Democratic convention delegate winner list unveiled

The California Democratic Party has just posted the full list of winners to the 241 Congressional-district level delegate seats to the party’s convention in Denver in August. The Democrats caucused statewide Sunday afternoon as record numbers of people both sought delegate spots and voted for their choices.

Click here for in Sen. Barack Obama’s delegate list.

Click here for Sen. Hillary Clinton’s delegate list.

Interestingly, a number of the folks that Obama’s campaign pruned early last week then reinstated won the seats, including Richmond Councilman Harpreet Sandhu and Maria Alegria, a former Pinole councilwoman who was recalled in February.


Pinole recall opponents to air TV ad

A political action committee affiliated with the Central Labor Council of Contra Costa County will air an anti-Pinole recall political commercial on cable television.

Pinole voters on Feb. 5 will decide whether to boot out councilmembers Maria Alegria and Stephen Tilton after a group of residents gathered the requisite number of signatures last year and successfully placed the recall on the ballot.

The ad accuses the recall proponents of getting “caught red-handed” when news came out that they cropped a photo used in their campaign materials to include only Alegria, Tilton and Gary Wong, the one-time owner of the Pear Street Bistro that defaulted on his loans with the city.

It’s true. The photo was cropped. The original was taken of folks sitting at the Pinole table during a regional annual luncheon held to recognize small businessowners. Wong was president of the Pinole Chamber of Commerce at the time and the presence of city leaders at the event is customary. The proponents use the picture it to illustrate what they consider a too-cozy relationship that Wong had with city leaders at the same time he owed the city thousands of dollars.

But the proponents say the the photo only contained one other person, and they cropped the individual out of the picture to protect her privacy in the contentious matter.

Here’s a link to the commercial, which will appear on cable television in the Pinole area:


Pinole debates available online Tuesday

Folks interested in watching the Jan. 10 Pinole recall debate and candidates’ forum sponsored by the Contra Costa Times, League of Women Voters and Common Cause may watch them on-line starting Tuesday at http://www.ci.pinole.ca.us/live/news/recallwebcast.html.

You will already find at the site the candidates’ five-minute taped segments.


Watch Pinole recall debate & forum

If you missed last night’s Pinole recall debate and candidates’ forum, Pinole TV will air the two events in the coming weeks on its public access Channel 26.

Channel 26 is available to most Pinole households. Click here to see the air date schedule: http://www.ci.pinole.ca.us/tv/schedules.html

Pinole TV will also post the two events on its web site, although it may take a few days for staff to post it. Check the station’s home page at http://www.ci.pinole.ca.us/tv/index.html and I’ll update this entry as soon as I know when it will go up for viewing from your computer.

If you are one of Pinole’s 9,000 registered voters, you will want to take the time to watch.

You’ll hear directly from Councilwoman Maria Alegria and a spokeswoman for the recall proponents, Cindy Trego.

In the candidates’ forum, Alegria appears again with the two candidates vying to replace her, Steve Denlis and Roy Swearingen. Also attending was Virginia Fujita, running to replace Councilman Stephen Tilton, along with the two people seeking to fill a board vacancy, Debbie Long and Ivette Ricco.

Tilton’s name came up on several occasions during the evening but he didn’t show up for either event. He reportedly told folks he was going to the movies.  Does Tilton really even want this job?


Pinole writer responds to column

Marilyn Scott of Pinole sends over this response to my Sunday column about the highly contentious recall election underway in her town. (Folks may also want to check out the comments posted on-line with the column.)

FYI Ms Vorderbrueggen:
The citizens of Pinole are not involved in “Blood Sport” as you put
it, but rather they are once again using proper due process to rid
themselves of council members who somehow feel that they are above
answering for their actions.

There is plenty of evidence in the official City Council minutes that
Cole, Tilton and Alegria’s actions have crippled our City. The
dictionary describes malfesance as “misconduct or wrong doing.
Especially wrong doing that is illegal or contrary to official
obligations.” i.e. Firing of the City Manager without having a proper
replacement on board was unconscionable. Cole saw the “light” and
ducked out on his irresponsibility, Tilton has done nothing but “cry
and blubber” since he became aware that his actions had consequences
and threaten lawsuits, Alegria has publicly embarrassed our
citizenship with her abuse of power and demonstrated disdain for
public employees as the police report shows.

It takes more than money to run a city, leadership is needed, not
abuse by those who abuse their power.

Marilyn Scott
Pinole resident


Pinole to have recall debate

Stephen TiltonMaria AlegriaUPDATE 1/2/07: The Pinole Chamber of Commerce is not and never was a sponsor of this event. It was mistakenly listed when someone used as a template a prior version of an invitation to an event in which the chamber was a sponsor but failed to take its name off the new letter. As many of you know, the chamber’s former executive director, Yvette Ricco, is a candidate for the vacant seat on the Pinole council.

I have revised the blog entry below to reflect the accurate list of sponsors.

A debate and candidates’ forum on the contentious Pinole recall election has been set for 6-9 p.m. on Jan. 10 at the city’s senior center.

Sponsored by the Contra Costa Times, Common Cause and the West Contra Costa chapter of the League of Women Voters, the event is a chance for the city’s 9,000 registered voters to hear from all sides prior to making their decision on Feb. 5.

I will moderate both the debate and the candidates’ forum.

The public may attend the event in person at the Pinole Senior Center at 2500 Charles Ave., Pinole, or watch it later on television. The event will be taped and aired on Channel 26, Pinole’s government access station. (Check the station’s web site for times and dates.)

Here’s how it will work.

In the first hour, sponsored by the Times and Common Cause, Pinole Councilwoman Maria Alegria and Mayor Pro Tem Stephen Tilton, the targets of the recall, have been invited to debate recall proponents Jeff Rubin and Cindy Trego.

The participants will deliver opening statements. I will follow with a series of questions that both sides will have the opportunity to answer and rebut. (Neither side will see the questions in advance.) The debate will conclude with closing statements from each participant.

Tilton, Trego and Rubin have all accepted the invitation to participate. Alegria, in an interview late Friday, said she is considering it.

During the candidates’ forum segment from 7-9 p.m., the Times and the League will invite Alegria, Tilton, the candidates who seek to replace them and two people running for a vacant seat to participate in a moderated discussion about citywide issues.

Running for Alegria’s seat, if she is recalled, are Roy Swearingen and Steve Denlis. John Bender withdrew but he took action too late for election officials to remove his name from the ballot. Running for Tilton’s post, if he should be recalled, is Virginia Fujita.

The candidates running for the vacant seat are Debbie Long and Ivette Ricco. (The seat opened earlier this year after David Cole resigned in order to serve in the U.S. Army.)

The participants will be asked to deliver opening statements. I will follow with a series of questions designed to illuminate the candidates’ views on various citywide issues. (No one will be provided with the questions in advance.) The audience will also be permitted to submit questions in writing during the forum. The evening will conclude with closing statements from the targeted elected officials and the candidates.

The league is in the process of sending invitations, so it’s unknown at this time who will agree to participate.

But I am hopeful that Alegria, Tilton and all the candidates will show up and make their cases to the voters. It has been a hotly contested campaign that will only escalate in the coming weeks before the election and the voters deserve to hear directly from the opponents and the proponents.

On a related note, some of you will have noticed that the recall debate and the candidates’ forum have a common moderator but different sponsors.

This came about because the good volunteers of the West Contra Costa chapter League of Women of Voters feared becoming involved with a too-controversial ballot question, given the high level of passion associated with the campaign on both sides. I can’t say as I agree with their decision — the more contentious, the more we need voter education — but it was their decision to make.

Fortunately, Common Cause stepped forward and will co-sponsor the recall debate segment and provide voters with the opportunity to see and hear both sides in a moderated discussion.

Speaking of heightened emotions, folks who plan to attend on Jan. 10 should be aware that this is a voter education event and not a political rally. That means no banners. No buttons. No T-shirts declaring support or opposition for any candidate. No catcalls or booing or otherwise disruptive behavior will be permitted.

Note: Photos are of Pinole Mayor Maria Alegria and Mayor Pro-Tem Stephen Tilton as they appear on the City of Pinole’s website, http://www.ci.pinole.ca.us/admin/meet_reps.html