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Archive for 2010



Whitman Speaks: Oil, Taxes, Spending & Poizner

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

Meg Whitman says the disastrous oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has caused her to change her position on offshore oil drilling in California, adding that she no longer is certain technology can make it safe.

“Right now,  I’m a ‘no’ on offshore oil drilling,” Whitman told Calbuzz.

In an interview on Thursday,  the front-runner for the Republican nomination for governor said the economic and environmental damage inflicted by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and the huge gush of undersea oil that has followed convinced her to shift her stance on drilling off the coast of California. Again.

Last year, she stated that she began her campaign for governor as an opponent of drilling off the coast, but subsequently learned more about new technologies, which she had come to believe all but eliminated the risks of offshore extraction:  ”When I started this process, I was against offshore oil drilling, and then I began to understand deeply the new technology that is available to extract oil from existing wells,” she said last summer.

But in this week’s interview with Calbuzz, Whitman said she has changed that position:

Historically I was against offshore oil drilling, but I am the living example of someone who believes technology can enable you to do things you’d never dream you could do. So I wanted to look into slant drilling…and convene a group to say, you know, ‘is this possible to do with zero to minimal environmental risk?’

I will say what has happened in Louisiana I think has raised the bar on what, you know, technology is going to be able to have to do, and what we can assure ourselves of. Because, gosh, you look at what has happened in the Gulf, the economic devastation of the shrimpers, the fishermen. I mean you’re starting to see it now go on the north shore of the coast of Florida there, the hospitality industry is at risk.

So I think it has absolutely raised the bar in terms of what we would need to feel comfortable with to go forward. So right now, I’m a no on offshore oil drilling.

Following a town hall meeting in Santa Barbara, Whitman in our interview also discussed several other key issues:

Taxes – A Public Policy Institute of California poll released Wednesday included new data on how voters feel about taxes: 62% of those surveyed said they would favor a state income tax increase for the wealthiest people in California; 58% said they would support higher taxes on corporations;   solid majorities said they would consider a tax increase to pay for K-12 education (69%), higher education (54%) and health and human services (54%).

“It doesn’t influence my thinking,” Whitman answered, when asked whether such majority views would affect her policies as governor. “My view is we should not be raising taxes on anyone in California.”

Asked what she would say to parents of students at public schools that are losing teachers and small class size programs, and who are willing to pay higher taxes for schools, she added:

I’d say we have a philosophical disagreement on how to right the economy in California…I mean, I don’t think people really do understand that a 12.6 percent unemployment rate not only has tax revenues decreasing, it has costs going through the roof. It’s the worst of all possible worlds – you’ve got a financial pincer – revenues going down and costs going up so we’ve got to get Californians back to work and then we’ve got to eliminate another $15 billion of costs out of that budget.

Spending – The $15 billion figure is what Whitman claims, with slim  evidence, can be rooted out in “waste, fraud and abuse” in state government, a task she has said she will assign a “statewide grand jury” to investigate. She acknowledged in the interview that she would need the support of the Legislature to pass a measure to authorize such a body, which she said should contain 18 members. She offered this elaboration:

We’d fill those 18 spots from the grand jury pool in the 58 counties that have a fully vetted grand jury pool, and then this grand jury would be convened. The Inspector General* would identify issues of fraud and waste and abuse. Serve some of that up to the grand jury who would then have the power to indict and subpoena.

Immigration – Last year, Whitman said during a visit to the California-Mexico border that illegal immigrants “should do some things that would ultimately allow a path to legalization.” GOP rival Steve Poizner has used her comment to portray eMeg  as a supporter of amnesty for illegals; “path to legalization” is a phrase used by supporters of comprehensive immigration reform which opponents say is code for “amnesty.”

Confronted with her earlier statement, Whitman insisted she was not signaling support for amnesty, offering this explanation:

In my view, that was not a statement in support of amnesty…What I was referring to, which has been taken out of context, is I was referring to a guest worker program, I was talking about agriculture; that we had to find a way to have a stable work force for agriculture, and that I have never been for amnesty, I was not for amnesty at the time and you know (Poizner) has chosen to jump on this issue.

Poizner – Whitman had harsh words for her Republican foe, whom she accused of twisting her words:

As you know,  Steve Poizner has not been on the illegal immigration issue before about six weeks ago.** I mean, this is sheer political opportunism. He has not been to the border as a candidate until six weeks ago, he never talked about this as insurance commissioner, in fact he was on the other side of this issue when he ran for Assembly (in 2004), he was in fact in favor of (former President) Bush’s comprehensive immigration reform, which many people thought had amnesty in it. so this is the classic case of someone willing to say or do anything to get elected.

*The Office of Inspector General, now held by Laura Chick, was created specifically to oversee the spending of federal stimulus funds in California. Whitman’s proposal would involve an expansion of those duties.

**Poizner first raised the issue of illegal immigration in a big way at the Republican state convention on March 12, although he previously had discussed it in interviews.

eMeg to Calbuzz: Big Mo Moving Back to Me

Friday, May 21st, 2010

In a stunning and sudden display of accessibility, Republican front-runner Meg Whitman sat down for a 10-minute interview with Calbuzz Thursday, saying she can “feel the momentum” moving back to her campaign for governor despite a new poll showing the race in single digits.

eMeg sat on the edge of a stage in the auditorium of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, where she had just held a town hall meeting with about 75 local residents, and answered questions about the budget, immigration, offshore drilling, taxes and the campaign: fueled by Red Bull and uncertain when we’d get another chance at her, we were talking as fast as we could.

Asked about the new PPIC poll, which shows that GOP rival Steve Poizner has slashed her once massive lead, Whitman laughed at our suggestion that she’s spent an awful lot of dough for a nine-point edge:

“So you’re nine points up – you think you got your money’s worth for $68 million?” Calbuzz asked.

“Well. We are ahead and I knew the polls would close and I can feel the momentum beginning to shift back my way on the campaign trail…”

eMeg’s reaction reflects the campaign’s internal view that, after the race with Poizner got extremely close about 10 days ago, she’s since been pulling back ahead. Strategists say that the 38-29% edge that PPIC pollster Mark Baldassare reported Wednesday that she holds over Poizner is a snapshot of a dynamic situation, and that their latest TV ads pushing back  on attacks by the Commish already have re-established a double digit lead.

“There’ve been a lot of attacks, a lot of stuff,” the candidate said, “but I think I feel the momentum coming back.”

At the end of the interview, our South Central Coast Bureau Chief solemnly presented eMeg with a limited edition copy of the world-famous Calbuzz button, featuring the red-haired guy with his finger in the socket. Closely examining the rare objet d’art, she immediately demonstrated  the financial savvy and eye for the main chance that shaped her career as a successful business executive:

“ I wonder what this would go for on eBay?” she said. “Maybe if you signed it? You sign it, and we’ll put it up on eBay and…put the money in the campaign coffers.”

Now that we got the horse race stuff out of the way, Calbuzz will publish the wonky, issue stuff from our eMeg interview tomorrow, including a few surprises. The post goes up at 12:01 a.m. for those who just can’t wait until morning.

(PS: David K. Yamamoto took that photo for the Ventura County Star, at an event in Camarillo before eMeg’s appearance in Santa Barbara).

Beginning of the end or end of the beginning? The other day we bashed a poll, done by M4 Strategies and sponsored by Joel Fox’s Small Business Action Committee, that showed Meg Whitman 17 points ahead of Steve Poizner, saying the thing would be debunked  if the new PPIC survey showed the Commish within single digits of eMeg.

Lo and behold , PPIC showed exactly that but, far from slinking into his cave, the estimable Fox promptly doubled down on his survey.

Echoing arguments feverishly made by Whitman strategist Mike Murphy, Fox argues the  timing, sample size, margin and results of his SBAC/M4 survey have it all over that produced by polling guru Mark Baldassare.

SBAC/M4 may be measuring a momentum shift in the race.

What strengthens the momentum argument are the daily returns gathered by the M4 poll. Chris St. Hilaire, who oversees the poll for M4 Strategies, points out that Whitman gained strength over the course of the poll. The first day of the poll, Whitman’s lead was the same as what PPIC had at 9-percent. Her lead grew a couple of points the next day and after the two day layoff, when the poll resumed on Sunday, May 16, she gained an additional 5-percent.

We’re not going to get all technical here, but a few points: the number of completed surveys on the second (175) and third (151) night of calling was considerably lower than the first night (274). Moreover, it’s unlikely that each night was its own random sample of the whole GOP voter file. And even if it was, the margins of error for each night individually would be very large.

PPIC didn’t push voters for how they were leaning; M4 did. Meg’s margin in the M4 survey among those who said they were “definitely” voting for her: 9%. That wasn’t good spin, however, so the only number put out was the number that included those who said they would “probably vote” for each candidate and those “leaning” for each contender. That’s where they got the 49-32% with just 17% undecided.

There’s also some problems with the distribution of the sample in the M4 survey. Just a few examples: too few voters in the Central Valley and Inland Empire; too many in the North Coast/Sierra and Bay Area counties.

The M4 poll also found Tom Campbell still ahead of Carly Fiorina (33-28%)  in the U.S. Senate race — another discrepancy with PPIC which had Fiorina with a slight lead.

We could go on, but suffice it to say there are valid reasons why it makes sense to take partisan polls with a grain of salt. It doesn’t mean they’re wrong. In fact, Whitman may indeed have moved up since PPIC finished its survey on Sunday. We’re hearing that from Democratic pollsters, too. But we can bank on the non-partisan, open-source polls and the others — well, you gotta be careful how you use ‘em. (We do give major props to Fox’s pollsters, however, for answering every question we put to them.)

Dudley doomed? Given the volatile political atmosphere of 2010 , reflected most recently by Tuesday’s special elections in Arkansas, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, making any bets on California’s Republican primary for the U.S. Senate is a fool’s errand.

In fact, we could make the case for any of the entrants in the three-way brawl — not least of whom is Chuck DeVore, the only guy who’s showing any movement and who just got a big fist bump from conservative blogstar Erick Erickson calling on Hurricane Carly Fiorina to quit the race  in favor of the Big Fella.

If some Second Amendment purist held a gun to our head, however, we’d have to put our money down on Fiorina, the only one who appears to have enough cash for a TV blitz that could crack the race open in the stretch. Besides the first-I-look-at-the-purse factor, her neck-and-neck rival Tom Campbell looks in danger of being pecked to death by ducks, as he ducks and covers factional attacks from the hard right wing of the GOP, on issues from abortion to taxes.

Latest dis comes from the National Rifle Association, which did a statewide postcard mailing urging its members to vote against Campbell. Sez the By God LAT politics blog:

The bright orange postcard, which went out over the weekend, faults Campbell for favoring gun show regulations, a waiting period for handgun purchases and restrictions on the sale of semiautomatic assault weapons.

As a matter of campaign messaging, we’re not sure what’s worse, that Campbell is trying to explain his positions on these issues with actual facts, complexity and nuance, or that he’s doing it via email. We do know that the desert of California politics is littered with the bleached white bones of those who got blasted by the NRA (see Bradley, Governor Tom).

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: Laissez les bons temps rouler!

PPIC Confirms Poiz Surge, eMeg Drop: It’s a Race!

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Amid the most expensive and one of the meaner Republican primary fights ever in California,  Steve Poizner has moved within striking distance of Meg Whitman, whose support has plummeted in the last 60 days, according to the latest survey by the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California.

The survey, completed Sunday and including 411 likely Republican primary voters, found Whitman with 38% and Poizner at 29% leaving 31% undecided. The finding represented a huge surge for The Commish, from 11% in March, and a precipitous drop for eMeg, from 61% in March. The margin of error for the GOP primary results was ±5%.

The new survey is the first substantive, independent evidence of the big Poizner move, a trend first claimed by his own campaign two weeks ago, when his strategists released some of their internal polling, and suggested by other private and media polls.

According to PPIC, the biggest movement away from Whitman was among non-college graduates, among whom she lost 29 percentage points, and — somewhat counter-intuitively — voters with incomes greater than $80,000, among whom she lost 28 points. The survey did not shed much light on why the race has tightened.

Nevertheless, the often low-key, academic and understated PPIC was impressed enough by the results to title its release:  “Stunning Drop in Whitman’s Support Transforms GOP Race for Governor.”

With Whitman dropping another $4 million on Tuesday, bringing her total to a staggering $68 million, it remains an open question whether Poizner has the will to throw enough of his own money into the race.  He’s in for $24 million thus far. But unless he pours big money into the final weeks — and spends it on a sharp and effective message –  it’s hard to see how he can close the gap.

PPIC also found that while the Republicans have been slicing and dicing one another, Democrat Jerry Brown has retaken the lead in simulated November match-ups against Whitman and Poizner. Krusty the General leads eMeg 42-37% (compared to trailing 39-44% in March) and he leads the Commish 45-32%, unchanged from previous surveys.

The general election match-ups were based on interviews with 1,168 likely voters for a margin of error of ±3%.

In the increasingly contentious GOP race for the U.S. Senate, Carly Fiorina and Tom Campbell remain locked at 25-23% (it was 24-23% in March), while Chuck DeVore has doubled his support to 16%. Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer still defeats all three GOP challenges in simulated match-ups: 46-40% over Campbell; 48-39% over Fiorina, and 50-39% over DeVore.

Against Whitman, Brown holds 70% of the Democrats, while she holds 69% of the Republicans. But Brown has a small lead — 38-34% — among the pivotal independent voters, according to PPIC.

The survey also shows a marked gender gap, with Whitman holding a tiny 42-40% lead among men but Brown holding a substantial 45-33% lead among women. This could prove highly significant since part of the rationale for a Whitman candidacy is that she would have a theoretical possibility of peeling women away from Brown in a general election. Thus far, that dynamic is not in evidence.

Bad News for Our Friends at Flash Report

Straight from PPIC’s release:

“Of the four main spending categories of the state budget, Californians are the most willing to consider a tax increase to spare K–12 education from budget cuts (69%), while just over half would pay higher taxes to maintain current funding levels for higher education (54%) or for health and human services (54%). A large majority (79%) opposes paying higher taxes to spare prisons and corrections from budget cuts.

“Californians would consider some other ways to raise revenues: 67 percent favor raising the top rate of the state income tax paid by the wealthiest Californians and 58 percent would favor raising state taxes paid by California corporations. Residents are much less likely to support extending the state sales tax to services that are not currently taxed (35%) or increasing the vehicle license fee (28%).”

Pre-Gnawing on a Fresh Bone

BTW, when we read Steve Harmon’s piece about eMeg’s Mike Murphy trying to pre-spin the PPIC poll, we were really proud that Ye Ole Swashbuckler Murph hadn’t tried to pre-spin Calbuzz. We figured he thought we wouldn’t drink his Kool-Aid. But after our Wednesday item dissing the Fox & Hounds poll, Murph wrote to us insisting we are dead wrong.

“You’re 12 days behind,” Murph wrote. ” Truth is Meg is way up now.  SBAC poll is right.  Actually latest numbers are more than +25.  Two new private polls.  Why do you think Poiz won’t release his POS tracking?  Ad you panned worked really well.  You gotta spend more time with GOP primary voters and you’d understand.   I’m not trying to place an item, just telling you what’s true.”

And thank you for that.

Grabbag: Big Ideas, Bad Ideas, Burton Ideas

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

One of the coolest new campaign tools we’ve ever seen was developed recently by 32-year-old Crystal Martin, a marketing consultant in Yuba City, who thought up and produced an audio mailer for Democrat Jim Reed of Redding, who is running against U.S. Rep. Wally Herger (R-Chico).

It’s an audio mailer — like those greeting cards you can get with recorded songs and voices — that recounts how Herger said “Amen, God bless you, now that’s a great American,” after a man stood up at one of his town hall meetings in Redding and declared himself a “proud right-wing terrorist.”

You can see the mailer here and listen to the pitch — mostly in Reed’s voice. But the mailer also includes a recording of  Keith Olbermann of MSNBC’s “Countdown,” who labeled Herger the “Worst Person in the World.”

Having raised very little money, Reed’s initial mailing was just 2,500. But the mailers generated attention, in the Redding Record Searchlight and on Daily Kos, after a writer for the blog got one in the mail and immediately wrote it up.

Martin, a graduate of UC Davis, said she came up with the idea at her daughter Lorelai’s fourth birthday party when the little girl threw away other birthday cards and was only interested in the one that had audio. “I had an epiphany,” Martin said. If she could do that for clients, people might actually listen to what they had to say.

So she searched until she found a company that could produce the voice chip in bulk and made it happen — for about $1.50 per mailer. The idea was so hot, she’s already picked up jobs from AARP and from a big conservation group.

Martin’s consulting business is Smart Marketing and her new venture is Mailpow, which also now has a system for recording individual voices which can then be sent to legislators, voters or whomever. Calbuzz is impressed.

Keeping score: We have great respect for Joel Fox, keeper of the Prop. 13 flame, even if we often disagree with him on policy matters, but his attempt to trumpet a third-rate poll, purportedly showing Meg Whitman 17 points ahead of Steve Poizner in the GOP primary, is utterly lame.

The survey is sponsored by Fox’s own Small Business Action Committee, and with him and his Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association cronies strongly backing eMeg, the poll has zero credibility.

Its fanfare release was no doubt aimed at changing the campaign narrative showing Poizner closing fast on Whitman, but if the new PPIC poll, scheduled to be made public tonight, confirms that the GOP race is close, Fox’s move will look just plain silly.

As the outfit most afflicted with OCD about public opinion research methodology, Calbuzz is pleased to see that no one in and around the Rough and Tumble orbit bit on the Fox poll, except for radio talk show host and blogger Eric Hogue, who’s in the tank for Whitman anyway.

On the other hand, we totally agree with Hogue’s argument that Poizner’s dumb attack on eMeg over pornography is beyond the pale.

Putting aside the constitutional issues, the move not only looks desperate but also is likely to backfire: Whitman’s connection to porn being peddled on eBay is tangential at best, and raising the subject three weeks out from the election makes Poizner, not her, the one who seems sleazy.

As for Whitman’s new big idea, convening a statewide “grand jury” to investigate alleged waste, fraud and abuse in government spending: Really?  Brother Lucas over at California’s Capitol reported out this dog with fleas, and said most of what needed to be said to put it to rest.

Except for one item: As far as Calbuzz can tell, the governor doesn’t have the power to convene a grand jury. We asked Whitman’s campaign to tell us what authority would allow it and spokesman Tucker Bounds told us: “Meg would pursue legislation to create the Statewide Grand Jury on Fraud, Waste and Abuse.” Oh. So she wouldn’t have the power to do what she’s proposing unless the Democrats gave it to her? Right.

Shooting at lifeboats: Although Governor Schwarzmuscle’s abrupt withdrawal of support for the Tranquillon Ridge oil project off  Santa Barbara effectively killed the project, a just released analysis by the State Lands Commission suggests the proposal probably wouldn’t have won approval in any case.

The study, sent by Executive Officer Paul Thayer to the three members of the commission Tuesday, concludes that a revised agreement between the PXP oil company and Santa Barbara’s Environmental Defense Center did not allay several environmental and legal concerns that led to the project’s defeat last year.

After the commission, on a 2-to-1 vote, turned down the first PXP-EDC agreement in 2009, the oil company and the enviros reworked their previously-secret agreement and released a new version last month,  hoping the changes would overcome opposition by commissioner and state Controller John Chiang, or win the support of recently appointed Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado; the third member of the commission represents the governor, who strongly backed the T-Ridge proposal until his recent flip flop.

But a review by the staff of the commission concluded that promises by PXP to stop drilling in federal waters, in exchange for a new lease to drill into state waters from an existing platform, might not be legally enforceable, because authority for the federal leases would rest with U.S. Mineral Management Service, regardless of the terms of the PXP-EDC agreement.

The staff also said that a new state lease could encourage oil industry efforts to gain more leases for drilling in federal waters, by breaking a 40-year precedent of not allowing new drilling in waters controlled by California, up to three miles from shore.

“Further, the new agreement does not address the Commission’s concern over the increased risk of oil spills created by oil and gas development at Tranquillon Ridge,” the report said. “This risk and its consequences have been demonstrated in the past off Santa Barbara and are now affirmed by the huge spill in the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion and loss of the Deepwater Horizon platform.”

The Burton correction goes national: Check out NPR’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!”. Go to the 00:49 mark in the “Lightning Fill in the Blank” portion of the show to hear John Burton and his “Go bleep yourself” correction on Calbuzz as an answer in the national news quiz.

Also, Jason Linkins at Huffington Post took note in his Eat the Press column.

If that’s not enough, check out Craig Silverman’s “Regret the Error” column in Columbia Journalism Review, in which the whole back story is spelled out and the “correction” is analyzed in terms of who wanted (and got) what out of the deal.

Three Weeks to Go: Krusty Holds Campaign Kickoff

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Casting himself as a populist who will “rein in greed,” Jerry Brown held the first official event of his campaign for governor Monday, promising to fight tax cuts for the wealthy, the repeal of climate change legislation and the scapegoating of public employees.

The attorney general, who has enjoyed the political luxury of laying low amid an uncontested Democratic primary and a concurrent brutal brawl for the Republican nomination, surfaced at a rally at UC Santa Barbara, three weeks and one day before the June 8 election. There, he assailed his GOP rivals as tribunes of the rich whose enormously expensive TV campaigns feed the “continuing corruption of the political process.”

“We have the ideas but we have to push back,” Brown told a crowd of about 200 students, faculty and staff who gathered on a gloomy day on a sloping lawn near the lagoon on the beachfront campus.

The other side, kind of the apostles of darkness and ignorance, are well heeled. They have great political consultants. And they intend to bombard the airwaves. It’s almost like a hostile takeover of the public airwaves and of democracy itself. We gotta’ fight back and you’ve gotta fight back and I need your help.

After months of avoiding campaign events, other than low-key fundraisers, Brown emerged on the trail with a raft of full-throated populist rhetoric and a notable shortage of specific proposals that went much beyond opposition to conservative policies embraced by Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner as the two battle for the right to oppose him in the general election.

‘Krusty the General portrayed both eMeg and the Commish as beneficiaries of the unregulated financial markets of recent years, casting their millions in campaign spending as symptomatic, not only of inequities in the economy, but also of the coarsening of political discourse in the nation.

Photos by Joseph A. Garcia, Ventura County Star

There’s no content there. It’s like, I don’t know who they’re appealing to, I don’t think they read much about the history of this country. Thomas Jefferson and the founders said we need an educated citizenry… it means when you’re having a campaign at least you could speak to the intellect and not to whoever they’re speaking too — they’re so banal.

If you want to know how to write and think, just look at those ads and it’s the exact opposite. I think, I don’t think they’re even healthy for the mind. I think they’re contaminating the children who may see these things.

Brown walked to the microphone with two pages of notes but wrapped them tightly in his hand in lieu of consulting them. His stump skills seemed rusty from disuse, as he winged his way through a 20-minute speech that careened from point to point on a course more disjointed than linear; several times, his sentences drifted off, before he ended them with an awkward “…anyway.”

At several points. he told his audience he wouldn’t name his foes, referring to them just as “two Republicans.” A moment later, he added:

“There’s two people. I’ll mention them – Whitman,” he said, before appearing briefly to forget the name of California’s state insurance commissioner, “and…Poiz…ner.”

Brown said that the type of campaigns being run by the two Republicans is partly to blame for the anger among voters and the low regard in which they hold government and elected officials.

That’s dangerous in a democracy, if the mechanism of our collective decision making is so discredited, what does that say about the viability of the whole set of our institutions? It is dangerous and you have a stake in this, your future is at stake here. It’s at stake in the continuing corruption of the political process, the degeneration of political discourse into the manipulation of these 30 second ads fed by massive sums made on Wall Street.

Brown repeatedly returned to the need for government regulation, saying the financial meltdown and the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico both represent a set of Republican policies that is reflected in Whitman and Poizner’s desire to roll back AB 32 environmental regulations and to cut taxes for the richest Californians, policies he said he would resist.

They want to reduce taxes on the wealthiest people in the state and how’s that going to help you?

They say, ‘we only need police out on the streets,’ well, we need police in the corporate suites just as much because, boy, they can rip you off. Walk down the wrong street, yeah, somebody can hit you over the head and take your money, take your life, well, on Wall Street they really ripped us off…it’s the greatest bank robbery in the history of the United States, maybe the world, $11 trillion – there’s 11 trillion fewer dollars, about an 18% reduction in our wealth, that’s a big pay cut for America…

That was promoted by some of the same characters who are promoting these Republicans…We tried no regulation on Wall Street and that caused the biggest crash in the history, not just in this country, but the whole world…You need to rein in greed, you need to rein in risk…and that’s what this campaign is about.

Brown invited questions at the end of his talk, but danced around when asked for specifics about how he would change the tax structure and deal with the budget deficit, except to say he would encourage more “collaboration” between Democrats and Republicans.

He also equivocated when asked whether or not he supported furloughs for state employees to save money in the budget, except to say that he  believes the Republicans are unfairly casting blame on public workers:

They always want a scapegoat. What’s our problem? They say, ‘well, it’s the public employees, it’s the teachers, it’s the police, it’s the fire.’ No it isn’t – it’s the Wall Street people who destroyed 11 trillion dollars worth of our wealth. And I don’t know if we should have the same people who profited from that then take the reins of power, and not only have the money but the political power at the same time.

I think we ought to keep them separate and the best way to keep them separate is to separate the two Republicans from any chance of getting to be governor of California.

There were no injuries.