Tag Archives: Sam Farr

Thirteen CA Legislators Rewarded by Carrots, Not Sticks Initiative

A new initiative organized by Howie Klein, Jane Hamsher, fellow Calitician Dante Atkins and myself to verbally and financially reward Congressmembers who pledge to vote down any healthcare bill that does not include the public option is catching fire today.  The objective is to use carrots as well as sticks to achieve progressive goals.  As I said in the diary kicking off this intiative at DailyKos:

Human beings are psychologically predictable creatures, much like Pavlov’s famous canine.  We do respond well to punishment, but we respond just as well if not better to positive reinforcement.  Do nothing but beat a dog with a stick, and the dog is likelier to be aggressive than lovingly loyal.  Do nothing but scream at a child, and the child will eventually fail to respond to her abusive parent.  Senators and Representatives, no matter how elevated, are still just people: the rules of psychological conditioning still apply.  If all we can do is scream at people who don’t do what we want, eventually no one will listen to us at all.

Utilizing Jane Hamsher’s signatory list, Howie Klein set up an ActBlue page called They Took the Pledge.  Spurred on by Jane Hamsher’s post, my dkos diary, Dante’s dkos diary, and Howie Klein’s efforts at Blue America PAC, the online effort has raised over $60,000 since this morning, becoming ActBlue’s top fundraising page.  And the media has begun to take note, with stories on CBS Online, Politico, and The Plum Line.

On the list are 13 deserving CA Legislators who could use your dollars and/or words of encouragement:

Judy Chu (CA-32)

Sam Farr (CA-17)

Bob Filner (CA-51)

Mike Honda (CA-15)

Barbara Lee (CA-09)

Grace Napolitano (CA-38)

Laura Richardson (CA-37)

Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34)

Linda Sanchez (CA-39)

Jackie Speier (CA-12)

Maxine Waters (CA-35)

Diane Watson (CA-33)

Lynn Woolsey (CA-06)

If you have the resources, please consider donations to our excellent California legislators.  For those who can’t chip in, DFA has a thank you action item to thank our healthcare heroes.

With an approach that uses more carrots and less sticks, hopefully we can encourage others in California and across the country to join these brave progressive leaders.

Pelosi v. Woolsey on war funding; Sam Farr on the fence

The Chronicle has a nice rundown of where Northern California House Democrats stand on today’s war funding vote.  The lines of fissure have pitted Nancy Pelosi against Lynn Woolsey, which, if it’s safe to assume that San Francisco is every bit as progressive on Iraq and Afghanistan as Marin and Sonoma Counties are, you could fairly depict as a struggle between the priorities of the majority leadership and the preferences of constituents back home in the Bay Area.  Lynn Woolsey comes out here fighting like a champ for her district, while the Speaker is representing, in effect, the Obama administration.  Which I suppose we should just start getting used to (it’s her job, after all).

One surprise here is that Sam Farr (CA-17) is now “on the fence.”  Farr used to be a ‘no’ vote.  He signed a letter in 2007 committing not to vote for funding without timelines, as well as another letter objecting to the bill in its current form with the IMF provisions included.  His even straddling the fence now is a pretty major reversal, and demonstrates how hard these members are being pushed to break with principle on this decision.

If you live in Farr’s district and believe that a war funding bill without an exit plan and with an IMF bailout is a dumb idea, his office could use a gentle push: 202-225-2861.  One question you could ask is the question Jane Hamsher put to Zoe Lofgren: How exactly does the Congressman justify supporting a bailout of European banks after his own state has been refused assistance when on the brink of bankruptcy?

The vote is today and the final outcome is being shaped this very moment, so your call would need to be placed right now.

As per The Chronicle, here’s where other Northern California Democrats come out:

Where Northern California Democrats stand

How House members polled Monday broke down on the $106 billion bill:

On the fence: Sam Farr, Monterey; Mike Thompson, Napa; Mike Honda, San Jose; Jerry McNerney, Pleasanton; Doris Matsui, Sacramento

Likely/definite yes: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco; George Miller, Martinez

Likely/definite no: Lynn Woolsey, Petaluma; Barbara Lee, Oakland; Pete Stark, Fremont; Jackie Speier, San Mateo

Not returning calls: Anna Eshoo, Palo Alto; Zoe Lofgren, San Jose

Feds Say California’s Fires Aren’t a Disaster

The numbers are staggering – 1,400 wildfires burning around the state. Over 70 homes destroyed and 7,800 under threat. President Bush has declared the fires a federal emergency and released $50 million in federal aid, announced by FEMA administrator David Paulison – surely a sign that the feds are fully engaged in the fire aid effort, right?

Not so fast. There is a difference between an “emergency,” which frees up something like the $50 million in firefighting funds, and a “federal disaster” declaration, which frees up the full range of FEMA assistance to fire victims, including relocation shelters and financial assistance.

According to the Monterey Herald the federal government has refused to declare the California fires a disaster:

But assistance from FEMA for fire victims has not been approved because the fires have not been declared a federal disaster.

Paulison said a preliminary damage evaluation will be done to determine if more declarations are needed.

Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, said he was told it does not appear California’s wildfires qualify as a federal disaster because the level of destruction has not been great enough.

It’s conservative government in action – the stingy nature of FEMA assistance that was revealed to the world during Hurricane Katrina continues to dominate the Bush Administration’s approach to disaster relief. As a Daily Kos diarist has explained FEMA is screwing around with Midwest flood disaster relief and of course, FEMA’s initial reaction to last fall’s fires here in California was to host a news conference where its employees posed as actual reporters and lobbed softball questions at FEMA administrators.

California’s fire season is going to be long and difficult. As the Big Sur and Goleta fires show, a rapid response by firefighters is necessary to saving homes and lives. Unfortunately a combination of drought and a lack of firefighting resources is intensifying the fires.

Understaffing is one of the main issues facing firefighters, as the Firefighter Blog makes clear:

“Fire has jumped a southern containment lines and crews are attempting to hold a secondary dozer line with limited resources. Structures, heavy fuel loads due to sudden oak death, . Active fire behavior on the southern end and north of Pfeiffer State Park is becoming a challenge to containment actions. East Zone: Numerous structures and improvements located in the proximity to Carmel Valley Road and Tassajara Road areas. Limited access. Extremely steep and rugged terrain with continuous heavy fuel loading. HEBM is needed for military assets.”

It seems improbable this fire could move that far north but Commander Deitrech has a tired army under his watch. Under “normal” conditions he would already have the necessary resources to mount a proper attack. Like all the other fire commanders statewide he is simply understaffed.

If this is a problem now, one shudders to think of what will happen this fall when the Santa Ana winds kick up across a bone-dry Southern California. FEMA’s stinginess and the lack of adequate firefighting resources are both the product of conservative opposition to government – the only body in our society that’s capable of managing a response to disasters of this magnitude.

Science Debate 2008

I have asked my Congressman, Jerry McNerney, to sign on as supporting A Call for a Presidential Debate on Science and Technology.

Cross posted from The Progressive Connection  

Taking from the “sponsors” web page, the following rationale.

Given the many urgent scientific and technological challenges facing America and the rest of the world, the increasing need for accurate scientific information in political decision making, and the vital role scientific innovation plays in spurring economic growth and competitiveness, we, the undersigned, call for a public debate in which the U.S. presidential candidates share their views on the issues of The Environment, Medicine and Health, and Science and Technology Policy. Science Debate 2008.

So far, 3 university presidents have endorsed this effort (Washington, Princeton, Duke) as well as 13 Nobel Laureates and 8 Congress Critters of both parties.

Unfortunately the only California Congressman to do so has been Sam Farr.

If we are going to have any technological solution to the problems that face us, we need leadership that knows what science is all about, that understands what it can do and, of equal importance, what it can not do.  McNerney has that knowledge if he has the will to use it.  

As for others… it is an open question.  I would not hold Pelosi’s support of a renewable fuel standard in the recent energy bill as being based on science.  It was more than likely based on being able to pick up a few Democratic votes in the traditionally red states.    

Progressive Punch: Jerry McNerney ranks 195th of 232

Woohoo! Jerry did it! Jerry McNerney has managed to become the most un-progressive Democrat of the entire California congressional delegation. For those keeping score at home, Jerry’s 82.45 was about a half point lower than the next CA Dem, Jim Costa, that progressive stalwart, at 82.97. And for all the talk of Harman changing her ways, she’s still worse than even Joe Baca, almost 7 points worse from a very safe Dem seat.

For all of you CA-45 fans, “moderate” Mary Bono came in with a stellar 4.42 Chips are Down score. So, for all the bluster of the SCHIP vote, she’s still dancing the same jig as the rest of her party.

On thing must be said, the Speaker has done an excellent job at preserving unity amongst the caucus. Whether that means she’s being too incremental and/or ineffective, or just laying down the law is the big question. The reason her approval rating, and the Congress in general, is down has a whole lot to do with the fact that little has changed on the Iraq front. So, would it be better to have a speaker who is more willing to take risks? Perhaps, but the impediment of the president always lingers over her head, veto pen in hand. So, whether the unity is really there, is an open question. Full data over the flip.

Rank Name 07-08 All-time ChipsAreDown Party State
1 Pelosi, Nancy 100.00 93.58 100.00 D CA
3 Sánchez, Linda T. 98.97 96.45 98.43 D CA
6 Lee, Barbara 98.45 96.99 97.18 D CA
9 Capps, Lois 98.28 88.95 97.49 D CA
13 Solis, Hilda L. 97.94 95.77 96.24 D CA
18 Richardson, Laura 97.83 97.83 96.43 D CA
23 Woolsey, Lynn C. 97.57 94.69 95.92 D CA
24 Filner, Bob 97.55 94.02 95.91 D CA
25 Matsui, Doris O. 97.42 94.46 95.30 D CA
26 Becerra, Xavier 97.33 92.41 95.19 D CA
37 Farr, Sam 96.72 90.66 94.98 D CA
39 Honda, Michael M. 96.63 94.39 94.67 D CA
51 Roybal-Allard, Lucille 96.39 92.79 94.03 D CA
55 Lofgren, Zoe 96.34 87.42 94.65 D CA
56 Tauscher, Ellen O. 96.23 83.14 93.10 D CA
58 Napolitano, Grace F. 96.17 90.68 93.42 D CA
63 Schiff, Adam B. 95.88 86.79 92.45 D CA
68 Waters, Maxine 95.77 93.38 93.31 D CA
71 Miller, George 95.72 93.67 93.20 D CA
73 Davis, Susan A. 95.70 87.53 93.10 D CA
77 Eshoo, Anna G. 95.64 88.63 93.38 D CA
82 Sherman, Brad 95.52 84.99 92.79 D CA
88 Berman, Howard L. 95.28 87.56 92.38 D CA
88 Watson, Diane E. 95.28 92.71 91.80 D CA
97 Thompson, Mike 95.01 85.33 93.42 D CA
102 Lantos, Tom 94.74 87.73 90.51 D CA
104 Sanchez, Loretta 94.49 84.58 90.19 D CA
114 Baca, Joe 94.16 82.91 90.28 D CA
127 Waxman, Henry A. 93.63 91.96 89.49 D CA
153 Stark, Fortney Pete 92.02 93.12 87.74 D CA
178 Cardoza, Dennis A. 90.09 77.80 84.86 D CA
179 Harman, Jane 89.82 76.91 83.86 D CA
187 Costa, Jim 89.22 78.46 82.97 D CA
195 McNerney, Jerry 87.63 87.63 82.45 D CA
274 Lewis, Jerry 18.40 10.68 4.73 R CA
283 Bono, Mary 16.01 11.32 4.42 R CA
295 Doolittle, John T. 12.72 4.44 1.57 R CA
313 Calvert, Ken 10.39 5.41 0.95 R CA
322 Hunter, Duncan 8.85 5.38 1.32 R CA
330 Gallegly, Elton 7.60 5.89 1.89 R CA
342 Rohrabacher, Dana 6.67 7.73 4.08 R CA
346 Dreier, David 6.38 5.19 2.51 R CA
352 Bilbray, Brian P. 6.07 13.85 3.77 R CA
356 McKeon, Howard P. “Buck” 5.91 3.87 1.27 R CA
370 Herger, Wally 4.92 3.30 0.95 R CA
373 Lungren, Daniel E. 4.81 4.43 1.25 R CA
376 Radanovich, George 4.60 3.65 1.27 R CA
378 Issa, Darrell E. 4.36 4.52 1.27 R CA
380 Miller, Gary G. 4.18 2.45 1.25 R CA
384 Nunes, Devin 4.01 3.30 0.31 R CA
385 McCarthy, Kevin 3.97 3.97 0.63 R CA
388 Royce, Edward R. 3.49 6.55 1.26 R CA
394 Campbell, John 3.12 3.77 2.85 R CA

Chips are down scorecard

(I was working on a similar post, but I’ll still post my own, with all CA data and some other miscellany. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

The problem with most scorecards is that they are written by lobbyists concerned with always getting the votes of potential supporters. Thus, there is an equal weighting while in the real world not all votes are equal. In fact, regardless of everything else, some votes are dealbreakers and when they show up on scorecards as one of 12 votes or something, it looks silly. However, Progressive Punch has a new “when the chips are down” scorecard. After the flip is the ratings of CA’s congressional delegation, in descending order.


92.86 Boxer, Barbara
90.45 Feinstein, Dianne


100.00 Pelosi, Nancy
98.43 Sánchez, Linda T.
97.49 Capps, Lois
97.18 Lee, Barbara
96.43 Richardson, Laura
96.24 Solis, Hilda L.
95.92 Woolsey, Lynn C.
95.91 Filner, Bob
95.30 Matsui, Doris O.
95.19 Becerra, Xavier
94.98 Farr, Sam
94.67 Honda, Michael M.
94.65 Lofgren, Zoe
94.03 Roybal-Allard, Lucille
93.42 Napolitano, Grace F.
93.42 Thompson, Mike
93.38 Eshoo, Anna G.
93.31 Waters, Maxine
93.20 Miller, George
93.10 Davis, Susan A.
93.10 Tauscher, Ellen O.
92.79 Sherman, Brad
92.45 Schiff, Adam B.
92.38 Berman, Howard L.
91.80 Watson, Diane E.
90.51 Lantos, Tom
90.28 Baca, Joe
90.19 Sanchez, Loretta
89.49 Waxman, Henry A.
87.74 Stark, Fortney Pete
84.86 Cardoza, Dennis A.
83.86 Harman, Jane
82.97 Costa, Jim
82.45 McNerney, Jerry

Vote to Condemn MoveOn Splits California’s DC Democrats in Half

I’m guessing that at tonight’s Calitics’ Actblue Celebrations there will be a lot of discussion about the votes to condemn MoveOn. The CA delegation split 50-50 in the senate and 16 yea and 17 nay in the house — wedged successfully by the GOP in half. After the flip is the scorecard.

Diane Feinstein

Barbara Boxer

Joe Baca (CA-43)
Dennis Cardoza (CA-18)
Jim Costa (CA-20)
Susan Davis (CA-53)
Anna Eshoo (CA-14)
Sam Farr (CA-17)
Jane Harman (CA-36)
Tom Lantos (CA-12)
Jerry McNerney (CA-11)
Grace Napolitano (CA-38)
Laura Richardson (CA-37)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34)
Loretta Sanchez (CA-47)
Adam Schiff (CA-29)
Ellen Tauscher (CA-10)
Mike Thompson (CA-1)

Xavier Becerra (CA-31)
Howard Berman (CA-28)
Lois Capps (CA-23)
Bob Filner (CA-51)
Mike Honda (CA-15)
Barbara Lee (CA-9)
Zoe Lofgren (CA-16)
Doris Matsui (CA-5)
George Miller (CA-7)
Linda Sanchez (CA-39)
Brad Sherman (CA-27)
Hilda Solis (CA-32)
Pete Stark (CA-13)
Maxine Waters (CA-35)
Diane Watson (CA-33)
Henry Waxman (CA-30)
Lynn Woolsey (CA-6)