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.


Bay Area lawmakers offer tix for Pope’s visit

A few Bay Area House members are holding lotteries in which their constituents can win tickets to see Pope Francis during his U.S. visit later this month.

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, is offering tickets for the pontiff’s address to a joint session of Congress on the morning of Thursday, Sept. 24, to residents of her 18th Congressional District; Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, is doing the same for her 14th District constituents; and Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, is doing it in his 9th District. Ticket holders will be able to view the address from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol via televised broadcast.

“I’m excited to be able to extend an opportunity to my constituents to take part in this historic event,” Eshoo said in a news release. “While not all who wish to attend will be awarded a ticket, my office is working to ensure the lottery is conducted fairly and make the process a good one.”

Speier said Pope Francis “has become a focal point across the world for prioritizing peace over war, care of the planet over consumption, forgiveness over accusation, and neighbor over self. I’m excited that 50 of my constituents have the opportunity to be on the West Lawn of the Capitol to watch the broadcast of the Pope’s address to members of Congress. My only regret is that I can’t make these tickets available to everyone.”

McNerney said it’s “sure to be a momentous occasion. This is the first time that the Pope will deliver an address to Congress, and I look forward to hearing his message for the American people.”

The deadline to enter McNerney’s lottery is tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 4; the deadline to enter Eshoo’s lottery is noon Pacific Time next Tuesday, Sept. 8; and the deadline to enter Speier’s lottery is midnight next Thursday, Sept. 10. Only constituents of those districts may enter, only one entry is allowed per person, and each winner will receive two tickets.


My Commonwealth Club chat w/ Rep. George Miller

Please join us this Wednesday evening, Oct. 8 in Lafayette for my public conversation with Rep. George Miller – who is retiring at the end of this year after 40 years in the House – hosted by the Commonwealth Club of California.

George MillerFord was president; former U.S. Attorney General John N. Mitchell, former presidential Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman had just been convicted in the Watergate cover-up; and a gallon of gas cost about 57 cents in January 1975 when Miller, D-Martinez, first was sworn in at the tender age of 29.

Now 69, Miller has chaired, and is still ranking Democrat of, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce; has been a key advisor to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; and consistently has been among the House’s most liberal voices. State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, and retired immigration judge Tue Phan of Danville, a Republican, are vying to succeed him in the 11th Congressional District.

“Join The Commonwealth Club to celebrate this long time public servant as Congressman Miller reflects on four decades in office, what he expects to see from Congress in the coming years, the race for his seat, and more,” the club invites.

Check-in starts at 6 p.m. and the program starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Lafayette Library, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Lafayette. Tickets cost $12 for club members, $22 for non-members and $7 for students with valid ID, and are available online.


Jennifer Granholm & Duf Sundheim on midterms

It’ll be my honor to moderate the Commonwealth Club of California’s “Midterm Election Forecast: Politics in 2014” next Monday, May 12, featuring former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and former California Republican Party chairman Duf Sundheim.

Check-in starts at 6 p.m. for the 6:30 program at the Lafayette Veterans Memorial Hall, 3780 Mt. Diablo Blvd.; tickets costs $15 for club members, $25 for non-members or $10 for students with valid ID, and are available online.

“Join our political pundits as they make predictions for this fall and discuss the key questions regarding this year’s race,” the club’s promo says. “Who are the major political players to watch? What does the political landscape look like just six months from Election Day? Will the Republicans win back the Senate? How might the rest of President Obama’s presidency look following this November?”

The participants and I have been swapping ideas on what to cover, and I can tell you confidently that it’ll be a lively program. Hope to see you there.


Ideas that won inauguration tix from Mike Honda

As President Obama’s second inauguration approaches, members of Congress have been handing out tickets to the big event. Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, took a slightly different approach, asking applicants for the tickets to offer good legislative ideas. Honda today released excerpts from the winning submissions.

From Kennon Lee of San Jose, a recent college graduate:

Sometimes the simple solutions are the most effective. So this is mine: expand the Peace Corps. Forge a partnership with California’s public schools to integrate Peace Corps service as a complement to our world-class university system. Establish a university fellowship for students with financial need, funding their public education in exchange for a Peace Corps tour after graduation. Awardees can be encouraged to continue their careers as civil servants at the state or government level; their cross-cultural skills would be invaluable as California grows ever more diverse. Lastly, engage youth at an earlier age. Convince local school districts to work closely with Peace Corps recruitment centers so that RPCVs can inspire young students. I still remember when an RPCV visited my elementary school class; it was magic.

Of course, there must also be a financial element– in order to accommodate more Volunteers, the Peace Corps must receive additional funding. However, the cost is so small and the benefits so great. How many Volunteers, and future civic leaders, could be funded by the equivalent of a single Lockheed F-35? In return, we will strengthen our future pool of talented young (and old!) professionals. They will make lasting connections overseas, strengthening our global ties and prompting future cultural and commercial exchange. We will also provide an outlet for job seekers discouraged and disillusioned by the dismal financial climate. They can focus their energies overseas, gain practical skills, and return to the U.S. as highly marketable employees and job creators.

Despite these benefits, I concede that it will not be politically expedient to request additional funding for an organization like the Peace Corps. But I believe that you have earned the trust of constituents and colleagues alike, and can convince them with reasoned arguments that long-term solutions are what California needs. Fight the good fight. I and every other Peace Corps Volunteer, past, present and future, thank you for it.

From Abdul Banafa, 20, of Milpitas, a Mission College student and IT support intern at ProHealth Home Care:

Invest in small business’s not the banks, put money back into public education, invest more in the people less in the military. Unit prices are going up every year and I know so many people who have gotten accepted but couldn’t attend universities because of the price including me. Invest in the new working class! Ask people what they want, more accessible and well-advertised means of contacting our representatives, I know a lot of people who don’t even know who our rep is, we need to put it in people’s faces that you guys are here to help us and maybe an idea will come up from there. I don’t know if you remember me, but when I was a senior in high school you were going to come to my American Government class but were busy so you sent a representative, from Milpitas High!

From William Zhoa Wilson, a 9th grader from Los Gatos* who attends the Stevenson School in Pebble Beach:

Our top priority must be to give the children of America a solid, thorough education. However, in order to achieve this goal, our current system requires a severe revamp. Our education system hires teachers that, whether good or bad, are essentially non-dischargeable, so that there is little to no motivation for some of these teachers to expend effort on teaching. These teachers are usually hired by public schools, and this discourages parents from sending their children to these schools, resulting in a loss of funding and a downward spiral. In order to ensure our children’s education, we must be able to:
1. Ensure that our educators are up to the task.
2. Attract teachers who are well trained and suitable for the job of educating children of any age.
3. Identify struggling students and be able to give them help in whatever subject they require.

(* Per Honda spokesman Michael Shank, “Since the Los Gatos (address) idea was so good, and since it was a high school student submitting it, we decided to take one from CA-15, Honda’s old district, since the transfer just happened.”)


Want tickets to Obama’s re-inauguration?

With the presidential election only a week behind us, members of Congress are starting to take requests for free tickets to President Barack Obama’s second-term inauguration on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Some – including Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; George Miller, D-Martinez; Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto; and Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo – already have pages on their websites at which you can request tickets in a lottery system. The rest of the Bay Area’s delegation will have similar pages up soon; you must request tickets from your House member, or from one of your state’s two U.S. Senators.