Friday, June 30, 2006

Help McNerney Today

Tonight at midnight is the end of the fundraising quarter. It’s vital that Jerry McNerney brings in as much money as possible. The DCCC and other elements of the DC establishment will be looking at his FEC reports when they decide whether or not they’ll get involved in this race or sit it out.

So go give Jerry some love.

Also, I know a lot of you had said that you’re waiting until after the primary to donate. Well I for one didn’t notice a huge spike of donations after the primary. So here’s your chance to show that you weren’t just making excuses.

Go and make a donation right this minute. We need your support.

I wouldn’t ask any of you to do something I haven’t done. I’ve given McNerney more money than I’ve ever given to a politician. I believe in him, and I believe in his cause. And frankly, I’m terrified of what will happen if Pombo is in office until 2008.

This is your shot to support a progressive, grassroots Democrat who gets it. It’s your chance to help someone who will fight for the things in Congress that ought to be fought for.

If you’d spend $10 to see An Inconvenient Truth, why wouldn’t you spend $100 to help elect someone who will do something about it?

And if watching the news about Pombo pushing offshore drilling makes you want to throw things at your TV, then why wouldn’t you donate now and avoid future repair bills?

This election is a big deal. And Jerry McNerney is the real deal. He needs your support. I hope you step up to the plate and help him.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pombo Strikes Out At Immigrants

Yesterday, as the House debated a measure to provide funding for the Justice, Commerce and State Departments, they voted on an amendment offered by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL). The purpose of this amendment? To eliminate bilingual ballots.

Just last week, the GOP had to table a vote to authorize renewal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in part because of internal bickering over the issue of bilingual ballots. So Stearns tried to slide the issue in through the back door of the funding bill. In a roll call vote, the amendment was defeated by a margin of 254-167. Just take a wild guess which way Richard Pombo voted.

Apparently not content with his previous efforts to criminalize illegal aliens, Pombo is now hell-bent on marginalizing and disenfranchising those legal immigrants who have actually become American citizens.
Supporters of non-English ballots reminded colleagues that only U.S. citizens are able to vote and that even those whose native language is English have difficulty with complex ballot initiatives, much less those who learned the language after coming to this country.

An overwhelming majority of Democrats joined with slightly fewer than one-third of House Republicans to reject Stearns' amendment.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said taking away the right to bilingual ballots would "allow states and localities to discriminate against taxpaying American citizens because of their language ability and impede their right to vote. That is wrong."

The Justice Department on Wednesday settled a lawsuit with Brazos County, Texas, for denying Spanish-speaking citizens voting materials and ballots in Spanish and preventing them from getting help in voting.

"The Voting Rights Act has nothing to do with immigration," said Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif. "One hundred percent (of those benefiting from non-English ballots) are U.S. citizens."
Expect this issue to surface again when the GOP finally buckles down to the task of authorizing the renewal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Stearns has vowed to re-introduce his measure as part of that debate.

So why do you think Richard Pombo, who appears to be heading into the toughest political race of his career, would risk alienating a very large portion of the voters in his district? Well, here’s my theory. I’m guessing that he really doesn’t see non-native English speakers as “his people.” If he can suppress the voter turnout among that group, he’s gambling that it will improve his re-election chances. And if the move to do away with bilingual ballots fails, he’ll just do what he does best: Lie.

All you need to do is look back at HR 4437. Remember how Pombo voted to make felons out of illegal immigrants and levy fines against people who assisted them? And then remember how a few months later, he said this to the Contra Costa Times?
Pombo favors a guest-worker program and disagrees with those that want to criminalize illegal immigrants and the people that help them.

The nation needs the workers, he says, and the criminal prosecution of the nation's 11 million or more illegal immigrants would be physically impractical and politically unpalatable.
There's one thing you can always count on with Richard Pombo. The man really has no shame.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What's Wrong With This Man?

Rep. Richard Pombo yesterday passed his offshore oil drilling legislation out of the House Resources Committee. This legislation, which is expected to be passed by the full House on Thursday and has generated the promise of a filibuster from Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), would open the coastlines of the United States to offshore oil drilling, which has been under a moratorium for the last 25 years. States would supposedly have the opportunity to opt in or out of the plan, being able to bring drilling in as close as 50 miles offshore but losing altogether the ability to control drilling more than 100 miles off their shores (and, of course, having no say over what their next-door neighbors might be doing). Last Wednesday, when the bill was still in committee, Richard Pombo tried to lean on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, writing him a formal letter requesting his support of the legislation. The response from the governor was underwhelming:
Schwarzenegger has not seen Pombo's letter or the legislation, but he opposes any new offshore drilling "and has consistently opposed congressional attempts to weaken the current federal protections for the California coast," said spokesman Darrel Ng. The governor "has made his opposition to offshore oil drilling clear to both Congress and the president and will continue to do so in the future," Ng said.

Although Pombo and Schwarzenegger, both Republicans, have cooperated on issues including seeking more money for Sacramento levee repairs, the conservative House member and the moderate governor disagree on many environmental issues. Pombo's election-year challenge to Schwarzenegger on offshore drilling -- strongly opposed by a majority of California voters -- is not likely to change that.
Schwarzenegger, who is desperately trying to green up his image in anticipation of a tough gubernatorial race in November, made it clear when he gave his formal response that he was not going to serve as a wing-man for Pombo.
"Just last month, the House of Representatives voted once again to extend this moratorium, a process that has worked in the past and is working today to protect our coast. I see no reason to jettison this longstanding and workable approach," the governor wrote Pombo in a letter released Tuesday. […]

"As long as Pombo is using his position to do the dirty work for Big Oil, he's going to alienate the majority of Californians who want their coast protected," said Eric Antebi of the Sierra Club.

"No wonder Gov. Schwarzenegger rejected Pombo's drilling scheme." A February poll by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that two-thirds of all Californians oppose lifting the drilling ban; that included 46 percent of Republicans.

So late yesterday Pombo, not to be deterred, responded:
In a conference call today with California reporters, Pombo bristled at the governor's latest critique.

"I think the governor is probably getting bad advice on this," Pombo said. "Anyone who really does want to control or stop any kind of energy exploration off the coast of California, this bill is written for them."

He went on to make a less-than-favorable comparison between Schwarzenegger and another Republican governor opposed to drilling, Florida's Jeb Bush, who has expressed some support for Pombo's new bill, which is expected to get a House vote on Thursday.

"There's probably not a governor in the whole country who is more anti-drilling than Jeb Bush," the Tracy Republican said. "At the same time, he actually read the bill."

While we're holding our breaths, awaiting the anticipated response from Schwarzenegger, let’s actually look at the price tag for this offshore drilling bill -- something I guarantee Pombo doesn’t want us to do.

According to Rigzone, “Your Gateway to the Oil and Gas Industry,” Pombo’s offshore drilling plan would COST the US government $11 billion over the next decade, according to an estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. But that’s not all.
A preliminary estimate by Interior's Minerals Management Service last week projected the bill would cost the government $69 billion over 15 years.
Think about it -- $69 billion of yours and my tax money. Think of the real solutions and benefits that our country could reap from $69 billion invested in renewable energy research. And he’s willing to sell that out for $182,134 in contributions to his re-election fund. Pombo is just pure evil. He must be stopped.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Congressional leadership vis-a-vis Pombo

We finally hear from our bay area representatives on Pombo and the environment. This was in today's San Jose Mercury News. Too bad that Lofgren or Tauscher did not sign on.

Pombo is no friend of the environment

Your position on the new Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Monument rightly recognized it as an important step toward preserving the ecological diversity of our oceans (Editorial, June 20). These efforts need to extend to the current debate over renewing the Magnuson Stevens Act (MSA), our nation's primary fisheries law, being led by Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Stockton, in the House. As chair of the House Committee on Resources, Rep. Pombo is in a position to do great good for our environment, but we have to disagree with our colleague from Hawaii, Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who wrote to your paper defending Rep. Pombo's stewardship thus far. Rep. Pombo's version of the MSA rolls back environmental protections in the current law, and he also seeks to weaken the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act and to repeal the off-shore oil drilling moratorium; he supports commercial whaling; and he disregards any meritorious oceans legislation that does not fulfill his political agenda. It is clear he is no friend to our marine resources.

Rep. Sam Farr, D-Salinas, co-chair, House Oceans Caucus
Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, co-chair, National Marine Sanctuary Caucus
Rep. Mike Honda, D-Campbell
Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Santa Rosa, member, National Marine Sanctuary Caucus

Taking It To The Streets

Are you angry over Richard Pombo’s moves to open the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling? Concerned about his latest plan to endanger our precious coastlines with renewed offshore drilling? Do you think his extremist anti-environmental positions might have anything to do with the huge campaign contributions that he regularly rakes in from the oil industry? Does it make you really mad?

Well, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund is staging a rally at a Pleasanton gas station tomorrow to draw attention to Richard Pombo’s cozy relationship with Big Oil.
We will have the press show up there, and your participation can make a real difference in helping to raise awareness of Pombo's Big Oil favors for campaign contributions at the expense of ordinary folks in his district.

It is partly through your participation at earned media activities like this that we can effectively work to send Pombo packing to his ranch and help elect a pro-conservation, forward-looking candidate with a real plan for energy independence like Jerry McNerney, to Congress.
The rally will take place at the Shell gas station on the corner of Hopyard Road and Owens Drive (by the I-580 Hopyard exit) in Pleasanton from 11:30 to 12:30 Wednesday afternoon. Ed Yoon from Defenders will be there with plenty of signs and flyers.

Please join in and let your voice be heard.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Jerry McNerney: Grassroots All-Star! UPDATE: And the Next Netroots Candidate!

Democracy For America made the following announcement a few hours ago:
It was a big weekend at DFA Headquarters, where Luigi and Chris spent the weekend auditing and verifying the votes. What a close race! Over 25,000 of you voted, and today we are proud to announce that Jerry McNerney is our newest Grassroots All-Star!
They then go on to give a DFA link where you can donate to McNerney’s campaign. But you, dear readers, don’t need to worry about that. We have our own ActBlue link right here where you can make a donation. The next FEC filing deadline is June 30. McNerney is getting a lot of buzz nationally; now he needs to show that he can raise the money to knock Pombo out of the saddle. Please, now is the time to dig deep and donate to Jerry McNerney.

UPDATE: Jerry McNerney has just been named the Next Netroots Candidate! Here's what Chris Bowers of mydd has to say in his endorsement (cross-posted at dailykos):
Jerry McNerney is not just the next netroots candidate--he is also the next progressive movement candidate. Already, he has won the Democracy for America Grassroots All-Star voting, and three weeks ago his people-powered campaign comfortably defeated the DCCC backed candidate in a contested primary. He entered politics as part of the 50-state strategy, and because his son joined the Air Force after September 11th. Eschewing the politics of triangulation in favor of a progressive message, he is a wind energy expert who has a Ph.D. in math (I like that).
Congratulations to the McNerney team for finally getting Jerry's inspirational message out across the country!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Steve Thomas Speaks Redux

The morning after the primary election, Matt made the following request: “And if you supported Steve Thomas, please in God’s name tell us how he did so well.” Well, here is the response, straight from Steve Thomas himself:
How in God's name did Steve Thomas do so well?

Anybody who followed my campaign, starting with the Lamorinda Club meeting last February knows that I came out strongly on big issues that matter to all of us. What I found was that many people were dying to hear someone stand up and say what I was saying. I meant it and I think I connected with people in the audience.

In all the candidate forums, televised and otherwise, other people consistently told me "you won the debate." Word of this does get around.

I did several rounds of emails to voters that actually had a lot of information in them. As a voter, I always found that the tripe that showed up in the mailbox (including the official voter guide) was remarkably useless when it came to making an informed decision. Out of respect for voter's intelligence, I took the risk of sending them "too much information" by ordinary standards. There were a small number of people who told me to stop "spamming" them (sorry, use your delete button or the unsubscribe button at the bottom of the emails), but the vast majority of them made the full cycle without being self unsubscribed.

Despite being marginalized by pretty much all the newspapers (the Lodi Sentinel paid me a back handed compliment saying I was "to the left of Ted Kennedy," without defining what that means) I had the strongest message on the most issues of all three candidates. Issues that really affect all of us and cut across party lines. To say that my votes were the result of confusion between Steve Thomas and Steve Filson, is hogwash. I'm certain I got some votes because of my ballot designation "Union Electrician." Other than that I did a lot of person to person canvassing. I handed out a lot of flyers, buttons and bumper stickers. I told everyone to spread the word and that I was "Steve the electrician" not "Steve the pilot."

What really counts is that when you talk to people, they can tell you're passionate, you really mean it and you connect with them. I can't tell you how many times, after my little spiel about how we are losing the middle class, people responded by saying they could tell I meant it and I was different. Caring is something you can't fake.

Pete McCloskey and I had a joint speaking engagement at one of the District Democratic Clubs. It was the first time we'd met and afterwards, he twice said to me "if there was a Democratic Presidential candidate saying what you are saying, the Democratic Party would be in better shape."

That's the message. All I had was that, an ability to deliver the message and the sense (or lack of it) to get out there and deliver it.

I brought a lot of different, important issues to the race and caused the other candidates to work on their public speaking. We are the people we've been waiting for. I could no longer look in the mirror, pretend everything was going to be ok, and just go to work. I couldn't do it, I had to get involved, I ran for office and my sense of commitment came through to people. I connected.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

East of the Altamont

This is a little diversion from my planned series, but I have dug up a few things that are worth a comment. Not unsurprisingly, they deal with water and politics.

Since I am always concerned about the balkanization of the internet, that blogs such as this are maintained as a coffee klatsch for people who already agree on almost everything, I make it a habit to go to other sites, like the very Republican, Pombo-supporting San Joaquin Blog. They have a current series of posts regarding Reclamation District 348 which is supposed to provide levee protection for the town of Thornton from the ravages of the Mokulemne River. Blog Member Philomath, posting under the title "Sunlight IS The Best Disinfectant" describes a situation in which the board for this 9,000 acres district is elected where each land owner can vote on the basis of one acre - one vote. Not unsurprisingly, the board consists of only the large land owners, who have voted to reduce assessments on their agricultural land and to increase assessments on residential land.

This is backed up with references to another blog, RD 348 Scandal. It makes interesting reading. There are potential abuses of several laws here, including the Brown Act. And the rest of the situation just stinks.

So, what is my point? Well, there are several.
  • Politics in San Joaquin County is intimately connected to water and agriculture.
  • Politics in San Joaquin County is full of backroom deals put together by big land owners and developers.
  • All political parties have those who find this abuse of power to be deserving of specific action, especially when it can be shown to hurt the average person on the street, the home owner, the middle class of America.
  • The best function of the blogosphere is to let in a little sunshine and then to organize the action of ALL those who find such abuse of power to be actionable. That is what PomboWatch and SNTP and CA-11 have been doing.
  • We have to find a way to be inclusive of all those who have our goal, which is to "Say Not to Pombo" and all who would use their office for personal gain.
One step that needs to be taken is to break down these pockets of power, which are the backbone of the Republican Party power in San Joaquin County. Each one that we can disrupt is one more that no longer has any power to deliver support to Pombo. But, it requires people from East of the Altmont to do it.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Talking With Jerry McNerney

I wouldn’t normally post content from another site in its entirety, but since this comes from the Democratic Party, I’m going to assume that it’s okay. And it’s a really nice interview with Jerry McNerney.

50-State Strategy: California - Talking with Jerry McNerney

Posted by Tracy Russo on June 23, 2006 at 10:42 AM

This week I sat down to chat with Jerry McNerney, the Democratic nominee for Congress from California's 11th District.

Tell me a bit about yourself.

I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico and then went to a Catholic military boarding school, and later earned a PhD in mathematics in college. From there I started working in the wind and renewable energy field. I worked in that field for 25 years.

How did you get the into wind energy field?

Well actually, I got into it by going to an interview in Port Arthur, Texas for an oil company, but when I got off the airplane you could feel the oil in the air. It seemed to me that they were exploiting the earth for profit, and so I headed back home. When I got home I got a call about working in labs to develop wind energy and that sounded liked a perfect fit.

What made you decide to run for Congress?

After September 11, 2001 my son joined the Air Force to defend our country. He is now a commissioned officer, and in 2004 he called me and said there was no one running in the Democratic primary in 11th Congressional District, and said 'I want you to do your duty like I did and run for Congress'. After thinking about it for a while, I decided to run for Congress because I felt a duty to my son and a duty to my country.

What do you see happening in the CA-11th?

I have a positive vision for the District; I want to create thousands of jobs by transforming our District into the "Silicon Valley" of renewable energy - by fostering bio-fuel, solar and wind energy opportunities. This has really resonated with people I have talked to. They are interested in these technologies, on ending our nation's dependency on foreign oil, as well as concerned about pollution and asthma rates which are on the rise and some of the highest in the nation.

What kind of concerns are you hearing about on the ground?

A large part of the district is very depressed economically and so there is a political and economic divide. Yet healthcare issues are important across the board. Last week I was at a meeting at SEIU with a number of retired seniors who have pensions of $200 and $300 a month, yet they have to pay over a thousand dollars each month in prescription drug costs. We have 45 million uninsured Americans in this country, and even those who are insured have to pay a high price for health care. Healthcare costs are hurting our families and our businesses and we need to address this. Another issue of concern is our education system. Education is the key to our prosperity, but California is one of the lowest states for per capita spending per student. Education is part of what made California so prosperous and we need to devote resources necessary so our children can compete and be successful in the future.

Do you think the voters are ready for a change?

Yes, Mr. Pombo's corruption is being recognized and understood for what it is by the people of the District. We have some of the worst roads in the state and the worst air quality. We have twice the state's unemployment rate. Mr. Pombo is the Chairman of the Resources Committee, yet he's brought home very little for his own constituents. People are starting to get that.

Moving into the General Election, what is your strategy for success?

Last Thursday I joined the two other Democratic Primary candidates for a unity breakfast and we will be working together in the future. We won the primary with a great campaign team, a good ground game, and outreach into the District, and we'll win in November the same way. The grassroots have been a very big help and an inspiration. I feel humbled by how dedicated my supporters are. If this is what it takes to move our country forward, this is what we are going to do. We are going to appeal to our grassroots and netroots supporters and make a change.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Pombo Finally Creates "Jobs Program"

This according to an article that just came out in Roll Call (subscription only):
Rep. Richard Pombo’s (R) Democratic challenger this week rapped the incumbent for finally creating a “jobs program” after obtaining a Republican memo advertising for $10-per-hour precinct walkers in the 11th district.
Now, since I don’t have a subscription to Roll Call and can only see the first sentence of the article, I’m just going to have to use my imagination to flesh out the rest of the piece. But I have a pretty good idea of what they have to say.

You see, a few weeks ago, one of Jerry McNerney’s student supporters in San Joaquin County received an email from a friend, which he promptly forwarded to McNerney’s campaign headquarters. Here’s the text of the email:
For everyone interested in a job this summer, i have one for you. Job description is as offers: working for Richard Pombo for his 2006 campaign for Congressman( sorry, he is a republican). It pays $10 an hour. You work in Stockton. You can work any time for how many hours you want a day. Maximum hours are 8 per day. You can work 7 days a week if you want. You most likely will be walking percincts( goin to house and asking ppl to vote) or workin in the office entering information into computers. This job is open to anyone interested, hav to be a college student. You can get your friends to work with you if you want. I hav a max employee quota of 60 ppl. If you are interested in making an easy 10 dollars an hour, please call me at xxx xxx xxxx or email me at x
- ps. sorry for the democrats that got this email.
---- xxxxx xxxxx
Okay, let’s see here. 56 hours/week x 60 employees x 13 weeks x $10/hour. Wow! Assuming full employment, we’re looking at up to 43,700 hours, with $437,000 that Pombo has budgeted for “goin to house and asking ppl to vote or workin in the office entering information into computers.” I think it’s time for the Republican trolls to come over and tell us once again how unconcerned Pombo is about this election.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

East of the Altamont - Water

The next item in trying to figure out what is going on in San Joaquin County is to consider the question of water. Maybe there is no single question that is more important for the residents of the 11th CD. If you look around the Delta, you may come to agree with the line from Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

“Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink. .”

So, what is the thing about water in San Joaquin County?

According to a recent article in the Stockton Record, they don't do a good job of managing what flows into the river. The City of Stockton decided to contract with a private company to manage water for the City. The company, OMI/Thames had a terrible record in England and has done it again, releasing 8 million gallons of partially treated sewage into the San Joaquin River, needing 10 hours to recognize that it had a problem and then hiding the fact for 3 days before telling anyone.

I was passed a copy of a note from Sylvia Kothe, Chair of both the Concerned Citizens County of San Joaquin and the San Joaquin County Chapter, League of Women Voters. I extracted the following sentence.
CCCoS revealed publically (in two ignored Annual Evaluation Report Cards) to the City Council and the Stockton Record that there were several significant areas of the Service Contract's non-compliance that would be eventually be a contributing factor into showing that OMI/Thames should not be contractual responsible for the maintenance and operation of Stockton's water, wastewater and stormwater systems.

The point here is that the politics of water is as dirty as the water in the San Joaquin River.

Still this does not have anything to do with farming. But the following from the Stockton Record's Mike Fitzgerald does. Fitzgerald wrote his May 03, 2006 Column on the State of river dirty problem.

The ballooning cost of cleaning San Joaquin water is what drove the city to its controversial decision to unload the waterworks on a private company.

And the river is at the heart of the city's downtown and waterfront comeback. Add our responsibility to steward the river's aquatic life, and there are good reasons to get in there and fight.

For starters, take the failure of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Board to enforce the state's clean-water law.

The toothless board is proposing to give ag polluters four more years to gear up for the clean-water law. They propose extending an ag waiver.

But although that appalling idea is coming up for review, the city isn't sending anybody to thunder: "Hey. Make these farmers do their fair share to clean up the river. It's the law." Even though the city bears a tremendous burden to clean their pollutants.

Now, you begin to see where they are connected. The drain from fields carries with it pesticides and high quantities of nitrates that make it very difficult and costly to provide clean, safe drinking water for Stockton.

So, what has our Congressman been doing? Nothing. Nada. Which is just what many in agriculture want him to do.

There is also an environmental issue here. It involves Chinook Salmon and the operation of the Friant Dam. The question involves the release of additional water from Millerton Lake to maintain the flow through the San Joaquin River system. However, any water sent down stream is not water that can be used by farmers, who currently use 95% of the water captured behind Friant Dam. And, the farmers of San Joaquin County don't give a Dam about salmon.

So, Pombo and the rest of the San Joaquin Valley Congressmen want a bigger, higher Friant Dam or they want to build another Dam on the same watershed, both of which have environmental consequences.

There is probably another solution to this. It is to take the voluntary farm associations that are currently trying to monitor the water quality and have them pay for the clean up. If you make it dirty, you clean it up. But, that just makes too much sense.

This is not easy. But, unless a candidate is willing to jump into the fray and talk sensibly about the question of water...water supply for the farmers, clean water for those downstream, we will continue having these problems for a long time to come. There may be no compromise that makes fishing, environmental and agricultural interests all happy.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Jerry McNerney Needs YOUR Help

Democracy for America (DFA) is a powerful and influential national organization committed to supporting fiscally responsible, socially progressive candidates at all levels of government and building the Democratic Party from the bottom-up.

To that end, DFA is hosting an online vote, the "Grassroots All-Star" competition, to choose one Congressional candidate who will receive their next coveted "DFA-List" endorsement. If Jerry McNerney can get that endorsement, it would raise the profile of his campaign nationally -- and be a significant help in raising the funds necessary to defeat Richard Pombo in November.

Thanks to his many grassroots supporters, Jerry has already made it through the first round of voting -- and finished first out of 34 candidates. Voting in the final round is now under way, with voting scheduled to end Friday at 2:00 p.m. PST. Right now, Jerry is in third place.

This is a really simple task that each and every one of us can undertake to help defeat Richard Pombo in 2006. Go to the DFA website and cast your vote for McNerney. Do NOT participate in the instant runoff voting and cast three votes. Cast one vote for McNerney. Then send an email to ten of your friends and/or family and ask them to do the same thing. It’s free; it’s easy; and it will make a huge difference.

East of the Altamont

There really is a land east of the Altamont. I am getting a few jibes from the Philly bleachers so I guess I have to write up an lesson plan so that those from west of the Altamont can get to know what makes a difference down on the farm.

For instance, let's start with the San Joaquin County Farm Bureau. They have a very informative web site where you can learn a lot. This month, they tell you all about how "Low prices, high costs impact dairy industry:"
Milk remained San Joaquin County’s most valuable agricultural commodity with a 2005 value of more than $314.5 million, down from 2004’s $324 million, according to the 2005 Agricultural Report.

“Even though milk production increased, lower prices caused a net decrease in value of 3 percent,” explained Agricultural Commissioner Scott Hudson.

Despite facing the usual issues — air, water, pesticide, labor — San Joaquin County’s dairy industry is enduring low milk prices and rapidly rising costs, all of which does not sit well with Manteca dairyman and San Joaquin Farm Bureau board member Ray Quaresma.
Now, McCloskey said that he did not make a dent in the farm vote because the farmers were convinced that Pombo was working for them. Now, I have to ask you to name just one thing that he has done to help with any of those problems.

Air: San Joaquin Valley has some of the worst air in the country. The June 16th Frenso Bee calls the shots right on this one.
The San Joaquin Valley's air district Thursday passed the most sweeping dairy air pollution rule in the country to clean up smog-making gas from 2.6 million cows.

Environmentalists say the rule relies on business practices that dairies already commonly use. Thus, it won't cut smog, they said, hinting that a lawsuit might follow.

"This is an empty gesture in dealing with the largest source" of one smog-making gas in the Valley, said lawyer Paul Cort of Earthjustice Legal Defense in San Francisco.

But the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District said the rule would eliminate 21 tons of volatile organic compounds daily, which amounts to a quarter of the smog-making gases coming from dairies.

The latest estimates place Valley cows ahead of cars in producing this kind of gas, which is a key building block of corrosive ozone or smog. The Valley is the nation's top-producing dairy region.
What has Pombo done? Nothing.

What does this cost the San Joaquin Valley? According to a study conducted by Cal. State University - Fullerton, $3 Billion per year in medical costs from air pollution.

What should be done? Well, Green Party Assembly (34th AD) Canididate David M. Silva (Tulare) has an idea. Government should provide incentives to reduce dairy pollution by the implementation of methane digesters to capture the gasses produce and to use the heat from burning the methane to drive electricity co-generation installations. A similar project with Strauss Farms in Marin County had a payback within three years.

In combatting air pollution, Silva is providing more leadership than Pombo. There are solutions. It is time for legislators like Pombo to stop chewing their cud and get to work. If you want to make a dent in Pombo's base, you have to start showing his base that he has forgotten all about them. This is just one example.

(First in a series...Kind of like Kevin's except I only have four: air, water, pesticide, labor)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Pombo Digs in again

If there is one thing that is certain about Richard Pombo. He won't give up on an idea just because everyone else in California thinks it is stupid. This time, it is offshore drilling. Now, because the ban on offsore drilling has been at the national level, and the oil companies think that they can do better going state by state, Pombo wants to make it a state option. Then, some states that need all the money thay can get (like Louisiana) will quickly give in and allow as much as they can ge paid for.

Here is the proposed text Pombo's latest attempt for which he is holding hearings Wednesday, 7:00 AM PDT. Those who don't have to be working then can listen to it over the Internet.

Kelpie Wilson Tackles Richard Pombo

Just in case you need another reason to support Jerry McNerney in the CA-11 race, here's a short video presentation that spells out what's at stake in the 2006 election.

A few months ago the folks at truthout, in partnership with Free Speech TV, produced a SourceCode/Kelpie Wilson episode about Richard Pombo and the dire consequences of his tenure in Congress.

If you missed the original broadcast, you can view the program here.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hot, Hotter, Hottest

No, I am not talking about babes, I am talking about "Global Warming", you know that dreaded, scary thing that Al Gore wants us all to be "oh so worried" about. You know those environmentalists -- always gotta have some "imminent disaster" to get the suckers to send them money! After all, our favorite Congressman has shown that it is all a scam, this "environmentalism" is really big business, just so Jay Hair and his cronies can make a couple of hundred thousand a year. Why that's almost as much as Pombo pays Annette, and all those enviro guys do is sit around thinking of something else to scare us all with. At least Annette puts stamps on envelopes and answers the phone once in a while.

No, anyone with a brain can see that 99.99% of the scientists are wrong on this one. That is the problem with those secular humanist enviro liberal scientific eggheads, they are too darn intellectual for their own good. See, there's facts, lies, and statistics, like Mark Twain said, which can confuse those smart people, especially when the big business Sierra Club, Inc., wants to raise some cash so they all can go on an all-expense paid trip to Antarctica (where, if you read my last post, they might just run into Jerry McNerney on his quest for the South Pole). While down there, they can take pictures of the ice melting and send them home, saying sending us more money, else more of this ice is gonna melt and then flood your expensive seaside home.

What they don't know is that ice has been melting for the last 10,000 years!. Hello? Like, the Ice Age ended a long time ago and the ice has been melting ever since. All you have to do is put some ice in your beer -- oh, excuse me, your fancy Napa zinfandel -- and you can see that ice is melting at the same rate it has for thousand of years! It is a natural phenomenon, something all you eco-freaks should like. Nature -- that’s whose melting the ice, not us humans, and I don't care how much Al Gore talks about CO2 and has that funny chart that looks like NASDAQ before it crashed in 2000 (which, by the way, was when your buddy Bill Clinton was still sitting in the Oval Office, zipping up his pants).

We here in the good ol' US of A burn 20 million barrels of oil a day. Someone's got to do it. If not us, who? The Chinese? Listen, "Love it or leave it", or as I prefer, "Love it or shove it". Go ride a mule if you don't like me driving my SUV. So, yeah, 20 million barrels a day, makes 7.3 billion per year. That is 306.6 billion gallons of crude per year. Why in world would you think THAT has any effect on the climate? Sure, it produces CO2, but so do you. You just breathed, didn't you? Well, there goes some CO2. Are you gonna blame yourself for global warming now? Of course not. So why are you blaming all those good, honest, hard-working Americans who just want to get to work and go to the mall and buy stuff -- in safety, in their SUVs. Didn't you ever hear "the world has changed" after 9-11? The terrorists are swarming all around, and you want me to drive a hybrid Civic because of some pictures of ice melting in Antarctica?

I am with someone who can represent our interests in burning even more oil -- Richard Pombo. Heck, this guy does not even mention "Global Warming", or "Al Gore", or even "environment" on any of his web sites. I wish he would actually deny the whole thing, like he did in 2002. But at least he ignores it entirely. Pombo has not given in to the "big business" secular humanists enviro liberals. He is sticking with the real Big Guys, companies like the $100 billion profit-making machine called Exxon, where they give out $162 million retirement packages and fund global warming skeptics. Now, if Pombo could only get Annette in on some of that cash, he would be all set, global warming or no global warming!


Here are two contrasting sites to check out:

Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth:

National Post refutes Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth: The gods are laughing

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Quiet Spell, McNerney Braces for the Races

Been a bit quiet around here in the 11th D lately, with things sorting out after the climatic June 6th primary. Nothing new on the Pombo side. His modus operandi is to glom on to a few no-brainer enviro bills about now so he can point to them at election time. Look for him to start dressing in green and putting out pictures of him and his family walking around forests and lakes. It is all just a head fake, but voters who don't pay attention will get his flyers or see his expensive ads on TV, where he blathers on about using "sound science" to bring "balance". People who don't know any better believe that crap.

Seems that sells better than the truth of slick oil, coal, timber, and mining execs and lobbyists stuffing millions into his pockets so that they can unleash their machinery on all those forests and lakes that Pombo, Annette, and the kids were walking around in those commercials.

The other inevitablity with Pombo is his effort to paint McNerney as A) a loser; B) an East Bay liberal; and C) tax-friendly. It gets so predictable, it is boring. It seems that Pombo knows what has worked to keep his supporters supporting him for the last 7 elections, and does not plan to change course. Gotta feed them some red meat with the words "liberal" and "taxes" stamped on it to get them growling and snarling.

McNerney on the other hand needs to be getting endorsements and money for the long trek to the South Pole. He needs a ship and crew and equipment to make the long run across the ice fields. Even with the ship and crew and supplies, he stills needs a strategy and plan. He does not want to get locked in the ice pack like Shackleton and have his ship crushed. He has to decide whether to use dogs or horses, whether to dress in native furs or modern synthetics, whether to use sleds or motorized vehicles. He needs good maps and navigation tools. He has to have luck and determination, and lots of money to pull this off.

As they say, "Many are cold, but few are frozen". Well, in the 11th District, the last 7 attempts at the Pole have left the contenders "frozen", with enough debris spread across the Antarctic that penguins still gawk at it. Now we have a rematch, where McNerney will once again try to plant his flag at 90 degrees South. The question is if he will follow the advice of the "experts", like Robert Scott did, or follow the ways of the natives, like Roald Amundsen did. We know how that one turned out.

(Hmmm, must be the heat, that is why I am talking about something cold. So maybe next topic will be about Global Warming. Just saw Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth". What a contrast to Pombo's (and Bush's) approach of "deny and belittle it". I wonder who will win that match -- the "truth" of global warming or the "sound science" of Bush/Pombo? The reality is more like we will all be losers!)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Jerry McNerney: The Newest Progressive Patriot

At YearlyKos, Russ Feingold held a special Pick a Progressive Patriot vote to see which candidate would be awarded $5,000 from the Progressive Patriot Fund. I'm pleased to announce that Jerry McNerney came in first place. This is really important because the biggest thing Jerry McNerney needs now is money. If he raises a sufficient amount of money, the DCCC won't be able to walk away from this race. So thank you to all of you who voted in the Progressive Patriot Fund vote. This is an important and timely win for Team McNerney. Furthermore, everyone who is interested in fighting Pombo should make a donation, and make a donation today. Giving today will help prove McNerney's viability and will draw in more money from across the country.

Here's what the Progressive Patriot Fund said:

The Progressive Patriots Fund announced Jerry McNerney as the winner of “Pick a Progressive Patriot: YearlyKos,” a special round of its popular online voting event. McNerney is challenging Rep. Richard Pombo in California’s 11 District.

“This round of the ‘Pick a Progressive Patriot’ was a huge success,” Feingold said. “Over 50 candidates were nominated from 24 states, but in the end McNerney received the most support from a very enthusiastic group of bloggers and online activists. We are happy to send $5000 to the McNerney campaign and we thank everyone who participated in this round of ‘Pick a Progressive Patriot.’”

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tom DeLay: 63% "Not Good Enough"

A mere two days after the primary, Richard Pombo had a profoundly lazy reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle trumpeting his spin:
Rather than proof of weakness, Rep. Richard Pombo's 62 percent- to-32 percent primary victory over former Rep. Pete McCloskey just as likely signaled how strong the seven-term Tracy Republican will run in November. […]

"People can dream all they want but it was a pretty convincing win," said Wayne Johnson, Pombo's chief political consultant.

In a district with 44% Republican registration, 37% Democratic registration, and 15% decline to state, Pombo’s handlers spin 62% of the Republican primary vote as “a pretty convincing win.”

And yet, two days earlier, as Tom DeLay was preparing to bid adieu to Congress, USA Today had this assessment of the factors which led to his resignation:
The savvy politician, whose ability to count votes was well known, said he was taken aback when he won the Republican primary in March with 63% of the vote.

"That's not good enough," he said,
estimating it would have cost up to $5 million to get re-elected to the suburban Houston seat he first won in 1984.
Now, DeLay’s TX-22 district has the following registration breakdown, according to Ned Lampson’s website:
Forty-two percent identify themselves as Republicans, 27 percent as Democrats and 23 percent as independents.
Okay. Obviously, somebody’s not leveling with us here. In a district with a 15% Republican advantage, DeLay says that 63% in the primary is ”not good enough” to get re-elected in November and resigns; meanwhile, Pombo's spokesman, in a district with a 7% Republican advantage says 62% is “a pretty convincing win” which “signaled how strong the seven-term Tracy Republican will run in November.” But then, by now regular readers of this site know that bullshit is Richard Pombo’s specialty.

Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks DeLay’s take on the numbers is the more honest one. On the same day the Chronicle was parroting Pombo’s bullshit, Hank Shaw of the Stockton Record presented a more critical assessment:
"I think a 2-to-1 win is fine," [Pombo campaign manager Carl] Fogliani said. […]

University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato -- one of the nation's foremost political odds-makers -- said he stayed up all night watching the 11th District returns. He scoffed at Fogliani's notion.

"Oh, please -- make me laugh out loud," Sabato said. "That was a very poor showing."
Finally, I’ll leave you with this thoughtful analysis from a Say No To Pombo reader (with some minor edits):
Quite frankly, McCloskey ran a somewhat quixotic campaign for the Republican nomination. You really can't argue -- beyond his attacks on Pombo's ethics -- that he had a compelling REPUBLICAN PRIMARY message. McCloskey ran like a Democrat, in a Republican primary. In his only debate with Pombo he bashed George Bush. Now, I happen to agree with his attacks on George Bush, but you can't argue that was a smart message for a Republican primary. Even polls that show Bush's job approval in the 20s will show job approval among Republicans in the 70s.

McCloskey's ideological and substantive disconnect with his primary audience is why I would argue that his vote was an anti-Pombo vote -- not a pro-McCloskey vote -- and therefore a vote that will transfer to McNerney.

On the low turnout issue -- I would again argue the low turnout proves Pombo's weakness. Those Republicans who did show up last Tuesday were likely the hardest of the hard core Republicans -- the real party faithful. Now, if the very core of Pombo's party is giving 38% of his votes to someone else, he has a problem.

And again, as I argued above, the low turnout proves that the Republican base is depressed. That certainly isn't the way I'd want to be going into the general election.

The notion that California Republicans are going gin up the troops in a national environment dominated by George Bush's historically low job approval, an erratic Fed creating a jittery market, high gas prices and an unpopular quagmire in Iraq just doesn't ring true or right to me. Maybe, but I don't buy it. Democrats have gotten so used to losing that we often can't see political opportunity when it's staring us in the face.

One other thought -- if McCloskey hadn't been hit with stories about returning money to a suspected terrorist the weekend before the vote, he might have done three or four points better, dropping Pombo under 60% district-wide. My bet is there would have been a completely different spin by the press. But the electoral fundamentals would have been exactly the same. Large anti-Pombo vote and weak Republican turnout.

It is a long way off until November, but McNerney's problem isn't Pombo's vulnerability; it's lack of money. And that is truly a problem.
And that’s the bottom line of this race. Pombo can be beaten. But he knows he's in the political fight of his life this year, and he’s going to raise a boatload of money to attack his Democratic challenger in the next five months. Jerry McNerney’s grassroots supporters are a powerful force for change, but shoe leather alone is not going to be enough to turn out Richard Pombo in 2006. It’s going to take money -- a lot of money.

The SNTP Act Blue page offers you the opportunity to throw some financial support McNerney’s way. And please think about signing up for the monthly payment method -- it’s a relatively painless way to help save the world from the forces of evil.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund endorses McNerney

The following is a statement of Rodger Schlickeisen, President, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.

I am proud to announce our endorsement of Jerry McNerney for Congress. Jerry is a moderate, common sense candidate who understands that clean water, clean air, unspoiled land, and abundant wildlife are the greatest gifts we can leave to our children. He knows that these are all part of America’s natural heritage and part of the legacy we leave to future generations.

The choice voters face this fall could not be clearer. We can count on Jerry McNerney to protect special places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling. We know he will fight to keep oil rigs away from California’s coasts and help conserve natural treasures like California’s Yosemite National Park and the Los Padres National Forest. And perhaps most importantly, we know Jerry McNerney will bring his expertise in clean renewable energy to Congress as he works to reduce our nation’s dependence on oil and meet our energy needs, all while keeping California’s economy moving. His vision stands in stark contrast to Richard Pombo, who is all too willing to sacrifice our natural treasures on behalf of special interests.

Richard Pombo is arguably the biggest anti-environmental extremist in the House of Representatives and was the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund’s 2005 Wildlife Villain of the Year. He has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from oil, gas, timber and mining companies and turned right around and pushed their agenda in Congress. He has proposed drilling off California’s coast, selling public lands to mining companies, and led the fight to weaken the Endangered Species Act on behalf of developers. His only concern seems to be the dismantling of the environmental laws that protect us all, today and for generations to come.

This fall, voters in California's 11th district will choose between two very different candidates: Richard Pombo, who is working to tear down environmental protections to benefit special interests, or, Jerry McNerney, who wants to conserve our natural heritage for future generations. For anyone who cares about the world their children and grandchildren will live in, the choice could not be clearer.

One Week Later

Almost a week since the primary. Things seem to be shaking out as follows:

1. The Republican machine is pushing the meme that "Pombo won decisive victory, no point in McNerney even bothering to campaign, except to waste Dem money." They seem to be quite anxious to push this, in order to frame the contest and perhaps scare off the national Dem party and others from supporting McNerney. The national parties only have so many millions to toss around and they will want to focus on "winnable" races. So the R's are trying to portray this one as unwinnable. If the Dems don't spend money on it, the R's won't have to either. Pombo can then pay Annette and his brother more of the campaign cash, as well as send money to other reactionary candidates to buy their allegiance, rather than waste it on those slick commercials and flyers he puts out.

2. However, most more neutral pundits put the race as favoring Pombo, but with the real possibility that McNerney could ultimately triumph, if he does a lot of right things, and Pombo does a lot of wrong things, such as get indicted. Also, there is the overall "mood" of the country to consider, they say, where anyone with a brain can see the current government is highly dysfunctional. Voters could conclude that it is time to throw the bums out and give the new guy a chance. In case anyone has not picked up on it yet, Pombo is one of those "bums".

So now we will see where this goes. Very interesting. Does the DCCC takes its bat and ball on go home? Do they say "Filson was the electable one" and leave McNerney alone to fight it out, as they did in 2004? Well, maybe that is not such a bad thing. With the DCCC's win/loss record, I am not sure I would want their backing, if I was running, though their money would be welcome.

That would put McNerney more as a non-partisan, "populist" candidate. He would in name be a "Democrat", but essentially running a populist's campaign. Many of us are disgusted by Pombo -- his corruption, his far right stances, his push to overturn environmental laws, his closeness to Bush and DeLay crowd, his sellout to corporate interests. And many of us are also disgusted by the Dem Party that has basically acquiesced to the Bush power grab and who are as beholden to corporate interests as the R's.

Maybe McNerney should run as an outsider looking to bring "New Energy and Ideas" to Congress. That would give voters who are disgusted not only with Pombo, but with the way things are going in general in Washington, a candidate to support. For example, McNerney has a energy plan that is much more positive and visionary than anything Pombo ever put out. Maybe that will inspire people.

The problem with being outside the party structure is raising money. McNerney said he needs $2.5 million. That's a lot of moola. I am not sure how and if McNerney can raise that kind of money. And there's the rub. It may be noble to run a populist campaign on a shoestring budget, but people need to hear the message. TV, radio, and mailings cost money, something Pombo has boatloads of from all his corporate "friends". These corporate supporters and their lobbyists are running the agenda in Congress, and support Pombo in the hopes of getting favorable legislation passed (and with Pombo, they are often amply rewarded).

In the primary, it was "grassroots" vs the "influence of the Washington, DC-based DCCC". If McNerney runs a populist campaign, perhaps the November election will be "grassroots" vs the "pernicious influence of corporations and their Washington, DC-based lobbyists".

Sunday, June 11, 2006

What I learned swimming in the Delta

Well, I am back. As I said, once the primary was over I would start working on my other blog: Delta Levees. So, I did. The first real post is there today, and as I learned on my long swim, the San Joaquin River is more like a cesspool than a swimming pool.

I posted about a meeting of the Central Valley Water Quality Control Board that is comming up this month. Three years ago, they gave agricultural interests the right to ignore water quality standard for discharge into the San Joaquin. That exemption was for 3 years and it is up for renewal for 5 more years.

Some farming groups are working very hard to fix things in a voluntary way, as was supposed to be done under the previous exemption. However, most are not. One real question for this blog is whether or not Jerry should make this an issue for this race. You can be sure that Pombo will be for all of this voluntary stuff, that has not worked. (gee, he is for a lot of things that have not worked).

If Jerry wants strong environmental support to continue, maybe he wants to take some action here. If he wants some support from agricultrual interests, then maybe he wants to soft pedal it, of to make a connection with those agricultural coalition groups who are doing positive things (many are not).

Maybe the issue here is accountability: setting goals and measuring results. Clearly, what is going on here right now does not work, and it is all the more indicative of what Pombo will / will not do since he is Chairman of the Resources Commitee with oversight of our waterways and also on the Agriculture Committee.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Action: Help Jerry McNerney Today

I'm at Yearly Kos and I have some exciting news. Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriots Fund (a PAC) is having a special vote at Yearly Kos to see which candidate will receive a $5,000 donation from them. They are not publicizing the vote outside of Yearly Kos, so very few votes will be cast. This means that each vote cast matters much more than in the other votes by the PPF.

Please help Jerry McNerney, and help us fight Richard Pombo, by voting for McNerney at the following URL by the end of Sunday.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Project Vote Smart & NPAT, Part 1

A recent SF Chron article has Pombo's consultant Wayne Johnson saying this about McNerney:
In a survey on the Project Vote Smart Web page, McNerney said he supports slight increases in alcohol, cigarette, inheritance and gasoline taxes. He wants large increases in capital gains and corporate taxes. "On just about every issue, he is on the wrong side for the district," Johnson said. "I've never seen a political suicide note this long."

I will get to what McNerney answered there in another post, but here is what the site says about Richard Pombo:



John McCain, Republican Senator
Geraldine Ferraro, Former Democratic Congresswoman
Michael Dukakis, Former Democratic Governor
Bill Frenzel, Former Republican Congressman
Richard Kimball, Project Vote Smart President


The last one Pombo filled out was in 1994. See this link.

Wayne Johnson has the nerve to criticize McNerney when his own candidate refuses to fill out such a basic request for information for voters, even when asked twice by a major supporter, Sen. McCain! The NPAT is "a continued effort to provide the American public with factual information on candidates running for public office". I guess the more voters are kept in the the dark about Pombo, the better.

And next, Johnson violated the Project Vote Smart terms of usage. The site states, quite clearly, in bold "Project Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any negative campaign activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches."

The above quotation from Johnson is the first shot in what is looking to be Pombo's negative campaign against McNerney this fall. Already, they are violating ethical boundaries in using the Project Vote Smart name to attack McNerney. What would we expect, given Pombo's long history of unethical behavior? I already know what the ethically challenged Pombo will self-righteously claim: "I have never broken any rules in the House of Representatives. I have never broken any laws. All I have done is fight for what is right," as he declared at a candidate forum in May.

That line is right up there with Clinton's "I never had sex with that woman".

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Morning After

Jerry McNerney beat Steve Filson in the Democratic Primary, and it was not even close. If you supported Jerry McNerney, celebrate. If you supported Steve Filson, please join the McNerney effort. And if you supported Steve Thomas, please in God’s name tell us how he did so well.

And please, anyone who opposes Pombo, donate to McNerney through our ActBlue page. Pombo still has a huge fundraising advantage and McNerney will need money ASAP.
You can use this as an open thread.

Jerry McNerney beat Steve Filson in the Democratic Primary, and it was not even close. If you supported Jerry McNerney, celebrate. If you supported Steve Filson, please join the McNerney effort. And if you supported Steve Thomas, please in God’s name tell us how he did so well.And please, anyone who opposes Pombo, donate to McNerney through our ActBlue page. Pombo still has a huge fundraising advantage and McNerney will need money ASAP. You can use this as an open thread.

Update: Please vote for Jerry McNerney in DFA's Grassroots All-Star poll. The first round of voting will winnow the field down to five candidates. And the second round of voting will determine the winner, who will get a fundraising solicitation send out to the DFA national list. Typically those letters bring in tens of thousands of dollars. Furthermore, this type of thing is bound to raise the profile of a race that gives every indication of being a high profile race for Novemember. Vote for Jerry here.

The delta blues

The primary is over and the real fight begins. Mostly, I want to thank Pete McCloskey for having the courage to start down this path and the stamina to stay with it. Lesser men would have done neither. Long may the Revolt of the Elders continue.

I think that Delta is going to take a long swim. May even get down to the bay. But the fight will go on and new things will appear in different places so keep a look out. There seems to be a general consensus that all Congressmen are crooks, except for the one I voted for. He can't be a crook or that would make me an accomplice.

Maybe the Republican Party has so lost its moral compass that it can not be repaired. Maybe it is time for it to be replaced, as the Republicans replaced the Whigs when they lost their vision. What emerged then was a new Republican Party led by Henry Clay and a young lawyer from Illinois. Voters that did not join the Republicans, most went to the Know-Nothings, which is an apt description for what remains of the DeLay leadership team. When people challenge them on corruption and pay for access, they all say "I know noghing about....".

If there was a failure here, it was not Pete's. It is a failure that the rest of us could not deliver the voters to the polls.

I know that some trolls are dropping hooks in the water, trying to catch me. There have been multiple attempts to compromise my password on blogger over the last two days. Well, I hope your line breaks, sucker.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Election Night Open Thread

You can check for results at the following sites:

San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters

Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters

Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters

Last, but not least is the Alameda County Registrar of Voters. They have the spiffiest website of the bunch, allowing observers to customize their return-watching. Here’s the Democratic race and the Republican race.

Break out your calculators and get ready to settle in for a long night. As you are no doubt aware by now, the Alameda County Registrar’s office is expected to be late with their returns due to a last-minute decision to scrap their electronic voting system and utilize paper ballots. They expect to be manually counting paper ballots all night and well into tomorrow.

Update 9:15 by Matt:

CA-11 All Counties from the Secretary of State's Website:

Steve Filson...4,235 (28.7%)
Steve Thomas...2,775 (18.8%)
Jerry McNerney..7,725 (52.5%)

Tom Benigno...1,322 (6.4%)
Pete McCloskey...6,428 (31.2%)
Richard Pombo...12,867 (62.4%)


060606 - Primary Day

I'm settin' here, biting my friggin' nails off, as to whose gonna win this thing. Geez-louise, gotta wait to late tonight to find out.

On the R side, we got all the smarty-pants pundits predicting a Pombo landslide. Oh wells, they are probably right, though it sure would be sumthin if that old geezer Pete was able to beat Mr. "I am one ethical sunofabitch" Pombo. It would prove that sometimes things go right in this crazy world and that maybe there is a God after all.

But nah, I sure ain't expectin nuttin like dat.

(Why I am talking like Rocky here? Maybe because I just spent a week back on the east coast. Anyways, to continue this here exposition.)

On the D side, we sure have a rock-em, sock-em match going on. After all those blog postings and rhetoric and whatnot about the race, from Rocky, Ricky, Anonymous 1, 2, 3, and 4, not to mention 2 cents and the Inner Circle -- hey, let's face it, there's a lot ridin' on this one. Feels like the clash of civilizations, 'cept it ain't no computer game. This here's the real world, and whoever the winner of this is, he's got his work cut out for him and a major uphill, "climbing Everest"-type challenge.

So I think the best thing, apres the primary, is to go drink margaritas with the loser and say "youse still a champ in my book" -- you know, soothe the weary and all that. But next step, whether youse are Ricky, Rocky, Anon, or the Inner Circle -- we got to go to bat for the winner, even if it is Steve Filson. Now, I ain't saying I prefer one over the other, but you can read what youse want into that last statement.

Bottom line in all this -- get your arses out their and vote, 'cept if you favor Pombo, then just stay home. He's got enough votes, he don't need yours.

Here's to Democracy!! See you all at the victory parties.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Richard Pombo: Reverse Robin Hood

The last refuge of Pombo supporters in CA-11 seems to be the notion that Richard Pombo, by virtue of his 14 years of experience in Washington, DC, is the candidate who is best equipped to represent the interests of the district. Why start over with a new guy, this line of reasoning goes, when our representative is able to wield so much power on our behalf? As I noted in my last post, many voters have expressed the sentiment that “Yeah, he's a crook, but he's our crook, and isn't everybody a crook out there?” Implicit in that comment, though, is the assumption that “He’s our crook and we’re getting a good deal out of it.”

And that argument flies in the face of reality. Yes, Richard Pombo has experience; yes, Richard Pombo has accumulated a great deal of power; yes, he wields that power to promote his agenda.

It’s just that the welfare of his Congressional district isn’t very high on Richard Pombo’s political agenda.

Back in November, I talked a little bit about his stance on agricultural issues and how he has harmed family farms. Later I wrote about how Richard Pombo has been missing in action when it comes to addressing his district’s transportation woes:
First, there’s something you need to understand about Richard Pombo. When he initially ran for Congress in 1992, one of the issues he ran on was cutting pork-barrel spending in Washington. True to his mission, throughout his Congressional career Pombo has assiduously avoided seeking federal funding for projects in his district. According to a report issued this year by the Great Valley Center, in 2003 the national average of per capita federal spending was $6,923. In California, per capita federal spending was 89.6% of the national average at $6,196. In the Northern San Joaquin Valley, per capita spending topped out at 61.2% of the national average, a paltry $4,228. So it’s important to realize that in the person of Richard Pombo, CA-11 has a representative who is not just lazy or incompetent; he’s ideologically opposed to federal government funding of local projects.
Just to reiterate, for every $1.00 that Northern San Joaquin County sends to Washington, DC, in taxes, our federal government, in return, spends $.61 in Northern San Joaquin County, nearly 30% less than the average for the rest of California.

Richard Pombo has spent the last 14 years stealing from his constituents. He has used the prestige and power of his position in Washington, DC, to enrich himself, his family and friends, and the timber, mining and oil industries. He has used the prestige and power of his position to advance his far-right extremist “Wise Use” ideology. But he has not used any of that prestige and power to improve the daily lives of his constituents.

Please, on June 6, Say No To Pombo and Yes to the residents of CA-11.

McCloskey on KGO tonight

Pete McCloskey will be on KGO Talk Radio!

Monday, June 5 (Tonight!)
7:00 - 8:00 PM

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Are CA-11 Voters Indifferent to Pombo's Corruption?

There’s an interesting article in tomorrow’s Washington Post about the mood among voters in the run-up to Tuesday’s vote in CA-11. Contributors to this blog, as well as Republican challenger Pete McCloskey, have spent quite a bit of time focusing attention on the many corrupt, if not downright criminal, activities in which Richard Pombo has been engaged over the last 14 years. But this WaPo article posits that we may have fallen prey to the echo chamber effect.
But as former congressman Pete McCloskey traverses Pombo's district hammering the incumbent for ties to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and indicted former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), one response has been dominant, he conceded: shrugs of indifference.

With California's Tuesday primary approaching, McCloskey's experience may have broader significance for the larger contests in November. The "culture of corruption" theme featured so prominently in Democratic campaign literature may not be so potent, after all.

"When I talk about ethics, the response quite often is, 'Yeah, he's a crook, but he's our crook, and isn't everybody a crook out there?' " McCloskey said in an interview last week. "I'm not sure it makes much of a dent on anyone in [California's] San Joaquin Valley who's worried about water, the traffic and air that has become some of the worst in California."
Of course, Pombo, through his spokesman, Wayne Johnson, professes not to be worried by charges of corruption. To Johnson, apparently charges of cravenly dismantling and selling off our country to the highest bidder are less important than clothing choices.
Pombo declined to be interviewed for this article. His chief political consultant, Wayne Johnson, said insinuations of unethical behavior have been "created out of whole cloth" by some Internet denizen "sitting in his underwear in Massachusetts writing it up on his blog."

However, it seems to me like “indifference” might be the wrong word for what’s going on in the minds of CA-11 voters. Remember, the local media has pretty much given Pombo a free pass over his term in office. The citizens of the district are only recently, and many for the first time, seeing a bright light shone on Pombo’s activities; he’s been around for 14 years, and only now are these charges being widely disseminated. Frankly, it doesn’t surprise me that people who have supported him for so long would be a little hesitant to toss him over him so quickly. But all the same, I suspect that they're now looking at him in a different way: questioning, distrustful, perhaps a little more open to hearing other viewpoints.

Regardless of Tuesday’s outcome, I have to hope that a steady drip of information exposing Pombo’s corruption may eventually erode his support. Earlier today, the Lodi News endorsed Pombo. But the endorsement was less than enthusiastic, adopting much of the same stern warning tone that the Modesto Bee used in its recent endorsement:
We find McCloskey inspirational and refreshing. His candidacy has put a fresh focus on ethics, integrity and the future of environmental policy.

Even so, Pombo's the more pragmatic choice for Republicans. We're sticking with him through the GOP primary — and hoping he develops more sensitivity to even the mere appearance of impropriety. If Mrs. Pombo were to find a job outside the campaign between now and November, her husband will win our admiration and probably a large majority of 11th District votes.
On a different tangent, along with endorsing Pombo for the Republican nomination, the Lodi News also endorsed Jerry McNerney for the Democratic nomination. Here’s what they had to say about McNerney:
In the Democratic race, all three candidates have clear strengths, but we like McNerney.

He's not a typical politician, and we find that refreshing. He's studious — almost a little nerdy — but in pleasant way. He talks with conviction and expertise about the importance of energy policy. He takes the long view. He is thoughtful but tempered by pragmatism.

Late endorsements

The Morgan Hill Times has made its late in the cycle endorsements: McNerney and McCloskey. In previous years they had supported Pombo. However, this time, they have a new editor, Sheila Sanchez, and some new writers. Things change. The key statement is that "And replacing Pombo is important for District 11 and for the nation."

I don't know if this endorsement really means much. The circulation is only around 5,000. However, it is indicative of a change in the viewpoint of one segment of the district. As one neighbor told me: "The only time Pombo even shows up over here is to ask for votes."

Now, lets see how the Pombo Trolls can twist that last statement. One Morgan Hill business owner said that he has seen McCloskey over here during this campaign more often than he has seen Pombo since he first got elected. Tells you something about why McCloskey will carry Santa Clara County's small portion of the district. Well, that and the folks in Morgan Hill are still PO'd about the way that they were redistricted: CD 11 with Lodi and Manteca, State Senate District with Santa Maria and in no district with neighboring Gilroy. Long live Gerry Mander.

Friday, June 02, 2006


With all of the McCloskey is a Jew Hater crap coming from the Pombo campaign, here are a couple of additional considerations that one should be willing to use to hex the trolls.

It seems very timely that Newsweek is able to connect the dots, just when Pombo is raising his big rucus. Why is it that the Abramoff name keeps coming up with everything that sounds like a scam. Is this really the same Jack Abramoff who funnelled so much money from his clients to Richard Pombo and his RichPAC? Sure looks like it.

Just think, here is a great deal as explained by Michael Isikoff in Newsweek.

The pitch from superlobbyist Jack Abramoff was hard to resist: a good way to get access on Capitol Hill, he told his clients a few years ago, was to contribute to a worthy charity he and his wife had just started up. The charity, called the Capital Athletic Foundation, was supposed to provide sports programs and teach "leadership skills" to city youth. Donating to it also had a side benefit, Abramoff told his clients: it was a favored cause of Rep. Tom DeLay.

This is only a sidebar note, but blogger does not give me a side bar to note it on. The Capital Athletic Foundation is the Abramoff connection to John Doolittle. Doolittle's wife was a fund raiser here. Now, she is just relaxing with her 15% from Doolittle's campaign contributions. (Get that, Annette, your husband is a piker. Up your ante to 15% also.)

Well, now back to the Doolittle story.
But now, NEWSWEEK has learned, investigators probing Abramoff's finances have found some of the money meant for inner-city kids went instead to fight the Palestinian intifada. More than $140,000 of foundation funds were actually sent to the Israeli West Bank where they were used by a Jewish settler to mobilize against the Palestinian uprising. Among the expenditures: purchases of camouflage suits, sniper scopes, night-vision binoculars, a thermal imager and other material described in foundation records as "security" equipment.

As Babaloo said, why would you believe anything that Pombo says. I think that I need Rocky to explain this, though maybe Bill Moyers anticipated it all a couple of years ago in his OpEd piece, The Delusional is no Longer Marginal. But then, we know that with Pombo supporters like the Tracy Press.