Net neutrality activists will target Obama event

Activists from more than a dozen liberal grassroots groups are planning a “Don’t Kill the Internet” protest in favor of net neutrality outside President Obama’s Democratic fundraiser Wednesday in Los Altos Hills.

US-IT-INTERNET-FCCThe rally, organized by MoveOn.org Political Action and Free Press, will urge Obama to defend the open internet from a proposal by his Federal Communications Commission appointee that activists say would divide the Internet into fast lanes for wealthy businesses and slow lanes for most everyone else.

They note that Obama since his first campaign “has promised to preserve the open internet that helped him get elected and that every American relies on to access information, start a new business, and compete on a level playing field.”

Obama arrives in the Bay Area on Tuesday night, and on Wednesday will attend a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraising luncheon at the Los Altos Hills home of real estate mogul George Marcus. Tickets cost $10,000 per person, or $32,000 per couple with a VIP photo opportunity.

Groups taking part in the net-neutrality rally – scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. at South San Antonio Road and West Edith Street in Los Altos – include MoveOn.org Political Action, Free Press, Common Cause, CREDO Action, Presente.org, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Demand Progress, the Media Alliance, Code Pink, Daily Kos, SumOfUs, Progressives United, ACLU, and the Greenlining Institute. A similar rally is planned for another Democratic fundraiser Obama will attend later Wednesday in Los Angeles.

More than 1 million Americans have already submitted comments to the FCC on the need to preserve the open Internet, recently causing the FCC’s comment website to crash.


CA17: Candidates hit the streets to GOTV

The 17th Congressional District‘s candidates are preparing for a busy weekend of getting out the vote.

Democrat Ro Khanna plans a Milpitas rally and canvass kick-off at 9 a.m. Saturday at 1297 E. Calaveras Blvd., featuring Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves, Vice Mayor Althea Polanski, and Councilwoman Carmen Montano. Then he’ll do a “Students for Ro” canvass kick-off at noon at 3200 Coronado Dr. in Santa Clara; an “Indo-Americans for Ro” canvass kick-off at 3 p.m. at 43255 Mission Blvd., Suite 101 in Fremont; and a phone-bank with local volunteers at 4:30 p.m. at 20111 Stevens Creek Blvd., Suite 130 in Cupertino.

Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, will hold a rally, canvass kick-off and phone bank at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at his campaign’s Cupertino office, 10601 S. De Anza Blvd., unit 106.

And as previously reported here, Republican Vanila Singh will host a rally at 11 a.m. Saturday at her campaign’s headquarters, 1313 N. Milpitas Blvd., Suite 215 in Milpitas, along with other Republicans including gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari, lieutenant governor candidate Ron Nehring and 10th State Senate District candidate Peter Kuo.


CA17: Singh to hold GOTV rally with Kashkari

Congressional candidate Vanila Singh will host a rally at her campaign’s headquarters in Milpitas this Saturday, May 31, with a slew of other Republicans including gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari.

“The Silicon Valley has never seen a Republican ‘Get-Out-The-Vote’ effort like this before,” Dr. Singh said in a statement issued Monday.

Also scheduled to attend are Ron Nehring, a former state GOP chairman who now is running for lieutenant governor; 10th State Senate District candidate Peter Kuo, 20th Assembly District candidate Jaime Patino; and 28th Assembly District candidate Chuck Page, as well as party leaders such as Alameda County Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Caro.

The rally is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Singh’s campaign headquarters, 1313 N. Milpitas Blvd, Suite 215 in Milpitas. Singh is running to unseat Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, in the 17th Congressional District; also in the race are Democrat Ro Khanna and Republican Joel VanLandingham. A poll conducted last week found Singh running a distant third behind Honda and Khanna.

Singh launched her second television ad Saturday:


Activists plan anti-fracking day of action

Opponents of using hydraulic fracturing – “fracking” – to access hard-to-reach oil and natural gas are planning actions Thursday at assemblymembers’ offices around California.

Activists organized by MoveOn.org will deliver petitions in 13 Assembly districts, marking the launch of Californians Against Fracking, a coalition of 70 organizations advocating for a ban.

“The gutting of Holly Mitchell’s fracking moratorium bill [AB 1323] and the blocking of Richard Bloom’s bill [AB 1301] by Assembly leadership ignores the will of the voters of California who have made their voices heard with thousands of phone calls and petition signatures. What we demand is a ban on fracking to protect our health,” said Aura Walker, a Culver City mother, whose petition on MoveOn.org’s petition platform has been signed by more than 35,000 people. “California is already earthquake prone. Additionally, poisonous gases will permanently pollute many precious aquifers, irreversibly poisoning our drinking water.”

In the South Bay, activist Ann Benson of Portola Valley will lead the delivery of a local petition at noon to the Los Altos office of Assemblyman Richard Gordon, urging him to support a fracking ban. At the same time, Dorothy Hann of San Ramon will lead the delivery of a similar petition to Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan in San Ramon.

And the nascent Californians Against Fracking group plans a noon rally outside the state office building at 455 Golden Gate Ave. in San Francisco, as well as one at the same time in Los Angeles. Both will be delivering petitions to Gov. Jerry Brown’s offices.

Environmentalists have taken Brown to task after the governor in March said California should examine fracking to capitalize on the Monterey shale deposit, which the U.S. Energy Department has estimated could hold up to 15 billion barrels of oil — about 64 percent of the nation’s shale oil resources. As some legislative Democrats sought bans, Brown had said the technology shouldn’t be rejected out of hand.

“We want to get the greenhouse gas emissions down, but we also want to keep our economy going. That’s the balance that’s required,” he said at the time. “The fossil fuel deposits in California are incredible; the potential is extraordinary. But between now and development lies a lot of questions that need to be answered.”

UPDATE @ 5:07 P.M.: The California State Senate voted 27-11 this afternoon to pass SB 4 by state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Calabasas, which would require public noticing before fracking can take place, permits, disclosure of chemicals and an independent scientific study of fracking and its risks to California, among other provisions. “I am pleased my colleagues want to hold oil well operators accountable and answer critical questions about groundwater quality, water supply, earthquakes and air quality,” Pavley said in a news release. “We must protect California from risks to our economy, public health and safety and environment.”


Protesters target Zuckerberg at Facebook HQ

Protesters will be marching on Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters tomorrow to protest founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s role in a public policy group that seems to be advocating for construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Activists are angry that Zuckerberg’s FWD.us group is running a national TV ad praising and featuring pipeline supporter U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.:


“The president says I’m for ‘all of the above’ when it comes to energy,” Graham says in the ad. “Well, those are words coming out of his mouth. They don’t come from his heart. No Keystone pipeline. No drilling in the Gulf. At the end of the day, the economy is not doing well.”

Actually, the ad isn’t from FWD.us directly, but rather from one of its subsidiaries, Americans for a Conservative Direction. Another FWD.us subsidiary, the Council for American Job Growth, is running an ad in support of U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, which in part praises Begich’s support for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR):

Critics say Zuckerberg is quietly bankrolling media efforts for what they say are environmentally harmful fossil-fuel projects, even as he publicly claims to be concerned about climate change.

Surely the billionaire social-media mogul knew what he was getting into when he announced the formation of his issue-advocacy group about a month ago – this is the Bay Area, after all.

The march and rally is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., starting at 1401 Willow Road in Menlo Park. It’s organized by Next Step Keystone Action – a coalition including 350 Bay Area and 350 Silicon Valley, Rainforest Action Network, Idle No More, CREDO, Friends of the Earth, and others.


CA17: Honda raises $214k, Khanna holds 1st rally

On the heels of his well-bankrolled challenger’s campaign kickoff rally this weekend, Rep. Mike Honda announced Monday that he raised about $214,000 in this year’s first quarter toward his 2014 re-election campaign.

honda.jpgHonda, D-San Jose, faces a challenge in the 17th Congressional District from fellow Democrat Ro Khanna of Fremont, a former Obama administration Commerce Department official. Khanna raised a record-setting $1.2 million in the final quarter of 2011, when his plan was to succeed (but not challenge) Pete Stark in the 15th Congressional District; Stark was unseated by fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell last year, and now Khanna will try to do the same to Honda.

But Honda, who since the start of this year has been rolling out high-profile endorsements including those of President Barack Obama and almost all California House Democrats, seems ready to put up a hell of a fight.

His campaign said Monday that he raised $213,944.74 from 345 donors from Jan. 1 through March 31, and has hired a formidable fundraising team to hit wallets near and far. Madalene Xuan-Trang Mielke, founder and principal of Arum Group LLC, will direct national fundraising efforts and Shari Rubin-Rick and Brittany Kneebone Feitelberg of Integrated Fundraising Strategies will guide the California money operation.

“In the last 90 days, we’ve added finance talent to build upon our on-going fundraising operation and we are moving ahead aggressively with face-to-face and online fundraising,” campaign spokesman Dan Cohen said in a news release. “In the second quarter, the Congressman will travel for fundraising events to Chicago, New Jersey, New York, and Los Angeles, and Mayor Ed Lee will co-host an event in San Francisco.”

Among the contributions Honda’s campaign touted are those from actor George Takei of “Star Trek” fame; Men’s Wearhouse founder George Zimmer; and officers or employees from tech companies including McAfee, Phillips Electronics, Qualcomm, and Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), a global trade association.

“This is a Congressman who works both for the people and the drivers of innovation in Silicon Valley,” Mielke said in the release. “He is known as a trusted voice to grow jobs, help families, and improve education. People at every level want to be a part of keeping Rep. Honda in Congress,” she added.

Honda started the year with about $78,000 cash on hand, so even the money he raised in the first quarter doesn’t put him anywhere close to Khanna’s $1 million bankroll. Khanna raised only $18,000 in the first quarter, but he was trying to remain somewhat under the radar (he didn’t formally announce his candidacy until April 2) and promises a much more aggressive second quarter.

Ro KhannaMeanwhile, Khanna – who formally announced his campaign earlier this month – held the first public event of campaign Sunday at DeAnza College in Cupertino. The “Rally with Ro” featured a performance by a local dance troupe, as well as speeches from supporters including two members of Khanna’s campaign committee: longtime local labor leader Sergio Santos and Lindsay Lamont, a student who took one of Khanna’s classes at Stanford. And, of course, the candidate himself gave a broad outline of why he’s in this race.

“In Silicon Valley, we reject labels and respect out-of-the-box thinking,” Khanna said. “We judge a person based on the merit of their ideas, not their party or their seniority or their title. Isn’t it time we had a Congress capable of doing the same?”

Khanna ran through a series of policy points geared toward Silicon Valley’s needs, such as “tax rules that incentivize companies to invest here at home instead of parking money overseas;” a need to “simplify government regulations at all levels so that businesses choose to create jobs in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara instead of Ireland or Singapore;” tech-oriented education system that teaches code to elementary school students; and immigration reform that welcomes and retains job creators.

“The world looks to Silicon Valley as a place for innovation, unencumbered by past struggles along national, racial, or religious lines. It represents America at its best; the 21st century at its best,” he said. “If you believe, then, as I do, that Silicon Valley not only can, but must shape American politics; that from here we can build a new politics for a new century, grounded in the founding ideals that define our nation; then I ask you to join this campaign.”

Honda’s campaign on Friday had offered up a roster of Silicon Valley politicians (including San Jose Councilman Ash Kalra, Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison and Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews); business and labor leaders (including South Bay Labor Council CEO Ben Field, Root Square CEO Shelly Kapoor Collins and Yonja Media Group CEO Dilawar Syed); and others who’ll sing Honda’s praises as a champion for the region. Honda himself was at the California Democratic Party Convention in Sacramento this weekend, doubtlessly shoring up what few party-politico endorsements he doesn’t already have.

Read Khanna’s complete remarks as prepared, after the jump…
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