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Monday, March 16, 2009

Senator Barbara Boxer On The Oakland A's at SF Fundraiser: "I Live In Oakland"

On the way to a fundraiser for Senator Barbara Boxer on Sunday (March 15th 2009), I walked into the Four Seasons Residences on Market Street and boarded an elevator that was already to be occupied by two women just eight steps ahead of me, with their backs to me. When I boarded the elevator they both turned in conversation, the one closest to me was the person-of-the-hour, Senator Barbara Boxer.

Always gracious, Senator Boxer shook my hand, then after a few seconds on the elevator I asked her if she was "going to get involved in keeping the A's in Oakland." She immediate said "You know, I live in Oakland, and that's important to me." Boxer stopped short of stating what her action would be, but that response was all I needed to know that it's on her radar screen, and it doesn't spell good news for Lew Wolff because the rest of our talk consisted of me calmly but in cold detail explaining to her how Wolff had treated Oakland with great disrespect, making statements that he was "done with Oakland." I also shared that San Jose and Santa Clara County -- where Wolff seems to want to take the organization -- represented 47 percent of the San Francisco Giants fan base. She listened intently.

Remember, I'm a columnist: I state my opinion and advocate for a cause. That's still within the relm of journalism, but people forget that when they disagree with you. Still, it's important for readers to be reminded of the writer's position: I want Wolff to keep the A's in Oakland. Period.

The matter of the A's wasn't on the collective mind of the approximately 50 people that came to the home of planning consultants Lynn and Paul Sedway; the economy was. While only six questions were taken because of the Senator's schedule -- she was making a fundraising swing through San Francisco -- all except two which I'll get to concerned the matter of the economy. Some highlights:

• Boxer said that she thinks we've seen the "bottom" of the economy, at least from the stock market perspective, and that she expects to see a rebound. In other words, no more dramatic market dives below the level we saw last week.

• Boxer has had it with giving out Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) money. She reported Congress as a whole is (holding her hand over her head) "up-to-here" with giving out more TARP funds, and much of that distaste for the effort she explained is directly related to the matter of AIG's attempt to give out $165 million in bonuses. She said the Federal Reserve has a provision such that it can give our money if it has determined that such an expenditure would be in the best interest of national security. Now, be smart about what you just read. Boxer did not say she would not approve more stimulus money, but that's not TARP money. It's clear that Boxer wants to send a message that Congress is unhappy with Wall Street's behavior.

• Boxer did not know about the block-buster news released Wednesday March 11th by Seymore Hersh that there was a "secret executive assasination group" that flew around the World for the purpose of killing officials on a "hit list" and answered only to Vice President Dick Cheney, but she did say she would talk with Senator Pat Leahy, who's pushed for the formation of a commission to review the activities of the Bush Administration. This was my question to her, which caused a bit of an interesting response from her where she rose her brow in fear, and for good reason. The contract killing of people is not something anyone likes to know about, especially when our government is alledged to be involved in it.

• Boxer, in response to a question of when we (the USA) were going to get out of Afghanistan, supports President Obama's efforts there, because "The Taliban are terrible" to paraphrase Senator Boxer.

In all, Boxer stayed for a good while. The Sedways are long time friends of the Senator and gracious hosts in a place with a lovely view of San Francisco.

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