Thursday, November 30, 2006

Meta Say No To Pombo

So what is to become of Say Said No To Pombo? That was the question VPO asked privately in the week after the election. There was one suggestion that it be renamed Say Yes To McNerney and start working towards Election 2008, another that it continue on with the same name and be enlarged to cover all the political races in the geographic area encompassed by CA-11. The inclination shared by both Matt and me was to simply end it and leave the archive behind as an artifact of the 2006 CA-11 race.

But VPO and, to a lesser extent, Delta have continued to post, visitors continue to check in and leave comments, and at last glance we still had 364 subscribers. And the realization has slowly sunk in that SNTP is, in a very real sense, a shared community that transcends just the handful of writers who appear on the front page. I can’t help but feel that for Matt or I to peremptorily shut it down would be pretty autocratic. So the question that I’m asking of you as SNTP readers is what do YOU think should happen?

First, though, in that context, I’d like to share with you the underlying vision that has propelled me forward over the last 13 months. Early last fall, kid oakland introduced me to Matt Lockshin. Matt was deeply interested in activism and the CA-11 race against Richard Pombo, and I knew quite a lot about the political history of the district. We started talking regularly about the various campaigns. In early October, in a wide-ranging discussion, I asked him point-blank what he was hoping to take away from this race. Here is his answer:
I'm taking a rather long look at this campaign, and this is kind of where I'm at... If Jerry McNerney wins the primary, that's a black eye for all the people who want to co-opt the Democratic Party and make it an insiders’ game. But it doesn't belong to them, it belongs to us. People like the DLC and Ellen Tauscher have systematically separated the Democratic Party from the ideals that gave it nobility and vigor. Money might make the world go round, but there aren't enough mercenary political operatives in the world to fight the battles we need to fight. We need to take our damn party back, and this is a chance for us to stand up to the forces that be and tell them they can't push us around. Furthermore, even if McNerney doesn't win against Pombo, we (broadly speaking the grassroots volunteers) need to work to ensure that his campaign is an organizational tool. The wind should whisper in our ears, "Organize, organize, organize." I've made numerous contacts over the net in the last two weeks, and so, so many people are ready to help fight Pombo. Too often the Democratic establishment has laid down without a fight. Let us show them and the Republicans what we're made of. Let us marshal our troops and show them that there are lions among us. To do this we need to start creating the overarching connections between disparate groups of like-minded individuals that the DLC has created. We may be the underdog in some sense, but the truth is that there are a hell of a lot more people who will fight for this cause than will fight for the status quo. Maybe that's not the case in certain areas, but goddamnit this is the Bay Area and if we can't do this, nobody can.

To be honest, I am more interested in Jerry McNerney as a symbol and a rallying cry than a candidate. It is not that I am disinterested in his candidacy. I deeply hope that he wins. But he needs to understand that he is part of something bigger than himself and act in light of that fact. He needs to be a fighter. Regardless of his strategy, he needs to be bold and be strong. He also needs to take the initiative. I am concerned that the people he has surrounded himself with will try to play it safe and make him boring and unremarkable. In fact, I have heard from others that this is the case. Even you seem to suggest as much.

The real argument against those people is our own efficacy. If you do not want to put yourself in a position to have to kowtow to the safe and boring style of organizing, then do what you can to help McNerney in your own way. I think that the internet provides great opportunities to do this. We could create an all-volunteer rapid response group independent of the campaign. We could raise money through outreach to the netroots. I am already planning on establishing an anti-Pombo blog. There are many, many things we can do. Sure, at some level all of our efforts need to get funneled back into the campaign. But every gift you give also gives you a bit of leverage. I don't mean this in a sleazy quid pro quo way. But really, if we do something powerful and effective, both McNerney and other politicians ought to notice. And the efficacy and the power will speak much louder than anyone else.

Also, I suppose that at bottom I am motivated by a need to not watch this train-wreck unfold while I stand idly by and watch. If we try and fail, at least we can take solace in our effort. It is time -- past time -- for me to take a stand for what I believe.

We have the power to create something that is deeper and more enduring than Jerry McNerney. Howard Dean lost his bid for president but he created a tide of new activists. We can do something similar in CA-11, and lay the groundwork to turn it a hell of a lot more blue. You need to find your own way to express the passion and concern you obviously have. I will not judge the choices you make. But I hope you find a way to express your own agency in a way that is authentic and empowering.
That is what we’ve tried to do here over the last year. And even though we did Say No To Pombo, our work is far from done. So where do we go from here? And is SNTP the vehicle to take us there?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Machado "coulda ben a contenda", missed his chance to beat Pombo

There seems to be some confusion about Term Limits in the California Legislature (and this is relevant to the Congressional Race because legislators termed out often seek other, "higher" offices).

State Assembly -- 3 terms, which at 2 years each = 6 years
State Senate -- 2 terms, which at 4 years each = 8 years

Therefore, in the case of state Senator Mike Machado: He served in the Assembly from 1994 to 2000. (So termed out of Assembly.) He was elected to state Senate in 2000, re-elected in 2004. So he is termed out of the Senate in 2008.

Will he challenge McNerney for the Dem nomination in 2008? Who knows, but it is quite unusual to run against an incumbent in your own party, unless that person's job performance is so corrupt, dismal, or out-of-tune that the voters in the party want a change. This was the case with Pombo, where McCloskey and Beningo (Republicans) were able to get one-third of the Republican vote in the primary. That showed that even a good number of Republicans were sick and tired of Pombo and the Republican Congress/Administration.

With Machado, we have a guy who has been in public office for the last 12 years. I heard during the last election season that he was considering running against Pombo, but had just come off a tough re-election in 2004, where each side spent $5 million (he ran against Gary Podesto), in one of the most expensive state legislature races ever.

So he was reluctant to gear up for another tough run, and at the time (early 2006), Pombo was looking pretty strong.

Machado may have missed his chance for Congress, unless McNerney really crashes and burns over the next two years. That seems unlikely. The pundits are saying McNerney is vulnerable because of the voter registration in the Republican's favor in the district, not because he is failing the Dems. In fact, most articles have noted the McNerney (a PhD in Mathematics) is a quick study and will learn how to make his way in Congress, especially with the rest of the Bay Area delegation being Democratic and supportive of him, and with a Dem majority in the House.

The other noise I heard during the last primary season was that for Machado, who has a family farm in Linden, the idea of commuting to DC was not all that attractive. Obviously, Sacramento is just around the corner from Linden. At this point, my take is that Machado will look for a job in Sacramento, not in Washington. What state office could he run for next? I don't know, I am not focused on Sacramento at this point, and that is getting off-topic. Maybe even he has had enough of politics, and will be happy to ride around on his tractor, raising peaches and almonds, or whatever grows on his farm.

But part of the fun of politics is that you just never know, do ya? According to my dictionary, "ambition" means "eager for power or success". Funny thing, though -- it comes from the old Latin/French words mean "to go around soliciting for votes".

Monday, November 27, 2006

Republicans: "This is Blackhawk calling Houston. Come in, Houston. Over"

Don't know if anyone is reading this blog this weekend, or if you are too stuffed with food, too busy watching football games, or actively engaged in "discussions" with the more conservative elements of your family, but here is something for your post-Thanksgiving/pre-Election 2008 ruminations.

Lisa Voderbrueggen of the Contra Costa Times had this to say about possible 2008 challengers to McNerney:
Republicans and even Democrats almost certainly will field opponents against the political novice [McNerney]. Insiders are already talking about possible challengers.

The names being talked about -- although none has publicly indicated they intend to run -- include state Sen. Mike Machado, D-Linden, and Assemblymen Guy Houston, R-San Ramon, and Greg Aghazarian, R-Stockton. All three will be termed out of the state Legislature in 2008.

[Note: Houston and Aghazarian are termed out of their Assembly seats in 2008, but could still run for state Senate. Machado already served his three terms in the Assembly and will be termed out of the Senate also in 2008.]
And here are some remarks from the right-leaning Tim Hunt, former editor of the Tri-Valley Herald, in reference to Pombo's defeat Nov. 7:
Notably, there may be one Republican beneficiary to Pombos loss — Assemblyman Guy Houston. Houston won re-election over lawyer Terry Coleman for his third and final term in the Assembly.

There is no Republican-safe state Senate seat in the East Bay so Houston will face an uphill battle if he wants to stay in Sacramento after his Assembly term is up. However, if Pombo decides he's done with politics, McNerney will be ripe for the taking in two years because it will still be a Republican district [* see my note below]. Houston is a tireless campaigner and has represented his Assembly district well.
So there you have it, sports fans -- the ugly blue and yellow "Pombo" signs have not yet come down, and already there is speculation and positioning for 2008. That's what happens with a two-year election cycle. Hard to believe, but this coming summer will be when challengers will begin posturing for the 2008 primaries. So who do we have here?

(Rather than make this an overly lengthy post, I will look at each of these possible candidates in subsequent posts. Let's start with Mr. Houston):

Guy Houston, who has been in elected office since 1994 (first as mayor of Dublin, then as state legislator), is termed out of the State Assembly in 2008, and there is no likely State Senate seat he could go after. Houston's 15th Assembly district overlays the 11th District reasonably well. Houston does not represent Tracy, Lodi, and some of the other more eastern sections of San Joaquin. Also, Livermore, the largest city in his district, is not in the 11th. But the match is about as close as the state and federal districts get.

Houston labels himself a "fiscal conservative", that is, against raising taxes and for cutting government spending. I don't find the "fiscal" part so bad, as I am all in favor efficient government. But the "conservative" part turns me off. Houston definitely leans right. And as far as the environment, he is almost as bad as Pombo, though not quite a zealot like that soon-to-be-retired disgrace. For instance, he is endorsed by the CLORV - California League of Off Road Voters (though I guess they have to get back on the road to actually vote). That is the same organization that wrote desperate emails urging their members to help "Richard" in the 2006 election.

Houston beat lawyer Terry Coleman, 55% to 45%, this past election. This was just about the same percentages when he beat lawyer Elaine Shaw in 2004. (In an interesting twist, Elaine Shaw ran and lost against Pombo in 2002.)

To sum things up, here is a recent emailing from the Blackhawk Republican Women group, where they deplore Pombo's loss, but look to take the district back. In the mailing, they make sure to praise Guy Houston, while continuing to foster their delusions about a "McNerney/Media slime campaign". Umm, excuse me Ma'am, but the word "slime" more accurately applies to Pombo and other similar corrupt Republicans, not people like Jerry McNerney. But here is the quote, see for yourself. They sure sound bitter:
Opinions on the 2006 election and how we can take the Congress back!

The Pombo Race - The outcome of this race continues to trouble all of us. A review of the voting patterns is rather stark. It appears that the McNerney/Media slime campaign really took hold throughout the district. Calls were made into the district the last week falsely charging Pombo with covering up the Foley affair among many other false charges. Meanwhile, McNerney got a free ride even though he is a complete empty suit.

I want to especially thank Guy Houston for his help in the Pombo race down the stretch. As many of you know, in the same areas, Guy was polling as much as 20 points better than Pombo before the election. Guy stepped up by doing recorded calls and assisted in many other ways. In the end, it appears that Guy polled over 10 points better in the same areas. Guy also did better than registration in our area.

Thank you Guy – we look forward to great things from you and a bright future.
Well, they got everything all mixed up there, with the labelling our new Congressman, the one with a PhD, an empty suit, and some fantasy about robocalls tying Pombo to Foley. But the emphasis on "Guy" and "take Congress back" is hard to miss.

"Take Congress Back" -- that is interesting. Seems they are longing for the good old days of DeLay/Foley/Cunningham/Pombo/Abramoff corruption!

* Note:
I object to Hunt's classification of the 11th District as a Republican district. I know he is going on the voter registration advantage of something like 44% R to 37% D (as of Sept. 2005). But the district not only voted Dem for McNerney, they also went with Boxer and Feinstein, both Dems, in their respective US Senate races. And after McNerney's win, I hope the Dems will continue their voter drives to even out the spread.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sierra Club Award to Pete McCloskey

I got an email tonight that mentions the fact that last Friday evening, the Sierra Club presented Pete McCloskey with their 2006 EDGAR WAYBURN AWARD. The email said that there was no way that Pombo was going to lose if Pete had not run against him. Established in 1979, The Edgar Wayburn Award honors "outstanding service to the environmental cause by a person in a governmental position, either executive or legislative."

Well, it looks like running a good race was enough.

This was not the first time that McCloskey has received an award from the Sierra Club. In 1972, he was a recipient of their Distinguished Achievement Award.

As a decorated Marine Officer, I am sure that Pete would always give the credit to his troops. So, I am sure it is with this. There are a lot of people who did many things. Some enlisted to go along with Pete. Others went with Jerry, but we all met our objectives.

The Return of Pombo? Unlikely

It's only been two weeks since McNerney's spectacular win over Pombo and already people are looking to 2008. Congressman-elect McNerney is getting situated in DC and learning the ropes. He grabbed a nice appointment to the Dem's steering and policy committee, and is angling for a seat on the Energy Committee, as well as the Transportation or Agriculture committees.

However, back in the 11th District, positioning for the 2008 race is taking place. Pombo himself has not ruled out another run, though it seems Annette wants him to get some work done around the house first. From SF Chronicle article Pombo weighs options in wake of stunning defeat:
The brash 45-year-old conservative, who's led a decadelong crusade to rewrite the nation's environmental laws, isn't sure what he'll do next. He's already getting job offers, but must wait because of ethics rules. He hopes to continue to push the agenda of property-rights groups. And he's not ruling out running to regain his congressional seat.

He's convinced that his successor, McNerney, will be ousted two years from now.

"There's no doubt," Pombo said. "We're already hearing guys are talking about running against him in the primary because they know in a different atmosphere the chances of him holding that district aren't that great. Because he's going to have to vote. Nobody would cover him before, who he was, but as the incumbent they will have to. He's going to be voting on things that the people in that district don't like."

He said there are several Republican mayors and state legislators in the district who would make good candidates. And he added, "I may consider running again for Congress. I really haven't made that decision, and I don't want to make that decision right now."
However, it seems the other Republican-pundits are not promoting another Pombo run. This prognosticator I quote here pretty much rules out "The Return of Pombo". From Election Projection:
California CD-11: Due to some pretty extensive corruption issues, incumbent Richard Pombo was beaten comfortably by Jerry McNerney. If the GOP can find a legitimate challenger, this seat will be ripe for the taking.
And from Red State "Way Back to Majority":
focussing [sic] on the House, specifically on the seats Republicans lost on November 7th, I am taking Scott Elliot's far more expert opinion on the issue. He estimates over at Election Projection that the Democrats that won these seats from Republicans are going to prove to be one-term wonders come 2008 - provided, of course, that the GOP does not mess things up for itself and create another Blue Wave.

# Texas CD-22
# Florida CD-16
# Kansas CD-2
# Kentucky CD-3
# Ohio CD-18
# Pennsylvania CD-4
# Pennsylvania CD-8
# Pennsylvania CD-10
# New York CD-19
# California CD-11
As they say, "it ain't over til it's over", but it seems in this District, it won't be over for a long time, with the Dem tide flowing into the Delta, then maybe ebbing, then flowing, etc. If nothing else, redistricting takes place after the 2010 census, so that will likely change the layout of the District.

But for now we can savor the good news that Pombo was beaten soundly. Even if a Republican were to win a future election in the District, it is unlikely the person would be anywhere near as extreme and ideological as Pombo.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pombo concedes, but looks to "reform" ESA in lame duck session

I warned you about the Lame Duck session coming up. From Stockton Record article today:

Pombo said he has one last chance to get his career-long quest to overhaul the Endangered Species Act though Congress, during the lame-duck session that begins later this month. If that fails, Pombo said he expects Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced, to pick up where he left off. "It's something that has to get done," he said.
It looks like the work of SayNoToPombo is not quite done yet. Pombo can still wreak some havoc during the lame-duck session. Maybe he will also try to get Arctic drilling and some of his other bills through, in a last-minute, "Hail Mary" assault on the environment.

I don't know what we can do to oppose this. It shows that it is important not to let down our guard until Pombo is truly "back on the ranch".

Also, did you notice he hopes Cardoza, a Democrat, will carry his ESA attack forward? What awful irony if we work so hard to oust Pombo partly because of his ESA stance, then have Pombo succeed either in the lame duck session or later in abstentia through a Democrat.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Resounding Victory for Jerry

Make no mistake, this is a decisive victory, with Jerry getting 53% to Pombo's 47%. In a district with 6% registration advantage on the Republican side, that is incredible!

Congratulations to all, but especially to Jerry and his team. Also, Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, and the Humane Society can all take a bow. We owe them a lot for deciding to jump into this race. And I want to send a special thank you to Pete McCloskey, who was not blinded by partisanship, but could see what was necessary to do for the good of the country, and then went ahead and did it. There are many, many others to thank, too long to list here.

I am ecstatic. I think we all are. This is a stunning upset, one we all desperately wanted, but often doubted could be pulled off. But we did it with people power, not floods of money. I have never seen such grassroots, people-to-people, boots-on-the-ground campaigning like this ever before.

Now, the Monday morning quarterbacks will come out and analyze this to no end. That will be fun. Stay tuned.

But I want to issue one word of warning here, and that is "lame duck". Word on the street is that Pombo and other Republicans have some nefarious legislation lined up for the coming lame duck session of Congress. My sense is that the defeated R's are bitter and vindictive, and will try to pass some truly awful bills while they still can. So let's watch out for that.

And let's also remember, "winning is only the beginning". Let's continue the work, and see what we can do to help Jerry be successful in Congress so he can truly represent all the good people of this widespread, diverse district.

Meanwhile, I will keep singing "Happy Days Are Here Again!"

Stockton Record: He’s Your Congressman — Learn His Name

The Stockton Record has not been a friend to its new Congressman, Jerry McNerney (gosh, it feels GOOD to say that). Falling all over themselves and managing to impale themselves in the process, the Record’s editorial board endorsed Richard Pombo a few weeks ago despite SEVERE MISGIVINGS. Well, guys, you should have listened to that quiet little voice that resides inside you. Your readership certainly did.

So here is how the Record describes this morning's election results in a late-breaking article by Hank Shaw and Zachary K. Jackson:
Richard McNerney declared victory at 12:15 a.m. today, leading 52.3 percent to 47.7 percent with 90 percent of the precincts reporting, including 100 percent from San Joaquin County.

"We won this thing. It's ours," he said amid cheers.
Um, guys, RICHARD was your OLD Congressman — JERRY is your new one. Get used to it.

Congressman McNerney

A hat tip to "anonymous" — CNN has projected Jerry McNerney as the winner of the Congressional race in CA-11. With 95% 98% 100% of the vote counted, McNerney leads Pombo 53-47%.

Congratulations to every single one of the literally thousands of grassroots volunteers who worked on this campaign. You had the courage of your convictions and the will to work your hind ends off. YOU made it happen.

The post-mortems will start tomorrow after we've all gotten some sleep.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Results as I get them.

I will keep editing and updating this post as results are available.

I am not going to make it through the night. It looks like this is going down to the wire. With 34% of precincts reporting....

Jerry McNerney (Dem)37,353 51.3%
Richard W. Pombo (Rep)35,516 48.7 %

It is pretty clear now that this comes down to whether or not McNerney was able to turn out enough voters in Alameda County, where he has a commanding lead, or Contra Costa County where he is leading a bit, to offset Pombo's lead in San Joaquin County, which is about 54% - 46%.

For the actual count... click here.

Election Night

You can check out election results here. CNN has just projected that the Democrats will take over the majority in the House of Representatives. Delta has kindly offered to update results for SNTP — so keep checking back for results.

Dear Mr. Pombo:

We started this blog a little over a year ago because we knew that you needed to be escorted out of Congress. You went to Washington in 1992, full of extremist, right-wing Wise Use ideology but, at least in theory, relatively uncorrupted. Well, it didn’t take you long to figure out that your property rights philosophy — that government had no right whatsoever to own land or regulate land use — dovetailed nicely with the agenda of the big-four extraction industries (oil, mining, timber and ranching) and that there was a lot of money to be made melding your underlying beliefs with their financial bottom line. It was a match made in heaven.

For eleven years, you made your way quietly as a junior member of Congress, aligning and enriching yourself behind the scenes with the most corrupt members of the Republican-led Congress. Your mentors were Tom DeLay, Dennis Hastert and John Boehner; your compatriots were John Doolittle, Jim Gibbons, Duncan Hunter, Bob Ney. Your associates — Jack Abramoff, Indian tribes, casino interests, and the ubiquitous oil, mining, timber, ranching and development industries.

The truth is that you might have flown under the radar for a long time. But when you became the Chairman of the House Resources Committee, with oversight for the full one-fourth of America that is owned by We the People, your actions suddenly became an object of scrutiny from every direction. And when you thumbed your nose at America in favor of your corporate buddies, well, you had to know something was bound to give.

You love to whine about how unfair it is that all these environmental groups have “ganged up” on you. Waa-waa. How about standing up like a man and admitting that your actions were so shockingly corrupt and reprehensible that America — my America and your America — could simply no longer tolerate you? Patriots from all across this nation looked at you and saw a villain out to destroy our country, and, acting courageously, decided that the time had come to defend their country from your brand of evil.

You know, evil can come from within just as easily as from without. Yes, we may face challenges from terrorists, but we also face challenges from those within our own country who would subvert our government for their own personal gain. Challenges from people like you. You have tried to destroy the Endangered Species Act; you have tried to open our coastlines and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to gas and oil drilling; you have proposed selling millions of acres of federal land to mining interests at fire-sale prices; you have proposed selling off our National Parks. You have even worked behind the scenes to re-establish whale hunting, for God’s sake. At the same time, you have collected massive amounts of money from the special interests who would gain from your actions for your campaigns (which filter back to you through salaries paid to your family members) and your aptly-named Rich-PAC.

And then you act surprised when Americans finally step up and say “No.” Citizens have flocked to CA-11 from all over the Bay Area, from all over California, and from all over these United States to challenge your destructive actions, and you wonder why they’re all after you. Well, it’s a simple concept. Some call it love of country; some call it patriotism. Here, we call it “Saying No To Pombo.”

Tomorrow, the voters will decide your fate. You have no idea how much I hope that they send you packing. I know you find it hard to believe, but the writers at this blog are not political operatives; we are not paid hit-men; we are not part of any campaign. We are gainfully-employed, everyday citizens, working for free at SNTP and knocking ourselves out exercising our Constitutional right to spread the word about your destructive and corrupt behavior. I fervently hope that tomorrow night, Jerry McNerney is elected to Congress from CA-11 and we can all step away from our keyboards and move on with our lives. But if that doesn’t work out, rest assured that we will be with you for every step of the next two years. This is our country; it belongs to us; and we will not allow you to take it away from us. Not now, not ever.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Welcome To Say No To Pombo

[Note to regular SNTP readers] I am going to be promoting this post to the top of the page through Election Day. There will be lots of new posts between now and then. Just scroll down past this one, and you will find plenty of fresh material.

Well, we are now five four three two one day away from the 2006 election. Say No To Pombo is starting to get many new readers who are paying attention to the CA-11 race between Jerry McNerney and Richard Pombo. To those of you who are visiting here for the first time, let me tell you a little bit about SNTP. We just recently celebrated our first birthday, and over the last year, the writers here have posted close to 500 articles that touch on issues we feel are important in this year's Congressional race in California's 11th District. Just about any topic that you might think of has probably been written about here.

So I want to invite you to use the handy google feature in the right-hand sidebar of this website. There, you can search this site for any topic in which you might be interested, and you will most likely find some information relevant to this race. So good luck, I hope you find lots of posts that are useful to you, and I also hope that on November 7, you will have several good reasons to Say No To Pombo.

Evans-Novak Says CA-11 "Leaning Democratic Takeover"

The Evans-Novak Political Report is the latest to weigh in with an election prediction for CA-11 tomorrow:
California-11: Rep. Richard Pombo (R) shows all the signs of a drowning man. His is the most vulnerable district in California. The NRCC actually chartered a plane to fly volunteers to him on Saturday. This could be a sign that they are taking no chances, but it corresponds with other information that suggests real problems for Pombo. There has been no reliable polling in this race, but the fact that Pombo has not released any polls is a bad sign for him.

Pombo's opponent, engineer Jerry McNerney (D), has the backing of the left and scores of volunteers from the San Francisco Bay area. Left-wing groups softened up Pombo by spending the whole year making robo-calls against him. If they succeed in defeating him tomorrow, this strategy will surely be repeated in the future.

Pombo's saving grace may be the GOP absentee ballot effort here. The results may not be known until midday Wednesday or later. But Republicans are glum about this one. Leaning Democratic Takeover. [Emphasis added]
How's that for chutzpah — whine about how your opponent has canvassers coming from 30 miles away, while your party flies in "volunteers" from across the country.

For what it's worth, Evans-Novak successfully predicted Jerry McNerney's primary win over Steve Filson back in June. Let's hope they bat .1000.

World's foremost golf course designer campaigns with McNerney

The McNerney campaign was surprised and heartened on Saturday when the world's premier golf course designer, Robert Trent Jones II, went precinct walking with Jerry. Mr. Jones was walking with a cane and is due for a hip replacement operation, but still took the time on Saturday to help out. That's a hole-in-one in my book! It shows how dedicated people are to ousting Pombo and getting Jerry elected.

For you non-golfers, here is Mr. Jones's web site.

Powerful Flyer on Pombo and Animal Cruelty

Click here for the PDF file. If possible, download and distribute to pet stores and at dog parks, etc., in the district today. I heard Pete McCloskey was handing these out in the pet aisles of supermarkets!

The flyer was written and produced by Republican activist Helen Hooper.

Pombo Brings In Duncan Hunter To Boost His Campaign

Lest there be any question exactly where Richard Pombo stands on the allegations of corruption that have swirled around him, he will be spending the last day of his campaign on the road in CA-11 with another one of the most corrupt Congressmen in the US, Duncan Hunter. And to add to the full irony quotient, they will spend the day visiting veterans’ groups, veterans' memorials and veterans' hospitals.

If you’re not familiar with Duncan Hunter, here’s a post that Howie over at Down with Tyranny wrote about Hunter last winter, entitled “Duncan Hunter — Even Worse Than Randy “Duke” Cunningham”:
Duncan's local paper, the SAN DIEGO UNION, in an article last week called LEGAL LOOTING: CUNNINGHAM CASE ONLY HINTS AT EXTENT OF ROT there is the beginnings of what is sure to earn Hunter the nice long prison sentence he's been working towards so diligently.
Cunningham and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter, R-El Cajon, worked closely with two local companies – ADCS Inc. of Poway and Audre Inc. of Rancho Bernardo – to make the Pentagon pay for converting printed documents to computer files. They and a few other lawmakers got Congress to allocate $190 million for "automated data conversion" projects from 1993 to 2001. Did the Pentagon want this "help"? No. As a 1994 General Accounting Office report noted, it already had the tools for such work. But Cunningham, Hunter and their House allies didn't care. Audre and ADCS were generous with contributions.
Hunter's graft and corruption led to incredibly wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars-- MILLIONS of dollars that should have been used for armor for our front line troops dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. The UNION points to what they call "absurdities" like "a $9.7 million contract for ADCS to digitize historical documents from the Panama Canal Zone that the Pentagon considered insignificant. This isn't governance. This is looting." Indeed and the looters and war profiteers should be severely punished, although under Bush they are, of course, always protected until their greed and avarice goes beyond the pale and they wind up like Cunningham. In the twisted, self-serving mind of Duncan Hunter "if the Joint Chiefs of Staff think the military's bucks should go toward protecting soldiers and not the pointless preservation of old documents, well, tough luck." The pay-offs to criminal scoundrels like Cunningham, Jerry Lewis, and Duncan Hunter were from Wilkes and if Wilkes needed a multimillion dollar unnecessary contract to preserve useless documents while Army vehicles went unarmored in Iraq... well, making sure it happened was the job of the best friend a corrupt contractor could ever have: the all powerful Duncan Hunter. [Emphasis added]
So Richard Pombo and his pal Duncan Hunter will go out today and campaign among the very people whom they have betrayed time and time again. They have absolutely no shame.

Sabato predicts McNerney win

Larry Sabato today became the second national election analyst to predict a McNerney win.

University of Virginia Professor Larry Sabato this morning predicted Jerry McNerney would defeat Richard Pombo.

November 6, 2006 Update:

Jerry McNerney (D) will unseat Rep. Richard Pombo (R). Our sources on the ground tell us that momentum is firmly in McNerney's court and that late campaign help from Bill Clinton and scores of environmental groups is giving Resources Committee Chair Pombo a run for his money. Schwarzenegger's get-out-the-vote operation may yet save Pombo, but we will go out on a limb and tap McNerney to win in an upset.
The National Journal's Chuck Todd last week also predicted McNerney would win.

So get out there everyone, and let's make it happen!

Did Abramoff throw expensive holiday party for Pombo and staff in 2004?

According to the Wall Street Journal, Abramoff threw an "expensive party" over the 2004 holidays for Pombo and the Resources Committee staff:

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company: Abstracts
Information Bank Abstracts
December 30, 2005, Friday

SECTION: Section A; Page 4, Column 6
LENGTH: 33 words

House Resources Committee will hold potluck holiday party in hearing room this year; committee chmn Richard Pombo and staff last year were treated to expensive party by lobbyist Jack Abramoff (S)

LOAD-DATE: December 30, 2005
That would be pretty condemning of Pombo, who claims that he hardly knew Abramoff, but then we have the guy playing Santa Claus to him and his staff.

This was first reported at e pluribus media and cross-posted at Daily Kos, where it has garnered 55 comments.

But did it actually happen? If so, Pombo and Brian Kennedy have some explaining to do. Or are the bloggers over-reacting? I am as anxious as anyone to nail Pombo, and I do believe he and his staff had a much closer relationship with Abramoff and his lobbyists than they are admitting to. But here is why I am cautious on this one. In another article on the Web, which is only available in the Google cache, it says the quote from the WSJ was actually this:
DOWNSIZING: Two years ago, House Resources Chairman Pombo of California and his staff were treated to an expensive holiday party at Jack Abramoff's Signatures restaurant. This year, the committee holds a potluck holiday party in a hearing room on Capitol Hill.
The difference is that the WSJ abstract says "treated .. BY Jack Abramoff" and puts it in Dec, 2004, whereas this one is "an expensive holiday party AT Jack Abramoff's restaurant" and puts it in Dec. 2003.

That is a big difference, and I don't have the tools here to find out which version is correct, or if in fact there was a party in 2003 and in 2004.

But I spoke with someone who spoke directly with Pombo. Pombo claims that his staff chose Signatures for the 2003 holiday party because it was the trendy place to go at the time. Pombo said he only attended that party briefly because he had the White House Christmas Party to attend. He also claimed Abramoff was not there. In addition, there is a record in Open Secrets of a Feb 2004 Pombo expenditure for $900 something as a reimbursement to Signatures.

So is the Wall Street Journal abstract correct that there was another holiday party BY Jack Abramoff in 2004? Or is there another explanation? I really don't know, but do recognize that the abstract writer could have screwed up the actual quote. Anyone got a copy of the Dec. 30, 2005, Wall Street Journal laying around?

As for the bloggers vs Pombo: who is being naughty and who is being nice here? Time for Santa Claus to make his list and then check it twice.

I just hope Christmas comes early this year, like on Nov. 7, when the Grinch (Pombo) is thrown out of office!

Are You Receiving GOP Dirty Trick Robocalls?

The internet has been abuzz over the weekend about Republican-sponsored robocalls/dirty tricks. Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo has published several accounts of these episodes at a fast and furious clip. Here’s just one from yesterday:
We’re getting reports from a number of congressional districts that one or another of the GOP committees is sponsoring robocalls that begin with “I’m calling with information about [fill in name of Democratic candidate].” Apparently, many voters, irate with the flood of calls, assume that the Democrat is the one sponsoring the call.

In addition to the New Hampshire 2nd and New York 19th, which we covered below, TPM readers report such calls in the Illinois 6th (Roskam v. Duckworth), Illinois 8th, (McSweeney v. Bean), and California 4th (Doolittle v. Brown).
So we know that the Republicans are doing this, and we know that they’re doing it in California. Here’s how the scam works. The phone rings, the recording starts: “I’m calling with information about [oh, say, for instance, Jerry McNerney]” — and click, the unhappy voter receiving the call hangs up. These calls are reportedly being received at all hours — midnight, 5:00 a.m., you name it — whenever. And the voters who receive these calls are rightly pissed off. Only problem is that they don’t stay on the line long enough to hear the disclaimer at the very end: “Paid for by the Republican National Congressional Committee.”

Let me be clear about one thing. These calls are illegal. But the Republicans don’t care. They figure that winning the election is the most important thing; afterwards, they’ll worry about little things like paying FCC fines. This is taken from the website of Chris Murphy, a candidate for Congress in CT-05, who has been harassed by NRCC robocalls:
FCC regulations provide that all prerecorded messages must “at the beginning of the message, state clearly the identity of the business, individual, or other entity that is responsible for initiating the call.” [47 C.F.R. § 64.1200(b)]

FCC regulations also prohibit the making of telephone solicitations to residential telephone subscribers “before the hour of 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.” [47 C.F.R. § 64.1200(c)(1)]
So how does all of this figure into the CA-11 race between Jerry McNerney and Richard Pombo? Well, I’d like for you readers to tell me. Have any of you Democratic readers in the district received such calls?

We know for a fact that the NRCC has been spending a LOT of money in CA-11 for robocalls. Here’s the breakdown of NRCC independent expenditures for “phone banking” (e.g., robocalls) over the last six weeks:
9/19, $5,413
9/21, $5,450
9/25, $5541
9/26, $5,412
10/2, $5,400
10/10, $4,271
10/12, $5,480
10/13, $$5,459
10/16, $3,795
10/16, $5,377
10/18, $5,340
10/19, $2,045
10/20, $3,702
10/24, $5,285
10/25, $5,241
10/26, $5,259
10/30, $2,083
11/1, $2,037
That’s $83,590 for robocalls in CA-11 during a six-week period. At an estimated $.05 per call, that comes out to 1,671,800 calls that have been placed — all labeled as “anti-McNerney.” Now, follow along here closely. If approximately 39% of the voters cast their ballot for McNerney in 2004 (Democratic registration in the district is 37%), and that percentage amounted to about 100,000 voters, then we have a fairly easy-to-identify voting pool of 100,000 Democratic voters, give or take. If the NRCC placed 1,671,800 robocalls to that pool, that would amount to roughly 16 robocalls per person (enough to piss off a saint — especially if they're at off-hours).

Last night, Japhet over at DailyKos wrote a diary about his/her afternoon canvassing in Danville on Sunday:
Out of 35 doors (lots of driving to get to folks who had been missed earlier) knocked on, 23 were not home, 4 were for McNerney, 3 were undecided (all registered and 2 told me they didn't vote.
Now, I wonder about Japhet’s experience. That seems like a pretty negative response to McNerney, given Pombo’s horrendous performance and the fact that these were all Democrats. But irritation with perceived harassment by the McNerney campaign would certainly go a long way towards explaining that kind of reaction. Are the Democrats in danger of losing yet another election to Republican dirty tricks? And just how low can the Republican Party go?

[UPDATE]: Both the California Progress Report and the DCCC Stakeholder have now weighed in on this.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Friday Melange — Sunday Version

SNTP just received this press release from the Jerry McNerney campaign:
Today Michael J. Fox strongly endorsed Democratic Congressional candidate Jerry McNerney. As a vocal proponent of medical research, Fox is supporting candidates who support all forms of stem cell research in races where their opponents simply do not.

"America is about hope, about promise, about always moving forward, and we deserve leaders who are willing to deliver that hope to their constituents," Fox stated. [...]

"I enthusiastically support and endorse Jerry McNerney for Congress. By supporting stem cell research, Jerry McNerney puts America on a path that speaks to who we are as a nation," Fox concluded.
Richard Pombo is opposed to stem cell research and has consistently voted against it.

The SF Chronicle is reporting that Arnold Schwarzenegger, at a recent campaign appearance in Pleasanton, refused to support Richard Pombo.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, appearing at a campaign event in Pleasanton, carefully side-stepped questions about whether he supported Republican congressman Richard Pombo.

Pombo is locked in a neck-and-neck race against Democratic challenger Jerry McNerney. The outcome of the contest in the 11th congressional district could help determine whether Democrats gain the majority in Congress.

Pombo's district includes Pleasanton, but when asked by reporters Schwarzenegger would not discuss the race.

Meanwhile, the Stockton Record recently supported Richard Pombo in what is quite possibly one of the lamest editorial endorsements EVER, entitled “Pombo Should Be Re-elected, But Needs To Change.” Well, it turns out the Record has taken a lot of abuse from its readership for that lapse in judgment. In today’s edition, under the headline Endorsement Doesn't Get Endorsed, Stockton Record readers sounded off. Here’s a sample letter:
The rationale for The Record's endorsement of Richard Pombo was so convoluted it defied reason. To endorse a man on the mere hope he'll change his ways is ludicrous.

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Other newspapers have declared it's time for Pombo to go.

The Record should acknowledge we have a breath of fresh air in Jerry McNerney, who would bring honesty, integrity and accountability back to Washington.

Carol A. Holman

At yesterday’s Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund “Day of Action,” Jennifer Garner appeared and spoke out on the race in CA-11. Ben Affleck was ill and didn’t show up. But the AP had a writer there who reported on Garner’s speech:
Garner criticized Pombo's push for more domestic oil drilling, including in Alaska and offshore, while serving as chairman of the House Resources Committee. Pombo has taken contributions from oil companies but denies the money influences his votes.

Pombo also is a threat to wildlife, Garner said. The congressman, who is from a San Joaquin Valley ranching family, has spent years trying to rewrite the Endangered Species Act to make it more friendly to land owners.

"His stubbornness, arrogance and ignorance are a threat to our survival," Garner said.
After the speeches, 350 volunteers joined Garner in canvassing, and together they knocked on 17,000 doors in the Tri-Valley.

Also making an appearance at yesterday’s Defenders event was a float depicting Pombo as George Bush’s “Main Squeeze.” Modeled after the infamous “Kiss” float that has dogged Joe Lieberman throughout his campaign in Connecticut, this one seeks to immortalize this special moment that was shared by Bush and Pombo.

A tip of the hat to The Hollywood Liberal for the “Main Squeeze” photo.

The Nation today reported on the unhappy situation Laura Bush finds herself in these days:

These cannot be happy days for the First Lady, who spent the day before her 60th birthday on Saturday in the political purgatory that had to make her wonder about the compromises she has made in her life. […]

Watching Laura Bush go through the motions of supporting some of the most disreputable political bagmen of the age has been this election year's least attractive experience, and on Friday things turned downright ugly — Pombo ugly.

In this northern California suburb, the First Lady gripped a podium and squeezing out a pained smile as she discussed the dubious merits of seven-term U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo, a Republican congressman who is so wrong on the issues and so ethically-compromised that, even in a district tailor-made to reelect Republicans, he is having trouble closing the deal. […]

It was Laura Bush's job — as the only prominent member of the Bush administration who is welcome in California this year — to try and stop the bleeding from the base. So she came to Pleasanton to try and lure traditional Republican voters back in the fold. To do so, she had to praise Pombo as a good man and a great congressman — statements that the First Lady is smart enough to recognize as, well, lies.

The poor woman actually claimed with a straight face that, "U.S. Rep. Pombo is an enthusiastic steward of our country's natural resources. Because of his leadership, wildlife, property and people will be protected from dangerous flooding." As lies go, that's a pretty big one, since Pombo, a supporter of selling public lands to mining interests and a passionate advocate for opening up federal wildlife reserves for oil drilling is running for reelection with the support of oil, gas and timber companies and with the opposition of every major environmental, conservation and wildlife protection group in the country.

Even the über-conservative Flash Report has gotten into the action, literally begging its readers to come out and do Get Out The Vote for Richard Pombo. Here’s the Republican spin on GOTV in CA-11:
While the Pombo team is well known for its attention to ground and ability to turn out the vote, McNerney is counting on bussing [sic] in an army from Berkeley, Oakland, Palo Alto and even from as far away as Los Angeles to steal votes on Election Day. Every single vote will matter coming down the stretch.

And with that, it’s time to launch into the drill: it’s all GOTV, all the time, from now until Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. Phone banking will be continuous from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and you can even phone from the convenience of your own home. Canvassing will be continuous during daylight hours. You can join with Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, Ocean Champions in the Tri-Valley or, better yet, go out to San Joaquin County (Lodi, Stockton, Manteca, Tracy) with the Jerry McNerney campaign. Here we are two days out, and this race is neck-and-neck, too close to call. We’ve all worked incredibly hard to get to this point. Please don’t let up now.

Pombo calls me "stupid"; Laura Bush cracks a joke

Richard Pombo called me stupid the other day. Well, not directly, but in this SF Chron article on Laura Bush's visit:
Pombo, first elected in 1992, told reporters at his rally Friday that he has been criticized unfairly.

"Anybody saying you're anti-environment is just being stupid,'' he said. "I mean nobody's against the environment. We may disagree on the best way to do things, but that doesn't make you anti-environment.''
Well, Pombo, I ain't stupid and I am calling you anti-environment. How so? Let me count the ways:
* Wants people in factory ships to shoot harpoons at whales, that then explode inside the whales and kill them
* Wants increased oil drilling offshore, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in wilderness areas and just about everywhere else ("except in his own hair" as one pundit put it), yet at the same time has voted against EVERY increase in auto fuel efficiency
* Championed Bush's "Clear Skies" fraud that would allow increased pollution in the air
* Has perpetually denied global warming exists or is anything other than a natural occurence
* Has sought to overturn and delay bans on Methyl Bromide, a toxic pollutant and global warming inducer
* Has pushed to increase snowmobile, jet ski, dirt bike, and other mechanized recreational transportation in national parks and reserves
* Publish a report on how mercury is our friend, using data almost exclusively from coal industry "studies"
* Has turned the Resources Committee web site (using taxpayer money) into a campaign against environmental groups
* Released confidential data on the FDIC's case against Charles Horowitz (owner of Pacific Lumber) into the Congressional Record so that a "debt for nature" swap would not go through. This resulted in old-growth redwood groves being harvested and destroyed.
* Pushed Bush's "Healthy Forests" fraud that increased logging in our national forests in the name of "fire protection"
* Members of his staff proposed selling off 15 of our national parks
* Pushed for a revision of Mining Act that would have given away large parcels of our national lands to development interests at very low cost
* Supports the development of oil shale which would essentially stripmine large parts of the West
* Has led attacks on the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Marine Mammals Protection Act, etc.
* Killed bills for wilderness designation in Washinton state and a bill promoting stewardship of Long Island Sound
* Supported by NRA, Off-road groups, Safari Club ("hunters" of exotic and endangered animals), not to mention the obvious oil/gas, timber, mining industry support

Need I go on? That is just the tip of the (rapidly melting) iceberg. I think "anti-environmental" is too weak. How about "raging ideological lunatic"?

Oh, yeah, in the title, I mentioned Laura Bush cracked a joke. At the rally Friday, she called Pombo an "enthusiastic steward" of the environment. Har, har, har -- that is a good one, Laura! Very funny. She went on to say the Mark Foley is an "enthusiastic" supporter of protecting minor children, that former Rep. Tom DeLay is a strong supporter of bipartisan government, that former Rep. "Duke" Cunningham is enthusiastic about stopping bribery, and that Jack Abramoff is against buying influence.

However, she did not mention how wonderfully well the war in Iraq is going. Gee, I wonder why not?

Enough of the Bush/Pombo bullshit -- Let's go, McNerney people, let's win this one on Tuesday.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Apathy is our greatest enemy

This is the last contribution to this campaign from Pete McCloskey. During the primaries, someone said that Team Irish would be a win-win for CA 11. Well, one Irishman is still in the hunt.

This is the last comment / OpEd from Pete McCloskey that we will see before the election. In it, he identifies our greatest enemy. It is not Pombo, or Doolittle, or even Bush. It is apathy.

Pete wants everyone to spread this word, and then make sure that we are not so busy that we forget to vote ourselves. This is up on PomboWatch and will soon be posted whereever I can get it.

Apathy is our Greatest Enemy

The benefit of closely-contested elections cannot be better demonstrated than here in Northern California where we have been recently blessed with the visits and advocacy of not only President Bush, his lovely wife Laura, Vice President Cheney and Speaker of the House Hastert, but also by former President Bill Clinton. But now, as Rudyard Kipling once wrote: "The tumult and the shouting dies. The kings and princes do depart...."

And lest we forget, whether the powerful Richard Pombo and John Doolittle remain in office, and indeed, which party will control the House of Representatives next year, depends on the ordinary citizen who cares enough to vote. But here, unfortunately, apathy reigns supreme. It may be the greatest enemy of the democracy we are privileged to have inherited.

It is regrettable that the combination of gerrymandering, the recent Abramoff bribery, ethics and other scandals, coupled with the conduct of men like Tom DeLay, Robert Ney, Duke Cunningham and Mark Foley, all of whom have resigned in disgrace, seems to have deterred so many voters from participating in our country's greatest legacy, that of the free and secret voting process. Our various voting registrars say that we will be lucky to see a 50% voting turnout next Tuesday, despite the serious issues which face the next Congress. The turnout of our younger generation, those with the most at stake, may be less than 30%

The recent poll showing that less than a third of the people respect what Congress has been doing is not as disappointing as the fact that half of the electorate doesn't seem to care enough to try to change it. Even Iraqis participate more than Americans in the democratic process we have so proudly pioneered and have suggested is the answer to the world, enforced if necessary by the "shock and awe" firepower or other means to achieve regime change in governments we deem inimical to U. S. interests.

In part, I believe voter disinterest stems largely from the gerrymandering which has made most citizens understandably despair that their votes can make a difference. But that does not explain the widespread apathy in the 4th and 11th Districts.

Whatever may be the result of the November 7th elections, let us hope that the citizenry will now rise up and demand the creation of an honorable system of drawing congressional district lines The politicians of both parties have repeatedly demonstrated their unwillingness to do more than reassure their own re-elections. The result has been that of California's 53 congressional districts, in only 3 do voters have a chance to force policy changes in the People's House. It was the Democrats, after all, under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi, that made that unholy bargain back in 2002 to assure the retention of 30 Democrat seats in return for the guarantee of 20 Republican seats. That 2 of those seats, those in the 4th and 11th Districts, are occupied by avid supporters of the Iraq War and Jack Abramoff, and are challenged with vigor by two inexperienced but patriotic commoners, has brought great attention to us throughout the nation, but alas, is still unable to get more than half of our citizens to care enough to vote. Even Presidents and former Presidents have been unable to stimulate the other half to vote. It's sad. We owe more to the fine young men and women risking their lives for us around the world, whether in combat or diplomatic and humanitarian service.

If DeToqueville were to revisit America today, he would probably conclude that Americans deserve what they get in the quality of their political leaders.

Pete McCloskey, Rumsey, California. November 4, 2006

Paid Canvass in Danville and San Ramon

Ocean Champions had such great success canvassing in Brentwood (we managed to hit all doors in walkable precincts), that we are now moving our operation to Danville and San Ramon.

Please join us in our effort to help elect Jerry McNerney. We pay $15 per hour. To get involved please call Kevin at 202 285-4510 or email

The effort we put forth in these last days could make the difference in winning this election. Please do everything you can to gain votes for Jerry.

I just came from a Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund event with Jennifer Garner in Pleasanton. There were well over 300 people in the crowd, and these volunteers are now canvassing voters in Dublin and Pleasanton.

Way to go Defenders!

“This Traffic Brought To You By Richard Pombo”

If you find yourself stuck in traffic going over the Altamont Pass in the next few days, you might see a billboard truck with this sign sitting at a standstill next to you.

The Sierra Club has hired a convoy of truck boards to drive back and forth, back and forth, over the hill carrying the message “This Traffic Brought to You by Richard Pombo.” Their goal is to draw attention to the fact that Richard Pombo has been a lot more interested in promoting unchecked development in Tracy than he has been in solving the traffic problems it has created. If you go to the Sierra Club website, they give an excellent synopsis of the many ways that Richard Pombo has failed his district when it comes to transportation issues.

As Congressman and Chairman of the House Resources Committee, Richard Pombo has failed to deliver funds to benefit Tracy commuters already stuck in traffic, while instead prioritizing new transportation projects which are a waste of taxpayer money.

The I-205/I-580 freeway corridor has moved in the past several years from being the 105th most congested stretch of roadway in the Bay Area in 2002 to being the 3rd most congested - and it is getting worse. "CalTrans reports that in the year 2025, average daily traffic will increase by as much as 43%, with westbound PM traffic increasing an average of 95%." More from Alameda County Congestion Management.

A recent article in Contra Costa Times concluded that "in Pombo's 14-year career, transportation has not been at the forefront of his agenda" and that "local agencies privately say the lawmaker was slow to participate" in transportation planning. The most notable example of Pombo's lack of attention to local transportation projects is the stretch of I-205 between I-5 and I-580. Although there had been overwhelming support from local business leaders, labor groups, and commuters for widening I-205 from four to six lanes, Pombo failed repeatedly to help obtain the needed federal money to complete the project in a timely manner. Pombo claims he obtained $76 million for the 11th District in the recent multi-year transportation bill, but the proposal to widen I-205 didn't get a penny! […]

An examination of the transportation projects Pombo does claim credit for shows that solving the congestion problems facing Tracy seems to be virtually his last priority.
So if you happen to see one of these trucks making the endless loop over the hill, spending eight hours a day stranded in endless traffic, give the driver a honk and a big thumbs up. He’ll need the encouragement.

Friday, November 03, 2006

It All Comes Down To This

In the closing days of the race between Jerry McNerney and Richard Pombo for the Congressional seat in CA-11, things are so tight that, as the pundits love to say, it's all going to come down to which candidate has the better Get Out The Vote (GOTV) effort. McNerney supporters are fired up and ready to go. If you want to join them, here are your options:
Defeat Pombo Day of Action #4
When: Saturday, November 4, 10:00 AM
Where: Civic Park, 100 Main Street, Pleasanton

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner will join the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund for our fourth “Defeat Pombo Day of Action” precinct walk this Saturday, November 4 at 10:00 AM.

Last Saturday, on October 28, there were 249 volunteers canvassing more than 12,000 households in the Tri-Valley area. This Saturday, we’re hoping for a turnout of 300 volunteers to join us as we sweep through the areas not canvassed on October 28 in Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon, and Danville to reach more than 15,000 voting households in the four cities for a strong kick-off to GOTV, or Get Out The Vote.

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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

We will canvass voters in Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon, and Danville about Richard Pombo’s long record of unethical behavior and destructive environmental policies, and about Jerry McNerney’s vision of stronger America founded on strong and smart national security, more effective policies in Iraq, long-term energy solutions founded on clean and renewable sources, protecting our natural heritage, and strengthening our economy.

To RSVP click here.

Or e-mail, call our office at (925) 249-1626, or visit and click on “Volunteer Sign-Up” graphic link at the right-hand column.
Take Back Red California and Project BlueBridge are setting up carpools from both Marin County and the East Bay:
TBRC is focusing our GOTV activities on Brentwood, for purposes of carpooling. Other campaign priorities are Stockton, Tracy and Manteca. Drivers are needed!

The organizer for Brentwood activities is Oscar Gonzales, 323-388-6383 or

For carpool arrangements to Brentwood from Marin/SF, contact TBRC volunteer coordinator Bill Sims,, (415) 331-3899, for details and carpool arrangements.

Other carpooling contacts, from Project BlueBridge:

To Stockton:

To Brentwood from the East Bay:

To Tracy:
And, of course, the Jerry McNerney campaign will be active EVERYWHERE in CA-11 this weekend. Go to their special Get Out The Vote link, and you can sign up directly for canvassing or phone banking. If transportation is a problem, you can take BART to Pleasanton, and someone from McNerney headquarters will come to pick you up. Just call them at (925) 833-0463. You can also check for carpools on the ride board at Left On 580.

Richard Pombo - Taker in Chief

I have followed Mike Fitzgerald's columns in the Stockton Record for a long time. He has written some of the most lucid material on the way that developers are selling the public a bill of goods as well as thousands of new homes in the frequently threatened flood plain of the San Joaquin River.

Today, he weighs in on Richard Pombo and the race in the 11th CD. His new name for Pombo, Taker in Chief, is fitting. Fitzgerald finds many reasons NOT to vote for Pombo and none of them have anything to do with campaign financing or Jack Abramoff.
Foremost, though, it's a referendum on Richard Pombo.

A tight race alone says plenty. Without the 6-point Republican advantage gerrymandered into this district, Pombo would be toast with cowboy pancakes.
Fitzgerald's view of Pombo is more nuanced than most, it won't raise the hackles of the Kossaks, but it clearly identifies Pombo as a dinosaur, an endangered specie that does not need protections.
Pombo is indeed one of the biggest recipients of money from Big Oil. But I believe he favors resource exploitation for reasons of his own, namely his belief in "property rights."

There's a flag-waving undertone when Pombo mentions property rights, a sense of defending a fundamental American freedom from government usurpers and regulation-crazy enviros.

But what does "property rights" really mean to Pombo? His record makes that clear: It means the right to take from the land. To develop property. To gouge the earth for minerals. For one's interests. For profit.
As a referrendem on the politics of exploitation, Fitzgerald said little about McNerney, but clearly sees him as a symbol of the new West.
California recently enacted global warming legislation. Entrepreneurs and leaders will transform society with new sustainable energies. It's the cusp of a new era.

And with impeccable timing, the fates have produced McNerney, unseasoned, but an energy consultant who understands how the Valley could play a new role.

Laura Bush Doesn't Lie

Former President Bill Clinton appeared in Stockton Wednesday night to rally support for Jerry McNerney, and First Lady Laura Bush will be visiting in Pleasanton this morning to try to generate enthusiasm for Richard Pombo and his sagging campaign. The local media, of course, is completely atwitter at so much star-power being unleashed on humble little CA-11. If you read the local coverage, you’ll know all about the weather conditions, the fashion choices, the crowd size, the level of crowd enthusiasm — all the usual barometers our local writers use to judge political performances in our community.

Very few of them will waste many words focusing on the actual message brought by these political ambassadors. Too boring, I guess. Which is unfortunate. Because what both Bill Clinton and Laura Bush have to say is vital to voters making a choice in CA-11 on Tuesday.

The Tracy Press actually devoted a little space to Bill Clinton’s comments on Wednesday night:
“They believe that the government should be run for and by the special interests. We think it ought to be run for ordinary Americans,” Clinton said. “They believe that decisions should be made by ideological extremists in a way that divides the country; we believe decisions should be made by good, thinking progressives and conservatives that sit down and look at the evidence, hear each other’s arguments before doing what’s best for all Americans.”

Clinton attacked the Republican Party’s record on national security, saying the war in Iraq had emboldened North Korea and Iran to develop weapons, had kept soldiers out of Afghanistan, and had cost the country money that could have been used to implement the recommendations of the Sept. 11 Commission for homeland security.
If you take Clinton's map for American progress and contrast it with the present course that’s been set by George W. Bush and the Republican-led Congress, the contrast is sharp indeed. And it’s obvious that our country is headed in the wrong direction.

That’s why I was so surprised to hear Laura Bush pretty much let the cat out of the bag last night when she appeared on behalf of John Doolittle in CA-04.
"This election is critical to the future of our country. President Bush has an aggressive agenda for the rest of his time in office," she said before hundreds of flag-waving supporters.
I don’t know about you, but that one sentence makes my blood run cold. Just last weekend, I wrote about the ramifications of a Richard Pombo victory in a post, Say No To 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.
Now, even though I knew what a Republican majority after next Tuesday’s election would mean to our country, I thought the Republicans were trying pretty hard to keep it under wraps. With the bad notices that the Bush Administration’s policies have been getting lately, I kind of imagined that the Republicans would be a little stealthier about their plans. But no, there it is, laid out for all to see:
This election is critical to the future of our country. President Bush has an aggressive agenda for the rest of his time in office.
And Laura Bush doesn’t lie.

[UPDATE]: Okay. I was wrong. Laura Bush DOES lie:
"U.S. Rep. Pombo is an enthusiastic steward of our country's natural resources," Bush said in Pleasanton, about 40 miles east of San Francisco. "Because of his leadership, wildlife, property and people will be protected from dangerous flooding."
The AP writer covering the event did go on to set the record straight, though:
A staunch advocate for private property rights, [Pombo] pushed an overhaul of the Endangered Species Act through the House last year that gave new rights to landowners and limited habitat protections.

He also supported legislation that would have allowed the sale of public lands for mining and advocated for more domestic oil drilling, both offshore and in Alaska. Meanwhile Pombo has taken campaign money from oil, gas and timber companies that would benefit from his legislation.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pombo Campaign One Of Ten Worst

Today, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza published his list of the ten worst campaigns run by incumbents. Richard Pombo was number nine on the list, but only because it was alphabetical. Here’s the list:

  • Sen. George Allen (R-VA)

  • Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT)

  • Rep. Chris Chocola (R-IN)

  • Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL)

  • Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN)

  • Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT)

  • Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ)

  • Gov. Frank Murkowski (R-AK)

  • Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA)

  • Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC)

Specifically with regards to the Pombo campaign, Cillizza had this to say:
Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.): Pombo, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee [sic], has raised nearly $3.8 million for his race against Democrat Jerry McNerney (D). But according to Republican officials, Pombo has committed just $400,000 of that total for a television commercials. Spending roughly 10 percent of your budget on television is the exact reverse of how modern campaigns are typically run; most savvy strategists try to spend between 80 and 90 percent of the total campaign budget on television. Pombo has also taken an extended beating from environmental groups over the past year and it has taken its toll. Even though President Bush carried this district by nine points in 2004, Pombo is in a toss up race with five days left.
While Cillizza may have a point about the TV commercial spending, that’s just one of the many things the Pombo campaign is doing in exact reverse. Most political campaigns don’t send their candidate into virtual seclusion, refusing TV requests for interviews; most campaigns don’t have to pay “volunteers” to precinct walk. Such are the pitfalls of running a campaign for one of the 20 most corrupt members of Congress.