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Campaign finance tidbits: Hef, eHarmony etc.

Gap Inc. founder Donald Fisher may well be “a major political force who has powerful ties inside (San Francisco) City Hall” as the Chronicle once reported, and he and his family may well have been among the “most reliable – and, if dollar amounts are any indication, enthusiastic” donors to Gavin Newsom’s 2003 mayoral campaign as the Bay Guardian once reported, but Fischer gave $7,000 to Jerry Brown’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign on June 26. Other notable donations to Brown’s campaign that same day included $6,500 from fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg of New Milford, Conn. and $5,000 from Playboy magazine founder and editor-in-chief Hugh Hefner of Los Angeles.

Gavin Newsom is raising funds too, although not at such a rate as Brown. Among his recent contributions was $5,000 on June 26 from political consultant Peter Ragone, who works for – Newsom. Call it enlightened self-interest.

On the other side of the aisle, 2002 Republican gubernatorial primary candidate, former Los Angeles Mayor and former state Education Secretary Richard Riordan threw $5,000 to Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner on June 30.

Engineering, construction and investment mogul Stephen Bechtel Jr. of San Francisco – #261 on Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people, at a net worth of about $2.5 billion – anted up $10,000 for Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Campbell on June 27.

And eHarmony Inc. CEO Gregory Waldorf of Santa Monica feels the stirrings of political love for Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, to whom he gave $5,000 on June 26.

In the ballot measure department, Los Angeles-based Mercury General Corp. on June 26 put $500,000 into a “Californians For Fair Auto Insurance Rates” campaign committee, supporting a prospective ballot measure called the “The Continuous Coverage Auto Insurance Discount Act.” The language submitted June 12 to the state Attorney General’s office says the measure would correct an inconsistency in California insurance law that lets insurers provide a discount rewarding long periods of continuous coverage to drivers who change insurers rather than only those who stick with the same insurer.

Posted on Saturday, July 4th, 2009
Under: 2010 governor's race, ballot measures, campaign finance, Gavin Newsom, Jerry Brown, Meg Whitman, Steve Poizner, Tom Campbell | Comments Off on Campaign finance tidbits: Hef, eHarmony etc.

Some responses to the governor’s speech

From Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda:

“The Governor’s proposal to balance the $24 billion budget shortfall without the use of additional revenues is neither a fair nor realistic solution to the budget crisis. I find it morally objectionable for the Governor’s proposals to specifically cut Cal-Works, Healthy Families, Cal-Grants, In-home service care for the elderly, and even access to State parks. The Governor’s proposal also fails at its intended goals: it fails to address our deficit and it fails to reflect our priorities.

“In this budget year alone, we have instituted $23 billion of cuts, over 20% of our $105 billion budget. These cuts represent a tremendous amount of pain for California, a serious reduction in services to our constituencies, and a reduction in the prosperity of our state.

“Our budget must reflect our priorities. It must reflect what kind of state we want to be. I believe our state should be one that gives priority to children, seniors, and support for working families, all of which requires us to invest in our state. I hope we will look at revenue solutions that are realistic, that help the state support its safety net programs, and that provide Californians with the services they require and demand as they work to bring our state through this economic crisis.”

From State Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley:

“That was Governor Schwarzenegger’s best speech yet. He understands, as I do, that voters sent an undeniably strong message during the special election last month: cut spending, do your job and live within your means with no new taxes. Senate Republicans have been preaching this message of fiscal conservatism for years.

“The Governor understands, as we do, that our options are few. There is no combination of taxes and fees that will close this yawning $24 billion deficit, nor does the legislative will exist to raise taxes again. Raising taxes is not the answer. We cannot borrow our way out of this mess. Banks do not consider California to be a good loan risk, and with our track record of overspending, I can’t blame them. The only option left on the table is to cut spending, reform inefficient government agencies, live within our means and never make the mistake of spending more than we have again.

“Now, let’s get to work!”

More, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009
Under: Alberto Torrico, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly, California State Senate, Karen Bass, Meg Whitman, Sandre Swanson, state budget, Steve Poizner | 3 Comments »

Poizner appeals to Contra Costa taxpayers group

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner

Contra Costa County continues to attract would-be gubernatorial candidates with a lunchtime speech this afternoon by Republican and state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

He was the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association. Predictably, this fiscally conservative audience of about 150 people loved Poizner’s largely anti-tax stump speech.

You may recall that Democratic gubernatorial candidate and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom made a campaign stop in Concord in February.

Poizner was charming and a bit geeky as he pitched his reforms of the state Department of Insurance as a model for what he would champion as governor. (He cut expenses 15 percent through reduced staffing levels and the elimination of what he considered unnecessary programs.)

Poizer continued to voice major opposition to statewide ballot measures on the May 19 special election negotiated by the Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as part of a very contentious budget package. He urged everyone vote no on propositions 1A through 1F.

“It was a package negotiated behind closed doors. Tell them no, not any more money, not any more taxes, just go get your job done,” Poizner said.

Of course, Poizner has a long way to go before he has a chance to sweep out the scent of fine cigar’s from Schwarzenegger’s reign. The chief primary rival of the former Silicon Valley high-tech entrepreneur (Poizner’s firm developed GPS devices for cell phones) is expected to be another tech tycoon, multimillionaire and former Ebay chief Meg Whitman.

Interestingly, Poizner failed to mention Whitman in his speech today. But he did deliver a few barbs at Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown, the front-runner in the Democratic field and the Californa attorney general.

In reference to the rapidly changing global economy, Poizner said that “In China, more people are studying English than people speak it in the United States. And that’s true even if you consider Schwarzenegger an English speaker.”

On the matter of building infrastructure in California, Poizner said “We essentially quit building freeways 25 years ago thanks to, yes, (then governor) Jerry Brown.” (When Brown was governor back in the 1970s, he dramatically cut staffing at the California Department of Transportation.)

Poizner also gave the audience a preview of one of his campaign television ads.

He says it will feature Poizner standing at the Nevada-California border holding a camcorder and watching the U-hauls speed by into the Silver State. It’s intended to show that Californians are leaving the state because of excessive taxes and regulations.

The well-spoken Poizner demonstrated passion for the job and a grasp of the issues but even one of the Contra Costa taxpayers this afternoon expressed doubt about Poizner’s ability — or anyone’s, for that matter — to overcome strong Democratic control of the Legislature when the wildly popular action-hero Schwarzenegger couldn’t do it.

Read on for more snippets of Poizner’s speech: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, April 15th, 2009
Under: 2010 governor's race, Contra Costa County, Steve Poizner | No Comments »

Um, was that an endorsement?

Not quite, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger definitely spoke kindly today of Attorney General Jerry Brown‘s qualifications for, and chances of, succeeding him as governor in 2010.

Schwarzenegger took questions for half an hour from Time magazine managing editor Richard Stengel (and did some Teutonic bonding, noting stengel is German for “stick” — my dictionary says it’s actually “stalk” or stem”) before an audience of several hundred during the American Magazine Conference at San Francisco’s Westin St. Francis Hotel.

Stengel toward the end asked Schwarzenegger who he thinks will get the 2010 Democratic guberntorial nomination. He said U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein probably would if she enters the race, but he doubts she’ll do so if Barack Obama wins the White House next month; she’d be more likely to leave behind the Senate senority she has built up — including the Rules and Administration Committee‘s chair — if Congress must work with a McCain Administration.

If DiFi’s not in the race, “Jerry Brown has the best shot at becoming governor,” Schwarzenegger said, noting his extensive experience including two terms as governor, two as Oakland’s mayor and his current stint as California’s top cop. Don’t count out Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner on the Republican side, he added — he’s accomplished and ambitious as well — but Brown has a proven ability to reach across party lines. “I think he is the best choice,” it sounded like Schwarzenegger said in closing.

Gotta wonder how Poizner feels about that.

((UPDATE @ 4:15 P.M.: I guess I misheard it. Schwarzenegger press secretary Aaron McLear just sent me a transcript, and here’s the exchange, verbatim:

STENGEL: Who will be the Democratic nominee for governor of California when your term is up?

GOVERNOR: You know, I think the best potential — it depends if Dianne Feinstein comes into the race or not. I think that depends also on who will win the presidency, because if McCain wins the presidency I think that she most likely will leave Washington and will come and run for governor. I think that if Obama wins the presidency she will want to be part of that move and want to stay because of that change, want to stay in Washington, and then Jerry Brown, I think, has the best shot of becoming governor of the great state. And there is Steve Poizner who has also a good shot, who is a Republican and is making his way up right now.

But I think Jerry Brown, because he has been governor twice before in California and he has worked his way back up again from being mayor of Oakland to becoming the Attorney General right now. And he kind of can reach the Republicans and Democrats and bring people together, so I think he has the best shot.))

More from Schwarzenegger’s Q&A, after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, October 7th, 2008
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Barack Obama, Elections, General, Jerry Brown, John Kerry, John McCain, Sarah Palin, Steve Poizner | No Comments »

A whole lot of swearing goin’ on…

So Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been sworn in for a second term, but other state constitutional officers have yet to take their oaths. Here’s the when and where for them:

  • Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi: 2 p.m. Sunday in the State Capitol’s Senate Chamber in Sacramento. The oath will be administered by California Chief Justice Ronald George; a reception line will follow in the Capitol Rotunda.
  • Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner: 11 a.m. Monday at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose. The oath will be administered by former state Senator and current San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Quentin Kopp. Former state Senator Jim Brulte and former Congressman Tom Campbell will also take part, as will former San Jose Mayor Tom McEnery and Santa Clara University President the Rev. Paul Locatelli; a post-inaugural lunch will feature comedian Kevin Pollak, a Bay Area native and veteran movie actor.
  • Treasurer Bill Lockyer: 11 a.m. Monday at the Jesse Unruh State Office Building near the State Capitol in Sacramento. Keynoting will be futurist and business strategist Peter Schwartz.
  • Secretary of State Debra Bowen: 2 p.m. Monday in the Secretary of State’s auditorium in Sacramento. This one will be Webcast live at
  • Attorney General Jerry Brown: 3:30 p.m. Monday at San Francisco City Hall. The oath will be administered by his niece, San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kelly. Brown watched his father, Edmund “Pat” Brown, sworn in at the same place 63 years ago as San Francisco’s District Attorney.
  • Controller John Chiang: 5:30 p.m. Monday at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.
  • Posted on Saturday, January 6th, 2007
    Under: Bill Lockyer, Debra Bowen, General, Jerry Brown, John Chiang, John Garamendi, Sacramento, Steve Poizner | No Comments »