This is a sampling from Bay Area News Group's Political Blotter blog. Read more and post comments at www.ibabuzz.com/politics.
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, this evening announced the death of her father, Manfred (Fred) Speier; she said he passed away peacefully and surrounded by family Monday at her Hillsborough home at the age of 91.
"My father was the rock and foundation of my life. He was always there for me during my darkest days, and for the most joyous moments such as the births of my children. He lived a long and full life and was alert and sharp as a tack until the very end," Speier said in an emailed statement. "On Saturday, just two days before he passed, he was regaling us with stories of his life. He was most proud of being a naturalized U.S. citizen, so much so that he requested to be buried in a simple pine box draped in an American flag."
The congresswoman said her father was born in Germany, came to the United States after World War II and married Nancy Kanchelian in 1949. Speier's mother passed away in February 2009; Speier's brother, Eric Speier, lives in Elk Grove.
The lawmaker described her father as an incurable optimist who came to San Francisco and found a job within two hours, eventually working as a nurse, a short-order cook, and a manager for a local, family-owned company. His work ethic and civic awareness
A funeral Mass will be held Saturday (Sept. 8) at Saint Bartholomew Catholic Church, 300 Alameda de las Pulgas, in San Mateo.
The White House today announced it's welcoming Dana Harvey, executive director of Oakland's Mandela MarketPlace, as one of 11 "Champions of Change" who have committed themselves to strengthening food security in the United States and around the world.
"Today's champions are examples of the groundbreaking work being done to tackle hunger at home and abroad. These individuals are making improved access to healthy food a reality for millions of individuals in need," Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said in a news release. "Establishing global food security isn't just critical for those now suffering from hunger. It is also vital to our long-term economic prosperity. We applaud the champions for their efforts to empower families and communities and to reduce the depth and severity of hunger around the world."
The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Barack Obama's Winning the Future initiative; each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of champions are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities. Obama is not at the White House today; he's in Charlotte, N.C., where he'll be accepting the Democratic Party's nomination to run for re-election.
Harvey, 55, of Oakland, has spent the last decade in nonprofit management and development in areas of environmental justice, food security, education and economic development, according to the White House.
At Mandela MarketPlace, she's building a community-led food system that combines increased access to healthy foods with economic development to build community health and wealth. Harvey led a campaign resulting in the June 2009 opening of Mandela Foods Cooperative to address West Oakland's longtime status as a food desert, and since then has helped catalyze and grow other successful food enterprises in the area.