Snapshots from the Silicon Valley Leadership Group governor’s race cattle call in Santa Clara on Wednesday, at which the big-spending Margaret Cushing “Meg” Whitman chose not to appear because she was too busy not being one of Fortune Magazine’s most powerful women:
— Attorney General Jerry Brown, seemingly pretty bored by his assigned topic: energy and the environment. Did make a little news when (after Steve Poizner said he’d push for nuclear power) he allowed that, “I’m not opposed to anything that is going to deal with climate change in a responsible way that makes sense in competition with the alternatives.”
Best Crusty the General item: word that he had lunch at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverley Hills on Tuesday (where room rates start at $555 a night and go up to $5,000) with former Gov. Gray Davis and former Davis Chief of Staff Lynn Schenk (they were Jerry’s Chief of Staff and Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing) and – drumroll please – actor and Hollywood lefty Warren Beatty – all of whom are helping him with his unannounced campaign for governor. Beatty picked up the tab, Crusty told Calbuzz.
— Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, evangelizing his favorite Arthur Lafferesque mantra: “When tax rates go down, total tax revenue will go up.” Also arguing that he’d have the political power to get what he wants from a Democratic Legislature because he’d have a mandate from voters to whom he’ll say, “Please don’t vote for me unless you agree with me.”
But best of all, taking up the stick when asked if Meg is afraid to debate him: “So far, it looks that way. Where is Meg? This is not a campaign where you can just sit in your living room and buy the nomination. That’s not the way it works.”
And thanks to the intrepid Ken McLaughlin of the Murky News for pressing Steverino about whether he’s actually a quote unquote billionaire. “Is it accurate to say you’re a billionaire?” “No,” said Steve-o. (He sold his company for a billion but a lot of employees owned stock…not, he said in response to reporters’ snarky remarks, because he lost the rest in the stock market.)
— Tom “Crusader Rabbit” Campbell, refusing to take a shot at her Megness for stiffing the field again. And Prince Gavin of San Francisco, being passionate about education (as in “I’m passionate about education.”) and declaring that the biggest issue in education is dropouts – a smart move really because that’s the Latino angle on education and could help him with that potential bloc of Jerry Brown voters.
Newsom stiffed reporters waiting to interview him after his panel except for a pre-arranged interview with Jack Chang of the Sac Bee Minus who apparently asked him whether Bill Clinton had endorsed him because of bad blood between Bubba and Crusty the General Brown
“This guy has been attacked not just by Jerry Brown but by the best of them. And I’m not sure he thinks about those things,” Newsom said. “Does he forget those things? I don’t know. It’s a little too convenient to say it’s just about that one moment, that it’s just about one exchange. Politics is heated. That was nothing compared to what he’s endured from real opponents.”
Prince Gavin line he probably shouldn’ta said to KTVU-TV when asked about the effect of the Clinton endorsement: “Mark my words, these polls are going to change dramatically.”