1

New White House interns have Bay Area ties

The White House today announced its Summer 2013 interns, and as usual, several either hail from the Bay Area or have attended school here:

Interns work in one of several White House departments, including the Domestic Policy Council, the National Economic Council, the Office of Cabinet Affairs, the Office of Chief of Staff, the Office of Communications, the Office of Digital Strategy, the Office of the First Lady, the Office of Legislative Affairs, the Office of Management and Administration, the Office of Presidential Correspondence, the Office of Presidential Personnel, the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, the Office of Scheduling and Advance, the Office of the Vice President, the Office of the White House Counsel, and the Office of White House Fellows.

17

Romney finishes his tough week here in Bay Area

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney arrives in the Bay Area today for a high-priced fundraiser on the Peninsula, but only those paying to get in will know what he says there – no press will be allowed.

Unless, of course, someone surreptitiously videotapes this evening’s event at the Strawberry Hill estate on Redington Road in Hillsborough, as someone did a similar event this past May in Florida. That video, released this week by Mother Jones, included Romney’s now-notorious comments about roughly half the country:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.”
[snip]
“[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Should guests at this fundraiser be frisked at the door for recording devices?

Anyway, tickets to tonight’s event cost $500 for young professionals, $1,000 for bronze level, $2,500 for silver level and $5,000 for gold level. Giving $15,000 gets two tickets to the reception as well as a photo for two with Romney, as does bundling $25,000 to $50,000.

Giving $50,000 gets four tickets, including two with preferred seating at a special reception, and four photo reception tickets; bundling $100,000 gets four tickets, two special reception tickets and two photo reception tickets; and a couple that gives $100,000 gets four tickets, two special reception tickets and four photo reception tickets.

Musician David Foster will entertain the crowd. The event is to start at 4:45 p.m., but Romney isn’t scheduled to arrive at San Francisco International Airport until shortly before 6 p.m.

The fundraiser is for Romney Victory Inc., a joint fundraising committee including Romney’s campaign, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the state GOP entities in Idaho, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Vermont.

3

Rep. Jackie Speier’s father has died

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, this evening announced the death of her father, Manfred (Fred) Speier; she said he passed away peacefully and surrounded by family on Monday at her Hillsborough home at the age of 91.

Jackie Speier“My father was the rock and foundation of my life. He was always there for me during my darkest days, and for the most joyous moments such as the births of my children. He lived a long and full life and was alert and sharp as a tack until the very end,” Speier said in an e-mailed statement. “On Saturday, just two days before he passed, he was regaling us with stories of his life. He was most proud of being a naturalized U.S. citizen, so much so that he requested to be buried in a simple pine box draped in an American flag.”

The congresswoman said her father was born in Germany, came to the United States after World War II and married Nancy Kanchelian in 1949. Speier’s mother passed away in February 2009; Speier’s brother, Eric Speier, lives in Elk Grove.

The lawmaker described her father as an incurable optimist who came to San Francisco and found a job within two hours, eventually working as a nurse, a short order cook, and a manager for a local, family-owned company. His work ethic and civic awareness were examples that set the tone for family life, she said.

A funeral mass will be held this Saturday at Saint Bartholomew Catholic Church, 300 Alameda de las Pulgas in San Mateo.

1

Report from inside Romney’s Bay Area fundraiser

The Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci, whom the Romney campaign selected as its pool reporter for tonight’s fundraiser in Hillsborough, has just filed her report. Here it is, verbatim:

Your pool was briefly ushered into Chateau Carolands interior,which was amazing: dominated by black and white tiles, Roman columns, statues, huge hanging tapestries, and a 75 foot atrium said to be the largest of any private residence in the United States.

But the event itself was held in a tent outside in the expansive gardens, designed to resemble those of Versailles. Guests sat on white chairs or stood to listen to Romney and speakers on a stage before a bank of American flags.

Event drew 300 people, with guests including Ambassador Howard Leach, Secretaries Rice and Shultz, and Mrs. Romney.
Not present were Meg Whitman, the HP CEO – who was a host of Ann Romney’s earlier “ladies luncheon,’’ or Carly Fiorina, a Romney endorser.

Tickets ranged from $2,500 to $50,000 for “Founder” status.

Guests were told that it was “the most successful event that we’ve had in California,’’ but campaign officials would not divulge a number.

The whole program lasted 46 minutes, including intros by Shultz and Rice, who both formally endorsed Romney.

Mrs. Romney also spoke briefly.

Remarks at length below:
Continue Reading

1

See your House member’s 2011 spending

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, unsurprisingly has spent the most of any Bay Area House member so far in 2011 while Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, has spent the least, according to Congressional spending data crunched by the Sunlight Foundation.

Here are the year-to-date spending numbers through Sept. 30, the end of the third quarter:

Nancy Pelosi — $1,131,048.95
Lynn Woolsey — $1,102.313.04
Anna Eshoo – $1,065,928.98
Jackie Speier — $1,053,889.75
Mike Honda — $1,037,247,79
Barbara Lee — $1,009.844.70
Zoe Lofgren — $970,630.03
George Miller — $950,707.76
Pete Stark — $941,132.97
Jerry McNerney — $838,944.86
John Garamendi — $780,133.41

Pelosi’s spending has been driven in large part by her $201,793.78 in the rent/communications/utilities category, which was about three times the lowest amount a Bay Area member spent in that area (that’s Pete Stark, D-Fremont, at $67,773.11). As reported last year, the rent on Pelosi’s district office – in the new federal office building on Seventh Street south of Market in San Francisco – is the House’s highest by far, at $18,736 per month.

Stark, however, has spent more than three times the next-closest Bay Area member on franked mail – $56,489.20 – and almost twice as much on printing and reproduction, at $53,887.27. That’s in keeping with Stark’s past practices, however: In 2010 he spent $100,518.11 on franked mail and $69,001.83 on printing and reproduction; in 2009, it was $165,554.82 on franked mail and $141,112.70 on printing and reproduction. As one of his constituents, I can attest that Stark loves sending mailers regularly to his district’s voters, updating them on issues and inviting them to town meetings.

Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, who is retiring at the end of this term, clocked in with both the highest personnel costs of any Bay Area member so far this year – $883,353.14 – and the highest travel costs, at $40,870.14. Garamendi has the lowest personnel costs ($573,073.70) while Stark logged the least travel costs ($7,369.66).

4

Bay Area Dems urge probe of Justice Thomas

Five Bay Area House members were among 20 House Democrats who urged the Judicial Conference of the United States yesterday to refer U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Justice Department for an ethics probe.

Thomas has come under fire recently for apparently failing to meet personal financial disclosure requirements under the Ethics in Government Act of 1978. Specifically, he had indicated for years that his wife was receiving no income, when in fact she earned nearly $700,000 from 2003 through 2007 working for the conservative Heritage Foundation. Also, the New York Times reported in June that Thomas didn’t disclose his use of a private yacht and airplane owned by his friend, real estate magnate Harlan Crow.

“Based upon the multiple public reports, Justice Thomas’s actions may constitute a willful failure to disclose, which would warrant a referral by the Judicial Conference to the Department of Justice, so that appropriate civil or criminal actions can be taken,” Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-NY, the House Rules Committee’s ranking Democrat, wrote yesterday in a letter to Judicial Conference Secretary James Duff.

Slaughter wrote that Section 104(b) of the Ethics Act requires the Judicial Conference to refer to the U.S. Attorney General any judge who the Conference “has reasonable cause to believe has willfully failed to file a report or has willfully falsified or willfully failed to file information required to be reported.”

“Particularly as questions surrounding the integrity and fairness of the Supreme Court continue to grow, it is vital that the Judicial Conference actively pursue any suspicious actions by Supreme Court Justices,” Slaughter wrote. “While we continue to advocate for the creation of binding ethical standards for the Supreme Court, it is important the Judicial Conference exercise its current powers to ensure that Supreme Court Justices are held accountable to the current law.”

Among the letter’s signers were Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto; John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove; Mike Honda, D-San Jose; Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough; and Pete Stark, D-Fremont.