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. at Contra Costa Country Club, 801 Golf Club Road in Pleasant Hill.

A lunch ticket costs $35. Prices for tickets to the full series vary from $1,000 to $100, depending on the type of membership. Proceeds benefit Mitchoff’s officeholder account, a non-campaign fund managed by elected officials.

San Francisco

Experts will discuss California’s unsustainable public pension system at a March 9 forum sponsored by the Bay Area Council.

The event, entitled, “Is California Headed for a Super Storm of Unfunded Pension Liabilities,” will feature San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster; California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility President Marcia Fritz, and Stanford professor and former state Assemblyman Joe Nation.

The forum will be held from 8:30 a.m.-11 a.m. at the offices of SNR Denton, 525 Market Street, 26th Floor, in San Francisco.

“California’s public pension system has been described by some as a ‘time bomb’ or a ‘tsunami’ and by others as an over blown hoax,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council. “This forum is a chance to get down to the facts and see how much we actually owe, and to examine how to make reforms to get the state back on track.”

For more information, contact www.bayareacouncil.org or call 415-946-8710.


Woodward will headline Contra Costa event

Bob Woodward

Bob Woodward

Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and author Bob Woodward is the keynote speaker at Contra Costa USA 2011, an annual daylong conference sponsored by the Contra Costa Counncil.

Woodward’s speech is titled, “Inside the Obama White House,” and follows the release of his latest book, “Obama’s Wars.”

The conference, set for Jan. 27, also features former San Francisco Mayor and Assembly Speaker Willie Brown Jr., economic forecaster Christopher Thornberg and Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters.

Walters and Thornberg will speak during the morning session. Brown Jr. is the luncheon featured speaker. Woodward will deliver the evening presentation.

Contra Costa USA opens at 8 a.m. at the Concord Hilton, followed by presentations and lunch. The evening’s activities begin at 5:30 p.m. with a reception and dinner at 7 p.m.

The council is a nonpartisan, econoimc devleopment and public policy advocacy organization supported by members’ dues.

Ticket information will be available after Jan. 3 at www.contracostacouncil.com, 925-246-1880 or info@contracostacouncil.com.


Political events round-up

Check out these upcoming political events:


Contra Costa political consultants Melody Howe Weintraub and Lisa Tucker will speak at the Thursday night meeting of the Lamorinda Democratic Club.

Tucker, president of the Tucker Group, and Weintraub, leader of Winning Results, will offer analysis of political issues and races facing voters around Contra Costa, California and the nation.

The club’s social begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Orinda Community Church, 10 Irwin Way, Orinda.

The business meeting starts at 7:15 p.m., followed by the program at 8 p.m.

For more information, visit www.ldclub.org.

San Francisco

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will speak on climate change, American leadership and women’s issues at the Friday evening meeting of the Commonwealth Club.

The programs will be held at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, 55 Fourth St., in San Francisco. Doors will open at 5:45 p.m., followed by a reception at 6 p.m. and the program at 7 p.m.

Non-member tickets are sold out but a limited number of $75 and $100 tickets are still available for members.

Nonmembers may purchase an annual membership on the phone for $110 and then buy a ticket for this event. For information, call 415-597-6705.


The Golden State Rally for America TEA Party is set for Saturday at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and includes numerous speakers such as KSFO radio personality Brian Sussman, California Republican Party Vice Chairman Tom Del Beccaro and Republican candidates.

Food, music and food will be available for purchase.

The rally is free but it will cost $8 for parking. The park gates open at 10 a.m.

For more details, visit www.pleasantonteaparty.com.


Common Cause Regional Director Derek Cressman is the featured speaker at the Oct. 20 meeting of the Diablo Valley Democratic Club.

Cressman’s talk is titled, “Citizens United: The Victory for Big Everything,” referring to a recent U. S. Supreme Court decision that overturns prohibitions on corporate spending in federal elections.

Cressman, formerly Common Cause’s assistant director for election reform, also coordinates the organization’s work on a national popular vote and organizes around such election reforms as vote-by-mail. He is a leading expert on democracy issues and money in politics. He founded and directed TheRestOfUs.org, a nonprofit watchdog that raised awareness of the role of big money in politics and founded the environmental telephone company Earth Tones.

The event begins at 7 p.m. at the United Democratic campaign headquarters, 2737 Clayton Rd., Concord. For information, call 925-946-0469 or go to www.dvdems.org.


Transbay Joint Powers Authority Executive Director Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan will speak at the Oct. 20 luncheon of the Contra Costa Council.

She will outline the Transbay Transit Center project under construction in downtown San Francisco, being dubbed the “Grand Central of the West.”

The event will be held at the Hilton Concord Hotel, 1970 Diamond Blvd., Concord, starting at 11:30 a.m.

For information and tickets, visit www.contracostacouncil.com.


U.C. Berkeley law professor John Yoo is the featured speaker at the evening Nov. 3 meeting of the Blackhawk Republican Women.

Yoo, author of “Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush,” generated considerable controversy for his role in U.S. policy on torture at the time he worked as deputy assistant attorney in Department of Justice.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Blackhawk Country Club, 599 Blackhawk Club Drive in Danville. A tie is not required but no denim.

Tickets are $25 and include hors d’oeuvres and no-host cocktails.

For tickets, contact Mrs. Wright by Nov. 1 at 2000 Victorine Rd., Livermore, CA 94551-9400, jwright736@earthlink.net or 925-828-0771.


DeSaulnier talks on budgets and dead governors



State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, delivered his annual keynote speech at the luncheon meeting today of the Contra Costa Council. Watch the full video below.

The senator spoke on a broad range of subjects. For the first time in his career, he even used Power Point presentation in an effort to focus his often rambling style.

Among his comments:

  • Predicted the budget impasse may soon end, citing an afternoon scheduled caucus conference call and an order to appear in Sacramento on Monday. The other driving factor may be that without a budget, Caltrans will soon have to start shutting down construction projects.
  • The budget stumbling blocks include the governor’s demand for a hard spending cap, a restriction Democrats fear will hurt education and social programs. The governor also wants a bigger rainy day fund and a deal with SEIU that would require the the state’s clerks, janitors and other service workers to contribute more to their public employee pensions.
  • Described his disappointment at the Legislature’s failure to seriously consider the budget reforms developed by California Forward and passed out of committees in both the Senate and the Assembly. In response, he has created a campaign committee that will work to place the reforms on the ballot in 2012. They include performance-based budgeting, a requirement that all legislation for new programs identify a source of funds and a multi-year budget.
  • Announced his work on what he called “red teams,” collaborations between the state and the county to help businesses keep their doors open. “We know the best way to create jobs is to keep the ones you have,” he said.
  • On the subject of dead governors, DeSaulnier admits to a certain amount of hostility when he looks at the portrait in the Capitol of the father of California’s nearly 100 year initiative process, Hiram Johnson.