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LtGov hopefuls Hahn, Maldonado hit Oakland

State Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s nominee to fill the vacant lieutenant governor’s office – attended the governor’s appearance this morning at the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland, and spoke with a few reporters outside beforehand.

eoak1211arnold01.jpgAsked about ongoing student protests against ever-rising fees at the University of California, California State University and California Community Colleges, Maldonado said they’re right to be angry.

“We’ve let partisanship get in the way of what’s good for the state of California,” he said, adding students should be sent a message that there’ll be cuts in top education executives’ pay if fees are to increase; he said he worked with the UC Regents as “a hawk on executive compensation three or four years ago.”

He and Schwarzenegger were in town to tour the food bank while touting a “Million Meals Initiative” in which surplus money from the California Governor & First Lady’s Conference on Women will be donated to provide more than a million meals to needy Golden State families, and to draw attention to their plight.

He said he knows “nothing helps the cuts that we’re making” in California’s social-services safety net as a result of the budget deficit, and that no officeholder relishes making such cuts.

Neither Democrats nor his fellow Republicans have been thrilled by Maldonado’s nomination. Democrats have questioned the cost of holding a special election to fill his state Senate seat, and less publicly, their ability to win that seat as well as the wisdom of giving a Republican lieutenant governor the incumbent’s advantage going into next year’s election. Republicans have blasted him for his votes in favor of Democrat-written budgets and a minimum wage hike. The Legislature has until Feb. 22 to confirm him, and Sacramento remains abuzz with rumors of what’ll happen.

“This is what people are upset at, the politics,” he said, inviting his fellow lawmakers to give him an up or down vote based on his qualifications, not on political machinations.

Janice HahnHolding fundraisers Thursday a few miles away in downtown Oakland, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn – a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor – was inclined to agree.

“I don’t know why the Legislature would necessarily want to pick a fight with the governor on this issue” (of Maldonado’s confirmation), she said during an interview immediately after a luncheon fundraiser at Levende East – even if confirmed, Maldonado will face the voters later next year anyway, she noted. “He’s handpicked by Schwarzenegger, and I think that says it all.”

The “to-confirm-or-not-to-confirm” flap isn’t putting her off her own campaign message, Hahn said, which is that she’s the only local official in this race; all the other candidates on either side of the aisle are state lawmakers, and “the last time I checked, they had a 13 percent approval rating.”

Hahn’s rival for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor is state Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter. Besides Maldonado, the other Republicans seeking the job are state Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, and state Sen. Jeff Denham, R-Merced. (UPDATE @ 7:15 P.M.: D’oh! Denham’s out of the race. That’s potentially bad news for Maldonado; if confirmed, he’d have wanted Denham and Aanestad to split the conservative vote in the GOP primary, giving him room to squeak past both as the lone moderate.)

“I think I’m going to be an outsider, I think I’m going to be more of a reformer,” she said, noting that although she’s not nearly as well known outside Los Angeles she’s getting warm receptions all over the state because “I am sharing their pain on how they feel about Sacramento.”

“They’re very angry the guys in Sacramento came and took our local money, and I share this bond of anger,” Hahn said. “They want their cities to be able to provide the services that provide for a quality of life.”

She said she can accomplish that by making the California Commission on Economic Development – which the lieutenant governor shares – into a higher-visibility, more proactive agenda-setter for improving Californians’ lot, even while she stands against fee increases as a member of the UC Board of Regents and the CSU Board of Trustees.

Oakland City Attorney John Russo arranged Hahn’s fundraising sweep through the city. Sources say about 25 people attended Hahn’s $150-a-head breakfast Thursday morning, and I saw about 40 at the $300-a-head lunch, including Oakland Vice Mayor Ignacio De La Fuente; San Francisco attorney Melinda Haag, rumored to be announced soon as the Obama Administration’s pick as Northern California’s next U.S. Attorney; Oakland Police Officers’ Association President Dom Arotzarena; Clear Channel Outdoor Vice President Michael Colbruno, a Democratic activist; East Bay Young Democrats President Rebecca Saltzman; and Port of Oakland Executive Director Omar Benjamin. I hear Russo is hosting a smaller, $1,000-a-head event for Hahn at his home tonight.

Posted on Thursday, December 10th, 2009
Under: 2010 election, Abel Maldonado, Janice Hahn, Lt. Governor | 1 Comment »

Hahn to raise LtGov $$$ in Oakland, Florez in LA

A1361-047As the jibber-jabber over whether to confirm Abel Maldonado as lieutenant governor continues (the LA Times’s George Skelton says today that it’s a must for Democrats), the Democratic contenders in next year’s election are continuing to raise money full steam ahead.

In fact, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn will be here in Oakland this Thursday, Dec. 10, for a pair of fundraisers orchestrated by Oakland City Attorney John Russo. First there’s a breakfast event, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. in the Cathedral Building Gallery at 1615 Broadway, at $150 a head; later, from noon to 2 p.m., it’s a luncheon at Levende East, 827 Washington St. in East Oakland, at $300 a head.

Russo’s invitation says that Hahn, a councilwoman since 2001 and part of a Los Angeles political dynasty – she’s the sister of former mayor James Hahn, daughter of former county supervisor Kenneth Hahn and niece of former city councilman Gordon Hahn – “is a courageous leader who provides a voice for those that most need to be heard.”

He praised her work against gangs, for modernizing LAX and to cut truck pollution at the Port of Los Angeles, and said she understands ho government affects “real people and small businesses.”

“I have worked with Janice Hahn for many years. I know she will be a great ally and supporter for Oakland. Janice will bring the leadership to Sacramento that local communities actually need,” Russo wrote. “I believe Janice Hahn will bring necessary change to the state capitol. Please join me in supporting her. Come meet her for yourself.”

Dean FlorezMeanwhile, Hahn’s rival for the Democratic nominiation, state Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, D-Shafter, is working Southern California for much bigger bucks. His fundraiser one week from tonight, on Monday, Dec. 14, at the Regency Club in Los Angeles is co-hosted by Hollywood luminaries such as Martin Sheen, Jerry Zucker and David Geffen; tickets start at $2,000 and range up to $13,000 for event co-chairs.

Three days after that, on Thursday, Dec. 17, Florez’ fundraising tickets are more modestly priced but the visuals should be much better – it’s “One HOT December Night” of salsa dancing at trendy nightclub The Mayan in Los Angeles, with tickets running from $20 up to $6,500.

Florez was elected to the state Senate in 2002, and served in the Assembly for four years before that.

Posted on Monday, December 7th, 2009
Under: 2010 election, Abel Maldonado, campaign finance, John Russo, Lt. Governor, Oakland | 1 Comment »