Was it a slip of the today when an audience member at a luncheon speech today featuring newly elected Lt. Governor John Garamendi began his question of the official with, “Governor …”
It may have had something to do with the fact that earlier that morning, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown regaled the Contra Costa Council with a list of Democrats eying the governorship in four years.
And yes, Garamendi’s name came up.
“Garamendi’s looking at it,” Brown said, during a lively, hour-long panel discussion about the state of California and national politics.
Garamendi and Brown were guests at the council’s annual Contra Costa USA, a daylong conference that will culminate tonight with dinner keynote speaker Dan Rather.
For his part, Garamendi took the question about his status as 2010 gubernatorial candidate in good humor.
“How long do I have left in my term?” he joked to the packed room at the Concord Hilton. “Three years and 10 months?”
Like any good politician, he never said never. But he says he’s focused on the job he just won.
“I always think the future will take care of itself,” he said. “It’s not impossible. It may happen. It may not happen. But if I waste a day thinking about (running for governor), then that’s a day I waste when I could be working on the issues I have just outlined.”
Garamendi laid out an agenda he called essential for the economic and physical security of California and the nation: the promotion of energy policies that help reduce the country’s dependence on oil and address global warming, new water storage and flood protection facilities, smarter investment in the state’s education system and universal health care.
He was particularly direct to representatives of Contra Costa County’s major oil refineries, who sat prominently in the room as event sponsors.
“Chevron, I’m sorry, but you have to change,” Garamendi said, pointing the table where he had sat for lunch. “And as policy leaders, we must push you. California must take the lead in developing alternative fuels.”
Garamendi also espoused the new post-partisan attitude touted in Sacramento these days.
He spoke highly of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, saying that he had eschewed partisan colleague who urged him to take shots at the Republican leader.
“I like the way Schwarzenegger is headed,” he said.
Garamendi ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1982. But at least one local official says she still has her “Garamendi for Governor” sign, former state Business, Transportation and Housing Secretary Sunne Wright McPeak. Heck, recycling is good for the planet, isn’t it?