<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Political News, Bay Area Politics]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:45:56 -0700 Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:45:56 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Does Obama Need Congress Approval to Fight ISIS?]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 08:36:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/obama128.JPG

The U.S. Congress began debate Monday over what authority to grant President Obama in his fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

While the president has said he “welcomes” Congress’ approval of the war against the radical terrorist group, the president has also repeatedly said he already has the war powers he needs to fight ISIS and can act without Congressional input.

Is this true? And, what is the president referring to when he says he already has the power he needs to fight ISIS?

The president and top White House officials have argued that they have the power to fight ISIS because of the 2001 military authorization Congress gave then-President Bush to fight the terrorist groups who participated in the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States.

Think al-Qaeda and groups affiliated with al-Qaeda.

The problem with this reasoning is that ISIS and al-Qaeda aren’t associates anymore – they are actually fighting each other in Syria right now. And, in February, as The Washington Post reported, the head of al-Qaeda went so far as to state that ISIS “is not a branch of the al-Qaeda group… does not have an organizational relationship with it and [al-Qaeda] is not the group responsible for their actions.”

However, as Think Progress, a liberal-leaning publication, noted in a recent article, “the fact that matters most [for the Obama Administration] is that ISIS began its life as Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the branch set up following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.”

The president is essentially saying that once-associated with al-Qaeda, always-associated with al-Qaeda.

However, this argument hasn’t sat well with a number of Members of Congress or prominent constitutional law experts who have argued that President Obama is misusing the 2001 war powers authorization.

Whether or not this will lead Congress to act remains to be seen. At the end of the day, Congress has the ability to repeal the 2001 war powers authorization and/or issue a new authorization that specifically relates to ISIS.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Californians Fed Up With Congress: Poll]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:10:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/477246219.jpg The latest field poll shows that most Californians are fed up with Congress, and their own representative. NBC Bay Area Political Analyst Larry Gerston reports.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose Mayoral Candidates Square Off at High School Forum]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:51:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AC-1100-AM-KNTV-9152014---11101828.jpg The two candidates for San Jose mayor returned to Bellarmine College Preparatory for a forum led by students of their alma mater. Derek Shore reports.]]> <![CDATA[Reality Check: Examining President Obama's Middle East Strategy]]> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 21:44:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_barack_obama_conflicto_irak.jpg

As President Obama prepares to ramp up the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), he has repeatedly said that the United States’ role in the Middle East won’t look anything like President Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003.

To this end, Obama and many of his democratic allies have consistently characterized the Bush’s Iraq offensive as “unilaterally,” with the U.S. military going into Iraq alone.

Did Bush really go into Iraq alone? And, to what end was the U.S. invasion unilateral?

The reality is that Bush built an international coalition of more than 40 nations when he invaded Iraq. But at the same time, the U.S. military made up the vast majority of troops on the ground, with only Britain, Australia and South Korea providing a meaningful number of troops. The other nations provided intelligence, military resources and some troops, but the battle was largely fought by the U.S. military.

So it’s false to say the U.S. went into Iraq alone.

However, the U.S. invasion was, and continues to be, characterized as unilateral largely because it lacked support from a multinational organization like the United Nations or NATO. The U.S. actually tried to convince the U.N. to support military action but member states of the U.N. refused to provide the U.S. with the authorization it wanted.

As Obama prepares to fight the new threat in the Middle East posed by ISIS, he is explicitly going out of his way to build a broad international coalition and gain the support of the U.N. and NATO. The president has gone so far as to say that while ground troops are needed to defeat ISIS ultimately, it won’t be the U.S. military that will be fighting on the ground.

So, as things stand, Obama’s strategy looks very different from Bush’s.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Reality Check: California's Gubernatorial Debate]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 21:20:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/brown-kashkari.jpg

Republican challenger Neel Kashkari faced off against Governor Jerry Brown in a heated debate Thursday night during which the candidates repeatedly attacked each other and presented differing plans and opinions on virtually every political issue in California.

The hour-long debate showcased both candidates making bold proclamations and accusations – many of which didn’t seem to be supported by the facts. NBC Bay Area looked into four major claims to tease out what was fact, fiction or half-truths.

Claim #1: Brown said he turned a huge budget deficit into a surplus in 3 years.

Governor Brown used much of the debate to highlight his economic record on a variety of issues since being elected in 2010.

During his opening remarks, he said the “budget in 3 years, went from $27 billion in the red, is now in the surplus. A solid surplus!”

Technically, the claim is true. According to the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office there is a “projected 3.2 billion operating surplus for the state in 2014-15.” When Brown took office, the state budget deficit was $26.6 billion.

However, many political and economic experts are quick to point out that the state still owes hundreds of billions of dollars in debt – money for things like pensions and bonds. Current estimates put California’s debt obligations at $340 billion.

So while the Governor and Legislature have produced annual budgets that are bringing in more money than the state is actually spending, California still has huge long-term liabilities that it has to figure out how to pay for.

Claim #2: Kashkari says California ranks 46th in education and Brown is to blame.

Kashkari repeatedly brought up California’s education during the debate, arguing that Brown has bowed to the interests of the teacher unions at the expense of students.

In his opening remarks, he said that Brown has “declared a California comeback. And yet, our middle class is all but destroyed. You know, it’s not that long ago that we used to have some of the best schools in America, here in California. Today our schools are ranked 46th out of 50 states.”

Do California schools really rank at the near bottom? Yes.

Kashkari is likely citing the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress – a standardized, national test where California 4th graders ranked 46th in math and reading.

However, there are countless organizations that put out regular education rankings, factoring in different variables and statistics. For example, Education Week publishes an annual report called “Quality Counts,” and its most recent report ranked California 33rd in K-12 achievement and 42nd for a child’s chances of success.

Nevertheless, the bottom line is that most rankings place California’s education system among the worst when compared to other states.

Is Governor Brown to blame? There’s really no way to figure out who’s to blame – California’s education system didn’t go bad overnight. But Governor Brown has successfully fought for a number of initiatives that are expected to bring more funding to the state’s education system and focus more attention on low-income, under-performing schools.

Claim #3: Kashkari said Brown didn’t do enough to get Tesla to build its new factor in California.

Given this week’s announcement electric car maker Tesla chose Nevada ahead of states like California and Texas for the site of its new “gigafactory,” there was plenty of mudslinging on that topic, too.

“I don’t think Governor Brown did nearly enough on Tesla or on any number of businesses,” Kashkari quipped. “Tesla is one of many examples of this [kind of] failure of this administration.”

The reality?

Tesla did spurn California, but it might be hard to blame Governor Brown for the fact Nevada has no personal income tax and no corporate income tax (gambling revenues go a long way). By the way, it also has no franchise tax, no estate tax and no taxes on corporate shares.

Nevada also happens to be home to the only active lithium mine in the U.S., a useful tidbit considering Tesla’s factory will be producing lithium-ion batteries.

Governor Brown responded to Kashkari’s criticism, noting, “It’s pretty clear what happened – we fought hard for Tesla, but Tesla wanted a massive, cash upfront payment, that I don’t think would be fair to the taxpayers of California.”

NBC Political Analyst Larry Gerston concurred that the tab for California would have been huge, in the neighborhood of $600 million to land Tesla’s factory.

“That’s an awful lot of money,” Gerston said. “States all across the country are opening their piggy banks to bring in companies, but it’s backfiring because then they can’t provide basic services.”

Brown here has a point: Opening up the state’s coffers to generate more factory jobs and expand Tesla’s California footprint could have dealt a blow to many residents.

Claim #4: Kashkari says President Obama and Hillary Clinton agree with him about migrant children – just send them home.

Finally, Kashkari defended his controversial position on returning migrant children to their native countries, even if that destination is violent and gang-ravaged.

“Is the answer to the world’s needy kids an open border in America?” he questioned. “Of course we have compassion. By the way, President Obama has said we need to treat the kids with compassion… and send them home. Hillary Clinton has said we need to treat the kids with compassion… and we need to send them home.”

Kashkari’s assertion is a half-truth at best.

President Obama told Central American leaders that migrant children without legitimate legal claims should be sent home.

In the midst of an immigration crisis- there were 50,000 unaccompanied children detained at the U.S.- Mexico border as of July, a number that’s expect to swell- President Obama lobbied the Congress for billions in funds that would improve and increase holding facilities, and alleviate court backlogs that entitle those children to a day in court.

As Gerston also notes, the president recently issued an executive order allowing certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children the opportunity to increase their stay by two years, and block immediate deportation.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Young Congressman's Growing Political Clout]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 20:39:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0905-2014-Castro.jpg

Joaquin Castro, a democrat from Texas who attended Stanford, emerges as an advocate for immigration reform and closing the achievement gap between minority students and their peers. Jessica Aguirre reports in Class Action.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Sen. Boxer Says No Troops on Ground Needed to Defeat ISIS]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 17:50:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Barbara+Boxer_110173914.jpg

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said the president will go after ISIS the same way he went after al-Qaida.

Speaking to reporters in San Francisco on Friday, Boxer said the rise of ISIS can be laid at the feet of the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq, which inflamed long-simmering divisions in that country. Boxer said she is confident the U.S. will defeat ISIS without putting any combat troops on the ground.

"We're going to take the fight to them and we're going to do it," Boxer said. "As far as I know and support, we're going to do it without American combat boots on the ground."

The senator said the Iraqi military and U.S.-backed Syrian fighters can handle the ground combat. But it is those troops ISIS has recently been defeating.

When asked if foreign troops and U.S. air strikes will be enough to defeat ISIS, Boxer -- who also sits on the state foreign relations committee -- said she is confident.

"Yes, we're hearing from the president every day that we have a strategy," she said.

President Barack Obama, however, recently said he doesn't have a strategy for Syria, but is working on it.

"It's going to be a good strategy, and it's going to be like the strategy we have in Iraq," Boxer said. "Which is to have other boots on the ground from people who know the area who are very familiar with it."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Meet Chuck Todd of "Meet the Press"]]> Sat, 06 Sep 2014 06:22:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/090714_LSP_Chuck_Todd_1200x675_325741123764.jpg

Chuck Todd makes his debut as moderator of "Meet the Press" on Sunday, and has landed President Barack Obama as his first guest. On Friday, Todd took to Reddit to introduce himself.

The Miami native, who attended George Washington University, was previously NBC’s chief White House correspondent and political director. Despite his years in Washington, the sports lover remains committed to teams outside D.C.; he has been a fan of the Miami Hurricanes and the Green Bay Packers since birth.

Here, from his Reddit “Ask Me Anything,” are five things we learned about the famed political junkie.

When will he shave his facial hair?

Don’t hold your breath — even if, as suggested, it would improve his ratings. When he looks in the mirror, he sees his late father, he says. Shaving his beard would be like getting rid of that piece of his father that he carries with him

Who is one person, now dead, that he would have loved to have interviewed?

Richard Nixon, because it would have been a challenge

How does he see his role as a reporter and moderator?

His job is to push back against bloviation and talking points by being grounded in facts, and to get to the nut of the debate.

How does he feel about his name?

He hates having two one syllable names, and has given both of his children multiple-syllable first names. “I’ve been ‘ChuckTodd’ with every coach and teacher during my childhood,” he wrote on Reddit.

Does he ever get nervous interviewing high profile guests?

He's always a tad nervous. "Any moment can be a career ender," he wrote.

What did he think about the University of Louisville’s football win over Miami on Monday?

His late father-in-law was a star quarterback at Louisville, so criticism of Louisville is off-limits in his house. He’s not upset about Louisville, he says, but about the University of Miami being unprepared.
“It’s time for the ‘State of Miami’ to return, meaning that the best players in the best high school football factories in the country go to Miami,” he wrote.

<![CDATA[McDonnells Guilty on Most Charges]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 15:16:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mcdonnell-guilty-AP977255973421.jpg

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife have been found guilty of most of the public corruption charges they faced in a marathon trial centered on lavish gifts and loans from a wealthy businessman.

The former governor has been found guilty of 11 of the 13 charges against him. Former Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell has been found guilty of nine of the 13 charges against her.

It was a bombshell ending to a trial that included the dissection of the former first couple's marriage, testimony that Bob had moved out and was living with a priest, and testimony that Maureen had begun frequently texting and emailing the businessman in the case, Jonnie Williams, who wanted help promoting his dietary supplement.

Three of the McDonnells' five children clutched each others' hands and prayed before the verdict was announced, breaking into sobs as their parents' guilty counts were read aloud.

The couple's son Bobby McDonnell looked at his father with tear-glazed eyes as the former governor's head collapsed into his hands.

Bob McDonnell is "broken" and "devastated," said defense attorney Henry Asbill, who added that he would appeal the verdict.

The government had accused the McDonnells of doing special favors for Williams, the former CEO of dietary supplement maker Star Scientific, Inc., in exchange for more than $177,000 in gifts and loans.

Courtroom observers said two jurors wiped their eyes as the verdicts were read.

As co-defendants, the former first couple was separated in the courtroom, with three lawyers sitting between them. Maureen McDonnell teared up, but appeared composed compared to the emotional reactions of her husband and children.

The McDonnells didn't look at each other as the verdict was read. They left the Richmond courthouse together but got into separate cars. It was a marked difference from the rest of the trial, which verged into soap opera territory as defense lawyers suggested that the McDonnells' marriage was so broken they could not have conspired to obtain gifts, trips and loans from Williams.

Throughout the trial, Bob McDonnell had appeared confident, telling reporters repeatedly that he was sure he would be exonerated and was putting his faith in God.

"All I can say is my trust remains in the Lord," he said in a brief statement as he left the courthouse Thursday with Maureen, before they got into separate cars.

McDonnell, who was once considered a rising GOP star and potential vice presidential pick for Mitt Romney in 2012, now faces, along with his wife, up to 30 years in federal prison when they're sentenced in January.

"This is a difficult and disappointing day for the Commonwealth and its citizens," said Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. "Public service frequently requires sacrifice, and almost always requires financial sacrifice. When public officials turn to financial gain in exchange for official acts, we have no choice but to prosecute the case."

Bob McDonnell is the first former governor of Virginia to be convicted of a crime. The commonwealth had long had a reputation for clean politics, a reputation shattered in the five-week McDonnell trial.

Political analyst Bob Holsworth called it "a day of infamy in Virginia."

The Verdict, Count by Count

Bob and Maureen McDonnell were each charged with 13 counts in a 14-count indictment:

  • In the first count against them, the McDonnells were found guilty of conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud for accepting gifts and loans from Williams.

  • The next three charges, counts 2-4, involved accepting checks from Williams: On counts 2 and 3, the McDonnells were both found guilty of honest-services wire fraud for accepting a $15,000 check to pay a caterer for their daughter's wedding, and for accepting a $50,000 loan check for MoBo Real Estate, a company the former governor operated with his sister.

  • On count 4, Bob McDonnell was also found guilty of a count of honest-services wire fraud for a $20,000 wire transfer for MoBo. Maureen McDonnell was found not guilty on that charge.

  • On count 5, the McDonnells were found guilty of conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right for the gifts and loans they received.

  • The McDonnells also faced six charges of obtaining property under color of official right, counts 6-11: On counts 6-8, they were found guilty of three charges of obtaining property under color of official right for a $50,000 check to Maureen, for the $15,000 check to the wedding caterer, and for a $2,380 golf outing.

  • On count 9, Bob McDonnell was found guilty of obtaining property under color of official right for a $1,424 golf outing. Maureen McDonnell was found not guilty of that charge.

  • On count 10, both McDonnells were found guilty of obtaining property under color of official right for the $50,000 check to MoBo.

  • On count 11, Bob McDonnell was found guilty of obtaining property under color of official right for the $20,000 transfer to MoBo. Maureen McDonnell was found not guilty of that charge.

  • Only Bob McDonnell was charged with count 12. He was found not guilty of making false statements on a TowneBank loan application.

  • In count 13, both McDonnells were found not guilty of making false statements on a PenFed loan application.

  • Only Maureen McDonnell was charged with count 14. She was found guilty of obstruction of official proceeding for a handwritten note to Williams.

They will be sentenced Jan. 6, 2015.

Inside the Testimony

The trial centered on the testimony of the former governor and Williams, the prosecution's star witness. Maureen McDonnell did not take the stand.

Williams was granted immunity for his dealings with the McDonnells and possible securities fraud violations, which had been investigated by a separate grand jury. He testified that he spent lavishly on the McDonnells to secure their help promoting and obtaining state-backed research for Star Scientific's tobacco-derived anti-inflammatory supplement, Anatabloc. Williams intended to share the results of that research with doctors to gain their support of the product.

Prosecutors claimed the former first couple had an "unconscionable amount" of credit card debt and presented testimony that they were eager to accept gifts from Williams, including a $6,500 Rolex watch that Maureen gave Bob for Christmas, a vacation at Williams’ luxurious home on Smith Mountain Lake outside Roanoke, use of Williams' Ferrari and a shopping spree for designer clothes and accessories for Maureen.

Testimony showed Williams loaned $50,000 to Maureen McDonnell that she used to pay down credit debt in 2011. He also loaned $50,000 and $20,000 to MoBo Real Estate, a small company that Bob McDonnell and one of his sisters ran to operate two beach properties.

Prosecutors also said Williams paid $15,000 in catering expenses when one of the McDonnells' daughters got married. And they claimed Maureen had developed a close relationship with Williams, exchanging more than 1,200 texts and calls over a nearly two-year period, including 52 in one day.

In his defense, Bob McDonnell testified he did nothing more than extend routine political courtesies to Williams. Before the indictment, he had apologized for what he described as bad judgment and said he had repaid about $120,000 in gifts and loans, but denied breaking any laws.

A key part of the defense strategy was the claim that the McDonnells couldn't have conspired, because their marriage had deteriorated to the point that Bob McDonnell had moved out and was now living with a priest, who is a family friend. Maureen McDonnell's lawyers called Williams her "favorite playmate."

Both the prosecution and the defense called Maureen volatile and emotional. One prosecution witness called her a "nut bag." Bob McDonnell himself said his wife didn't take well to the role of first lady, calling her handling of behind-the-scenes matters "a disaster." Testimony revealed staff members at the governor's mansion had threatened to resign en masse.

Judge: 'Can't Take Another Second'

After lengthy days of intense testimony -- on day four, the judge in the case said he was stopping testimony because he "can't take another second" -- the jury faced the task of deciding the McDonnells' guilt or innocence.

Judge James R. Spencer issued lengthy instructions to the jury Tuesday morning, including the warning that the testimony of a witness who is granted immunity must be more closely examined than testimony of other witnesses.

The heightened scrutiny was required to determine whether the testimony of the immunized witness is "affected by self-interest," Spencer said.

To be found guilty, Spencer said, a defendant must understand the nature of the conspiracy and deliberately join it.

However, Spencer said a conspiracy does not have to achieve its goals, which could have undercut a defense claim that Williams never received anything of substance, including the research he took preliminary steps to seek.

He also said an agreement need not be stated explicitly by the conspirators and that it didn't matter whether the defendant would have done those favors absent a bribe.

Spencer also told jurors -- who heard from three character witnesses, two for Bob McDonnell and one for his wife -- that "evidence of good character alone may create a reasonable doubt as to a defendant's guilt."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[2016 Presidential Contenders Flock to NH]]> Wed, 03 Sep 2014 09:26:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/rand-paul.jpg

It's still two months from the 2014 mid-term elections, and already numerous potential 2016 presidential candidates are flocking to New Hampshire.

Politico reported on Wednesday that GOP Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will speak at a Generation Opportunity event on Sept. 11 and the NHGOP Unity Breakfast on Sept. 12. Both events will be held in Manchester.

This weekend brings two more Republican presidential hopefuls to the Granite State. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is scheduled to make appearances in Dover and Stratham on Saturday, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will be in Concord, Manchester and Nashua on Sunday.

It was also announced last week that Donald Trump will travel to New Hampshire on Nov. 12 to speak at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communication's 12th annual First Amendment Awards.

Paul, Jindal, Cruz and Trump have all made previous trips to New Hampshire this year.

Vice President Joe Biden, a possible 2016 contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, was scheduled to speak at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Obama Losing Support from California Democrats: Poll]]> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 22:03:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP980034027612.jpg

Even California Democrats are tiring of President Barack Obama.

The president's strongest supporters over the past near-decade have been voters in deep-blue California, where Obama comes on fund-raising visits frequently. But fewer than half of registered Democrats here approve of the job he's doing, according to a recent Field Poll.

Registered Dems disapprove Obama 43 percent of the time, with only 45 percent in favor of his job, both record lows.

This in California, where Obama trounced Republican challenger Mitt Romney 60 percent to 37 percent, the San Francisco Chronicle noted.

In the Bay Area, his approval rating has dipped from 60 percent to 53 percent. And in Los Angeles, he's at 51 percent, down from 62 percent in June, the newspaper reported.

Oddly, voters are more at ease with the direction the country is taking, according to the poll. Somehow, that's not been connected to the man in charge.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Reality Check: Obama Links Minimum Wage Increases to Job Growth]]> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 19:29:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/minimum-wage-cash.jpg

What effect does raising the minimum wage have on jobs? It’s an issue that has long been debated in politics, with Republicans arguing that it “kills jobs” and Democrats saying it helps the broader economy.

Monday, at a Labor Day rally, President Barack Obama gave a fiery speech in which he claimed that it not only helps the economy at large, but in states that have raised wages, there has been more job growth than in the states that haven’t budged on the issue.

Is the president’s claim true? Yes and no – it just depends on what data is used.

Here is the quote in question from Monday’s speech: “You know, opponents they'll say, well, minimum wage, they're gonna kill jobs. Except it turns out that the states where the minimum wage has gone up this year had higher job growth than the states that didn't raise the minimum wage. That's the facts.”

Since the start of the year, there have been 13 states that have boosted their minimum wage. And, according to a recent Associated Press article on U.S. Labor Department data, the “number of jobs grew an average of 0.85 percent” in those states. “The average for the other 37 states was 0.61 percent.”

This is the data the president was referring to when he talked about “higher job growth.”

However, job growth is typically associated with overall changes in total employment and not the rate of change. In other words, did the 13 states with minimum wage increases outpace the other 37 states in the total number of jobs created?

NBC Bay Area dove into the trove of data available through the Labor Department to figure out the answer to this question. The result? Over 434,000 total jobs were created in the 13 states where wages increased. In the 37 other states, more than 897,000 total jobs were created.

While this is by no means an example of what was widely showcased in the famed book “How to Lie with Statistics,” it is a good example of how varying datasets can be used to tell different stories about the same situation.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Congress Returns Tuesday After Five-Week Recess]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 19:33:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KNTV_000000008071662_1200x675_323894851677.jpg This Tuesday, Congress will return after a five-week recess. For what to expect in the weeks between now and the November election, NBC Area Political Analyst Larry Gerston reports from Washington, DC.]]> <![CDATA["Gun Violence Restraining Order" Bill Approved]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 11:17:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/UCSD-Vigil-Isla-Vista-05262.jpg

The California Senate has passed AB 1014, which would allow law enforcement or family members of a person who is displaying signs of violence to petition a court for a restraining order.

That order would allow law enforcement officials to take away the person’s guns temporarily. The bill comes as a response to the Isla Vista shooting spree that left six UC Santa Barbara students dead.

“It's just another tool in law enforcement's tool box to help mitigate or deal with situations that can potentially turn violence," said Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson.

Christianson is also the president of the California State Sheriff’s Association.

“It's no different from what we're doing with domestic violence restraining orders. It just expands our abilities to look for those danger signs,” he told NBC 7.

In February 2013, two deputies were shot during a SWAT standoff in Encinitas with a 22-year-old man.

His family says he struggled with anxiety and depression.

His mother filed for a restraining order just days before the shooting. During the standoff, the young man killed himself. His family told NBC 7 they tried their hardest to get him help.

Gun rights advocate and CEO of Ares Armor Dimitri Karras says although the bill was created with the best of intentions, he believes it’s unconstitutional.

“Having law enforcement show up and strip you of your rights simply because of an allegation is a huge violation of the second amendment,” he said. “It will be challenged, it will be struck down it is unconstitutional and that's going to be the end of it.”

The bill now heads back to the Assembly for further action.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[The "New" Jerry Brown Cooperative Legislature]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:49:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_jerry_brown_california.jpg Four years ago when Democrat Jerry Brown was elected with a lop-sided Democratic State Legislature, many political observers expected California to turn to the far left. But that hasn't happened. NBC Bay Area political analys Larry Gerston explains why.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Khanna Holds Rally at Honda's Office, Demands Debate]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:09:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0827-2014-RoKhanna.jpg

The battle for California's 17th congressional district is heating up after challenger Ro Khanna rallied at longtime South Bay incumbent Mike Honda's office.

Khanna at Wednesday's rally demanded a debate with Honda, who he accuses of ducking repeated calls for the challenge.

"The voters in this district deserve debates," Khanna said at the rally. "You're supposed to answer the questions and give answers . . . but don't duck from the debate that is the hallmark of democracy."

The rally comes after Honda beat Khanna in the open primary by 20 points.

Larry Gerston, a political science professor at San Jose State University, said Khanna needs the attention -- to a point.

"It's not so much a Hail Mary as an attempt to get attention," Gerston said. "It's a good time to make news. That said, when you go to your opponent's headquarters, some would look at that as rather sophomoric."

The latest polls show Khanna, once considered a front-runner, is now trailing significantly.

A spokesperson for Honda's campaign said they plan to have a debate with Khanna in early October.

Photo Credit: Scott Budman]]>
<![CDATA[California Senate Has Arrest Rate Twice the State Average]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:08:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP588054204940.jpg

To find the most-arrested populace in California, look no further than the state capitol.

The state Senate has what could be the highest arrest rate in the state, according to the Sacramento Bee. With three of its 40 members arrested this year, the Senate's arrest rate is twice the state average and higher than any major California city.

The newspaper lays out the roll call of shame: Ron Calderon and bribes. Leland Yee and his bizarre litany of alleged crimes (bribes, and weapons trafficking). Add in state Sen. Ben Hueso's bust Friday on suspicion of drunk driving, and that's three senators scandalized.

Statewide arrest figures are 1.3 busts per 40 people, according to the newspaper. Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose all average less than one arrest per 40 people, or well below the Senate average.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Perry in NH: Charges All Politics]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 20:03:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/edtAP259994489655.jpg

New Hampshire wasn't kind to Texas Governor Rick Perry back in 2012. He's hoping voters in the granite state will give him a fresh start as he considers another presidential bid in 2016.

On Friday, Governor Perry returned to New Hampshire for a series of GOP sponsored events.

He met with business leaders in Portsmouth and focused many of his remarks on border concerns and the growing threat of ISIS, even connecting the two by speculating members of ISIS could enter the U.S. through unsecured borders.

"ISIS has said we are coming to America and they are going to attack us, I take them at their word," said Gov. Rick Perry.

Governor Perry also addressed his recent indictment on coercion charges by a Texas grand jury. He called the charges politically motivated and said he will fight them with every fiber of his being.

He also acknowledged making mistakes in New Hampshire back in 2012, saying he didn't spend enough time in the state and wasn't as prepared as he would have liked.

Governor Perry will make several more stops in New Hampshire through Saturday.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[GOP Staffer in Chicken Suit Faces Charges After Clucking at NH Governor, Senator]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 08:25:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/zona+chicken+suit.jpg

A GOP state committee staff member has been charged with disorderly conduct after heckling New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Governor Maggie Hassan at this past Saturday's Old Home Day parade.

Michael Zona, of Manchester, was dressed in a chicken suit when he began to interfere with the parade, reports The Eagle-Tribune.

The 23-year-old allegedly ran out into the parade route toward Shaheen and Hassan, clucking at them.
"I believe Senator Jeanne Shaheen should be holding town halls and I have a First Amendment right to express that point of view. I wasn't bothering anyone. I wasn't disturbing anyone. In fact, I got a good deal of encouragement from people along the parade route," said Zona in response to the incident.
Zona was escorted from the parade after failing to comply with numerous requests to stop. 
“At one point, the governor had to take a few steps back toward her security staff,” Detective Christopher Olson told The Eagle-Tribune.
Julia McClain of the New Hampshire Democratic Party used the incident to blast the state Republicans, saying the party "wastes taxpayer resources and local law enforcement time with these juvenile antics when we should be discussing critical issues that matter--like raising the minimum wage, creating good paying jobs, and protecting social security and Medicare for our state's seniors."

Photo Credit: Twitter: John DiStaso]]>
<![CDATA[Campaign Snag for Gov. Jerry Brown?]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 14:18:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KNTV_000000007916937_1200x675_319215171594.jpg It was once thought to be an insurmountable lead. But now Jerry Brown's campaign to keep the governor's office has hit a snag. NBC Bay Area political analyst Larry Gerston explains why re-election may not be a sure thing.]]> <![CDATA[NYC Council Speaker Tweets About HPV Diagnosis, Urges Annual Check-Ups]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:34:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/MarkViverito.jpg

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced via Twitter Sunday that she had "high-risk HPV" in an effort to boost awareness about the most commonly sexually transmitted infection in the country and encourage women to have regular gynecological exams.

In a series of tweets, Mark-Viverito divulged that she learned Friday she had the infection, and that she hadn't been to a gynecologist in two years prior to her most recent visit.

"At recent #GYN visit alarmed to find out last one, 2yrs ago. Friday got call re: results. Told have "high risk HPV". #Biopsy needed #ASAP," she tweeted.

"Tuesday I'm there. To say I'm not wee bit worried = lie. "High risk HPV" can POTENTIALLY but NOT definitively lead to cervical #cancer."

Mark-Viverito, 45, tweeted that she is "an extremely private person," but that her position has given her a platform -- and a responsibility to use it.

"Our health should never be compromised," she tweeted. "Annual physicals have to be sacred. Yet our health care system doesn't lend itself to this for many."

Mayor de Blasio called Mark-Viverito's decision to share her experience "brave" and "exemplary."

About 79 million people in the United States have HPV, and another 14 million contract it each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Anyone can get it once they become sexually active, and nearly half of the new infections each year occur among people ages 15 to 24, according to the New York City Health Department.

Most people who get HPV have no symptoms of infection. Each year, about 12,000 women diagnosed with HPV nationwide develop cervical cancer, the most common cancer associated with the infection, and about 4,000 of them die from it.

To learn more about HPV treatment and prevention, including a vaccine, click here.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: McMullan/Sipa USA]]>
<![CDATA[Former Vt. U.S. Sen. Jeffords Dead at 80]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 14:57:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/James+Jeffords.jpg

Former Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., died Monday at Knollwood, a military retirement home in Washington, D.C., a former aide said. He was 80.

A navy veteran, Jeffords made a name in politics as a state senator and attorney general before he was elected to seven terms in the U.S. House, once splitting with his fellow Republicans in opposing a President Reagan tax cut plan. Vermonters voted him into the Senate in 1988, where he was a champion for environmental causes.

The moderate, even liberal, Republican shocked Washington in 2001 when he said the GOP had drifted too far to the right for him. He quit the party, became an independent, and caucused with democrats.

“I am confident it is the right decision,” Jeffords said upon making his famous “jump.” “I hope that the people of Vermont will understand it.”

Jeffords announced in 2005 he would not seek re-election the next year, citing declining health.

"I think we have to bring back people like Jim Jeffords, who say running for office is really a form of public service," former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin said Monday.

Kunin remembered Jeffords as a good-hearted guy who just wanted to do what he thought was right; not tow some party line. "The comparison is rather painful, where we now have a Congress that prides itself on doing nothing, where in those days, people really went there to get things done and to improve the lives of the public," Kunin said.

"He's going to be very sorely missed," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who was in the U.S. House when Jeffords was in the Senate. "He was a guy who, I think, much preferred to be around Vermonters here in Vermont than among the big shots in Washington. It wasn't who he was."

Tom Vogelmann, the University of Vermont's agriculture and life sciences dean, told New England Cable News he thinks of Jeffords as "one of the giants." The University of Vermont College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is housed in the building that bears Jeffords' name.

"He was a very strong supporter of education, a very strong supporter of environmental legislation, and that's the curriculum that's basically taught in this building," Vogelmann told NECN. "So we have thousands of young people who are training here and that's all adding to his legacy."

Reflections on the life and legacy of Jim Jeffords poured in Monday. Here are several of those:

President Barack Obama:

Michelle and I send our deepest sympathies to the family of Senator James M. Jeffords on his passing. Jim devoted his life to service - as a Naval officer, a local leader in his hometown of Shrewsbury, and eventually as a U.S. Senator representing his beloved Vermont. During his more than 30 years in Washington, Jim never lost the fiercely independent spirit that made Vermonters, and people across America, trust and respect him. Whatever the issue - whether it was protecting the environment, supporting Americans with disabilities, or whether to authorize the war in Iraq - Jim voted his principles, even if it sometimes meant taking a lonely or unpopular stance. Vermonters sent him to Washington to follow his conscience, and he did them proud.

Our prayers are with the Jeffords family, including his son Leonard and daughter Laura. And we're grateful to Jim for his legacy of service to Vermont and the United States of America.

Vice President Joe Biden:

Jim Jeffords was a personal friend, a great senator, and a good man. He was not only beloved by the people of Vermont, but by anyone who ever worked with him. For the nearly four decades I served in the United States Senate, nearly half were spent with Jim as a colleague. Jim knew that with a country as diverse as ours, there is a need for consensus to move the country forward. He was a man who dealt with his colleagues without pretext and with complete honesty. And he always knew what he was talking about—and his colleagues and constituents always knew where he stood on an issue. Jim was a reflection of Vermont—independent and non-ideological and always about solving problems. Jill and I are saddened by his passing and join his family, friends, and his former staff in remembering all that he stood for: basic fairness and principled independence.

Former President Bill Clinton:

Hillary and I are saddened by the passing of our friend Senator Jim Jeffords, who served the people of Vermont and the United States for more than 30 years. Jim was one of our strongest advocates for better health and education, a cleaner environment, and increased opportunities for people with disabilities. I will always be especially grateful for his support of the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Brady Bill, and our 1993 health care reform effort. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his many friends across the country.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.:

He was a partner in our work for Vermont, and he was a friend. He was a Vermonter through and through, drawn to political life to make a difference for our state and nation. Part of his legacy will also stand as an enduring chapter of the Senate's history.

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt.:

I know I share the view of all Vermonters today in expressing condolences to the family of Senator Jim Jeffords on his passing, and our gratitude to him for his life of service.

While Jim would certainly wave away the notion, he was indeed a legend in Vermont and the nation. With characteristic decency, humility and civility, and a dogged persistence, he made his mark in Congress. Millions of children with disabilities are better off today because he lead the charge for their equal access to education. Americans are breathing cleaner air and drinking cleaner water because of his fierce advocacy for the environment and clean energy. And budding artists across the nation receive the boost of his encouragement every year thanks to his legacy as the founder of the annual Congressional Arts Competition.

And, in 2001, the world saw what his fellow Vermonters already knew: Jim Jeffords, above all, had the courage of his convictions.

Jim and his wife, Liz Daley Jeffords, were mentors to me in my early days in the House of Representatives. I am deeply grateful to them both for their friendship, their support and their contributions to Vermont and our country.

Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vt.:

I join Vermonters and citizens nationwide today in celebrating the life of Jim Jeffords, a true gentleman and an independent-minded maverick in the best tradition of our state. Jim followed in the footsteps of Senators Bob Stafford and George Aiken, always putting the interests of Vermonters and the nation ahead of partisan politics. He followed his sense of right in all that he did, and was never afraid to seek compromise by reaching across the aisle for the good of our country. Jim’s contribution to Vermont spanned his service in the Vermont House, as Attorney General, and as Vermont’s Representative in the U.S. House, where he developed his passion for high quality public education that forged his policy work on behalf of our kids and continued throughout his career. The passing of Senator Jim Jeffords will be felt throughout Vermont and our country. We need more like Senator Jeffords. My heart goes out to his children and extended family.

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vt.:

The story of Vermont politics cannot be told without Jim Jeffords. He served in the most honorable way a person can serve: Selflessly, and always with the best interests of others at heart. He did what he felt was right, not what he felt would make him popular. Whether it was during his time in the Vermont Senate, or as Attorney General, or in the United States House of Representatives, or in the United States Senate, Jim valued the voices of Vermonters and leaves a legacy we can all learn from: Respect over rhetoric, pragmatism over pandering, and love for Vermonters overall.

In our large, and largely faceless, system of government, he demonstrated the power that one person speaking for their constituents can have. His example of moderation and independence is what I’ve tried to model my own career off of. My sincere condolences go out to Laura, Leonard, and the entire Jeffords family.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Florida Ad Tries to Connect Pot With Date Rape]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 05:56:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/potdaterapead.jpg

The campaign against medical marijuana in Florida is in high gear as it tries to link easier access to pot to date rape in a new online ad campaign.

The website, "Vote no on 2," claims that if the medical marijuana bill is passed, teenagers will have easier access to pot. A Twitter picture then asks if the new face of date rape will look like a marijuana cookie.

“These are products that are very dangerous,” said Javi Correoso of Vote No on 2. “They are a lot more powerful than smoking a joint and they can lead to various serious situations and circumstances.”

Correoso said that “potentially” includes date rape. But Dr. Jorge Bordenave of Larkin Community Hospital insisted that Correoso is wrong.

"Right now, as we know, you can get pot anywhere, on the corners, kids get pot,” said Dr. Bordenave, who supports legalizing medical marijuana. "There has been no incidents of date rape with the pot they are smoking currently. So what they are saying is trying to scare the people; trying to lie to the people."

Other organizations like United for Care said there are plenty of benefits for patients with cancers, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and other ailments. Dr. Bordenave also pointed out that other legal vices are doing major damage.

“We have more people dying of alcohol, tobacco smoke than marijuana,” Bordenave said. “I did research recently; out of the 25 FDA approved drugs most commonly sold in the United States, in one year there were 10,000 deaths. There were no deaths from marijuana.”

Still, opponents say that the medical marijuana oil recently approved by the legislature is enough and there should be no smoking of marijuana allowed, despite any medical benefits.

“What Amendment 2 is is an amendment that has so many loopholes that it allows for marijuana to be used for non-medical reasons such as pot cookies and pot smoking,” Correoso said.

Voters will have the final say in November when the state constitutional amendment is on the ballot.

Photo Credit: Vote No on 2]]>
<![CDATA["Six Californias" Wouldn't Help Republicans: Study]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 10:16:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/193*120/0623-SixCalifornias1.jpg

Dividing blue California into six states wouldn't do much to improve the lots of Republicans hoping to gain more sway and political seats under a new proposal to split up the state, according to a new study,

Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper is the one pushing the idea that 38 million people is many for a single state. He's vying to get his "Six Californias" proposal on the 2016 ballot, where voters would decide whether to back his idea that splitting the state could be a solution to California's governing woes.

But even a state with a capital in San Diego or Fresno -- as "South California" and "Central California" might have, respectively -- would send mostly Democrats to Washington, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times about a study from a pair of UC Berkeley researchers. 

Of the six Californians, only "South California," which could include Orange County as well as San Diego and San Bernandino, would be "highly competitive" between the two parties. Central California would be a tossup -- as would "Jefferson," the land of Humboldt County marijuana growers as well as small-government activists.

The researchers, Jack Citrin and Ethan Rarick, based their guess on election returns from those areas.

All that said, the likelihood of Draper's measure passing is near-zero, the newspaper reported.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[San Francisco Voters "Most Liberal": Report]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 20:58:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/sfcityhall2.JPG

There are liberal voters -- and then there are San Francisco voters.

It may come to no surprise to the general public, but a research paper produced by political scientists at UCLA and MIT spells it out: San Francisco's voters are the most-liberal in the country, according to reports.

The researchers, Chris Warshaw and Chris Tausanovitch, studied eleven years' worth of surveys that -- according to San Francisco magazine -- judged the values of 275,000 voters.

San Francisco was the most-far left, with Washington, D.C., Seattle, and Oakland not far behind, the magazine reported.

The researchers judged data including taxation and spending. So despite struggles over land use between big business and renters, it's all about where the money goes. And it's going left, where the voters want it, the magazine reported.

Photo Credit: Cheryl Hurd]]>
<![CDATA[Examining the Latest Proposal to Ban Plastic Bags in CA]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 18:52:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/Plastic+Bag+Ban+Store+Counter+copy.jpg NBC Bay Area political analyst Larry Gerston tells us whether the current effort to ban plastic bags in California will succeed or fail like so many others in the past.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cap and Trade Will Hit Californians January]]> Sun, 10 Aug 2014 23:44:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KNTV_000000007825059_1200x675_317066308002.jpg For most Californians, cap and trade refers to a vague method that businesses deal with pollution. But cap and trade will hit most Californians directly next January. NBC Bay Area Political Analyst Larry Gerston explains.]]> <![CDATA[Jean Quan to Leave Driving to Staffers: Report]]> Sat, 09 Aug 2014 17:06:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/jean_quan_fender_bender.jpg

It appears Oakland Mayor Jean Quan will not be behind the wheel this election season.

According to the Oakland Tribune, a spokesman said going forward, Quan will leave the driving to staffers or volunteers.

Quan's driving suddenly became a red flag back in June when she damaged her city-issued car in a fender bender.

Before the accident, she was also seen using her phone behind the wheel.

As for that June car crash, police never did determine which driver was at fault.