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Contra Costa reacts swiftly to revised Delta peripheral canal plan

Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho

Contra Costa County, whose leaders have been fending off a peripheral canal for more than three decades, reacted swiftly and negatively to a joint federal-state announcement today of a new Delta water diversion proposal.

“We need science before size,” said Contra Costa County Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho, who also sits on the Delta Protection Commission, Delta Conservancy and helped found the Delta County Coalition. “Science should drive the capacity of any project, not the other way around. It is completely unacceptable.”

See my colleague Steve Harmon’s full story here.

(ADDED 5:29 P.M. East Bay congressional representatives also blast plan. See full statements below.)

Smaller options must be evaluated, and science and the economic impacts of any pipeline must be more than “considered, as the announcement today said,” Piepho added.

“It’s easy to ‘consider’ something for 3 seconds, then shove it off the table and go back to your primary objective, which is to pipe massive amounts of Delta water into Southern California,” she said.

Supervisor Karen Mitchoff echoed her colleague’s dismay via  a text message from Sacramento, where she watched the announcement.

“If people believe what (Gov. Jerry Brown) and (Interior Secretary Ken) Salazar said today, I think there’s still a bridge available for sale,” Mitchoff said. “The plan will sacrifice the interest of one part of the state for the interests of others.”

The county, the Contra Costa Water District and others say the diversion will degrade both the environment and drinking water quality for tens of thousands of East Bay residents. The county board of supervisors formally opposed the plan in early July.

In contrast, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein wholeheartedly endorsed the pact, calling it a “major step toward a real solution in the Sacramento-Delta.” Feinstein led the federal legislation mandating completion of a Bay-Delta Conservation Plan by February 2013. See her press release issued today below.

 

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Contra Costa receives $500,000 DOE solar grant

A Contra Costa economic development partnership was awarded a $521,529 Department of Energy grant to help streamline and digitize the permitting process for solar system.

Read on for the news release issued earlier today:

A clean technology initiative of the Contra Costa Economic Partnership has been awarded a major grant through the U.S. Department of Energy Rooftop Solar Challenge, a national program to encourage cities and counties to compete to streamline and digitize solar permitting. (See the DOE news release here: http://energy.gov/articles/doe-awards-12-million-spur-rapid-adoption-solar-energy-rooftop-solar-challenge.)

The Economic Partnership, in collaboration with the Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County (www.wdbccc.com), officially launched a business-led effort in June 2011 to stimulate economic growth and job creation throughout the Greater East Bay. This initiative led to the formation of the Diablo Innovation Alliance (www.diabloinnovationalliance.org), a regional collaboration focused on driving economic growth and job creation in the clean technology sectors.

The DOE funds will be used to develop the first phase of a solar permitting process within Contra Costa County that encourages local jurisdictions to standardize permit requirements so they are easily understood, consistent, timely and cost effective. Subsequent phases and funding would involve the three-county region; successful implementation would serve as a best practice model for statewide adoption.

“The Economic Partnership is working closely with industry to accelerate market adoption and to reduce barriers to innovative solar and other clean energy programs throughout the region,” said Partnership Chair Alex Mehran. “We want to become a global center of clean technology and innovation, and this grant will help us begin to get there.”

“We are extremely excited about this new award and the boost that it provides to spur innovation and job creation in our region,” said Stephen Baiter, Executive Director for the Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County. “By continuing to develop and promote policies that support sustainable and efficient energy sources, we will fuel increased demand for our rapidly growing solar industry cluster and get more people in the East Bay back to work.”

A second initiative involves development of a regional energy procurement plan that focuses on public-sector aggregated procurement of solar and other forms of clean energy, and is modeled on the successful Silicon Valley Collaborative Renewable Energy Procurement Project.

Bay Area legislators John Garamendi, Jerry McNerney and George Miller have been big proponents of the economic development initiative from its beginnings, and were part of the launch event on June 29 at Bishop Ranch.

“I am proud to have supported the Contra Costa Economic Partnership application for the Department of Energy SunShot program grant, and I congratulate them on winning the award,” said Rep. John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek). “This program will move our country one step closer to energy independence. By streamlining the permitting process, the Economic Partnership will cultivate an environment for businesses to grow and create jobs in our community. Smart public-private partnerships like this will help us to Make It Locally and Make It In America.”

“This grant will put people in the East Bay back to work, creating jobs that we need in the region,” said Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton). “The work of the folks at the Contra Costa Economic Partnership is a wonderful example of how American ingenuity can get our economy back on track. I look forward to seeing the progress that will result from this grant. In today’s economy, the federal government needs to be a partner in spurring economic growth.”

“This announcement is great news for our community. I congratulate the Contra Costa Economic Partnership on their work to create jobs, help homeowners and businesses, and invest in the sustainability of our cities by making it easier to install clean energy in Contra Costa,” Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez) said of the project.

About the Contra Costa Economic Partnership (CCEP): The CCEP is an association of  business, education and public sector leaders dedicated to creating and retaining quality jobs in  the Greater East Bay to maintain the region’s quality of life. It is the nonprofit arm of the Contra Costa Council (www.contracostacouncil.com).

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McNerney foe cries foul over mailers

Ricky Gill

Jerry McNerney

GOP 9th Congressional District challenger Ricky Gill says Democratic incumbent Rep. Jerry McNerney is abusing his powers of office with a trio of mailers sent at taxpayers’ expense. (See links below.)

Gill may not like it — most challengers don’t — but incumbency has its advantages.

And one of them is the members’ ability to use their office budgets to send out mail to constituents and tout their accomplishments.

There are rules, of course. Members must submit the mailers to the House Franking Commission for an advisory opinion. They cannot contain personal biographical material, make direct references to an election, make statements of a partisan tone or ask for money. The House also imposes a 90-day blackout period on mass mailings prior to an election. (Read the full checklist here. Or if you really want to know more, click here for the full manual.)

But there are no prohibitions on stating your positions on policies or touting your record or accomplishments as an elected member of the House of Representatives.

Objections to the use of franked mail are an oft-used campaign tactic. Back in 2006 when McNerney ran against then-incumbent Richard Pombo, his campaign screamed bloody murder about the mailers that came out of the Republican’s office, too.

UPDATE FROM GILL CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN COLIN HUNTER:

“The mailers do, in fact, violate the letter of at least some of the franking guidelines. For example, the San Joaquin County mailer violates the guideline pertaining to the use of personal references (in the form of the Member’s name or personal pronouns). They also violate prohibitions on content that is political or partisan “in fact or in tone.”

 Viewed as a whole, the mailers also clearly violate Congress’ intent, expressed in statute, that a Member not use the frank to send content purely “laudatory” of the Member. The use of phrases like “McNerney championed,” “McNerney fought,” etc., serves no purpose other than to applaud McNerney on a personal basis.

It’s important to view this in context — take the San Joaquin County mailer as an example. McNerney has stated that he plans to move to San Joaquin County. He lost the San Joaquin County portion of the 11th District in 2010 by several points. Moreover, his FEC reports consistently show that he can’t raise money in San Joaquin County. Viewed in context, then, the “Delivering Results for San Joaquin County” mailer is clearly motivated by a desire to soften the ground in this portion of the new 9th District.”

 

// McNerney Mailer 1
// McNerney Mailer 2
// McNerney Mailer 3

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Political events round-up in the East Bay

San Ramon

The “Occupy Wall Street” movement will come to San Ramon on Oct. 11 and 12 as protesters plan a demonstration in front of Chevron’s headquarters.

MoveOn.org, a liberal political activist group, will gather from 4-6 p.m. at 6121 Bollinger Canyon Road on both days.

Protesters will focus on their opposition to federal subsidies of the highly profitable oil industry.

The “Occupy Wall Street” movement is a loosely defined but growing sign of discontent as protests expand in American cities among progressives who say corporations exert too much control over the economy and U.S. politics.

Lafayette

Economic author Joshua Holland will speak at the Oct. 13 evening meeting of the Lamorinda Democratic Club.

Holland, who wrote “The Fifteen Biggest Lies About the Economy,” will speak about his views on the economy, jobs, federal deficit, taxes and trade.

He is also an editor and senior staff writer at AlterNet and edits it’s special coverage of corporations, work and immigration.

The event begins at 7:15 p.m. with the club’s business meeting followed by Holland at 8. m.

It will be held at the Lafayette Library and Community Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette. Admission is $5 a person.

For more information, call 925-567-3367 or visit www.lamorindademoclub.org.

Pittsburg

Contra Costa County Administrator David Twa is the keynote speaker at the Oct. 14 breakfast club meeting of Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg.

Twa will discuss the new supervisor districts and other county issues.

The event begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Wedgewood Banquet Center, 2222 Golf Club Road, in Pittsburg.

Tickets are $50 for nonmembers of Glover’s breakfast club and $25 for members. Proceeds benefit the supervisor’s officeholder account, which is used for expenses related to serving office but not for campaigns.

For reservations, send email to gloverbrkfst@yahoo.com.

Walnut Creek

The League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley will host on Oct. 15 a celebration of the 100-year anniversary of women’s right to vote.

The celebration features a suffragists’ march around the Bortin Fellowship Hall courtyard, re-enactments by actors form the San Ramon museum of history and historical information about the historic California vote on Oct. 10, 1911, to give women the vote.

Wine, cheese, finger food and pink tea will be served. There will be singing. And participants are asked to wear suffragist colors of white, yellow and purple.

The event will be held from 2-5 p.m. at 55 Eckley Lane in Walnut Creek. Admission is $10 a person.

For more information, visit www.lwvdv.org.

Antioch

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, will speak at the Oct. 19 evening meeting of the East County Democrats for Action.

McNerney will discuss jobs, federal budget cuts and take questions.

The free event will be held form 7-9 p.m. at Carpaccio Ristorante, 274 Lone Tree Way, in Antioch.

Danville

Contra Costa Supervisor Gayle Uilkema will host a “meet and greet” on Oct. 20 in Danville to introduce herself to her new constituents.

The Board of Supervisors revised district lines this summer and her district now includes San Ramon, Danville and Alamo.

The event will be held from 1-3 p.m. at the Danville Chamber of Commerce, 117E Town and Country Drive, Danville.

Uilkema will hold similar events in Alamo and San Ramon on future dates.

 

 

 

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CD9: Let the endorsement battle begin

Ricky Gill

Republican congressional candidate Ricky Gill, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney, put out a lengthy endorsement list this morning.  (See full list below.)

The men are running for the new 9th Congressional District, a seat comprised largely of San Joaquin County and a chunk of east Contra Costa County including Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay and Byron.  McNerney has represented since 2006 the old 11th District, which spanned four counties.

Let’s be clear. Most voters don’t care a whit about endorsements. The practice of attaching names to your candidacy is largely a fund-raising mechanism intended to give an impression –which may also be true — of voluminous grassroots support.

Read through for Gill’s press release: Continue Reading

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Money for veteran event may be restored

McNerney

McNerney

A successful amendment passed today to a House defense authorization bill would restore federal dollars for East Bay Stand Down, an annual event in Pleasanton that provides aide to homeless military veterans.

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, authored the amendment.

Under the original version of the National Defense Authorization Act, according to McNerney’s office, funding was cut for innovative readiness training, the program that allowed military reservists to participate in East Bay Stand Down.

McNerney also authored a second successful amendment that requires coordinated credit counseling for active members of the military and their families.

Read on for McNerney’s full press release.

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