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CA15: More time for a recount… if Corbett asks

Contrary to what was reported here last week, state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett has not yet run out of time to request a recount of her apparent defeat in this month’s primary election for the 15th Congressional District.

After Contra Costa County’s results update on Tuesday afternoon, Corbett, D-Hayward, trails Republican candidate Hugh Bussell of Livermore by 430 votes in their battle to finish second after Rep. Eric Swalwell. The second-place finisher, of course, will go on to face Swalwell, D-Dublin, in November’s general election.

A spokesman for Alameda County Registrar Tim Dupuis had said Friday that candidates have five calendar days after the election results are certified – which Dupuis did Friday – in which to request a recount. But Dupuis said Wednesday that because this district spans two counties, candidates actually have five days starting on the 29th day following the election; the 29th day will be July 2, so a recount can be requested up until July 7.

Dupuis said Corbett has not yet requested a recount. Corbett hasn’t returned several calls over the past two weeks seeking comment on her intentions.

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CA15: Corbett silent as recount clock starts

Alameda County Registrar Tim Dupuis certified his county’s primary election results Thursday, starting a five-calendar-day clock in which candidates can request recounts.

That’s particularly germane for state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-Hayward, who is still 413 votes – half a percentage point – behind Republican Hugh Bussell of Livermore in their battle to finish second after Rep. Eric Swalwell in the 15th Congressional District. The second-place finisher, of course, will go on to face Swalwell, D-Dublin, in November’s general election.

Most of the district is in Alameda County, where Corbett beat Bussell by 1,048 votes. But it also includes a small piece of Contra Costa County as well, where Bussell outperformed Corbett by 1,461 votes.

Corbett hasn’t returned six phone calls over the past 10 days, including one this afternoon, inquiring about her intentions (though her Senate staff has issued 10 news releases about her activity in Sacramento during that time). Depuis has not yet received any request from her for a recount, spokesman Guy Ashley said.

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CA15: Swalwell’s & Corbett’s Q1 fundraising

Rep. Eric Swalwell raised more than eight times as much as his challenger and fellow Democrat state Sen. Ellen Corbett in this year’s first quarter, and had about four and a half times as much money banked as of March 31, according to new reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Meanwhile, a Republican who got into this 15th Congressional District race at the last minute is funded only by himself and by one of the state’s biggest GOP benefactors.

Swalwell, D-Dublin, raised $272,783.87 from Jan. 1 through March 31, and at the end of that period had $922,581.82 cash on hand with $6,859.82 in outstanding debt. Corbett in the same time raised $32,485.33, finishing with $208,005.35 cash on hand and $6,000 in debt; that’s right about where Corbett was at the end of 2014, though she had raised almost three times as much in last year’s final quarter.

Hugh Bussell, a GOP county committeeman from Livermore, lent his campaign $1,750 and took a $2,400 contribution from Charles Munger Jr. of Palo Alto, chairman of the Santa Clara County GOP and a prolific contributor to the party’s causes and candidates.

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Shutdown: Glimmer of hope, calls to ease harm

Thursday afternoon brought some glimmer of progress toward ending the federal government shutdown, as well as California House members’ renewed calls to mitigate the shutdown’s harms.

From the office of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio:

“This evening in the Roosevelt Room, the leaders laid out the House proposal to temporarily extend the debt limit, formally appoint budget negotiators, and begin immediate discussions over how to re-open the government. No final decisions were made; however, it was a useful and productive conversation. The President and leaders agreed that communication should continue throughout the night. House Republicans remain committed to good faith negotiations with the president, and we are pleased there was an opportunity to sit down and begin a constructive dialogue tonight.”

Meanwhile, 10 California Democrats took to the House floor today to complain of the damage that the shutdown is doing to the Golden State’s economy, even while there are enough House votes to reopen the government immediately.

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, said the North Coast’s tourism economy is taking a beating as visitors are turned away from federal lands including Point Reyes National Seashore, Redwood National Park, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, causing local businesses to lose money.

“Visitors from all over America, and in fact all over the world, come to the North Coast’s public lands. Thanks to the Republican shutdown much of that economic activity is grinding to a halt,” Huffman said. “Let’s stop posturing, let’s stop the PR stunts, let’s stop the ‘Hollywood storefronts,’ stop deflecting, and stop insulting the intelligence of the American people. Let’s have an up or down vote to reopen our public lands and, indeed, to reopen our government.”

Elsewhere, Rep. Eric Swalwell announced he and other Bay Area lawmakers are urging U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to ensure that employees at national laboratories –contract workers who facing furlough if the shutdown goes on much longer – will get back pay once the federal government reopens, just as the House already has approved for federal workers.

Swalwell, D-Pleasanton represents Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national laboratories in Livermore, where 7,500 government contractors will be furloughed without pay starting Oct. 18 if the shutdown doesn’t end first.

“National lab employees in Livermore should not have to suffer because of a shutdown caused by the Tea Party,” Swalwell said in a news release. “Lab employees are dedicated public servants who are supporting our country’s national and energy security, and just because their paychecks stop doesn’t mean their bills won’t keep coming.”

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, represents the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, where 1,500 employees are at risk of being furloughed. “They are our nation’s premier scientists and engineers who daily are engaged in cutting-edge research that is changing the world,” Eshoo said.

And Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is in the district of Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland.

“Congress has moved to provide back pay to hundreds of thousands of federal employees across the country who continue to suffer furloughs due to the unnecessary Republican shutdown of the government,” Lee said. “The scientists, technicians, and workers at our national labs make enormous contributions to this nation, and they deserve to be paid for their work..”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, is signing the letter too, as a longtime supporter of national lab and the fusion research conducted by the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore.

“We take pride in the cutting-edge advancements in our scientific research, but budget cuts and now a government shutdown are threatening these important undertakings,” Lofgren said. “It’s irresponsible political gamesmanship for Republicans to continue to refuse to put a clean funding bill before the House for a vote. If they did, it would pass, ending the harm that is being done to furloughed workers like these scientists and the vital research they are engaged in.”

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Voting starts Monday for Nov. 8 election

Voting by mail starts Monday in the handful of East Bay communities holding increasingly rare odd-year elections on Nov. 8.

Voters in San Ramon and Livermore will choose new mayors and council members, while those in Lafayette and Pittsburg will decide on ballot measures.

In addition, Emeryville and Newark have city council and mayor elections. Emeryville also has several ballot measures that would hike the business tax and raise cash for public safety, streets and other city programs.

Solano County voters will also go the polls in Benicia, Fairfield, Vallejo and Vacaville.

Most communities have shifted their elections into even years, largely as a means to spread the costs among more participants and reach more voters.

Campaigns in San Ramon and Livermore have been fierce as the cities’ termed-out mayors attempts to swap their expired terms with those of sitting council members.

San Ramon Councilwoman Carol Rowley is vying for the mayor’s post against former San Ramon Valley School District Trustee Bill Clarkson.

Meanwhile, incumbent San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson is battling for one of the two open seats on the council against incumbent Councilman Scott Perkins and challenger Phil O’Loane.

Livermore Vice Mayor John Marchand hopes to prevail in the mayor’s contest against challengers Barbara Hickman and Minuete McKernan.

Livermore Mayor Marshall Kamena is competing for one of two council openings against Laureen Turner, Stewart Gary and Bobby Burger.

On the ballot measure front, Lafayette is asking voters for an $89 annual parcel tax for the next decade to raise money for road repairs and drainage improvements. To pass, it must win two-thirds voter approval.

Pittsburg residents will see two ballot measures.

Measure H asks voters to increase the hotel tax by 4 percentage points to a maximum of 12 percent and eliminate an exemption for federal and state employees traveling on business. The city would use the extra cash on city programs. To pass, it requires a majority voter approval.

The city’s second question, Measure I, would expand Pittsburg’s urban limit line to include 193 acres in the city’s southeast area and zone the land for housing and industrial. It requires a simple majority to pass.

The measure was written by the landowner, West Coast Homebuilders, an affiliate of Concord-based A.D. Seeno Construction.

Here’s contact information for your local election office:

Find your polling place or find the answers to other election questions at the following locations:

  • Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters: 555 Escobar St. in Martinez. Contact the office at 925-335-7800 or www.cocovote.us.
  • Alameda County Registrar of Voters: 1225 Fallon Street G-1 in Oakland. Contact the office at 510 267-8683 or www.acgov.org/rov.
  • Solano County Registrar of Voters: 675 Texas St. in Fairfield. Contact the office at 707-784-6675 or www.solanocounty.com/depts/rov/.
7

Pete Stark’s challenger launches ‘listening tour’

Eric Swalwell, a Democrat who announced Wednesday that he’s taking on longtime incumbent Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, in the newly drawn 15th Congressional District, isn’t letting any grass grow under his feet.

The 30-year-old Alameda County prosecutor and Dublin City Council member is kicking off a “Downtown Listening Tour” of cities in the new district with a visit to Livermore tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 24. He’ll be at the fountain at First Street and South Livermore Avenue at noon, and then at the First Street Alehouse, 2106 First St., at 1 p.m.

His campaign says he’ll “talk with residents and small business owners about issues related to the economy, job creation, and hear their thoughts on how Congress can do better in Washington, DC.”

Stark, 79, first was elected to Congress in 1972; he’s the fifth most senior House member and dean of the California delegation. He announced his candidacy for a 21st term Aug. 2, saying he looks forward to continuing to serve old constituents while gaining new ones. He held town hall meetings last weekend in Union City and Hayward.

Polls show Californians have record low opinions of Congress, and the new district is vastly different from Stark’s existing 13th District. The new district boundaries lose much of Fremont and all of Alameda while adding Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon and Castro Valley. Also, June’s primary will be the first regular election using the “top two” system, in which candidates of all parties compete on the same ballot and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election.