This is a sampling from Bay Area News Group's Political Blotter blog. Read more and post comments at www.ibabuzz.com/politics.

May 3

Rep. Barbara Lee and an Obama Administration official praised an East Bay green-jobs training program this morning as a hotbed of California's future economy.

Lee, D-Oakland, was joined for a news conference at Laney College by Jane Oates, assistant secretary of employment and training administration at the U.S. Department of Labor. Lee had just toured the college's Green Jobs Program, which prepares graduates for jobs in energy efficiency sales, retrofitting and auditing; renewable energy; and water conservation.

"It's wonderful to see our tax dollars at work," Lee said, noting Laney had received American Recovery and Reinvestment Act economic stimulus funds for the program teaching "cutting-edge technologies that are going to help ensure our country becomes energy-independent."

ARRA "really has been a lifeline for many communities," she said, adding that her 9th Congressional District has received $1.9 billion under the legislation, the third-highest amount of any California district. "This is what it's about — many communities have been left behind for so many years."

Oates praised Peralta Community College District officials for making sure "that young and not-so-young people who come here "... get the highest-quality education possible and get the real skill-set they need to get good jobs."


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Student Angela Davis, 38, said she had been homeless and unemployed but felt new hope because of the job training she'd been receiving at Laney. "I thank you so much for this program."

Another student — attending the College of Alameda through the Alameda Transportation and Logistics Academic Support program, also funded in part through ARRA — said he was a truck driver carrying goods from the Port of Oakland for 21 years until he lost his job last year due to new clean-air regulations. He said he'd learned more about truck mechanics and "green diesel" technology installation, maintenance and inspection in a few weeks than he had in 21 years of driving: "This is my second chance in life."

Asked about recent reports that green job estimates might be overly optimistic, Oates said she had traveled the nation and seen great growth and opportunity in solar panels, wind turbines and other green manufacturing.

"The jobs are real, I'm not making those up," she said, adding that if growth has been slower than expected, that's because credit remains tight, not because the market isn't there for green technology or because ARRA has been ineffective. "We're trending toward our numbers "... and I have seen the catalytic effect of those Recovery dollars."

— Josh Richman

May 6

House Democratic leaders have named Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, to the House Armed Services Committee.

Garamendi requested the assignment after his election in September but was unsuccessful. The committee has oversight of the U.S. military and the massive Department of Defense budget.

"Over the last six months, there have been some changes on the committee as members moved on and others wanted different assignments, and a seat opened up," Garamendi said in a telephone interview. "The leadership thinks I am doing a good job and thought the Armed Services Committee would be a good fit for me and my district."

The 10th Congressional District contains Travis Air Force Base and two national laboratories, the Livermore and Sandia labs.

In his new role, Garamendi will announce Monday the introduction of legislation that would permit the opening of a technology transfer campus adjacent to the two national laboratories, where private companies will rent space and collaborate with government researchers.

The congressman's committee assignments now match that of his predecessor, former Rep. Ellen Tauscher, who resigned to take a high-level job in the U.S. State Department. Garamendi was elected in a special election on Sept. 1, 2009.

Garamendi is also a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and will retain his seat on the Science and Technology Committee.

— Lisa Vorderbrueggen