Catharine Baker walks fine line to keep her East Bay Assembly seat

The only Republican from the Bay Area in the California State Legislature walks a fine line to keep her East Bay Assembly Seat

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It does not seem fair. Catharine Baker’s neighboring office holders State Senator Steve Glazer D-Orinda) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) are running for re-election virtually unopposed. At the same time Baker is involved in a tight race fighting for her political life trying to retain her seat in the State Assembly.

Catharine Baker leads the charge at a campaign rally. She takes a middle of the road approach to defeat foes on the far left and right
Catharine Baker leads the charge at a campaign rally. She takes a middle of the road approach to defeat foes on the far left and right.

With the exception of heavy duty politicos or someone close to a Google application, few people even know the name of the individual who is running against her. Why then is Catharine Baker, who has been acknowledged by virtually every non partisan news outlet to be intelligent, thoughtful, hard working, and free of the influence of special interest groups, struggling so much to get re-elected?

The answer is simple. Catharine Baker has the word “Republican” written behind her name. In the entire Bay Area she is the only member of the legislature representing the GOP.  This apparently is a scarlet letter that will not be removed until she is defeated or decides not to seek office.

Virtually all progressives detest Baker even though they will admit in private of their admiration for her work ethic and independence. Despite this she is a Republican whose defeat would mean the Democratic Party would likely have a two thirds “Super Majority” in the Assembly once again. Were this to take place they would be free to raise taxes with impunity. At the same time they would not have to face scrutiny from conservatives an any issues of substance.

If the same criteria Democrats use to evaluate Baker were applied to renting or selling property to racial minorities, they would be branded racists and bigots. Unfortunately, such one sided thinking in the gridlocked-polarized world of American politics today is not only accepted; but revered as well.

In addition, Baker’s difficulty with entrenched advisories on the left does not end with liberal ideologues. As a moderate Republican, she has similar difficulties with conservatives in her own party.  Because of being pro-choice and at times stepping over the isle compromising with democrats, some ultra right wingers want to purge the first term Assemblywomen from their ranks as well.

This is the same Agenda 21-Black Helicopter crowd who favors alleged ideological purity over gaining any success at the ballot box. They would prefer to listen to themselves saying “ain’t it awful” at country club gatherings as opposed to having a major influence in the legislature.

Those on the extreme right worry about the effects Agenda 21. They believe moderates such as Catharine Baker are the problem rather than the solution with iinacting political reform
Those on the extreme right worry about the effects Agenda 21 might have on society. They believe moderates such as Catharine Baker are more the problem rather than the solution with enacting political reform

Recently they have justified their coolness towards Baker because of her reluctance to support GOP candidate Donald Trump. While this might be a legitimate concern on their part, one might ask where her critics have been the last two years as she has served in the Assembly and been a breath of fresh air in the stagnant Republican Party of California?

Indicative of this turmoil in the GOP, during the past couple of years there have been four changes of leadership on the Contra Costa Republican Central Committee.  At the same time this group was of limited assistance to electing Baker, it was virtually worthless in helping a strong candidate Debora Allen progress to the second round in the Assembly race to replace termed out Susan Bonilla in the Assembly.

Indicative of how dysfunctional things have been in the Contra Costa Republican Party, former Vice Chair Hal Bray tendered his resignation after receiving 27 emails one morning of which 26 pertained to different interpretations of Roberts Rules of Order.

While it is true Baker claims that the Republican Party both locally and on a state level has always supported her, it is also known that the level of funds and boots on the ground furnished by Democrats and their allies in labor unions to their candidates, far outstrips the assistance given to her campaign.

Dealing with the assaults of extremists on both ends of the political spectrum, Catharine Baker depends on a delicate coalition of Republicans, moderate Democrats, and a large constituency of “decline to state” independent voters to propel her to office once again. Even the slightest change in the electoral landscape can topple her at any time. With only a slim 55% to 45% advantage to work with from the primary, Baker must continue to do her balancing act and hope outside forces don’t take votes away from her.

Of concern this November,  because of the large anti Donald Trump sentiment among usually staunch Republicans, this group might boycott the election. It is also feared that distain for Trump from Democrats and independents may make them reluctant to split the ticket to choose Baker in a seemingly minor race.

This scenario for a close election in the 16th District has not escaped Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount). After the June 2nd primary he commented about the Baker race this is a “top pickup opportunity” for Assembly Democrats and promised to spend what it takes to win the seat. During his discourse on defeating Baker, Rendon never mentioned her opponents name.

This is consistent with other Democrats who place more emphasis  on defeating the Republican from Dublin than supporting her advisory Cheryl Cook-Kallio, former Vice Mayor of Pleasanton. Her web site is sparse in details dealing with important issues saying:

Althoughcheryl Cook-Kallia is not exactly a household word in the 16th Assembly district, Democrats hope having a "D" in front of her name will defeat Republican Catharine Baker
Although Cheryl Cook-Kallio is not exactly a household name in the 16th Assembly district, Democrats hope having a “D” in back of her listing in the voters guide will spell  defeat for Republican Catharine Baker on Nov 8th

“A celebrated public school teacher respected Pleasanton City Council member and tireless community activist Cheryl has fought to: enhance public education, increase affordable housing options, improve streets and roads, and make our community safer.”

Her web site advocates pouring more money into public schools with no accountability, It states Cook-Kallio will continue to be a champion for women and families, take on the fight for equal pay for equal work.  She is in favor of increased background checks for gun owners and wants to invest in infrastructure projects to assist in building the economy.  These stands are consistent with those of most Democrats holding office in the legislature

Despite lacking specifics on dealing with pension and budget deficits, educational reform, cap and trade, quality jobs leaving California, BART strikes, and a host of important issues, we can look for a flood of brochures to flood mail boxes in the 16th District  prior to election day extolling Cook-Kallio’s virtues.

It will then up to voters to determine what is most important to them. Will being a Democrat “trump”, (no pun intended) the quality of the opponent in the Assembly race. Baker, with her back to the wall as usual, hopes that her constituents will be able to discern facts as opposed to the absurd propaganda Political Action Committees (PAC) will be dispensing prior to November 8th.

Assuming that “the force is with her” and Baker triumphs, perhaps it will be appropriate that the GOP gives the Assemblywomen the long overdue recognition she so richly deserves. In this case this would be bestowing a leadership role to her in the Republican hierarchy of the State Assembly 

This would signify that Catharine Baker has more than fulfilled Al Davis’s motto,” Just win baby.”

 

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K-12 Schools Must Improve to Help East Bay Economy Stay Competitive

Last month Contra Costa County Supervisors were briefed on the region’s future job outlook by representatives from the Contra Costa Community College Districtthe county’s Workforce Development Board and the Contra Costa Council. These groups work with leaders from local industry to develop job training programs to meet employer needs. The discussion focused on job growth in the context of developing Contra Costa’s 75 miles of northern shoreline and its harbors between Richmond and Oakley.

Continue reading “K-12 Schools Must Improve to Help East Bay Economy Stay Competitive”

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IRV upheld in San Francisco; preferable to Prop 14

The idiot Maldonaldo’s moderate vision of a Top Two creates conditions that ensures no group other than the two major parties will be able meet ballot access requirements. It also eliminates the safety-valve of write-in candidacies in the November runoff elections.

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On April 16, Federal District Court Judge Richard Seeborg upheld the constitutionality of San Francisco’s instant runoff voting system (IRV), the first time a federal court has reviewed IRV, a method of preference voting that is both legal and preferable. Continue reading “IRV upheld in San Francisco; preferable to Prop 14”

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CA-11 Republican candidate forum, Jan 26

CA-11 Republican candidate forum to be held Jan 26 will feature all six declared candidates

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No sooner does David Harmer join the CA-11 race for the Republican primary in 2010 for the right to face Democrat incumbent Jerry McNerney, than a Candidate Forum is scheduled featuring all six declared (so far) candidates.

A luncheon and Candidate Forum hosted by the San Ramon Valley Republican Women Federated, will be held Tuesday, January 26, at the Crow Canyon Country Club in Danville, beginning at 12:00 (doors open at 11:30).

Cost is $23. Contact Leta Rockwell by phone 925-838-2908 or e-mail.

Meet candidates: Tony Amador, Robert Beadles, Elizabeth Emken, Brad Goehring, David Harmer, Larry Pegram, and Jeff Takada. The event will be moderated by vice chair of the Lincln Club of Northern California amd a 2008 Republican candidate for the 15th Assembly district, Judy Lloyd.

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GOP CA-11 Congressional Primary Candidate Forum, Jan 11

A Republican candidate forum for the 11th Congressional District race in 2010 will take place January 11, at at the Crossroads Grace Community Church, located at 1505 Mofafat Blvd, in Manteca, CA, from 6:00 to 8:30 pm. The event is free and open to the public.

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A Republican candidate forum for California’s 11th Congressional District election in 2010 will take place January 11, at the Crossroads Grace Community Church, located at 1505 Moffat Blvd, in Manteca, CA, from 6:00 to 8:30 pm. The event is free and open to the public.

Organized by Frank Aquila and the South Joaquin County Republicans, candidates will include announced Republican candidates: Tony Amador (Former U.S. Marshall), Robert Beadles (Construction Co. Owner), Elizabeth Emken (Health Care), Brad Goehring (Wine Grower, Businessman), Larry Pegram (Businessman), and Jeff Takada (Educator).

CD-11 is currently held by two-term Democrat Jerry McNerney, who defeated Republican incumbent and ardent Bush supporter Richard Pombo in 2006, and enjoyed Obama coattails in 2008. With President Obama’s poll numbers dropping and the growing unpopularity of Congressional Democrats’ policies, the CA-11 contest will be closely watched and destined to become a targeted seat for Republicans and Democrats.

Republicans hope to make the 11th Congressional District race a grudge match to win back what was the last GOP stronghold in the nine county Bay Area of Northern California.

San Joaquin represents close to 50% of total registration for the district followed by Alameda (30) and Contra Costa (10) Counties, so winning over the folks in Manteca, Ripon, Lathrop, Tracy, Escalon, and Mountain House will be critical for each candidate.

Aquila, Chairman of the South Manteca Republicans, will moderate. He says the forum will consist of three parts including candidates each answering the same six questions posed by the moderator. Then each candidate gets to submit a question for the other challengers to answer plus their own answer; followed by a lightning round of questions drawn randomly from a collection of 30-40 questions.

For more information e-mail Frank Aquila or call 209-825-0123.

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CD-10 Livermore Exit Poll

Exit Poll in Livermore for CD-10 Special Election

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Today, from 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM Halfway to Concord conducted an exit poll in Livermore at the Rincon Branch Library polling station.

Normally, the City of Livermore has 51 individual polling stations, which has been consolidated down to 12 stations for the Special Election.

Those who were polled were asked one simple question, “Which candidate did you vote for today?”

Fourty-nine individuals participated in the poll, and fourteen chose not to participate.

During the 90-minute poll, Republican David Harmer tallied the highest number of votes ending with 23 total.

Democrat John Garamendi received 18 total votes.

American Independent Jerry Denham lead the third Party candidates with 5 total votes, followed by Green Party nominee Jeremy Cloward who received 3 votes. Socialist Mary McIlroy didn’t get any votes.

Partisan turnout numbers: 63 Republicans had voted by 4:00 PM, 44 Democrats, 13 Decline to State and 1 Libertarian (121 total).

Feel free to follow me on Twitter for election status updates and results at http://twitter.com/WalterViceChair

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