While most people were fixated on the "Donkey Kong" mention in last night's speech by Chris Daly, what about the actual content of the speech? Immediately before Donkey Kong, Daly made his promise to Board President David Chiu: "I will haunt you. I will politically haunt you for the biggest fumble in history."
As Daly is termed out this week, can he make good on this promise? The answer is a yes, and big time. For three key reasons.
Chris Daly's Relationships: If you only read CW Nevius, you might be misinformed enough to come to the conclusion that Daly is a pariah in San Francisco. But in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Chris Daly is the most accomplished legislator on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors because he knows so many people so well that he can put together big deals, often with strange bedfellows. Tonight is the "roast" of Chris Daly, which will have as many downtown suits as SOMA hipsters. Daly can scroll through his cell phone and identify dozens of people he knows on each side of every issue. On every single issue, Daly can make Chiu's life miserable, but Daly also has the political instincts to identify the most critical pressure points.
Social Networking: Chris Daly's Facebook is an active community with 2,562 people that he has repeatedly used to create news that is picked up by the traditional press. Daly's twitter is only followed by 621 people right now, but that's mostly because Daly prefers Facebook. While those numbers may not sound huge, scroll through the names and you'll see a who's who of influence makers in San Francisco. Daly can change the framing and dynamics of issues before the Board, especially with early messaging. If he bought an ipad, he could easily post from behind the bar. That is some serious haunting potential.
Buck's Tavern: David Chiu should be haunted by the mere thought of Daly now having a watering hole so close to City Hall. No matter what issue, operatives on the other side of Chiu can stop by and drop info to Daly. The nature of San Francisco's political fissures means that in any given year, almost everyone in town will have an issue where they disagree with Chiu and agree with Daly. Plus, Daly opened the bar with Ted Strawser, who is a triple-threat with political game, online game, and event organizing mastery. Already, people are gravitating to Bucks as it fills the long vacant role of a City Hall bar. Drinking Liberally has already moved to Bucks -- it is rapidly turning into the place to go for politics in San Francisco. Plus, look at the geography. Two short blocks from Van Ness & Market. In District 6, but District 5 begins across the street and District 8 is two blocks away. District 9 starts less than a dozen blocks away and Chiu's District 3 is three stops away on the Muni underground or a dozen blocks up the hill on Van Ness. Location, location, location. There's a reason Willie Brown '99 and Matt Gonzalez '03 both ran their campaigns out of a building two blocks away.
Those are the three major givens and three huge reasons why Daly can haunt David Chiu. But he could also easily go further. I'd be surprised if Daly didn't consolidate his new watchdog role into an actual organization. He can raise far more money at the bar then it would cost for him to start a PAC, set up a website, and start building out his list.
Chris Daly can easily haunt David Chiu. And from what I've heard, it's On Like Donkey Kong!
I believe I used a Prodigy email address to sign an online petition calling on congress to "censure President Clinton and move on" back in 1998. As I'm sure you know, out of those efforts rose the organization MoveOn, which sent emails to my Yahoo account for years and to my gmail for the last six years or so. It has been one of my favorite organizations, through their ups and downs, for a decade.
Which is why I simply can't fathom the blunder they made yesterday, thrusting themselves into the California Attorney General's race to fluff former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer (best oxymoron ever) Chris Kelly. In the final days of the campaign, no less.
As I long-time Moveon member and devoted supporter, I was shocked that MoveOn's current leadership seems to have so little understanding of the dynamics and history of the battle for privacy. It was only back in 2007 that MoveOn went to war with Facebook, scoring a major victory for privacy by leading the organizing to shut down the infamous "Beacon" program. MoveOn was attacked repeatedly in the press by...Chris Kelly -- who was not defending privacy, but defending Beacon. In fact, Kelly made so much money eroding privacy at Facebook that he's dumped over $12,000,000 into his attempt to buy the California Democratic Party nomination for Attorney General.
Several weeks ago, I noticed that one of my friends on Facebook was a "fan" of Proposition 16 - PG&E's Monopoly Protection Act that is easily the worst measure on the June ballot. After I chewed him out for it, he expressed shock to even be on that page. Apparently, PG&E had added him on as a supporter without his consent. Today, just as the Prop 16 campaign boasted that it now has 50,000 "fans" on Facebook, I received a press release from the Sunrise Center in Marin County - who complained that some of their own staffers (who are working hard to defeat Prop 16) have also been added as "fans." Besides exposing a serious loophole in Facebook's privacy features, it also proves that PG&E's $40 million campaign to pass Prop 16 includes committing identity theft.
Sometimes I think America is the proverbial child-star-gone-bad of nations: we have a crippling addiction, but we still won't go to rehab.
We are hooked on burning dirty fossil fuels like cavemen, and no matter how many times we hit rock bottom -- deadly coal mining accidents, the uncontrolled oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and American soldiers risking their lives overseas -- we won't embrace the safer, smarter, cleaner path of renewable energy.
Change shouldn't be this hard.
That is the message behind a new ad campaign launched by NRDC's Action Fund this week. The ad urges senators from both sides of the aisle to put America back in control of our energy future.
Americans want change: a recent poll found that seven in ten Americans think clean energy legislation must be fast-tracked in the wake of the catastrophic Gulf oil spill.
Yet our elected officials haven't delivered the clean energy that voters want. Too many lawmakers fear that if they vote for a clean energy future, they will fall prey to populist mood swings come November. But they are mistaken and here is why:
1. Support for clean energy and climate action is not a flash in the pan. President Obama made clean energy one of the three planks of his platform. His energy policies have been vetted, reviewed and fleshed out through the longest presidential campaign in history and into his administration.
And all the while, clean energy has remained popular with American voters. So much so that Tea Party candidates now talk about it themselves. Most of their claims are bogus, but it is revealing that they haven't left clean energy on the cutting room floor.
2. Tea Party candidates are like the streaker at a football game. They get a lot of attention for their bold, rebellious positions, but after you get a closer look, you want to turn your head away. Their catchphrases simply don't hold up to scrutiny, never mind a 24-hour news cycle.
Rand Paul sounded good in his 30-second campaign spots, for instance, but just days after he won the primary, he started saying business owners should be allowed to kick people of color out of their establishments. After seeing Paul on The Rachel Maddow Show or Sarah Palin being interviewed by Katie Couric, viewers start to realize that Tea Party slogans don't always make for sound governing policy.
3. The Tea Party is today's rebranding of conservative Republican voters. It baffles me that people talk about the Tea Party as if it were something new, when in fact it is just the latest packaging of the radical right. We have seen this before and we know how it ends: people who identify with the radical group of the day are people who already vote and who will continue to vote for the most conservative candidate. This is not a new batch of voters up for grabs, and therefore, there is no point in pandering to them.
4. Angry voters may scream the loudest, but that doesn't make them powerful. It is human nature to pay attention to the loudest person in the room, but that doesn't mean you have to like them. The official Tea Party page on Facebook has only 200,000 fans. The "Can this poodle wearing a tinfoil hat get more fans than Glenn Beck" Facebook page has 280,453 fans.
Right now, every politico is trying to figure out how to win in November, and some are getting distracted by the noise of the radical right. The truth is that these people have been angry for a long time and they will be angry long after lawmakers leave Congress. It is how they live their lives. And while they have extra visibility right now, it looks like most elections will be decided on issues particular to each state, not Tea Party anger.
5. People will vote for lawmakers who create jobs, growth and security. In the end, winning elections and governing the nation is about making people's lives better. Passing clean energy and climate legislation will do that. It could generate nearly 2 million jobs, put America at the forefront of the global clean energy marketplace, strengthen national security and reduce dangerous pollution.
Now is not the time to be bullied. It is the time for lawmakers to stand up and put America on a path to a cleaner, better future. This kind of change isn't hard at all.
Pride at Work's latest stunt infiltrating the Westin St. Francis is now a YouTube sensation, generating over 35,000 hits yesterday. It was featured on two local evening news shows, the progressive webzine Common Dreams, and the LGBT blog Towleroad - and on countless Facebook pages. But besides being a fun video, it deftly shows how activists can adapt to new ways of getting their message out. Mass rallies are much less effective today than they were in the Sixties, but too often progressives want to re-live this era by using the same tools and expecting a different result. People don't get their news from just a few channels anymore, so it's possible to have a march with thousands of people with little effect. Today, ideas catch fire and take hold through online social networks. "Caught in a Bad Hotel" was not the first YouTube flashmob, but it was the first one with a political purpose. And hopefully, it won't be the last.
In recent days, the San Jose Mercury News, Monterey County Herald, Vallejo Times Herald, and Marin Independent Journal have all called on Meg Whitman to keep her promise and release her tax returns.
Why is Meg Whitman flip-flopping on releasing her tax returns?
We simply don't know what Meg is hiding. But now, you can help us find out.
Today we are beginning a coordinated action campaign to demand that Meg Whitman release her tax returns, and we will be doing it out in the open-unlike Meg-in a place where everyone can see it: on Meg Whitman's Facebook page.
Please visit Meg Whitman's Facebook page right now, become a fan of her campaign (Don't worry, you can remove yourself from her fan list a few minutes later!), and then leave a comment on her wall asking Meg why she hasn't released her tax returns.
Some examples of possible comments are:
"Meg, why haven't you released your tax returns? California voters deserve to see what you are hiding."
"Meg, please don't break your promise to let California voters see your tax returns. We want to know who we are voting for."
And it's as simple as that.
Two weeks from today is tax day. We all have to file our tax returns and we are calling on Meg Whitman to stop flip-flopping and release her tax returns by April 15.
Protecting kids from online predators has always been one of my highest priorities.
While serving as chief counsel for Facebook, I worked with Attorneys General across the nation to help build a safer internet -- and I've seen some of the ideas I've championed enacted into law.
One of those ideas I championed was requiring convicted sex offenders to provide their online identifiers as part of their registrations, and as a result, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo was able to announce that more than 3,500 registered New York sex offenders were removed from MySpace and Facebook under the state's "e-STOP" law that we crafted together.
On Tuesday, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris held a public media event to introduce a bill she is sponsoring in the legislature that purports to keep online predators off social networking sites, including Facebook and MySpace.
Chris Kelly, who thinks he's running for Attorney General next year, has responded to my criticism of his perpetuation of fearmongering "tough on crime" policies with an email to supporters:
The politics-as-usual crowd is attacking my opposition to the early release plan -- even saying that "Chris Kelly is making a fool out of himself" for standing up for safe California communities. Well, releasing 20,000 convicted felons early might be Sacramento's idea of prison reform, but it isn't one that will keep California safe -- and it won't save a single dollar in the process, which was the whole rationale for doing it in the first place!
I'm apparently part of the "politics-as-usual" crowd for arguing against the mentality that has produced 1,000 sentencing laws in the last thirty years that increased sentences. But some facts throughout this would help. First of all, the 20,000 number from the Governor came in part from releasing all imprisoned undocumented immigrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a provision that was long ago scaled back, since ICE showed no interest in taking the responsibility, and the Governor circumscribed that proposal with so many caveats that only 1,400 of the more than 18,000 undocumented qualified. In reality, the scale of release will be lower than initially proposed. So Kelly is engaging in the familiar tactic of arguing against something that won't happen so he can post a "win" after the fact.
But the real danger of Kelly whipping up opposition to this is how it impacts any sensible sentencing or parole reform. Here, Kelly shows that he has no idea what he's talking about with respect to criminal justice policy:
Instead of protecting California communities, the politics-as-usual crowd ignores the fact that early release of more than 10% of the state prison population won't just include "terminally ill, nonviolent drug offenders and people returned to prison for the crime of technical parole violations" -- many dangerous felons will be back on the streets too.
The critics seem to have forgotten that a man with a technical parole violation shot and killed four officers in Oakland just months ago, and they also conveniently ignore that releasing 20,000 prisoners will disproportionally impact some of California's most vulnerable communities.
The ignorance of this comment is stunning. As Berkeley law professor and parole policy expert Jonathan Simon illustrated a couple months back, the Lovelle Mixon shooting was an example of what's WRONG with our parole system, not what's right. The incident has been used to raise the fear of crime and the dangers of releasing felons. What is not mentioned is that Mixon's violation of ridiculously stringent parole policy, which meant a sure trip back to jail, arguably CAUSED the shooting, as Mixon vowed not to return to prison and chose to shoot his way out of the problem. That's aberrant behavior, and using it to make any larger point about how frightening it is to release prisoners is Willie Horton-izing to the extreme. But it's a function of the extreme pressure of three years of supervisory parole on everyone who walks out of California prisons.
But unlike many other states that also eliminated early release through parole, California continued to require parole supervision in the community for all released prisoners. And that, I think, is a big part of what's broken. People are sent to California prisons for a determinate amount of time, based upon the seriousness of their crime. After they've served this sentence, it's neither justified nor effective to add up to three years of parole supervision for each and every ex-offender - without making any distinction between those whose criminal record or psychological profile suggest they'll commit a crime that will harm the community, and those who pose no such threat.
So the parole system has little real capacity to monitor and protect us from those who pose a danger of committing serious new crimes. And it exposes ex-offenders - many of whom pose little threat of committing such crimes - to the likelihood of being sent back to prison. (This is a really big problem, when you think of our prison overcrowding and our budget crisis).
Parolees are required to consent to searches of their person and property. If officers stop a car in Oakland, and somebody in that car is on parole, police have a lot of leeway to disregard normal constitutional limits on search-and-seizure authority. They can use any evidence collected in this situation against the parolee - and also, of course, can attempt to use the coercion of plea bargaining to get evidence against other people in the car.
In recent years, as many as 70 percent of those on parole in California have been sent back to prison - only a small percentage of whom have committed a new crime (14 percent in 2007); more than half were sent back for what are called "technical" parole violations. These parolees are "returned to custody" by the Board of Prison Terms, very often for conduct that would not earn them (or other California citizens) prison time in a court. Turning in a positive drug test is an example; even missing an appointment with parole staff can result in re-imprisonment.
It's also hilarious that Kelly thinks stopping release of nonviolent offenders harms public safety, not eliminating drug treatment and vocational training in prisons, or forcibly taking local government monies so they have to slash their public safety budgets, but that's for another time.
It's taken the proposed destruction of practically the entire social safety net in California for progressives both inside and outside the political system to fight back. I'm actually more heartened by the work done outside it. I expect Lenny Goldberg to come up with a great alternative budget calling for tax fairness, and end to corporate welfare and a government for all the people instead of the rich. I expect Jean Ross to do the same, as well as AFSCME. They're all good proposals, but this is what they are paid to do. What I don't expect, and what I haven't seen, is a citizen's movement to rival the institutional and advocacy machinery. The Fix the California Budget Facebook page is really one of the first such grassroots pushes I've seen in recent memory.
Californians deserve real solutions to the budget deficit. Responding to our economic crisis with an all-cuts budget will only make the state's problems worse. Deep cuts to vital programs undermine our economic recovery and President Obama's investment in economic stimulus, disproportionately harm the most vulnerable Californians, and go against our core values.
More than 70 percent of voters sat out the May 19 special election because it is the Governor and Legislature's job to fix the budget. Polls show the defeat of the initiatives was neither an endorsement of an all-cuts approach nor a rejection of raising revenues.
Under Governor Schwarzenegger, we have suffered $23 billion in spending cuts in the current budget year alone. Additional drastic cuts will irrevocably change the state we love. Californians support and deserve a state that provides for the common good and the needs of our residents, and we need to pursue realistic revenue solutions that will protect our shared priorities. Cuts are not the only option!
Our state needs courageous leadership. We will support those who stand against an all-cuts budget, speak out for fair ways of raising revenue, and work to deliver a budget that invests in our future and protects all the people of our state. True leaders get their strength from the people they represent. We pledge to be that strength, and mobilize to support a sensible budget solution.
The specific action items are to call your lawmaker and provide that counter-weight to the internal pressure to support the all-cuts approach. They reference the majority-vote fee increase as a legitimate option that must be put before the Governor in place of the worst cuts. County Democratic Chairs and local activists are actually driving the pressure from below, rather than having solutions imposed upon them.
This represents an opportunity. It doesn't mean we win this fight - we're going to lose more than we win at first. And in a way, this is the corporate "reform" community's worst nightmare - the Bay Area Council and California Forward would rather drive the reform process themselves and keep it within their own particular boundaries. But we can build a movement of a newly-roused core group of activists committed to setting California on the right path by restoring democracy, eliminating the conservative veto and reforming the broken system. This is a first step.
Done for the Facebook reference: I may not get to 25.
1. One bit of schadenfreude in this is that Doug McIntyre of KABC and the comment section of the OC Register are flipping out over the heretics who broke with dogma and voted for tax increases. McIntyre was particularly incensed about a Sacramento Bee editorial lauding Dave Cogdill as a "hero." He's not a hero, he's an extortionist, but McIntyre was calling him a guy who "took money out of your pocket to give to someone else." Typical Yacht Party jihadism.
2. It's very clear to me that this got wrapped up today before the Yacht Party's meeting in Sacramento, just blocks from the Capitol, so the spectacle of the crazies on the lawn demanding that old people eat cat food and public schools use the weeds out back for lunches be averted.
3. Joan Buchanan voted for the budget and then voluntarily cut her pay 10% in the name of shared sacrifice. It's a stunt, but it will probably go down well back home.
4. One loser in all of this is Zed Hollingsworth. He got nothing in this budget for his newly-minted Minority Leadership, including no re-negotiation, and the next major talks may not be until summer 2010, at which point a repeal of 2/3 may be a fait accompli. Meanwhile he's already embarrassed himself by scheduling a $1,000-a-person fundraiser with fat cat lobbyists just HOURS after being made leader, one that generated such bad press he had to cancel it.
5. The big winner in all of this, perhaps the only one? Twitter. In a cavernous Capitol with a dearth of political reporting, the microblogging site was practically the only way to get quality information in real time. It cannot replace in-depth analysis for a mass audience, but it was great for opinion leaders.
6. Though I've knocked him in the past, kudos to John Burton for recognizing the real problem and seeking to boldly fix it. From an e-mail:
If the last 48 hours has proven nothing else, we can no longer allow Republicans to hold the people of California hostage and therefore dictate to the Democratic majority the terms under which the budget is passed.
California should join the 47 other states who don't require a supermajority to pass the budget.
If I am elected as the next Chair of the California Democratic Party, I will make majority vote budget a top priority.
7. The federal stimulus is really helping out to reduce the pain in this budget. It does appear that as much as $10 billion dollars will flow to California in this fiscal year, which would "trigger" some jiggering to the cuts (which would be reduced by $950 million) and the tax hikes (reduced by $1.8 billion). It's an open question whether or not all of them can be spent right away because of the cash crunch, but we'll have to see how the markets react.
8. This is a baseline overview of the deal. The cuts are going to be really, really bad: 10% across the board for education, huge cuts for public transit operations, health care, etc. The new revenues basically fill in the loss of revenue from massive unemployment. Essentially, this is the same level of spending as a decade ago, adjusted for inflation and COLA, despite greater need and higher population. Not pretty.
9. Capitol Weekly reports that the cuts could hit Republican-leaning areas harder:
But data from the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) suggests that cuts under the budget plan approved Thursda morning could likely hit many Republican areas hardest-while the tax burden is already falling more heavily on Democratic leaning counties.
According to the data distributed by Assembly Budget Committee chairwoman Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, the majority of the counties using the most in state services are generally represented by Republicans. When this data on 2007-2008 state spending is compared to registration data from the Secretary of State's office, it shows that seven out of the top 10 counties receiving state expenditures, measured per capita, have Republican registration majorities. Of the top 10 counties that contributed the most per capita tax dollars in 2006, eight have Democratic registration majorities.
"I hate to put this in partisan terms, but it's the wealthier counties who are paying that are represented by Democrats," Evans said. "Everybody needs to take a step back and look at what the data actually says."
11. There's a big TV/film production credit in here. While as a member of the industry I'm mindful of runaway production, I reject the "race to the bottom" that constant credits to get crews to shoot in California presume. It's corporate welfare, essentially.
12. The "single sales factor apportionment," which is the massive business tax cut, doesn't kick in until FY2011, predictably and conveniently after Gov. Schwarzenegger is out of office and it will be someone else's problem to make up the revenue! It's almost like somebody planned it that way!
13. Of the items on the May ballot, only privatizing the lottery would really kill this whole thing and send everybody back to the bargaining table. That would be $5 billion in lost projected revenue for this fiscal year. But it's a NET LOSS OVER TIME, which is what makes the provision so completely absurd. Also, I'm not convinced anyone wants to buy our lottery, as revenue has shriveled in the past year.
14. Arnold still has $600 million in line-item vetoes to make to bring this into balance. Hands up if you think they will impact the poor, the elderly, the blind, and others with almost no voice in Sacramento!
15. Karen Bass is vowing "additional Legislative actions before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1." So get ready for more fun!
Anyone who hangs around on Facebook even a little has seen that Secretary of State Debra Bowen makes great use of it.
Late this (5/7/8) evening, she posted a "note": Facebook tip leads to conviction for voter registration fraud. Secretary of State Debra Bowen Announces
Conviction for Voter Registration Fraud in Orange County (warning pdf) The link is from the Secretary of State's website, since you have to be logged into Facebook to see the note.
It's basically a press release detailing a case tried in Orange County Superior Court. Sacramento based Don Cornell Williams plead guilty to registering 3 ineligible voters in 2006. A warrant for his arrest was issued in 2006 but he wasn't arrested until this year.
Apparently a complaint was filed against his signature gathering techniques this year. Which lead to his arrest on the outstanding warrant.
The press release does not mention where the tip came from. But since Bowen's note says "Facebook tip leads to conviction" I think we can all infer where.
Social networking taken to a whole new level.
What comes before Part B? (depends on where you live) SF and SoCal answers.
California Congressman George Miller (D-Martinez) has really been reaching out online as of late (keep it up and ramp it up). While his Darfur youtube video is important, what I really like is his new Facebook group for, "questions and suggestions about what Democrats are and should be doing to stop the War in Iraq." Miller is an super-great Congressman and is in the Speaker's inner circle so go tell him your ideas and -- who knows -- it just might happen.
Is Lee Kaplan a douchebag? The line has a question mark because I don't want to have to pay up $7,500 like some poor Berkeley undergrad who took on the wingnut writer. If (hypothetically) I were to write about such a guy I'd probably make some reference to wetting his pants because some might say when he writes it is with such a voice of fear of the terra that there would be more to laugh at seeing him in person than just reading his junk.
Is Gavin Newsom glorious or is this just his GF talking (Swiss Miss vs. Beth Spotswood -- always love it). According to some British online gambling site the answer to the odds is 42:1 that Spots would prevail.
San Francisco 4 Democracy Political Affairs Committee meeting has been rescheduled for the following Wednesday, June 27.
Congressman Jerry McNerney, who took a lot of heat from progressives for his last vote on Iraq, this time defied Democratic leadership and voted no on the bill to pass the federal budget.
In reality, last time McNerney voted against Speaker Pelosi and voted with the minority (59) of Democratic members who want to stay in Iraq. Thursday, he defied the President and joined the Speaker in voting with the majority (140) of Democrats against capitulating.