Tag Archives: Howard Berman

Is this a good thing? Berman endorsed by Lieberman, Graham and McCain

Republican(ish) Senators endorse Howard Berman in race with Brad Sherman

by Brian Leubitz

I suppose this is a good thing for Howard Berman? Maybe?

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., as well as Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., have endorsed Berman, his campaign said Monday. …

“Howard Berman understands how to reach across the aisle to get things done on behalf of our nation,” Graham said in a statement released by the Berman campaign. “He works hard every day to advance America’s agenda and has been instrumental in passing laws to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, stop arms sales to nations that support terrorism, and keep our country safe.”

I guess this might net him a few votes, but I can’t imagine it is going to tip the scales in one way or another. Just seems kind of strange.

CDP caucus results: No endorsement in the 30th Congressional District

Today, the California Democratic Party hosted a caucus to attempt to determine an endorsement in the 30th Congressional District runoff between Congressmen Brad Sherman and Howard Berman. This is a new procedure: because we no longer have Democratic nominees, revised bylaws allow for a second endorsement caucus for the November election in situations where there are two Democrats in the general election and there was either no endorsement in the primary, or the endorsed candidate did not make the runoff.

According to the offical tally, Congressman Howard Berman got 165 votes in today’s California Democratic Party endorsement caucus, compared to 66 for Brad Sherman and 51 votes for “no endorsement.” While that may seem like an overwhelming number, the result ends up being that the CDP has issued no endorsement in the race: per the bylaws, this race would have required a 60% threshold of all votes cast for either candidate to receive an endorsement. 165 out of 282 is only 58.51%, and so no endorsement will issue.

The question you should be asking yourself now is…Sherman got a similar threshold in the first endorsement conference way back in January, but the numbers flipped this time, even though Sherman came in first in the primary election by 10 points. Why? More on that whenever I get a chance to analyze the results in more detail.

Sherman Leads Potential Matchup with Berman in new CA-30

But where each runs is still in question

by Brian Leubitz

It isn’t clear where Brad Sherman and Howard Berman will run for re-election.  However, as it stands right now, there are pretty good odds that they are destined for a Dem-on-Dem bloodbath.  Sherman, who is sitting on $4 million in his campaign account, put out the first volley in the form of a poll showing a nice lead:

Congressman Brad Sherman is the likely winner of the election in the new 30th congressional district. These are the results of a just completed survey in the new congressional district from initial match-ups with no information given about either candidate:

Three-way race:

Congressman Brad Sherman, Democrat: 42%

Businessman Mark Reed, Republican: 26%

Congressman Howard Berman, Democrat: 17%

Two-way race:

Congressman Brad Sherman, Democrat: 51%

Congressman Howard Berman, Democrat: 24%

Sherman currently represents just over half the voters in the new 30th CD. Sherman is strong in his current district (CD27), winning 52 percent support there in the three way match-up with only 9 percent for Berman and 24 percent for Reed. In contrast, Berman barely ekes out a plurality in the less than a quarter of the district that he currently represents (CD28), leading Sherman by only 32 percent to 30 percent, while Reed draws 21 percent support.

Whether this election comes to pass is still up in doubt, but there is no question that Sherman is preparing for it.

California’s Capitulation Caucus

The following California Democrats caved on retroactive immunity and disregarded their oath to, “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic”:

Joe Baca, Howard Berman, Dennis Cardoza, Jim Costa, Jane Harman, Jerry McNerney, Nancy Pelosi, Brad Sherman, Adam Schiff, Ellen Tauscher

Pete Stark did not vote. This is the list of those who are potential targets of the Blue America PAC vs Retroactive Immunity which as of now has raised $310,673 to, “fund accountability for congressmembers supporting retroactive immunity and warrantless wiretaps.” This money isn’t going to send thank you cards to the members who did defend the constitution, this is primary money and cold cash to dump Steny Hoyer from leadership (Rahm Emanuel also capitulated).

As the battle moves to the Senate, all eyes are on Barack Obama nationally and Dianne Feinstein locally [(202) 224-3841].

As for 2010 primaries, it will be interesting to see what comes out of this. Carole Migden’s 3rd place finish showed that entrenched politics matters less in a modern media environment. Ellen Tauscher is again practically begging to be primaried and in that district she’s walking on thin ice. Joe Baca deserves particular scorn as the only Californian to sign the Blue Dog letter to Pelosi pushing capitulation (and a primary of Baca could probably receive significant institutional support from former members of the Hispanic Caucus). McNerney has outdone himself in contracting a full-blown case of Potomic Fever during his first term, every time he makes a move I think about asking for a refund. And Harman and Berman voting to cover-up warrantless wiretapping isn’t going to do much to quell the rumors that they are pushing this because they are worried about their own culpability on the issue.

If you live in one of this districts, please call your member and ask them why. Comments and diaries with responses are highly encouraged.

‘Tis the Season of Membership Stacking for Endorsements: Stonewall Next in the Headlights

Most Californians are sure that their election is over. All the media coverage is blaring babble from the most recent presidential debate in distant states as well as other inane minutia that denigrates the process.  

Yet, if you look closely, really closely, you may find evidence that there is yet another election coming up here in June. Yes, June 3rd to be exact.

This season, in spite of the state being billions of dollars in debt, and the cries of horror about budget cuts, our state legislators gave us the special treat of spending double on TWO elections!!!.

And the citizens who ARE paying attention to the obscure references to the June 3rd primary are again faced with figuring out who is worth voting for, if anyone.

With little information in the mainstream media, many turn to their local Democratic Clubs and special interest groups for guidance. Or, they look to their Democratic party. This guidance most often comes in the form of the last minute slate mailers, the topic of this conversation.  

But IS the endorsement of the club or party truly well thought out? And DOES it actually represent the opinion of the regular club membership? And how many members are actually involved in any of these clubs? Or, has the endorsement been manipulated by the last minute sign-ups that dump cash into the club the day before the membership cut-off date for eligibility to vote? Then, a busload of “new members” appears for this one event.

From my vantage point in the San Fernando Valley, I can assure you that the custom of stacking-new-members-just-in-time-for-the-endorsement-vote is alive and well in the 40th Assembly District race. The four Democratic candidates are Laurette Healey, Dan McCrory, Stewart Waldman and Bob Blumenfeld.

The season opened with the Young Democrats of the SFV and a ground war between two guys who both think they are entitled to the Assembly seat in the 40th AD (that’s mid-SFV from Van Nuys out to West Hills). These “Young Dems,” by the way, are heavily sprinkled with incumbent politicians’ staffers. Stewart Waldman, the former staffer for the incumbent in the 40th AD, snatched this one away, having been the founder of the group. He’s too old to be a member now, but says strong ties to many board members got him the endorsement.

Then came the bruiser at the Valley Grassroots for Democracy (yea, right…democracy). Not to be outdone here, the Bob Blumenfeld team, led by the incumbent’s dad, thought they had this one knocked. They’d spent a lot of time gathering together new members who drove in to vote, but low and behold, there was an uproar from the regular membership when they were handed the letter Blumenfeld had sent to stack the club:

“I’m writing to see if you’d be willing to help me stack the room for some upcoming Democratic Club Endorsement meetings…

I’m compiling a list of different clubs that endorse that also have open memberships.  However, one of the larger of such clubs is the Valley Grassroots for Democracy.  And, as it works out their deadline for signing up for membership is this Tuesday.  Would you and possibly (name deleted) be willing to sign up to become members.  You would only have to come to one meeting — the one in March where they will be voting on making an endorsement for the 40th AD.  Details are below.  Also, if you know anyone else who you might be able to recruit for this, that’d be great too.

Talk to you soon.  Take care.

    – Bob”  (openly admitted he sent this, saying that Stewart had “done it first” at Young Dems)

As it turned out, the leadership, that seemed to be totally on board with this stacking ploy, ultimately chose to cave in to the demands of core members and issued a “no endorsement” for this race.  Grassroots indeed!

Losing that one, the “Berman machine” (and it includes more than Howard, the Democratic congressman who votes with the Republicans on Iraq war issues) turned up the steam to steamroll the insiders of the Democratic party into “choosing” HIS STAFFER at the pre-endorsement caucus.

That’s the official party endorsement, not to be confused by any others that use “Democratic Party” in their name (e.g., DPSFV). The party chooses one Democrat in the field of many Democrats and puts the official seal of approval on that one…which he/she then uses in their slate mailings that arrive just before election day.

To understand this convoluted process is an exercise in near futility. It seems that elected officials anywhere in the state can send in delegates to vote for a candidate.  Huh???  Running that by again, elected politicians from OUTSIDE the district can send delegates in to vote. So, in spite of it being a Democratic primary, these elected Democrats are unwilling to allow the democratic process to take place. They step in with their pre-selected favorite based on…..what???

And send in they did. The twenty-seven “chosen” joined with a measly four from the district activist pool to vote for Bob. At the caucus, the vote was one short of sending it to the convention for the endorsement. After all ballots left and went to Sacramento, wonder of wonders, Blumenfeld was now having his name put in for endorsement. This was stopped in its tracks by the concerted efforts of Waldman and Dan McCrory (another in the race) and the 468 delegates who signed their petitions to send the carefully engineered endorsement of Bob to the floor for a vote. It lost. No Democratic Party endorsement for anyone in the 40th AD. Add one strike for “nobody” and chalk one up for grassroots democracy. The plea was to allow the voters of the district to decide. What a unique idea!

Which brings us to the latest travesty of this election, the last minute delivery of 80 (or 83, depending on source) applications of new members to the Stonewall Democratic Club hours before the closing of membership for voting purposes. The daddy mentioned before (dad of incumbent who is running the campaign for his son as well as the anointed replacement for son, the Berman staffer) has his operative from the club rush in his credit card to PAY for these new members he’s collected to stack the endorsement meeting. Yes, at $25 a pop, that’s $2000. The county chair, who’s also a Stonewall member, says “there is absolutely no prohibition whatsoever about this in any bylaws.”

So, voters who want to use a “trusted” club endorsement, what do you think? Is it okay for a political operative to gather up a busload of people to drive in and vote in the club meeting on endorsements and then disappear??? And for this particular race, the 40th Assembly District, this highly unethical (if legal) stacking of new members will result in an endorsement bought and paid for by a political campaign consultant if existing members to not step in and say, “Enough!”

D-Day to see the fireworks over this one is Monday, April 28. For those in the L.A. region who want to come observe the drama it’s at 7:00 PM at the West Hollywood Park Auditorium, 647 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood (between Santa Monica Blvd. and Melrose Ave.)

Lest you think that this is an isolated incident, we have the latest breaking story from Randy Bayne’s blog up north (http://bayneweb.com/blog/?p=1005) on an even worse example. The West Sacramento Dems had 700 (yes, seven hundred) new “members” brought to them by their local endorsement buyer. Now they cannot conduct business since they are unable to reach a quorum with the new higher membership that is in NUMBERS only. They can’t even meet to try to change their bylaws!

So we are left with this. Manipulation of the clubs by politicians or their hired hacks.  Not real residents who care about the club. Not real activists who are working within the club on issues of common concern. Not real citizens concerned about the community.  Just people who are “hired” to go to a club ONE TIME solely for the purpose of delivering the club endorsement to the ethically-challenged buyer.

And the clubs who allow this are obviously complicit. New members, even if only there once, mean more money. Of course, there MUST be some within each club who disagree with this state of affairs, but certainly not enough, or this would not continue year after year.

Our so-called democracy has taken an incredible beating these last years. Many look to the Democratic party as their only hope. And many of those many will be disappointed. While it would be nice to think that one could look to someone else to do the heavy lifting involved in maintaining the democracy, the reality is that it’s you who must step up to the plate and make time to participate and do in-depth research on these people we entrust with our future.

Time to start tossing all those last minute endorsement slates as the pieces of trash they are. Certainly not worth the paper they’re on. And certainly nothing to base a vote on.

And for those who continue to think that they are too busy in their own little worlds, or that they can’t make a difference, or that their vote doesn’t count, we are left with the words of George Bernard Shaw:

Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.


California FISA Targets

There is a huge fight right now to fix the FISA bill, with a new one called “The RESTORE Act” (H.R. 3773).  Two big issues: 1) Will they include language that let’s the FBI issue blanket, rather than targeted warrants? 2) Will they give immunity to the phone companies who broke the law because Bush told them too?  The bill is up in the House and the final language is a moving target.  It is the crucial time to get in touch with people who might be persuaded to ensure good language goes to the floor for a vote.

Here is the latest from the ACLU:

The bill caves in to Bush’s fear-mongering in a major way: it does NOT required the government to get an individual warrant before wiretapping Americans’ phones and emails. Instead, it allows for program or basket “warrants,” which aren’t really warrants at all. They’re the modern-day equivalent of allowing government agents to sit in our living rooms, recording our personal conversations. Only they’re more frightening, because the government now has the capacity to monitor us remotely and without our knowledge, and to save the information in a secret database forever.

One good thing is that the bill doesn’t yet include immunity for telecom companies that broke the law by handing over Americans’ private communications to the government, but we’re hearing immunity could be added back to the bill at any time.

Here are a few folks I know need to hear from you.  Give them a ring.  It is much more effective than sending email, though you can do that too.

CA-29  Adam Schiff  Schiff  2022254176
CA-14  Anna Eshoo  Eshoo  2022258104
CA-27  Brad Sherman  Sherman 2022255911
CA-28  Howard Berman  Berman  2022254695
CA-39  Linda Sanchez  Sanchez 2022256676
CA-35  Maxine Waters  Waters  2022252201
CA-01  Mike Thompson  Thompson  2022253311
CA-08  Nancy Pelosi  Pelosi  2022254965
CA-16  Zoe Lofgren  Lofgren 2022253072

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)