Would-be AG Chris Kelly pitches high-tech policing

Chris Kelly of Palo Alto might not have the name recognition or fundraising prowess of some of his rivals for the Democratic nomination for state Attorney General, but he’s sharp enough to know what people like: CSI.

Chris Kelly Yep. Just like “CSI,” “CSI: Miami,” “CSI: New York” and the forthcoming “CSI: Atkinson, Neb.” (no, not really), the former Facebook chief privacy officer is calling for opening up a biiiig can of high-tech all over California’s crime problems.

“In today’s fast-paced environment, California deserves better than ineffective policies that are out of touch with ever-changing technology and fail to keep our communities safe,” he said in his news release. “As the next Attorney General of California, I will apply an innovative, fresh, and tech-savvy approach to fighting crime and protecting the citizens of California.”

His “Innovation First: Using Technology to Fight Crime” plan includes:

    improved use of advanced forensics to solve crime, which means cutting-edge training and equipment so state crime labs can help law enforcement close more cases with DNA, drug identification, surveillance and other methods;
    standardizing criminal mapping systems and databases across the state so local agencies can work together more effectively to evaluate crime data and respond more accordingly;
    developing and deploying an effective global positioning system to widen and improve supervision and monitoring of parolees, along with better training and performance standards for parole and probation officers and supervisors;
    working with local, state and federal agencies to prevent Internet fraud and identity theft; and
    fixing law enforcement’s outdated computer systems to save taxpayers millions of dollars now being wasted.

“Crime, coupled with misused resources to fight crime, not only costs lives but also precious resources and money at a time when California is in dire need of economic strength and stability,” he said. “My innovative plan provides both increased economic stability and public safety.”

Ah, but how to pay for it?

Kelly’s rivals for the Democratic nomination include San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris; Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark; Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara; Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance; and former Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo. State Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, is the only declared candidate seeking the GOP nomination.


Hahn to raise LtGov $$$ in Oakland, Florez in LA

A1361-047As the jibber-jabber over whether to confirm Abel Maldonado as lieutenant governor continues (the LA Times’s George Skelton says today that it’s a must for Democrats), the Democratic contenders in next year’s election are continuing to raise money full steam ahead.

In fact, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn will be here in Oakland this Thursday, Dec. 10, for a pair of fundraisers orchestrated by Oakland City Attorney John Russo. First there’s a breakfast event, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. in the Cathedral Building Gallery at 1615 Broadway, at $150 a head; later, from noon to 2 p.m., it’s a luncheon at Levende East, 827 Washington St. in East Oakland, at $300 a head.

Russo’s invitation says that Hahn, a councilwoman since 2001 and part of a Los Angeles political dynasty – she’s the sister of former mayor James Hahn, daughter of former county supervisor Kenneth Hahn and niece of former city councilman Gordon Hahn – “is a courageous leader who provides a voice for those that most need to be heard.”

He praised her work against gangs, for modernizing LAX and to cut truck pollution at the Port of Los Angeles, and said she understands ho government affects “real people and small businesses.”

“I have worked with Janice Hahn for many years. I know she will be a great ally and supporter for Oakland. Janice will bring the leadership to Sacramento that local communities actually need,” Russo wrote. “I believe Janice Hahn will bring necessary change to the state capitol. Please join me in supporting her. Come meet her for yourself.”

Dean FlorezMeanwhile, Hahn’s rival for the Democratic nominiation, state Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, D-Shafter, is working Southern California for much bigger bucks. His fundraiser one week from tonight, on Monday, Dec. 14, at the Regency Club in Los Angeles is co-hosted by Hollywood luminaries such as Martin Sheen, Jerry Zucker and David Geffen; tickets start at $2,000 and range up to $13,000 for event co-chairs.

Three days after that, on Thursday, Dec. 17, Florez’ fundraising tickets are more modestly priced but the visuals should be much better – it’s “One HOT December Night” of salsa dancing at trendy nightclub The Mayan in Los Angeles, with tickets running from $20 up to $6,500.

Florez was elected to the state Senate in 2002, and served in the Assembly for four years before that.


Gavin Newsom launches online campaign ad

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s gubernatorial campaign today launched the first video ad of the 2010 Democratic primary race, a 60-second spot urging a constitutional convention to overhaul how the state governs itself.

“It’s time for a new direction in California. For too long, Californians have been victim to a broken system that leads to stalemate year in and year out,” Newsom said in his news release. “It’s time for real reform in Sacramento, reform that will put our state back on the path to opportunity and prosperity. A constitutional convention is the first step toward this larger goal.”

It could be an effective message for a campaign predicated on representing youthful vigor and change, setting itself apart from that of Attorney General and former two-term governor Jerry Brown – out with the old, in with the new, and all that. It even avoids mentioning Brown’s name. Then again, Newsom risks sending a message to voters that he’s not prepared to govern unless California radically reworks Sacramento’s rules; whether or not our system is inherently broken, voters may or may not latch onto the “I can be a great governor if…” meme.

The campaign says this spot is the first in a series to be released over the next two months, reaching more than half a million California Democratic primary voters via email, Facebook, and Twitter. And it’s to be followed by an online policy “wiki” incorporating voters’ input, as well as online organizing drive.

Cops’ endorsements, money flow Torrico’s way

Assembly Majority Leader and Democratic candidate for state Attorney General Alberto Torrico of Newark announced today that the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) voted Saturday to endorse him.

PORAC, a federation of local, state and federal law enforcement associations, claims about 62,000 members statewide. In Torrico’s news release, PORAC President Ron Cottingham said Torrico “has made protecting the public his top priority. He is the best choice for California’s top law enforcement official.” Said Torrico: “I can think of no more important backing than the support of front-line law enforcement personnel.”

I don’t usually spend much time noting endorsements here — and I hear Torrico has hit PORAC chapter meetings around the state in the run-up to this endorsement, so it’s not so surprising — but this one might indicate a trend in the race between Torrico and another Bay Area Democrat who wants to be state Attorney General, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris. In money and endorsements, law enforcement seems to be gravitating more toward Torrico – a labor lawyer turned elected politico – than toward Harris, a career prosecutor.

Torrico reported raising almost $992,000 in the year’s first half – including $610,000 transferred from his other campaign committees – and having more than $910,000 on hand as of June 30; it doesn’t look as if he’s done much big-ticket ($5,000 and up) fundraising since then. Torrico’s money seems to come from a wide array of business, labor and gaming – both Indian and non-Indian – gaming interests, as well as at least $28,000 from at least 10 California law enforcement PACs. Besides PORAC, a few law enforcement organizations are listed on his Web site as endorsements, too.

Harris – tapping into some of the same donors she’d helped wrangle last year for Barack Obama (note the Obama-esque logo at the top of her home page) – reported raising $1.2 million in the year’s first half and having almost $752,000 on hand as of June 30; it looks as if she has banked $142,500 in big-ticket donations since then, including some from Hollywood notables such as Steven Spielberg and Rob Reiner. Harris’ contributions seem heavy on well-heeled individuals, as opposed to businesses or unions, but I see no contributions from law enforcement organizations (though I notice her former boss, now-former Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff, anted up $500). I also see no law enforcement organizations among the endorsements listed on her Web site.

Harris has taken heat from law enforcement in her own back yard for her refusal to seek the death penalty in cases including a cop killer in 2004 to – earlier this month – an illegal immigrant gang member accused of killing three.

But Harris campaign manager Brian Brokaw didn’t seem worried this afternoon, noting his candidate “is proud to have earned the support of law enforcement leaders across the state, from San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne in the south to the San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennsessey, East Palo Alto Chief Ron Davis, and the San Francisco Officers for Justice POA here in her own backyard. When California voters go to the polls to elect our next Attorney General, they’ll favor a career prosecutor who has spent her entire professional life in a courtroom.”

Do law enforcement endorsements and contributions have much impact on how people vote, even in the race to be California’s “top cop?” Time will tell.

More on how law enforcement is or isn’t backing four other Democrats in the AG’s race, after the jump…
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Torrico moves to counter Harris’ buzz in AG race

There’s been a spate of news coverage in recent days of San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris’ fundraising prowess in the Democratic primary race for state Attorney General – the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Sacramento Bee all have written on her, noting her political and Hollywood backers and her $1.2 million raised in the year’s first half.

But hold on a sec, says Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, another Democratic contender for AG – who’s got the most money in the bank?

Torrico told me today his campaign war chest has had about $1 million come in since Jan. 1 – including transfers from his other campaign committees, though he said all of it has been raised from contributors in the past year to 18 months – and has somewhere around $915,000 cash on hand “which is really the only number that counts at the end of the day.” Torrico said his campaign – bereft of paid staffers since consultant Phil Giarrizzo finished a three-month, get-it-off-the-ground stint – has been “trying to run lean, we’re trying to get around the state” on the cheap, presumably so as to have more money when it’s really needed: TV ad time.

Harris’ campaign had noted yesterday that although its final numbers are still being tabulated and will be reported to the Secretary of State at the end of July, it will report raising $1.2 million from more than 2,400 donors, with more than $500,000 raised online. Torrico said today his treasurer is still compiling his campaign’s report, so he doesn’t know the number of donors, but he does know that about $50,000 came from public-safety-related sources – a factoid in furtherance of his “trying to march down the road of being the presumptive candidate of public safety.”

(Read as: I would support the death penalty for cop killers, and Harris won’t.)

Harris campaign manager Brian Brokaw noted later this afternoon that she’s “the only career prosecutor in the race for Attorney General and the only candidate to earn this tremendous amount of support from a broad cross-section of Californians. If there is one lesson to be learned from Barack Obama’s campaign, it’s the importance of building a broad base of support and mobilizing our backers early. The fact that Kamala Harris has attracted so many supporters in such a short amount of time shows that she has what it takes to win.”

(Read as: Harris raised more in six months than Torrico did in 18.)

In late and $5,000-plus donations reported since Jan. 1, Harris holds the lead at $455,038 while Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo – making his second consecutive run for the Democratic AG nomination – brought in $372,900 and Torrico clocks in at $132,700. Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, also in the AG primary race, looks to have raised $113,500 in these big-ticket contributions (not counting $45,000 out of his own pocket); Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara – who declared his candidacy in late May – looks to have raised $32,400 (not counting $107,464.76 he moved over from his Assembly account); and Facebook chief privacy officer Chris Kelly of San Jose looks to have raised $26,000.


How other campaigns see Bobby Shriver for AG

The Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert had the scoop this morning that Santa Monica City Councilman Bobby Shriver – brother of California first lady Maria Shriver and nephew of U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy and the late President John F. Kennedy – is mulling a 2010 run for California Attorney General.

If he’s in, Shriver would join a crowded Democratic primary field including San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who has been busy raising money from many of the same people with whom she rubbed elbows in the Obama campaign last year; Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, who entered the race with the biggest pot of money already in the bank; Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, who might’ve gained some valuable experience while taking a drubbing from Jerry Brown in the 2006 primary; Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance; and Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara.

If someone can clearly break from the pack as a front-runner in the next few months, he or she could benefit from having so many others split what’s left of the pie.

“We expect there are going to be more people who will be entering this race,” Torrico campaign consultant Phil Giarrizzo told me today – they’d expected Shriver, he said, and they still think Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly will jump in, too.

As for Shriver, with whom Giarrizzo said he has worked on environmental issues, “he’s a talented, bright, articulate person, but we’ve seen many times, in the sense that ‘he’s a Kennedy,’ that people look to accomplishment, they look to a record,” Giarrizzo said. Primary voters tend to be very discerning, he noted, and “it doesn’t work that you can just pass along a family name; he will have to run on his own merits … a level of experience he’ll have to communicate. I don’t think we look at him as ‘a Kennedy’ – I think we look at him as Bobby Shriver, an activist and city councilman.”

“Politics is a debate of ideas and we’ll see as we go forward what his ideas are,” he said.

Harris campaign manager Ace Smith said Friday that “As the only career prosecutor in the race, District Attorney Harris looks forward to having a spirited debate about all the issues of law enforcement.”