We get a ton of email from candidates of all stripes for just about every office; and we have no problem running formal press releases of candidates for major office. Which brings me to California AG and US Senate candidate Kamala Harris, who made her first major visit to OC since the 2015 Democratic convention in Anaheim speaking before a decidedly Liberal crown in Laguna Beach this week.
The only mail we get from the Harris camp are really lame fundraising letters, like this one:
A recent poll shows something startling — 44% of California voters remain undecided. I know that Kamala is the best choice to be California’s next Senator. I’ve been proud to call Kamala “boss” since 2013.
Simply put, no one else out there will work harder for California families. I know this because Kamala has the track record to prove it.
Here lies the problem: We’re short of our January goal and if we don’t hit it, we won’t have the resources to reach these undecideds.
California is a big state and we need to be able to spread her message from Del Norte County to Imperial County. We simply can’t miss goals if we want to turn undecideds into Kamala supporters.
If we want Kamala to win in November, nothing can be taken for granted and we can’t take a single obstacle lightly. Please donate $5 to move our operation forward. I know with your help, Kamala will be our next Senator.
Juan Juan Rodriguez
Campaign Manager Kamala Harris for Senate
There’s no backup providd for her “track record to prove it.” And if the pitches are centered around issues, the one above isn’t, they can best described as a state issue versus a more federal one. “Reducing student truancy?” There’s precious little for the Harris camp to share on matters of foreign policy, immigration reform, national security and healthcare policy. The Harris camp underwent a major revamp in November after details emerged that Harris likes to stay in expensive 5-star hotels she charges to her campaign accounts, which makes me question which luxury hotel she’d be spending my cash in — the Beverly Wilshire or Chateau Marmont; the Four Seasons in Dana Point or the Grand Californian in Anaheim.
From this story in the OC Register on Harris’ Laguna Beach trip:
It marked Harris’ first stop of 2016 in the backyard of Rep. Loretta Sanchez, a fellow Democrat and her top competitor in a bid for the U.S. Senate seat that will soon be vacated by Barbara Boxer.
“This is the first open Senate seat in California in a quarter century,” Harris said. “The stakes are high in this race.”
Harris spoke to a crowd of some 100 at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of her career as a prosecutor, citing the work she’s done to pursue organized crime. She pledged to work toward reducing school truancy, protecting women’s right to choose and keeping boots off the ground overseas.
When asked about her stance on gun safety technology, Harris said she supports both the Second Amendment and reasonable gun control laws, including renewing the ban on assault weapons.
Harris said she couldn’t go into detail on an audience member’s question regarding the embattled director of the state Coastal Commission, since the agency is her client. But she touted her record on protecting the environment, including a recent commitment to investigate whether Exxon Mobil lied about climate change risks.
Let’s be clear, Harris’ “recent commitment to investigate Exxon Mobile” had a lot to do with pressure from outside groups to get her to do her job as AG in addition to running for Senate.
Climate Hawks Vote, an organization battling for positive action on climate change, called for Harris and other State AGs to investigate Exxon Mobile last October. Just two weeks ago, Climate Hawks applauded a LA Democratic Party resolution calling on Harris to take action. Here’s the press release and resolution:
Last night, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party unanimously passed a resolution calling upon California Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate Exxon Mobil and fellow fossil fuel companies for potential breaches of California law based on their 1970s-era research into the science of climate change, then pouring millions into manufacturing doubt and denial of climate science. Exxon’s coverup has been well documented in the Los Angeles Times and InsideClimate News.
RL Miller, cofounder of Climate Hawks Vote, states: “The #ExxonKnew story broke on the Los Angeles Times on October 9, 2015. A Los Angeles-area member of Congress, Ted Lieu (CA-33), has asked the federal Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission to get involved. Exxon does business in California and has California shareholders, and may have violated California law. Yet apparently the only thing California’s attorney general has done is read, in the New York Times, about the investigation begun by New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman. Thus, I wrote a resolution calling on her to act.”
Bill McKibben, founder of the climate group 350.org and a member of Climate Hawks Vote’s advisory board, states: “Few issues unite everyone concerned about climate like the news that Exxon knew about, and lied about, climate change. It’s not easy for elected officials to stand up to one of the biggest, richest companies in the country, but both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have called for a prompt, thorough investigation. Kamala Harris has the power to make that happen; let’s hope she doesn’t punt on this crucial test.”
Ted Lieu, Democratic member of Congress representing part of Los Angeles County, states: “I commend Los Angeles County Democrats for calling for the investigation of ExxonMobil. The company’s scientists confirmed the truth about the role of fossil fuels in influencing climate change decades ago, yet Exxon intentionally implemented a public campaign of mass deception about climate science. Exxon has set back all of humanity. I call on Attorney Generals everywhere to investigate ExxonMobil.”
The LACDP resolution is virtually identical to one passed by the Ventura County Democratic Party on December 8, 2015. Will other county Democratic parties take up similar resolutions? Miller says only: “ask me in a month.”
Harris is running for Senate, where she faces a critical California Democratic Party endorsement vote on February 27. The Los Angeles County Democratic Party is the largest Democratic party in the state.
About Climate Hawks Vote: We’re a grassroots-funded organization building political power for the climate movement. Hatched in 2014, we endorsed 17 candidates and won 11 of those races. We hold politicians accountable through a sophisticated scorecard tracking not only votes, but also leadership and public engagement on climate. Our advisory board includes Bill McKibben and Dr. Michael Mann.
Text of the resolution:
CALLING UPON CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL KAMALA HARRIS TO INVESTIGATE EXXON
WHEREAS, newly revealed documents show that Exxon’s own scientists were aware of and studying the dangerous impacts of greenhouse gases in the 1970s and 1980s, and shared that research with other fossil fuel companies — until Exxon’s leadership decided to shut down the research and promote climate denial instead, in order to protect the company’s large profits, as documented in the Los Angeles Times and Inside Climate News; and
WHEREAS, climate change fueled by Exxon among other fossil fuel companies has dramatically affected California, including an exceptional drought causing crop losses, heat-driven wildfires destroying homes, an anticipated record-breaking El Nino, sea level rise threatening the iconic California coastline, with impacts predicted to accelerate over time; and
WHEREAS, the California Attorney General has the power to bring civil and criminal actions against wrongdoers whose actions harm the people of the state of California;
THEREFORE be it resolved that the Los Angeles County Democratic Party calls upon state Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate any breaches of California law by Exxon Mobil and all potentially liable entities, and pursue all available legal remedies; and
THEREFORE be it further resolved that this resolution be transmitted to the office of the California Attorney General, to the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee Hannah-Beth Jackson, and to Governor Jerry Brown.
And Harris’ move won praise from the LAC Democratic Party and chair Eric Bauman. The County party sent out this Thank You note via email today:
Prompted by reports in the LA Times that Exxon Mobil has deceived the public for decades about the negative environmental impacts of their business practices, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party worked in partnership with CDP Environmental Caucus Chair RL Miller to pass a resolution calling on the California Attorney General to investigate Exxon’s harmful and deceptive actions.
LACDP’s resolution turned up the heat on this topic, prompting Inside Climate News to post an article titled: “Exxon Probe Gets Another Proponent: the Los Angeles Democratic Party.”
In that article, LACDP Chair Eric C. Bauman made clear: “When we see something that might have a negative impact on the people of California, we call attention to it… It is my hope that the attorney general will look at this and consider the issues.”
Bauman’s sentiments received support from Representatives Ted Lieu and Mark DeSaulnier in a letter to the Attorney General, encouraging her to “leverage [her] authorities” as Attorney General “to actively investigate this important and troubling issue.”
We are pleased to report that the Attorney General has launched an investigation into whether Exxon Mobil Corp. repeatedly lied to the public and its shareholders about the public health risks and dangers that they have created – and whether such actions could amount to securities fraud and violations of environmental laws.
In breaking the news, the New York Times pointed to the LACDP resolution as one of the important calls for an investigation that preceded the Attorney General taking action. On behalf of the 2.5 million Democrats of Los Angeles County, LACDP thanks Attorney General Harris for heeding the call of our passionate activists and using the authority of her office to protect Californians and seek truth and justice in this matter.
Meanwhile, Harris is under fire for not acting more aggressively on Police shootings and Sports Gambling. From the LA Times:
Kamala Harris Should Take Bolder Action on Police Shootings, Civil Rights Advocates Say
Amid continuing tensions over the fatal police shootings of black men across the nation, some civil rights activists and members of California’s Legislative Black Caucus say state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris must do more to increase accountability and ensure impartial investigations.
Of primary concern is Harris’ opposition to legislation that would require her office to independently investigate fatal police shootings. Harris also has stopped short of endorsing statewide regulations on the use of police body cameras, saying that she believes all officers should wear them but that local agencies are best equipped to enact policies.
“Her absence is noticeable,” said Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), a member of the black caucus. “People are looking to her for guidance and direction.”
The scrutiny is especially intense because Harris, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, is a woman of color and the top law enforcement official in California.
“She looks like me,” Mitchell said. “So it gets complicated.”
Harris, a U.S. Senate candidate, said she agrees that more needs to be done. But under her leadership, she argued, California has made significant strides in dealing with bias in the criminal justice system.
The attorney general cited new statewide police training procedures to combat racial and ethnic bias and the creation of a website and other policies that provide unprecedented transparency about in-custody deaths, arrest rates and citizen complaints against law enforcement.
“There is no question that we need to have changes in the system so that there is greater fairness,” Harris said. “That is a lot of the work that we have been doing.”
Some of her political allies, however, think she has been too cautious.
Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) — who like Mitchell is backing Harris’ Senate candidacy — said he was disappointed last year when the attorney general did not support legislation that would require the Department of Justice to investigate deadly police shootings.
There is growing skepticism, he said, about whether local prosecutors can impartially investigate officers with whom they often work closely.
Connecticut and Wisconsin have laws requiring independent investigations of civilian deaths by police. And after the death of Eric Garner in New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in July enabled his state’s attorney general to serve as a special prosecutor.
“The African American and civil rights community have been disappointed that [Harris] hasn’t come out stronger on this,” said McCarty, who is also a member of the black caucus. “I hope that she sees this is a nuanced approach and makes sense.”
There’s a sense from many of us on the left that Harris is ignoring her current job to campaign for the next one and her campaign messages are of one running for state office not federal.
In the case of Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, the vast majority of mail we get from her is from her House office not her Senate campaign.
And she seems to have mastered that balancing act of doing her job while running for a new one. Mail from Sanchez this past month:
- REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ STATEMENT ON WOUNDED WARRIOR ACT ANNIVERSARY
- REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ STATEMENT ON HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY
- REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ STATEMENT ON ROE V. WADE ANNIVERSARY
- REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ STATEMENT ON SCOTUS DECISION TO REVIEW IMMIGRATION EXECUTIVE ACTIONS
- REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ STATEMENT IN RECOGNITION OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY
- REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ URGES ARMY TO ALLOW BURIAL FOR WOMEN WWII PILOTS AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
- REPS. LORETTA SANCHEZ & MARTHA MCSALLY INTRODUCE DHS HUMAN TRAFFICKING PREVENTION ACT OF 2016
- REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ QUESTIONS CYBERSECURITY EXPERTS ON WASSENAAR ARRANGEMENT
- REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ HONORS CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER FROM TOUGALOO NINE
- REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ VOTES FOR NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS
- REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ PRESSES INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS ON COUNTER-ISIL STRATEGY
- REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ URGES TIMELY INTEGRATION OF WOMEN IN COMBAT ROLES
- REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ QUESTIONS DEFENSE OFFICIALS ON OVERSIGHT AND EFFICIENCY AT HEARING ON ACQUISITION REFORM
- REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ STANDS UP FOR FAMILIES’ AND WOMEN’S HEALTH
- REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ CONDEMNS NORTH KOREA HYDROGEN BOMB TEST
- REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ APPLAUDS PRESIDENT OBAMA TAKING ACTION TO CURB GUN VIOLENCE
In others words, Loretta’s actually engaged in doing her job as well as showing up for the OCYD event this month and the DPOC last week. She didn’t need urging by activist organizations or the largest county Democratic Party organization to be told to do her job.
No one is questioning Kamala Harris’s liberal bonafides or her progressive credentials. It’s about electability. And its increasingly looking like Harris and Sanchez will square off in November. Like the Harris letter said, 44% of the electorate is still undecided.
Harris’ numbers have slipped while Sanchez has closed the gap. There is still a significant separation between the two. And the electorate will change in November in a way that will change the face of the race from the Primary.