Lee: Voters will regret GOP’s House takeover

“When the smoke clears, I think people are going to say, ‘My God, what have we done?’”

So said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, a few minutes ago, discussing the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives.

“We have to regroup, I hope Speaker Pelosi continues to serve as our minority leader,” Lee said. “I think we really have to look at what has been said tonight, the American people are really suffering, they want jobs, they want the quality of life everyone deserves.”

But Lee said she believes voters across the nation will soon realize Republicans and tea partiers “totally obstructed the jobs agenda” for the past two years, voting against job-creation measures and unemployment insurance extensions at every turn.

“The frustration and the fact that the economy has not turned around quick enough is what the message has been … but if we can get money out of the political system and start to bring forward what the Democrats have done and what the Republicans have obstructed, people will begin to realize what the tea party really stands for,” Lee said.

News outlets are projecting victories for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown and incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer. Lee said “these are tremendous victories” for Democrats who have the experience and the burning desire to create jobs. “Part of the message that Californians have sent tonight is that they’re not going let elections be bought, and I’m very proud of that, proud of Californians for staying the course.”


Brown and Boxer get out the vote in Oakland

Several hundred Bay Area Democrats chose to forego the start of the fifth game of the World Series this evening in favor of packing into a section of Oakland’s Jack London Square for a final get-out-the-vote rally with most of the Democratic slate of statewide candidates.

Cynthia Rapak, 62, of San Francisco, wore a Giants cap as a sign of her torn allegiances; she said she wanted Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown “to see that I’ll make the ultimate sacrifice.”

“The Giants might win tonight, but civic duty comes first – I always vote,” said the retired Oakland Unified School District teacher, noting she believes the campaign’s endgame bodes well for Brown. “Meg went 11 places, and Jerry is 72 and he went to 12. He talked about civic dialogue and she talked about managing; she doesn’t have a clue.”

She and the rest of the crowd heard from Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for attorney general; Dave Jones, the Democratic nominee for insurance commissioner; John Chiang, the incumbent state controller; and Debra Bowen, the incumbent secretary of state before the top of the ticket began to take the stage: incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. By then it was the bottom of the fifth inning, but the cheering, sign-waving crowd no longer seemed to mind.

“You’re the key to sending me back to fight for the middle class, to fight for jobs … to fight against the special interests,” Boxer said, exhorting the crowd to get everyone they know to the polls tomorrow.

Then, backdropped by Port of Oakland cargo cranes and a Bay sunset, Brown took the podium and thanked the Democratic slate for “making this a real team victory. We’ll win tomorrow, we’ll win for you.”

He noted the crisply uniformed Oakland Military Institute students lining the back of the stage, and said the Democrats’ goal is to make sure all California students have the resources and opportunities they need to achieve solid educations.

“Victory brings even more challenges – in fact, the campaign is a piece of cake (compared) to fixing the budget,” he said. “I didn’t make this mess, but I sure want to fix it.”

Just as Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman has claimed in her ads, California was working well when she arrived her 30 years ago, he said – and he was governor at the time. “And you know what? It’s going to start working again for everybody.”

In a final jab at his opponent, he directed supporters seeking details of his platform to his campaign website. “Whitman’s plan is mostly pictures, but I have more respect for you,” he said.

And then, by partway through the top of the sixth inning, it was over.


Green candidate hires Gonzalez as her lawyer

Green gubernatorial candidate Laura Wells, who was arrested outside the gubernatorial debate at Dominican University of California in San Rafael last month, has retained San Francisco attorney Matt Gonzalez – the former San Francisco supervisor, 2003 mayoral candidate and 2008 independent vice presidential candidate – to represent her in court tomorrow.

Police said Wells, 62, a financial analyst from Oakland, was arrested when she tried to enter the Oct. 12 debate using someone else’s non-transferable ticket, and then raised a ruckus when she was denied entry and asked to leave. Security guards at the debate handed her over to San Rafael Police, who cited her for trespassing and then released her with a Nov. 2 court date.

Her news release says she was out over the weekend gathering almost 1,000 signatures on a petition asking the Marin County District Attorney’s office to dismiss the charge against her and investigate those responsible for her arrest, which she claims was a violation of her civil rights.


Meg Whitman rallies her troops in Burbank

Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman made what she said was her 63rd campaign visit to Los Angeles County on Sunday with a get-out-the-vote rally at the Burbank Marriott. Several hundred local supporters packed into the hotel’s conference center for a glimpse of the candidate, who bounded onto the stage after a live band and several other GOP ticket members had warmed up the crowd.

Meg Whitman in Burbank 10-31-2010 -- photo by Josh Richman“So, just a couple of days out until Nov. 2, and you know what? We’re going to win this!” she said with unusual intensity, adding internal polls and some public polls show the race for the governor’s office in a dead heat.

“I like to think of this as two more days before a lot of really good things start happening,” Whitman said, vowing to pursue job creation and – in a nod to the Burbank area’s major industry – a focus on not losing a single entertainment job.

She said she’s “a proven job creator” as opposed to “my opponent, who has been a part of the war on jobs in Sacramento for 40 years.”

Whitman said former Gov. Gray Davis, who earlier was chief of staff to Jerry Brown while he was governor, recently said Brown will probably try to raise taxes to balance the budget – something she again vowed never to do. And, she said, there are rumors circulating that Brown would pick Davis to head his transition team; this brought a chorus of boos from the audience.

Whitman said she wants to turn around K-12 education. “It is not OK that so many of our kids are in failing schools” with high dropout rates, she said, adding that her goal is to restore California to its place at the top of the nation’s school systems.

Brown “has no prayer of ever fixing the school system” because he’s supported by California Teachers Association bosses, she said, promising to take those union bosses on and put more money into classrooms to support good teachers.

“We have a chance to make history here, don’t we?” she said, a chance to “start the process of real change to take back this state for our children and our grandchildren.”

And, she added, a chance to elect California’s first woman governor.

“Who has the power in this election? You do. The people of the state of California are going to decide this,” Whitman said, calling Tuesday’s vote “a battle for the soul of California.”

“Our problems are tough, aren’t they? But so am I.”

Whitman was accompanied to the Burbank rally by Mike Villines, the Republican nominee for insurance commissioner; Mimi Walters, the Republican nominee for state treasurer; and Tony Strickland, the Republican nominee for state controller. Assemblywoman Audra Strickland, R-Thousand Oaks, served as emcee.

From Burbank, Whitman was headed to the Santa Barbara area for a “Halloween-themed” campaign event at the home of Tom Deardorff, president of Deardorff Family Farms. On Monday, she’ll be in Menlo Park, Woodland Hills, Orange County and San Diego.

Queen Meg in Burbank 10-31-2010 -- photo by Josh RichmanShe may be campaigning right up until the polls close on Tuesday, but for “Queen Meg” – the mocking, matronly monarch created by the California Nurses Association to stalk the candidate – today was the swan song.

A CNA contingent led by the tiara-topped royal made a brief appearance outside the Burbank Marriott, where Whitman supporters were lining up for a rally with the candidate. Waving union signs, they chanted, “Hey Meg Whitman, get out of our town, so much money and you’re still 10 points down” as the bogus candidate yelled about being beset by the riff-raff and so on.

Another person in a skeleton cavorted around Queen Meg – a skeleton from her closet, as it were; Queen Meg demanded its deportation.

CNA has mounted the Queen Meg campaign to underscore its contention that Whitman’s policies would disproportionately harm California’s women and children – particularly her plan to eliminate the state’s capital gains tax, a $5 billion hit to the state’s revenue that the union says would come out of education and health-care funding.


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.”


‘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…