Neel Kashkari rolls out grassroots coalition chairs

Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari announced his “coalition team chairs” Tuesday, and including some familiar Bay Area and California GOP names.

“I am honored by the depth and breadth of the support I’ve received from Californians across our great state,” Kashkari said in a news release. “I appreciate these men and women who have agreed to support my campaign and help spread our message about jobs and education.”

Charles Moran, a Los Angeles development and public affairs consultant who chairs the California Log Cabin Republicans, will chair the campaign’s California Coalitions team – a chair of chairs, as it were. And here’s the rest of the roster:

    Indo-Americans for Kashkari – Dr. Vanila Singh of Fremont, a Stanford University professor and physician who was defeated in the 17th Congressional District’s primary election
    Healthcare Professionals for Kashkari – Dr. Nikan Khatibi of Laguna Niguel, a physician, neuroscience researcher and medical journal article author
    Latinos for KashkariMario Rodriguez of San Clemente, CEO of Jonathan Grey & Associates and chairman of Hispanic 100
    Farmers & Ranchers for KashkariRyan Schohr of Chico, a farmer who was defeated in the 3rd Assembly District’s primary election
    Veterans for KashkariChuck McDougald of South San Francisco, chairman of the San Mateo County Republican Party
    Asian-Americans for KashkariMei Mei Huff of Diamond Bar, business consultant and wife of state Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff
    LGBT for Kashkari – co-chairs Susan Jester of San Diego, a community activist and founder of AIDS Walk San Diego; and Mark Snyder of Sacramento, a business owner
    Young Professionals for KashkariMatthew Del Carlo of San Francisco, a public and corporate affairs consultant, past president of the San Francisco Young Republicans, and 2012 19th Assembly District candidate
    Students for Kashkari – co-chairs Jere Ford of the University of San Diego, administrative vice-chair of the California College Republicans, and Ambika Bist of the Claremont Colleges
    Women for KashkariParmis Khatibi of Laguna Niguel, a clinical pharmacist specialist at UC-Irvine Medical Center, clinical adjunct professor at UCSF and USC pharmacy schools

NJ hedge fund prez bankrolls anti-AB 1266 effort

A hedge-fund manager from New Jersey has contributed another $50,000 to the campaign to repeal California’s new law that gives transgender K-12 students rights such as access to the restrooms and locker rooms that they choose.

Wedding AnniversaryThis latest contribution, made Nov. 1 and reported Monday, brings Sean Fieler’s total contributions to the “Privacy for All Students – Stop AB1266” committee to $200,000 – almost as much as all other contributors to that committee have given so far.

Fieler, of Princeton, N.J., is president of Equinox Partners and chairman of the board of the American Principles Project, a conservative 501(c)(3) “founded to reinvigorate and restore those principles that made our country great. We take pride in leading the conversation, defending and promoting the universal truths that we are all ‘created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’” Fieler also has been a prolific donor to efforts opposing same-sex marriage.

AB 1266 by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, requires that a K-12 pupil be permitted to take part in sex-segregated school programs, activities and facilities including athletic teams and competitions, consistent with his or her gender identity and regardless of the gender listed on that pupil’s records. Though the law applies to a wide range of access, conservative opponents have dubbed it the “bathroom law.”

The Assembly approved it 46-25, the state Senate approved it 21-9, and Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law Aug. 12. The law will take effect Jan. 1, unless its opponents succeed in placing a repeal referendum on the ballot.

We don’t know yet whether they succeeded. Referendum supporters had until Nov. 10 to gather and submit valid signatures from at least 504,760 registered voters in order to put this on the ballot; hitting that mark usually requires gathering about 700,000 signatures to be safe. The Los Angeles Times reported Oct. 20 that they had gathered about 500,000. Southern California Public Radio reported Sunday that supporters said they’d submitted 620,000 signatures.


Mary Hayashi, NFL push sports safety bill

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, was joined by a constellation of former National Football League stars today at a Sacramento news conference announcing her bill to prevent sports-related concussions among California’s student athletes.

Hayashi’s AB 25, sponsored by the NFL, would require a young athlete who is suspected of having a concussion or head injury in a practice or game to be removed from play for the remainder of the day, and to get written consent from a health care professional and legal guardian in order to return to play.

“Kids believe they need to be tough and play through injuries, so they often return to play too soon,” the lawmaker said. “When it comes to concussions, this kind of enthusiasm can be life-threatening. Athletes who sustain a concussion are more likely to have a second or third incident, increasing the risk of brain swelling and bleeding, which can lead to coma or even death.”

Joining Hayashi this morning were Fred Biletnikoff, an NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver who played with the Oakland Raiders from 1965 through 1978, starred in six Pro Bowls and two Super Bowls and was named MVP of Super Bowl XI; Morris Bradshaw, a former NFL wide receiver who played with the Oakland Raiders from 1974 to 1981 and the New England Patriots in 1982, and is now Senior Administrator for the Oakland Raiders; Eric Davis, a former NFL defensive back who played with the San Francisco 49ers, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos and Detroit Lions over 13 seasons, starring in the 1995 and 1996 Pro Bowls and helping the 49ers win Super Bowl XXIX; Leslie “Speedy” Duncan, a former NFL defensive back and four-time Pro Bowler who played for the San Diego Chargers from 1964-1970 and the Washington Redskins from 1971-1974; Jim Otto, an NFL Hall of Fame center who played with the Oakland Raiders from 1960 to 1974, starred in 12 All-Star games and Pro Bowls and Super Bowl II; and Keena Turner, a former Pro Bowl linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers who played 11 NFL seasons from 1980 to 1990 and won four Super Bowl rings, and is now Vice President of Football Affairs for the 49ers.

It’s second down and 10 for Hayashi on the concussion issue. This past January she had introduced AB 1646, which would’ve added training on potentially catastrophic injuries, such as head and neck injuries, asthma attacks, and heatstroke, to the CPR and first aid certification required of all California high school coaches, and AB 1647, which would’ve required athletes suspected of having a concussion to get a doctor’s written permission before returning to play. The former bill petered out in the Assembly Appropriations Committee; the latter was whittled down to merely require state certification for athletic trainers, and then was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Her new bill seems to have bipartisan support: State Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, is the principal co-author.

“As someone who participated in youth sports throughout my life, I know first-hand just how important this legislation is,” he said in a news release. “Student-athletes will oftentimes put the team before their own well-being, so AB 25 is essential in ensuring their safety.”

Hayashi’s office says a recent NFL study found serious memory-related diseases and other health problems in retired athletes to be nearly twenty times the normal rate, and another study of retired professional football players found that players reporting three or more previous concussions were three times more likely to be diagnosed with depression than those with no history of concussion.

Because young people’s heads and necks are still developing, the impact of concussions is often more serious, Hayashi’s office says studies have shown. High school athletes who sustain a concussion are three times more likely to sustain a second concussion, and cumulative head trauma can result in health problems including sleep disorders, memory loss, and depression.


Obama to give a second back-to-school speech

Remember how President Barack Obama’s back-to-school speech to students across the nation last year – encouraging them to study hard, stay in school and take responsibility for their education – ignited all kinds of indignation from his political critics?

Well, here we go again. The White House today announced the President will deliver his second annual address to the schoolkids on Tuesday, Sept. 14; more details will be announced soon.


Pondering the future of higher education

The Commonwealth Club of California held a fascinating and sobering panel discussion last week on the future of higher education in California, featuring University of California President Mark Yudof, California State University Chancellor Charles Reed and California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott, moderated by club President and CEO Gloria Duffy.

The club’s blurb for the event was as follows:

Has California’s beacon of educational hope burned out? 50 years ago, our state produced A Master Plan for Higher Education in California. This plan was to guide the state in successfully creating a public higher education system that was the envy of the world. But with budget crises, pay cuts, furlough days and more students than ever being denied acceptance into our UC, state and community college systems, what can we do to climb out of this dark hole and back to the top of the educational hierarchy? Join us for a unique discussion among all three top leaders of the state’s public higher education system.

See it here:


Obama’s speech to the schoolkids

So there’s been all this hue and cry by conservatives about President Barack Obama’s plan to speak to the nation’s schoolchildren tomorrow morning, concerned that he’ll impose upon them some partisan agenda. That’s right: the President of the United States apparently can no longer talk to the nation’s children, as did Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, lest he “brainwash” them or — horrors! — encourage them to academic excellence and even – gasp! – civic engagement. Indoctrination! Thought control! Oh, weep for the poor children!

Get over it. Read the speech after the jump, and feel free to tell me what’s wrong with this.

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