Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Big Dog’s Coming To Stockton

Former President Bill Clinton has scheduled a last-minute appearance with Jerry McNerney at a Get Out The Vote rally in Stockton tomorrow night. Here are the particulars:

Stockton Jet Center
6364 South Lindbergh Street
Stockton, CA
Wednesday, November 1, 2006
9:00 p.m.


Individuals are strongly encouraged to pre-register at Jerry McNerney's website. When you register, you will be provided with an electronic ticket and VIP admission.

we all live in Richard Pombo's district

You can drive the twisting, labyrinthine shape of California's 11th Congressional district in less than a day but there are very few people who have ever done so.

Regardless of that gerrymandered reality, on November 7th the residents of locales as far flung and disparate as Morgan Hill, Stockton, Danville, Discovery Bay, Manteca, Tracy, Lodi and San Ramon are going to collectively decide who will best represent their district in the 110th Congress of the United States: Democrat Jerry McNerney or incumbent GOP Congressman Richard Pombo.

CA-11, make no mistake, belongs to neither of these two candidates. CA-11 belongs to its voters and residents, and, on November 7th, those voters alone will decide their district's political direction.

In the meantime, I would like to reiterate a point I made exactly one year ago. Regardless of where you live: We all live in Richard Pombo's District.

::

I would like to invite you to pull back for a moment from the contorted map of CA-11's gerrymandered district boundaries to the broader map of the United States.


Currently, of 435 Congressional districts, the Republican Party holds 232 seats. That slim majority, which the GOP has enforced with ruthless party discipline and strong-arm partisan tactics, gives Congressman Richard Pombo the chairmanship of the United States House Committee on Resources, a position from which he has overseen the roll back, degradation and gutting of this nation's environmental regulations.


To put it simply and in terms everyone can understand, Congressman Richard Pombo has proposed selling off the nation's national park system: naming rights and whole parks at one time.


He's that bad.  


Now, the current GOP majority in Congress has given Pombo his perch atop the House Resources Committee. (Heckuva choice, Congress!) Hence when it comes to land use and our nation's public resources, more often than not, what Richard Pombo says goes. Every progressive environmental reform, every action taken by every citizen concerned about our water, air and natural resources is outweighed by the power and vote of this one man: Richard Pombo.


To which I have one thing to say: not for long.


Richard Pombo may or may not win reelection in 2006, but taking the bird's eye view I know this much is true: a political party that acts like it owns the Congress of the United States, that treats our government like no more than its private property and partisan fiefdom does not deserve to and can not long lead this great nation.


Simply put, a party that entrusts Richard Pombo to oversee our natural resources, Michael Brown to protect us from natural disasters, and Mark Foley with the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, in no uncertain terms, does not deserve to govern.


We have elections every two years to correct exactly the kind of hubris that has infected the Halls of Congress in 2006. The GOP is not simply feloniously corrupt, they are, in October 2006, morally bankrupt and out of ideas. They can rig gas prices all they want, but we all know that the GOP gas tank is empty.


Whether it's the war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina or their warped view on "fixing" Social Security, the GOP is so far from having a credible plan to lead this nation forward that all they can do spew fear and spin the facts.


As Tim Walz, veteran and Democratic candidate in MN-01 put it,

"When you wake up Nov. 8, it can be a brand new world," Walz told supporters last week in Owatonna. "It's not vindictiveness. It's not us saying all our Republican neighbors are wrong. It's us saying this Congress is broken. This rubber-stamp Congress is not giving this country the ability to move forward and compromise."

{from the WSJ, h/t A Bluestem Prairie.}

Now, we all live in Richard Pombo's district because the GOP majority that gave him power and pretends that it owns our Congress said so.


This November, we all have a say in whether that majority continues to govern our nation.  Across the country, whether you live in New Hampshire, or Indiana, or Colorado, or Texas, or Florida, or Connecticut, or Virginia, or New Jersey, or Tennessee...when you participate in this upcoming election you are sending a message to the nation and the world. You are a part of something much larger in scope that your local race and efforts.


Richard Pombo and the GOP majority don't cut it. It's our job this November to cut the GOP majority in Congress down to size.


There are heroes among us...all over this country...who have worked diligently and hopefully for this moment. Win or lose, on November 8th we will owe every last one of them a debt of gratitude and thanks. In the process, win or lose, we will have won so many new friends.


It takes courage to stand up to bullies like Richard Pombo and Tom DeLay. Those Americans who've stood up and fought, against long odds, in races where no one gave them any hope 12 months ago deserve our lasting credit and thanks. Their story, in my view, is the story of this election. We are all a part of something bigger than ourselves. When we opppose corrupt politicians like Richard Pombo, that's the point.


In closing, I would like to invite you to pull back one more time and think of Planet Earth.  It's our home; it's also a finite resource dependent on responsible and diligent stewardship from every last one of us. In so many ways, if you live on this planet, you live in Richard Pombo's district. If you breathe. If you drink water. If your children play in the sun...you live in Richard Pombo's district, too.


As citizens of this planet, we have a choice over the next decades, we can work together, or we will drown apart. We've tried Richard Pombo's way. It's a dead end. It leads nowhere.


In Tracy and Lodi and Manteca and Morgan Hill...one by one...citizen to citizen...door after door...the voters of CA-11 are realizing that too. Richard Pombo does not own the seat representing CA-11 any more than the GOP owns the halls of the United States Congress.


We may all live in Richard Pombo's district, friends, but not for long.  


Nope, not for long.

{This essay also appeared on the website Dailykos.com.}

The People v. Richard Pombo

A hat tip to Rolfy Boy at Political Blues for finding these videos — one from House Majority Action and the other from Michael Evensen. Both are amazingly good, the first one on stem cell research and the second one on Pombo’s Hurwitz scandal. Both feature folks speaking out on issues that are important to the people of this nation but not so important to Richard Pombo.

Stem cell research probably doesn’t need much of an introduction. Jerry McNerney held a special press event last week to highlight his position on the issue, and the Contra Costa Times covered the event:
Flanked by a renowned stem cell research advocate, a San Ramon Valley pediatrician and a Danville mother of a 4-year-old daughter with cystic fibrosis, McNerney called embryonic stem cell research an integral component of his health care reform platform.

"Health care is a very important issue to me, and stem cell research is one part of that," said McNerney during a news conference held on the perimeter of a children's playground in San Ramon. "We need to move forward with stem cell research. Our country needs to support it as a tool for our health system."

Pombo has consistently sided with President Bush, who opposes the destruction of human embryos for stem cell research.

The congressman was among 180 Republicans who opposed a bill this past spring that would have expanded federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.


As to the other video, for those of you who are not familiar with Pombo’s involvement in the Hurwitz scandal, here’s a brief rundown. The LA Times broke the story on this sordid affair back in January:
Reps. John T. Doolittle and Richard W. Pombo joined forces with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas to oppose an investigation by federal banking regulators into the affairs of Houston millionaire Charles Hurwitz, documents recently obtained by The Times show. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was seeking $300 million from Hurwitz for his role in the collapse of a Texas savings and loan that cost taxpayers $1.6 billion. The investigation was ultimately dropped.

The effort to help Hurwitz began in 1999 when DeLay wrote a letter to the chairman of the FDIC denouncing the investigation of Hurwitz as a "form of harassment and deceit on the part of government employees." When the FDIC persisted, Doolittle and Pombo — both considered proteges of DeLay — used their power as members of the House Resources Committee to subpoena the agency's confidential records on the case, including details of the evidence FDIC investigators had compiled on Hurwitz.

Then, in 2001, the two congressmen inserted many of the sensitive documents into the Congressional Record, making them public and accessible to Hurwitz's lawyers, a move that FDIC officials said damaged the government's ability to pursue the banker.

The FDIC's chief spokesman characterized what Doolittle and Pombo did as "a seamy abuse of the legislative process." But soon afterward, in 2002, the FDIC dropped its case against Hurwitz, who had owned a controlling interest in the United Savings Assn. of Texas. United Savings' failure was one of the worst of the S&L debacles in the 1980s. […]

In key aspects, the Hurwitz case follows the pattern of the Abramoff scandal: members of Congress using their offices to do favors for a politically well-connected individual who, in turn, supplies them with campaign funds.


[UPDATE:] The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund just unveiled a new radio ad that they'll be playing throughout the district — you can listen to the Pombo Mambo here.

Campaign Ad Features Pombo Employee

When the McNerney campaign aired an ad with veterans explaining why they support Jerry McNerney, Richard Pombo quickly responded with a veterans ad of his own. This commercial features three veterans and the wife of a soldier who is in Iraq. Watch the commercial here and pay special attention to the second person who appears and is identified with the caption, “Tiffany Walton, Husband on active duty in Iraq.”


Yes, that would be the same Tiffany Walton who is on Richard Pombo’s staff as a paid precinct walker. According to his third quarter FEC filing Pombo’s campaign paid Ms. Walton $1,080.65 in September.

It kind of makes you wonder about that group of people standing on the bridge at the end of the commercial. Is that the rest of his office staff? How much were THEY paid to be there?

Let’s face it: Pombo’s campaign is hard up for REAL volunteers, whether they be precinct walkers or TV commercial endorsers. The Laura Bush appearance this Friday is being billed as a “Rally for Volunteers.” And the “price” of admission? Well, it's not exactly free. To get in to see Bush, you'll have to commit to a set amount of GOTV work for the campaign over the weekend.

It’s pretty telling that after 14 years in office, Richard Pombo’s only support is of the enforced variety. I guess he's finally reaping what he's sowed.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Send in the Clowns

First Lady Laura Bush will be in Pleasanton Friday stumping for her husband's pal, "Marlboro Man" Richard Pombo. One reporter, Hank Shaw of the Stockton Record, titled his blog entry on the visit, "Send in the Librarian!". But I think a more apt title is "Send in the Clowns". I don't mean to be overly disparaging of Laura Bush -- she just strikes me as a classic Stepford wife. I mean it for Pombo's campaign, where it is truly time to "Send in the Clowns":
The title refers to a phrase reputedly used in a circus when an unforeseen disaster had occurred, with the clowns being sent in to distract the audience from the problem. Alternatively, the title could refer to the practice in vaudeville theatre of sending the clowns on to the stage to distract the audience after a particularly bad act
That about hits the nail on the head -- Laura Bush "being sent in to distract the audience" from Pombo's problems. And as far as Pombo's record in Congress, "particularly bad act" barely comes close to describing it.

That is what we have with the Republicans -- a second-rate circus, where the clowns work overtime to keep the audience distracted from one disaster after another. In Pombo's case, we already had Cheney, Hastert, and Bush pass through town riding their tricycles and honking their horns. Now it is Laura's turn.

The clowns just keep coming, but we can all hope the voters won't be distracted by the sideshow The Pombo circus should have left town a long time ago.

Latest Polling Results In CA-11

First, a hat tip to Mike McL over a Daily Kos for finding this new polling data.

Majority Watch is reporting the results of its independent polling in CA-11. Jerry McNerney leads Richard Pombo 48-46 with a MoE of 3.1%. The survey of 983 voters was conducted October 24-26.

Folks, political races just don’t get any closer than this one: basically neck and neck with 6% of the voters undecided. Everything that Democrats have worked for over the last two years in CA-11 is going to come down to just one thing — Get Out The Vote. So please hurry on over to Jerry McNerney’s new GOTV website feature and get yourself signed up. This is the best shot Democrats have ever had at unseating Richard Pombo. But we have to do the heavy lifting in the next eight days.

The Republicans are so nervous about this race that they’re bringing in their secret weapon — Laura Bush will be appearing at a rally for Richard Pombo this Friday morning in Pleasanton. But Jerry McNerney has his own secret weapon. You and me. Let’s do it.

Paid Canvass in Brentwood

On behalf of Ocean Champions, I am back in CA11 for the last week of the campaign to try to put Jerry McNerney in office.

We will be paying canvassers to go door-to-door in Brentwood. Anyone who is interested in joining the Brentwood effort please email me at kevin.keefe90@comcast.net. Why, you may ask, are we concentrating our efforts in Brentwood? From what I can surmise, the anti-Pombo forces seem to be pretty well organized in all other areas of the district. This is where I figure a relatively small force can make a difference. Hopefully, the difference that will put Jerry McNerney over the top.

The last day I spent in CA11 for Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund was in the middle of primary season. It was clear back then that Pombo was vulnerable, but there's a different dynamic now. Pombo is running scared. The prognosticators have moved this seat into "toss up" status, and a recent polls shows McNerney up a few points. Kudos to all of you who have been a part of this effort.

Let's do all we can over the next 8 days to defeat Richard Pombo. And, when Jerry wins next Tuesday, I promise not to take all the credit for putting him over the top in the last week.

It's good to be back in CA11. There's a good vibe on the street.

How Would You Like To Find This On Your Door?

This is the hanger that Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund has been leaving on doorknobs throughout CA-11. No wonder Richard Pombo is in hiding.




If I were Richard Pombo, I'd go back to bed with a headache, too.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Ramping It Up For McNerney

Well, this weekend’s canvassing efforts may be winding down, but Jerry McNerney's campaign against Richard Pombo in CA-11 is kicking into high gear. With groups like the West LA Democratic Club making plans to caravan up to the district for next weekend’s GOTV effort, there’s really no excuse left for Northern California residents not to get involved. Especially when it’s so easy.

The McNerney campaign will be canvassing and phone banking pretty much non-stop for the next eight days. You can call or email John Gunn at the McNerney office, (925) 833-0643 or john@jerrymcnerney.org, to make arrangements to come in and help out at ANY TIME (well, almost any time — rumor has it that John does sleep an hour or two each night).

Likewise, the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund will be continuously at work until Tuesday night. Here is their call to action for the coming week:

To Canvass or Call Voters: Monday-Friday:
Come by our office any time between 12:00 PM and 6:00 PM to pick up materials and training.

To make things as easy as possible for BART commuters, we will pick you up from and later drop you off at the Pleasanton BART station taxi-turnaround any day from now until Election Day as long as you RSVP in advance to schedule your pick-up. We also provide pizza or sandwiches in the evening for volunteers.

You can RSVP for Shuttle Pick-Up at the Pleasanton BART Station Taxi-Turnaround: Monday-Sunday: 12:00 PM or 2:30 PM or 5:00 PM

RSVP for one of the three pick-up time slots in advance to schedule your pick-up by e-mailing defeatpombo@gmail.com or calling our office at (925) 249-1626.

Or Come By Our Campaign Office:

Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund
555 Peters Avenue, Suite 105, Pleasanton
Now, on to phone banking. If you live anywhere in the Bay Area or near Stockton, there’s an organized phone banking opportunity for you. And if you don’t live nearby or if the times are inconvenient, you can now make phone calls for Jerry McNerney from your own home or in the company of friends or neighbors without paying long distance charges, thanks to McNerney’s new predictive dialing system. Visit Jerry McNerney’s Phone From Home page to get the details and get started.

Meanwhile, if you like the camaraderie of a real-life phone bank, here are the choices that are available to you:

Phone Banking in Oakland, Oct. 29, Oct. 30, Nov. 1, Nov. 5, and Nov. 6
Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. (come whenever you can!)
SEIU Local 535
447 29th St. (between Broadway and Telegraph)

You need to RSVP, to help the organizers plan.

To RSVP, please send an email to
eden@jerrymcnerney.org and type OAKLAND PHONE BANK in the subject line or call Eden at (510) 499-4862
Phone Banking in San Francisco, Oct. 29, Nov. 5
Sunday evenings, 5:00-9:00 p.m.
936 Church St., between 21st & 22nd, near J-Church, 24-Divisadero, 48-Quintara & BART 24th St.

Come anytime, stay as long as you can. Bring your cell phones, campaign is providing computer-assisted dialing and call scripts.

You must RSVP to Alec Bash, alec.bash@gmail.com, (415) 999-6273
Phone Banking in Marin, any time
For training in how to use the predictive dialing system or other phone banking opportunities in Marin, contact Bill Sims: wmasims@2xtreme.net, (415) 331-3899, cell (415) 225-2196 or Josh Crossley at joshcrossley@gmail.com
Phone Banking in Hayward, Oct. 31 and Nov. 7
Tuesday evening, 5:00-9:00 p.m.
Eden Area UDC
1063 A St (At Foothill)

Another opportunity and a convenient way to help Jerry from the Hayward, San Leandro, Castro Valley area is to phone bank on Tuesday nights at Democratic HQ in Hayward.

RSVP to Shawn Wilson, (510) 582-4802
Phone Banking at UC Berkeley, Oct. 31 and Nov. 7
Tuesday evening, 5:00-9:00 p.m.
UAW Local 2865 — Berkeley (represents academic student employees)
2372 Ellsworth Street
(510) 549-3863

CONTACT/RSVP: Scott Bailey-Clifthorne, 415-810-0652 or berkeley@uaw2865.org
Phone Banking in Berkeley, Nov. 2
Thursday evening, 6:00-9:00 p.m
UDC Headquarters
1936 University Avenue

CONTACT/RSVP: Carole Mills, (510) 845-4837 or csmills@sbcglobal.net
Phone Banking in Dublin, Oct. 31, Nov. 2 and Nov. 7
Tuesday and Thursday evening, 5:00-8:30 p.m.
McNerney Campaign Headquarters
6250 Village Parkway, Second Floor

Your participation is crucial. Jerry needs your help this week on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays to hit the phones. If you're ready, our campaign field organizers in DUBLIN are ready for you!

RSVP to John Gunn, (925) 833-0643 or john@jerrymcnerney.org.
Phone Banking in Stockton, Nov. 1 and 2
Wednesday and Thursday evening, 4:00-9:00 p.m.
McNerney for Congress -- San Joaquin County Headquarters
Hacienda Plaza Office Complex
4212 N. Pershing Ave. (about a block and a half south of March Lane)
Suite A5 (southeast corner of the complex)

If you're ready, our campaign field organizers in STOCKTON are ready for you!
Please come out to dial for democracy!

PLEASE RSVP NOW by contacting Alyssa Schmidt, (209) 478-5961 or alyssa@jerrymcnerney.org
Phone Banking in San Jose, Nov. 1
Wednesday evening, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
SEIU Headquarters
2302 Zanker Road

Come help Jerry and have fun doing it! If you haven't phone banked before, we will train you thoroughly and get you started. It's easy!

To RSVP, please contact Raphael Tam at raphaeltam@yahoo.com or call Spandan at (408) 627-7030.
Check back here later in the week for a list of all the GOTV activities planned for next weekend.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Feinstein endorses McNerney in CD 11

Diane Feinstein, the most popular politician in California, the Senator who carried San Joaquin, Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara Counties by a wide margin the last time she had to run, the Senator who has a reputation of building consensus between parties, has seen fit to endorse McNerney for Congress, something that does not come automatically from Feinstein with the Democratic Primary win.

According to a press release from the McNerney Campaign...
"Jerry McNerney is not a politician," said Feinstein. "He is an expert on clean energy and that's just what we need in Washington – clean energy."
Clean, ethically clean, energy is just what we should be sending to Congress.

Say No To George W. Bush

The name of this blog conveys a pretty obvious message. For over a year now, we at Say No To Pombo have followed this race in CA-11 exclusively, giving our readers many compelling reasons why Richard Pombo needs to fired. Now, our job has been made fairly easy by Richard Pombo himself. His behavior as a Congressman has been SO remarkably reprehensible that he has provided us with endless fodder.

Richard Pombo has passed legislation through the House to gut the Endangered Species Act, to lift the moratorium on off-shore oil drilling, to sell off public lands for a pittance — and he has been named as one of the 13 most corrupt members of Congress by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). He has accepted campaign contributions from lobbyists and special interest groups and then voted to give them billions of federal dollars. He has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign money to his family and has even taken them on a vacation in an RV that was paid for by the taxpayers. Sleaze and corruption have become synonymous with the name Richard Pombo.

At the same time, Pombo has neglected his district, failing to bring much-needed federal dollars into his community — transportation needs have not been met; levees have not been repaired; air and water quality have diminished significantly. The population has risen dramatically, while barely any jobs have been created. Health care has become more expensive and less readily available. The list goes on and on. Instead of working on behalf of his own constituents to solve the many and varied problems facing CA-11, Pombo has involved himself in national issues that benefit the special interests who contribute to his campaign and his PAC. Richard Pombo has shown broad disinterest and disdain for the citizens who live in his district.

Now, those are all pretty good reasons to vote against Richard Pombo. But there’s an even more compelling reason why Pombo needs to go. He’s a Republican.

That’s right. It's just that simple. Not that there is per se anything wrong with being a Republican. It’s just that right now we desperately need a Democratic Congress to put the brakes on George W. Bush. If the Republican Party maintains control of the Congress in the 2006 election, you can bet that the Bush Administration will interpret such a victory as a complete vindication of its policies. With that validation, the Administration will continue its disastrous Iraq policy; it will be emboldened to expand militarily into Iran. The Administration will continue to borrow and spend, cut taxes for the wealthy, and push the national debt into uncharted territory; it will continue to shred our rights under the Constitution. Bush himself openly stated earlier this week that he plans to bring back Social Security privatization after this election.

George W. Bush came right out and said it for all to hear in 2004, after an across-the-boards Republican victory:
"I earned capital in this campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it," Bush told reporters. "It is my style."
So bear in mind that the 2006 mid-terms are going to have repercussions far beyond the individual races. This election is basically going to serve as either a red light or a green light to George W. Bush and his administration.

By sending a Democrat to Washington, the citizens of CA-11 will be standing up to this President and telling him that he is not above the Constitution or the laws of this land. They will be sending a message that our country is going down a wrong path and we need to correct our course. And the only way to send that message is by electing a Democratic Congress and putting Speaker Nancy Pelosi in charge of the House.

Now, I know that there’s been a lot of frenzied hate-mongering by Republicans over the prospect of Nancy Pelosi becoming the Speaker of the House. They love to whisper her name in the shocked and outraged tones best reserved for mass murderers and child molesters. But, as columnist Brad Barker of the Modesto Bee pointed out last Thursday, the mother of five, grandmother of five, just isn't that scary:
Republican incumbents Richard Pombo, John Doolittle and George Radanovich need fearful voters. They're desperate to protect their seats and their majority party power.

In Modesto earlier this month, Radanovich prodded voters to reject his moderate opponent because he "will vote for Nancy Pelosi to be speaker of the House." Oh, my golly.

When President Bush came to Stockton on Oct. 3 to raise money for Pombo, my Republican assemblyman, Greg Aghazarian, attended and said, "Nancy Pelosi will stop at nothing to become the speaker of the House." Right. She's scary and ruthless.

A "news" item from Doolittle's campaign site: "It's clear that (Democratic challenger Charlie) Brown's campaign is now being run by Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi." I'm trembling.

Congressmen, your party has led us to record-high deficits, a cascade of corruption scandals, a war without end, environmental plunder, the disastrous mismanagement of Hurricane Katrina, the subversion of Constitutional rights, and the United States' crumbling respect and credibility in the world. Let me whisper this to you gently: You guys are the scary ones.
So when you go out and do canvassing and/or phone banking for Jerry McNerney in the closing days of this election, keep the big picture in mind. Yes, this election is about one very corrupt and extreme Congressman who has ill-served his constituents on local issues, but it’s also about something much, much bigger. It’s about the kind of country we want to live in, the kind of future we see for ourselves, the kind of legacy we aspire to leave to our children and grandchildren.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday Melange

The California Majority Report just reported that the DCCC has finally added Jerry McNerney (along with Charlie Brown and Francine Busby) to its “Red To Blue” campaign:
According to the DCCC web site, the "Red to Blue" program is designed to provide financial and structural aid to the strongest Democratic candidates across the country.

But what it really means is national money and staff. Great news for the Dem congressional hopefuls.


A hat tip to Hank Shaw for posting about this indictment of Richard Pombo from none other than Field & Stream. Their conservation editor-at-large just wrote a piece entitled Is Richard Pombo (R-CA) the "Darth Vader of the Environment?"
It sounded like hyperbole when green groups started calling Rep. Richard “Dick” Pombo (R- CA) the “Darth Vader of the Environment.” But as they say in Texas “it ain’t braggin if you can do it”, and Pombo has shown he can – and will – do it to sportsmen and the environment at every turn.

As chair of the House Resources Committee Pombo pushed to allow road building in the Tongass National Forest, sell national parks to private industry, eliminate the moratorium on selling federal lands to mining companies, remove regulations that force energy companies to respect wetlands and wildlife values on public lands, weaken the Endangered Species Act, and rewrite the National Environmental Policy Act so industry would have a more profitable time on public lands at the expense of fish, wildlife, and sportsmen. No wonder real estate developers have paid almost $250,000 into his campaign chest over the years (Center for Responsive Politics.)


In the same vein, Dump Dick Pombo has put up an original song with the following story line:
Former northern Californian Dusty Horwitt has been writing songs since the 20th century, taking his acoustic guitar ballads to both the East and West Coasts. Dusty was inspired to create this song about Dick Pombo after Pombo's attempt last year to sell off the public's forest, high country, and desert lands to developers. Says Dusty:
"Like a varmint from the Old West, Pombo will keep coming back to try to sell off our land until we chase him off for good."


Drum Major Institute has an informative post about the effect of the bankruptcy bill that took effect last year. DMI cites a Wall Street Journal article reporting that credit card companies and the debt collection industry have been making money hand-over-fist as the “distressed debt” trade is booming — unfortunately, these businesses are profiting on the backs of ordinary citizens who find “many creditors knocking at their door when the chips are down, usually as the result of a life-changing event like a divorce or job loss.” Of course, Richard Pombo voted in support of the bankruptcy bill which penalizes the most vulnerable constituents in his district and enriches the special interests.


Finally, I have to make an apology. In last Sunday’s post about Pombo’s War on the Constitution, I referred to an episode of the CNN series Broken Government that will focus on the assault on the courts by both the Executive and Congressional branches, which will apparently feature Richard Pombo. I said that the episode would air on Thursday evening, but, actually, “Judges on Trial” is set to air on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. (re-shown at 11:00). I’m sorry for the mistake, but if you tuned in last night, you saw an excellent episode about how the Bush Administration, with the full support of the Republican-led Congress, has pushed for executive powers never imagined by the framers of the Constitution. Tonight’s focus is on Republicans betraying their conservative philosophy by spending like drunken sailors — and borrowing to fund it all.

It's Hammer Time

Fundraising reports were filed yesterday with the FEC for the period from 10/1 to 10/18, and for the first time in this election cycle, Jerry McNerney outraised Richard Pombo. The results were similar in the CA-04 race between Charlie Brown and John Doolittle. In their FEC filings, the candidates report the following totals:
Jerry McNerney — $417,000 raised, $330,000 CoH
Richard Pombo — $351,000 raised, $1.05 million CoH

Charlie Brown — $416,000 raised, $382,000 CoH
John Doolittle — $207,000 raised, $712,000 CoH
What’s really stunning about these numbers is that they include the fundraising totals from George W. Bush’s campaign appearance back on October 3 on behalf of candidates Pombo and Doolittle. McNerney and Brown both raised more money with their netroots/grassroots support than Pombo and Doolittle did with a visit from the freaken President. So give yourself a little pat on the back. Good job. Now, it’s time to really get to work.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the NRCC just dumped another $681,750 into CA-11 this week. McNerney has only 1/3 of the cash on hand that Pombo does. The DCCC has been outspent roughly 12-1 so far. That means that now, more than ever, Jerry McNerney is going to have to rely on people power. So with that in mind, here’s your smörgåsbord of volunteer opportunities for this weekend, starting with Project BlueBridge and my favorite, Manteca:
Canvassing Manteca, Saturday, 10/28 and Sunday, 10/29
Manteca, with its 55 precincts, is an important "outlying" city that needs our help to supplement the efforts of the local democratic club. Last weekend, PBB canvassers there found strong support for Jerry McNerney — this is fertile ground for our persuasion and identification efforts. We have canvasses scheduled for:
Saturday morning, Oct 28, leaving [the East Bay] at 9 AM (RSVP to Jane at 510-763-5673, or callbackjane@earthlink.net).

Sunday morning, October 29, leaving [the East Bay] at 11 AM (RSVP to Carol at 510-547-4843 or Carol_Strickman@yahoo.com).
Canvassing Brentwood on Saturday, 10/28 - Meet Jerry McNerney in person. Last week, Project Blue Bridge brought seven volunteers to Brentwood, another outlying area often lost in the fray. Surprisingly, many voters we talked to had not yet made up their mind and were very appreciative of the information we shared. While many folks have heard of Richard Pombo, few had heard about Jerry, so knocking on doors really makes a huge difference!
Carpools leave North Berkeley 12 noon. We will walk from about 2-5:30. Jerry will be in Brentwood from 5-7 for those who want to stay and meet him in person. Contact Kari at 510-295-4781 or khamerschlag@gmail.com. (You can also meet us in Brentwood at 1 PM at 1010 Meadow Brook Drive)
Take Back Red California is also organizing carpools from Marin County to Tracy this weekend.
Saturday, Oct. 28, 9 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
**One carpool will leave from the Larkspur Ferry parking lot in Marin at 7:45 a.m.

Sunday, Oct. 29, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
**One carpool will leave from the Larkspur Ferry parking lot in Marin at 11:45 p.m.

Contact Bill Sims, wmasims@2xtreme.net or (415) 331-3899 to RSVP for the TBRC carpool.
Additionally, the Defenders is mounting another huge Day of Action in the Tri-Valley. They will meet at Civic Park, 100 Main Street , Pleasanton at 10:00 AM. There will be special appearances by Rodger Schlickeisen, President of the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund; Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club; and Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.
These three charismatic and accomplished leaders represent millions of pro-environment and animal welfare advocates throughout the country, and they are excited about this important opportunity to go canvass voters with you to help defeat the politician that Rolling Stone just named the “Enemy of Earth” and one of the “10 Worst” in Congress. Will you please join them?

5 Bus Pick-Up/Drop-Off
  • Oakland/Berkeley: MacArthur BART Station, 555 40th Street, Oakland
  • Pick-up at 9:00 AM; Leaves Civic Park at 3:30 PM
  • Questions? Call Josh Sabato (202) 374-3514 jsabato@defendersactionfund.org


  • San Francisco: Civic Center, 99 Grove St, San Francisco
  • Pick-up at 8:30 AM; Leaves Civic Park at 3:30 PM
  • Questions? Call Abraham Kneisley (510) 816-0563 akneisley@defendersactionfund.org


  • San Jose: 95 N. Third Street, San Jose
  • Pick-up at 9:00 AM; Leaves Civic Park at 3:30 PM
  • Questions? Call Peter Leroe-Munoz (510) 867-6300 pleroe-munoz@defendersactionfund.org


  • Palo Alto: Cal Train Station, 101 S. California Avenue, Palo Alto
  • Pick-up at 8:30 AM; Leaves Civic Park at 3:30 PM
  • Questions? Call Alex Nosnik (972) 375-7602 anosik@defendersactionfund.org


  • Santa Cruz: Parking Lot Next to the Calvary Episcopal Church, 532 Center Street, Santa Cruz
  • Pick-up at 8:30 AM; Leaves Civic Park at 3:30 PM
  • Questions? Contact Matt Ortega at mortega@defendersactionfund.org


BART pick-up shuttle will also be provided at the Pleasanton BART taxi-turnaround at 9:50 AM.

Finally, as always, you can volunteer directly with the Jerry McNerney campaign. They will be canvassing in Manteca, Tracy, Stockton, Lodi, Brentwood, Morgan Hill, and the Tri-Valley. Also, if none of the buses or carpools mentioned above work for you, here are two things to keep in mind. The Pleasanton BART station is very close to McNerney’s campaign headquarters. If you call ahead at (925) 833-0643, they can almost always arrange to have someone pick you up. Second, Left on 580 maintains a ride board for people who are coming into CA-11 to canvass. So, really, you have no excuses left. There are only two weekends to go — it’s pedal to the metal time.

Oh, and money. Give lots of money. Show Ellen Tauscher how it’s done.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

NRCC Brings Guns To The DCCC’s Knife Fight

As the Congressional campaign in CA-11 moves into its closing days, Richard Pombo has gone into virtual seclusion, refusing to speak to the media. Too many hard questions, apparently.

Meanwhile, the group Campaign Money Watch has jumped into the fray, airing this commercial in CA-11:


And while the DCCC finally stepped up to the plate with a commercial that they are broadcasting throughout the district, the $111,954 that they reported spending on Tuesday isn’t going to pay for very much air time.

Much more telling is the fact that after the NRCC paid for yet another internal survey yesterday, they reacted by making an independent expenditure today of $636,925 for television advertising. Taken together with their other expenditures for this week (the usual phone banks plus smear mailer number 18) their spending for the week stands at $681,750. Put that together with their previous contributions, and the total NRCC independent expenditures on behalf of Richard Pombo now stand at $1,331,123.

So if you believe Carl Fogliani when he tells you that those NRCC polls don’t show Richard Pombo in trouble — well, damn, there’s really NO one that gullible, is there?

Bordering on Stupidity

President Bush today signed the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which passed the House with Pombo dutifully nodding his head up and down like the right-wing robot that he is. Here, believe it or not, is what our soon-to-be retired representative had to say:

Sept. 14, 2006, WASHINGTON – Congressman Richard Pombo (R-Tracy) issued the following statement after voting for the Secure Fence Act of 2006 (HR 6061), legislation that directs the Department of Homeland Security to take necessary steps in protecting America’s borders:

Securing America’s borders is a critical step in stemming the tide of illegal immigration and a lynchpin to our defense against terrorists. Our local communities need to know that we are doing everything possible to ensure their security, and this bill continues to make the safety of our families our first priority. We must have control of our borders; a vote against border security is akin to handing our front door keys to the terrorists.
You know, when I read something like this that is so disconnected from reality, so full of distortions, and so blatantly using "terror", "safety", and "fear" to manipulate voters, that I just want to weep for the depths our country has sunk to. Not only is this guy in Congress, but also has a chance of getting re-elected!

First of all, any sane person, that is, anyone who does not froth at the mouth when they hear Spanish over the loudspeakers at Home Depot, knows that POOR MEXICAN FARMWORKERS and TERRORISTS are two COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS.

Second, a $1.2 billion, 700-mile border fence is going to do VERY LITTLE to stop these Mexican workers from crossing the border and nothing to stop any terrorists (who came in via Canada in 9-11, by the way). It will enrich the contractor that builds and maintains it (that wouldn't be Haliburton, would it?). Even if a fence was remotely a good idea (it's not), with the length of the US-Mexico border at 1,951 miles, a 700-mile fence still leaves 1,251 miles to go.

Third, anyone who has ever visited the border, as I have in California, Arizona, and Texas, knows that it is virtually impossible to patrol. I have been on the US shore of the Rio Grande, and watched how, in a matter of minutes, a truck drove up on the Mexico side, people quickly got out, pulled a small boat out of the bushes, rowed across the river, while another truck sped to the boat launch on the US side and picked up the people as they got out of the boat, then sped away. The one person still in the boat rowed back, hid the boat, and got in his truck and left. This was all in about 10 minutes.

Fourth, if the concern is truly terrorists, then that leaves not only the remaining 1,251 miles of the US-Mexico border, but also the Canada-Us border of 5500 miles (4000 along lower 48 states, another 1500 with Alaska), the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico, plus also all the territories and outlying areas and islands. Another story -- I stayed on the west coast of Puerto Rico one time, and we were warned to watch for people from the Dominican Republic who crossed the Mona Passage by boat and washed up on the beaches there. The point is, there is no way a fence would ever work. Even if it were possible to fence in the entire US in barbed wire, is that something anyone would want anyway? It would be an insane thing to even attempt. It is crazy these Republicans want to fence even 700 miles of the border.

I could go on and on about the inanity of what Pombo is saying. But the most galling is the rampant racism in it. He says "stemming the tide of illegal immigrants" and then "this bill continues to make the safety of our families our first priority". So, Pombo are you protecting your family from terrorists or from Mexican farmworkers? How slimy and conniving a tactic that is, equating poor Mexicans seeking a better life in America with terrorists out to destroy it.

Let's face it, the Act is a xenophobic, election-year measure, designed for one purpose -- to play to the fears and prejudices of the voters by mixing illegal immigrants with terrorists, and making it look like the Republicans are doing something about "the safety of our families". Actually, the Act does nothing about neither -- neither "securing our borders" nor "defending against terrorism". The fence, if ever built, will stand as a monument to the ignorance, ineptitude, and corruption of this Congress -- as well as how desperate Pombo and the other Republicans were to win votes this election.

The Act stinks. Pombo voting for it was bad enough, but his trying to justify it with his racist and pandering comments is just plain disgusting.

See also this earlier post here on Pombo's immigration stance.

Update: Mexico's president-elect calls fence a "huge error":
The United States committed a "huge error" in choosing to build a wall between itself and its southern neighbor, Mexico's president-elect Felipe Calderon said during a state visit to Canada, comparing it with the Berlin Wall. "The wall will not solve any problem. Humanity made a huge mistake by building the Berlin Wall, and I believe that today the United States is committing a grave error in building the wall on our border," he said.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Watch Out! Pombo’s Coming After Your Social Security

Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water, Social Security Privatization has reared its ugly head. It turns out George W. Bush doesn’t think his plan was beaten down and killed — in his mind, it’s only resting. In an interview with CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo yesterday, Bush raised the issue from its supposed deathbed.
Some GOP strategists we know were expecting Democrats to revive the ghost of Social Security reform right before the elections, but they may not have been expecting the President to serve it up. Bush told CNBC's Maria Bartiromo yesterday that his Social Security reform plan is "very much alive," and he hasn't given up on private accounts.
Now, most of us thought that the resounding public rejection of Bush’s half-baked privatization scheme had taught him a valuable lesson. The public certainly seemed to clearly understand the inherent risks of the plan. Former long-time Rep. Barbara Kennelly of Connecticut, now President and CEO of the non-profit National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare spelled out the problems with Bush’s disastrous plan in this letter to Congress:
The budget analysis makes it clear that the President's privatization plan would increase the deficit dramatically, make significant cuts in Social Security benefits, and cause the Social Security Trust Fund to face a cash-flow crisis earlier than it otherwise would. The President would finance private accounts by taking money out of the Social Security Trust Fund beginning in 2010. According to the Administration's budget, the President's privatization plan would increase the deficit by $712 billion over 10 years. The costs of privatization would balloon thereafter and continue for several decades placing a huge new debt burden on current and future workers.

A recent analysis by the Social Security actuaries concludes that the President's plan would actually deepen the cash-flow problems of the Social Security Trust Fund. The plan would deplete the Social Security Trust Fund so quickly that the trust fund would face a cash-flow crisis in 2012, five years earlier than projected under current law.

Under the President's privatization plan, Social Security benefits for future workers would be reduced dramatically. First, the plan would reduce benefits for Social Security private account holders by cutting benefits based on assumed rates of return in their accounts. Second, the President would use “progressive” price indexing to cut Social Security benefits even further, leaving the vast majority of tomorrow's retirees with only a minimal Social Security benefit. In the long run, the plan would effectively dismantle Social Security.

During the past year, private accounts have been fully debated by the American people and overwhelmingly rejected. The President's own White House Conference on Aging repudiated privatization, which, by itself, does nothing to strengthen the long-term viability of the Social Security system.
But none of that, apparently, is going to deter George W. Bush if he has a Republican Congress behind him. Here are quotes from the CNBC transcript along with a video clip:
CNBC: Is the privatization plan effectively dead, regardless of [what] happens in November?

Pres. BUSH: I would call it a reform plan, Social Security. No, I think it's very much alive. […]

CNBC: Can you tell us any detail about the reform you're thinking about?

Pres. BUSH: I can. And that is that, first of all, this is my idea. As I say, there has to be Republicans and Democrats very much a part of the mix for Social Security. I want to--I think the best way to do this is to say if you're a person at a certain income level or below, nothing changes for you, today or in the out years. If you're a wealthier citizen, your benefits increase at the cost of living, as opposed to a higher cost. So everybody's benefits go up, some go up faster than others. And that'll cure a lot of the problem.

I also happen to believe that a worker, at his or her option, ought to be allowed to put some of their own money in a, you know, in a private savings account, an account that they call their own. It's an asset that they're call their own. They'll get a much better rate of return on their own money than they would in the Social Security if the government manages their money for them, for example. And that would be, you know, a valuable contribution to our economy because it's asset accumulation, which is good for American families.


So where do the candidates in the CA-11 race stand on the privatization of Social Security? Right about where you would expect:
Pombo supports the Bush administration’s plan for private Social Security investment accounts, saying they would give people ownership and control over their retirement benefits, while McNerney opposes such accounts as too risky and causing reductions in benefits.

The American Association of Retired People (AARP) has put together a scorecard for CA-11 showing the candidates’ positions on issues important to America’s senior citizens. Jerry McNerney is on the record supporting all of AARP’s positions on Social Security and Medicare — Richard Pombo didn’t respond.

Jerry McNerney has taken a strong and principled position to protect Social Security:
The administration and Richard Pombo are determined to follow their own agenda, no matter what Congress or the American people want and are determined to push their plans to privatize Social Security. Their private account scheme would affect everyone’s payments and jeopardize the entire system. We cannot let this happen. There are over 90,000 Social Security recipients in District 11. We must stop this by defeating Richard Pombo and creating a Democratic Congressional majority that can stop this cruel effort.
If you rely on Social Security, if you believe that its role in a American society is vitally important — well, you need to get out there and fight the good fight for Jerry McNerney. Because if Richard Pombo has his way, Social Security will be the next endangered species.

Tauscher: Use It Or Lose It

Chris Bowers over at MyDD started a campaign last weekend to raise money for Democratic Congressional candidates called Use It Or Lose It. Clearly, Democrats across the nation are facing electoral opportunities that we may not see again for a long time. Bowers noticed something interesting. Even though the Democratic Party is competitive in 60-70 Congressional races nationwide and even though the DCCC and the DNC are apparently contemplating going massively into debt to capitalize on this circumstance, there is a big pile of money that remains untapped.
Over the past three days, we fired some warning shots across the bow of ultra-safe House Democrats who are hoarding campaign cash despite having either no Republican challenger, or token Republican challengers. By our count, this comes to over $50,000,000 we could use to extend the playing field outside of our top twenty-five targets. Today, with the help of MoveOn.org and several other blogs, the campaign moves into high gear.

Here is what we want: the 70 ultra-safe Democrats on our list to give 30% of their September 30th cash on hand directly to Democratic challengers, or directly to the DCCC. We then want them to post a statement on their websites, or issue a press release, explaining why they feel said donations are so important this year. In return, they will receive a much better chance of a Democratic House majority, and the adoring love of the netroots. If they do not give this money, it will become more difficult to achieve a House majority, and they might also face some recurring questions about why they did not give when our candidates needed it the most, and when our target list was deeper than it has been in a generation. If they don't give and we don't win a majority then, well, that will really look bad in the future.
Bowers has spearheaded a national campaign to press these 70 Democrats to give serious financial support to their party. He notes that Republican Congressional members do this as a matter of course — they out-donate Democratic Congressional members by almost 3-1. Now, MoveOn.org quickly joined in on this plan, and netroots activists across the country have been contacting their local representatives for the last several days requesting that they demonstrate some Democratic solidarity and support their Party’s Congressional candidates. Here are tips from Bowers on how to handle your local Congresscritter:
Call the ultra-safe Democrats in your state on this list. When you call, you will be told that these Democrats have already given money to Democratic challengers and party committees. Don't be daunted: Here are several ways to respond:
  • Tell them that you know they have already given this cycle, but our target list hasn't been this deep--60-70 Republicans seats!--in over twenty years, and it needs to be fully funded, so they need to give more.

  • Tell them the grassroots have never given this much before, and safe Democratic incumbents need to do the same.

  • Tell them the DCCC and the DNC are taking out loans of more than $10 million in order to fund seats that have not been competitive in a decade.

  • Tell them the time to buy new media is running out, and with every passing day, media buys will become more expensive for our candidates.

Remember, you won't be alone when you call. Thousands are joining you around the nation. Call ultra-safe Democratic House incumbents in your state today. Tell them you will sing their praises far and wide when they give 30%. Tell them we have to use this money, or we could lose these elections. It really is that simple.
The reason why I bring this up now is that Ellen Tauscher (CA-10) just happens to be on that list. With a campaign treasury that holds over $225,000 and a Republican challenger who has raised less than $10,000, Tauscher is cruising to an effortless re-election. According to Bowers’ formula, Tauscher should be donating $68,500 to Democratic candidates across the country, as well as the DCCC. You can give her a call locally at (925) 945-8515 or in DC at (202) 225-1880 and ask her to step up to the plate to support her party.

OR you can take it one step further.

Ellen Tauscher will be appearing this Sunday evening at a dinner/reception in San Ramon honoring Jerry McNerney in his race against Richard Pombo in CA-11. The reception will start at 6:00 p.m., with dinner at 7:00. The location is 9430 Fircrest Lane, San Ramon. Cost is $50. You should RSVP by Friday, October 27, at (925) 556-7077 or by email at rsvp@jerrymcnerney.org.

So go to this event, get some good food, meet some nice people, go to bed that night knowing that you’ve given your support to an excellent cause, and while you’re there, see if you can convince Tauscher to spend some of her cash for the good of her country.

I mean, we all know that there’s a lot history with Tauscher in the CA-11 race. And I think it’s great that she’s finally come on board and is fully supporting McNerney. But there is a large group of active and committed grassroots Democrats who live in Ellen Tauscher’s district; they have worked tirelessly on behalf of Jerry McNerney; they have held fundraisers; they have given until it hurts. And I believe they have every right to expect the same from their Representative.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Finally…

We’ve been told the DCCC delivered this commercial to TV stations throughout CA-11 last night and it will ostensibly begin airing today:


Tell us what you think…

Monday, October 23, 2006

Pombo Blows Off The FEC Laws

Jerry McNerney’s campaign issued a press release this afternoon announcing a legal challenge to a Richard Pombo television commercial that is currently airing in the Sacramento market on broadcast television. The McNerney campaign is alleging that this ad fails to meet FEC regulations governing political disclaimers — you know, those spoken announcements at the end: “I’m Richard Pombo, and I approved this message,” along with the written notice of who paid for the ad.

Well, in this ad, in an apparent attempt at folksiness, Pombo makes the verbal announcement at the beginning of the commercial, sitting with his family and with his daughter parroting his words. All very cute. Except that without the written financial disclosure, it doesn’t comply with very specific FEC regulations. This is the short explanation posted by the FEC:
[T]elevised communications must include an oral disclaimer spoken by the candidate in which the candidate identifies himself or herself and states that he or she has approved the communication. 11 CFR 110.11(c)(3)(ii).

This disclaimer can be conveyed in one of two ways:

  • A full-screen view of the candidate making the statement (11 CFR 110.11(c)(3)(ii)(A)); or


  • A "clearly identifiable photographic or similar image of the candidate" that appears during the candidate's voice-over statement. (11 CFR 110.11(c)(3)(ii)(B)).


  • The communication must also include a "clearly readable" written statement that appears at the end of the communication "for a period of at least four seconds" with a "reasonable degree of color contrast" between the background and the disclaimer statement. 11 CFR 110.11(c)(3)(iii).
The offending Pombo ad has no written statement anywhere in it, let alone specifically located at the end.

Now, this is where it gets a little hard to follow. The McNerney campaign is filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for a violation of campaign laws. Additionally, they will be filing a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which has oversight for television broadcasting. The McNerney campaign will specifically be demanding that the rate charged to the Pombo campaign for its advertising be adjusted because of its malfeasance.

Under existing federal law, candidates are allowed by the FCC to pay special low rates for their advertising called LUCs (Lower Unit Charges). But if a candidate violates the FEC disclaimer rules, it loses its right to buy advertising at the LUC rate. If a television station continues to charge the offending campaign the LUC after the violation occurs and the campaign has lost its right to the lower rate, the difference in price may be considered to be an in-kind contribution to the campaign by the TV station (which would, of course, be illegal).

At the moment, the question of whether this price differential is an in-kind contribution has not been decided. The six-member FEC recently heard a similar case involving the 2006 Casey Senatorial campaign in Pennsylvania, and failed to reach a consensus. They prepared two draft opinions — one saying it does constitute an in-kind contribution and one saying that it doesn’t, but ultimately decided to table their decision. Nevertheless, when the FEC does revisit this issue, any television station which continues to air the candidate’s commercials at the LUC rate runs the risk of having committed serious FEC violations.

So, just in case you’re curious, here’s the offending commercial in its entirety.


If you would like to register a complaint with any of the television stations in Sacramento which have aired this commercial, please feel free to contact them:

KOVR, TV13, CBS (916) 374-1313
KTXL, TV40, FOX (916) 454-4422
KCRA, TV3, NBC (916) 446-3333
KXTV, TV10, ABC (916) 441-2345
KMAX, TV31, CW (916) 374-1313
KQCA, TV58 (916) 447-5858

Monday Afternoon Pombo Captioning

Turns out that if you live in Idaho, you also live in Richard Pombo's district.


And if you don't get the reference in the sign, you might try reading this article.

Whither The DCCC

The LA Times is reporting that the DCCC will be expanding its support for Democratic Congressional candidates:
A growing number of GOP incumbents in seats once considered "safe" — including … Richard W. Pombo in Tracy, Calif. … are struggling this month against a powerful current of discontent with the nation's direction, the performance of Congress and President Bush, and the war in Iraq.

Republican seats at risk have nearly tripled since January, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. Then, 18 GOP seats were endangered; now, 48 are considered in play. […]

In a measure of the party's growing optimism, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee plans to announce Tuesday that it will begin airing advertisements in 11 new districts, including eight the party had not considered competitive until recently, party sources say.
As a side-note, with $2,045 for phone banking last Thursday and $3,702 for additional phone banking and $20,805 for McNerney slam piece number 17 on Friday, NRCC total independent expenditures in CA-11 for the last three months now stand at $649,373. DCCC, still zero.

Frankly, given the DCCC’s dismal record at reading the local atmospherics, I’m not holding my breath that CA-11 will be one of the 11 new districts announced on Tuesday. But miracles can happen. I suppose it couldn’t hurt to give them a holler on behalf of Jerry McNerney: (202) 863-1500.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Pombo’s War On The Constitution

CNN is airing a series this week entitled Broken Government. The introductory segment was aired last Thursday and has been rerun frequently since then.


New episodes will air every evening this week. In assessing the terrible condition that our country finds itself in, CNN has spread the blame across most branches of government but has reserved special scorn for the Republican-led Congress. This broadcasting event is not going to help Republicans anywhere in the country. But when I saw Richard Pombo being featured prominently in an ad for this series, I snapped to attention.

From the video-clip quote that CNN used, I’m guessing Pombo will be featured in this Thursday’s episode, which focuses on attacks by the Republican-led Congress on the Supreme Court and their attempts to usurp the powers of the judiciary. I’m also guessing, from what I’ve seen, that former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is going to have a prominent role in Thursday night’s piece.

Now, some of you may remember that Sandra Day O’Connor spoke out very strongly upon her retirement about Congressional attacks on the Constitutional powers of the judiciary:
Sandra Day O'Connor, a Republican-appointed judge who retired last month after 24 years on the Supreme Court, has said the US is in danger of edging towards dictatorship if the party's rightwingers continue to attack the judiciary.

In a strongly worded speech at Georgetown University, reported by National Public Radio and the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Ms. O'Connor took aim at Republican leaders whose repeated denunciations of the courts for alleged liberal bias could, she said, be contributing to a climate of violence against judges.

Ms. O'Connor, nominated by Ronald Reagan as the first woman Supreme Court justice, declared: "We must be ever-vigilant against those who would strong-arm the judiciary."
And who are these “rightwingers… who would strong-arm the judiciary”? Well, again, I’m only guessing as to why Pombo would be featured on this particular CNN episode. But I would imagine that it might have something to do with a piece of legislation that he sponsored back in 2004 that would have given Congress the ability to overrule Supreme Court decisions. That’s right. Richard Pombo proposed throwing our Constitution — and its underpinning of “three branches of government” with “checks and balances” — right out the window with H.R. 3920, reproduced here in its chilling entirety:
108th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 3920


To allow Congress to reverse the judgments of the United States Supreme Court.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
March 9, 2004


Mr. LEWIS of Kentucky (for himself, Mr. DEMINT, Mr. EVERETT, Mr. POMBO, Mr. COBLE, Mr. COLLINS, Mr. GOODE, Mr. PITTS, Mr. FRANKS of Arizona, Mr. HEFLEY, Mr. DOOLITTLE, and Mr. KINGSTON) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Rules, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To allow Congress to reverse the judgments of the United States Supreme Court.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Congressional Accountability for Judicial Activism Act of 2004'.

SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL REVERSAL OF SUPREME COURT JUDGMENTS.

The Congress may, if two thirds of each House agree, reverse a judgment of the United States Supreme Court —

  1. if that judgment is handed down after the date of the enactment of this Act; and

  2. to the extent that judgment concerns the constitutionality of an Act of Congress.

SEC. 3. PROCEDURE.

The procedure for reversing a judgment under section 2 shall be, as near as may be and consistent with the authority of each House of Congress to adopt its own rules of proceeding, the same as that used for considering whether or not to override a veto of legislation by the President.

SEC. 4. BASIS FOR ENACTMENT.

This Act is enacted pursuant to the power of Congress under article III, section 2, of the Constitution of the United States.
So in a single naked power grab, Pombo proposed overthrowing 200 years of Constitutional law dating back to Marbury v. Madison, and giving ultimate power to himself and his cronies in the House at that time — Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham and Bob Ney. Hardly the actions of a mainline Republican.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll definitely be watching this CNN series (8:00 p.m., re-aired at 11:00 p.m.) with interest.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Truthout Video Puts The Focus On CA-11

Truthout.org has produced and posted a video about the Congressional race between Jerry McNerney and Richard Pombo in CA-11. Truthout's Sari Gelzer has been following the recent events in this campaign and has done a terrific job giving an overview of the race in her piece entitled Grassroots on Fire in Midterm Campaign: Pombo Meets His Match — Jerry McNerney's "People Power."

Give it a look — Gelzer interviews several local voters and activists and speaks with Pete McCloskey, Tom Benigno and Ed Yoon, along with a great exchange between Pombo and McNerney from the Tracy Forum earlier this month. You can watch Richard Pombo answer a question by attempting to conflate the Iraq War with fighting terrorism, and you can watch one of the best performances by Jerry McNerney that I’ve ever seen as he just explodes that argument.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday Melange

The New York Times wrote an editorial yesterday excoriating Richard Pombo for his Deep Ocean Energy Resource Act (DOER Act) which would give away billions in federal oil shale royalties to Pombo’s special interest buddies in the energy industry.


On the endorsement front, today the Sacramento Bee joined its sister publication, the Modesto Bee in endorsing Jerry McNerney, publishing last week's Mod Bee endorsement almost verbatim. Their joint indictment of Richard Pombo is withering.


Speaking of “withering,” you should check out the Rolling Stone piece ranking Richard Pombo seventh among “The 10 Worst Congressmen.” Their accompanying graphic is very funny.


The Pleasanton Weekly also endorsed Jerry McNerney today. In doing so, the paper heaped almost as much scorn on Richard Pombo as the Bees, but then went on to express admiration for Jerry McNerney.
The better choice is Jerry McNerney, 55, a Pleasanton resident who has attracted bipartisan support in his effort to unseat Pombo. An engineer, McNerney has devoted the last 20 years of his career to the development of viable wind energy technology and is currently CEO of a start-up company that will manufacture wind turbines.

Far from being a political ideologue, McNerney represents the kind of citizen activist who wants to work on solving important problems, not use those problems to curry favor with special interests and as a way to raise campaign contributions.


Meanwhile, the California red-legged frog has emerged victorious in its battle with Richard Pombo. While Pombo’s House bill eviscerating the Endangered Species Act appears to be permanently stalled in the Senate, the EPA has reached a settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity in a 2002 lawsuit that will protect the endangered frogs by banning the use of 66 dangerous pesticides near critical habitat areas. Mother Jones blog has the story here:
Much to the likely chagrin of Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) the EPA has agreed to protect the threatened California Red-Legged Frog, according to a settlement reached this week in a lawsuit filed in 2002. [...]

Read more about Pombo’s battle against these amphibians in the name of development in Dick Russell’s story in the current issue of Mother Jones.

And according to poll numbers released today [actually, SNTP wrote about those numbers in depth a week ago] Pombo is neck and neck with his Democratic opponent Jerry McNerney, with Pombo at 41 percent and McNerney at 40 percent.

Frogs should be the least of his worries.
So get out there this weekend and CANVASS the hell out of CA-11. Do it for the frogs. Just be careful to watch out for half-naked veterans and gun-toting, hate-spewing militia members.

And as always, you can contribute at our ActBlue page.