Regrets, I’ve had a few…

…but then again, too few to mention.

Well, dear Political Blotter readers, all good (?) things must come to an end.

The question mark is for you, because there’s no question that it’s been very, very good for me. I launched this blog in late 2006 to create a space for some quicker-hit, snarkier, insider-baseball items for which a full story might not be warranted, but which would make some of you out there say, “Well, how ’bout that?” (My original proposal for the blog’s name was “The Political Junkie,” but an editor didn’t like the drug connotation. Whatta stiff.)

Whatever the situation with my other work, I’ve always found more fun than frustration here on the Blotter. I’ve loved the interactivity of it, both in my ability to use links to original information, photos, videos in a more creative way than our website has allowed, and in your comments.

So I offer hearty and sincere thanks to all the most persistent, longtime readers and commenters, notably including JohnW, Marga, RRSenileColumnist, Willis James, Tom Pyke, GlenThePlumber, DanvilleDemocrat and – yes – even Elwood. (Apologies to anyone I missed.) Thanks for helping to create a community here, the most fervent wish of any blogging journalist.

Now it’s time for me to bring my contributions here, and my 24 years as a daily journalist, to a close. I’ll be starting a new job in a few weeks; I wish I could share all the details right now, but circumstances don’t permit that just yet. (And in the meantime, I shall neither confirm nor deny…)

God knows I’ve never been in it for the pay, and I still believe the work of journalism is important to a healthy community and society, but I’m just not having fun the way that I used to. I anticipate doing meaningful work and having more fun in my new career. Some consider journalism like a priesthood, from which one can only fall; I’ve never believed that, but I assume that even those who do would agree it’s no job for the half-hearted.

I hope our time here has been as good for you as it was for me. Thanks again.

P.S.: Watch this space. There’s a good chance my successor will take over the blog…


Next week’s Commonwealth Club politics panel

Please come join me, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci and San Jose State University Professor and political analyst Larry Gerston at the Commonwealth Club of California’s “Week to Week” political roundtable and social next Tuesday evening, Sept. 16 in Palo Alto.

Moderated by club vice president John Zipperer, we’ll be chewing the fat about Tesla’s decision to site its battery “gigafactory” in Nevada instead of California; the campaign against Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper’s effort to split California into six states; and other hot political topics and campaigns.

We’ll be in the Schultz Cultural Hall at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way in Palo Alto; a wine-and-snacks social starts at 6 p.m., and the program starts at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $10 for club members or $20 for non-members and are available online; students get in free with valid ID.


‘Open Carry’ panel discussion set for East Bay

The Commonwealth Club of California held a panel discussion last night on California’s “open carry” policy – which lets gun owners carry unloaded handguns in plain sight in public places, unless pre-empted by local laws – and a pending bill that would make such behavior a misdemeanor.

Sorry you missed it? You’ll have another chance. The issue is hot enough that another panel discussion on “Guns in Public: Exploring California’s Open Carry Policy” has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 17 at the Veterans Memorial Building, 3780 Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Lafayette; tickets cost $12 for club members, $22 for nonmembers and $7 for students with valid ID, and are available online.

Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, D-San Diego, who authored AB 1934 to change the law and prohibit open-carry behavior, will be there to defend her bill, as will Karen Arntzen, California chapter services coordinator for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Arguing against Saldana’s bill will be Adnan Shahab, Republican candidate for the 20th Assembly District seat, and another panelist yet to be named. I’ll be the moderator.

Gun-rights activists have seized upon open-carry laws in states across the nation as a means of expressing their political beliefs, acting individually or gathering to carry their weapons both as an exercise of constitutional rights and for self-protection. They say they’re both protecting their rights under current law as well as advocating for changes so that more people can get permits to carry concealed weapons, something that’s sharply limited under current law.

Advocates of Saldana’s bill say open-carry practices should be banned for the sake of public safety, and to protect the safety and conserve the resources of police officers who must check to ensure the guns aren’t loaded in accordance with state law.

The Assembly Public Safety Committee approved Saldana’s bill to end this practice April 20 on a 5-2 vote; the Assembly Appropriations Committee approved it May 12 on an 11-5 vote; and it’s now awaiting a vote by the full Assembly. If it passes that vote, it’ll still have to work its way through the state Senate and then get the governor’s signature in order to become law.

At last night’s forum at the club’s San Francisco office, Emeryville Police Chief Ken James – who has spoken for the California Police Chiefs Association in supporting Saldana’s bill – faced off with Gun Owners of California Executive Director Sam Paredes. Also participating was Cal law professor Franklin Zimring; San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Page Editor John Diaz was the moderator.


Watch Poizner at Commonwealth Club

GOP gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner appeared last night at the Commonwealth Club in Lafayette. Read my story here.

If you want to watch Poizner for yourself, I captured the hour-long event with FlipVideo, moderated by my colleague, Oakland Tribune and Bay Area News Group politics and legal affairs reporter Josh Richman.

(For those who want to know why I did not videotape GOP candidate Meg Whitman’s Commonwealth Club appearance in Lafayette last month, I could not get close enough to set up my FlipVideo. Her event was sold-out and her handlers corralled the press in the back of the room. )


What will the governor’s next job be?



You read it here first: Former California GOP spokesman Patrick Dorinson, a communications consultant and author of the Cowboy Libertarian blog, predicts that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s next job will be that of national green jobs czar, the post held previously held by the fired Van Jones.

Dorinson says he was watching the governor make the post-National Governors Association conference talk-show circuit, where Schwarzenegger  criticized Republicans for failing to cooperate with President Barack Obama and the jobs agenda. Schwarzenegger also had a private meeting with Obama.

“It came to me, Arnold wants the green jobs czar job,” Dorinson says. “He can travel around the country saying ‘That’s faaahntahstic!’ There are no responsibilities.”

Dorinson predicts an announcement around Christmastime or just after the first of the year. I’ll put it on my calendar and put Dorinson’s predictive powers to the test.

Do you have a prediction? Send it to me at lvorderbrueggen@bayareanewsgroup.com.

Meanwhile, Jones has landed on his feet.

As my colleague Josh Richman wrote today, Jones has a new job. The 41-year-old will serve at Center for American Progress as a senior fellow to lead its new Green Opportunity Initiative. He also has been appointed distinguished visiting fellow in the Center for African American Studies and in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Jones is the Oakland social- and environmental-justice activist and author who went to Washington last year as Obama’s “green jobs czar,” only to be let go in the face of conservative criticism.


CCT and Oakland Trib political blogs merge

I’ve gotten a few calls and emails about the changes on the blog, so here is the deal: The editors merged my blog, Inside Politics, with Political Blotter, the blog of my colleague Josh Richman at the Oakland Tribune.

Josh and I often wrote about some of the same issues and the joint page allows us to better coordinate our political coverage and gives our readers political news in one place. (It also means the site won’t go dead when one of us goes on vacation.)

I must agree, though, that the generic government buildings picture at the top lacks appeal. I will be asking the web designers — in their spare time — to come up with something more distinctive.

So, enjoy double the politics on this newly merged blog and know that I have no plans to slack off just because Josh is sharing the load.

If anything, I’ll have to work harder to keep up — his blog received a lot more clicks than mine did! (Okay, so the name of my paper isn’t as Google-known as Oakland. People ask, when I tell them the name of my paper, Contra Costa Times, “Are you a Central American newspaper?”)