This is a sampling from Bay Area News Group's Political Blotter blog. Read more and post comments at www.ibabuzz.com/politics.

March 11

An Oakland attorney has been named to California's political watchdog agency by state Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Eric Casher, 34, will serve a four-year term on the Fair Political Practices Commission.

Casher practices law at Meyers Nave in Oakland; he serves on the boards of the California Bar Foundation and the Charles Houston Bar Association; and in 2011, he was recognized by the National Bar Association as one of the "Nation's Best Advocates, 40 Under 40." He earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from UC Berkeley and a law degree from Hastings College of the Law.

Also, Casher led a Young Professionals Finance Committee for Harris' 2010 campaign for attorney general and, like Harris, was an active supporter of and fundraiser for President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.

"Eric's commitment to justice, fairness and the rule of law will make him a strong asset on the Fair Political Practices Commission," Harris said in a news release. "The people of California will be well-served by his diligence and his judgment."

The five-member FPPC adopts and amends political and campaign-finance regulations, helps agencies and officials with record-keeping and reporting, maintains economic-interest records and investigates and punishes violators of the Political Reform Act. The governor appoints two commissioners, and the remaining three appointments are made by the state attorney general, the secretary of state and the state controller.


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March 15

Almost 60 House members from both sides of the aisle have signed a letter co-authored by an East Bay lawmaker expressing concern about the new Transportation Security Administration policy allowing knives on planes.

The TSA revised its prohibited-items policy to allow certain knives and sports equipment in airplane cabins; the new policy is set to take effect April 25. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, and Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. -- the ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee -- are circulating the letter.

At a hearing yesterday, TSA Administrator John Pistole acknowledged that his agency hadn't properly engaged stakeholders such as flight attendants before reaching its decision. The letter calls on the TSA to withdraw the new policy until it has consulted adequately with flight attendants, pilots and transportation security officers.

"The support for our letter objecting to TSA's decision by Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle validates the general consensus that this is a foolish policy that could, in a worst-case scenario, seriously harm Americans," Swalwell, a freshman member of the Homeland Security Transportation Security Subcommittee, said in a news release. "Based on my conversation with Administrator Pistole yesterday at the Homeland Security Committee hearing, I am more convinced that TSA should not implement this policy."

The letter is supported by the American Federation of Government Employees, the Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions, the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations, the Federal Flight Deck Officer Association and the National Association of Police Organizations. The letter will keep circulating through Tuesday; the only Bay Area member besides Swalwell to have signed it so far is Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa.