By Heather Reger
Special to Calbuzz
Former President Bill Clinton praised San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom for his contributions to energy efficiency Monday at a joint appearance in L.A. that, well, lacked energy.
A few hours before Clinton appeared at a closed-to-the-press, Newsom-for-governor fundraiser at the Biltmore Hotel, the pair toured the LEED-certified Science and Technology Building at Los Angeles City College, then spoke to a few dozen students, faculty and trustees in the Martin Luther King Jr. Library.
Both wearing baby blue ties, Clinton and Newsom spoke about the green economy, health care policy and the number of foreclosures in California – but said little about the mayor’s bid for the Democratic nomination for governor.
After weeks of build-up and ballyhoo about Clinton’s endorsement of Newsom, the former president said more about his support for energy efficiency than his support for the gubernatorial candidate. The closest he came was when he said Newsom doesn’t “just talk it, he walks the walk” on energy and environmental issues.
“San Francisco may be the greenest community in the entire country, and it’s because of his leadership,” Clinton said, finally mentioning Newsom about 20 minutes into the program.
Asked why there was not a more formal statement of endorsement, Newsom campaign manager Garry South said, “What do you think that was? That’s why we are here.”
After the hour-long event, neither Clinton nor Newsom took questions, although there were more than a dozen reporters on hand. There was little reaction from the audience, except for brief applause when Newsom mentioned San Francisco’s universal health care plan.
In his remarks, the former president said that energy efficiency was the “central key to economic recovery,” and he said that Newsom had helped cut utility bills for city residents by $17.5 million and deserved credit for a program that offers homeowners up to $7,000 for installation of solar panels.
In his comments, Newsom thanked both Clinton and state Senator Alex Padilla, his campaign chairman, who was also on hand, for their support. He told the small crowd that we need to stop being a “state of consumers and start being producers.”
“There is nothing wrong with California that can’t be fixed with what’s right with California,” he added.
South refused to discuss any details about the fundraiser last night, including how many people, who they were or how much they were contributing, let alone what they ate for dinner. “In the four campaigns I have helped run, I have never given out that information,” he said to a question about the total take expected from the event.
Heather Reger is a Southern California freelance writer and former editor in chief of the Panther at Chapman University. If you dare, you can watch the whole event here.
Calbuzz gets results: Wussup with this? After all the breathless MSM reporting of Clinton’s endorsement of Newsom – in which the loooong history of Jerry Brown’s tough attacks on the Clintons was ignored – suddenly, after Calbuzz lays it all out, now it’s like common knowledge as in this lame-ass Bee story? Sheesh.
And while we’re at it, and since we try to give proper credit (and blame) wherever it’s due, what’s with pilfering one of our best quotes of the year: South’s “When you get the full grasp of Jerry Brown’s record over 40 years, it’s an embarrassment of riches. This guy’s had more incarnations than Zelig and he’s taken more positions than there are in the Kama Sutra,” which was lifted, cut and condensed without attribution by the Chronicle. But we don’t complain.
Her Megness throws a late flag: Eleven days after thepublished an investigation about ‘s lack of a voting record, nine days after she slogged through an excruciating press conference on the subject, and a week after she started granting interviews about it – without challenging a single assertion in the piece – eMeg has now decided the story was wrong.
In a widely circulated letter, and backed up by right-wing yakker Hugh Hewitt , Whitman communications director Tucker Bounds demands the Bee publish a correction and a partial retraction. We’ll leave it to Team Whitman and Bee editors to sort that out with a few brief observations:
1-In his letter, Bounds says that eMeg registered in Santa Clara County on Feb. 8, 1999 and that the affidavit number for her registration is 70CE223397. But when Calbuzz called the county registrar to confirm that, we were told there is no such record. “We don’t have any of those combinations of numbers in the record,” said voting clerk Roselle Ricafort. “We can’t find any trace…even in the microfiche.”
(Sez eMeg flack, the volcanic Sarah Pompei: “Meg’s voter registration affidavit number was lifted directly from the 1999 Santa Clara County voter roll, and had been confirmed by our campaign team – twice. After triple-checking the registration with the Santa Clara County elections office on previous occasions, we’re confident that Meg was registered and confident that we did more verification work than the Sacramento Bee”).
2-Even if such a registration exists, it does not explain the issue we’ve been harping on – why eMeg told the Republican convention last winter that she registered in 1998 as a Decline to State independent and then offered an elaborate explanation to back up the claim, despite the lack of evidence about her alleged predicate action.
3-If Whitman had questions about the Bee report, why did she wait nearly two weeks to raise them, particularly after fielding reporters’ questions on the subject, in some cases with answers that conflict with what the campaign said yesterday?
We’re just sayin’.
This just in, 10/7 in the afternoon: “Republican candidate Meg Whitman was registered to vote in Santa Clara County for nine months in 1999, Santa Clara elections officials said today, admitting that they supplied inaccurate information to The Bee and other news organizations on the issue.” The Sacramento Bee corrects the record and we’re happy to link.
Merc fails to deliver: We were excited when we saw the headline: “Can Meg Whitman’s eBay success translate in Sacramento?” on a story by old pals Ken McLaughlin and Pete Carey – especially because Pete is one of the last great investigative reporters still working in California. But the story never even came close to answering the question in the headline or even to backing up this nut graf:
“While her corporate track record suggests that Whitman would bring a new brand of leadership to state government, it also makes clear she has never faced anything quite like the political dysfunction that grips the Golden State.” We at Calbuzz are prepared to believe that, but the Merc never demonstrated it – there was nothing in the article comparing what Meg did at eBay or anywhere else to what she’d have to do in Sacramento.
And it looked to us that there was a lot more in Pete’s notebook that didn’t make it into the story about Meg’s acceptance of “friends and family” stock from Goldman Sachs, with whom she was a private client and made $1.78 million – after she hired Goldman to take eBay public in 1998. Whitman was later named in a congressional report that called the IPO system rigged and corrupt. We wanted more: the Merc is the paper of record for eMeg and they should unload what they’ve got and not pussyfoot around about the ethical charges – which this story did.