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One of Lincoln Chafee’s 10 big donors is from SF

NPR had a fun story Wednesday about how Democratic presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee got contributions of $200 or more from only 10 people across the nation during this year’s third quarter. And don’t’cha know, one of them was from right here in the Bay Area!

Todd Rosoff of San Francisco gave $250 to Chafee’s campaign on Aug. 17, according to a report filed last week with the Federal Election Commission. Rosoff, 39, is a vice president at the Raine Group, a global merchant bank focused exclusively on technology, media and telecommunications. He declined to comment when reached by phone at his office Thursday.

Chafee, the former U.S. Senator and governor from Rhode Island, currently polls at a flat zero in an average of six recent national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics; he’s at 0.3 percent in Iowa, and 0.8 percent in New Hampshire.

UPDATE @ 8:39 A.M. FRIDAY: A tree fell in the woods, and we did indeed hear it – Lincoln Chafee has dropped out of the race.

Posted on Thursday, October 22nd, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election | 2 Comments »

Senate candidate: ‘We’re all going to die.’

A San Francisco attorney’s guerrilla campaign to succeed Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate rests upon a laser-like focus on combating climate change and a hefty dose of sarcastic humor.

“ISIS. Obamacare. Russia. The NSA. Wealth disparity. Immigration reform. Gun control. What do all of these hot issues for the 2016 election have in common? None of them matter because we’re all going to die,” says the home page at, the campaign website of Mikelis Beitiks, 32.

“Every forecast on climate change predicts severe consequences without dramatic measures. And yet, federal legislators do essentially nothing,” the Democrat wrote. “In light of this, I offer myself as a candidate for U.S. Senate. If elected, I vow to address global warming like a human being with basic reasoning and any sense of proportion.”

Here’s the basic pitch:

Beitiks on Tuesday published an open letter to Boxer (on letterhead emblazoned “From the Dining Room Table That Doubles as the Desk of Mike Beitiks”) thanking her for her service, particularly her work to combat climate change.

“In your 32 years on the Hill, you have undoubtedly formed bulletproof alliances, banked countless favors, and compiled mountains of insider knowledge. Imagine the possibilities if, to save future generations of Americans, you torch all of that in your final year of service,” he wrote. “Hear me out here – You don’t have to worry about re-election, and you never have to work with these people again. This is freedom that could change the world.”

Beitiks then proceeds to urge Boxer to “abandon courtesy, call in favors without mercy, blackmail – stuff like that” to force the Senate to approve the most ambitious climate treaty possible when President Obama goes to Paris in November for the United Nations Climate Conference.

“Then, filibuster all legislation that makes its way up into the Senate until concrete solutions on climate change are created in the house,” he wrote. “Sure, you’ll get roasted in the media for it, but so what? In 15 short months, you’ll be retired and off the grid – daiquiris, Grafton and sandy toes in Aruba, popsicle-blue surf shushing the stateside wonk jibber-jabber.”

“And, you know, I’m just spit-balling now, but the next time a fellow Senator says something untrue or unproductive about climate change, consider slugging him/her,” he continued. “Imagine how you’d change the national conversation with a well-placed right hook! Squaring up would be ideal, but a sucker-punch would work, particularly as a metaphor.”

Beitiks said Wednesday he’s a stay-at-home father of two who realized in January, when Attorney General Kamala Harris declared her candidacy to succeed Boxer, that she’s “a very qualified candidate and I’d be very excited if she got elected” yet she lacks a strong platform position on climate change.

Given that he has “a certain amount of unresolved anxiety” about the climate-change crisis, he said dryly, “It seemed like a reasonable avenue to offer myself as an idiot with a bulletproof premise … an act of political self-immolation.”

“I know a lot of people feel this strongly about it – that’s the response I’ve been getting to the campaign so far,” he added.

Read more about Beitik’s quixotic campaign, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, October 21st, 2015
Under: Barbara Boxer, Global warming, U.S. Senate | 3 Comments »

Jeb Bush to raise money Oct. 20 in Bay Area

Republican Presidential candidate Jeb Bush is Bay Area-bound, with fundraisers scheduled next Tuesday, Oct. 20 in San Francisco and Woodside.

Bush first will attend a luncheon reception at the Pacific Heights home of tech entrepreneur and investor Trevor Traina and his wife, Modern House Wines proprietor Alexis Traina, in San Francisco. Later, he’ll attend an evening reception at the Woodside home of money manager Paul Edwards and his wife, Woodside Elementary School District Trustee Silvia Edwards.

A ticket to either costs $2,700, though raising $10,000 confers co-host status – with access to a photo reception – and raising $27,000 earns a place on the California finance committee with the photo op and a ticket to a future debate. Both events will be closed to the press.

Other co-chairs of the Bay Area events include Cavalry Asset Management managing partner John Hurley and his wife, Kamilla, of San Francisco; brokerage and banking mogul Charles Schwab and his wife, Helen, of Woodside; and Sequoia Capital partner and former U.S. Ambassador to Portugal Tom Stephenson and his wife, Barbara, of Atherton.

Co-hosts so far include Thumbtack general counsel Katie Biber Chen of San Francisco, who was general counsel to Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign; venture capitalist Bill Draper of Atherton, former president and chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States and a longtime Bush family friend; William Grayson of San Francisco, a senior advisor at Bernstein Global Wealth Management; Ed Hearst of Danville, an attorney and government affairs executive; Greg Johnson of Hillsborough, chairman and CEO of Franklin Templeton Investments; Jay Kern of Ross, a founder and general partner of Kern Whelan Capital; attorney Josh Lipshutz, a partner at Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher; and Carole McNeil of Belvedere, widow of late real estate mogul Robert McNeil.

Though Bush has seemed to be the odds-on favorite of establishment Republicans, and while the super PAC backing his campaign raised a record $103 million in the year’s first half, Bush currently ranks fifth in an average of seven national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics, behind Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marcio Rubio and Carly Fiorina. He’s sixth in Iowa behind Trump, Carson, Fiorina, Ted Cruz and Rubio, and fifth in New Hampshire behind Trump, Fiorina, Carson and Rubio.

Jeb Bush invite 10-20-15

Posted on Tuesday, October 13th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election | No Comments »

Gavin Newsom raises money with Train tickets

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is raising money for his 2018 gubernatorial campaign by raffling off tickets to a Grammy-winning band that prides itself on its San Francisco pedigree.

“We’re putting on a small concert with Train on November 3 in San Francisco, and I’m hoping you’ll be able to join me!” Newsom wrote in an email to supporters Wednesday. “When Train played the Bay Area this summer, it was for a crowd of 22,000 – but this will be a small crowd and an intimate venue (not a bad seat in the house!). We’ll get to hang out with the band before the show, and I’ll also introduce you to some of my family and friends – and Jen will be there, too, of course!”

A donation of $5 or more automatically enters the contributor to win two tickets, plus travel and hotel costs for winners coming from out of town.

Formed in San Francisco in 1993, Train has had platinum-album hits including “Meet Virginia” (1998), “Drops of Jupiter” (2001), “Calling All Angels” (2003), and “Hey, Soul Sister” (2009) – the latter from the album “Save Me, San Francisco,” of which the title track is a paean to the city by the bay.

Posted on Wednesday, October 7th, 2015
Under: Gavin Newsom | 3 Comments »

White House confirms upcoming Obama visit to SF

As previously reported here, the White House now confirms President Barack Obama will return to the Bay Area next week to raise money for his fellow Democrats.

“On Friday, the President will travel to the Seattle, WA area to attend an event for Senator Patty Murray and the Washington State Democratic Party and a DNC event. Later in the day, the President will travel to the San Francisco, CA area for a DNC event. The President will remain overnight in San Francisco,” a White House official said. “On Saturday, October 9, the President will attend a DNC event and travel to the Los Angeles area for DNC and DSCC events. Further details about the President’s travel to Washington and California will be made available in the coming days.”

No comment from the White House on the president’s potential “come to Yeezus” moment.

Posted on Friday, October 2nd, 2015
Under: Barack Obama, Obama presidency | 5 Comments »

Yeezy and Barry to bury the hatchet in SF?

President Obama is coming back to the Bay Area to raise money early next month, but that’s not the big story.

Tickets for the event range from $250 to $10,000, but that’s not the big story, either.

The big story is that Kanye West is rumored to be the musical guest at this Oct. 10 fundraiser at San Francisco’s Warfield Theater – perhaps marking a new warming in the often-troubled diplomatic relationship between Yeezy and B. Barry Bams.

The leader of the free world first jabbed at rap’s biggest ego back in 2009, after West famously commandeered Taylor Swift’s microphone during her acceptance speech at the Video Music Awards.

The Commander-in-Chief repeated the same epithet in a 2012 interview with the Atlantic, in noting that he preferred Jay Z to Kanye.

“Although I like Kanye,” Obama continues, with an easy smile. “He’s a Chicago guy. Smart. He’s very talented.” He is displaying his larger awareness of the question, looking relaxed, cerebral but friendly, alive to the moment, waiting for me to get to the heart of the matter.
“Even though you called him a jackass?,” I ask.

“He is a jackass,” Obama says, in his likable and perfectly balanced modern-professorial voice. “But he’s talented.”

Kanye responded in 2013, saying he didn’t particularly care and was moving on with his art and his life. But his wife, Kim Kardashian, fired back late last year in her interview with GQ.

“I don’t think it’s very appropriate for the president of the United States to be commenting really on pop culture,” says Kim when I bring up the president’s comments. Of course, her husband had previous beef with America’s commander-in-chief; Obama calling West a “jackass”, after he’d leapt on stage and interrupted Taylor Swift’s Moonman acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.

“I mean, calling people ‘jackass’?” Kim makes a face as if she’s bitten into a soft, ripe peach and hit a piece of grit. “I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion – even him. I was just like, ‘Why is he even commenting on this?’ OK, sure, just the fact that the president of the United States even knows who I am, and is talking about whether his kids watch our show is pretty cool…” Kim laughs, but is defiant. “He can say whatever he wants. I’m not affected by it.”

Then, during a stream-of-consciousness lecture at Oxford University in March, Kanye claimed POTUS occasionally calls him up to chew the fat: “Obama calls the home phone, by the way.”

Days later, Obama told Jimmy Kimmel he has met Kanye only twice. “Look, I love his music. He’s incredibly creative. I don’t think I’ve got his home number.”

But Kanye soon doubled down on his claim to TMZ: “I love Obama. He called our house before. He knows that. Don’t try to pit us against each other.”

And of course, Kanye announced at last month’s Video Music Awards that he wants Obama’s job.

“If my grandfather was here right now he would not let me back down! I don’t know I’m fittin’ to lose after this,” he said. “It don’t matter though, cuz it ain’t about me. It’s about ideas, bro. New ideas. People with ideas. People who believe in truth. And yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president.”

So this Oct. 10 event in San Francisco is nothing less than a diplomatic summit of epic proportions, a touchstone moment in American politics and entertainment, a burying of the hatchet that could change the course of U.S. history. Perhaps… an early 2020 endorsement!?!

Or – Kanye will do a few songs, Obama will make off with some serious lucre for the Democratic National Committee, and we’ll all roll on.

Posted on Saturday, September 26th, 2015
Under: Barack Obama, Obama presidency | 1 Comment »

SF couple hosting John Kasich, Ben Carson

A San Francisco couple’s home seems to be becoming a key stop on the Republican presidential primary campaign trail.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich was at the Nob Hill home of Christine Hughes and Abe Ostrovsky on Thursday for a reception with a few dozen members of the Lincoln Club of Northern California.

Hughes is the club’s vice chairwoman as well as chairwoman of the San Francisco Republican Party, president of the CalWatchdog Foundation, and a former vice president and board member of the conservative Pacific Research Institute. Ostrovsky is chief operating officer at Artkick. The Kasich event was free to club members and their guests.

Hughes and Ostrovsky also are scheduled to host Dr. Ben Carson for a cocktail reception at their home on the evening Tuesday, Sept. 8; tickets cost $250 per head, or $500 for those who want to attend a VIP photo opportunity first.

UPDATE @ 10:45 A.M. FRIDAY: I now hear that Kasich had a fundraiser yesterday morning at the Stanford Park Hotel in Menlo Park, with about 100 people in attendance and venture capitalists Ted Schlein and Floyd Kvamme offering remarks. Kasich reportedly spoke about his successes in Congress and as Ohio’s governor – the latter including a Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act – and said Donald Trump helped all GOP candidates by drawing 24 million viewers to the first debate early this month.

Posted on Thursday, August 27th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, Republican Party | 10 Comments »

Martin O’Malley’s Celtic rock band

As former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley keeps on stumping for the Democratic presidential nomination, here’s something you probably didn’t know about him: He plays banjo and guitar, and sings in a Celtic rock band called “O’Malley’s March” that he founded way back in 1988.

“The band has been very dormant. I got an e-mail yesterday, the harp player said, ‘Are you saving us as the secret weason for the end of the campaign?’” he said during a brief interview Thursday in San Francisco. “I’m hoping to get the band out for an Irish fest in Iowa or New Hampshire if the opportunity presents itself.”

O’Malley noted he has been playing since he was 17, first as a practical matter – “It paid my way through college” – but more recently as an outlet from the pressures of eight years as Baltimore’s mayor and eight more as Maryland’s governor. “Some people fish, some people bowl – I enjoy playing music with my friends.”

Here are a few videos of the band in action:

Posted on Thursday, August 20th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election | 1 Comment »

Martin O’Malley to visit Bay Area next week

With the Democratic presidential field in some disarray – Hillary’s growing email woes, Sanders surging, Biden testing the waters – one of the race’s “forgotten” Democrats is coming to the Bay Area next week with a tech-savvy spin.

Martin O'Malley (photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty images)Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will host a civic tech start-up pitch contest Wednesday night at The Hall, a food-vendor and bar venue in San Francisco’s mid-Market area. The competition will feature five candidate teams chosen from a pool of entrepreneurs, each of which will have two minutes to pitch a panel of tech-exec judges with their plans for boosting civic engagement.

On Thursday morning, O’Malley will host a panel of civic tech executives – including the winner from the night before – at the SoMa headquarters of Brigade, a nonpartisan tech startup aimed at increasing political engagement and working toward common goals. The panel will chat about how entrepreneurs can harness technology to transform public service and empower under-served communities.

Other panelists will include leaders in civic tech, including Sid Espinosa, Microsoft’s director of civic engagement and former mayor of Palo Alto; Sam Lessin, former vice president of product at Facebook; Marci Harris, CEO of POPVOX; and Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code.

Of course, fundraising is involved too. The Wednesday night event will double as a “happy hour” for which supporters will pay from $100 to $1,000 each (with lower prices for students, interns and young professionals).

O’Malley has yet to make a big impression in this race – his fundraising has been meager, and his national poll numbers have hovered between 1 and 2 percent since he declared candidacy May 30, leaving him way down in the basement with Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee.

But he has been stumping hard in Iowa and insists he’s still in the game. Sanders is a protest candidate in whom most reasonable people will lose interest and Clinton is too centrist, he claims, offering himself as the more reasonable progressive alternative. He does have one notable supporter in the area – Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, endorsed him in July.

Posted on Thursday, August 13th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election | No Comments »

Hillary Clinton is in the Bay Area today

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be in the Bay Area on Wednesday and Thursday for fundraisers, but no public events.

Hillary Clinton 5-27-2015 (AP photo)The former U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. Senator and First Lady is scheduled to attend a reception Wednesday evening at the Atherton home of investor and former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly and his wife, Galavantier co-founder Jennifer Carrico. Tickets start at $2,700, but co-hosts are being asked to raise $27,000 and hosts are being asked to raise $50,000.

On Thursday morning, Clinton will attend a fundraiser in San Francisco hosted by Mayor Ed Lee, Board of Equalization member Fiona Ma, and Melissa Ma; the same ticket prices and hosting requirements apply.

Then she’s headed to Los Angeles for another fundraiser later Thursday at the home of Scooter Braun – Justin Bieber’s manager – and his wife, Yael; and to La Jolla for a fundraiser Friday at the home of Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs and his wife, Joan. Some tickets for the Los Angeles and La Jolla events went for $1,000 each.

Clinton does have one non-fundraising event planned on this California swing. She’ll hold a roundtable discussion Thursday afternoon in Los Angeles with home-care providers and consumers including members of the Service Employees International Union, which will livestream the event on its website.

“Once again Hillary Clinton proves that she’s more interested in hosting high-dollar fundraisers than discussing the issues that matter to everyday Californians,” Republican National Committee spokesman Ninio Fetalvo said in an emailed statement. “And as she continues dodging questions on key issues and the mishandling of classified information on her secret email server, it’s no surprise that voters continue to find her not honest or trustworthy.”

Clinton raised money in the Bay Area in May and June.

Posted on Wednesday, August 5th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, campaign finance, Hillary Clinton | 3 Comments »