Chamber’s Hypocritical Swing at Brown on Prop. 13


It’s not often in politics that an esteemed organization like the California Chamber of Commerce produces and finances a political ad that is as cynical and disingenuous as “Enough is Enough” — the Chamber’s attack on Attorney General Jerry Brown, masquerading as an “issues ad.”

“California’s lost one million jobs, we’re 200 billion dollars in debt and Jerry Brown has a 35-year record of higher spending and taxes,” the ad begins, as if these assertions are  related.  And that’s just the opener.

“Governor Brown opposed Prop. 13. Spending increased 163 percent. He turned a budget surplus into a massive deficit,” the ad continues, ignoring the inconvenient truth that former Governors George Deukmejian (Steve Poizner camp) and Pete Wilson (Meg Whitman camp) and the California Chamber of Commerce itself — and almost every major corporate entity in California — opposed Prop.13 at the time.

In other words, Allan Zaremberg’s executive committee at the Chamber — which got clearance from the Chamber board to do issue advocacy — has instead leaped into the governor’s race with both feet as a rank partisan opposed to Jerry Brown.

“It’s not an attack ad,” Zaremberg insisted to Calbuzz. “This is an issue ad.”

“We want to ensure that we integrate the issues that are critically important to our members and Californians into the election debate,” he said in a press release “The goal of these ads is to press the candidates to articulate how their views about taxing and spending are likely to impact our job climate in the future.”

To which Calbuzz says: Ah, horseshit. This is an attack ad. Watch it yourself.

What is galling about this is not that Zaremberg has decided to go to war with Brown — we frankly don’t have a dog in that fight. It’s the smarmy, hiding-behind-the-skirts pretense of principles that we find loathsome.

Meg Whitman’s campaign strategist, Mike Murphy, had no qualms about describing the ad. “Cal Chamber runs TV ad to remind voters of Jerry Brown’s 35 yr record of fiscal disaster. Large media buy. See it here: http://bit.ly/bZfS3A,” Murph tweeted.

If  Zaremberg wants to lead the Chamber into battle against the Attorney General, then  man up, go to the board — including the CEOs of the University of California, State Universities and Community Colleges — and get them to agree to open fire.

As for the truth of the ad, Brown’s people vehemently dispute virtually every statement. Their response can be found  . . .  oops, looks like Brown’s campaign brain trust has decided, for strategic reasons, not to post their rapid response. Huh? But you can find a partial defense of Brown at Calitics, written by the Oracle of Cruickshank himself.

BTW, the Chamber didn’t fund this ad through its political action committee which would have been subject to disclosure regulations. Instead it’s funding the ad  — reportedly more than a $1 million buy — on its own, complete with a phony front site.

P.S. The news that Peter Schurman, founding director of lefty MoveOn.org, has decided to challenge Brown in the Democratic primary can only benefit Crusty. With Meg Whitman bashing Brown as a statist commie, Schurman’s platform of sweeping tax increases gives the General a handy opportunity to position himself more visibly in the middle on budget issues.

Boon or boondoggle: A new Public Policy Institute of California study of illegal immigration, showing that a legalization program would have little impact on the economy, is significant for both policy and political reasons.

As a policy matter, it sharply conflicts with recent reports out of USC and UCLA, both of which predicted a huge boost to California’s economy from legalizing the state’s several million undocumented adult workers, at a time when the immigration debate has been renewed in Washington. As a political matter, it comes amid a campaign battle over immigration that has been raging for weeks between Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner in the Republican primary for governor.

The new PPIC report is based on an analysis of data compiled by the New Immigrant Survey, a joint project sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and several universities. Among its key conclusions:

–There is little evidence for claims, such as those in the USC and UCLA reports, that legalization would help boost the economy by generating large amounts of new tax revenue.

–Charges that newly legalized immigrants would put a new burden on government through heavy reliance on welfare programs are also without much quantitative foundation.

–Newly legalized immigrants rarely move into better paying jobs because of their changed status and, for that reason, do not represent much competition for jobs with native-born workers.

Said researcher Laura Hill:

A legalization program is unlikely to lead to dramatic changes in the labor market. We wouldn’t expect it to significantly affect the job prospects of low-skilled workers in the short run – whether immigrant or native-born.

eMeg vs. The Commish: One conclusion that reasonable people (we name no names) can draw from the PPIC report is that all sides in the debate routinely overstate the effects of illegal immigration, an intriguing point given the rug-chewing hysterical froth that Poizner has worked himself into over the issue in the past several weeks.

Immigration barely registered as a concern for state voters in last month’s PPIC poll, but Poizner has been beating the drum on it because he knows that there’s an ideological passion gap on the issue, with Republicans and conservatives far more concerned than Democrats or independents, which suits his paddle-to-the-right primary bid just fine.

But some of the cross tab findings on immigration in the new L.A. Times/USC survey may give him pause.

It is true that by 2-to-1 margins, both Republicans and self-described conservatives support Poizner’s Prop. 187-like call to “turn off the magnets” and deny virtually all government services to illegals, one of the key issues he harps on.

But it’s also true that Republicans (65-to-29) and conservatives (61-to-33)  support a “path to legalization” as described in the LAT/USC poll, which makes them not much different than  Democrats and independents alike.

Poizner has been bashing eMeg for a statement she made last fall in favor of a “path to legalization” by accusing her of backing “amnesty,” a hot button word that does not truly describe the framework of a compromise plan being discussed in Washington , which calls for undocumented immigrants to pay fines and back taxes, perform community service, learn English and pass a background check, among other requirements.

This just in: The Santa Barbara-based Environmental Defense Center will launch its latest effort to revive the Tranquillon Ridge offshore oil project Wednesday, with a news conference, including local favorite Rep. Lois Capps, positioning the proposal for a new state drilling lease as a way to stop expanded oil drilling. Key question: will they release the text of the new agreement they’ve reached with PXP energy company, after getting beat up for keeping an earlier version secret?

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There are 6 comments for this post

  1. avatar Jacksend says:

    I think its pretty hilarious that you have all of this faux outrage for Jerry Brown getting thrashed for being a tax and spend liberal and career politician. Were we supposed to buy into the desperate narrative that Jerry Brown is truly a moderate centrist wise old man who has a long track record of stable and consistent policy positions? You praised the man not long ago for being shrewd enough to cast off his old profile and play to the middle, along with trimming his eyebrows.

    The wahmbulance has been called. On their way to save you from yourselves.

    Democrats are getting whomped by Meg and her friends. Oh noes!

  2. avatar tonyseton says:

    It’s a long way to November, but my inclination at the moment is to vote for someone who isn’t trying to buy the governorship. In large measure because it seems like such an insane purchase. Does eMeg really think she can really govern California? Will she first dissolve the legislature? At least Crusty doesn’t pretend that the situation is manageable.

  3. avatar SiliconValleyBob says:

    Maybe the California Chamber learned hypocrisy from the Silicon Valley Chamber. The SV Chamber lobbied San Jose Councilmember Cindy Chavez to subsidize the Grand Prix racing event. Then, when she ran for Mayor, they issued “issue” pieces furiously attacking her for the wasteful spending. Calbuzz should invite the California Chamber and the Silicon Valley Chamber to a face-off —for hypocrites of the decade.

  4. avatar Ernie Konnyu says:

    It is factual that Jerry Brown opposed Prop. 13. It is factual that under Governor Jerry Brown state spending went up by a three digit percentage. It is factual that Governor Jerry Brown supported tax increases. It is factual that Jerry Brown spent down the state surplus. So Calbuzz, the Chamber is right about Brown and they should be congratulated for attacking him; kind of makes up for the Jerry Brown union front groups’ attacks on EMeg.

    Your underlying argument that Jerry Brown had good reason for doing all that he did against the taxpayer simply do not cut it.

    Personally, I have nothing against Jerry Brown. I carried three of his proposed welfare law changes into law as an Assemblyman. But Republicans and business must hold Brown’s feet to the fire on his policies whether it is spending and taxes or the bizarre such as the appointment of the recalled California Supreme Court judge, Rose Bird.

  5. avatar ReilleyFam says:

    Boy, you people are slow. In case you flunked reading-comp in school the point of todays article is not to criticize the position of the Chamber or it’s assertions but the way in which they brought the ad to market using fraudulent and disceptive tactics – calling for an honest fight or none at all. I agree, it’s not the content of the ad but the sleaziness of how they brought it forth. In fairness it’s not unlike how Pulaski and the left labor people attacked the guy with the electronic signatures. Now I dont listen to either and as un-American as it is – make up my own mind instead being spoon-fed lies by BOTH sides. THINK & DECIDE FOR YOUSELF.

  6. avatar starstation says:

    A scandal and debacle for Chamber. Zaremberg is toast.
    What were they thinking?

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