This is a sampling from Bay Area News Group's Political Blotter blog. Read more and post comments at www.ibabuzz.com/politics.
I wrote an item about a month ago about a "Liberty Hackathon" that was to be held in San Francisco, sponsored by billionaire conservative benefactor Charles Koch and aimed at producing new apps "that help to advance individual and economic liberty."
The event was held June 21-22, and the outcome might not be what many expected. Though Koch and his brother, David, are well-known partisans, "the apps built at the hackathon were not what the Koch brothers hoped or paid for," said Cam Urban, 24, of San Francisco, who won the competition with colleague Breck Yunits.
"The majority of apps were apolitical and certainly did not promote small government," said Urban, a nonpartisan voter who originally hails from Vermont. "The product we built, CheckBox, is a perfect example. Only about 55 percent of eligible voters actually vote so we built the first secure and easy online voting platform. Now anyone can vote from home, regardless of whether the person is immobile, busy working, or living in a remote area."
The Koch brothers, though the entities and political campaigns they fund, have been instrumental in advancing voter ID laws in several states over recent years.
"Unlike the partisan objectives of the Koch brothers, we hope this will change the world by providing a true representational democracy," Urban said.
Though he hasn't publicly announced his candidacy for re-election in 2014, California Gov. Jerry Brown sure is taking in campaign contributions at a rapid clip.
Brown's campaign committee received at least $2.34 million in June -- of which $1.69 million came just in the month's final week, according to reports filed with the Secretary of State's office.
Among the contributors are an array of labor unions (such as the SEIU, IBEW and California Nurses Association); big businesses (such as Walmart, Bank of America, Nike and Anheuser-Busch); health-care entities (such as Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net and Kindred); gaming tribes (such as those operating the Morongo, Sycuan and Chumash casinos); and entertainment-industry folks (such as Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen).
Brown's committee already had $7.16 million in the bank at the end of 2012.
So far, the only prominent names that have declared their gubernatorial candidacies for next year are former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado of Santa Maria and Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of Twin Peaks, both Republicans. Next year will be the first time that the gubernatorial race is subject to California's new top-two primary system, in which all candidates of all parties compete in June's vote and the top two vote-getters advance to November's general election, regardless of party.
A Public Policy Institute of California poll in May found 48 percent of registered voters approved of Brown's job performance while 36 percent disapproved and 16 percent didn't know. Other polls have shown similar, growing support for Brown's job performance and his budget proposals.