This is a sampling from Bay Area News Group's Political Blotter blog. Read more and post comments at www.ibabuzz.com/politics.
The House today passed HR 5146, which would cancel an automatic $1,600 pay raise for members of Congress in fiscal year 2011, keeping their salaries at $174,000. The bill passed on a 402-15 vote; the U.S. Senate passed a similar measure by unanimous consent last week.
Among the 15 House members voting against the bill today were Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma.
"Congresswoman Lee has consistently voted in favor of cost of living increases for federal workers," said Nicole Williams, Lee's communications director.
All other Bay Area members voted for the bill. Even its supporters admit it's mainly symbolic, saving about $1 million amid an estimated $1.3 trillion federal budget deficit this year — that's about 0.00007 percent.
But it's the thought that counts, said Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, probably the Bay Area's only embattled House incumbent in November's midterm elections. He issued a statement saying he'd been among the bill's co-sponsors and consistently has worked to eliminate automatic pay raises for Congress.
"At a time when families are struggling to make ends meet, it's just not right for members of Congress to get a pay raise," he said. "That's why I've donated my automatic pay increase to local charities and why I'm going to keep fighting to stop these unnecessary increases."
UPDATE FROM LISA VORDERBRUEGGEN: I have some additional information about McNerney that readers might find interesting. This the second year Congress and McNerney have voted to suspend the automatic pay raise. But in the past couple of years, McNerney contributed his pay raise to local charities. He will have donated an estimated $9,400 to groups such as Tri-Valley Haven in Livermore and Village Community Resource Center in Brentwood.
— Josh Richman
Former Facebook chief privacy officer Chris Kelly of Palo Alto announced today he's putting another $4 million of his own money into his campaign for the Democratic nomination for state Attorney General, essentially doubling his previous investments that had totaled $4,006,500.
The $8 million accounts for all but a small fraction of his campaign war chest, as major donors have flocked instead to San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris and former Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, the best-known names in the Democratic primary race.
Also in the race are Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark; Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance; Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara; and Emeryville attorney Mike Schmier.
Kelly's double-down comes a week after Harris floated results of a poll she had commissioned showing her in the lead at 25 percent, followed by Delgadillo at 9 percent; Lieu, Nava and Torrico each at 4 percent; and Kelly at 2 percent — Kelly's number being down 6 percentage points from February despite his self-funding and an aggressive media campaign including efforts to tie Harris to the San Francisco Police crime-lab scandal.
Some say that's because he's getting dragged down by the sinking reputation of Facebook, where he'd helped formulate some now-unpopular privacy policies.
— Josh Richman