Ex-Marine to climb Mt. Whitney for Senate bid

Some have likened waging a campaign against U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein to scaling a mountain, but one of her 23 challengers this year has chosen to take that literally.

Donald KrampeDonald Krampe, a Republican from Murrieta, plans to climb Mt. Whitney – the lower 48’s highest summit – next week in order to call attention to his campaign.

And that’s no small feat for most people, much less for an 83-year-old like Krampe.

“The climb is on – I’m leaving here on the 22nd for Lone Pine and will start the climb on the 23rd,” Krampe said Friday, noting he’ll bear a banner noting his campaign website, the mountain’s elevation, and the slogan, “Don Krampe tops summit and stomps D. Feinstein’s TV blitz.”

“I’m just doing what I was taught in the Marine Corps,” said the veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars – thinking outside the box when faced with daunting odds. “I needed to do something to get some kind of name recognition because I don’t have the kind of money to throw into TV ads.”

For the sake of Bay Area voters – of whom he used to be one, while working for the Mt. Diablo YMCA and later for the U.S. Treasury in San Francisco – Krampe notes that Mt. Diablo rises 3,864 feet above sea level while Mt. Whitney’s latest measure is 14,505 feet. (However, the campsite from which he’ll make his ascent is at about 10,000 feet.)

Other numbers to consider: Only Krampe and one other Senate candidate are older than Feinstein, 78; the other is Atherton Republican Greg Conlon, 79.

“I have to tell you that’s one of the cleverest things I’ve ever seen,” admitted Bill Carrick, Feinstein’s campaign consultant. “If he’s in good enough shape to do it, that’s fabulous.”

Mt. Whitney“Having done Mt. Whitney myself, I know it’s gorgeous, beautiful and very tough, particularly when you get up at the higher elevations, it’s very steep. I hope he has a good group of people going with him and they’re well-prepared.”

Krampe offered assurances that he’s in good shape and has had a pre-emptive medical checkup: “Everything is A-OK.”

Krampe said he’s running for the Senate because most people he talks to are fed up with Washington’s acrimony and special interests, and Feinstein isn’t doing enough to create jobs and grow the economy.

His website says he would seek federal funding for improvements to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach so they can process more freight, and develop a plan for local governments to host job fairs. He wants to get U.S. troops out of Afghanistan as soon as possible, and reallocate money from the war to domestic priorities such as highways, education and enforcement of laws against illegal immigration; on the latter issue, he says he favors a path to citizenship for those already here but opposes giving college grants to children of illegal immigrants.


Meet the East Bay’s veterans of the year

Each of the East Bay’s Assembly members named a Veteran of the Year this week, to be recognized at the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee’s annual luncheon today in Sacramento.

Read all about these inspirational vets, after the jump…
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Uh, well, what was the mission?

The CodePINK folks sent out a news release yesterday saying they and their allies who’ve been protesting outside Berkeley’s U.S. Marine Corps recruiting station on and off over the past year were going to declare “Mission Accomplished” at a news conference today.

“CodePINK and our allies have prevailed! Major protest operations at the MRS have been ended, one year since covert military recruiting operations were first uncovered in Berkeley. Our coalition is now engaged in dis(as)sembling and deconstructing the U.S. military, making the world safe and secure,” the statement said.

But late last night, they announced they’d postponed the event indefinitely. Maybe they realized that it’s tough to call a storefront recruiting station “covert;” that the station is still there, doing what it did before they started; and that they have about as much chance of disassembling and deconstructing the U.S. military as I have of being President of the United States.

Seems like their “mission” was no more “accomplished” than that other one we all heard about


‘Berkeley Businesses for Peace’

Berkeley business owners including Anna De Leon of Anna’s Jazz Island; Carolyn Gravely of the Global Exchange Store; Paul Chin of La Pena Cultural Center; Andrea Ali of Guerilla Café; and Russell Bass of Café de la Paz are holding a news conference tomorrow, Thursday, April 3, to launch a new association called Berkeley Businesses for Peace.

In a news release, they say they intend to “support the city’s mandate to resolve disputes through diplomacy, not war. With national attacks on Berkeley, including by pro-war forces calling for a boycott of the city, businesses are coming together to reaffirm their pride in Berkeley as a City for Peace. The association is being launched by over 30 businesses, ranging from restaurants and cafes to book stores and copy centers.”

The antiwar groups which have caused a national ruckus by protesting the city’s U.S. Marine Corps recruiting center in recent months are behind this. Noticing that the group’s new Web site displays in Internet Explorer as “CODEPINK: businessesforpeace.org,” I checked the site’s registration — it’s registered to CODEPINK cofounder Jodie Evans of Venice, Calif. And the news release was sent out by a staffer at Global Exchange, the human-rights watchdog agency cofounded by CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin.

The release says association members will be listed on the Web site, receive window decals, and be included in special “Buy Berkeley” days plus a “Summer of Hope festival” that will take place in Berkeley this July.

Guerilla Cafe’s Ali said she was born and raised in Berkeley, “and I have always been proud that Berkeley is on the forefront of progressive change from recycling to opposition to war. Also, my father was born in Iraq and I have many family members there, so I have a very personal reason to want to see an end to the war.”

Said the Global Exchange store’s Gravely: “I think peace starts from within, both personally and within the local community. So we, as businesses, need to come together to strengthen our community and then spread our model to the rest of country.”


Group wants feds to probe Berkeley Marines flap

Lawyers for the conservative group Move America Forward have written to U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello of San Francisco “asking the federal government to investigate whether the Berkeley City Council’s official anti-Marine position and encouragement of anti-war groups to ‘impede’ the work of Marine recruiters constitutes a breach of law,” according to MAF’s news release. “If the City Council violated the law, the letter asks the U.S. Attorney to prosecute the perpetrators.”

The release says the letter also voices concern that Berkeley Police were unresponsive and negligent to public safety during a protest MAF organized in Berkeley on Feb. 12, 2007. The letter’s original copy has already been mailed, but MAF leaders will hand-deliver another Monday morning at San Francisco’s federal courthouse and then hold a news conference right afterward.

“We have been fighting them all the way and this is simply the next step,” former KSFO conservative talk radio host and MAF cofounder Melanie Morgan said in the release, also reiterating her demand that Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates give a full, official apology to all troops, veterans, and their families, and rescind resolutions giving special treatment — a parking space and sound-permit rights — to CodePink, one of the groups protesting at Berkeley’s U.S. Marine Corps recruiting center in recent months. “Berkeley has got to realize that we’re not going away.”


Melanie Morgan canned from KSFO

melanie-morgan.jpgMelanie Morgan — the conservative radio talk show host who chairs Move America Forward, the group which has led efforts to shame and boycott Berkeley for its anti-U.S. Marine Corps recruiting stand — has lost her job at KSFO 560 AM.

Morgan, 51, delivered her final broadcast there today after 14 years at the microphone, she says in a news release. KSFO owner Citadel Broadcasting decided not to renew her contract as part of the company’s announced across-the-board financial cost cutting.

“The ratings were terrific and I got to connect with a lot of passionate conservative casues, and I’m really grateful for that,” Morgan told me just now. “I don’t know what’s going to happen to the show, I don’t know what’s going to happen to KSFO.”

She’ll not be bored, though. She said her e-mail is already overflowing “with all kinds of very, very nice emails of support” and work offers. “I think I’m not going to have very much time to grieve this job.”

Among Morgan’s more incendiary moments:

  • Of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, she said, “We’ve got a bull’s-eye painted on her big, wide laughing eyes.
  • Of New York Times editor Bill Keller, after the Times published a story on U.S. government tracking of terrorist funding, she said, “If he were to be tried and convicted of treason, yes, I would have no problem with him being sent to the gas chamber.
  • Of billionaire financier and political contributor George Soros, after her co-host said Soros had “cheerfully and willingly went to work for the Nazis,” she said he’d done so “in order to further his own career.
  • She also helped launch and grow support for the 2003 gubernatorial recall, and rallied grassroots support to convince California to reverse itself and end use of the carcinogenic MTBE additive in gasoline.

    Morgan started out as a television reporter for KGO TV in 1981. She worked at KGO radio from 1983 through 1990, then moved to Seattle for a time; she returned to the Bay Area in 1994 and went to work at KSFO. She has traveled to the Middle East twice to interview U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and Kuwait; her broadcast efforts from Iraq resulted in her winning the Associated Press’s Mark Twain Journalism Award, and the Peninsula Press Club’s award for Best Interview or Talk Show.

    In her release today, Morgan said it has been an honor to work at KSFO for 14 years: “What I loved most about my time at KSFO was that it allowed me to connect with listeners and take action to make real changes in the world.”

    “We never had a one-way dialogue with our listeners, and we never believed that we had to resolve ourselves to accept the status quo. We got out of our chairs, left our homes and offices, and circulated petitions, rallied for our troops and met with government leaders,” she said. “We did all this to make sure that we left an even better world for our children than the one we had inherited from generations before us.”

    She’ll continue writing her weekly column for the news website World Net Daily; serving as an analyst on various television news programs; and working as a conservative activist leader, she said.

    “My passion and commitment to the troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world are foremost in my heart,” she said. “While I will miss my good friends Lee Rodgers and Officer Vic, and our great producer Sheri Yee, I am excited to stay close to the conservative grassroots. And I’ll always lead with my chin out.”

    UPDATE @ 4:04 P.M. MONDAY: Here’s some info on Citadel’s (and thus, KSFO’s) dire financial straits.

    UPDATE @ 6 P.M. MONDAY: Karl Frisch, spokesman for Media Matters – the watchdog group from which I culled the three controversial Morgan quotations above — just got back to me.

    “A lot of people say these are just fringe characters that deserve no notice whatsoever. We take a different opinion because, whether it’s Melanie Morgan or Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage, these people are communicating to a large audience and it has a ripple effect,” he said. “It’s important that these people are held accountable for accuracy and for the kind of fear-mongering and hate speech that they use on so regular a basis. And just because Melanie Morgan is off the air doesn’t mean she’s off our radar.”

    UPDATE @ 9:15 A.M. WEDNESDAY: Go see what Spokco, the San Francisco blogger who’d convinced advertisers to pull their accounts from KSFO by reposting controversial sound clips from Morgan and her cohosts, has to say about Morgan’s layoff.

    UPDATE @ 6:07 P.M. WEDNESDAY: See my newest posting on this, with comments from KSFO’s marketing director and other info, here.