I’ll make a bold prediciton here. The recent 5-year, $25 million grant from the Department of Education to the beleaguered schools in Hayward is the break that leads the city back from the brink.
Hayward’s school district is one of the most dysfunctional government bodies in the entire East Bay, but a new superintendent and focus from City Hall portend for good things down the long road back to respectability.
HealthyCal.org has an excellent feature on the grant and how it might resuscitate the self-proclaimed “Heart of the Bay.”
Tom Goldstein, a noted Supreme Court reporter, believes Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will likely retire sometime during President Obama’s potential second term.
Who would be the ideal candidate for the appointment, according to Goldstein?
None other than California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
Assuming that President Obama is re-elected and that Justice Ginsburg does retire at some point in the next Administration, who will be the next nominee? One thing is certain: it will be a woman. It is inconceivable that a Democratic administration with any reasonable choice would cause the gender balance of the Supreme Court to revert to seven men and two women. Relatedly, appointing three women in a row to the Court is excellent politics.
President Obama will also have a strong desire to pick an ethnically or racially diverse nominee. It would be disappointing for the nation’s first African-American President to make two white appointments, leaving the Court with seven white members. A more diverse Court is a better legacy. Given that the President already appointed the first Latina Justice, most likely is an African-American or Asian-American nominee. That said, I think race and ethnicity are plus factors, rather than an imperative like gender
In addition to familiarity with the Obama administration and youth (she would turn 50 during a potential second term in the White House), Goldstein says Harris’s credential “check every box.”
She is the recently elected (2010) Attorney General of California. Previously, she was twice elected as the District Attorney for San Francisco (2004-2010); the chief of the unit heading civil code matters in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office (2000-2004); the head of the career-criminal unit in the San Francisco D.A.’s Office (1998-2000); and Deputy District Attorney for Alameda County (1990-1998). Her mother (a breast cancer specialist) is from India and raised her as a single mother; her father (an economics professor at Stanford) is Jamaican-American. She graduated from Howard University as an undergraduate and went to U.C. Hastings for law school.
Goldstein also mentions a positive perception that Harris lacks skeletons in her closet.
That is, as long as her ex-boyfriend, Willie Brown keeps quiet.
(h/t Bay Area Observer).
— San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting in the Chronicle on the city’s real estate rules. Eighty-four percent of residential mortgage loans in foreclosure contain one or more errors.
Admit it, you’re worried this amazing political movement blossoming in Oakland is beginning to run out of steam? One, it’s not. Second, this period just may be the calm by a tumultuous Spring.
Those with a smidgen of doubt might be interested in a nice reset offered by Jay Youngdahl in this week’s edition of the East Bay Express.
Like activists of the 1960s and 1970s, occupiers are metaphorically throwing down the gauntlet to other progressive activists, especially former activists who are now in government. Much of the sound and fury we hear from liberal naysayers comes from the inner voice of their psychological realization that they have little to offer to the problems that Occupy is highlighting. Can one honestly say that pre-Occupy progressives had outlined an effective avenue for social change for the youth, poor, and minorities in our community? If you have one, please let Oscar Grant’s family know about it.
Then, there’s this little helping of what, at first glance, sounds like it was peddled by your local street corner conspiracy nut:
It’s likely that law enforcement agencies have undercover people in Occupy and some may even be operating in the Black Bloc, pushing for violence.
But, remember this video catching Oakland police officers in street clothes among the protesters during an Occupy Oakland demonstration last October?
Here’s a little bill signed Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown that could have lasting effects on the state’s inaugural use this June 5 of the open primary system:
AB 1413 will force independent candidates to reveal their true political colors.
Timm Herdt in the Ventura County Star writes:
“‘If a candidate is registered to vote as a Republican, he or she must list on the ballot “prefers Republican Party’.” The only way a candidate can be listed as “no party preference” is if he or she declines to state a party affiliation as a voter.
The original bill was authored by former state Sen. Abel Maldonado, who is planning a run for Congress.
The change, [Maldonado] noted, does protect against candidates attempting to fool voters by using an insincere party preference on the ballot. The integrity of the top-two system he led the charge to create, Maldonado said, remains intact. “It’s still an open primary where all people get to vote for the best candidate, so I’m OK with the change,” he said. “It still allows 3.5 million Californians (those registered as decline-to-state voters) a role in the primary. They don’t have to ask permission to get a ballot.”
As I reported yesterday for the East Bay Express, David Muhammad, the hugely popular Alameda County chief probation officer, was placed on paid adminsitrative leave. The 38-year-old Muhammad was accused by one of his deputies of sexual harrassment.
Demian Bulwa has the details of the lawsuit in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Adam Nagourney of The New York Times here with a ominous observation from the Cook Political Report. The editor of the noted newsletter believes additional members of the California Congressional delegation may hang ‘em up soon.
Mr. Wasserman predicted that more incumbents would retire in the weeks ahead, chased out by the fear of running in districts filled with unfamiliar voters. There have been six retirements so far. On the Republican side, besides Mr. Lewis there are Elton Gallegly and Wally Herger, both in office since 1987. On the Democratic side, the retirement roster includes Lynn Woolsey (1993), Dennis A. Cardoza (2003) and Bob Filner (1993). In addition, Representative David Dreier, a Republican who has been in Congress since 1981, is said by colleagues to be likely to step aside.
Sorry for missing the opportunity for a Valentines-themed posting yesterday.
What is going on with the burgeoning bromance between Josh Richman of the Oakland Tribune and East Bay congressional candidate Eric Swalwell? Hubba hubba.
Is Richman merely promoting a potentially staid re-election campaign between Swalwell and Rep. Pete Stark or are other dynamics at work? Kissy kissy.
The elements of a good storyline are definitely here. At age 30, Swalwell is attempting a long-shot run as a Dublin Democrat against the nearly 40-year veteran of Congress. The roles they could play are shockingly similar to Stark’s own successful insurrection against Democrat Rep. George P. Miller, who like Stark today was aging not so gracefully.
Many, many things would need to occur from here to November for Stark to lose re-election. Almost all of them involve other candidates entering the field. You would almost have to cue Al Michaels’ “Do you believe in miracles?” call from the 1980 Olympics in an unironic manner to see this happening.
Then why so much love from the “Mighty Cravat” Richman?
Yesterday he detailed Stark’s eviction of KTVU cameras from his town hall last weekend in Hayward. In the article, Richman quoted Swalwell say the incident was “another example of how Congressman Pete Stark is inaccessible to his constituents – and doesn’t seem to care.”
For a reporter, this is the political equivalent of Bill Belichick gifting a touchdown to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. Add to that, Swalwell’s assertion is nowhere near accurate.
Among members of Congress in the East Bay, I’m not aware of another who maintains a more consistent schedule of monthly town hall meetings, and in multiple venues. Last weekend’s meetings were held in Union City and Hayward. A month ago, he took questions in Fremont and San Lorenzo.
Aside from Stark’s odd behavior with a cameraman from KTVU, which may be show his fear of having his physical condition shown in HD more than anything, his town halls have always been an open forum for many who dislike his politics over the years.
Then there’s this peculiar bit of circular logic from Richman in a Dec. 29 article on Swalwell:
Gotta say this for Eric Swalwell, the Dublin councilman taking on fellow Democrat and longtime incumbent Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, in 2012: He’s managing to get his message out.
Well, of course, because Richman is handing it out.
There would be no discussion if reporters like Richman truly followed what is going on in the East Bay. The Bay Area News Group, of course, is the outfit that laughably played catch-up on the two biggest political stories of the year—Mary Hayashi copping a plea to shoplifting and Nadia Lockyer entering rehab.
While others were on the beat watching it unfold, Richman and the Tribune were covering Swalwell handing out warm coffee to shoppers in line for Black Friday.
— House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi explaining to the New York Times about the unintended benefits for Democrats after Redistricting in California.
The most unique aspect of my coverage of politics at all levels of government in the East Bay is my perch above the entire machinery of interconnected city halls, county offices and our representatives in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
Most of the action is typical political intrigue and juicy gossip in places like Hayward, San Leandro and Alameda, but what almost happened Tuesday night at the Oakland City Council chambers was potentially the scariest discussion I have ever seen since covering the beat in May 2009.
The council’s proposal to, in effect, give police the thumbs up to mete out violent force against Occupy demonstrators only proved that politics in Oakland are played by big boys with hard balls. It also says the city possesses the power and willigness for sheer destruction. Let’s be clear: what was proposed is tantamount to “mutually-assured destruction.”
Robert Gammon at the East Bay Express today provided the very real sentiment that approving the plan would have only attracted more violence and possibly stoke it to levels not seen in the history of the movement in Oakland—going on its fifth month.
The proposed crackdown likely would have resulted in more violent confrontations between Oakland police and so-called Black Bloc protesters — which is exactly what the violent fringe of Occupy covets.
Conversely, what kind of civil rights dangers would have been unleashed by local elected leaders approving a course of action for applying force on its citizens for merely attending mostly peaceful protests?
Fortunately, the council did not muster a majority to move forward, but we are still left to ask why, in a noted liberal enclave like Oakland, are public officials defaulting to ideas steeped in the authoritarian playbooks of South American dictators?
By now, most political junkies have seen the infamous Super Bowl campaign ad from former Rep. Pete Hoekstra that aired in Michigan markets. In the spot, an Asian actress standing before a rice patty reads her lines in broken English and thanks Hoekstra’s Democratic opponent for the U.S. Senate, Debbie Stabenow, for sending jobs to China.
The comedy web site Funny Or Die has their own take on the controversial ad ending with Hoekstra admitting his only experience with Asian Americans comes from the “Rush Hour” trilogy of movies starring co-starring Jackie Chan.
The skit even gives a shout out to former Golden State Warriors backbencher Jeremy Lin who is quickly becoming the toast of New York City after a recent run of fine play for the Knicks.