Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘Abel Maldonado’



eMeg’s Money Pit, Maldo vs Pedro, Spin & Marty

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Wannabe Governor Meg Whitman tossed another $20 million into the pot like so much couch dust this week, leaving Republican primary rival Steve Poizner to whine about her per unit Return On Investment.

“Twenty million dollars bought Meg 45 percent of likely Republican voters in a January poll,” a Poizner flack sniped, pointing to the first $20 million personal check Her Megness wrote to her campaign. “That’s (sic) means Meg has so far spent $444,444.44 for every percentage point.”

Yeah, and…so what? It’s not like Republicans have something against rich people spending their own money.

Team Poizner also recycled the observation, by blogger Bill Bradley, that the $40 million eMeg  generously donated to herself, six months before the primary, already matches what Governor Al Checchi, the previous record holder, self-funded during his entire, miserably failed 1998 bid for the Democratic nomination.

True that, but again, what’s the point?

The bottom line is that Whitman’s lavish spending has bought her two, very valuable things in the race: 1) she’s clearly established herself as the front-runner, if not yet the GOP presumptive nominee, and; 2) she’s accomplished this largely with an under-the-radar radio campaign that has managed to avoid triggering a she’s-trying-to-buy-the-election backlash, at least outside of insider circles.

For Whitman, $40 million is chump change, a tiny sliver of her billionaire fortune; if it’s working, why not keep working it? Poizner made a brief splash last month by fronting a mere $15 Large of his own dough, but given his below-par outside fund-raising to date, Smokestack Steve will have to go to the wallet for a lot more than that to catch Monoxide Meg.

Brown-Coakley redux: With no exit polls from the big Massachusetts Senate race – who can afford them these days? – we’re unfortunately left with a wide-open bazaar of conflicting, unconfirmable  theories about what happened, none of them based on data.

That said, the most interesting take we’ve seen comes from Democratic pollster Mark Mellman, who advances the case that Republican Scott Brown’s late surge past rival and erstwhile front-runner Martha Coakley coincided with the release and publication of two robo-polls (so-called IVR polls, which auto-dial respondents) and which apparently triggered the flood of web fund-raising that boosted Brown. Mellman, writing in The Hill (HT to Gale Kaufman for the link):

(W)ithout the close polls, the circumstances that made Republican victory possible would have been insufficient to bring it about. The polls were the spark that ignited the dry kindling on the forest floor. Without the spark provided by the polls, though, there would have been no conflagration.

Is there anything wrong with polls influencing elections? If the polls were accurate reflections of reality, it’s hard to complain. Though we will never know for sure, my own strong sense is that these two IVR auto-dial polls significantly overstated Brown’s support when they were completed.

Another chewy take-out: the Washpost’s Chris Cillizza at “The Fix” lists five “myths” about the Bay State election: 1) Brown didn’t win, Coakley lost it; 2) Brown’s win means health care is dead; 3) Dems are headed for oblivion in mid-terms; 4) Obama’s brand is dead; 5) Mass. Voters won’t elect a woman.  It’s here.

The daily fix for our T-Ridge jones: Anthony York, over at  “California Politics,” the online collaboration between the LAT and Capitol Weekly, posted a juicy little report on the spat between Lite Gov. Wannabe Abel Maldonado and Assemblyman Pedro Nava over Calbuzz’s idée fixe, the Tranquillon Ridge offshore oil project.

Lobbying in print for his confirmation. state Senator Maldo reminded York of his past consistent opposition to the project,  insisting the offshore issue should not derail his appointment:

“I’ve voted against the proposal three times,” Maldonado said. “As lieutenant governor, I would take each issue as it comes before the commission, but I don’t know how much clearer I can be on that issue.”

Maldo also ripped Assemblyman and AG Wannabe Nava (D-Tree Hugger), who told Calbuzz earlier that he believes the Republican senator pledged support for T-Ridge before Schwarzmuscle nominated him for lite gov.

“It’s so crazy,” said Maldonado. “No deal has been cut.” Nava is “spreading stories that have absolutely no basis in fact.”

When asked about Maldonado’s comments, Nava said, “It’s hard for me to believe there wasn’t an agreement reached” between Schwarzenegger and Maldonado. “Let him sign a written public pledge that he will vote no on T-Ridge. Then I might feel some comfort.”

This just in: T-Ridge foes were caught by surprise when the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office recommended Thursday that the Legislature approve the project. While it’s a fairly tepid endorsement, coming after a laundry list of policy criticisms of the proposal, it’s an endorsement nonetheless, and from a very influential source:

While the Legislature will want to evaluate the proposal accounting for the policy concerns that have been raised, it should weigh these concerns against the opportunity to gain much-needed revenues for the General Fund. Analyzing the potential risks and trade-offs, we find, on balance, that the Tranquillon Ridge proposal merits legislative approval.

Jerry’s time warp: Crusty the General’s offhand reference to Mike Curb this week was just the latest evidence that he’s in danger of being stuck in a pre-1980s time warp. Here’s the Calbuzz Next Ten list of folks we look for Brown to reference in coming weeks:

1-Spin & Marty
2-S.I. Hayakawa
3-John Brodie
4-Gale Storm
5-Houston Flournoy
6-Willie Kirkland
7-Ozzie Nelson Dr. Irwin Corey
8-Caryl Chessman
9-Earl “The Pearl” Monroe
10-Wavy Gravy

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: Weird hair showdown pits Donald Trump vs. Lady Gaga.


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

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Swap Meet: Greasy Poll, eMeg Patrol, GOPer Trolls

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

oilrigMargin of error: The oil company based in Houston that is trying to win a lease for drilling in state waters off the coast of Santa Barbara is e-blasting an alleged summary of poll results about the controversial project, providing a case study of how scientific public opinion surveys can be manipulated for political purposes.

Days after Calbuzz examined the misuse of polling data, both on our site and in the L.A. Times, Plains Exploration & Production Co. (PXP) is circulating a memo titled “Highlights from Statewide Poll,” which claims – surprise, surprise — that two-thirds of California votpxpers favor their proposed Tranquillon Ridge project. The sheet consists of a series of bullet points, all of them purporting to show statewide support for the project among some genus or species of Californian.

PXP said the survey was done by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates — a polling firm for which we have high regard but which does a lot of work for advocates and candidates with clear-cut agendas. Our request for the oil company to send us the actual survey results, questions and cross-tabs was unsuccessful, as were those of Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, Pedro-Navawho’s led the legislative fight to defeat the project last month.

Nava is putting out a daily press release demanding PXP cough up the data, and sarcastically asking if they asked a series of slanted questions that would favor the anti-drilling position: “I intend to ask a question every day until I get some answers,” Nava told us. “It’s obvious they don’t intend to release it – they intend to continue to mislead us.” Calbuzz sez: Free the Secret PXP Poll – and All Political Prisoners!

blakesless

Oleaginous update: The proposal to authorize the T-Ridge lease, which was earlier rejected by the State Lands Commission, has been resurrected by Assembly minority leader Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, Nava told us, using a “gut and amend” maneuver to dump the substance of an energy bill and insert the PXP project language previously voted down in the Assembly.

Lots of subplots on this one, including the fact that fingers were pointed at Blakeslee  last month when Capitol Weekly disclosed that the Assembly vote on the PXP measure had been expunged from the record. Blakeslee, who denied it, nonetheless sure had a motive: he represents a coastal area but voted in favor of the lease. If he, as expected, goes after the Senate seat now held by Abel Maldonado, who opposed the offshore project, he’d represent even more coastal constituents.

Calbuzz has a hunch that the endgame of all of this will be a PXP-sponsored ballot initiative seeking to circumvent the Legislature and win voter approval for T-Ridge. The strategy would run some risk, however, as it could also trigger support for proposals to impose a severance tax on companies extracting oil in California, the only state that doesn’t have such a levy.

megyoutubeSteve (doesn’t) Heart eMeg: Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, whose team rolls out an average of 316 press releases a day bashing GOP guv rival Meg Whitman, may finally have gained some traction with one of his attacks.  It’s a You Tube spoof of the “Love Boat” which skewers Her Megness for some gushy comments she made about Van Jones, the former Oakland lefty who’s become Obama’s green jobs adviser – and is now in the free-fire zone over at Fox News.

If you haven’t seen the video, it’s pretty damn funny and you can watch it here. Chronicler Joe Garofoli has the play-by-play of the Stevie Wonder-eMeg exchange on the issue here, including Team Whitman’s Friday statement, which tries to make the whole thing go away. The defensive tone, the length and detail of it, however, shows that Poizner has stung her by highlighting associations with lefties for the edification of conservative GOP voters. Only 276 days until the primary!

More on eMeg: Whitman’s 493-second encounter with reporters in Santa Barbara Tuesday  smoked out some interesting new nuggets (block that metaphor!) about her views on key issues, demonstrating why it actually matters that All Right-Thinking Journos in California keep pressing her campaign for interviews, avails and accessibility.  Examples:

1-When Calbuzz asked her about offshore oil drilling, she disclosed that she’s changed her position since the beginning of the campaign:

“I would say that 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 – slant drilling and other things and I think we ought to look at this very carefully because there’s no question that the resources off the coast of California and other parts of the country can help us reduce our dependence on foreign oil…I don’t think it’s sending a bad (environmental) signal. You have to look at the situation in which we find ourselves…We have to say times have changed and we’ve got to look at this again.”

2-When Susan Rose, Calbuzz correspondent on women’s issues, asked her about abortion rights, eMeg filled in some blanks, both on her position and on her perspective of how it may affect her among pro-life GOP voters:

“I am pro choice…I’m not for late term abortion or partial birth abortion and I did vote ‘yes’ on the parental notification proposition that went on the ballot. And I don’t want to take choice away from women…(Her position) will help in some sectors and it will not be helpful in others… (P)eople will know my positions on the social issues and if they are single issue voters and I don’t agree, they won’t be for me but hopefully they will put the whole package together and say ‘got it.’”

3-When Mark Mason (CB handle: “Planet Santa Barbara”) asked why voters would think she’d do a better job than Arnold Schwarzenegger, who made similar promises, she expounded on the differences between them:

“The governor has done a number of good things. Workman’s compensation…I’m a fan of Proposition 11, the redistricting (measure) but I will say that the results – unemployment, infrastructure, the health of the economy, are not good and the governor has to be accountable for the results…The biggest difference …is my business experience.”

McCain_Meg_art_400_20080610122428

eMeg fun factoids: She’s a Leo and the youngest of three kids (which explains a lot, as all astrological students of birth order know); her mother served four years with the Red Cross in New Guinea during WWII (“she knew where the need was greatest”); she was a high school jock (tennis, swimming, soccer); Princeton ’73 (fourth class in history with women in it); came to California when her neurosurgeon husband had to choose between Harvard and UCSF for a residency (“your mother lives in Boston, we should go to California”); her favorite Hasbro toy while working there was Mr. Potato Head (NOT  Barney or Teletubbies, she pointed out).

But what about the little guy? In recent months Jerry Brown has been putting on a clinic on how to align his public duties as Attorney General with his political aspiration to be governor again, getting his fingerprints on  high-profile cases from Anna Nicole to Michael, all the while attacking international drug rings, sleazy investment firms and consumer scams of every persuasion –- not to mention pushing to include climate-change impact statements as a requirement for new developments.

govjerrybrownNow Brown is taking aim at the mother lode of populist outrage, launching an investigation of Health Management Organizations, in which he promises to probe how HMOs “review and pay insurance claims submitted by doctors, hospitals and other medical providers” amid reports that the state’s top five insurance provides are denying nearly 40 percent of claims.

“These high denial rates suggest a system that is dysfunctional (ed. note – ya think?),” Brown said in statement put out by the AG’s press office, “and the public is entitled to know whether wrongful business practices are involved.” Cue it up, Omar: “In-DEED.”

Three-dot Republicanism: Here’s how Whitman is playing among right-wingersTonyStricklandBball

Latest sign that the quixotic crusade to ban independent, decline-to-state voters from GOP primaries is in trouble comes from Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark. Taliban Tony is the real, hardcore deal, a drown-it-in-the-bathtub movement conservative who made his bones playing Ronald Reagan in his 4th grade class debate in 1980  and came up through the ranks serving as squire to Skinflint Tom McClintock;  Timm Herdt reports that Strickland turned thumbs down on the no-indies rule, which can’t be good news foken-khachigian-copyr Flashreporter Jon Fleischman, sponsor of the plan…

Hell freezes over: Ken Khachigian, the squish-squishing senior statesman of California Republicanism, caught giving advice to Barack Obama.

Have a great weekend.

Dr. Hackenflack Returns: Special Carly Edition

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

dr-hackenflackCalbuzz staff psychiatrist Dr. P.J. Hackenflack has been on a leave of absence, serving as a special consultant on health care reform to Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. He returns today to catch up on the Old Mailbag and answer reader questions on some recent political developments.

Dear Dr. Hackenflack,
I see that former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is running for the U.S. Senate and wondered why she’s known as “Hurricane Carly”?
– M. Whitman, Silicon Valley
Wherever she goes, she leaves destruction in her wake.

Attention: Dr. P.J. Hackenflack,
I thought the Calbuzz reference to Senator Kent Conrad as “a four-eyed, hose-nosed twit” very nearly almost came close to bordering on incivility. How do you respond?
– Earnest Bill, Superior, Wisc.
You should have seen it before the copy desk toned it down.

My Dearest Dr. Hackenflack,
I’ve enjoyed Senator Abel Maldonado’s fascinating tweets about what he eats during late-night legislative sessions but would like some information about what Assemblyman Chuck Devore does for snacks?
– Julia C., Montecito
Generally, he just chews on Carly Fiorina’s ankle.

Yo Hack!
Garry South said that Jerry Brown has had “more positions than the Kama Sutra.” What’s his favorite one?
– Ms. Cosmo, N.Y. N.Y.
Loosely translated it ‘s “Old Gray Stallion Trots to the Left Then Gallops to the Right,” according to Calbuzz’s Department of Sanskrit Documentation.

Dear Colleague: Is it true Steve Poizner recently had surgery?
– B. Casey, M.D., Hollywood
Yes. I’m happy to report he’s recovering nicely from a charisma bypass.

Dr. H,
I understand that as S.F. mayor, Gavin Newsom ignores and blows off the Board of Supervisors. What does that portend for how he’ll deal with the Legislature as Governor?
– Aaron P., Civic Center
How he’ll deal with the WHAT?

Mein Lieber Herr Hackenflack,
A friend of mine compared Carly Fiorina to Marie Antoinette. What in the world could these two have in common?
– Deborah B., Sacramento
Neither of them ever voted. Zut alors!

Doc,
I heard on the street that Meg Whitman is running her own campaign,  modeled on Lincoln’s 1858 Senate race. What’s her expert opinion on how Abe managed his election operation?
– Fleischman Flash, Gettsyburg, Pa.
She’s sure he blundered by agreeing to all those pesky debates with that guy Douglas.

Dear Mr. Big Shot Shrink,
So Tom Campbell says he should be governor cuz he’s a big brain Chicago School economist who trained with Milton Friedman. Big deal – I wonder how many of those guys it takes to change a light bulb.
– A. Bunker, Queens
None. If the light bulb needed changing the market would have already done it.

To whom it may concern,
I can’t thank you enough for publishing that short sample of Barbara Boxer’s new novel, which I greatly admired for its literary quality. Do you perchance have an excerpt of the roman a clef Carly Fiorina is supposedly writing?
– Bulwer Lytton, Knobworth House
Sure: “Cara Sneed caught an approving glimpse of herself in the glass reflection of the post office window. “Yum, you look good, girl,” she chuckled with amusement to herself.

Entering through the entrance door, she caught the admiring glimpse that the shabby tech geek standing on line gave her, and imagined to herself a little thought balloon bouncing in the air above his head – “Whoa, she looks good – I bet that woman can move some digital printers.” Then she softly tee-heed once again to herself.

She gently slipped her absentee ballot into the yawing maw of the patriotically colored mail box, and pivoted gracefully on her strappy Manolos to saunter out through the door, when a sudden flash of dread struck her in the tummy.

“Oh no,” she thought, “I forgot to put a stamp on it again.”

Whole Earth Democrat Seeks Party Chair for Grassroots

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

One measure of how Chris Finnie assesses her own chances of being elected California Democratic Party chair this weekend is the song she picked to be played when she’s introduced to speak to the delegates.

The opening lines of Abba’s “Take a Chance on Me” do not suggest an overwhelming confidence that she’ll prevail in the voting:

“If you change your mind, I’m the first in line,
Honey, I’m still free. Take a chance on me.”

The 59-year old Finnie, a grassroots, netroots, bran muffin activist from Boulder Creek who runs her own PR business, is matched in the leadership contest against Democratic war horse John Burton, who’ll enter the weekend as the safest bet since the U.S. took on Grenada.

“I started running because of how this unrolled as a sort of smoke-filled backroom deal,” she told Calbuzz. “Senator Burton leveraged his connections and years in office, and nailed down most of the delegates before he entered the race.

“He came through like the German army through North Africa –- it was a blitzkrieg,” Finnie added. “I came to the conclusion it was sort of a sham, and I didn’t like the feeling of being marginalized.”

A longtime Democratic foot soldier who worked in campaigns for Howard Dean, John Kerry, Barack Obama and Rep. Jerry McNerney, among others, Finnie has held a host of local and regional party posts, and believes there is a serious imbalance of power between volunteers and elected officials.

As evidence, she points to intraparty division over the May 19 special election, in which many activists are unhappy with program cuts mandated by Props. 1A, 1D and 1E, while officeholders shine them on, and line up in support of the measures behind Democratic legislative leaders.

She also is rankled by the Democrats’ decision not to run a candidate against Republican state senator Abel Maldonado in a competitive coastal district last year, after the GOP lawmaker threw a key budget vote to former senate leader Don Perata in 2007. She also believes the undue influence of incumbents has blocked a series of grassroots efforts to put the party on record against the death penalty.

“Electeds get into an exclusive club and they don’t want to play with us anymore, until they need us,” Finnie said. “We help them get elected and we pay their salaries . . . Then they’re telling us what we should support and not support instead of us telling them.”

Beyond her motive to change the party structure’s insider-outsider dynamic, Finnie said she has also been motivated to run by what she sees as Burton’s shabby treatment of her. When she called the 76-year old former senate leader late last year to tell him she was going to run, Burton was rude and dismissive, she said.

She asked some tough questions like: “Do you think your age is going to be a liability with all the traveling you have to do as party chairman?”

“He yelled at me and said, ‘I’m on a couple of medications but I’m in perfect health. That’s a stupid question.’”

Then according to Finnie, he added: “I’m going to win this thing and if anybody doesn’t like it they can go fuck themselves.”

(Burton disputes this account. And, honestly, who can imagine him talking like that?)

“What I want is a party that’s open, responsive and empowers activists,” said Finnie. “And he doesn’t have that to give me but he does have that to take away from me.”

“I’m actually running for power so I can give it away,” she added.

Tomorrow: An interview with John Burton.