Sep 7, 2012

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has launched TV ads attacking two California GOP incumbents in tough House races -- Jeff Denham in the Central Valley and Brian Bilbray in Carlsbad.


From the LAT's Jean Merl: "The two are among about 10 Republicans the Democrats believe they have a good chance of defeating on Nov. 6."


"One ad slams Denham as a "career politician" who voted for a plan that would "essentially end Medicare" and cost seniors $6,400 more each year."  The other accuses Bilbray of cozying up to special interests, alleging he has "raised thousands from Big Oil" and other interests he once lobbied for."


"The ads are the congressional Democrats' first in California in this election cycle.  They come a day after former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado began running a TV ad in his challenge to Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara.)"


California authorities reportedly have fallen short of federal requirements in inspecting job safety at 15 refineries -- including Chevron's Richmond refinery, the site of a major fire last month.


From the Chronicle's Jaxon Van Derbeken: "The limited checks that California inspectors have performed over the last decade have not led to a single fine collected from a major oil company, according to inspection records."


"Those findings are backed up by a recently released federal audit of the state's Division of Occupational Safety and Health, which is charged with enforcing state and federal workplace-safety rules at California refineries. It found that the California agency had conducted "very few, if any" comprehensive inspections of oil and chemical plants under its authority."


"Cal/OSHA officials said the federal auditors' findings did not reflect the complete picture of their inspection and enforcement efforts. They said they would respond in detail directly to the auditors. The federal report was completed not long before the Aug. 6 fire at Chevron's Richmond refinery that destroyed part of the plant and, according to investigators, narrowly missed injuring more than 20 workers."


El Nino, a familiar meterological condition that brings rain and storms, is likely to be headed our way this year, although not dramatically.


From Nanette Asimov and Will Kane: "If that idea conjures up images of fearsome storms and tumultuous winds - as one infamous El Niño pattern caused in the late 1990s - fear not. At least, possibly not."


"The National Weather Service has identified a "weak" El Niño this year, as opposed to the "moderate" or "strong" varieties, suggesting that the weather pattern caused by El Niño won't last the entire winter..."It's, like, roll the dice," said Jan Null, a former lead forecaster for the National Weather Service and now an adjunct professor of meteorology at San Francisco State University. "Farmers will probably say it'll be wetter than normal, but there's no way to know."


"What meteorologists can say for sure is that "El Niño" means the temperature of the Pacific Ocean near the equator rose by at least half a degree Celsius above normal for a three-month period in a given year."


Officials closed the doors of the arena where President Obama addressed the Democratic National Convention, leaving hundreds of people stranded outside, including delegates, who were unable to get in.


From the Bee's David SIders: "The lockout came after forecast storms forced organizers to move the final night of the convention from Bank of America Stadium to the smaller Time Warner Cable Arena, where the first two nights of the convention were held."


"An official told a crowd outside the arena gate that the local fire marshal apologized and called the situation "embarrassing." The official said the gate would not re-open and that no ticketholders - even delegates and special guests - would be admitted."


Supporters of the minimum wage in San Jose got a double-whammy from trhe courts in connection with a ballot initiative aimed at November.


From the Mercury News' John Woolfolk: "Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Mark H. Pierce ruled that the phrase "Measure D does not mandate any additional spending by the city" must be stricken from the campaign's rebuttal to the opponents' argument that voters will receive in sample ballots."


"Pierce also denied the Measure D campaign's challenge to opponents' ballot argument, stating that they "have failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that the subject arguments are false and misleading."


"We lost, they won," said Christopher Platten, an attorney for the Measure D campaign. "Judges are human and humans make mistakes. The fight goes on."

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