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Arnold Tries Again on T-Ridge & Rumors of the Week

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

offshoreGovernor Schwarzmuscle rolled out a new version of his twice-defeated plan for expanded offshore drilling Friday, but it’s tough to imagine his latest tweaks changing many minds.

Despite his 0-2 record in pushing for a lease to allow the PXP energy company to drill in state waters off the coast of Santa Barbara, Arnold doggedly added the Tranquillon Ridge offshore oil project to his just released, ugly budget plan.

As a financial proposal, the much chronicled project (memo to those who’ve been sightseeing in Albania since May: see Calbuzz archive) is intended to generate a quick, couple hundred million bucks for the recession ravaged state treasury. Politically, however, Schwarzenegger must overcome the passionate and visceral opposition to offshore drilling which reflects longstanding California environmental policy.

The project was voted down by the State Lands Commission early last year, then rejected by the Legislature at the end of the long summer budget battle. Now Schwarzenegger is trying again, tarting up the proposal politically with some key tactical changes:

Process: The budget plan calls for T-Ridge to be sent back to the State Lands Commission for rehearing.

The change is crucial, because reconsideration by the lands commission is exactly what the faction of environmentalists who back the project, led by Santa Barbara’ Environmental Defense Center, have been seeking, as an alternative to Schwarzenegger muscling the matter through the Legislature. His move instantly paid off in the form of a quick EDC statement in support of the governor’s latest plan:krop_lg

“We look forward to the opportunity to have this project reconsidered by the State Lands Commission,” said Linda Krop, EDC’s chief counsel, expressing “appreciation” to the governor. “Reconsideration by the State Lands Commission is the only process that we support to address this unique proposal.”

Despite the new process, however, Schwarzenegger’s budget document also states that if the drilling plan is “not approved by the Commission, legislation will be necessary,” making it clear that he will take another run at the Legislature if state lands turns it down again.

Abel Maldonado: The administration’s clear political calculation is that  Senator Abel Maldonado, whom Schwarzenegger has nominated for  Lieutenant Governor, would vote for the measure on the lands commission.

The Lite Gov is one of three members of the commission, and John Garamendi, the former occupant of the office who was recently elected to Congress, cast the deciding vote against PXP’s plan last year. Although Maldonado also voted against it as a state senator, his well-earned reputation for political opportunism makes it not unlikely he’d see things the governor’s way if the Legislature confirms him.

State Parks: The money generated by the PXP project would be earmarked for state parks, many of which were slated for closure last year, until Schwarzenegger reinstated funding. By tying the new lease to parks financing, he forces a choice for the lesser of two environmental evils.

Pedro-Nava“The governor has truly sunk to a new low, by making the parks system, the jewel of California, reliant on new offshore oil drilling,” said Assemblyman Pedro Nava, who has led legislative opposition to the drilling proposal.

Warming to his task, Nava said that linking parks and offshore oil was like “offering a rent reduction to a victim of domestic violence in exchange for forcing them to go back and live with the abuser.”

That little vein in his ample forehead throbbing vigorously, he added:

“If anybody thinks there wasn’t an agreement reached by Abel Maldonado (with Schwarzenegger) then think again. This is one of the most cynical acts I’ve ever seen.”

Beyond the PXP conflict, the offshore debate is certain to become even more combative this year with the introduction by Republican Chuck DeVore, an Orange County assemblyman and contender for the U.S. Senate nomination, of legislation to effectively open up the entire California coastline to new drilling.devore

DeVore said his plan, which would impose a 40 percent royalty on offshore oil and natural gas extraction, could generate as much as $16 billion by 2011: “My proposal generates billions of dollars this year, when California needs it most,” he said.  “Allowing new offshore leases under this plan prevents cuts to education, public safety and other government services.”

T-Ridge and the DeVore measure are the latest examples of the intertwined politics of the economy and the environment moving center stage in 2010 campaigns.  Check back on Monday for more on this development.

Rumors of the week: Calbuzz hears that Steve Cooley, L.A.’s hardass, three-term district attorney, plans to jump into the Republican race for Attorney General, perhaps as early as next week.

SteveCooley_picCooley’s entry would be a game-changer in the race, giving the GOP a top-drawer candidate with a good chance to win statewide office. Cooley also offers a sharp contrast to Democratic front-runner Kamala Harris, the San Francisco district attorney who’s against the death penalty and  embroiled in controversy over a program to funnel illegal immigrant felons into a jobs program instead of prison.

Add rumors: We got no inside info on this one, but we won’t be surprised if GOP wannabe governor Tom Campbell announces a switch to the Senate soon after his impending return from his Panamanian vacaciones. Bill Whalen’s got a good post looking at the implications of such a move.

Quote of the week:* Our pal Alan Mutter, noted media analyst and Chicago deep dish pizza aficionado, was interviewed by the New York Times for a story about the struggle of newspaper owners against the rise of the web, and replied:

“One of the problems is newspapers fired so many journalists and turned Mutterthem loose to start so many blogs,” Mr. Mutter said. “They should have executed them. They wouldn’t have had competition. But they foolishly let them out alive.”

*Calbuzzer Alert: Send us your nominees for Quote of the Week, which we’ll run each Saturday. Winners get two free Calbuzz buttons; second place gets three.

Press Clips: James Brown Meets Big Lebowski

Friday, January 8th, 2010

carlaI feel good: Mega-kudos to Chronicler Carla Marinucci, who came roaring back from the holidays to win the James Brown Hardest Working Person in Show Business award for her stellar performance at Arnold’s SOS speech Wednesday.

Following the paper’s long tradition of dispatching its political editor to Sacto for first week of session, Ms. M. did everything but cut the grass in Capitol Park: in the space of 3 hours and 58 minutes, she filed four strong web pieces offering different angles on the speech, including the role of former Reagan speechwriter Landon Parvin, before heading off to write her print edition analysis for the next day’s paper.

Most significantly, she appears to have been the only MSM political writer with the wit to file a separate on Jerry Brown. Her piece included a series of comments relevant to his soon-to-be-campaign for governor on key budget issues he’s been trying to avoid discussing with his shadow candidacy.

“I would never approve of a tax increase unless the voters themselves called for it and voted on it,” he said, adding some thoughts about lessons learned from the Prop. 13 tax revolt in his first stint as governor:

There’s a big difference. The last crisis, we had a $6 million billion surplus. Now the trouble is, we’ve been spending it. And now, we have the same crisis, but we have no surplus….there is no easy answer. The main point is, don’t hide the ball. Level with the people and tell them, ‘This where we are. We didn’t get here overnight, and we’re not going to get out of it (overnight).’nap time

Pillow and teddy bear in hand, Calbuzz padded off for a nappie, exhausted from just watching her.

Footnote: The Oracle of Cruickshank over at Calitics, took a whack at Carla and Crusty the General for not observing, as he did, that Jerry is “Trapped in 1978.” So there was at least one other full-scale political commentary about Brown posted on Wednesday.

Cliches for the ages: The best New Year’s piece we saw came from the venerable Ron Rosenbaum over at Slate, who captured the coveted  William Safire Memorial Linguistics Usage award for his piece on over-used catch phrases that should be banned from the language.

Noting the dThe_Big_Lebowski___Jeff_Bridgesreadful excess of “15 minutes of fame” that swept through Google during the flap over the Salahis crashing Obama’s State Dinner, Rosenbaum put a few other phrases on the chopping block:

Among those I wanted thrown off the island and under the bus: it is what it is (in the “tough-luck” sense), the optics, drill down, under the bus, not so much, and the take-away. Oh, yes, and dude—at least when it’s a Big Lebowski reference.

Speaking of clichés, shame on Politico for using the most hackneyed possible lede for its mini-profile of Brown in its tired “25 politicians to watch” New Year’s feature:

Yes, it’s that Jerry Brown—the former California governor who served two terms beginning in the mid-1970s and made three failed bids for the White House.

Yes it’s that kind of unimaginative boilerplate that’s a reliable cure for insomnia (Sleep theme today ? –ed).

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What’s your margin of error, pal? In a fine piece over at Capitol Notes, the otherwise prudent John Myers asserted  that Arnold’s speech contained 3,507 words, a number shockingly at odds — by 560 words! — with the total reported by the Calbuzz Department of Mathematical Advancement and Spilled Toothpicks Counting (of course, I’m an excellent driver).

Unlike Myers, who acknowledged his number was merely “by my count” Calbuzz, as always, used the most complex, up-to-date and rigorous statistical methodology to gather our findings, and we’re nothing if not transparent in disclosing it: Starting with the speech transcript posted on Capitol Alert, we 1) clicked to the print version 2) painstakingly selected all and copied it 3) carefully pasted it into Word 4) used “word count” to complete our in-depth study. The margin of error is plus or minus zero. Thank you Bill Gates.

belvadavis-200x300Three Dot Lounge:* Nice work by Lisa Vorderbrueggen of the Coco Times on a good appreciation profile of the one and only Belva Davis, who put up with your Calbuzzers  many Friday nights a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…In the latest Triumph of the Old Guys, Peter Schrag reaffirms his standing as California’s top substance-of-state-government reporter, with a smart yarn offering a practical 10-point plan to fix the budget . . . Speaking of old guys, if you read only one piece on national politics this week, make it Tom Edsall’s analysis of why 2010 will be the biggest year ever for negative campaigning . . . The New York Times showed unusual nimbleness in rushing Peter Baker’s terrific 8,000 word takeout about Obama’s national security operation onto its web site, two weeks before it was to be published in the Sunday magazine, because of the Christmas Day bomber story ( HT to Politico’s Peter Calderone) . . . The Ross Douthat Fan Club was stricken with20061213mcdonalds awe yet again, when the Great Man released his own plan for Fixing Everything, using the phrase  “tour d’horizon” to boot.

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: You want fries with that?

*With homage HT to Chron sports columnist Bruce Jenkins, who belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Arnold’s Alliterative Aspirational Adieu Address

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

stateofstate2The best commentary on Governor Schwarzmuscle’s State of the State Address came in the form of Capitol Alert’s word cloud.

Thanks to them, we know that Arnold used at least 31 words beginning with “P,” more than any other letter. For those who missed the SOS – and why wouldn’t you? – here’s the Calbuzz  15-word recap:

Pigs & pony
Persevere & prosper.
Painful priorities,
Prudent policies,
Privatized prisons,
Pension problem.
Patriotism!

The pig & pony show: Except for his opening, an endless and near-incomprehensible tortured metaphor comparing the Legislature to his household pets, the governor’s final SOS was pretty much the same as every other such address ever delivered (OCD memo:  pig and pony intro accounted for 269 of speech’s 2,947 words, or 9.1 percent). Aspirational in tone and theme, it included three mandatory elements: elevated rhetoric about the California Dream, a big heap of self-congratulation and a laundry list of legislative proposals.

The devil, to coin a phrase, is in the details, of course, so the real opening bell of this election-year session won’t come until Friday, when Arnold’s Department of Finance minions release their $20 billion deficit budget, and he runs like hell out of town.

“Every year, in spite of whatever challenges are before us,” he said in the meantime, “I stand up here and tell you how much I believe in California’s future.”

Exactly. In fact, he could have given the same speech back in 2004. Oh wait, he did.

Schwarzenegger 2010Let’s do lunch: The gov made sure to give lawmakers a little love, applauding their approval of education reform (of the small caliber variety), and of water legislation that calls for $11 billion in new bond spending (boosting the state’s annual interest payment obligation, the fastest growing item in the budget). Having invited them all to lunch at the Sutter Club, he tried not to spoil their appetites by dwelling on the unpleasant fact that they’ll once again be taking the deficit out of the hides of California’s least fortunate citizens.

“Which child do we cut? The poor one? The sick one? The uneducated one? The one with special needs?”

How about all of the above, governor?

Now there’s a thought: As for what he wants to accomplish this year, The Terminator’s best ideas were to “protect education,” whatever that means, and to put a higher priority on the UC/CSU/Community College systems than on prisons:

Thirty years ago 10 percent of the general fund went to higher education and 3 percent went to prisons. Today almost 11 percent goes to prisons and 7.5 percent goes to higher education. Spending 45 percent more on prisons than universities is no way to proceed into the future. What does it say about a state that focuses more on prison uniforms than caps and gowns? It simply is not healthy.

No duh.

Two problems with Arnold’s big, blinding insight: 1) His notion for a constitutional amendment to require this policy keeps California locked in the same old ballot box budgeting box that helped get the state in the mess it’s in; 2) why didn’t he think of this earlier?

Most of his other big ideas were based variously on lies, damn lies and statistics:

“The worst is over for the California economy.” Really?

Even if you accept the argument that the recession is technically over, the lack of real economic growth in the form of new jobs, or a decline in the state’s 12.3 percent rate of unemployment, makes the case an empty, statistical claim, as everything from retail sales to real estate is forecast to sag at least until the fourth quarter in California.

“We cannot have a robust recovery while banks are not lending,” said Bill Watkins, our favorite, hard-headed economist. “So, fixing our banks should be our first priority. Unless we do that, we’re just going to muddle along.”

The feds will pay for it. Really?

Schwarzenegger is right to bitch that the state doesn’t get our fair share of federal tax money:

When President Clinton was in office, California got back 94 cents on the dollar from the federal government. Today we get only 78 cents back…This should be more fair and equitable.

Then again, if life was fair, Calbuzz would have big biceps and six-pack abs, too.

Even if the Obama Administration decides to back a too-big-to-fail  sweetheart deal for California, the odds of Congress falling in line in an election year, particularly given growing public concern about the deficit, plus the Anybody But California attitude on Capitol Hill, are slim. Arnold surely didn’t help his case with the White House by launching a surprise attack Wednesday on Democratic health care plans as “a trough of bribes, deals and loopholes.”

The Parsky plan will save us all. Really?conan

The one true outrage in Schwarzenegger’s speech was his demand that the Legislature pass the Parsky Commission proposal for tax reform — some nasty, secretive hide-the-pig-and-pony flapdoodle to which Calbuzz devoted a fair amount of attention.

I sent you the Tax Reform Commission’s plan in late September, but it seems to have disappeared somewhere under this dome. Where is it? Maybe the pig and the pony have taken it.

Or maybe it’s a dog-ass, half-baked, secretly-concocted, serve-the-rich scheme that’s been rightly denounced from every point on the political spectrum, Conan.

Views from the grandstand: Having utterly failed to end deficits or ease gridlock, the two big promises that swept him into office, Arnold is fast running out of time to try to repair his battered image, and it’s not going to help that every candidate for governor will rightfully campaign this year by pointing to him as a fine example of what not to do.

As political scientist Sherry Bebitch Jeffe put it, in a masterpiece of tongue-biting, understated, academic self-restraint:

The best word is ‘disappointing,’ and that’s being very kind. As governor, he’s accomplished little of what he said he wanted to do.

Not so diplomatic was California League of Conservation Voters CEO Warner Chabot., whose comments suggest that environmental issues, including Arnold’s own AB32 plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, could prove signficant in the 2010 campaign.

The governor has proposed an outrageous plan to gut California’s landmark environmental protection law with the false hope of job creation. Under his plan, dozens of communities throughout California will lose their constitutional right to question the health and environmental impact of major development projects in their backyard. The notion that we can stimulate our economy by making it easier to pollute the air that we breathe and the water that we drink is just plain false.

Senior Senator Dianne Feinstein joined in, bitch-slapping Schwarzenegger for blaming the feds for California’s problems:

It sounds like the Governor is looking for someone else to blame for California’s budget. California’s budget crisis was created in Sacramento, not Washington. These problems are not going away until there is wholesale reform of the state’s budget process.

Even the enigmatic, not-yet-announced Democratic candidate for governor,  Attorney General Jerry Brown, took a sideways whack at Arnold’s idea to save money by privatizing prisons.

I view with suspicion efforts to take a traditional public sector responsibility, whether it’s in schools or in prisons or maybe even in community health, and turn it over to a profit-making appropriation, particularly when it involves the coercive power of the state.

As a political matter, Schwarzmuscle on Wednesday was speaking, in his Landon Parvin-penned, final State of the State address, to an audience outside the Capitol, not in it.

But with three of four Californians turning thumbs down on his performance, it’s pretty clear they’ve already stopped listening.

Pondering the GOP’s Future: New Ideas or SOS?

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Dan vs. Dan: Our old friend Dan Scsickelephanthnur has been doing some serious wool gathering on the question of whether any of the three Republican contenders for governor have the political mettle, not just to win election, but to redefine the GOP in the process.

Mere hacks that we are, Calbuzz isn’t fully certain that we follow all the nuanced twists and turns of the baroquely reasoned argument made by Schnur, a former partisan turned neutral academic, who now reigns as the director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.

As best we understand his latest dispatch over at Flashreport, however, Schnur seems to posit that the current, sorry spectacle of a teabag-besotted  Republican party means that it’s time for the GOP to rethink the ideological framework that’s sustained it since Ronald Reagan’s first term.

schnur

While it has become fairly predictable for Republican politicians to wrap themselves in the flag of Reagan, the pessimism that currently infects our body politic does present the same type of psychological challenge that the Gipper confronted in his first successful presidential campaign . . .

We are currently witnessing the stirrings of a similar internal debate within the Republican party to that which the Democrats fought throughout the 1970s and ’80s . . . No credible voice is making the case that Republicans should abandon Reagan’s economic principles . . . (but) perhaps there is an argument to be made that those priorities must also be updated, in order to deal with the challenges of an era in which the economic centerpiece of the country has moved from Detroit to Silicon Valley.

Perhaps there is, but we’ll never know because Schnur doesn’t make it.

Instead he quickly steps back from the ledge of suggesting to Republicans, on the most influential Republican web site in California, that perhaps they should, just maybe, take a second look at the whole tax-cuts-and-deregulation-will-fix-everything-in-a-jiffy, Heaven’s Gate groupthink that afflicts them.

Putting aside the short shrift that he pays to the inconvenient fact that Republicans have held the White House for 12 of the 21 years since Reagan left office, Schnur’s hasty retreat from his own, intriguing ergo ipso facto is a disappointment. Wafting in a tepid bath of yes-we-can kumbaya, he treads water in concluding with the hope that someone in the Republican field – anyone! – might come up with a fresh idea to save the GOP,  if not the Republic itself:

reepcollage

[Campbell, Poizner and Whitman] may be better positioned than any Republican politicians in the country to lead this next stage of ideological evolution. If one of them is able to do so, he or she will not only provide the tools to fix California’s economy, but its embattled psyche as well.

Or not.

For our money, Schnur’s magical thinking melts away before the force majeure of the fact-based argument, made by us and other right-thinking people, that California’s crackpot state political structure effectively prohibits the rational and effective exercise of governance. That view was stated most recently, and most emphatically, by California’s other boy genius named Dan –  Walters of the Bee Minus.

waltersA notion in the minds of a few pundits, including yours truly, a couple of decades ago — that California was becoming functionally ungovernable, its politics severed from social and economic reality — has since become conventional wisdom. And it will dominate this election year in the nation’s most populous and arguably most troubled state . . .

One of the four [current candidates] will almost certainly become California’s governor a year hence and begin what will more than likely be a doomed governorship.

Declaring the state’s next leader an utter failure 11 months before the election is held -– now that’s punditry we can believe in.

Feel free to use Pay Pal: We’re hardly the first to reach for the Enalapril whenever another of those astonishingly condescending e-blasts shows up from Obama’s Organization for America, purring on about how we’ve all worked so hard together to put special interests on the run and could you please send another $5 to the DNC?

Way back last year, lefty blogger Markos Moulitsas offered a minor gem of a rant, aptly called “Idiocy,” that got to the nut of the annoying treacliness of  these fake-sincere messages:

Obama spent all year enabling Max Baucus and Olympia Snowe, and he thinks we’re supposed to get excited about whatever end result we’re about to get, so much so that we’re going to fork over money?…In fact, this is insulting, betraying a lack of understanding of just how pissed the base is at this so-called reform.

hopelessWe’ve taken a couple of whacks, here and here, at analyzing why once-enthusiastic Obama supporters feel so betrayed by his late-blooming Clintonian corporatism (corporate Clintonism?), but Micah Sifry over at techpresident pretty much nails it in “The Obama Disconnect: What happens when myth meets reality.”

The truth is that Obama was never nearly as free of dependence on big money donors as the reporting suggested, nor was his movement as bottom-up or people-centric as his marketing implied. And this is the big story of 2009, if you ask me, the meta-story of what did, and didn’t happen, in the first year of Obama’s administration. The people who voted for him weren’t organized in any kind of new or powerful way, and the special interests–banks, energy companies, health interests, car-makers, the military-industrial complex–sat first at the table and wrote the menu. Myth met reality, and came up wanting.

tila-tequila2

“People are frustrated because we have done our part,” one frustrated Florida Obama activist told the Politico. “We put these people in the position to make change and they’re not doing it.”Scholars may decide that his team’s failure to devote more attention to reinventing the bully pulpit in the digital age, and to carrying over more of the campaign’s grassroots energy, may turn out to be pivotal to evaluations of Obama’s success, or failure, as president. Calbuzz sez check it out.

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: Tila Tequila channels Jackie Kennedy.

Excloo: SV Firm Rolls Out Initiative by Facebook

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

048-105Three longtime Democrats from a new Silicon Valley firm today are rolling out a product that – for better or worse — promises to cut dramatically the cost of gathering signatures for ballot initiatives by using social networking and touch-screen technology.

Verafirma Inc.’s Democracy Project – founded by Jude Barry, Michael Marubio and Steve Churchwell – will make it possible for activists to use email, Facebook and other social networking venues to distribute ballot initiative language and arguments, and to collect and verify signatures from users who have an iPhone, Droid or other new generation touch-screen device.

Costs will be negotiable, but according to Barry, they will be “dramatically less” than the $1 to $2 per signature currently paid to signature-gathering firms. Because ballot proponents typically need about 600,000 signatures for a statutory measure and about 1 million for a constitutional amendment, cutting the price for signatures could go a long way toward empowering boot-strap, grassroots forces.

The product will not be good news to those reformers who believe it already is too easy to manipulate California law by initiative. However, the  Verafirma partners argue, “We will make the initiative process less costly for true grassroots efforts. In essence, we will return the initiative tool to its original purpose as envisioned by Hiram Johnson and others.”

Since Democrats and the left are – at this point anyway – light years ahead of the Republicans and the right in online networking, Verafirma’s Democracy Project would appear, at the outset, to favor those forces. It could help level the playing field by giving the low-rent populists the same power now enjoyed by corporate conglomerates.

As Verafirma argues in its YouTube presentation: “Ultimately, this is not about interest groups talking at voters but friends talking with friends, neighbors talking with neighbors, all using Verafirma as a natural tool to allow them to understand and participate in their government.”

It could also empower wing nuts, who otherwise could not get their measures onto the ballot. As Barry put it, “Technology, whether Tivo or atomic energy, has a variety of uses . . . This technology will ultimately force reform.”

Barry, a Calbuzz contributor, is a San Jose political consultant,  former campaign manager for Steve Westly’s 2006 campaign for governor, California state director for Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign and chief of staff for former San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales.

Marubio has been a political fundraiser and activist in Chicago and Washington, D.C., and has worked in the cryptography and electronic signature field for clients including the Federal Reserve Bank, Citi Corp, Travelers Insurance, NetSuite and JP Morgan Chase. He is currently CEO of Xignature, an electronic signature company.

Churchwell is a partner at the law firm DLA Piper LLP, has represented clients in numerous initiative and referendum campaigns and served as general counsel to the California Fair Political Practices Commission from 1993-2000.

UPDATE, 3:30 PM: Here’s a pdf of the VFwhitepaper by Steve Churchwell with research and argument concluding that signatures gathered electronically meet every provision of California election law.

middle_fingerI’m sorry, I’m waiting for my close-up on “Meet the Press”: Add the Los Angeles County Republican committee to the list of those shut out of Meg Whitman’s oh-so-busy schedule.

While all but the most loyal Calbuzzers are doubtless fed up with hearing us whine about not getting some dim sum time with eMeg, when she stiffs a  local political group representing more than a million registered Republicans, it’s time to wonder if she understands that being governor comes with certain, you know, expectations for showing up at stuff.

Citing a scheduling conflict, Whitman recently declined an invitation from the Republican Party of Los Angeles County Central Committee (sic) to speak at a candidates forum Jan. 14. Her primary opponents — entrepreneur and former state insurance commissioner Steve Poizner (R) and former Rep. Tom Campbell (R) – are set to attend.

The report, by Sean Miller in DC trade rag “The Hill,” most likely won’t make this week’s edition of the Whitman campaign’s “Field Notes,” hanging as it does on sharp criticism by county vice chairman John Cozza, who says that eMeg not only ignores the GOP base but acts like a squish, to boot.

This just in from the future: Governor-elect Meg Whitman won’t be able to squeeze her inauguration into her busy schedule, but hopes to have many future opportunities to be sworn in, said spokeshuman Sarah Pompei.

bullwinkle1

Speaking of volcanic press secretaries: Not to be outdone by eMeg’s digital propaganda apparatus, Whitman rival Steve Poizner has launched his own daily campaign eblast, imaginatively titled “Poizner Press Pass” (what is this – a student council election?)

Bettina Inclan, press secretary to The Commish, is honchoing the project, and we wish her all her the best doing it daily – Daily? Really? – which is a major chore, even for a vast global organization as fully staffed up as Calbuzz . So we’re sorry to report that Inclan launched the deal with a major typo, dropping a key word from her first graf:

NOTE: This email is off the record.

Clearly, she meant to say “This email is NOT off the record.” Because nobody would try to put off the record items like, “155 days to the primary,” or “tomorrow, Steve will be in Sacramento” or even “The Hill’s Sean J. Miller takes a look at California’s governor’s race” (for the record: we planned to rip off that Hill item hours before “Poizner Press Pass” pimped it).

Not to mention that no one in their right mind would entertain the thought that something could be off the record that is sent by email to every political reporter in the state.

Our mission: We’re from the press, and we’re here to help.