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

Sept. 12

Ricky Gill, the Lodi Republican challenging Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District, announced today that he's been endorsed by the California Farm Bureau Federation.

"Ricky Gill has grown up in the Central Valley and has firsthand experience in small business, dealing with regulations and encouraging the expansion of trade to grow our economy and create local jobs," California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger said in Gill's release. "His family's roots in agriculture have guided his life's path, and he will make the needs of farmers and ranchers a priority as he represents his district in Washington."

Wenger said Gill will be "an energetic advocate for his constituents and will support policies to help turn our economy around, to provide jobs and business opportunities for the next generation."

Gill, 25, is the son of immigrants who are physicians but also own a 1,000-acre cherry farm and vineyard, an RV park and other business interests; he finished his Cal law degree earlier this year. He said he's honored by the Farm Bureau's endorsement: "I look forward to standing up for our farmers and ranchers so they can create jobs right here in the 9th District, where my family has been farming for 30 years."

The California Farm Bureau Federation protects agricultural interests for more than 74,000 members statewide.


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Would McNerney liked to have had this endorsement? Certainly.

Was he likely to get it? Some Democrats have won the California Farm Bureau Federation's nod, including Dianne Feinstein, Mike Thompson and Jim Costa, but McNerney's votes haven't been so popular.

Is he lost without it? No. The Farm Bureau can be a powerful Central Valley force, but the 9th District isn't its strongest province: Stockton, entirely within the district, is urban and firmly Democratic. In the 2001 bipartisan gerrymander of the Central Valley, as Democrats sought to make then-Rep. Gary Condit's seat safe for any Democrat except the ag-popular but scandal-ridden Condit, it was accomplished by redrawing the district to include Stockton. Farming interests are powerful in the district, but not all-powerful.

Sept. 14

Alameda County and Los Angeles must now collect and publish information on Internet-related crimes, under an East Bay lawmaker's bill signed into law Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Senate Bill 561 by Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, requires the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Alameda County District Attorney's Office to collect data on arrests and prosecutions that involve the misuse of personal information gathered on the Internet. It also directs the state Justice Department to publish that data on its website.

The aim is to create a more accurate picture of the scope and nature of Internet-related crime, which can help lawmakers and law enforcement combat such activity.

"It is high time to track the criminal activity we know is occurring via the Internet, social networking websites and smartphones," Corbett said in a news release. "These wonderful technological advances have transformed our society for the better, but they have also presented criminals with new opportunities they are actively exploiting. We need to understand exactly what is happening so we can respond appropriately."

Corbett said mapping connections between crime and the Internet is particularly important for protecting children, as 95 percent of children aged 12 to 17 spend time online; about 80 percent of them visit social networking sites. Even use among young children is on the rise, with kids as young as 5 now accessing the Internet at least once a week.