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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 »

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 »

    Whitman: Reward state workers for losing weight?

    Reporters covering Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s visit to Cisco Systems in San Jose this morning only wanted to know what she knew and when she knew it about her former housekeeper who turned out to be an illegal immigrant.

    But there was something Whitman said during her chat with Cisco CEO John Chambers and several hundred employees that might’ve made a headline on any other day: State workers might want to start watching their weight if she’s elected.

    A Cisco employee teleconferenced into the event from Pleasanton asked the candidate about how to increase access to and affordability of health care. Whitman replied by saying there are examples to follow in corporate America; as an example she cited Pleasanton-based Safeway, which provided financial incentives for workers to control their blood pressure, lose weight and not smoke. The company’s health care costs have remained flat as a result, she said.

    “Maybe we can start with state employees,” she said, drawing a chuckle from the audience which seemed to make her realize just what she was proposing. “I’ve just made news, which is something you really don’t want to do.”

    More of Whitman’s Cisco appearance, after the jump…
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted on Wednesday, September 29th, 2010
    Under: 2010 governor's race, Meg Whitman | No Comments »

    Where to watch or hear the gubernatorial debate

    Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown and Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman will meet for their first debate at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the University of California, Davis’ Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. The debate is sponsored by Capital Public Radio, KCRA-TV (NBC) Sacramento, The Sacramento Bee and UC Davis; Southern California partners are Southern California Public Radio and La Opinión.

    UC Davis will stream the debate live on the web, or you can see it live on KCRA, or you can listen in on Capital Public Radio.

    Or, if you’re wanting to watch it with a crowd, political junkies of all stripes can drop in at the University of California, Berkeley’s Institute of Government Studies, 109 Moses Hall, at 6 p.m. to see the debate on a big screen and enjoy some light refreshments.

    The San Mateo County Democratic Party and the California Teachers Association will gather to watch the debate on a big screen in the CTA’s main conference center, 1705 Murchison Dr. in Burlingame; doors open at 5 p.m. for refreshments, socializing and a brief meeting. For more details, call the county party headquarters at 650-581-1350.

    I looked on the Republican central committee websites for Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and San Francisco counties, as well as the Bay Area GOP site, but I found no mention of any Republican watch parties.

    Posted on Friday, September 24th, 2010
    Under: 2010 governor's race, Jerry Brown, Meg Whitman | 8 Comments »

    Meg: Jerry’s damned if he does or doesn’t

    The Associated Press reports that state Attorney General Jerry Brown, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, is demanding that a federal judge allow executions to resume in California now that new lethal injection regulations have been put in place.

    Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman quickly issued a statement saying that, “Even on matters of life and death, Jerry Brown is willing to play politics. Brown’s newfound support for the death penalty after three decades of opposing it is as preposterous as his newfound appreciation for fiscal conservatism. None of this squares with Jerry Brown’s record and must have his supporters scratching their heads.”

    But although Brown does indeed have a long history of opposition to the death penalty, he did vow while running for Attorney General in 2006 that he would uphold California law regardless of his personal beliefs; his current argument to the federal judge seems to honor that vow.

    In fact, Whitman herself blasted Brown and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today – while talking to the San Jose Mercury News’ editorial board – for not adequately upholding the law of the land regarding Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage; they said they believe the ban to be unconstitutional and have declined to defend it in court. “I don’t think you can have elected officials deciding what’s constitutional and what’s not,” Whitman said this morning.

    So, hours later, news breaks that Brown is putting the law of the land (the death penalty) above his own beliefs – and Whitman blasts him for that, too. Is she trying to have it both ways? That is, wouldn’t she also be criticizing him if he didn’t demand that executions resume?

    Posted on Tuesday, September 21st, 2010
    Under: 2010 governor's race, Jerry Brown, Meg Whitman | 10 Comments »

    Liveblogging our meeting with Meg Whitman

    Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman is meeting this morning in San Jose with the Bay Area News Group’s combined editorial board (that of the BANG-East Bay papers as well as that of the Mercury News actually, it was only the Merc, my mistake), and I’ll be trying to keep you abreast of what’s said, as it happens.

    “Before I started to run, I had to answer the question in my own mind, ‘Is California governable?’” she said. “I’m 100 percent sure we can change the direction of this state.”

    She went on the road to meet with current and former GOP governors including Rick Perry of Texas, Jeb Bush of Florida, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, then with California GOP leaders, then with policy experts – and finally with as many Californians as she can reach. “I’ve been doing it now for 22 months.”

    She said she knows of many GOP lawmakers with whom she believes she can work productively. “I haven’t spent much time with Democrats to tell you the truth,” she said, though as governor she would move to Sacramento and know every lawmaker by name.

    Whitman said she wouldn’t consider, if elected governor, stepping down in a few years to run for vice president under Romney.

    On AB 32, California’s landmark greenhouse gas emissions law, Whitman said she has been slow to take a position on Proposition 23 (which would roll that law back) because she has been busy campaigning; she said she’ll announce her stances on this and all other statewide ballot measures in the next week to 10 days.

    Whitman noted the law already lets the governor put a one-year moratorium on measures to meet the law’s goals, to be invoked in times of economic distress. She said there are ways to help farmers, truckers and others who would be harmed by AB 32’s implementation without abandoning its goals.

    “I have respect for Arnold Schwarzenegger, I believe the results are not what he or we would’ve hoped,” she said, but he did accomplish workers compensation insurance reform and other things. Still, the education system is in trouble and the state’s fiscal situation is a mess.

    UPDATE #1: Everybody talks about applying technology to government and rooting out waste, fraud and abuse. Whitman says, “Well, the good news is, I’m going to go after it.”

    Schwarzenegger was right when he talked about “blowing up the boxes” to radically revamp government to make it more accountable. “He should’ve done it.”

    “Why in the world the government of the State of California owns a printing plant, I don’t know … and there are a million examples like that,” she said.

    Whitman defends her plan for eliminating the factory tax – a key revenue source for many cities in Silicon Valley and other places – by saying it’ll make California more competitive with the business environments in other states. Timing is important, she concedes, but our ability to compete is the most important thing.

    UPDATE #2: Challenged on the truthfulness of her advertising, Whitman said “the ad is absolutely accurate.” Jerry Brown did argue against Prop. 13 and then take credit for implementing it; did take the state from surplus to deficit; and did on average have higher taxes during his gubernatorial tenure than during Ronald Reagan’s, she said.

    The board grilled her on whether more taxes were paid because more money was being made in California, rather than because of actual tax increases. Campaign advisor Tucker Bounds tried to interrupt but was asked to let Whitman answer the question; Whitman said Brown did raise gas taxes.

    “I stand by that ad,” she said, asking the board to look at the ads that unions are running against her if it wants to see untruthful ads. “Jerry Brown is no more a tax cutter than half the people out there.”

    Whether the deficit at the end of Brown’s tenure was a result of revenue lost to Prop. 13 isn’t the issue, she said; he should’ve cut spending accordingly.

    Similarly, she said, Brown ran for mayor of Oakland promising to help save the city’s ailing schools, and now claims the mayor didn’t have the power to do so.

    On judicial appointments, “I will probably be more conservative than Gov. Schwarzenegger” – no “legislating from the bench,” lots of care for victims’ rights. As for his appointment of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, she thinks it was a good choice.

    Whitman notes she voted for Proposition 8, favoring civil unions but opposing same-sex marriage. She believes the governor and attorney general should be defending the state constitution as amended by Prop. 8, rather than leaving the measure’s proponents to struggle for legal standing to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that it’s unconstitutional. “I don’t think you can have elected officials deciding what’s constitutional and what’s not,” she said.

    UPDATE #3: Whitman said we must secure our borders, and then find federal, state and local cooperation to deal with illegal immigration through holding employers accountable, eliminating sanctuary cities and establishing an effective guest worker program, particularly for the agricultural sector.

    On the DREAM Act, Whitman said “we have to prove to Americans that we can get our arms around the immigration problem … before we decide to create a path to citizenship or a path to legalization” for those already here. “I think we are putting the cart before the horse … It wouldn’t be the place I would start.”

    We’re providing K-12 education to children of undocumented immigrants, but seats at the University of California and California State University campuses are full to bursting, she said; students who are documented should get first dibs. “I think you have to at some point draw a line in the sand … and say we can’t afford to do everything for everybody.”

    “It’s a shame” that UC is seeking to give more seats to out-of-state or foreign students who’ll pay more tuition than Californians, she said, repeating her campaign pledge to put an extra billion dollars into the UC and CSU systems (bankrolled by welfare cuts).

    California has a disproportionate number of the nation’s welfare recipients, lets them stay on welfare longer than most states and doesn’t have stringent work requirements, she said. “We now have a system that is more costly and frankly I think is not healthy for our communities,” she said. “I want to invest in the vital services that people need … but if we’re not going to run the government efficiently and effectively … that’s not smart either.”

    Asked how she’ll get that through the Legislature, she said “everything has to be on the table in terms of what we will look at.” Schwarzenegger said the same, she acknowledged: “There’s no question it is challenging.”

    But lawmakers want more than anything to be re-elected, she said, so she’ll veto anything that’s not on point to the crisis we face, and drive the Legislature to be able to take accountability and credit for the state’s future business successes. “I want to focus this Legislature on doing a small number of things really well.”

    “Gov. Schwarzenegger and I are very different people with very different backgrounds,” Whitman said.

    UPDATE #4: Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado a few days ago told the editorial board he didn’t think Ronald Reagan, who raised taxes as governor, would be welcome in today’s Republican Party. Whitman said “it’s hard to know,” although Reagan as President did see enormous economic expansion. The GOP is evolving, she said, and Reagan if alive today would recognize the party’s economic priorities.

    “We live in very uncertain times,” she said. “Fresno looks like Detroit.”

    In such times, leadership is vital and people express their concerns in many different ways, she said. If California is to be let out of this recession, it must be via small businesses, she said, with no jobs lost to neighboring states; this election should turn on who best can revive the economy.

    Schwarzenegger tried to solve many problems all at once, Whitman said, while she’ll focus in much more on jobs and the economy, limiting government spending and fixing education.

    “I think you have to govern with an ideology,” she said, not always from the center like a Schwarzenegger or a Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “At my core I am a fiscal conservative and I will govern as a fiscal conservative … I will govern from right of center.”

    Asked to backtrack to an earlier question, Whitman said she would not have vetoed AB 32 – and then, after taking a moment to think about it, decided to parse her answer. Back then she wouldn’t have, she said; today, with unemployment as it is, she would. “I probably would, I need to think about it.”

    But she said she’s “leaning against” Proposition 23.

    And we’re adjourned.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 21st, 2010
    Under: 2010 governor's race, Meg Whitman | 5 Comments »

    Unions target Fiorina, Whitman fundraisers

    Watch for snarled streets tonight in Piedmont and tomorrow in Burlingame as labor unions and others protest fundraising events for Republican U.S. Senate nominee Carly Fiorina and Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman, respectively.

    The Fiorina event from 5 to 7 p.m. today on Bellevue Avenue in Piedmont, starting at $500 a head, will feature former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rice also will headline Whitman’s 6 p.m. Tuesday, $1,000-and-up event at the Hyatt Regency on Burlingame’s Bayshore Boulevard, along with Grammy-winning songrwriter, producer and singer David Foster.

    “Holding fundraisers with top officials of the Bush administration—whose unfair economic policies and short-sighted war in Iraq created a devastating crisis for American families–symbolizes exactly what is at stake in this election,” Malinda Markowitz, a co-president of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, said in a news release. “Whitman and Fiorina are running on programs that would return us to the failed policies of the past. We need elected leaders who carry the values of nurses, caring, compassion, and community, not the corporate greed and failure so symbolized by the Bush administration and the CEO records of Whitman and Fiorina. Whitman and Fiorina are just too extreme for California voters, as they are demonstrating yet again.”

    But the Republicans’ campaigns say it’s not the candidates who are too extreme.

    “For 28 years in Washington, DC, Barbara Boxer has been first in line to promote the extreme and destructive agenda set by her special interest backers, so it comes as no surprise that these very same allies would work together to manufacture the illusion of support for her in an election year,” Fiorina spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. “The last thing they want in Washington is a Senator like Carly Fiorina who, as a political outsider with real work experience, is beholden to no one and will make decisions based on what will get California’s economy moving again and create jobs for the more than 2.2 million Californians out of work today.”

    And Whitman spokesman Darrel Ng said Democratic gubernatorial nominee “Jerry Brown is bought and paid for by the unions. The events are ploys coordinated by a group of radical union bosses who have consistently misrepresented the views of hardworking nurses throughout the state. Californians deserve to know what Jerry Brown will give them in return for their generous financial support. Finally, how is this for union dues well spent? CNA President Rose DeMoro, who has never worked as a nurse a day in her life, is paid $300,000, five times more than the median salary of an American nurse.”

    Posted on Monday, September 20th, 2010
    Under: 2010 election, 2010 governor's race, Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman | 1 Comment »