3

Go meet your House member

With the House of Representatives not convening again until Nov. 12, many members are out in their districts meeting the masses in the next few weeks. Among other opportunities:

Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, has three town-hall meetings scheduled tomorrow (Saturday, Nov. 2): from 9 to 10 a.m. in the auditorium at the Orinda Library, 26 Orinda Way; from 10:30 to 11 a.m. in the multi-use room at Las Lomas High School, 1460 S. Main St. in Walnut Creek; and noon to 1 p.m. in the multi-use room at Pleasant Hill Elementary, 2097 Oak Park Blvd.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, will hold a “Coffee with your Congressman” specifically for East Bay veterans from 9 to 10:30 a.m. tomorow in the Coast Guard Room at the Hayward Memorial Hall, 22737 Main St. The conversation will include the Department of Veterans Affairs backlog and how his office can assist with VA claims.

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, will attend Antioch’s 47th Neighborhood Cleanup Event from 9 to 10 a.m. tomorrow in Gentrytown Park on Monterey Drive.

Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, and the U.S. Patent and Trade Office will co-host a workshop on promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 2, in the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Building 400 in Los Altos Hills. Later Saturday, he’ll stop by a Covered California healthcare insurance exchange enrollment fair that’s running from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Cherrywood Elementary School, 2550 Greengate Drive in San Jose. And at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 4, he’ll be speaking on how federal budget sequestration has affected housing vouchers in a program hosted by the Housing Authority of Santa Clara County at the Rivertown Apartments, 1340 Hope Dr. in Santa Clara.

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa, will speak on immigration reform during the North Bay Organizing Project’s annual meeting, which is open to the public and runs from 4 to 5:30 p.m. this Sunday, Nov. 3 at the Sonoma Academy, 2500 Farmers Lane in Santa Rosa. He’ll also hold a town hall meeting from 6 to 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4, at the northern end of his district in the Middletown Community Center, 21256 Washington St. in Middletown, Lake County. And Thompson will give the opening remarks at an informational forum on the nation’s new health insurance law, sponsored by the American Association of University Women, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6 at Benicia First Baptist Church, 1055 Southampton Road.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, will hold a coffee and conversation session at 10:15 a.m. next Saturday, Nov. 9 in Hive Café, 2139 MacArthur Blvd. in Oakland; due to limited space, constituents can RSVP by emailing LeeCA.events@mail.house.gov or by calling 510-763-0370. Lee also will hold a town hall at 10 a.m. the following Saturday, Nov. 16, in the council chambers at Alameda City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Ave.

6

20,000 petition signatures favor transit-strike ban

An East Bay Assembly candidate who’s been crusading for a legislative ban on transit strikes says he’ll deliver 20,000 petition signatures to an influential lawmaker’s office Friday.

Steve Glazer“Back to back, the petitions are larger than a 10-car BART train,” said Steve Glazer, who is an Orinda councilman, political adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown, and Democratic candidate in the 16th Assembly District.

Glazer and supporters intend to walk Friday from the Pleasant Hill BART station to the district office of state Senate Transportation and Housing Committee Chairman Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, to deliver the petitions.

During the BART strike earlier this month, DeSaulnier had said that what Glazer is doing “is popular, but the reality is more complex than that.” The senator said he’s interested in an idea advanced by Stanford Law Professor Emeritus William Gould IV — who chaired the National Labor Relations Board in the Clinton administration — to enact a law providing for arbitration and prohibiting strikes in public-transit disputes. “But I’m not going to do it if it has no chance of success, if both sides are against it,” he said.

A few days later, when BART and its unions settled their negotiations and ended the strike, DeSaulnier issued a statement saying his committee “is investigating how other metropolitan areas around the nation avoid this kind of situation. After conducting the investigation, the committee will pursue every possible remedy to ensure this never happens again.”

Glazer said Thursday that “the complexity is kind of a smokescreen for those who don’t want to take action… Bans such as this are done in many places in the United States successfully, so there are plenty of templates to examine.”

Glazer said that besides the petition signatures, more than 1,300 people have used his website to send individualized emails of support for such legislation to DeSaulnier.

“By my count he has nine BART stations in his district, he probably has the most riders on BART of any legislator… so we’re certainly looking for his leadership and courage and backbone,” he said.

Among other 16th Assembly District candidates, Republican Catharine Baker, a Dublin attorney, voiced support this month for a Republican Senate bill that would force BART employees – not all transit employees – to honor the no-strike clause in their contract even after that contract expires. Senate Republicans since have said they intend to introduce a broader strike-ban bill covering all transit workers.

Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich, another Democrat in the 16th District race, said Glazer and Baker are engaging in “political gamesmanship” when neither was privy to the BART negotiations. The third Democrat in the race, Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, has declined to comment on the matter.

1

Bay Area gun control events this weekend

With Organizing for Action (the revamped Obama campaign) having held its “day of action” today – a grassroots push urging Congress to enact universal background checks for firearm purchases – the Bay Area still has a few gun-control events on tap over the next few days.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, will speak at a gun violence prevention rally at Palo Alto City Hall’s plaza, 250 Hamilton Ave., at 11 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 23. Also scheduled to speak are Vic Spicer of Silicon Valley Community Against Gun Violence; East Palo Alto Mayor Ruben Abrica; shooting survivor Mindy Finkelstein from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence; and a representative from the Protect Our Children Initiative.

The rally will draw attention to a gun buyback being held by the police departments of East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Palo Alto from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot at East Palo Alto City Hall, 2415 University Ave.

On Monday, Feb. 25, the Brady Campaign’s Contra Costa chapter will hold a candlelight vigil and bell-ringing for victims of the Newtown massacre and others killed with firearms, starting at 6:30 p.m. at Pleasant Hill City Hall, 100 Gregory Lane. Some local MoveOn.org chapters are participating as well, and Pleasant Hill Mayor Michael Harris is expected to attend.

Organizers say the event is in support of President Obama’s gun violence prevention proposals, including background checks on all gun sales, new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals, and banning assault weapons and large-capacity magazines.

0

East Bay political calendar: Fire tax, congress and state measures

Check out these upcoming political events in the East Bay.

Concord

CONFIRE CHIEF TO TALK ABOUT TAX: Contra Costa Fire Chief Daryl Louder will address the county’s mayors Thursday about his agency’s fiscal woes and the fire safety parcel tax on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Measure Q asks voters to approve a $75 annual parcel tax on a single-family home and create a tiered commercial rate, The funds would help the county’s largest fire district keep up to a third of its 28 fire stations open. The tax would expire in seven years.

The fire chief’s presentation is free and open to the public. The dinner following the business meeting is $50 a person and tickets may or may not be available at the door for the meal.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Concord Hilton, 1970 Diamond Blvd., in Concord.

The Mayors Conference is an association of the county’s 19 mayors. It meets monthly and has a variety of statutory responsibilities including the appointment of city representatives.

San Ramon

SCHOOL BOARD FORUM SET: Candidates vying for two seats on the San Ramon Valley Unified School District board have been invited to participate in a forum on Oct. 8.

The San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs and the Danville-Alamo-Walnut Creek chapter of the American Association of University Women will sponsor the event. Contra Costa Times political reporter and columnist Lisa Vorderbrueggen will moderate.

The candidates are incumbent Greg Marvel and challengers Mark Jewett and Dwight Winn.

Candidates will answer questions posed by the moderator and submitted from the audience.

The public event will be held from 7-8:45 p.m. at Iron Horse Middle School multipurpose room, 12601 Alcosta Blvd., San Ramon.

Pinole

FORUM SET: Candidates for two seats on the Pinole City Council have been invited to participate in a forum on Oct. 9.

Co-sponsored by Common Cause and Concerned Citizens of Pinole, the event will be moderated by Contra Costa Times political reporter and columnist Lisa Vorderbrueggen.

Three candidates are incumbents Roy Swearingen and Peter Murray, and challenger Ivette Ricco.

The open public event will be from 7-9 p.m. in the Pinole City Council chambers, 2131 Pear St., Pinole.

Pinole Community TV will air the forum on Comcast Channel 26 and AT&T Channel 99.

Stockton

UOP TO HOST CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE: Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney and his GOP challenger Ricky Gill will debate on Oct. 15 at the University of the Pacific’s Stockton campus.

McNerney is seeking re-election in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District, which encompasses the bulk of San Joaquin County and slice of far eastern Contra Costa County.

The event is co-hosted by the League of Women Voters and the college’s political science department.

A team of panelists from the community will ask questions of the candidates, who will also make opening and closing statements.

The public event will be held at 6 p.m. at university’s Long Theatre, 3601 Pacific Avenue in Stockton,

Pleasant Hill

COMMISSION HOSTS FORUM: Candidates vying for the Mt. Diablo School District board will participate in a candidates’ forum Oct. 18 in Pleasant Hill.

The forum is sponsored by the Pleasant Hill Education/Schools Advisory Commission and moderated by Contra Costa Times political reporter and columnist Lisa Vorderbrueggen.

It will be held from 7-9 p.m. at Pleasant Hill City Hall, 100 Gregory Lane, in Pleasant Hill.

The five candidates are incumbent Sherry Whitmarsh, and challengers Ernie DeTrinidad, Brian Lawrence, Debra Mason and Barbara Oaks. Incumbent Gary Eberhart is not seeking re-election.

Questions will be a mixed of those prepared in advance and those submitted that evening from the audience. Residents may also submit a question via email to Martin Nelis at mnelis@ci.pleasant-hill.ca.us.

The forum will be broadcast on public access television Comcast Channel 28, ATT U-Verse Channel 99 and Astound Channel 29.

Lafayette

COLUMNISTS TACKLE 2012: Contra Costa Times’ editorial columnist Daniel Borenstein and Sacramento Bee political columnist Dan Walters will team up on Oct. 24 at the Commonwealth Club.

In “Ballot Box 2012: A Key to the CA Election,” the journalists will take a look at the issues facing Californians in the upcoming election.

In November, Californians will consider solutions to the state’s budgetary woes, campaign finance reform and a proposed repeal of the three-strikes law, among many other initiatives.

Check-in begins at 6 p.m. followed by the program at 6:30 p.m. at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette.

Tickets are $22 for the general public, $12 for Commonwealth Club members and $7 for students with valid identification.

For more information, visit www.commonwealthclub.org.

 

 

 

7

Failed Contra Costa water fee flopped in 18 of 19 cities

The failed Contra Costa clean water fee sank in every city in the county except El Cerrito, according to a vote breakdown.

As you may recall, the county and its 19 cities attempted earlier this year to persuade property owners to pass an annual fee to pay for programs associated with tightening state and federal anti-pollution regulations on stormwater runoff.

The unusual property-owner election coupled with the bad economy and campaign missteps doomed the effort, which went down 59.4 percent to 40.6 percent.

Here are the final numbers ranked by the percentage of support, as provided by the Contra Costa Clean Water Program:

AREA YES (%) NO (%)
El Cerrito 54.9 45.1
Walnut Creek 47.3 52.7
Moraga 45.6 54.4
Orinda 45 55
Richmond 43.5 56.5
Hercules 42.8 57.2
San Ramon 42.6 57.4
Lafayette 42.4 57.6
Danville 42.3 57.7
Pleasant Hill 39.5 60.5
Pittsburg 39.1 60.9
Unincorporated 38.6 61.4
San Pablo 38.2 61.8
Martinez 37.9 62.1
Antioch 37.4 62.6
Concord 37 63
Brentwood 35.7 64.3
Clayton 35.7 64.3
Oakley 33.3 66.7
Pinole 33 67
COUNTYWIDE 40.6 59.4

 

8

Open carry hubbub alive and well in Concord

The “open carry” debate is hot again in Contra Costa County with a demonstration tonight at the Sun Valley Mall in Concord, but a new law could make this one of the movement’s last public gasps for a while.

Members of Responsible Citizens of California, a gun-rights group, had planned to openly carry unloaded handguns as they meet for dinner tonight at the mall’s BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse.

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.

Opponents 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 checking to ensure the guns aren’t loaded, in accordance with state law. The Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown agreed: AB 144, a new law taking effect Jan. 1, will prohibit open carry of handguns, although open carriers have vowed to sue.

Concord police drew their ire last week, when two open carriers dining at the mall’s Johnny Rockets burger restaurant were confronted by several police officers and detained for about 20 minutes while police checked their names, their guns’ serial numbers and so on. Tonight’s event at BJ’s was intended to “educate the department” about open-carry rights.

Gun-control advocates got wind of this and decided to do a little educating of their own; the California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence started working the phones.

Karen Arntzen, 58, of Pleasant Hill, the group’s services and advocacy coordinator, sent out an e-mail yesterday morning announcing that BJ’s “has announced a Gun-free Dining Policy and will not allow guns on the premises at any time. Manager Mike Gatto called the CA Brady Campaign to say he is trying to let the Open Carriers know ahead of time so they will not show up at the restaurant as planned on Dec. 14th.”

But, Arntzen noted, “Sun Valley Mall does NOT have a Gun-free Policy. The CA Brady Campaign has urged Security Manager Michael Fenley to implement a NO Weapons policy on Mall property for the safety of shoppers and employees.”

Alany Helmantoler, 38, of Concord is organizing tonight’s event and says the show must go on.

“We fully expected this type of thing occurs which is why we were meeting in front of BJ’s. We will guide people at the location,” she said in an e-mail late last night.

“The Brady Campaign has a history of terrorizing and scaring businesses to what is essentially a non-issue. This harassment of businesses will be addressed through their investors,” Helmantoler added. “AB 144 has limited enforcement abilities and is a nightmare for law enforcement agencies that are already suffering from cuts. The confusion over exemptions will create a whole new gamut of issues unintended.”