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

Oct. 9

Technology leaders think President Barack Obama will be re-elected, but think Republican nominee Mitt Romney would give a bigger boost to the technology economy, according to a new survey.

The DLA Piper Technology Leaders Forecast Survey found, among other things: 76 percent of tech leaders expect Obama to be re-elected; 64 percent believe Romney would be better for the technology economy, and 64 percent see an increased threat of regulation for the private equity and venture capital industry.

DLA Piper, a global law firm, distributed its survey in late September and early October to senior executives and advisers in the technology industry, including CEOs, CFOs and other company officers at tech companies, as well as to venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and consultants. The study was released today in conjunction with DLA Piper's Global Technology Leaders Summit taking place at the Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park.

Sixty percent of business leaders are skeptical that a second term for the Obama administration would have a positive impact on the technology sector. The partisan tables have turned since the 2008 election, when nearly 60 percent of tech executives believed that then-Sen. Barack Obama would have a more positive impact on technology development and investment than his GOP opponent, Sen. John McCain.


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"Regardless of the election's outcome, it seems clear that what technology leaders want out of Washington is greater clarity on regulation and tax policy. Those themes surfaced prominently in our latest version of the survey," Peter Astiz, global co-head of the Technology Sector at DLA Piper, said in a news release.

The survey found 78 percent of respondents believe that the presidential campaign dialogue surrounding private equity -- namely, attacks upon Romney's record at Bain Capital -- has damaged the reputation of the private equity and venture capital industry, and 65 percent expressed concern that this focus could likely lead to new regulation of the industry.

Most respondents -- 60 percent -- think letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire would negatively impact tech-sector investments; 33 percent think the tax cuts' expiration would have no direct impact on the tech sector's growth.

Oct. 12

A federal appeals court is about to hear oral arguments on marijuana's medical value, the first time in almost 20 years that advocates have had the chance to offer a court scientific evidence for a change in the government's classification of the drug.

"Medical marijuana patients are finally getting their day in court," Joe Elford, chief counsel for Oakland-based Americans for Safe Access, said in a news release. "What's at stake in this case is nothing less than our country's scientific integrity and the imminent needs of millions of patients."

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear arguments Tuesday on whether the government has arbitrarily and capriciously kept marijuana classified in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, as advocates claim. Schedule 1 drugs are those deemed to have a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use, and a lack of accepted safety even under medical supervision. Other drugs on that list include heroin and LSD, while methamphetamine is on the less-restrictive Schedule 2.

A Coalition for Rescheduling Marijuana filed a rescheduling petition in 2002; that petition was unanswered until 2011, when the Drug Enforcement Administration denied it after advocates sued for unreasonable delay. This hearing is on the appeal of that denial.

Advocates claim the ban on marijuana is rooted in politics, not science, and that the National Institute on Drug Abuse has created a unique and unreasonable research approval process for the drug.

ASA's appellate brief argues the DEA has no "license to apply different criteria to marijuana than to other drugs, ignore critical scientific data, misrepresent social science research, or rely upon unsubstantiated assumptions, as the DEA has done in this case."

An open letter from more than 60 medical professionals is being sent to the Obama administration in advance of Tuesday's arguments. It cites favorable positions on rescheduling by the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians and the American Nurses Association -- an effort to refute the government's position that marijuana lacks any accepted medical use.

California is among 17 states, plus the District of Columbia, which have enacted medical marijuana laws.