I, Jerry: How Brown Campaign Will Be Run

Jan27

It’s been an open secret* for weeks that Jerry Brown planned to hire longtime aide and Brown family retainer Steve Glazer to run his campaign for governor.

With the MSM now trumpeting this “news” to the skies, it seems like a good time to explain what it actually means.

Brown’s political operation quietly moved out of Jerry’s Oakland loft a couple of months ago, into about 5,000 square feet of  warehouse space about a mile and a half away. That relocation, coupled with the confirmation of Glazers’ status, means his  campaign is finally, if fitfully, under way.

Characteristically, it will not be a typical campaign operation: while Meg Whitman has hired hordes of strategic consultants, Brown will have none.

Glazer, an Orinda city council member and former mayor, organized the student vote for Brown back in 1978; was deputy campaign manager for his 1982 Senate race; press secretary and consultant for Assemblyman Gray Davis (he created Davis’s famous missing-children  milk carton campaign); did policy and press for Kathleen Brown’s 1994 general election campaign and has managed several statewide ballot measures. He’s also been a pilot fish for developers on half a dozen land-use projects.

All of which means Brown’s got a smart, experienced and trusted hand in place as his day-to-day manager — but doesn’t change the fact that Crusty and his very savvy wife, Anne Gust Brown, will function as their own general consultants.

Ads will likely be made by Joe Trippi and David Doak, two former media partners who have since gone their own ways. Trippi, whose clients have included John Edwards and Howard Dean, worked for Brown’s presidential campaigns and also did his media for the 2006 Attorney General’s race.

Doak, who did California media for the late Sen. Alan Cranston and for former Gov. Gray Davis, is essentially retired from the business, playing golf and poker, but eager to help Brown as a volunteer in collaboration with Trippi. We’ll know for sure when spending reports come out, but Calbuzz expects Trippi and Doak will get a fixed fee WAY below market rate for their media work — or no fee at all.

Sterling Clifford, who last worked as communications director for Baltimore Mayor Shiela Dixon before she was indicted on fraud charges, the Baltimore Police Department, looks to be the day-to-day press secretary. But don’t look for a communications director: Brown has always managed his own communications and it’s not likely there’ll be anyone on hand to teach old dog Crusty to bark on command.

Jerry and Richard Maullin, of the survey firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz are old friends from the Mesozoic Era so we expect him to manage polling and focus groups.  But we also hear our old friend Paul Maslin is really interested in the race and we expect Brown will also rely on polling by labor groups and others who piggy-back questions for him on their surveys.

We understand Glazer has hired an opposition researcher and there are some other paid people in the office already. But Brown is apparently going to try to prove his belief that it’s possible to run a bare bones, frugal, heavily-volunteer campaign for governor in the biggest executive-level political contest in America outside of the presidency. Good luck with that.

*In late December, Glazer was already clearly signaling he would be the campaign manager, but asked people to respect his timing in announcing it. We honored his request.

The Commish (sorta, kinda, almost) goes negative: Nice work by Team Poizner putting together a comprehensive, well-sourced, well-linked oppo memo on eMeg, e-blasted to the world on Tuesday.

In honor of the Great Woman’s book launch, Commish campaign operatives framed a three-page dossier around chapter heds of eMeg’s magnum opus, “The Power of Many: Values for Success in Business and in Life (Plenty of Free Parking!).” Okay, we made that last part up.

Titled “Meg-A-Tales,” Poizner’s poison pen peppering covers mostly familiar negative ground – from the Great Woman’s sleazy treatment of Craigslist, disgraceful voting record and obscene campaign spending, to her strategic missteps at eBay, political re-invention as a conservative and cowardice in refusing to answer questions from reporters or debate her rivals – but it makes an impressive, hefty package all pulled together.

That said, there are two big problems with the hit: a) Poizner obviously isn’t prepared to put any money behind an attack that goes much beyond the 2,000 people in state politics who talk to each other, plus the rest of the plucky population of Calbuzzville and b) even if he was, there’s a good chance it would blow up in his face; at a time when he’s trailing Whitman by 30 points, two-thirds of Californians have never heard of him and over half of those who have hold a negative opinion.

So Poizner’s Greatest Hits Against eMeg ain’t exactly nothin’, but up against her millions of dollars of earnest, feel good radio ads, it’s pretty damn close.

PXP goes viral: After AP picked up* our story last week on the once-secret offshore oil drilling agreement between PXP oil company and the Environmental Defense Center, Calbuzzer and campaign media consultant Don Ringe worked up an animated political cartoon featuring a monologue by “Mr. PXP” about the deal, which you can find here.

And special Calbuzz T-Ridge props to KQED’s John Myers, who closely questioned Schwarzmuscle about the issue at the governor’s Monday appearance at the Sacto Press Club and offers a smart take on the exchange on his blog at Capital Notes.

Two points worth noting here: a) As Myers reports, it’s interesting to see how breezily Arnold is in abandoning the notion of “principles” when the going gets tough; b) the governor clearly formulates the deal on T-Ridge as a “budget-driven” decision, not an energy vs. environment balancing act.

That is precisely the point that most concerns many environmental opponents of the deal: that California’s landmark environmental protections should be conditioned on the ebb and flow of the budget. In other words, any time Sacramento is in the red, just suspend the Coastal Sanctuary Act or AB 32 or local development guidelines and generate some fresh cash. Laissez les bons temps rouler.

The environmentalists who support the deal, like the EDC, do not agree with this fiscal argument of Arnold’s for the deal: to them T-Ridge has always been a pathway to end some offshore oil drilling permanently, essentially by horsetrading a lease to slant drill in state waters for a promise to decommission four  operations in federal waters.

But: Lay down with dogs, wake up with fleas.

*AP not only picked up but also properly credited the story. Having played the MSM exclusivity rip-off game for many years, your Calbuzzers these days are as scrupulous as possible about crediting and linking to other media sources, new and old alike, and we appreciate the same in return. As for those who jack our stuff, Dr. Hackenflack knows who you are and where you live.

What happens in Mass. stays in Mass: In our piece on the seismic Senate election in Massachusetts, we noted the absence of any election day exit polls that might have provided a data foundation for any of the scenarios spun about Republican Scott Brown’s surprise victory.

Now comes the Washpost, which conducted a survey in the immediate aftermath of the election, in partnership with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard’s School of Public Health.

In their piece on the poll, postmen Dan Balz and Jon Cohen noted that Brown, significantly, won two-thirds of the 63 percent of special-election voters who said the country is on the wrong track:

Dissatisfaction with the direction of the country, antipathy toward federal-government activism and opposition to the Democrats’ health-care proposals drove the upset election of Republican senatorial candidate Scott Brown…

HT to Bill Carrick for the heads up.


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