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

July 16

The politically ugly recount now under way in the race for state controller has inspired a Bay Area assemblyman to start working on a bill to reform the recount process.

Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, announced Wednesday he's researching ways to ensure the recount process in future statewide elections is fair to all candidates, and he plans to introduce a bill when the Legislature returns from its summer recess.

Mullin said options might include setting a threshold that automatically triggers the recount process for very close races, the development of a recount standard across counties, and a state-funded recount process.

"California is in uncharted territory with the Controller's race recount," Mullin said in a news release. "It's imperative to our system of governance that the election process is fair and transparent for all voters and candidates. We are actively researching a variety of options and engaging in discussions with the Secretary of State's office so we can craft comprehensive legislation on this issue."


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Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, a Republican, clearly finished first in the primary election for controller, and Board of Equalization member Betty Yee edged out Assembly Speaker Emeritus and fellow Democrat John Perez by 481 votes in the race to finish second. Perez has demanded a recount, specifying 15 counties in which he did better than Yee.

Current law lets a candidate demanding a recount specify not only which counties but even specific precincts and the order in which they're recounted; the candidate must pay for the recount on a daily basis but can stop the process whenever a desired result is achieved. (All of the ballots in each county included in a recount request must be recounted in order to change the result, though Perez could halt the recount between any of the 15 counties he specified if he gets a number he wants.) The other candidate can then choose whether or not to demand a recount, too. Critics note this gives an advantage to whoever can better afford a recount -- in this case, Perez.

"When the recount process is necessary, it should be easily implemented and every vote valued and counted equally," Mullin said.

July 17

It's a presidential (and would-be presidential) bonanza here in the Bay Area, with President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Rand Paul all visiting in the next week.

Paul, the junior Republican U.S. senator from Kentucky, arrives Thursday for a three-day jaunt. Among the highlights will be his keynote speech at Reboot 2014, a conference organized by LincolnLabs, a libertarian-leaning political tech group.

Politico says Paul is on the hunt for "two things Democrats usually expect to have locked up in the Golden State: rich technology donors and computer geeks game to leave their jobs to work on a White House campaign."

Obama arrives in San Francisco on Tuesday night from Seattle; he'll stay overnight and then attend a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraising luncheon -- tickets start at $10,000 each -- at the Los Altos home of real estate developer George Marcus. Obama will head for Los Angeles later Wednesday.

Also Wednesday, Clinton is scheduled to attend a community meeting at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Center in North Oakland to mark the Bay Area launch of "Talking is Teaching/Talk, Read, Sing," a campaign to help parents understand the importance of talking, reading and singing to children every day from birth.

This campaign is in partnership with Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative between Next Generation and the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Locally, the effort is being championed by business and community organizations, including the Bay Area Council, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland and Kaiser Permanente.