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Two Bay Area schools vie for 2012 prez debate

Two of the dozen colleges and universities under consideration by the Commission on Presidential Debates to host a 2012 general-election presidential debate are here in the Bay Area.

Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga and Dominican University of California in San Rafael both filed applications, the commission announced today.

“Saint Mary’s College of California is enthusiastic about the possibility of hosting a 2012 Presidential Debate as a cornerstone event in our Sesquicentennial Celebration,” that college’s Brother President Ronald Gallagher said in a news release.

The school hosted the September 2010 debate between incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and Republican senatorial nominee Carly Fiorina. Here’s a video from the college’s application to host a presidential debate:

Dominican hosted the October 2010 debate between Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown and Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman.

Other colleges and universities under consideration include Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.; Centre College in Danville, Ky.; Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ky.; Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.; Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.; Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.; The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in Pomona, N.J.; the University of Denver in Denver; Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.; and Washington University in St. Louis.

UPDATE @ 3:39 P.M.: Dominican University President Joseph Fink said his institution is enthused, too.

“We are particularly excited about the opportunity to involve our students in the democratic process through their first-hand experience of this historic event. Californians are critical to the outcome of the next election. Dominican and our students represent the best that the state has to offer,” he said. “Our students are as diverse, talented, and determined as Californians everywhere, and they are challenging themselves to make a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities. It would be a tremendous responsibility, and one that our institution would wholly embrace, to host a national discourse on the pressing issues that impact our students.”

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Green gubernatorial candidate will fight charges

Green gubernatorial nominee Laura Wells of Oakland is spitting mad over her arrest yesterday outside the site of the gubernatorial debate between Democratic nominee Jerry Brown and Republican nominee Meg Whitman.

Laura WellsWells, 62, issued a news release today saying she’ll fight the charges, which – ironically – require her to appear in court Nov. 2, Election Day.

“The real crime is what’s happening to California. The perpetrators of this crime include the Democratic and Republican parties who keep trading off the governorship, and Dominican University, for closing the doors to real dialogue and debate,” she said in her news release. “California has always been special and there’s no reason for it to be in the state it’s in: begging Wall Street for loans, watching our schools, environment and job opportunities spiral down. I have never been arrested and I never wanted to. My comfort zone is not important. We cannot stand by and let this happen to California.”

Wells said campaign polls are “a fraud against the voters. I received a letter that congratulated me on my primary win and invited me to the debate, if I received 10% support among California likely voters. They didn’t tell me what the survey question was. If it were, ‘Do you want debates with only the Republican and Democratic candidates?’ a huge majority of voters, especially this year, would say ‘No.’

“But the survey question asked those polled – including 2 of my supporters – was if they preferred Jerry Brown or Meg Whitman. Not Laura Wells. And then when the pollsters report the results, they still didn’t say other, they say undecided. As if the only choices were Pepsi and Coke, not something we might like that’s healthy, like crystal clear water, or juice, smoothies or red wine!”

Whatever the criteria for being invited to take part in the debate, it seems Wells wasn’t invited to attend it as an audience member. Dominican University spokesman Dave Albee said the university “can confirm that the ticket Laura Wells tried to use to gain entry into Angelico Hall was not issued to her. Tickets were non-transferable, which was printed on the ticket.”

Indeed, from the San Rafael Police Department:

For security reasons, all tickets to seats in Angelico Hall were numbered, coded, and checked by campus security before the holder was admitted to the debate hall. Wells presented a ticket that was not issued to her and refused to relinquish the ticket to campus security when asked to do so. She then became argumentative and refused to leave the area. Wells was warned that if she did not leave she would subject to citizen’s arrest as she was on private property. She continued in her refusal and the security officer placed her under citizen’s arrest. Wells was taken into custody by SRPD officers and escorted from the grounds. She was cited for trespassing and released.