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Jerry Brown hits the road for final campaign blitz

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown started his three-day, 12-city “Let’s Get California Working Again Tour” early this morning by rallying about 100 supporters in his campaign headquarters, located in a building he owns in the bustling loft district near Oakland’s Jack London Square.

Jerry Brown 10-30-10 -- photo by Josh RichmanBrown said he bought the building in the early 1990s, and later built the loft/work building around the corner in which he lived for some years. Other local property owners dissuaded him from putting an extra story on that building, saying the area couldn’t support the density and traffic; today, new residential loft buildings tower over Brown’s.

“It taught me that sometimes you’ve got to listen, but sometimes you’ve got to roll over the opposition,” he said, and that’s the philosophy he would take to Sacramento to create jobs in any way possible.

He also cited Oakland’s Fox Theater – a circa-1928 movie house that was refurbished and reopened last year as a live entertainment venue, in which he’ll hold his Election Night party – as an example of respecting tradition while looking to the future, “a continuous flowering of what was, what is and what will be.”

“I don’t want things to be too new, because I’ve been around for a while,” he quipped.

Brown reiterated his campaign stump message that California still has tough times ahead and will require tough decisions that makes it live within its means, but said the Golden State has the people and resources to make it work. He said the energy at this early-morning rally, at which many supporters (and reporters) arrived before dawn, felt like “a renewal of faith and enthusiasm, and that’s what we’re going to need going forward.”

“I don’t like to say the same-old, same-old, that’s why I’m always getting off script,” he said. “For me, life is a continuing discovery and a creation.”

Jerry Brown(2) 10-30-10 -- photo by Josh RichmanBound for Stockton, Merced, Fresno and Bakersfield later Saturday, and then for Eureka, Chico, Sacramento and Riverside on Sunday, Brown said he intends to “speak the truth, tell it like it is, straight talk” with “optimism … but a sober assessment of what’s ahead.”

Brown was introduced at Saturday morning’s rally by Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, who called him “a visionary.”

Earlier, Lee had told reporters that “Californians get it, they understand that we here in California lead in every area in terms of our country” and “want to cast their vote on behalf of the future rather than for the failed policies of the past … They do not want any corporate takeover of California.”

“Money should not be the driving force” in a democratic government, she said. “Elections cannot be bought.”

As for whether Democrats will retain control of the House of Representatives, Lee said, “the American people understand what’s at stake” and now it’s just a matter of turning out enough first-time, young and minority voters. “I’m not willing to accept anything yet, we’re still working hard to get every voter to the polls.”

Posted on Saturday, October 30th, 2010
Under: 2010 governor's race, Barbara Lee, Jerry Brown, U.S. House | 3 Comments »

‘This Week:’ Pre-election special

Lisa and I were on KQED’s “This Week in Northern California” last night to help run through the hottest races on the region’s ballots for the show’s pre-election special. We had so much to cover and had to talk so fast, I think we might’ve missed our true calling as auctioneers…

Posted on Saturday, October 23rd, 2010
Under: 2010 election, 2010 governor's race, Uncategorized | No Comments »

The pre-election campaign finance reports are in

Today was the state’s deadline for the final campaign finance filings before the Nov. 2 election, a final look at how much has been spent and how much is left for the final weeks of campaigning.

Not all of the reports are showing up on the Secretary of State’s website just yet, so I’m going to post what I’ve got so far and then try to update later from home. I’ve added a few observations in italics.

So here’s the cash on hand as of Saturday, Oct. 16. Keep in mind the fact that that independent expenditure committees are spending big on a lot of these campaigns, so the candidates’ own cash on hand isn’t the end-all, be-all. Also, for the ballot initiatives, I picked the prime committees for and against each, but there are other, secondary committees for and against these measures, too.

GOVERNOR
Jerry Brown (D): $11,636,117.34
Meg Whitman (R): $12,404,804.11
After having spent $163,134,879.63 so far on her campaign – of which about $141.5 million was from her own pocket – Whitman had only slightly more in the bank by Saturday than Brown. Wanna bet she’ll make one last investment in these final few days?

LT. GOVERNOR
Gavin Newsom (D): $1,153,662.44
Abel Maldonado (R): $297,435.98
That looks like a biiiiig money advantage in a very tight race.

ATTORNEY GENERAL
Kamala Harris (D): $844,706.42
Steve Cooley (R): $1,501,604.42
I think it’s starting to look pretty grim for Harris.

TREASURER
Bill Lockyer (D)(i): $5,064,132.91
Mimi Walters (R): $85,098.10
Mimi vs. Goliath; don’t hold your breath for an underdog victory here.

CONTROLLER
John Chiang (D)(i): $213,440.75
Tony Strickland (R): $227,098.17

SECRETARY OF STATE
Debra Bowen (D)(i): $218,129.53
Damon Dunn (R): $309,171.43

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER
Dave Jones (D): $374,158.01
Mike Villines (R): $118,956.47

SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION
Larry Aceves: $56,120.70
Tom Torlakson: $327,277.86

BALLOT MEASURES

Yes on 19: $225,690.17
No on 19: $47,242.12
After months of scant contributions, the campaign to legalize marijuana saw a few big-ticket donations in the past few weeks, but not enough for the kind of television advertising that’s probably needed to rescue the measure from its slump in the polls.

Yes on 23: $2,697,351.15
No on 23: $7,755,976.80
I think the oil companies see the writing on the wall, and the enviros have more than enough money to pound this measure – already sagging in the polls -into oblivion.

Posted on Thursday, October 21st, 2010
Under: 2010 election, 2010 governor's race, campaign finance | No Comments »

Whitman would save millions from her tax cut

Continuing a meme that Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown started during the debate last week, his supporters released a memo today estimating that Republican nominee Meg Whitman would see personal savings of between $8.2 million and $41.2 million over a four-year gubernatorial term if she keeps her promise to eliminate the state’s capital gains tax.

Brown had asked Whitman – the billionaire former eBay CEO – during their Oct. 12 debate at Dominican University of California in San Rafael how much her tax plan would benefit her own finances; she didn’t answer, and hasn’t released an estimate since. Today’s memo was prepared and released by California Tax Reform Association Executive Director Lenny Goldberg.

Whitman says eliminating the tax will stimulate investment, leading to job creation. Democrats say it would blow an even bigger hole in the already-shredded state budget while mostly benefiting the very rich, with no guarantee of an economic benefit.

“Meg Whitman has millions to gain, but we have everything else to lose,” California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski told reporters on a conference call.

He said eliminating the capital gains tax would reduce state revenues by $4.5 billion per year, with each dollar lost bringing “a decrease in the quality of life for Californians:” failing schools, reduced college admissions, shortages of police and firefighters, crumbling infrastructure, struggling seniors and disabled, and reduced or no child care, all without creating jobs.

Pulaski and Goldberg repeated their calls for Whitman to release her tax records so estimates such as theirs wouldn’t be necessary.

State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, agreed the memo underscores Democrats’ contention that Whitman offers “a one-sided solution to our budget problem – it is to enrich the rich and cut from children and the poor.”

California saw faster economic growth than the rest of the nation from 2000 through 2007 even with the capital gains tax in place, said University of California, Berkeley Economics Professor Michael Reich, while other states such as Texas have outperformed California in recovering from this recession because they weren’t as hard hit by foreclosures.

Whitman’s campaign issued a statement saying leading economists are on her side.

“Having closely studied the issue, Meg Whitman’s proposal to eliminate the capital gains tax in California will spur investment and create jobs. As a whole, Meg’s economic policies of streamlining regulation and implementing targeted tax cuts are crucial in getting our economy moving again and getting Californians back to work,” Hoover Institute Senior Fellow John Taylor – an economic advisor to governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Pete Wilson, as well as to presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush – said in the campaign’s statement.

But Reich said California investors have diversified national and international portfolios, and so their reinvestment wouldn’t benefit the Golden State’s economy all that much. He also said millionaires haven’t been leaving California in any measurable way due to taxes, and so it’s unlikely any would return if the tax was eliminated.

Posted on Wednesday, October 20th, 2010
Under: 2010 governor's race, economy, Jerry Brown, Meg Whitman | 8 Comments »

John Dutra endorses Whitman; Burton scoffs

Former Assemblyman John Dutra of Fremont is heading up a Democratic and independent voters’ coalition in support of Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman, her campaign announced this morning.

John DutraDutra, 75, represented the 20th Assembly District from 1998 through 2004 as a Democrat; he since has re-registered without any party affiliation.

“Meg Whitman is the only proven job creator in this race. While representing the eastern part of the Silicon Valley, I watched Meg take eBay from a start-up with 30 employees to a Fortune 500 company of 15,000. Only she possesses the leadership and management skills to stand up to the status quo in Sacramento and turn our state around,” Dutra said in Whitman’s news release. “As a small businessman, I know she will be the best governor for all Californians, regardless of party registration, who believe our state can again offer a friendly environment in which to do business and a wonderful place for families and communities to thrive.”

Whitman said she’s grateful to have Dutra’s endorsement and is “counting on his leadership to continue our successful outreach to Democratic and decline-to-state voters in the closing days. On the campaign trail, I meet Democrats and independent voters daily who support my vision for creating jobs, making government work for all of us and fixing our schools. Given the Democrats’ registration edge and the growing number of decline-to-state voters in California, I fully recognize that we need the support of these voters to declare victory on November 2.”

California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton laughed when he heard the news.

“Good for him,” Burton said. “John’s a nice guy, but if that’s the best she can do, her campaign is in more trouble than I think it is.”

“As I recall he ran third in a Democratic primary,” Burton added, referring to Dutra’s unsuccessful bid for the 10th State Senate District in 2006; he finished behind Ellen Corbett, who went on to win the seat, and former Assemblyman Johan Klehs. “The only people that know John either served with him or are in his district, and in his district he ran third … when he had the most money, so I have no idea what John’s doing or thinking now, but it’s a free country.”

The only other Bay Area leader of Whitman’s Democratic and independent voters coalition is former BART Director Erlene DeMarcus, 62, of Pleasanton; she’s a registered Democrat.

Posted on Wednesday, October 20th, 2010
Under: 2010 governor's race, Meg Whitman | 1 Comment »

New ads from Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman

Read ‘em and weep…

Whitman campaign spokeswoman Andrea Jones Rivera replied that “(c)omparing Meg’s experience as one of the world’s most successful business leaders to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career as an actor is a false equivalency. The only candidate who has supported Arnold’s plan to raise taxes is Jerry Brown when he supported the ballot measure in 2009 that would have raised Californians’ taxes by $16 billion. Now, Jerry’s plan is to do exactly what Arnold did and ask the voters to approve a massive tax increase. Meg Whitman is the only candidate who is offering Californians a real solution to the problems they face and is the only candidate who has promised not to raise taxes.”

This ad should be fun to keep in mind as Whitman and Brown join Schwarzenegger one week from today at the Women’s Conference 2010 in Long Beach for a conversation – moderated by NBC’s Matt Lauer – about California’s future.

And, Whitman’s new ad:

Brown’s campaign replied that law enforcement unions, whose defined-benefit pensions Whitman defends, have spent more than $2.1 million on Whitman’s behalf; that as of Sept. 30, less than 5 percent of Brown’s campaign contributions had come from public employee unions; that Whitman has been on the warpath against teachers’ unions for years; and that Brown’s age and experience mean he’ll not pander to special interests.

UPDATE @ 11:45 A.M.: Whitman’s campaign has launched yet another ad today…

Posted on Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
Under: 2010 governor's race, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jerry Brown, Meg Whitman | 4 Comments »

NOW wants more contrition from Jerry Brown

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown may have the National Organization for Women California chapter’s endorsement, but it apparently doesn’t have a lock on the national NOW’s respect.

From the group’s website:

Last night at the California gubernatorial debate, Jerry Brown apologized for a member of his campaign staff suggesting Meg Whitman, his opponent in the race, be called a “whore.” This overdue apology was a necessary step; however, it was accompanied by an assertion that these sorts of comments are part and parcel of what happens inside political campaigns. If so, that needs to change.

While our California chapter’s Political Action Committee voted to endorse Brown on the basis of his support for women’s rights, the National Organization for Women clearly and unequivocally condemns calling Meg Whitman, or any woman, a whore. This term is hate speech that carries with it negative connotations associated with women, and it has no place in contemporary society.

NOW calls on Brown to fire any member of his staff who uses this word or any hate speech against women.

For those who didn’t see it last night, moderator Tom Brokaw asked Brown about the recorded comment; Brown said his campaign had issued a prompt apology, and he repeated that apology to Whitman there at the debate.

But he also encouraged Whitman to chastise her campaign chairman, former Gov. Pete Wilson, for having called Congress “whores” to public-sector unions. Whitman – both during the debate and afterward, taking questions from reporters – said it’s an entirely different matter, but declined to elaborate why that’s so.

Brown, for his part, refused to answer reporters’ question about whether the person who’d used the word on the recording is his wife, Anne Gust Brown.

UPDATE @ 10:01 A.M. THURSDAY: NOW later last night amended the final paragraph of its statement to say, “NOW calls on Brown, from this point forward, to fire any member of his staff who uses this word or any hate speech against women.” (Emphasis added to denote the added words.)

Posted on Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
Under: 2010 governor's race, Jerry Brown, Meg Whitman | 7 Comments »

Green gubernatorial candidate will fight charges

Green gubernatorial nominee Laura Wells of Oakland is spitting mad over her arrest yesterday outside the site of the gubernatorial debate between Democratic nominee Jerry Brown and Republican nominee Meg Whitman.

Laura WellsWells, 62, issued a news release today saying she’ll fight the charges, which – ironically – require her to appear in court Nov. 2, Election Day.

“The real crime is what’s happening to California. The perpetrators of this crime include the Democratic and Republican parties who keep trading off the governorship, and Dominican University, for closing the doors to real dialogue and debate,” she said in her news release. “California has always been special and there’s no reason for it to be in the state it’s in: begging Wall Street for loans, watching our schools, environment and job opportunities spiral down. I have never been arrested and I never wanted to. My comfort zone is not important. We cannot stand by and let this happen to California.”

Wells said campaign polls are “a fraud against the voters. I received a letter that congratulated me on my primary win and invited me to the debate, if I received 10% support among California likely voters. They didn’t tell me what the survey question was. If it were, ‘Do you want debates with only the Republican and Democratic candidates?’ a huge majority of voters, especially this year, would say ‘No.’

“But the survey question asked those polled – including 2 of my supporters – was if they preferred Jerry Brown or Meg Whitman. Not Laura Wells. And then when the pollsters report the results, they still didn’t say other, they say undecided. As if the only choices were Pepsi and Coke, not something we might like that’s healthy, like crystal clear water, or juice, smoothies or red wine!”

Whatever the criteria for being invited to take part in the debate, it seems Wells wasn’t invited to attend it as an audience member. Dominican University spokesman Dave Albee said the university “can confirm that the ticket Laura Wells tried to use to gain entry into Angelico Hall was not issued to her. Tickets were non-transferable, which was printed on the ticket.”

Indeed, from the San Rafael Police Department:

For security reasons, all tickets to seats in Angelico Hall were numbered, coded, and checked by campus security before the holder was admitted to the debate hall. Wells presented a ticket that was not issued to her and refused to relinquish the ticket to campus security when asked to do so. She then became argumentative and refused to leave the area. Wells was warned that if she did not leave she would subject to citizen’s arrest as she was on private property. She continued in her refusal and the security officer placed her under citizen’s arrest. Wells was taken into custody by SRPD officers and escorted from the grounds. She was cited for trespassing and released.

Posted on Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
Under: 2010 governor's race, Green Party | 6 Comments »

Gubernatorial and Senate poll roundup

There has been a flurry of poll results released recently in the two big races on California’s ballot this November, and although we’ve been rolling ‘em out as they come, perhaps it would be useful to have them all together in one place, so everyone can get an idea of which way the wind is blowing (with the caveat, of course, that it’s still a loooong way to Election Day).

In the U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer and Republican nominee Carly Fiorina:

  • CNN/Time, Sept. 24-28, 786 likely voters: Boxer 52%, Fiorina 43%
  • PPIC, Sept. 19-26, 1,104 likely voters: Boxer 42%, Fiorina 35%
  • SurveyUSA, Sept. 19-21, 610 likely voters: Boxer 49%, Fiorina 43%
  • Rasmussen Reports, Sept. 20, 750 likely voters: Boxer 47%, Fiorina 43%
  • LA Times/USC, Sept. 15-22, 887 likely voters: Boxer 51%, Fiorina 43%
  • Field, Sept. 14-21, 599 likely voters: Boxer 47%, Fiorina 41%
  • Public Policy Polling, Sept. 14-16, 630 likely voters: Boxer 50%, Fiorina 42%
  • In the gubernatorial race between Democratic nominee Jerry Brown and Republican nominee Meg Whitman:

  • CNN/Time, Sept. 24-28, 786 likely voters: Brown 52%, Whitman 43%
  • PPIC, Sept. 19-26, 1,104 likely voters: Whitman 38%, Brown 37%
  • SurveyUSA, Sept. 19-21, 610 likely voters: Brown 46%, Whitman 43%
  • Rasmussen Reports, Sept. 20, 750 likely voters: Brown 47%, Whitman 46%
  • LA Times/USC, Sept. 15-22, 887 likely voters: Brown 49%, Whitman 44%
  • Field, Sept. 14-21, 599 likely voters: Brown 41%, Whitman 41%
  • Public Policy Polling, Sept. 14-16, 630 likely voters: Brown 47%, Whitman 42%
  • Posted on Thursday, September 30th, 2010
    Under: 2010 election, 2010 governor's race, Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina, Jerry Brown, Meg Whitman, polls, U.S. Senate | 1 Comment »

    ALIPAC: Whitman should be arrested

    The Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, among the most conservative groups calling for the strictest crackdowns on undocumented immigrants, says both Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and her former housekeeper of nine years should be arrested and charged with immigration and employment violations.

    William Gheen“We need equal justice for both the illegal alien and the employer,” said ALIPAC President William Gheen said in a news release. “Nicky Diaz should be charged and deported and Meg Whitman should face the existing penalties under current US law as well. No Amnesty for Whitman or Diaz, the Rule of Law must be restored in America.”

    Diaz, accompanied by celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, claimed yesterday that Whitman – who employed her as a housekeeper and nanny from 2000 to 2009 – knew she most likely was an undocumented immigrant but kept her on until June 2009, when she was preparing to launch her run for governor. Whitman said she’d hired Diaz through an employment agency – an agency her campaign refused to name yesterday – upon which she relied to verify the Social Security number and other bogus information Diaz provided; she said she didn’t know Diaz was here illegally until Diaz confessed it to her, at which time she was fired.

    “Best illegal alien actor award of 2010 should go to Nicki Diaz for her role as the tearful victimized invader,” Gheen said in his release. “Meg Whitman’s financial gain from the movie rights should be seized by the courts to compensate the American taxpayers who have paid the price for her illegal laborer over the years.”

    The ALIPAC release claims, without providing supporting data, that “the American public has indicated in numerous scientific polls that well over 80 percent of Americans want employers like Meg Whitman heavily fined. Over 50 percent want the employers of illegals, like Whitman, jailed. Americans have also shown overwhelming support for the arrest, detention, and deportation of illegal immigrants like Nicki Diaz. Both the US Constitution and the existing laws of Congress mandate that both Whitman and Diaz should be charged and treated equally under those laws.”

    “We stand with the majority of American citizens who want our existing border and immigration laws enforced!” Gheen said. “Therefore we call on all appropriate authorities to arrest and charge both Meg Whitman and Nicki Diaz.”

    Posted on Thursday, September 30th, 2010
    Under: 2010 governor's race, Immigration, Meg Whitman | 11 Comments »