Wednesday, July 12, 2006

New website on Urban Casino’s

Friends,

A local Coalition of community leaders, “faith-based” groups and others who oppose allowing urban casinos in our community have put together a website with information, facts and studies on the impact of urban casinos on our East Bay community.

Casino proposals have sprung up in major urban centers around the state particularly in the Bay Area where casinos have been proposed in Oakland, Richmond, and San Pablo. These urban casinos in the East Bay would have significant impact on our community by increasing crime in at-risk communities, increasing gambling addiction, generating traffic on the already congested I-80 and San Pablo corridor, and stripping discretionary money from the local economy.

Check out this website for more information and what you can do to get involved.

http://www.stopurbancasinos.org

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Clean Money Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot!

Friends,
I wanted to share this very special announcement with you. With the successful qualification of the "Clean Money" Initiative, we all must use our energy and all our resources to ensure it's passage in November. As a team, we have proven our ability to make significant change, and the passage of this initiative represents much needed change. I am looking forward to working with all of you on the campaign trail!

What follows is our official press release:
Clean Money Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot
Hancock announces she will drop her legislation


Sacramento, CA - Assemblywoman Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) will be available to comment on today’s announcement by Secretary of State Bruce McPherson that the “Clean Money” initiative has qualified for the November ballot. Assemblywoman Hancock is the author of a similar legislative proposal, AB 583, which is currently in the Senate Elections Committee.

According to the Secretary of State, the initiative submitted by the California Nurses Association has garnered more than the 411,000 signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot. As a result, Hancock announced she will drop her legislation so government reform groups can focus on the ballot measure.

The “Clean Money” system of public financing of elections is similar to those already adopted in Maine and Arizona. The legislation and the proposed initiative allow any candidate who raises a substantial number of small contributions from individuals residing in the district and agrees not to accept special interest money, will receive full public financing of their campaign.

“The public has lost faith in California’s electoral process. Poll after poll show voters think campaign contributions have a corrosive effect on public policy decisions. Clean Money will reform the electoral system and re-establish trust with the voters. I believe it is time to return the democratic process to the voters,” said Hancock.

A poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California in November found 64% of likely voters believe that campaign contributions have had a negative effect on the public policy decisions being made in Sacramento. In May, a PPIC poll on campaign finance reform & public financing of campaigns showed that 51% of likely voters would favor a system of public funding for campaigns even if it cost each taxpayer a few dollars a year to run.

“Ultimately, Clean Money is an idea whose time has come,” concluded Hancock.



Monday, June 19, 2006

Dellums victory signifies a sea change in Oakland politics

Friends,

Oakland made history this weekend electing my good friend Ron Dellums as Mayor of Oakland.

I have known Ron for 30 years, and have seen first hand what he has done in Congress to advocate for the core values of the Democratic Party, revitalize downtown Oakland, promoting economic growth at the Oakland Port, securing funding for essential services and protecting the environment.

Kudos to the voters of Oakland and Ron Dellums for running a positive campaign that promotes a better future for all of us in the Easy Bay.

You can read about it at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/06/19/BAG8QJGCDN1.DTL

Monday, June 12, 2006

They Can Look, But We Must Say No!

Friends,
This article from Todd Milbourn of the Sacramento Bee shows how the unrestricted Indian Gaming rules will continue to get out of control unless we insist on changes.

Tribes look far afield for casino sites
Bills in Congress could block the trend and rewrite gaming rules.

An Indian tribe rooted in Lake County is pushing a Las Vegas-style casino in the East Bay.

Tribes from Humboldt and San Diego counties are vying to open casinos along busy Interstate 15 in Barstow.

And a tribe from Oklahoma is searching beyond its reservation -- even across state lines -- to build a casino near Denver.

Across the country, Indian tribes, often backed by wealthy investors, are aspiring to build casinos in lucrative markets -- even if those spots bear little or no historic connection to the tribe.

The trend is often assailed as "reservation shopping." It's stoking a national debate that might reshape the $20 billion-a-year Indian gaming industry.

Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., are leading the charge to corral the practice. Both argue that some tribes and their non-Indian backers are simply trying to get rich off a law intended to alleviate tribal poverty.

"This is not what the public thought they were getting when they approved Indian gaming," said Alison Harvey, executive director of the California Tribal Business Alliance, a Sacramento-based tribal gambling association that generally opposes off-reservation gaming. "It's coming to a head."

California already is the nation's largest Indian gambling state, home to 55 casinos that generate $13 billion a year, according to the state attorney general.

Across the state, at least 40 tribes are proposing off-reservation casinos, according to Stand Up for California, a Penryn-based gambling watchdog group.

Almost all of those proposals face long odds -- even under current law. Even so, opponents of casino expansion are paying close attention, recalling that tribal gambling interests have proved adept at finding loopholes... (edited)

...On the state level, Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, is pushing to give communities more say over casinos.

She said the East Bay has become the nation's "poster child" for urban, off-reservation gambling.

"They do produce some jobs," Hancock said of urban casinos. "But if you have a $100 million profit at a casino, most of that is coming out of the pockets of local people. About 35 percent of it is going to investors in Las Vegas or Florida, and the rest is not being distributed in the community."


For the full, unedited text of this article, please CLICK HERE.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Pull Those Misleading Ads!

Friends,
We just issued this press release. Call you station managers and demand that these misleading ads be pulled from the public airwaves.

Assemblywoman Hancock Calls on Local Station Managers
to Pull Misleading Advertisements

Ads meant to mislead public about the real dangers of global warming

Sacramento, CA — State Assemblywoman Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) called on local Fox television stations to decline airing commercials by a conservative Washington-based group until the false statements about global warming are corrected. The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a Washington D.C. based think tank funded in part by the oil and automotive industries, recently purchased time in California television markets to run ads which dismiss the dangers of carbon emissions and climate change.

“The ads distort legitimate scientific problems by implying that the Earth’s climate is not threatened by increased carbon emissions resulting from human activity,” explains Hancock in a letter she sent to the station managers who are running the ads. “The commercials quote a portion of a study that has found that interior ice mass in Greenland and Iceland has been increasing. They conveniently neglect to mention that the study also found that exterior ice is melting, offsetting or even outweighing gains in ice mass made in the interior.”

The researcher whose study was quoted by CEI has challenged the ads. “These television ads are a deliberate effort to confuse and mislead the public about the global warming debate. They are selectively using only parts of my previous research to support their claims. They are not telling the entire story to the public,” said Engineering Professor Curt Davis of the University of Missouri in a press release.

“A 2001 study conducted by eleven of the nation’s leading climate scientists for the National Research Council concluded that climate change is occurring right now. Recent changes are mostly a result of human activities,” said Hancock.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Banning a inhumane practice!

Friends,

This cruel and inhumane practice of Field Coursing has got to stop. It horrific! Your support of our cause is needed. If you are not familiar with the "sport" please read this article by Jim Sanders of the Sacramento Bee and let you elected officials know how you feel!
California lawmakers sets sights on ban of coursing
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- For sighthounds, it's fun and games.

For their owners, it's hunting without guns.

For jackrabbits, it's deadly.

For the California Assembly, it's an obscure sport that strikes a public nerve: Legislation to ban it has sparked passionate public hearings and hundreds of letters from both sides.

Welcome to "live field coursing," which involves greyhounds, whippets, salukis, borzois and other sighthounds in rural competitions that test their killing skills.

"I think most people would be horrified," said Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, a Berkeley Democrat who considers the sport inhumane.

"I don't expect everyone to understand hunting," countered Lesley Brabyn, a longtime courser. "But is it fair to say that no one can hunt?"

To read the rest of the article, CLICK HERE.

Monday, May 15, 2006

We are taking it to the people!

Friends,

It is the ever-important grass roots activism of individuals like you and groups like the California Nurses' Association that will spell victory in the fight for Clean Money!

Clean money petitions submitted
by Rebecca S. Bender

Petitions for the California Nurses’ Association clean money initiative were due Saturday, and organizers are confident that the initiative will be coming to the voters in November.

We are going to have enough signatures,” promised Liz Jacobs, a registered nurse and spokesperson for the California Nurses Association.

The group had to collect 373,816 signatures of California registered voters over a several-month period.

“It was a real push,” Jacobs said. “It was a statewide effort.”

The final cut-off date was Saturday, May 13, she added, though the group gave itself an end-of-April deadline to be on the safe side.

Once the petitions are turned in, county elections officials will perform a raw count and verify that the signatures are those of qualified, registered voters.

The Clean Money and Fair Elections Act would establish a voluntary system under which candidates could choose to run a clean money campaign, using public funds raised by an increase in corporate taxes. Candidates who opt not to use clean money would be subject to tight restrictions on their campaign contributions.

In addition, lobbyists and state contractors would be banned altogether from donating to candidates, and corporations would be limited to $10,000 donations to ballot measures.

Three other states — Arizona, Connecticut and Maine — have implemented similar publicly-funded election systems.

In addition to the CNA’s petition drive, a similar bill is also working its way through the state Senate, having garnered the support of the Assembly. AB 583, introduced by Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley), sets up a Clean Money Fund administered by the Fair Political Practices Commission. The bill is now under consideration by a Senate subcommittee.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

We're Moving Closer and Closer and Closer!

Friends,

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- the momentum behind our Clean Money campaign is growing stronger and stronger! We must keep the fight strong and we will make Clean Money a reality! This article by Harrison Sheppard from dailynews.com details our progress:
State, local finance plans advance

Separate Los Angeles city and statewide efforts to establish a "clean money" system of taxpayer financing for political campaigns advanced Tuesday, with advocates hoping to reduce the influence of special interests in political races.
The California Nurses Association said it expects this month to turn in more than the 373,816 signatures required to place a measure on the November ballot that would establish a public-financing system for state campaigns.

Also Tuesday, the Los Angeles Ethics Commission said it is close to issuing a report on whether the city should implement a similar system for local candidates.

Advocates believe clean money can clear the way for universal health care and other reforms that have been opposed by well-funded lobbying groups. They also see it as an equalizer that would give underfunded groups and committees a better chance of being heard in Sacramento.

"After my first year in the Legislature, I realized you can do a lot of good, little things around the edges ... but for the big reforms, there is too much money in play and (there is) not the ability to get it done," said Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, who has authored a clean money bill pending in the Legislature.

For the full article CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Let The People Speak!

Friends,
This is empowerment of the people at its finest! We have fought hard to put the brakes on the runaway train of unfettered casino development and expansion and now we have an opportunity to stop the process before it starts. This article by Steven Harmon of the Contra Costa Times shares some of the details.
Assembly OKs measure giving communities input on casinos
SACRAMENTO - Communities would be able to vote on whether they believe Indian casinos should be allowed in urban areas in a measure approved Tuesday in the state Assembly.

The votes would be advisory, so they would not have any binding power. But they would show the Legislature and governor the communities' views on casinos coming into their backyard, supporters said.

Berkeley Democratic Assemblywoman Loni Hancock's legislation, approved unanimously out of the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee, is part of a backlash against efforts by the casino industry to place gaming facilities in urban settings.

"This is the only way that the people can express themselves on gaming casinos," said Hancock. "People feel passionately about gambling casinos in their communities and right now they have no voice."

Hancock's district, which encompasses Alameda and Contra Costa counties, may soon be the most casino-rich urban district of the state. Richmond and North Richmond are considering building casinos, while Casino San Pablo is seeking to expand its facility to allow hundreds of Las Vegas-style slot machines.

Please check out the rest of the article by CLICKING HERE.

Friday, April 21, 2006

We're Taking it to the People!

Friends,
We are continuing the momentum. By your request, and to support your activism, we will be doing more and more activities to "Bring it to the People." With your support, Clean Money will be a reality!

If you are in the area, please take some time out of your day to come down to the meeting.
West County League of Women Voters -- 11:30 a.m., Denny's Restaurant, 11344 San Pablo Ave., corner of Potrero Avenue, El Cerrito. Annual luncheon meeting will feature Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, who will speak on "Clean Money and Fair Elections." $15.. 510-232-3767.

If you have any questions about the bill or would like to know how you can help, please call my office at 510-559-1406.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Lets Get Clean - The Momentum is Growing!

Friends,

The momentum for Clean Money is growing stronger and stronger each day. A lot of this is due to your help and support and continued activism. But we must not let up! This is a great editorial from the San Francisco Chronicle:
THE CALIFORNIA Clean Money and Fair Elections Act, AB583, will have its first state Senate hearing Thursday. If it passes -- and every senator should vote for it -- expect a sea change in California politics.

Imagine election campaigns focused on ideas, not scare tactics and smears. Imagine a Legislature that's more reflective of California: more women and minorities. Imagine real leadership on tough issues, such as health care and education funding. Sound like a dream? It happened in Arizona and Maine when those states adopted public campaign financing.

Now is the time to act. California voters are frustrated and dissatisfied with the elections process: so dissatisfied that 57 percent of them support public financing, according to research by the Public Policy Institute of California. That's quite a mandate in a fiscally conservative state.

For those who are still suspicious, consider the status quo: annual lobbying scandals, expensive special elections, legislators who change their votes after leaving the floor to please campaign contributors. We'll pay far more in the long run, if we continue to have legislators who don't feel beholden to us.

AB583, by Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, calls for state financing of up to $1.5 million for qualifying candidates. It's not a perfect bill -- it doesn't specify where the money will come from, and it may not be enough if campaign-spending levels continue their exponential growth. The state Senate will probably tinker with it.

That body should feel free to do so -- as long as the senators don't weaken its provisions or water down its mission. Voters will probably have the final say after the governor, and they're ready for real change. Imagine that.

Yeah... imagine that...

Monday, April 17, 2006

"Put Stop to Corporate Welfare!"

Friends,

This editorial by Berkeley resident Roslyn Fuerman in the Contra Costa Times hits the point exactly! I appreciate her comments and the support from all of you for our historic actions and the continued fight against Corporate Welfare!
Put stop to corporate welfare
I read with great interest that Assemblywoman Loni Hancock is sponsoring legislation to force corporate disclosure regarding tax breaks in "Enterprise Zones."

As every good school teacher knows, the way to control the classroom is to "put the monkey on their backs."

Merely having to disclose, and having the press publish who is getting what for what and where, will clean up millions of dollars of abuses.

The legislation is broke, but that does not mean it was not a good idea. It just needs to be tweaked. And Hancock is on the right track.

The first step is simple information, and the state does not need to spend millions tracking that information when it is readily available.

If the state can monitor the most intimate details of citizens' lives to make sure they do not get excessive welfare benefits, the state ought to be able to monitor public corporations to induce public disclosure of corporate welfare.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Now this is the Right Direction!

Friends,
The unrestrained growth of Indian Gaming has already proven vulnerable to citizen action as you proved in San Pablo. The voice of your success has been heard across the nation and through the halls of Washinton!

This is a great article in the Contra Costa Times about bills being introduced in the House and Senate to put a stop to urban gaming, but shutting down the Indian Casino land grab.
Bill limits Indian casinos to Reservation
Reacting to backlash against Indian gambling's most controversial trend, key lawmakers are seeking to limit Indian tribes' ability to establish casinos away from their reservations.
Bills by House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, and Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., would eliminate an exception in existing law that allows tribes with reservations to build casinos in other locations -- even in other states.
Their bills would also tighten the circumstances under which tribes that have been newly recognized by the federal government or don't have reservation land of their own could get permission to build casinos.

Read the rest of the article by CLICKING HERE.

But our work is not over. Make sure to take part in the Bureau of Indian Affairs hearing 6:PM next Wednesday, March 15 at the Richmond Auditorium, room 403 and make your voice known!

You can also get a copy of the draft "Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians
Environmental Impact Statement" online by CLICKING HERE.

Or by mail, you can write to John Rydzik, Bureau of Indian Affairs, 2800 Cottage Way, Room W-2820, Sacramento, CA 95823 (or call 916-978-6042).

Written comments must be received by April 28 and should be directed to Clay Gregory, Regional Director, Pacific Regional Office, Bureau of Indian Affairs, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825. Include name, return address and caption "DEIS Comments, Scotts Valley Casino Project" on the first page of comments.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

True Citizen Action!

Friends,
This is how we do it! True citizen action against the uncontrolled expansion of urban casinos. Join their voice and help us put an end to the deception that urban casinos bring prosperity and not crime! Read this newsletter to see the gang of problems that have sprung up and the number of Police emergency calls at the San Pablo casino.
East Bay Coalition Against Urban Casinos
NEWSLETTER - Issue 2 - March, 2006
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There has been a very important development requiring urgent action from all opponents of urban casinos in the East Bay. Please take a moment to read about it:

Voices Needed for Sugar Bowl Casino Hearing!
On March 15th the Bureau of Indian Affairs will be holding a public hearing on a 2,000 slot machine casino planned for an unincorporated area of North Richmond. The Scott's Valley Band of Pomo Indians, a 181-member tribe from the Clear Lake area, are attempting to install an enormous 225,000 sq/ft monstrosity they call the "Sugar Bowl Casino." Backed by casino magnate Alan H. Ginsburg, the man responsible got the failed Koi Nation Casino planned near the Oakland Airport, the Sugar Bowl Casino is a blatant example of reservation shopping at its worst.

Sugar Bowl's developer, Alan H. Ginsburg has a long history of shady business deals: in 1999 his company was sued for attempting to cheat a Seminole tribe he had invested with out of $200 million dollars; in 2003, working with an Okalahoma tribe, he had land in Kansas converted into a satellite reservation of the tribe because tribal gaming is not allowed in Okalahoma. Sugar Bowl Casino is no different; its proposed location off Richmond Parkway is 116 miles from the Scott's Valley Band's familial home.

Wednesday, March 15th hearing will be on an Environmental Impact Survey (EIS) paid and commissioned by the Ginsburg's development company to 'sugar-coat' this enormous casino project and pass it off as something that it is certainly not. The East Bay Coalition has already begun taking apart this document, and with help from our friends and allies, we will take a swing at the casino and its developers and hope for a home run.

Read about the holes in the Sugar Bowl EIS report in Dean Marshall's letter to the Berkeley Daily Planet Editor. Using data showing a huge increase in police calls and emergency transports from Casino San Pablo after the installation of slot machines, Dean gives readers a hint of the crime, traffic and social problems that will affect the East Bay if the Sugar Bowl Casino is allowed to be built.

Read Dean Marshall's Letter in the Berkeley Daily Planet.


HERE'S WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:
1. JOIN US AND OTHERS AT THE HEARING. Wednesday night, March 15th from 6-9 p.m. at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium, located at 403 Civic Center Plaza at 27th & Nevlin, in Richmond.
2. BRING FRIENDS AND FAMILY. Forward this email around, and tell your friends and neighbors to come along.
3. VOLUNTEER TO HELP. We can always use a hand. Or a letter. Or a phone call. Contact Conor Lee to do what you can to keep urban casinos out of the East Bay. Call us at (510) 271-0640 x103 or email info@stopurbancasinos.org.

View a map of the Richmond hearing site.


NEWS & UPDATES
This week, March 6-12th, is National Problem Gambling Awareness Week. If you have loved ones suffering under the weight of gambling addiction, please take this time to seek help by calling the California Problem Gambling Hotline at 1-800-GAMBLER (426-2537).

Problem gambling is a serious issue that not only harms the individual, but hurts their friends, their family, their job and, on a large scale, the surrounding community. For more information, please visit the National Council of Problem Gambling website.

If you, a friend, or a family member has overcome a gambling problem and wants to share their story to help others do the same, please call us at (510) 271-0640 x103 or send an email to info@stopurbancasinos.org.

The National Council of Problem Gambling website.


Asian Problem Gambling in the Bay Area
CBS 5 Reporter Linda Yee has a special report on the issue of problem and compulsive gambling among the Bay Area's Asian populations, who suffer from particularly high rates of such addiction. Our friend Kent Woo, Director of the San Francisco-based NICOS Chinese Health Coalition, is interviewed on the subject and discusses ways in which casinos target Asian gamblers.

Visit the NICOS Gambling Project website to learn more about what they do: http://www.cbs5.com/video/?id=11295@kpix.dayport.com

Watch the CBS 5 special report.


Slot Machines Toll on City – New data from San Pablo
New data shows confirms predictions of sharp increases in problems from Casino with installation of slot machines. Police calls and ambulance trips to Casino San Pablo have sky-rocketed since their installation. With more than 800 machines installed, and plans for 2,500, these statistics are likely only the beginning of the problem.

Since the installation of slot machines at Casino San Pablo began in July of 2005, ambulance trips to the casino have increased by 217% and monthly police calls have shot up a shocking 492%.

Sources: San Pablo Police Department, Contra Costa Emergency Medical Services


Contact Us!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
email: info@stopurbancasinos.org
phone: (510) 271-0640 x103
web: http://www.stopurbancasinos.org/index.php?index
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Our Clean Technology Symposium!

Friends,
A little bit of media on our symposium I would like to share with you:
Assemblywoman Loni Hancock partners with the City of Richmond & the State Treasurer’s Office to hold “Clean” Technology Symposium in Richmond, CA.

The Office of Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, The City of Richmond (Richmond) & The State Treasurer’s Office recently hosted a successful “clean” environmental technology symposium in Richmond, California. The symposium brought together “clean” technology companies with potential investors and provided valuable information on how to access private capital and state funding. Building a strong economy and developing investment policies and programs that foster sustainable development, including alternative sources of energy, are key to California’s future. Assemblywoman Hancock welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with the City of Richmond to create jobs, clean up the environment and bolster the economy; creating a vibrant, sustainable future for the City.


More information can be found at: http://www.theglobenewspapers.com/richmond2.htm

Monday, February 27, 2006

Help us win the BLOGGER WARS!

Friends,
The blogosphere is a significant communication medium and it is a battle towards dominance of truth or tripe. With your help, we can win the battle! View these sites and participate...

http://speakoutca.org
Speak Out is a progressive advocacy group dedicated to helping people in California is better informed about the political and legislative happenings of our state. Their views can be summed up in three phrases: We work for economic fairness, social justice, and equality of opportunity. Every day in the government of this state, there are struggles over these values. They take many forms. It could be a budget battle to protect higher education from further devastating cuts. Or it could be a campaign to increase support of solar energy in new housing. As a member of Speak Out California, you will be informed of these events as they take place, and urged to take actions that will enable you to make a difference.

http://www.moveon.org
The most popular of electronic networking and organizing organization is Move On.
MoveOn.org gives people a voice in shaping the laws & policies that affects lives. You can sign online petitions on timely issues like responding to terrorism, energy policy, and campaign finance reform, or you can just sign up to receive email alerts, all for free.
One of the best things about MoveOn.org is that each of us can help decide what issues the organization stands for, using a unique, online discussion forum. Everyone can post suggestions, and everyone can rate all the other suggestions. Those that receive the highest ratings can become the focus of MoveOn.org's
action campaigns. Sign up and register with this great electronic grassroots organization!

http://www.dailykos.com
One of the most popular blogs on the web is one maintained out of Berkeley.  Created by Markos Moulitsas ZĂșniga, In its first year, Daily Kos attracted over 1.6 million unique visits and about 3 million page views. It also receives about 20 million visits per month. In the words of the founder “We desperately need to catch the Right in the Blogger Wars, and I am proud of each and every person who has the guts and initiative to start his or her own weblog. The progressive movement of the future will be built, in large part, on this digital foundation.”
Well said Markos I completely agree!

http://www.buyblue.org/
BuyBlue.org supports businesses that share progressive values and ideals. They believe in a triple bottom line: people, planet and profit. BuyBlue.org uses our power as consumers to vote with wallets, supporting businesses that abide by sustainability, workers' rights, environmental standards, and corporate transparency. At the same time, BuyBlue.org focuses sharply on businesses that violate the essential values of a sustainable, fair and profitable society through their policies and the politicians they support.

Finally there is www.couragecampaign.org
Courage Campaign is a blog that features Alameda County and other statewide authors on current progressive issues. I will be posting on their blog as a regular author.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Watch One of Our State's Most Historic Floor Debates!

Friends,

Now is the time that we must all rally together! The California Clean Money and Fair Elections Act passed the Assembly floor by a vote of 47-31 on January 30th, the first time a public financing bill had ever passed the Assembly! But our battle is not over... there is still much to be done.

Take a moment to view our website and watch this historic floor debate. This is where it all started and what we will remember for generations to come.

Click Here: http://www.caclean.org/inspiration/assemblyfloor_200601.php

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Rockridge Institute - A New Progressive Think Tank

Friends,

Here is a great column from local columnist Lisa Vorderbrueggen. This article describes the birth of new and exciting progressive think tank -- the Rockridge Institute. Founded by UC Berkeley Linguistics professor George Lakoff, the Rockridge Institute is offering a whole new look at the framing of progressive issues.

Click on the link below to learn how scholars, advocates, legislators and communities are coming together to support a progressive vision -- rethinking and reframing the debate on American democracy.

You can also connect to Rockridge directly at http://www.rockridgeinstitute.org.

You can find the article at Contra Costa Times.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

"Field Coursing" - Lets Ban It!

Friends,

In a follow-up story on "field coursing" -- the use of fast-running dogs such as greyhounds to run down jackrabbits in open fields and literally tear them apart -- ABC News clearly shows the gross and inhumane treatment of these poor animals.

Suprisingly, it's actually called a "sport" by some.

"Open field coursing" is even banned in England (where there is a long tradition of using hounds to hunt foxes) because of the obvious cruelty, yet it's happening right here in the Bay Area.

We need to ban it now and I will need your help to do it. Please let me know how you would like to help end this inhumane practice!

View the story by clicking here: ABC NEWS.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

There is a better way...

Friends,

Representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham resigned his office and plead guilty to accepting $2.4 million in bribes in exchange for influencing defense contract legislation; money-raising scandals involve San Diego Councilmembers Ralph Inzunza and Michael Zucchet; Jack Abramoff admits to conspiracy to bribe public officials; Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his opponents spend over $270 million in last year’s special election; special interest money permeates our entire political system -- and the people who elect us have noticed!

A poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found that voters have lost faith in their elected officials. Sixty four percent of California’s likely voters believe that campaign contributions have had a negative effect on public policy decisions made in Sacramento - another 78% say that “the state government is run by a few big interests rather than the benefit of all the people.”

There is a better way.

In Arizona, those same feelings led to a voter revolt. In 1998, Arizona adopted a “Clean Money” system that allows candidates to run for office without taking a single dime of special interest money. Today, Clean Money is used equally by both Democratic and Republican candidates and has the support of reformers ranging from Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano to Republican US Senator John McCain. In a public service announcement Senator McCain declared, “Clean Elections works well to overcome the influence of special interests. It gives Arizonans the power to create good government.”

California now has a historic opportunity to enact a similar reform. Assembly Bill 583, approved by the State Assembly this week, will allow California’s candidates the option of “running Clean.” Freed from endless fundraising, candidates would be able to spend their time talking to voters and focusing on the needs and concerns of the people in their district rather than the contributors to their campaign.

The Clean Money system in Arizona has withstood nine court challenges – it has been upheld to be constitutional. The Clean Money system does not prevent millionaire candidates from running or forbid independent expenditures. Instead, the Clean Money system provides a dollar-for-dollar match to a Clean Money candidate faced with an independent expenditure campaign against them or a millionaire candidate who spends their own money. Matching funds provide a substantial disincentive for independent expenditures to be used at all, or for millionaire candidates to be recruited by the established political parties.

Clean Money opens the door for more politically diverse candidates to run for office. Since Arizona voters adopted Clean Money, the number of candidates in all races has gone up. Many of them say they would never run if Clean Money were not a choice for them. They want to work for the people… not spend their time dialing for dollars.

The success of Arizona’s Clean Money system and its continued support by the citizens of Arizona and both Democrat and Republican candidates speak to what is possible for restoring trust in government at the state level. In California civic organizations such as Common Cause and the League of Woman Voters have joined together to support AB 583 and to enact the Clean Money system to California.

We know the system works because it has already worked for eight years in Arizona. We know the need is great because we see the evidence of corruption and the loss of faith in our democracy.

Ultimately, this is about building the infrastructure of democracy. California needs a Clean Money system to restore the people’s faith in government.

To find out more about Clean Money or AB 583, visit CaClean.org or call 916-319-2014.

Monday, February 06, 2006

We Should Ban it Here Too!

Friends,
We are already looking into legislation to ban this horrible and inhumane treatment of animals.
ABC News Uncovers Blood Sport In Bay Area
California is known as a very progressive state in terms of animal rights. But the ABC 7 I-Team has uncovered a blood sport underway right here in the Bay Area, that's been banned in England.

See the full story by CLICKING HERE.

Friday, February 03, 2006

SF Chronicle takes stonger position on Clean Money!

Friends,
The momentum is growing and growing and growing!
A clean-money plan

HERE'S THE latest appalling statistic on money and California politics: More than $300 million was spent on eight initiatives that all failed last November.

It puts a new price tag on political futility, but it makes a bigger point. Elections are way too costly, letting big money take over where public debate should rule.

On the candidate side, money is chasing out competition and deadening voter interest. That's why a public-financing bill that cleared the Assembly holds promise. It seeks to cap runaway spending and equalize campaign budgets among rivals.

The measure, AB583 by Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, is on a shakedown cruise with the author's blessing. For now, the bill calls for state financing of as much as $1.5 million if a candidate forgoes the endless check-collecting from special interests who now rule Sacramento.

The Assembly-passed package is a starting point. Hancock expects the state Senate will come up with its variation on public financing before a conference committee of both chambers hammers out a final version to give to the governor. Voters would most likely have final say.

If you don't like the idea of state money for political campaigns, consider who pays for it now. California's statehouse campaigns aren't supported by average citizens writing grocery-bill checks. The money flows from public employee unions, industries and professional groups who all want favors, not tempered policy.

California politics needs lots of reforming. Redrawing political districts to restore competition and tough financial reporting rules are also good ideas. But a workable and fair system of public financing should also be considered to restore voter enthusiasm to a tainted process.

You can see the article in the SF Chronicle and thank them for their support by clicking HERE.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Momentum Is Growing!!!

Friends,
We are gaining momentum and the move is on! Thanks to your help, we have made a mighty impact and it is only going to grow stronger. Here is an article by George Skelton of the LA Times...
Bill Would Give the Public More Power to Buy Politicians
Legislators adamantly opposed to public financing of political campaigns — mainly conservatives — argued that citizens' liberties would be trampled. Besides, it wouldn't work: There's just no way to keep private money away from public policy.

Liberals decried the special-interest influence on policymaking and warned about the public's increasingly cynical view of politics and government. The solution: an infusion of public money to zap the clout of private investors.

Old stuff, with a new wrinkle: This time, a bill creating virtually a 100% public financing system for state political races was passed by the Assembly on a mostly party-line vote, 48 to 31, and sent to the Senate.

To be sure, this was the equivalent of a grade school "social promotion," where a student is passed and sent to the next higher class without really earning it. Tuesday was the legislative deadline for passing bills from their original house, so some Democrats closed their eyes Monday and waved this measure along, hoping it would just disappear on the south side of the Capitol rotunda.

Still, this was not a meaningless move. It marked a significant step toward urgently needed campaign finance reform — toward the people, rather than the private interests, buying the politicians.

"Everybody's worn out by this incessant fund-raising, the ceaseless dialing for dollars" the bill's author, Assemblywoman Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley), told me. "Everybody knows that it skews the system. Who do we work for? The people pay our salary. But then we are dependent on special interests to get elected."

Her solution — a product of the California Clean Money Campaign — would be strictly voluntary. Candidates could opt to let the public pay for their campaigns if they agreed to very tight spending limits. There'd be exceptions for candidates being trampled by big-bucks bullies.

You can read the rest of the article by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Some media about our success...

Friends,
I wanted to share more information with you about our first success. But the fight is not over, we have lots more to do! This excerpt is from the Contra Costa Times....
The much debated California Clean Money and Fair Elections Act of 2006, which passed with 47 of 48 Democrats voting in favor -- and no Republicans in support -- would be a voluntary program. But a candidate who chose not to participate and accepted outside donations would almost certainly face scrutiny -- and perhaps voter backlash.

"This is a historic victory in that the state of California has never even debated the merits of a public financing bill previously," said Eric Tang with the California Clean Money Campaign. "I think there's been a huge groundswell demand from the public to do something about the corruption scandals that are crippling our faith in public officials."

The measure, nearly identical to a law in Arizona, next heads to the Senate.

A previous measure failed in the state Legislature for lack of support in 2004, but the new bill, written by Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, found renewed interest following the November special election. That election, called by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, cost about $40 million in public money and incurred record spending -- as much as $300 million -- by the committees battling over the eight failed ballot measures.

"Polls show that respect for state government has gone down dramatically in the past year," Hancock told her colleagues on the Assembly floor. "Everyone recognizes we have a system in place that brings out the worst in almost everybody that participates in it."

You can read the rest of the article by clicking HERE.

Monday, January 30, 2006

AB 583 PASSES ASSEMBLY FLOOR!!

Friends!
The first hurdle has been reached and we cleared it! This is our official media advisory that I wanted to share with you.
Historic Campaign Finance Reform Legislation Passes State Assembly
Next Stop - the Senate
Sacramento, CA – For the first time in the history of the California Legislature, the issue of public financing of campaigns was passed by State Assembly. Today, AB 583, the California Clean Money and Fair Elections Act, by Assemblymember Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley/Oakland) was approved by the State Assembly by a 46-24 vote. The bill was amended to create a conference committee with members of both the Assembly and the Senate in order to craft the final details of the legislation.

AB 583 will establish the "Clean Money" system of public financing of campaigns similar to those in Maine and Arizona. That system allows any candidate who raises a substantial number of small contributions from individuals residing in the district and agrees not to take contributions from any special interest, to receive full public financing of their campaign.

"The public has lost faith in its elected officials. The cost of implementing this program pales in comparison to the cost of doing nothing. We must reform our electoral system and re-establish trust with the voters," said Hancock. A recent poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California found 64% of likely voters believe that campaign contributions have had a negative effect on the public policy decisions being made in Sacramento.

"I introduced the Clean Money legislation to provide a clear and innovative alternative to the deluge of big money in California politics. At a time when we are making budget decisions that will shape the future of every human being in our state, at a time where scandal on Capitol Hill has shown the abuses of special interest money, we can no longer ignore the corrosive influence of money on the legislative process. Clean Money - public financing of campaigns - is an idea whose time has come," concluded Hancock.

It just goes to show, that with your loyalty and support, we can accomplish anything!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Nurses Association Is Joining the Fight!

Friends,
The Nurses Association is joining the fight for a Clean Money system. Together, with all our hard work, a Clean Money system for financing campaigns will be a reality. Here is an article by Lisa Vorderbrueggen of the Contra Costa Times detailing their effort.
Nurses Association targets lobbyists with new initiative
Flush with success after the special election showdown with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the California Nurses Association has filed an initiative petition that would establish public financing of campaigns and bar contributions from corporations and lobbyists.
After the Attorney General's Office prepares the title and summary, the CNA has 150 days to collect roughly 600,000 signatures in order to qualify for the ballot.
The petition roughly mirrors AB 583 by Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, which would create a voluntary "clean money" program in California. In addition, the initiative prohibits corporations and lobbyists from contributing to candidates who opt out of public campaign financing.
CNA Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro of Walnut Creek endorses Hancock's bill, but she is not optimistic that legislators will pass it or that Schwarzenegger will sign it.
DeMoro predicts, however, that the CNA will obtain the necessary signatures through the use of its statewide nurses' network and that voters will overwhelming approve the initiative in November.
"Working people have been cut out of the legislative process," said DeMoro. "Legislators cater to corporations and lobbyists that write big checks. It's time to level the playing field."
Ultimately, the CNA believes electoral reform is key to passing universal health care in California. "As long as corporations control the process through money, we will never see health care reform," she said.
The California Hospital Association, which represents private hospitals, had no comment regarding the petition.
The initiative would fund public campaign financing with either a surcharge on oil drilling or banking transactions

Friday, January 20, 2006

YEAH!

Friends,

We are on our way to making the Clean Money System a reality! This article from the Associated Press details our recent victory...

Measure seeking public financing of campaigns passes committee

SACRAMENTO - A proposal seeking public financing of political campaigns passed a key committee Thursday and was sent to the full Assembly.

The measure, patterned after systems in use in Arizona and Maine, would provide public money for candidates who voluntarily give up outside contributions.

"The public has lost faith in its elected officials," Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkely, said in a statement. "The cost of implementing this program pales in comparison to the cost of doing nothing."

The Assembly Appropriations Committee approved the bill, AB583, with 13 Democrats supporting it and all five Republicans opposed. The measure would go to the Senate if approved by the full Assembly.

It ultimately would require voter approval, perhaps being placed on the June 2008 ballot.

An analysis by committee staff estimated that public financing could cost tens of millions of dollars in each election cycle if a large number of candidates participated.

Thank you again for all your support.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

THURSDAY IS THE HISTORIC VOTE!

Friends,

The day has come. Assembly Bill 583 The California Clean Money and Fair Elections Act of will be heard today in Assembly Appropriations Committee and voted on Thursday. AB 583 allows any candidate who raises a substantial number of small contributions from individuals residing in the district and agrees not to take contributions from any source, to receive full public financing of their campaign.

With AB 583 we finally establish a “Clean Money” system of public financing of elections similar to those in Maine and Arizona.

Ultimately, if we truly want a government by and for the people…our campaigns have to be paid for by the people

The cost to implement this program is considerable. But the cost to do nothing is completely unacceptable. I have introduced the Clean Money legislation to provide a clear and innovative alternative to the deluge of big money in California politics.

At a time when we are making budget decisions that will shape the future of every human being in our state, at a time where scandal on Capitol Hill has shown the abuses of special interest money, we can no longer ignore the corrosive distortion of money on the legislative process. Clean Money, or the public financing of campaigns, is an idea whose time has come.

And with your support, we will prevail!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Clean Up Sacramento - An Editorial from the SF Chronicle

Friends,

We are clearly gaining momentum in our effort to clean up politics in this great state of ours. And it all starts in Sacramento with the Clean Money System. I want to thank you for all your help.

Today is we will see a very critical vote in the Assembly Elections Committee, I hope to have your support and the support of the Committee.

Here is the editorial from the SF Chronicle:
THE 2003 RECALL of Gov. Gray Davis did nothing to lift the pull of special interests in Sacramento. It merely changed the roster of monied interests that have clout in the governor's office.

California legislators, meanwhile, remain a portrait of dysfunction -- their priorities contorted and their fortitude vaporized by their obsession with campaign contributions. Assembly members, in particular, are notorious for "taking walks" on tough votes -- and sometimes even switching their votes after the fact -- to appease contributors.

Elected officials in Sacramento spent far too much time on fund-raising, including in periods of peak legislative activity when the foul scent of "quid pro quo" taints the transactions.

This contamination of our democratic process with special interest has reached the point where this state must give serious consideration to proposals for public financing of campaigns. Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, has proposed a "clean money" system modeled after public-finance programs in Maine and Arizona. Hancock's AB583, which faces a critical vote this week in the Assembly Elections Committee, must reach the Senate by month's end to remain alive for the session.

Hancock's bill contains several unresolved issues, starting with how the state would pay for it. Also, some campaign veterans question whether the spending limits on certain races -- a $250,000 baseline for an Assembly candidate, for example -- are sufficient in some cases. That limit can be raised up to $1.5 million if the "clean money" candidate is facing a self-financed wealthy candidate who eschews the voluntary public-finance system.

To those Californians who may be reluctant to have their hard-earned tax dollars spent on political campaigns, we offer this thought: There are many special interests out there that are only too eager to pick up the tab. And their "special interests" often involve your tax dollars.


You can read more about it in the SF Chronicle by clicking here: SF Chronicle Editorial

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

More Evidence Supporting a Clean Money System!

Friends,

Disturbing news about the Jack Abramoff scandal further highlights the need for publicly financing campaigns. This is diabolical case of the undue influence of campaign contributions and lobbyists in exchange for lucrative government contracts and legislative deals that defrauded a Native American Tribe and the public interest of the American people.

This story truly demonstrates how campaign contributions have had corrosive effect on Capitol Hill.

Read the story here: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1153AP_Lobbyist_Fraud_Timeline.html

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Tired of Politics as Usual?

Friends,

I would like to invite you to be a part of re-creating our political dynamic. I will be holding a Town Hall meeting on the Clean Money system of publicly financing elections in California. Simply put, the Clean Money system allows people to run for office without taking a single dime of special interest campaign contributions. With Clean Money, candidates demonstrating broad public support can choose to receive public funding to run competitive campaigns. Clean Money has been working in Maine and Arizona and has lowered overall campaign spending, freed candidates from incessant fundraising, increased turnout, and encouraged a qualified diverse group of candidates to run for office.

Clean Money is the only solution that eliminates the corrosive influence of money on public policy. It is the only solution to turn around cynicism in our democracy. It is the only solution that will make legislators beholden to the people that elected them... you.

Please Join Me in recreating our democratic process:

SATURDAY January 7th, 2006
11:00AM – 2:00pm
Oakland City Hall, Council Chambers
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, between 14th and 15th Streets at Clay Street.

Please call (510) 559-1406 if you have any questions.

Thank you!