Quantcast

Archive for the ‘Antonio Villaraigosa’ Category



Dr. H Returns, Calbuzz Classic, Weird Holiday Dogs

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Despite his annual struggle against Seasonal Affect Disorder, Calbuzz staff psychiatrist Dr. P. J. Hackenflack has bravely battled his way through the stacks of mail that have piled up since the election, and graciously agreed to return today to answer our readers’ burning psycho-political questions.

Dear Dr. Hackenflack,
Now that the election’s over, is Meg Whitman feeling any regrets about the way she treated her housekeeper, Nicky Diaz?
– Gloria La Rouge, West Hollywood

Totally. She can’t find anyone to clean the kitchen or do the wash, let alone bring in  the mail.

To the Honorable P.J. Hackenflack,
I’ve noticed that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa all of a sudden is traveling around the country trying to raise his profile. Wussup with that?
– Cass A. Nova, Reno

Ignore the political speculation. Just happens Tony V’s run through all the female anchors in L.A. and feels ready to move up to network news babes.

Dr. H,
Why is Dianne Feinstein running for another term at her age? I’ve seen younger faces on cash.
– Tom C. Silicon Valley

She’s determined to pass Strom Thurmond on the all-time Senate geezer list.

Yo Doc,
A friend said Jerry Brown is going to make his wife his chief of staff in the governor’s office. Do you think that’s a good idea?
– Jacques B, Paris, France

Yo Jacques – the doc is still trying to finagle invites to the big inaugural parties, so no way I’m touchin’ that one, dude.

To whom it may concern,
One of the Hollywood blogs said Arnold Schwarzenegger is in line to play the lead in a remake of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” True?
–  J.M. Stewart, Indiana Pennsylvania

False. He’s actually signed to play Willy Loman in an update of “Death of a Salesman.”

Sir,
I saw on the news that Senate Republican leader Bob Dutton sat in the audience instead of onstage at Jerry Brown’s first public hearing on the budget. Do you think that was an effective protest?
– Darrell S, K Street Mall

Bob who?

Hello Dr. Hackenflack,
Ana Matosantos seems like a nice, smart person, but it seems strange that Jerry’s keeping on Arnold’s finance director. Can you shed any light?
– Harry P, Sacramento

Turns out Governor Gandalf was time traveling when he met her and thinks he’s rehired Adriana Gianturco.

Hey Doc,
Now that San Francisco’s mayor’s been elected lieutenant governor, there’s a big fight to replace him. Who’s the best candidate?
– W. Brown Mineola, Tex.

Clearly Gavin Newsom. He has absolutely nothing else to do for the next four years.

Calbuzz Classic: Less than three weeks before he takes the oath of office as governor, Jerry Brown is already making moves to assume the powers of the state’s chief executive.  So we thought it was an appropriate time to start measuring Brown’s acts against his words in the campaign. Here’s a piece we ran on April 13, 2009, based on the first major interview with Krusty that focused on his bid for governor:

Reflecting on his first incarnation as California governor, Jerry Brown says he was overly concerned with the importance of new ideas and not focused enough on the practicalities of getting things done.

In the first extensive interview about his 2010 gubernatorial bid, Brown told Calbuzz that if he wins back, at the age of 72, the office he first captured when he was 36, things will be different.

“Then I emphasized new ideas, now I would emphasize management more,” he told us. “It was very exciting then, but without losing that sense of innovation, I’d be more practical-minded, very detailed, focused on follow through and consensus building . . . I’d be looking for people who are seasoned administrators.”

In a telephone interview last week, Brown said he is motivated to seek a second turn as governor by his own “unspent potential,” a notion he credited to the anthropologist Gregory Bateson: “The key to flexibility is not spending all your potential.”

Speaking in rushing streams of high-speed sentences, Brown talked of everything from how to attack Sacramento’s partisan dysfunction to the hair products used by Democratic rival Gavin Newsom. Boasting that his two terms as governor were “good years” for California, he rattled off a list of accomplishments, while uncharacteristically acknowledging some shortcomings.

“My sense of management has been refined and developed,” said the man who, as governor, was known to mock and belittle the pathways, processes and procedures of state government and those who work in it.

His candidacy still formally undeclared, Brown only occasionally used the phrase “if I run,” in portraying himself as a master politician whose experience in elected office at every level – mayor, attorney general, state party chairman, to name a few – affords him unmatched understanding of government organization and operations which he would wield at California’s intractable problems.

“I have a greater sense of how things get done and don’t get done,” he said. “I have a much better, hands-on understanding of how (government) functions . . . a sense of how things work . . . a much better sense of sizing people up and how you go about building an administration.”

We wanted to interview Brown to ask his views on seven key questions we posed to all the candidates in one of our first posts. In his own fashion, he addressed most of them. However, Brown staunchly refused to specify what combination of cuts and tax hikes he would support to deal with chronic deficits, beyond stressing his view that California is a “very high tax” state and dismissing as politically impractical the proposal to amend Proposition 13 by taxing commercial and industrial property at higher rates than residential property.

“Anyone who answers that (tax and cuts question) will never have a chance to be governor,” he said. “It’s very hard to discuss with particularity anything that can be turned into (campaign) fodder.”

Moreover, he added, “dictating from the corner office does not work . . . If eliminating the structural problems in the California budget were easy, Wilson, Davis and Schwarzenegger would have done it.”

How would he deal with fiercely ideological legislators on the left and the right?

“I’m going to become an apostle of common sense,” he said. “I will disabuse them of their ill-conceived predilections.”

“There’s an embedded partisanship that has to become disembedded,” he said. “In my bones, I’m not that partisan. I’m an independent thinker. That’s my tradition. I’ve been wary of ideology since I left the Sacred Heart Novitiate (in 1960).”

(Nostalgia footnote: Brown’s reference to “common sense” reminded us that when we covered his 1992 “Winter Soldier” campaign for president, he signed copies of Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” at a bookstore in Nashua, New Hampshire.)

[Only later did we discover that there had been a TV series about one of Brown's intellectual inspirations, hosted by Dale Ahlquist, President of the American Chesterton Society, titled " G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense."]

We asked Brown this key question: What do you want to do as governor?

He quickly ticked off four key concerns with specific ideas in each area: Renewable energy; prison reform; education reform; water policy (we’ll report details on these in future posts).

He acknowledged that pushing through innovative solutions on these issues would be difficult in the polarized atmosphere of Sacramento. He labeled as “a type of anarchy” the view of some GOP lawmakers that sending the state into bankruptcy is preferable to voting for a budget that includes tax increases.

“That kind of subversive attitude is unacceptable,” Brown said.

Asked about structural reforms, Brown said he doesn’t “think term limits have been helpful” because they create a revolving door mentality, with lawmakers constantly running for the next office.

“People being around 20 years is a problem. But people being around for just six years is a bigger problem,” he said. “They become more dependent on interest groups because they don’t have time to develop loyalty in their districts.”

While not a fan of the two-thirds majority vote needed to pass budgets, Brown said he doesn’t think there is a “mechanical” cure to structural financial problems.

Sounding most unlike an old-school Jerry Brown Democrat, he argued repeatedly that regulations making California less competitive than surrounding states must be challenged. “We have to make sure that regulation does not curtail business,” he said, echoing the Chamber of Commerce more than the Sierra Club.

On the issue of his age, about which Newsom and others (including Calbuzz) have needled him – Brown said the question was “meaningless.”

“Is their premise that my opponents think faster than me? Do they want to challenge me to a timed multiple-choice test?”

Informed that he’s older than the ballpoint pen, Brown laughed. “I remember the ballpoint pen,” he said, recalling that when the instrument came out, it was available to students only in blue ink (and it leaked).

The age attack “has no meaning . . . If Feinstein is so old, how come she’s 20 points ahead (in polls listing her as a candidate)?”

“It’s all about creativity . . . The fact that they’re attacking me is a plus, not a minus . . . I don’t know that it’s bad to be associated with Linda Ronstadt and the Beatles.”

As for those behind the line of attack on his septuagenarian status, Brown personally chided Newsom and his strategist Garry South:

“I don’t know whether he’s sniffing his hairspray or what,” the buzz-cut Brown said of South. “Between the hairspray and the gel (favored by Newsom) I think they’re getting a little intoxicated.”

Ho, ho, ho: Just because we can’t resist pictures of dogs in goofy costumes.

Jerry’s Challenge, Tony V’s Play, Arianna’s Aura

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Gov.-elect Jerry Brown’s Budget Teach-In last week in Sacramento was refreshing in its openness — with Brown and other presenters warning that the state’s budget shortfall is now estimated at about $28 billion between now and July 2012. No smoke. No mirrors. Just cold ugly facts.

But the gathering at Memorial Auditorium only took about 12 seconds to demonstrate anew that the fundamental conflict in Sacramento will not be solved by gathering everyone in a room together, sitting around the fireplace and singing kumbaya. Collegiality and civility certainly have been in short supply among the locusts fine men and women California voters have sent to the capital on their behalf.  But the principal contradiction is not a matter of congeniality — it remains political and ideological.

Most of the Democrats, and all of their leaders, believe the state’s budget shortfall is a revenue problem. They think taxes aren’t properly distributed and that solutions will be found by increasing revenues.

Most of the Republicans, and all of their leaders, believe the state’s budget shortfall is a spending problem. They think cutting unnecessary and overly generous state spending is the road to salvation.

KQED’s John Myers outlined the conflict nicely last week under the headline: “Jerry, Meet Gridlock; Gridlock, Jerry.”

Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger did no better — and some would argue a lot worse — than his Democratic predecessor, Gray Davis, at placing California on a firm financial footing. As he skips town, he leaves behind a huge mess that former-and-future Gov. Brown now must try to clean up.

Rumors abound that Jerry is planning to craft an austere budget which he will use as Exhibit A to obtain from voters some sort of temporary tax increase in June, or perhaps even a measure granting voters in cities, counties and school districts the authority to raise taxes with a majority vote or at least something less than two-thirds.

That would certainly return decision-making to local communities, “closer to the people” as he said in his campaign commercials. This of course could only succeed if Republicans and conservatives did not wage war against it. Which brings us back to the principal contradiction, which is a matter of ideology not civility.

To a cartoonist, like our Tom Meyer, it’s all a huge pile of garbage that’s been left behind by the previous administration and Legislature.  It’s hard to argue with that.


.

What does Tony V want (don’t ask the LAT): Not since M.C. Escher has there been such a perfect image of bizarre and inescapable bureaucracy as the By God Los Angeles Times displayed over the past week in its  mishandling of an important political story involving hometown mayor Tony Villaraigosa.

Villaraigosa was in Sacramento on Tuesday to deliver the opening speech of the big conference on the state’s future sponsored by the Public Policy Institute of California, which drew about 600 political and policy types, including the likes of such national names as Judy Woodruff, Van Jones and Dan Balz of the Washpost.

Despite an early morning speaking slot that preceded the day’s first panel, focused on education, Tony V promptly made news: Villaraigosa, whose labor organizing and Sacramento political careers featured fierce advocacy for teacher unions, surprised his weed whacking audience by issuing a harsh denunciation of those very unions:

What is stopping us from changing direction?

Why, for so long, have we allowed denial and indifference to defeat action? I do not raise this question lightly, and I do not come to my conclusion from a lack of experience. I was a legislative advocate for the California Teachers Association, and I was a union organizer for United Teachers of Los Angeles. From the time I entered the California State Assembly and became Speaker, to my tenure as Mayor of Los Angeles, I have fought to fund and reform California’s public schools.

Over the past five years, while partnering with students, parents and non-profits, business groups, higher education, charter organizations, school district leadership, elected board members and teachers, there has been one, unwavering roadblock to reform: UTLA union leadership. While not the biggest problem facing our schools, they have consistently been the most powerful defenders of the status quo…Regrettably, they have yet to join us as we have forged ahead with a reform agenda.

Tony V’s deliberately provocative comments, coming from California’s most prominent Latino politician, not to mention a lifelong union goon, were a big deal, voiced at a time when teacher unions are increasingly embattled by national education reform efforts, starting in the White House.

And that’s how the matter was treated – by almost everyone except Hizzoner’s hometown paper.

Within minutes, David Sanchez, president of the California Teachers Association, had fired back at the mayor during a panel discussion that followed his speech. The relentless Jack Chang filed a post about the conflict on the Bee’s Capitol Alert blog not long after, as did the invaluable John Fensterwald on his state education blog .

By the next morning the reform-minded Joe Mathews had characterized Villaraigosa’s remarks as “the most significant speech given by a California politician this year,” and a variety of broadcast and wire reports, along with several newspaper editorials strongly supporting the mayor’s sentiments, were circulating.

And amid all the urgent buzz over the next two days, the L.A. Times produced . . . radio silence.

Not a word from any beat, anywhere on its far-flung editorial depth chart, which is rivaled only by the forces that gathered for the invasion of Normandy for organizational complexity and resources.

Our motto: if it’s news, it’s news to us.

Finally, on Friday morning, Times editors managed to clue their readers into what their mayor had been up to that week. A double byline story by Patrick McDonnell, who writes about labor, and City Hall reporter David Zahniser,  which also included reporting by Teresa Watanabe and Jason Song of the education desk, finally caught up with the news – a full 72 hours after Villaraigosa spoke.

“I knew it would cause a firestorm,” Villaraigosa said in an interview Thursday, two days after the speech.

This just in: Big firestorm slowly heading toward L.A.

In the end, it was left to Cathy Decker,  the paper’s ever reliable state politics editor, to clean up the elephantine mess with a Sunday thumbsucker that addressed the key question puzzling Calbuzz readers: WTF is Tony V up to?

“For a Democratic politician who is presumed to have ambitions once he is termed out of office in 2013, Villaraigosa’s moves were intriguing,” Decker wrote.

To those more Machiavellian in nature — say, the entire political establishment — other possibilities came to mind: Villaraigosa was angling for an Obama administration job. He was declaring independence from party positions and powers in preparation for a future statewide run. Or he was trying to redefine his mayoralty in a way that could reap benefits down the line, were he to decide to exercise options one or two….

Part of the difficulty in divining what Villaraigosa was trying to accomplish last week is the parallel difficulty in figuring out where he might be going.

Decker seemed to hit upon the nut of the matter when she noted that, regardless of Tony V’s secret aspirations, he needs to bump up his profile, now, to avoid being generationally squeezed out, between California’s Democratic Geezer Trio and its cool new Dynamic Duo:

When he first ran for mayor in 2001, Villaraigosa was seen as one of the Democratic Party’s up-and-comers. Now the senior Democrats — Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and Gov.-elect Jerry Brown — are in their 70s. Villaraigosa will be pushing 60 when the next big race occurs — Feinstein’s Senate seat is up in 2012, though she has said she plans to run again. Catching up with the mayor is a younger group of Democrats, personified by the incoming lieutenant governor and attorney general, Gavin Newsom and Kamala Harris. Both are in their 40s.

For upward momentum, or just a legacy, Villaraigosa has to make good on his basic pledges: to lower crime, improve schools and increase jobs. Crime has been down, but joblessness is high. Voters can cut mayors slack during national downturns, but no such slack is likely when it comes to the state of the schools. Villaraigosa himself said years ago that voters should “absolutely” hold him responsible for reforming schools, and unless he can convince voters that the unions are to blame, they are likely to hold him to it.

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: Remind us again why she gets to be on “Meet the Press”?

Joe Cerrell: One of the Great Good Guys in Politics

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

By Rick Orlov
Special to Calbuzz

In the end, it was one more party thrown by Joe Cerrell for more than 600 of his closest friends.

A memorial service saluting Cerrell, who was the first of the modern political consultants who grew up in an age when politics was fought with “rough elbows..but no rancor,” was held at Christ the King Roman Catholic Church in the Larchmont District near his office and home in Los Angeles.

Cerrell, 75, died last Friday of complications from pneumonia and tributes immediately came in from across the country.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, had a flag that flew over the Capitol sent to the family.

Cerrell was known for his annual Christmas party at the HMS Bounty, across from the Ambassador Hotel — an event that packed in friends, clients, politicians and reporters who had come in contact with Cerrell over the years. Rather than cancel this one last party, the family decided to go ahead with it as a tribute to Cerrell.

Cerrell was remembered for his love and commitment to his family — wife Lee and children Steve Bullock, Joe Jr. and Sharon — as well as to USC, the Catholic Church and the New York Yankees.

A native of New York City, his parents moved to Los Angeles when he was in high school and he enrolled and graduated from Los Angeles High School. From there, he went on to USC, where he would graduate and later return to as a professor. Cerrell was a key player in forming USC’s Unruh Institute of Politics.

He came to politics in 1958, forming a Democratic Club at USC, and coming to the attention of Jesse Unruh, who would go on to become Assembly speaker and name Cerrell executive officer of the California Democratic Party.

With Los Angeles hosting the 1960 Democratic National Convention, Cerrell began work in the campaign for former President John F. Kennedy and forged friendships and alliances with former President Lyndon Johnson and Sen. Hubert Humphrey, among others.

He would work on the gubernatorial campaign of then-Attorney General Pat Brown and, later for his son, Jerry.

As son Steve Bullock recalled, he began forming a network of contacts that would rival anything on Facebook or Twitter.

And, as son Joe Jr., recounted, his father told him to “always remember one thing about a person, so you can ask them about it later.”

Politicians representing the past and present of Los Angeles, California and the United States sent in their remembrances and regrets at not being able to attend the memorial. Assembly Speaker John Perez had the newly sworn-in Assembly adjourn in Cerrell’s honor.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, delayed his travel plans to Sacramento to attend the swearing-in ceremonies, to deliver the first eulogy in honor of Cerrell, calling him a “mentor, an adviser, a friend.” Villaraigosa, like many, recalled his frequent meetings with Cerrell from the days he was an organizer with UTLA.

“We would meet for breakfast at Pacific Dining Car…and I used to drink only hot water and cranberry juice,” Villaraigosa said. “He would say, ‘What is that? You have to eat a real breakfast.’ Today, I had breakfast.”

Most of all, Villaraigosa said, “Joe loved politics. He didn’t care if you were Democratic or Republican. He cared about people.”

Hal Dash, who is now chief executive at Cerrell and worked for him for more than 30 years, said Cerrell would have been pleased with the turnout at the memorial.

“I can picture him turning to (his wife) Lee and telling her to get the guest books to see who was here and who wasn’t,” Dash said.

Robert Meyers, who worked for Newsweek magazine, told a story familiar to many journalists.

He had just begun work for the magazine when he received a call from Cerrell.

“I didn’t know who he was,” Meyers said. “But he said he wanted to introduce himself and that if I needed any help on local, state or national politics, he was there.”

That began a lifelong friendship that spanned more than 40 years.

“He told me once he wanted to open an Italian-Jewish deli,” Meyers recalled. “I asked him if that was to honor his parents, because his mother was Jewish. No, he told me, he wanted to do it just to have a place named Kosher Nostra.”

Happy 2010: Oy Vey, an Election is Breaking Out

Friday, January 1st, 2010

HangoverThe hoariest cliché in the news business – besides  Where Are They Now, the Irrelevant Anniversary yarn and frying an egg on the sidewalk during a heat wave – is the end-of-year Top 10 list.

And at Calbuzz, we’re nothing if not hoary clichés. Or maybe clichéd whores. Whatever.

As you find yourself face down in a bowl of gelatinous guacamole this New Year’s morn, trying to remember why you’re wearing rubber underwear and Raider wrist bands, here’s the Calbuzz Top 10 stories of the year, a 2010 primer for those who got drunk and missed 2009.

dianneworried2

Difi (Hearts) D.C. Calbuzz launched March 16, with a hiding-in-plain-sight perceptual scoop saying flatly that Senator Dianne Feinstein wouldn’t run for governor. Despite her septuagenarian coquette act and unstinting effort to keep a few moldering embers of interest flickering about a late-entry campaign, Difi’s demurrer was the biggest 2009 factor that shaped the race, which we’ve handicapped with updated analyses here and here. (This just in: she’s still older than the Golden Gate Bridge.)

jerryflippedThe re-incarnation of Jerry Brown.  Casting himself as “an apostle of common sense,” Brown sent a clear signal he was in it to win it when he gave Calbuzz an extended interview discussing the governor’s race, then promptly retreated to his tent to insist that he was  reviewing all his options. Right. While at least one would-be analyst suggested that Crusty the General cleared the field, he did no such thing: Brown’s singular status as the Democrats’ presumptive nominee emerged from the collapse of erstwhile rivals Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa as  the Philandering Twins proved to be little more than a sideshow.

Why Rich Guys Don’t Win Elections. Back before it was fashionable, we reported on the sorry history of wealthy folks trying to buy top-line offices in California, a bit of Calbuzz conventional wisdom that will be challenged in 2010, with three zillionaires running for governor or Senate.caveman

Where did all the cavemen go? Way back in March, we noted the oddness of a California Republican primary race for governor without a true-blue movement conservative in the field  and, beginning with Arlen Specter’s party switch, we’ve tracked the way the Tea Party’s national purge movement is manifest in California.

Why won’t this woman go out with us? Win or lose, eMeg’s campaign is poised to become 2010’s most entertaining show for fans of politicmegs as spectator sport. With an imperious manner not seen since Catherine the Great, a campaign budget bigger than the GDP of Belize and an army of consultants the size of the U.S. Postal Service, eMeg has already provided the cognoscenti lotsa laughs with a smash hit performance about her voting record, her messy corporate divorce from Craigslist  and her passionate bid to win the hearts and minds of people who don’t vote in California. That this titan of industry apparently lives in mortal fear of sitting down to Dim Sum with Calbuzz  just adds to the general hilarity (memo to legal dept: check on residuals and copyright for Calbuzz “eMeg” coinage).

outrageThe voters are outside, and man are they pissed. From the May 19 special election debacle to the real-life terror of living through a withering recession, Californians are in a foul mood for the ages. The electorate is changing and they want change, but no one now in the arena seems to know exactly what that’s supposed to look like.

Why California can’t be governed. The flip side of populist anger at Sacramento is the inconvenient truth that voters themselves are largely responsible for tying state government into knots, having approved three decades worth of low-tax-high-spending initiatives and a series of crackpot  reforms, from term limits to  the tyranny of minority rule, which add up to Capitol policy makers lacking the tools or clout to do what needs doing.

What does rsinclairpainteform look like? The upside of all the doom and gloom about state government is that it’s yielded some of the most interesting reform measures since Hiram Johnson was chewing on Abe Reuf’s leg. Despite the collapse of tax reform, led by the screw-the-pooch performance by Friend of Arnold Gerald Parsky, the seriousness and substance of policy questions being raised by advocates for a constitutional convention and for the California Forward reform measure are complex, intriguing and important – even when they get deep, deep into the weeds on issues from Prop. 13 to the crucial Sinclair Paint decision.

Environment vs economy. California’s economic decline has reignited a long-simmering debate about the economic impacts of the state’s sweeping environmental protections. eMeg has already thrown down the gauntlet, calling for a roll back of the landmark AB32 climate change legislation, which is likely to become a big deal in the election this year. The other environmental debate that just won’t go away is the bitter dispute about the Tranquillon Ridge offshore project, an issue whose weeds Calbuzz never tires of whacking.

calbuzzartThe Calbuzz Haiku Contest. Amid all the political and policy fun and games, the best thing about Calbuzz’s first year has been getting in touch with a community of highly informed readers, thoughtful commenters and roster of triple smart guest writers (thanks Penny Elia, Merv Field, Steve Maviglio, David Ferry, Jon Fleischman, Fran Gibson, Ron Kaye, Fred Keeley, Linda Krop, Greg Lucas, Mark Massara, Bob Naylor, Mark Paul, Heather Reger, Susan Rose, Jean Ross, Richie Ross, Marc Sandalow, Tanya Schevitz, Dan Schnur, Don Sipple, Phil Ting, Evan Wagstaff, Anthony Wright and the late Msrs. Dylan Thomas and Mark Twain, as well as the members of the Calbuzz Board of Anonymous Advisers – you know who you are and we promised not to say).

See you Monday.

Hump Day: Tom C, Tony V & eMeg’s eMails

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

tomtwirlWhen speculation began about Tom Campbell possibly switching from the governor’s race to the U.S. Senate contest, the instant conventional wisdom said such a move would help Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Stonehenge,  now tied with former HP CEO Carly Fiorina in Republican primary polls.

That idea rests on the notion – fueled by some knuckle-draggers on the right –that Hurricane Carly is a squishy, Silicon Valley moderate masquerading as a fiscal conservative. And, the argument goes, because former U.S. Rep. Campbell is also a Silicon Valley squish, he’d naturally draw votes from Carly, to the benefit of DeVore.

But wait! Facts intrude. Or at least, what we like to call potential facts, suggested by the recent Los Angeles Times/USC Poll in which DeVore and Fiorina were tied at 27% each.

As Calbuzz reported more than a month ago, DeVore voters favor Campbell over eMeg Whitman 42-35% in the governor’s race, with another 16% for Steve Poizner. More importantly in this context, voters who support Campbell in the governor’s race prefer DeVore over Fiorina in the Senate race by a whopping 42-24%.

carlychuckcollageThis means there’s some connection, in voters minds, between Campbell and DeVore; when we studied the crosstabs from the survey, we found it’s not gender, ideology, geography or age. What does seem to explain the connection is income – which makes some intuitive sense, as the two are the only poor boys in either race.

The poll found Whitman leading Campbell in the governor’s race 35-27% overall. But among downscale, gunrack Republicans – those with incomes under $50,000 who made up 37% of the sample – Campbell was beating Whitman 34-28%. That’s a huge swing.

And guess what? While DeVore and Fiorina were tied at 27% overall, among the trailer park Republican cohort, DeVore was leading Fiorina 34-17% — another massive shift.

So what’s up here? Lower-income Republicans (and for Campbell, the over-65 voters, too) seem to cluster around Campbell and DeVore. Which could well mean that if Campbell got into the Senate race, it could actually boost Fiorina’s share of the vote.

Here’s what Calbuzz believes: While Campbell would have a hell of a time winning the GOP nomination for Senate, he would be the most formidable opponent against Sen. Barbara Boxer in a general election because he’s pro-choice and a moderate on the environment, issues that would help him with independents in the general election.

antonionewyorker

Being 80 is the new black: Speaking of the Senate, the flat-out silliest political story in months was to be found on the home post of Huffpost in recent days. Headlined “Antonio Villaraigosa may call the U.S. Senate ‘home’ in 2012,” the piece predicted the L.A. mayor will be an all-but-certain bet to take over Dianne Feinstein’s seat two years hence.

It’s an abiding mystery why Huffpost editors thought this a worthy page one candidate (though we expect Arianna’s recent big push for her L.A. page provides a big clue) given the goofiness of the column, written by some guy named Feldman, a self-described “journalist and media consultant” whose current job appears to be doing “investigative reporting” for AM radio.

Under the Feldman Scenario, Villaraigosa’s march of triumph to the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body will be enabled by Difi either a) deciding to run for governor or b) choosing not to seek another Senate term because she’s just too damn old. As hard evidence for either option, Feldman cites the undeniable fact that…well, he really, really believes it might happen.

It is…probably foolish to make this next political prediction — and, if it turns out wrong — someone, somewhere, someday will no doubt cite it as yet another example of why such tea leaf reading is a dangerous art, indeed.

“Probably”? “Someday”? “Indeed,” indeed. At least he got the “foolish” part right.

diannePutting aside the fact that Tony V’s erratic performance as mayor better qualifies him as a used car salesman than a U.S. Senator, the notion that Feinstein will run for governor is sooo 2008 , and the idea that she’d give up her hard-earned sweet gig in D.C. if she was 112, fercrineoutloud,  ignores the fact that she’s been immersed in politics and government since 1956. She wouldn’t know what to do if she retired, except drive Dick Blum crazy by nagging him to prune the hedges or something.

In point of fact, Feinstein is already raising money for her 2012 race, and Calbuzz makes her a good bet to challenge Robert Byrd and the late Strom Thurmond in the oldest-coot-ever-to-serve-in-the-Senate sweepstakes.

“She’s not going anywhere,” one associate told Calbuzz, “and if Antonio runs against her, she’ll beat him like a drum.”

emegebay

Update from Delaware: All good Calbuzzers recall that we’ve noted the significance to eMeg Whitman’s candidacy of the big eBay vs. Craigslist civil suit smackdown now taking place in Delaware.

Absent a political record, Whitman has pointed to her experience as eBay’s CEO as the primary rationale for her candidacy for governor, so the trial offers some insider perspective about her values and performance in that role.

The case focuses on a dispute that followed eBay’s acquisition of 28 percent of Craiglist, at a time when Whitman was CEO of the online auction giant. eBay alleges that Craigslist violated terms of the agreement to deny them any say; Craiglist executives charge that eBay and Whitman used the agreement to obtain confidential information in order to set up a new online classified operation as a competitor.

On Tuesday, Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster testified about an email exchange between eMeg and eBay executive Garrett Price that followed an interview Buckmaster gave to business reporter Matthew Boyle of Fortune; in response to a question about possible conflicts between the two companies, Buckmaster told Boyle, “our first instinct is to trust eBay to take the high road.”

Price emailed a copy to Whitman, asking if she had seen the piece:

Whitman: “Did. Pretty funny.”
Price: “Yes. I am glad to read that he trusts us.”
Whitman: “Love this.  :)

Referencing the email string, Craigslist’s attorney asked Buckmaster, “Did you think it was ‘pretty funny’ that you trusted eBay?”

“No,” Buckmaster replied sadly.

Following our earlier kvetching about a dearth of trial coverage, we’ve been pleased with the sudden stream of stories and commentaries that appeared this week (Coincidence? You be the judge).

Topping the list is our friend Jackson West, who reported over at NBC Bay Area about Monday’s appearance by Buckmaster,  who testified that Price at one point threatened him with being confronted by “Evil Meg” unless he went along with her designs on his company. As Randall Chase, the AP’s man in Delaware reported the Buckmaster testimony:

jim-buckmasterPrice said he needed to remind Craigslist officials that there were “two Meg Whitmans,” Buckmaster said

Craigslist officials, he was told, had met the “good” Whitman in July 2004, when she convinced Buckmaster, who had broken off discussions and decided not to do business with eBay, to go forward with negotiations that eventually resulted in eBay’s 28 percent minority stake in the online classifieds company.

Buckmaster said Price warned him that there also was an “evil Meg, and that we would best be served if we got with the program, or we’re going to meet the evil Meg.” Price added that Whitman, who is now seeking the Republican nomination for governor in California, could be a “monster” if she got frustrated, according to Buckmaster.

(Yikes! Memo to scheduling: should we rethink this whole eMeg dinner thing?)

The wily West got off the best line in the face of the emerging, unflattering portrait of eMeg, noting that “revelations about Whitman will actually play pretty well to the Republican Party base she’s courting in the gubernatorial primary.”