Archive for the ‘Proposition 8’ Category



Notebook: eMeg, DiFi, Gay Rights, Pensions, Districts

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

The week’s most distressing political post comes from the Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire, reporting that Meg Whitman says she is “definitely not” running for the U.S. Senate in 2012.

Say it ain’t so, Meg.

As the rumor mongers who first proposed the notion that Her Megness should challenge Dianne Feinstein for Senate in 2012, we were disappointed beyond measure to read the piece, filed by Cari Tuna of the Journal’s San Francisco bureau. Beyond our pride of political authorship on this one, let’s face it, a Herself vs. Herself match-up between these two would be one of those once-in-a-lifetime campaigns we’d pay to cover.

Although eMeg threw cold water on our dream scenario, a close reading of the WSJ piece shows that she didn’t slam the door shut, either. Consider:

1-“Definitely not” ain’t exactly a Shermanesque statement, and it leaves her plenty of wiggle room down the road.

2-Even at that, there’s no full quote from Whitman saying she won’t run. The headline and the lede both attribute the fragment phrase “definitely not,” to eMeg, but she doesn’t utter those words inside the story.

3-In fact, her quotes suggest she remains quite interested in public office:

“I want to stay involved in public policy,” Ms. Whitman said in an interview Friday evening. “Now I see things in a way that I” had not prior to running for public office, she said.

4-The aforementioned Ms. Tuna went to Yale, ferhevinsake.  Boola frickin’ boola.

Yeah, we understand that taking on DiFi at this point looks like an absolute  fool’s errand. She’s the most popular pol in California, and the only survey taken on potential match-ups shows her skunking every possible Republican foe, including eMeg, 55-to-35 percent. Plus, the current lineup of loony tunes, losers and snoozers in the GOP’s 2012 presidential field won’t make such a run any easier.

But  eMeg is and, to us, always will be, a special case. Some key factors that make a Senate bid worth her consideration:

1-Despite spending $144 million to lose to Jerry Brown, Whitman’s net worth stayed steady, as the reliable Seema Mehta reports, leaving plenty more where that came from.

2-While Feinstein eked out a win against mega-bucks Michael Huffington in 1994, she still has scars from that campaign, and the prospect of another year-long brawl against a free-spending zillionaire at this stage of her career is not a happy one.

3-Whitman doesn’t have to hire Mike Murphy this time.

4) While eMeg got badly burned in the governor’s race because she illegally employed Nicky Diaz, Feinstein back in the day had her own, murky,  undocumented worker situation, as the late, great Susan Yoachum reported, which could neutralize the issue in a second Whitman statewide run.

5-Whitman’s business record, from eBay to Goldman Sachs, got a pretty fair airing last year, but it’s been a while since reporters and Republican oppo types took a close look at the financial dealings of Feinstein hubby Dick Blum, which could make for some interesting campaign reading, not to mention TV attack ads.

6) Most importantly, a Senate run would afford Her Megness a splendid second chance to have dinner with Calbuzz, thereby reversing the biggest blunder of her failed campaign for governor.

We’re just sayin’.

DiFi update: Feinstein meanwhile has been staking out a very high-profile position on behalf of gay rights. Our old friend Hank Plante, the former longtime political editor of KPIX-TV, reports:

“Senator Feinstein on Wednesday introduced legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, a target of the gay rights movement since it was passed in 1996.

The law, which DiFi voted against when it was enacted, blocks the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and denies federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples:

‘My own belief is that when two people love each other and enter the contract of marriage, the Federal government should honor that,’ she said.

Her move is the latest twist in her long evolution on the rights of gays and lesbians. Feinstein was one of the first San Francisco politicians to actively court gay voters when she first ran for the Board of Supervisors in 1969.

In 1982, as the city’s mayor, however, she angered many in the gay community by vetoing the city’s first domestic partners’ bill, saying the bill was poorly drafted.  Later in her term, however,  Feinstein’s AIDS budget for S.F. was bigger than President Reagan’s AIDS budget was for the entire nation.

‘Of all the big-league Democrats in the United States, Feinstein’s was undoubtedly the most consistently pro-gay voice,’ the late Randy Shilts wrote in “And the Band Played On,” his history of the AIDS epidemic.

In 2008, Feinstein became the most prominent political voice opposing Proposition 8, the ban on California’s same-sex marriages. She said that her views on gay marriage had ‘evolved’ over the years from originally not supporting it, to enthusiastically supporting it today.

At her Wednesday press conference, DiFi cited the 18,000 same-sex couples who were legally married in California before Prop. 8 passed. DOMA prevents those couples, and other legally married lesbian and gay Americans, from receiving survivors’ social security benefits, from filing joint federal income taxes and from taking unpaid leave to care for a sick partner.

Her bill now goes to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Feinstein is a long-time member.”

New Field Poll: California voters now believe pension benefits for public employees are too generous and strongly support a host of reforms – but oppose the idea of taking away their collective bargaining rights as part of a budget deal.

The new findings are certain to sharpen the Capitol debate over public pensions, which not only  is a key issue in negotiations between Governor Gandalf and Republican lawmakers, but also the focus of a war of words between Treasurer Bill Lockyer and the Little Hoover Commission, which recently recommended many of the reforms tested in the Field survey.

Field honcho Mark DiCamillo reported that a 42% plurality of voters believes that pension benefits for public workers are too generous, while 34% say they are about right and 14% that they are not generous enough. This represents a marked shift from 2009, when just 32% of registered voters told Field benefits were too generous, 40% said they were about right and 16% not generous enough.

Significantly, however, 50% of voters oppose combining a deficit reduction measure with legislation that would take away some collective bargaining rights of unionized public sector workers, a move that was taken by Wisconsin’s Republican governor, Scott Walker, and set off a volatile political battle between labor and Republican politicians across the country. In California, 42% say they would support an effort to limit public employee collective bargaining.

The complete Field Poll can be found here after about 6 am today.

Partisanship and Redistricting: While Republicans squawked at the notion of hiring Karin MacDonald of the  nonpartisan Statewide Database at UC Berkeley to draw new district lines, they’re suddenly silent about the only other candidate for the job — Republican Douglas Johnson,  a fellow at the conservative Rose Institute and the head of National Demographics, Inc. Wonder whyHere’s an idea: hire them both and make them split the contract and agree on a proposal — like newspapers do when they hire a Democratic and Republican pollster.

Gavin’$ Problem; M&R and the Politics of Outing

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Calbuzz has assiduously avoided writing about the race for (and machinations around) the office of Lieutenant Governor because we think  a) it’s a stupid statewide post that b) nobody cares about.

But while chatting with consultant Garry South about something else altogether, he mentioned that our old pal (and his former client) Prince Gavin Newsom of San Francisco could have some trouble if he decides to jump into the Gov Lite race.

South, a serious student of fund-raising rules in California, argued that under Fair Political Practices Commission regulations, as amended in 2000 by Prop. 34, Newsom’s major donors from the governor’s race – those who gave him anything more than the $6,500 limit in the LG’s race – cannot be tapped for more cash.

“They can’t give him another dime,” South insisted. “They’re maxed out.”

Of course, South is conflicted on this issue, since he’s now working for Lite Gov candidate Janice Hahn of the L.A. City Council, who, until Newsom started nosing around in the race, appeared to be facing only Kern County state Sen. Dean Florez for the Democratic nomination.

This isn’t about transferring money from one account to another, which Jerry Brown can do – making it possible for him to go back to the same people who gave him $6,500 for Attorney General and ask them for the difference up to $25,900, the maximum for a governor’s race.

We don’t recall a situation in California in which a candidate wipes out a governor’s campaign account and then wants trade down to another statewide office.

But Newsom friend and (for now) unpaid adviser Jason Kinney (South’s old ally and partner at California Strategies), says the Prince’s people have consulted with two different campaign law attorneys and have been told that Newsom can indeed go back to those maxed-out donors and get cash for a lite gov run – if he decides to file.

And Roman Porter, executive director of the FPPC, told Calbuzz he agrees with Kinney Newsom et al. The limits, he said, apply “per candidate, per election – it’s a separate election.” (BTW, Porter was actually at the hospital where his wife was in labor when he came to the phone to offer his perspective – way above and beyond the call of duty.)

Now, we’re not lawyers (we just pay them). But when we read the law (including the definition of a candidate) and when we think about it, South’s got a point. When you strip away all the parenthetical and qualifying clauses and update the dollar amounts the law says: Except a candidate for governor, a candidate for statewide elective office may not accept from a person any contribution totaling more than $6,500 per election.

 

If the law is designed to limit influence by a donor, why would it allow the donor to buy $25,900 in Gavin Newsom for Governor and then, when that collapses, another $6,500 in Gavin Newsom for Lieutenant Governor?

On the other hand, you can see why South would want to wipe out that $3 million funder base that Newsom tapped in his aborted governor’s campaign.

Injunction to follow.

In & out burger: Chroniclers Phil Matier and Andy Ross, the Butch and Sundance of California political reporters, fearlessly jumped off a journalistic cliff Sunday Feb. 7, when they identified as gay the federal judge now presiding over the volatile Prop. 8 case — Vaughn Walker.

A case study pitting an individual’s right to privacy versus the public’s right to know, the uncharacteristically nuanced M&R column stirred upset and concern in several quarters  – including their own newsroom. By outing Walker with their hetero-normative insensitivity, the argument went, the boys not only created an irrelevant distraction in the middle of the trial, but also handed gay marriage foes a handy argument to discount any trial rulings, or eventual decision, that undercut Prop. 8.

“What’s next?” one denizen of Fifth & Mission bitterly complained, “Tailing him to a bar? Peeking at his magazine subscriptions or his Netflix account?”

The thoughtful Brian Leubitz, who blogs about the trial at the Courage Campaign’s excellent Prop 8 Trial Tracker , argued the case against publicly disclosing Walker’s sexual orientation by raising this comparison:

So, did anybody comment about Justice Alito’s gender when he wrote the outrageous opinion in Ledbetter v Goodyear Tire that said that under the Civil Rights Act women could not sue after 180 days from the discriminatory decision, even if they didn’t know about the decision for years? The decision that ultimately spurred the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Act because it was so egregious?

Breaking it down, Calbuzz sees three key questions:

1-Did M&R “out” Walker?

No. Our dictionary defines “outing” as “The exposing of one assumed to be, or wishing to be, considered heterosexual as being gay, lesbian, or bisexual.” Although he hasn’t advertised his sexual orientation, Walker by all accounts has made no secret of it, either.

Matier and Ross went out of their way not to out Walker, and their reporting showed pretty clearly that he didn’t feel outed: First, they called him up to ask him directly about his sexual orientation, to which he gave a “no comment.” Not long after, however, they received a call from another federal judge, described as a “friend (and) confidant” of Walker; this judge told them he had spoken to Walker, who was concerned that “people will come to the conclusion that (Walker) wants to conceal his sexuality.”

“He has a private life and he doesn’t conceal it, but doesn’t think it is relevant to his decisions in any case, and he doesn’t bring it to bear in any decisions,” said the judge, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the Prop. 8 trial.

“Is it newsworthy?” he said of Walker’s orientation, and laughed, “Yes.”

2-Is Walker’s sexual orientation a story? Yes.

The backgrounds of judges matters, and Walker’s is no less a story as Alito holding  membership in the Federalist Society, or Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” speech. Walker clearly doesn’t hide his sexuality and, if he ends up overturning Prop. 8, its backers will use everything they can to challenge the legitimacy of his opinion in the appeal or the media, or both.

At that point, the Chronicle would find itself explaining why they didn’t report the fact in the first place, just as the Portland Oregonian did a disservice to readers in the 1990s by sitting on information about former Senator Bob Packwood sexually harassing a series of staffers, and then was caught out when the facts were disclosed by another news organization. Journalists are in the business of making information public, not withholding it, or calculating in advance the potential political impacts of publishing or not.

3-Does it make a difference to the case? It shouldn’t.

For starters, as state Senator Mark Leno pointed out to M&R, no one made an issue of the sexual orientation of members of the state Supreme Court when they heard the first challenge to Prop. 8. So why should Walker being gay matter any more or less?

Also, there’s plenty of evidence that the judge keeps his personal beliefs separate from his professional actions and values, and holds himself to the ethical standard famously compounded by the late Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter:

As a member of this court, I am not justified in writing my private notions of policy into the Constitution, no matter how deeply I may cherish them or how mischievous I may deem their disregard.

 

Walker was reviled in the gay community for years because he represented, as an attorney, the U.S. Olympic Committee when it won a case disallowing San Francisco’s Gay Olympics from using that name. In fact, as Chron editorial page editor John Diaz pointed out in a strong follow-up edit on Tuesday, there’s great irony in the suggestion that Walker is in the tank for the gay community:

Vaughn Walker almost lost his chance to reach the federal bench because of claims that he was anti-gay and hostile to civil rights. Two dozen House Democrats, led by Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, opposed his nomination because of his alleged “insensitivity” to gays and the poor. His first appointment, from President Ronald Reagan in 1987, stalled out in the Senate Judiciary Committee…Back then, Walker struggled to assure skeptical liberals that, as a judge, he could rule with impartiality…

Bottom line: Chronicle editors made the right call in publishing the M&R column as is, and in doing so followed the most fundamental principle of the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists:

Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.

Press Clips: Nice work by Jackson West at NBC Bay Area in shedding light on eMeg Whitman’s claims about layoffs during her tenure at eBay…High Concept of the Week, from Steven Pearlstein in the Washpost: Obama should show some leadership…High Concept II, from Alan Mutter: journalists should get paid.

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: It’s open season on Smokey the Bear.

Three Dot Thursday: Cheap Shots at the Wounded

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

photos2Memo to Methuselah: Jerry Brown airily dismisses Gavin Newsom’s bid to make a generational contest of the Democratic primary, but maybe that’s because Crusty the General hasn’t looked in the mirror lately.

Calbuzz was shocked – shocked! – while viewing a TV report on Brown’s recent visit to the Central Coast to realize that the 71-year old former everything really, really, um, looks his age on the tube.

Since we’re a solution-oriented outfit, we immediately dispatched some recent photos of Brown to the Calbuzz Division of Superficial Issues and Cosmetology Fixes for some quick action step recommendations.

ebsenAfter a full-body scan, in-depth analysis that lasted until a few minutes before lunch, our highly-trained and highly paid technicians reached consensus that Brown needs some work on those geezer eyebrows, which make him look like a cross between Jed Clampett and the prophet Isaiah.

Yo Anne! What – they don’t sell products in Oakland?

Using the latest in online, web-based, digital era technology, Calbuzz herein proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that a little dye job would take 20 years off the guy’s face; once you’re done with that, General, we can discuss those white-as-snow sidewalls . . .

gay_marriage_210

Gay Marriage – The Long March: Same-sex marriage advocates made a smart calculation by pushing plans for a new initiative to roll back Prop. 8 into 2012 instead of next year.

For starters, there’s the boost in voter turnout guaranteed in any presidential election; beyond that, recall that Kuwata’s Law holds that every campaign includes three fundamental pieces: money, organization and message. Two years provides a much more realistic time frame than a 2010 rush job for assembling the first two and for carefully framing the third in a way that addresses the pro-marriage side’s political weaknesses within religious and minority communities, which proved fatal in 2008.

As for the governor’s race, the move takes a little steam out of Newsom’s gov run by nulling his signature issue, but also makes it easier for him to appeal to Latino and African American voters, who supported Prop. 8 in large numbers last year. Although it won’t be an issue in the June primary, gay marriage might still provide a little traction for whoever the Democrat candidate is in November, assuming either Meg Whitman or Steve Poizner wins the GOP nomination (Tom Campbell favors gay marriage).

Without gay marriage on the ballot, the wannabe governors will be forced to focus more than ever on state finances as the dominant and driving issue of the campaign; in scoping out a distant second, don’t discount illegal immigration, legalization of marijuana and, of course, the constitutional convention; initiatives on all three subjects are either circulating, or sitting at the Attorney General’s office awaiting title and summary.

megsteve

Poizner vs Whitman, Round 62: While Meg Whitman’s top priority on a recent visit with Santa Cruz Republicans appeared to be barring Calbuzz from the event, chief rival Steve Poizner was busy scoring grassroots points elsewhere on the Central Coast.

While eMeg basks in being the darling of Beltway Big Feet, Poizner keeps rolling up the backing of street level pols, the kind of guys and gals who’ve, you know, actually run and won elections in California. His latest list of Central Coast endorsers includes former Assemblyman and current Assessor Tom Bordonaro Jr. of San Luis Obispo, Councilman Jim Monahan of Ventura City, Vice-Mayor Jim Reed of Scotts Valley, Vice-Mayor Victor Gomez of Hollister, Councilman Glen Becerra of Simi Valley, Councilwoman Charlotte Craven of Camarillo, Councilman Leo Trujillo of Santa Maria, Trustee Robert Huber of Ventura County, and former Councilman Jim Heggarty of Paso Robles.

Of course, Fred Barnes and George Will have never heard of any of these people.

Three dot special: Over at Calitics, Dante Atkins reports that he was awakened last Sunday morning by a poll-taker for Fairbanks, Maslin, Maullin and Associates who was apparently testing lines of attack for PXP oil company, in its continuing efforts to win state approval for an offshore drilling lease at Tranquillon Ridge, off the coast of Santa Barbara. This one ain’t going away anytime soon, sports fans . . . Hardcore junkies will want to check out Politico’s early line on what the wannabes are up to a mere 1,182 days before the 2012 presidential election . . . News that stays news: LiveScience.com reports that the average dog is as smart or smarter than a two-year old curtain climber; the key question remains unanswered, however:  how much smarter are Rex and Fido than the average teenager? . . . Norm Pattiz, founder and chairman of Westwood One, America’s largest radio network, UC Regent, Joe Biden buddy, Democratic donor and mongo Lakers fan gets inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. Calbuzz is impressed .

Press Clips: Chronicle Climbs Back in the Ring

Friday, July 24th, 2009

2gavinsNewsom vs. Newsom: Mega-kudos to Chronicler Carla Marinucci for leading the charge in her own newsroom to pull together a Page One takeout on Gavin Newsom’s exaggerated campaign claims about his record as San Francisco’s mayor.

The Wednesday piece occupied a big chunk of front page real estate, carried three bylines –-  political scribbler Joe Garofoli and City Hall beat pounder Heather Knight teamed with the hardest working woman in show business –- and served as a marker to establish the fact that Newsom routinely overblows his accomplishments on the trail.

Most notably, the paper knocked down Prince Gavin’s oft-repeated claims that he balanced the city budget without tax increases and that every high school graduate in town is “guaranteed a college education.”

On other issues, however, the piece was hardly dispositive in its overreliance on he-said-he-said equivocation and the spin of Newsom handler Eric Jaye; a too-brief examination of Newsom’s signature health care program, for example, did establish that he tries to hog credit for it, but didn’t address the substantive question of whether or how well the damn thing works. Where’s the low-wage bus boy who can tell whether he now gets medical care or the restaurant owner who says what it’s doing to his business?

Hopefully, this is just the first of a series of “Newsom Watch” pieces that will drill down in detail on his record; like it or not, other California media, not to mention the voters, will rely on the paper to vet their guy as he tries to claim the governorship. In the same way that the L.A. Times would have been expected to perform a scorched earth number on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s record had he decided to run, the Chron has front-line responsibility for holding Newsom accountable for his words and actions.

guardian

On Guard: Those seeking a fiercer test of Newsom’s campaign claims against his record are directed to a 4,147 word opus published by the weekly San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Granted, the Guardian is not exactly the Christian Science Monitor when it comes to unbiased journalism; editor and publisher Bruce Brugmann is famous for bragging on the advocacy stances of his paper’s “Print the news and raise hell” journalism. And its lefty agenda on issues from pot to public power may not be shared by the millions of mainstream California voters Newsom is out trying to woo.

Beyond the paper’s disagreements with Newsom over specific issues, however, city editor Steven T. Jones reported and wrote a helluva’ piece that also deals with more fundamental qualities of leadership –- political relations with the legislative branch,  calculations about risking political capital and issues of transparency and secrecy, for example.

“The central persona being pushed by the Newsom campaign — that of a post partisan progressive who has united fractious San Francisco around innovative, common sense solutions to the most vexing problems using his considerable courage and political skills –- seems like pure fiction to most City Hall watchers,” Jones wrote.

“Newsom’s platform and persona are what voters want to hear right now — and they’re just believable enough to be an easy sell for modern media manipulators.”

Which is a good reason why the San Francisco media should keep chipping away at this key California political story.

gay_marriage_210Delay for gay marriage? Over at Politics Blog Chronster Garofoli  has been closely tracking the debate within the gay community on whether to push a repeal-Prop. 8 initiative next year, or wait until the bigger turnout 2012 national election. As he reports here and here the advantage seems to rest with those in favor of holding off.

As a political matter, it’s an important decision that carries implications for next year’s campaign for governor, especially for Prince Gavin. He faces steep hill to climb in overcoming Attorney General Jerry Brown, and needs all the toe-holds he can find to do it; a 2010 gay marriage campaign could give a nice boost of passion to the Prince’s primary effort, allowing him to, um, marry his own effort to the energy and enthusiasm of a Prop. 8 repeal bid.

Notwithstanding Brown’s no-on-8 stand before California’s  Supreme Court, despite the statewide vote in favor of the measure, Gavin’s out-of-left-field blessing of gay weddings in San Francisco set off the national debate of same-sex marriage, an historic and iconic action that trump’s General Jerry’s late-to-the-party stance. Whether you like it or not.

How Padilla Plans to Sell Newsom to Latino Voters

Monday, July 20th, 2009

padillaFollowing Gavin Newsom’s breathless press release announcing that he has enlisted State Sen. Alex Padilla to serve as “chair” of his campaign for governor, Calbuzz was keen to find out how Padilla – a bright, young, Democratic rising star in East Valley LA politics – intends to sell Prince Gavin to California Latinos.

Clearly, the Prince of Prides has got some work to do among Hispanics who, if history is a quide, will likely comprise about 15-18% of the Democratic primary vote in 2010. Polling by JMM Research in June found that the San Francisco mayor trails Attorney General Jerry Brown among Latinos 22%- to-51%, in a two-way race.

Obviously, this is partly because Latino voters don’t know Newsom like they do Brown. The General’s favorable-unfavorable was 42-to-3% among Latinos; for Newsom it was 15-8% (that’s 77% with no opinion whatsoever). But it may also reflect, in part, some cognitive dissonance among those who do know him, because Latino voters (at 53-to- 47%) were second only to blacks (70-to-30%) in support of Proposition 8’s ban on gay marriage.

So Calbuzz was eager to chat with Padilla, the former LA City Council president who is part of an East Valley political brokerage led by James Acevedo, an ex-Brown Beret turned developer and consultant, along with LA City Councilman Tony Cardenas. (These guys supported Jimmy Hahn over Tony V in the 2001 mayor’s race but backed Antonio four years later.)

We asked Padilla what he will point to about Newsom to convince Latinos to support him instead of Brown (who was an ally of Caesar Chavez’s, signed the Agricultural Relations Act into law, appointed Cruz Reynoso to the California Supreme Court and Mario Obledo to his cabinet).

“I’m not going to say anything different to the Latino community than I will to anybody else,” Padilla told us. “Latinos care about the same things all other voters care about.”

Here’s part of Padilla’s press-release spin and what it means (Content Alert: Put on your official Calbuzz Decoder Ring to see the actual translations.)

“Mayor Newsom personifies California’s brighter future. He reflects a new generation of leadership that will bring bold, innovative ideas and a nationally recognized record of reform to the governor’s office.”

– Translation: Gavin’s the young guy, with new ideas as opposed to Jerry, the old guy drooling soup on his tie.

“Gavin’s politics reflect the majority of our state: socially progressive, fiscally responsible, environmentally active and unequivocally dedicated to the promise of quality public education and health care for everyone.”

– Translation: He’s a Democrat.

“I appreciate and admire Gavin’s fight to ensure that every man, woman and child has full access to those rights and opportunities so integral to the California Dream. His entire political career, he has followed deeply-held core principles, not poll numbers.”

– Translation: To the extent that I have to deal with it, I’ve been told to reframe the whole gay marriage deal as an act of great political courage.

In our interview, Padilla, smart and articulate, echoed these generic themes, saying that Latinos will rally to Newsom, once they know about his vision, his record in San Francisco and his plans for California.

As for Newsom’s close association with gay marriage, “I don’t think it’ll be any more or less of an issue (with Latinos) than it will be for any other voters,” Padilla said. “It’s not a concern to me that it will be an issue that will impede him in reaching out to Latino voters.”

In other words, there’s nothing about Newsom that Padilla can cite to appeal specifically to Latinos and to chip away at Brown’s history among that important cohort of voters. If the campaign has a plan to address concerns Latino voters might have about gay marriage, Padilla wasn’t letting on about it.

Still, Padilla “is a genuine future big league talent,” as Richie Ross, Calbuzz’s resident expert on Latino politics in the state, put it (Padilla’s not his client). And getting him on board “is not an insignificant deal” for Newsom; before this, Brown had everything among Latinos and now “Gavin has something,” Ross added.

Or, as one of our trench-warfare sources in Los Angeles observed: “It’s always better to have something than nothing. He now has a recognizable Latino on his team.”

On the other hand, said this LA knife-fighter, “Where Gavin is hurt in the Latino community because of gay marriage, Padilla is not going to help him.”

gavinspeakingBTW, “actual reporting” kudos to Tony Castro of the LA Daily News,  for catching up with Acevedo, the Padilla ally and patron of East Valley politics, after the Prince did a big town hall meeting at Taft High School in Woodland Hills, last week.

Boss Acevedo, who supported Brown in past campaigns, said Newsom has a challenge because the former governor remains popular in Los Angeles in general and among Latinos in particular.

“I think (Brown) is going to have a very strong constituency among Latinos,” said Acevedo. “Few people know Newsom outside his own city, and I think it’s going to be tough for him to try to create a constituency among Latinos.”

– By Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine