Friday, March 31, 2006

On Energy Policy and Pombo Mailings

Pombo's seems to be stepping up his mailings again. Several Democrats in the district that I've talked to have noticed an increase in Pombo, tax-payer funded mail recently. One in particular that I got my hands on is truly priceless. The headline reads "North American Energy Independence By 2025" and it's a nicely done propaganda piece (at our expense.) Call me crazy, but I have a hard time believing or trusting a Texas oil-man like George Bush or an oil company funded politician like Richard Pombo to bring about "North American Energy Independence" EVER. The Republican Culture of Corruption is reliant on oil companies and corporate special interests.

My favorite part of Pombo's three-step plan is step 3, which is supposed to deal with long term energy independence. Pombos long term solution - Tax Breaks. I'm guessing the logic is if you give people money they'll ignore the fact that oil companies have basically bought the republican majority and are creating America's energy policy. The republican plan to deal with energy independence amounts to a pledge to 'stay the course.' More drilling, more subsidies for oil companies, higher gas prices, and record oil profits. So when you think energy independence or a healthy environment to raise your kids in, pombo wants you to think about a tax break. As his tax payer funded piece reads, "Did you know the Energy Policy Act Congressman Pombo helped write can save you money at tax time?"

My other favorite part of this tax payer funded mailer is that Pombo provides "Money Saving Tips" for constituents, including but certainly not limited to; "Don't Drive Aggressively," "Reduce Air Conditioner Use," and "Turn Down Your Thermostat.' Don't you love being told how to save money and reduce energy use by someone who makes you pay for his vacation, cars, and gives tax break and subsidies to oil companies out of your pocket?

If you don't get the irony yet of Pombo dealing with energy independence maybe this will help;

From Pombo In Their Pocket:

"Richard Pombo has taken over $199,786 in campaign contributions from developers and real estate interests ( He is also one of the largest recipients of oil and gas cash in the entire Congress, taking in nearly $85,000 in his last campaign ( It should be no surprise, therefore, that Pombo has written legislation to benefit big developers, proposed drilling for oil off the coast of California and even proposed selling off 15 national parks to benefit his special interest cronies.

Pombo also has what's known as a leadership PAC, called of all things RICHPAC. RICHPAC took over $400,000 in contributions in 2004 from lobbyists and developers. His most notorious contribution came from the indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff who gave him the legal limit of $5,000. Go to and see the entire list of contributors.

Top Industries Supporting Richard Pombo in 2004:
Oil & Gas
Crop Production & Basic Processing
Lawyers/Law Firms
Electric Utilities
Real Estate
Forestry & Forest Products
Misc. Transport
$19,181" (Source)





If you're wondering why I said stepped up his mailings AGAIN, this'll help;


"Pombo Sent Partisan Mailing Paid for by Taxpayers Less than One Month Before 2004 Election. As chairman of the House Resources Committee, Pombo used taxpayer money to send out a partisan mailing less than a month before the 2004 election. The 175,000-piece mass mailing went out to residents of Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin and Wyoming and highlighted the politically charged issue of snowmobiles in national parks. The mailing, which used Bush's name five times, vowed that the committee "and the Bush administration are working together to protect your right to ride" on public lands - phrasing that critics charged was intended to persuade voters rather than inform constituents. Recently, lawmakers slapped a $5,000 postage cap on all committees and tightened advance review rules. [Sacramento Bee, 3/17/05; Roll Call, 4/4/05; Contra Costa Times, 5/1/05]

Pombo Asked for Franked Mail Budget 800% Greater Than Any Other Committee. As chairman of the House Resources Committee, Pombo has asked for a franked mail budget of $500,000 for the 108th Congress - of which he received $100,000, an 800 percent increase over the panel's 107th Congress allocation.

Recently, lawmakers have slapped a $5,000 postage cap on all committees and tightened advance review rules. Pombo's mail spending was the reason for the new cap. According to Congressional Quarterly Today, "the restrictions follow a partisan dust-up last year in which Democrats accused Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo of abusing his panel's franking privilege by sending favorable newsletters to the districts of Republicans in close races."
[Sacramento Bee, 3/17/05; Congressional Quarterly Today, 4/21/05]" (Source)

And if you're interested in real Energy Policy, Clean Energy, and Energy Independence; Jerry McNerney has a plan.

Jerry's Energy Policy is what George Lakoff would call a strategic initiative, meaning it would have implications for far more then just energy policy in the same way that conservatives' tax cuts for the rich lead to cuts in social programs and other benifits and "tort reform" leads to unlimited corporate power to do harm to consumers without repercussions, as well as cuts out a major source of funding for the Democratic Party. The obvious difference is that the implications to Jerry McNerney's plan would be positive and progressive and could seriously strengthen our country on so many levels. This to me, shows that Jerry McNerney has vision, and strategy (not to mention expertise.) It also shows that he knows how to frame the debate which is absolutely necessary in facing Pombo, former recipient of the Luntzie.

Jerry's Energy Policy will create jobs and help our economy, create economic stability and strengthen our national security by reducing dependence on foreign oil, and create a cleaner, safer environment and better health as a result. I encourage you to read more about Jerry McNerney's Clean Energy Innovation Here.

From Jerry McNerney's Energy Page;

"The United States needs a "sustainable energy" plan because our economy depends on it, our environmental health requires it, and our position as a global leader requires it. We need a new model for the future and leadership on this issue now, before our reliance on fossil fuels results in a catastrophic collapse of the economy or the environment, or a large scale international conflict over the world's oil reserves.

A central feature of such a plan will be to quickly and significantly reduce our consumption of fossil fuels while promoting a more prosperous economy. Reducing our use of fossil fuels is critical to the long-term national security of the United States, the strength of our economy, the health of our children, and the future of the global environment. Most of the technologies needed to reshape our energy future are at hand; what's lacking is the political will to use them. We can't drill our way out of oil dependency, we have to invent our way out of it. American ingenuity can drive the process and new American jobs will be the dividend.

Jerry McNerney's plan for America's energy future starts with these major steps

Dramatically increase the fuel efficiency of new vehicles.
Provide more public transportation and encourage its use.
Establish federal leadership to increase the efficiency of buildings and electrical appliances building on successful energy-efficiency programs now in place in states like California, New York, and Washington.
Provide clear, reliable incentives (and eliminate disincentives) for the development of renewable energy sources.
Upgrade the nation's electrical infrastructure to be more efficient and reliable.
End subsidies for fossil fuel extraction and instead invest the savings in research and development for renewables as well as efficiency improvement programs.
Reassert U.S. leadership in reducing energy-related pollution, including the generation of greenhouse gases. " (Source)

Monday, March 27, 2006



March 21 , 2006

CONTACT: Mark Longabaugh 202-682-9400


Washington, D.C. – Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund today criticized Representative Richard Pombo (R-CA) for wasting taxpayer money leasing a luxury Lincoln automobile using his congressional office budget.

“It’s outrageous that Richard Pombo last year argued for selling off 15 national parks to generate revenue to lower the federal budget while he wastes taxpayer dollars on a “free luxury ride” in his government paid for Lincoln,” said Rodger Schlickeisen, the president of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.

“Coming after reports about Pombo’s abuse of taxpayer funds to rent a camper for a family vacation, this latest abuse is another shameful example of Mr. Pombo’s arrogant attitude of entitlement. At a time when the cost of living for Californians continues to rise, Mr. Pombo seems to think the taxpayers owe him a “free ride” – whether it’s a luxury car or a free vacation,” said Schlickeisen.

Pombo’s free luxury ride was reported last week in the Kansas City Star and Detroit Free Press. According to those reports, Rep. Pombo leases a Lincoln automobile for $7,086.36 per year and pays for it from his congressional office account. Those news reports pointed out that a member of Congress could lease less expensive cars through the General Services Administration where the government negotiates bulk leases. A four-door sedan can be leased for $258 a month or $3,096 a year.

“Richard Pombo has become so entangled with rich lobbyists and special interests in Washington he has lost sight of responsible public service. With a string of ethical lapses and insider special interest dealing in recent months, it’s no wonder Mr. Pombo was named one of the thirteen most corrupt members of Congress by the watchdog group, Committee for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington,” said Schlickeisen.

Affiliated with Defenders of Wildlife, the Defenders Action Fund is 501(c)(4) organization created to provide the wildlife conservation community with a stronger voice in the political process. For more information, see" (Source)

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Tues. March 28, 2006, 1PM
McCloskey-Benigno Debate
"DEBATE - San Ramon
San Ramon Community Center
12501 Alcosta Boulevard(Terrace Room)" (Source)
More Info Here.

Fri. March 31, 2006, 7PM
Robert Kennedy, Jr. to speak at MJC

"Modesto Junior College will present attorney, author and environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. speaking on “Our Environmental Destiny” on Friday, March 31, 2006 at 7 p.m. in the MJC Gymnasium on East Campus, located at 435 College Avenue in Modesto.
General admission tickets are $10 and student and senior citizen tickets are $8." (Source)
More Info Here.

Thurs., April 6, 2006 7PM
"The East Bay Young Democrats presents:
Speed Candidating 2006
Candidates in six local races on the June ballot will address our issuesand answer our questions. Find out where they stand on universal healthcare, clean and fair elections, affordable housing, and long walks on thebeach.

Confirmed speakers:
Assembly District 16: Ronnie Caplane, John Russo, Sandre Swanson
Oakland Mayor: Nancy Nadel, and representatives for Ignacio De La Fuente and Ron Dellums
Assembly District 18: Mary Hayashi, Bill McCammon
Senate District 10: Ellen Corbett, John Dutra, Johan Klehs
Congressional District 11: Steve Filson, Jerry McNerney, Steve Thomas
Secretary of State: Debra" (Source)
More Info Here.

Wed., April 19, 2006, 7PM
Diablo Valley Democratic Club presents U.S. Congressional Dist. 11 Candidate's Forum
Mt. Diablo Unitarian Church
55 Eckley Lane
Walnut Creek CA (Source)
More Info Here.

April 27-30, 2006
2006 California Democratic Party and California Young Democrats Convention in Sacramento
More Info Here.

Pombo Events

RecordNet: Pombo sponsoring seminars on new drug plan

"» Tracy: Noon to 3 p.m. March 31; Lolly Hansen Senior Center, 375 E. Ninth St.
» Stockton: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 10; O'Connor Woods, 3400 Wagner Heights Road
» San Ramon: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 29; San Ramon Senior Center, 9300 Alcosta Blvd." (Source)
More Info Here.

Recent Events

Jerry McNerney's Blog:
"March against HR4437

UOP Dean Margee Ensign (2nd from left), McNerney campaign mgr AJ Carillo (right), and several of Dr Ensign's students from UOP as they were about to begin their march in solidarity with Latinos opposed to HR4437 in a massive rally in Stockton at about 9am this morning. Rally organizers estimated attendance would not exceed 300; one policeman said his estimate of attendance was 3,000-4,000 - the largest protest ever in Stockton's history.

Many members of both the McCloskey and McNerney campaigns - the Fighting Irish - joined forces and were led in chants of "Hey hey ho ho Richard Pombo has got to go!" by rally organizers. Pete and Helen McCloskey (not shown) were asked by organizers to march at the front of the huge line, 3-4 abreast, that snaked for over a mile through the streets of Stockton." (Source and referenced picture)

Also, Read coverage and View Additional Photos at Pombo Watch.

The HR4437 protest wasn't the only event going on yesterday, there was also a
Defeat Pombo Meeting;

"The San Joaquin, Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara County Central Committee Chairs have formed a Committee, DefeatPombo06. The meeting will be attended by 11th Congressional District candidates, Democratic Club leaders, Union leaders, labor, other organizations and individuals interested in unseating Richard Pombo in the 2006 mid term election. At this meeting we will plan our strategy which includes voter registration, organization, sharing information and coordinating county efforts." (Source)
Keep an eye on SayNoToPombo, Matt blogged that he was going to that meeting, so I imagine he'll report back there.

For more on Defeat Pombo Click Here.

On the recent DFA Training Academy in Stockton;
ContraCostaTimes: Democrats hold camp to train election activists

"Jim Dean, brother of ex-presidential candidate and Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean, will deliver opening remarks today at a campaign activist training camp in Stockton, a site chosen because it's in one of a dozen congressional districts that Democrats hope to seize from Republicans this year.

"Absolutely, we're in Stockton for a reason and that's Richard Pombo," said program director and East Bay Democracy for America volunteer Kathy Klein, referring to the seven-term incumbent Republican congressman.

Nearly 200 people have signed up for the Democracy for America Training Academy, the only California stop scheduled this year. DFA is a grass-roots network formed by Howard Dean as part of his 2004 presidential run. Jim Dean took over after his brother left to head up the Democratic Party.

The two-day, $60 conference at the University of the Pacific will offer
workshops on everything from setting up a phone bank and managing the media, to raising money.


Instructors will include Daniel Chavez, field director for state Treasurer Phil Angelides' campaign for governor, and Ralph Miller, executive director of Latinos for America." (Source)
More Here.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Endorsements and Promotions

Some recent endorsements and a promotion I wanted to point out:

"Tri-Valley Democratic Club Endorses McNerney" (Source)

"VPO endorses Republican Pete McCloskey for June 6th Primary" (Source)

"Pombo on the Ag Committee" (Source)

-Since everybody is doing endorsements right now as the primaries approach, I guess I'll do the same.

Progressive 11th Blog Endorses Jerry McNerney for Congress.

I've been openly supportive of Jerry McNerney since the inception of this blog and very much so skeptical of Steve Filson and the way he was dropped on us by the DCCC. As stated initially, the goal of this blog is to help create a more progressive 11th congressional district.

Despite the fact that I voted for Jerry McNerney in 2004, I tried to keep an open mind about the various candidates who entered and exited the race and have tried to keep in mind the goal of a progressive 11th.

We've had some truly remarkable progressive candidates in the race besides Jerry McNerney; Margee Ensign, Scott Chacon, Steve Thomas, and even Pete McCloskey. Each of them in my opinion have their advantages and disadvantages, but none of the Democratic candidates in the race have been able to come close to Jerry McNerney as far as the Strength, Activeness, and Organization of his Grassroots Campaign and Support (Small Donors, volunteers, Energy, Name Recognition, Diverse/Broad Coalition), as far as Vision for the 11th CD and America (Energy Independence, Clean Energy/Environment, Job Creation, Lobbying Reform), Character (Honesty, Integrity, Principle) and Positions On the Issues (Labor, Environment, Healthcare, Foreign Policy, Reproductive Freedom).

Steve Filson was supposed to have an advantage as a result of being chosen by the Democratic Party establishment, this hasn't proven to be true at any level. Jerry McNerney has earned the support of the party grassroots, local Democratic clubs, progressives, and labor (just compare endorsement pages.) He's been competitive as far as fundraising, without help from the establishment, the DLC, the DCCC, or Washington insiders, and with small, grassroots contributions. He's built an effective campaign from the ground up, the way it should be and has empowered and inspired countless activists and vollunteers, including my self. Jerry McNerney is the Strong, Principled, Progressive Democrat in the race, Progressive 11th Blog Supports him for the Democratic Primary and Beyond encourages others to join and/or support Jerry McNerney for Congress as the Democratic Candidate to take on Richard Pombo.

Visit Jerry McNerney's webpage.
Volunteer for Jerry McNerney for Congress.
Contribute to Jerry McNerney for Congress.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

News, Upcoming Events, and Stuff.

-"Democratic candidates to be at March 20 forum"
CCTimes: The Tri-Valley Democratic Club will host a forum March 20 for eight Democratic candidates in the region's contested Assembly, Senate and congressional primary races.
Congressional District 11's Democratic primary features three challengers, none of whom have served in public office: Steve Filson, Gerald McNerney and Steve Thomas.The winner would take on seven-term incumbent Richard Pombo, R-Tracy., who has two primary opponents, including former Peninsula congressman Pete McCloskey Jr. and Thomas Benigno. A Libertarian, Ralph Hoffman, also has filed candidacy papers.
The event begins at 7 p.m., March 20, at the IBEW Hall, 6250 Village Parkway in Dublin. For more information, call 925-443-3366. (More...-At-Source)

-"Congressman Pombo's Traveling Help Desk Will Be In Tracy"

I got a letter in the mail from my dear congressman. Pombo staff will be answering questions and listening to individuals concerns on a variety of issues on March 27 (11am-1pm) at the Tracy Community Center (300 E. 11th St. - Main Hall), in Tracy.

-"Religious Leaders Launch Campaign to Rescue Endangered Species Act from Congressional Dismantling"
"A multi-faith alliance of religious leaders that includes leading Evangelical Christians as well as Jews and Protestants today launched a national print, radio, and television advertising campaign alerting people of faith to potential dismantling of the Endangered Species Act, America ’s modern-day ark to save God’s creatures." (Source)

Noah Alliance Press Release Available Here.

-Nearly 6000 American Scientists Claim "Science in The Endangered Species Act is Threatened" Under Pombo Rewrite.
"Over 5,700 scientists with biological expertise from across the county
have joined an important effort to ensure that the Endangered Species Act
(ESA)—the cornerstone of the United States' most basic environmental protections—continues to conserve biodiversity by using the best available science. The Letter from Biologists to the U.S. Senate Concerning Science in the Endangered Species Act highlights the importance of independent scientific principles that are critical to species

As legislation makes its way through Congress that could severely undermine the ESA's scientific principles, a strong, unified statement from biological experts and letters from activists to the U.S. Senate helps protect the
ESA's scientific underpinnings and ensure that endangered species policy and practice will continue to conserve biodiversity." (Source)

Read The Letter Here.

-Pombo's Private Trips
According to the Contra Costa Times, Pombo;
"took two trips worth more than $16,000 paid for by a foundation run and funded by commercial hunting and fishing interests.

That organization, called the International Foundation for the
Conservation of Natural Resources, sent Pombo on a five-day trip to New Zealand in 2000 for an international wildlife conference and to a Japan whaling convention in 2002.

In return for the payment, Pombo delivered speeches to an arm of the
foundation that consisted of various leaders interested in promoting
international policies of sustainable fishing and hunting.

"I was planning on attending these conferences anyway," Pombo said,
"and rather than bill the taxpayers, this foundation agreed to pay. I didn't see anything wrong with it."" (Source)

-"Panel chief clears Pombo aide's travel"
"Ding qualifies for reimbursement of travel from California to Washington because "it is travel away from home," chairman Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers, R-Michigan, wrote...
The aide, Steven J. Ding, is chief of staff to the House Resources
Committee, which Pombo, R-Tracy, chairs. Ding has spent roughly $87,000 on airfare, lodging and food on travel between California and Capital Hill since Pombo became resources chairman in 2003.
Still at issue are several years of Ding's financial disclosure statements, which he said in January contained inaccurate information about his outside political consulting work. The house Ethics Committee has yet to comment on the matter." (More...-At-Source)

-Also, there's some good recent blogs at Pombo Watch, Say No To Pombo, Down With Tyranny and Jerry McNerney's Blog.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Candidate Filing Statuses Tell Story

The California Secretary of State's website has the recent candidate filing statuses up for the June 6 primary election.

First off, the McNerney campaign's grassroots strength is evident in the fact that Jerry McNerney has topped the list in the number of signatures in lieu of filing fee collected for house races in California with 1661 signatures collected. The filing status listed for McNerney is qualified.

Steve Thomas, Pete McCloskey, Richard Pombo, and Tom Benigno have also all qualified. With the exception of Jerry McNerney who collected the most signatures (for house races, statewide), the other 5 candidates chose to pay the $1600 filing fee or the majority of it.

This is where it starts to get interesting. Steve Filson did not collect a single signature in lieu of filing fee. (*as earlier sec of state update) That's not that interesting, right? Perhaps he preferred to pay $1,600 instead of walking precincts to collect signatures like the other candidates. Fair enough, he's not necessarily running grassroots operation like McNerney anyways.

Here's where it gets more interesting. It also takes 40-60 nomination signatures to qualify. No problem, right? Steve Filson only has 14 nominating signatures. Whether from inability to find 40 supporters or sloppyness, it doesn't help his perception problem. His status is currently listed as pending. I called the Secretary of State's office and they said he was short and only had 14, but that they had just recieved 37 signatures that were about to be entered in to the computer system.

Screen shot 12:30 am update.

*As I was about to publish this, I checked again for an update. According the Secretary of State's Website, "As of 3/15/06 5:00 p.m." it looks like Filson turned in 37, NOT nominating signatures, but 37 signatures in lieu of filing fee, which can be used as nominating signatures. If this is accurate, the fact of the matter is that Filson couldn't get 40 nominating signatures.

After 5 PM Update:

screen shot of 5pm update

Filing Status As of 5pm 3/15
Filing Status As of 12:30am 3/15

*Update: The latest update from the secretary of states website is up, "As of 3/16/06 9:30 a.m".
According to this update, Filson has now qualified, and has 37 signatures in lieu of filing fee, as well as 40 nominating signatures.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"Two Million Member Labor Federation Endorses McNerney"

Here's confirmation on the recent McNerney endorsement, the following text was in the recent Jerry McNerney for Congress Newsletter email;

"Two Million Member Labor Federation Endorses McNerney

The California Labor Federation announced its endorsement of Jerry McNerney for Congress at its Pre-Primary Convention in Oakland. Over five hundred delegates from around the state came to vote on labor's official endorsement for elected offices from Governor, to state and federal offices, and ballot measures.

The Federation is the umbrella group for labor in the state, and includes both AFL-CIO and Change to Win unions. The Federation has pledged to put its powerful campaign resources behind Jerry to defeat Richard Pombo in November."

Here's an article on the endorsement from The Record.


On a side note, Phil Angelides was endorsed by the California Labor Federation AFL-CIO over DLC democrat, Steve Westly for Governor of California. (Source) Congrats to Angelides as well.

*Updated 3/16: I just wanted to add; Matt over at Say No To Pombo has an excellent analysis of the major labor endorsement for McNerney. Read it Here.

"Enough of the D.C. Dems"

I recommend reading it at the Source, in it's entirety.

Molly Ivins: Enough of the D.C. Dems

"Mah fellow progressives, now is the time for all good men and women to come to
the aid of the party. I don’t know about you, but I have had it with the D.C.
Democrats, had it with the DLC Democrats, had it with every calculating,
equivocating, triangulating, straddling, hair-splitting son of a bitch up


Here are three they should stick to:

1) Iraq is making terrorism worse; it’s a breeding ground. We need to
extricate ourselves as soon as possible. We are not helping the Iraqis by
2) Full public financing of campaigns so as to drive the
moneylenders from the halls of Washington.
3) Single-payer health insurance.


This is not a time for a candidate who will offend no
one; it is time for a candidate who takes clear stands and kicks ass.


I am tired of having the party nomination decided before the first
primary vote is cast, tired of having the party beholden to the same old
Establishment money.

We can raise our own money on the Internet, and we
know it. Howard Dean raised $42 million, largely on the web, with a late start
when he was running for President, and that ain't chicken feed. If we double
it, it gives us the lock on the nomination. So let's go find a good candidate
early and organize the shit out of our side.""
It was hard not to post the whole thing, go read it Here.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Round-Up On The Candidates

San Francisco Chronicle: "The Bay Area's only competitive congressional race is expected to be in a district that sprawls from Contra Costa County to the Central Valley, where three Democrats are vying to take on Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy.

Liberal interest in this November's elections is being driven largely by the "netroots" -- people who became politically active during the Internet-driven 2004 presidential campaign of Howard Dean and, locally, as part of Green Party candidate Matt Gonzalez's 2003 mayoral run in San Francisco.

"It's a nationwide phenomenon," said Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of Berkeley, whose is the nation's largest political blog, with 600,000 daily visitors. "And it's especially true around here, where the Pombo race is the most competitive race within a million miles of Berkeley.

"More people are realizing that they can't just get involved every four years," said Zuniga, who bought five new servers in anticipation of interest in election night 2006. " (more-at-source)



McCloskey continues to get plenty of press nationally.


A Round-Up On Pombo and Pombo Related News Items

"U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton, who pushed to expand oil drilling, mining, cattle grazing and logging on millions of acres of federal lands over the past five years, announced her resignation Friday.
Norton worked to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling but was blocked by moderate Republicans in Congress last year. She also allowed snowmobiles back into Yellowstone National Park, overturning a Clinton-era rule
Norton leaves office at a time when her agency was increasingly tied to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

``The secretary held one of the most difficult Cabinet positions and did so with grace and composure,'' Pombo said.
(More at [Source - San Jose Mercury])

"Norton received $50,000 from Jack Abramoff, and Abramoff also funneled more than $500,000 to one of Norton’s former political aides, Italia Federici, to gain access to her department.

Here’s a photo to remember her by (note Abramoff on the far
" (Source)


"The House approved a bill Wednesday night that would wipe out state laws on safety labeling of food, overriding tough rules passed by California voters two decades ago that require food producers to warn consumers about cancer-causing ingredients.

The vote was a victory for the food industry, which has
lobbied for years for national standards for food labeling and contributed millions of dollars to lawmakers' campaigns. But consumer groups and state regulators warned that the bill would undo more than 200 state laws, including California's landmark Proposition 65, that protect public health.
The Bay Area's 12 Democratic members opposed the bill, while Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, supported it." (Source)

Environmental Science and Technology Online:
Hidden ties - Big environmental changes backed by big industry - Lobbyists and industry officials who once pushed for the president’s Healthy Forests legislation now collaborate with Rep. Pombo to alter the Endangered Species Act.

The Record:

"Rep. Richard Pombo of Tracy this week became the latest lawmaker in Congress to get a new treasurer for his political action committee, part of a growing trend in Washington that has become one side effect of the ethics scandals gripping the Capitol.

But both Pombo's old and new treasurers work for the same powerful lobby shop, a massive firm whose clients have contributed at least $10,000 to his campaigns since 2003. The new treasurer, however, is not a registered lobbyist.
...Until Tuesday, Pombo's Rich PAC was run by Barbara Bonfiglio of the mega-lobbying firm Williams & Jensen. Bonfiglio was a lobbyist until 2001 and is an authority on election law. She has managed 31 separate political action committees, according to the Center for Public Integrity. Federal records show Bonfiglio was also treasurer for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's leadership PAC.
Several of the firm's clients have contributed either to
Rich PAC or to Pombo's campaign account, including: Smithfield Foods, $1,000; Florida Power & Light, $2,500; Bayer, $2,000; Brinks Co., $1,500; DuPont,
$1,000; and Edison Electrical Institute, $2,000." (Source)

For more news from this past week and for more on some of these stories Pombo Watch has a good blog here.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Pombo's "Refreshing" Tax Payer Funded Vacation

It's got to be refreshing to be able to hand out talking points to your cronies and whistle when you need them to defend you publicly from your latest scandal.

Regarding Pombo's now famous tax payer funded vacation:

Pombo spokesman Brian Kennedy: “Frankly, I think it should be refreshing for people to know that Chairman Pombo is the kind of guy who will jump behind the wheel of an RV and drive 5,000 miles to see … and learn about the national parks that taxpayers pay him to oversee,”

Larry Hite, president of the Tracy Rotary Club: "Actually, I found it rather refreshing to hear that an elected public official was getting out and actually seeing this country on his own and viewing our land and its resources from the layman’s view. "

JEAN SAGOUSPE, president - Westlands Water District - Los Banos: "This a refreshing approach from a committee that has jurisdiction over the largest physical territory of any committee in Congress, more than 9,643,440 kilometers of total land and water area and 30,337.5 kilometers of coastline."

Thursday, March 09, 2006

California Labor Federation to endorse Jerry McNerney for Congress

According to a credible source, The California Labor Federation (AFL-CIO) is endorsing Jerry McNerney for Congress. There has been no official announcement yet. Jerry McNerney has already received the endorsement of both the San Joaquin and Alameda Central Labor Councils as well as a number of other labor endorsements. The Cal Labor Fed endorsement would be a gain in terms of not only getting the big California labor endorsement, but as far as fundraising, credibility, boots on the ground, and continuing the theme of McNerney getting the local and grassroots support and Filson being supported primarily by beltway insiders and entrenched politicians.

'Some Clark backers upset by endorsement'

I saw this coming...

The Hill: Some Clark backers upset by endorsement

"Retired Gen. Wesley Clark's endorsement of Democratic congressional candidate Steve Filson on Monday has caused ripples within the ranks of former Clark volunteers who support Filson's primary opponent, Jerry McNerney.

McNerney ran as a last-minute, write-in Democratic candidate in 2004 against Rep. Richard Pombo (R), helped largely by efforts of volunteers from East Bay for Clark. The grassroots organization's 900 members worked on Clark's unsuccessful bid for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.

"Those that I have spoken with range from outraged to confused to bewildered that this has happened," said Claire Nelson, a former fundraiser and organizer with East Bay for Clark. "I was very, very much in the Wes Clark camp. He was the most wonderful man until this happened."" (Source)


I'm not sure about Wes Clark's contact info, but here's his WESPAC contact page.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Wes Clark to Endorse Steve Filson

According to Nick Juliano's blog (Tracy Press), Wes Clark will endorse Steve Filson. As Juliano points out, this is a high profile endorsement. It'll be interesting to see how much Clark campaigns for Filson before the June Primary, whether this endorsement comes with money from Clark's Securing America PAC, and whether Clark supporters will follow. In 2004, Clark supporters as well as Dean supporters, were very much so active in trying to get John Kerry elected, as well as in supporting Jerry McNerney for Congress, locally and nationally. Although Clark is certainly in touch with his supporters and the democratic and progressive grassroots and netroots, he's another establishment figure to add to Filson's list of top heavy support. Clark has become a key consultant for party leaders on foreign policy and the war in Iraq.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

McCloskey Interview With

This was supposed to be part of the last blog but I couldn't make it work, so it's here. Here's the Interview. He discusses corruption, the environment, local issues and more.

Here's a sampling:

KW: Getting back to Republican values, what are the worst examples of Pombo's corruption?

McCloskey: His corruption: Here's a man, Jack Abramoff with his K Street Lobbying project, who has given all this money to Pombo - $54,500. Well, we say, what? Why Pombo? Why would Mr. Abramoff bestow this largess on Pombo? Why would Pombo's staff get these thousand-dollar seats to this skybox? What did he give up for that? We don't know the answer to that yet, the grand jury or the federal attorney hasn't told us, but one example is the Marianas Islands. Abramoff started in the 1990s to try to shield the Marianas Islands from US immigration and labor laws. A man named Willie Tan, who ran this sweatshop operation, brought in young women from all over China and Southeast Asia and the other islands, saying: "Come to America and sign this paper that you'll pay $5,000 for the privilege of going to America." Well, they got them to the Marianas Islands, which is a US trust territory, which can use the label "Made in America" on the clothing it manufactures. Pombo went to the Marianas in 2004, and suddenly gets nine contributions in the thousands of dollars from Marianas businessmen. Now why are they giving Pombo that money? Pombo absolutely refuses to investigate Abramoff and his connection with the Marianas, the sweatshops, the prostitution, and these girls being lured into coming there. Why won't he investigate it? That's what Congressional committees do when sweatshops or fraud are brought to your attention, and a man goes to jail for pleading guilty to bribing congressmen. You investigate that. Pombo won't. That's corruption.

KW: Anything else?

McCloskey: I'll tell you one other thing, that is corruption. When he put in this bill to amend the Endangered Species Act, he not only took out habitat protection but he put a provision in there to exempt farmers from using pesticides for five years in endangered species areas. We wonder: why would a California congressman do that? Then we see suddenly that he's funded in his travel, illegally, by a private foundation. He gets $23,000 from this foundation to travel, which you can't accept. He's a founding governor of the foundation; he can't deny he knew it was a private foundation. But this foundation, who is it funded by? The Japanese Whaling Association, the Association of Fur Traders - these are the guys that import elephant tusks or endangered parrots, and finally, Monsanto gave this foundation $115,000. Well, who benefits from the allowing of the use of pesticides? Monsanto. Whenever you find Pombo doing or not doing something, you chase it down to his contributors.

Big mines: He tried to get hundreds of thousands of acres of mining lands transferred to mining companies for development. Even the Congress couldn't accept that. They took it out of a bill he inserted it in privately. We have about 200,000 of those acres in Northern California; he was going to put it up for sale to mining companies. You follow his contributions: half of those were from big oil, big timber, big railroads, and big mining companies. I'm not going to take any PAC money. I may lose, because I won't get as much money as he does. I'd like to draw the distinction between congressmen who are on the take and whose positions reflect their largest contributors and those who don't. Here is Abramoff going to jail for bribing congressmen and Pombo. You ask him ... "Oh, he never lobbied me." Baloney.


KW: A final question. What are some of the ways that Pombo has been neglecting the district here, his own district?

McCloskey: There's the water quality in the San Joaquin River, the levees, and the strength of the levees in the Delta, most of all the traffic. Half of my old district seems to be moving from the Peninsula and the East Bay over here for affordable housing. The other morning, I drove out at 5:30 in the morning coming to Stockton on Route 580; cars were ten feet apart, four lanes abreast. At 5:30 in the morning there's an absolute traffic jam. He hasn't brought in any money to widen those highways. He really has not paid attention to this district. One child in six is getting asthma as a result of the air quality. He refuses to accept that global warming is an issue. He says that certainly automobile emissions are not creating greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. That's a head-in-the-sand attitude for this valley, in which traffic and air pollution are crucial issues. San Joaquin County is part of the poverty belt of California. They're below poverty level, way below the average in California. He's just voted to cut Medicaid and Medicare and Head Start programs. That's not what a congressman from this district ought to be doing." (Source)

More on Pombo and The Republican Culture of Corruption and Cronyism

The Hill:

"Two staffers on the House Resources Committee played key roles in developing controversial environmental legislation while receiving salaries from the Department of Interior in apparent violation of House rules limiting their congressional service to one year.


Jackson Coleman and Rick Deery, the Interior employees, have worked as detailees under Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.)...Their length of service is more than twice the length defined by the House ethics manual.


Before Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) stepped down as chairman of the Committee on House Administration because of his link to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, he signed letters giving Coleman and Deery permission to serve beyond the time limit set by House rules.


One controversial provision would have given states revenue-sharing incentives for opting out of the moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf...

The second would have amended mining law to allow federal lands to be sold to support the sustainable development of dying mining towns. Environmentalists criticized the provision as a massive giveaway of federal land...

Richard Charter, the co-chairman of the National Outer Continental Shelf Coalition, said Coleman’s arrival at the Resources Committee, shortly after Pombo took over as chairman, coincided with the beginning of a sustained push by Pombo to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling. Charter said Pombo attempted to lift the moratorium by pushing legislation that would give states a share of drilling royalties if they opted out of the moratorium.

Coleman promoted the proposal at a community forum in North Carolina, a state that possesses energy reserves off its famed Outer Banks, according to a November article in The Virginian-Pilot.

Coleman also defended Pombo’s legislation from the criticisms of Democratic lawmakers. When Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) attempted to amend Pombo’s offshore-drilling provision during a committee markup of the budget-reconciliation bill in October, Pombo let Coleman answer Pallone’s questions, according to a transcript of the meeting obtained by The Hill.


Kennedy, Pombo’s spokesman, dismissed questions and concerns about Deery’s and Coleman’s service." (more at Source)


"U.S. lawmakers who've been linked to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff have at least one consolation: Their campaign coffers have never been as full.

Republican Representatives Tom DeLay of Texas, Bob Ney of Ohio, Richard Pombo and John Doolittle of California and Senator Conrad Burns of Montana saw their fund-raising totals surge in the past year compared with previous elections, according to the latest campaign filings. All five lawmakers have been tied to Abramoff by media reports, their political opponents and, in Ney's case, the Justice Department.


Pombo, 45, who has represented his north-central California district for seven terms, received at least $30,750 in donations from Abramoff, his associates and Indian tribe clients from 2001 to 2004. Pombo raised more than 80
percent more cash in 2005 than in 2003, FEC figures show. He is facing a primary challenge from former Representative Pete McCloskey, who says on his campaign's Web site that he's ``embarrassed and shamed'' by Pombo's ties to DeLay and Abramoff." (Source)


"A little-noticed section of a congressional bill to overhaul the
Endangered Species Act would give federal regulators a five-year pass from seeking expert scientific advice from wildlife agencies on the harmful effects of pesticides on rare animals and plants, a move environmentalists say would further threaten hundreds of animals including several in the Bay Area.


...under the bill by Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, for five years the agency would not have to seek the expertise of wildlife agency scientists over how pesticides could affect the imperiled species.

The bill would eliminate key provisions of the nation's toughest environmental law safeguarding the 1,272 listed species of plants, birds, fish, amphibians, insects and mammals in the wild...

The pesticide changes and other major revisions are opposed by environmental groups, and local governments and states across the nation are passing resolutions in support of the original 1973 act...

"We see the act as a safety net for wildlife, and the Pombo bill cuts a hole in that net,'' said Sarah Matsumoto, field director of a nationwide coalition of 360 conservation, religious and hunting and fishing groups that want to save it." (Source)

There's rumors on the internets...

This one's been getting around. RawStory links to it, underneath the Headline to an AP article on Duke Cunningham and his 8 year sentence for bribery. Down With Tyranny blogs about it as well.

IT is a blog at Preemptive Karma by Carla in which she says that a "A DC political operative" has indicated that defense contractor and Cunningham co-conspirator, Brent "Wilkes will implicate four more Republicans for possible criminal activity: Richard Pombo,John Doolittle,Duncan Hunter, and Jerry Lewis." She also claims that her source is "highly certain." (Source) I also have to admit I don't know anything about the blog, blogger, or her source, so take it for what it is. But it's certainly making it's rounds.

Here's something from NBC San Diego about Duke Cunningham potentially implicating others:
"Friday's sentencing of former U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham is just one phase of a wide-ranging scandal that could eventually implicate more politicians, businessmen and high-ranking members of the Central Intelligence
Agency, experts say.

There are no shortage of names linked to the Cunningham scandal.

The CIA'S third-ranking official had a connection to San Diego businessman Brent Wilkes, an alleged co-conspirator in the case, according to an article published in Newsweek this week. Wilkes is also tied to former Speaker of the House of Representatives Tom DeLay.

Katherine Harris, who supervised the 2000 presidential recount, could also be connected to the case. Investigators said Mitchell Wade, the man who admitted to bribing Cunningham, funneled $32,000 to Harris. Harris said she's
hasn't done anything wrong and has donated the money to charity." (Source)