A musical primary post-mortem

When I’m having a good day, or sometimes when I’m down, I sometimes give myself a gift on the limited budget available to me as a reporter: a 99-cent splurge on new iTunes song for my iPod. And so as the primary election winners strut and the losers lick their wounds, here are a few suggestions for songs they might want to add to their playlists:

Meg Whitman, the billionaire former eBay CEO who spent $71.1 million out of her own pocket to buy the Republican gubernatorial nomination: “Money” by Pink Floyd, or “Killer Queen” by Queen

Steve Poizner, buried under Whitman’s $71.1 million and a 37-percentage-point deficit in the election results: “Wipeout” by the Surfaris

Chris Kelly, who spent $12 million out of pocket to lose the Democratic primary for Attorney General to San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris by 17 percentage points; PG&E President and CEO Peter Darbee, whose company spent $46.4 million on the unsuccessful Proposition 16; and Mercury Insurance Group President and CEO Gabriel Tirador, whose company spent $15.9 million on the unsuccessful Proposition 17: “Can’t Buy Me Love,” by the Beatles

Carly Fiorina, who as the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate has had the last laugh after people snickered at her “demon sheep” ad attacking rival Tom Campbell: “Sheep” by Pink Floyd

Abel Maldonado, the appointed incumbent who – despite winning the GOP’s nomination to try to keep the lieutenant governor’s office – knows his party wants him and needs him but there ain’t no way it’s ever gonna love him: “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” by Meat Loaf

Gavin Newsom, the San Francisco mayor who won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor but might have his own words from 2008 on same-sex marriage come back to haunt him in November’s general election: “Like It Or Not,” by Madonna

Steve Cooley, the Los Angeles District Attorney who broke from California tradition by being a moderate capable of winning a Republican primary: “Middle of the Road,” by the Pretenders

Tom Torlakson, the Antioch Assemblyman who placed second and so will go to a November runoff – at which time he’s likely to pick up a lot of the Democratic votes that went yesterday to third-place finisher Gloria Romero, along with stronger Democratic turnout overall – against former school district superintendent Larry Aceves for state Superintendent of Public Instruction: “Time Is On My Side,” by the Rolling Stones

Mike Villines, the Clovis Assemblyman and former Assembly Republican Leader widely berated within the GOP for OKing a budget deal with tax hikes last year, who now is eight-tenths of a percentage point – 11,204 votes – behind political unknown Brian FitzGerald, an Insurance Department attorney from Napa who raised no money, in the GOP primary for Insurance Commissioner: “Living on the Edge” by Aerosmith

Brian FitzGerald, who might want to ask himself, “Well, how did I get here?” : “Once in a Lifetime,” by the Talking Heads


New study shows pluses, minuses of open primaries

The nonpartisan Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles has released an excellent analysis of the impacts of Proposition 14, the open primary initiative on the June 8 ballot.

The authors’ chief conclusions support proponents’ arguments that open primaries could generate more competition, increase the number of moderates in elected office and boost the impact of nonpartisan, or decline to state voters.

But the experts also agree that it could hike the cost of campaigns and the role that money plays in elections.

Click here to read my news story.

Proposition 14, if voters pass it, will eliminate the party primary system in California. Voters could choose among all the candidates, regardless of party registration. The top two vote-getters would advance to the general election, also without regard for party affiliation.

A reluctant Legislature placed the measure on the ballot in exchange for then GOP state Sen. Abel Maldonado’s vote in favor of the 2009 California budget.

Predictably, the political parties hate it.

But proponents hail the measure as an essential governance reform that could lead to the election of more centrists and ease the political ideological polarization in Sacramento.

To read the 113-page report, visit www.cgs.org. The report contains a concise and very readable executive summary for the less wonky readers.


Maldo, Anthem, subway and more on ‘TWINC’

I was on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California” last night talking about the Abel Maldonado mess. The show also featured the Chronicle’s Victoria Colliver on Anthem Blue Cross’ rate hikes; KQED Public Radio’s K. Oanh Ha on the 2010 State of the Valley Conference; and the Chronicle’s Rachel Gordon on the groundbreaking for the new MUNI subway line to San Francisco’s Chinatown.


Today in the Democratic AG primary race

Three of the six Democrats vying for California Attorney General had news to report today.

Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, led a news conference with other Assembly Democrats this morning in Sacramento asking their colleagues to vote against confirming state Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, for lieutenant governor. Nava said a look at Maldonado’s record shows that “99.9 percent of the time he has not stood with the everyday working men and women of this state who are struggling to raise their families.” (Meanwhile, the California Republican Assembly – the GOP’s conservative grassroots – sent out a release this morning also urging that Maldonado be rejected, claiming he “has not exhibited the honor, integrity or principles that merit support for this position. A confirmation would provide a stark contrast of the disconnect between the elitists and the Tea Party movement.”)

Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, was promoted today to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. Lieu, who has served for 15 years, is a military prosecutor in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

And former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly announced today that veteran campaign strategist Robin Swanson is joining his campaign as communications director. Swanson’s resume includes several Legislative races as well as state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell’s 2002 win.


This Week: Is Abel able?, and, ‘Big Papi’

I was on KQED’s “This Week in Northern California” last night to talk about the Machiavellian machinations behind choosing the next Lieutenant Governor and the next Assembly Speaker.

I didn’t have time for a Perez-related anecdote. At least one prominent Democratic strategist shopped around the idea this week that – just as renowned former Assembly Speaker Jesse Unruh was nicknamed “Big Daddy” – a successful Perez speakership could earn him the moniker “Big Papi.” Perez is allegedly cool with the idea.

Click here for the whole episode, including an interview with Booker Daniels from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding World AIDS Day, as well as an interview with Al Gore.