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Posts Tagged ‘Chuck DeVore’



eMeg: $203,767 Per Day; Brown’s Budget Record

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

As Governor Schwarz- muscle and the Legislature grow ever closer to California’s all-time Belated Budget Record, Jerry Brown keeps promising he can do better in getting a state spending plan approved in a timely fashion.

Krusty basically says he’ll jump into the budget briar patch moments after being elected, lock Democrats and Republicans in a room and then just turn on the charm, a strategy that draws cackles of derision from GOP rival Meg Whitman, who says his record on the matter during his first turn as governor belies his promise. As she recently put it:

The best indication of the future is what you have done in the past, and seven out of eight of Jerry Brown’s budgets were late.

Inspired by the fact-checking exploits of Brooks Jackson, we set out to test the veracity of eMeg’s charge; well, to be more precise, we dispatched Calbuzz intern Emily DeRuy, a UC San Diego honors grad, to do the heavy factoid analyzing. Based on data we gathered from the California Department of Finance, Emily filed this report:

The California Legislature is required to pass a budget each year by June 15. The governor then has 12 working days, or until June 30, to approve it. The budget takes effect on July 1, at the start of the new fiscal year. However, the budget is routinely signed well after the deadline. In the last 33 years, the governor has only met the target date nine times, five of those in the mid-1980s. The 2008-2009 budget was the most delayed, at 85 days late. On average, the budget has been signed 20 days after the deadline.*

The P.J. Hackenflack Scale, a scientific measurement of gubernatorial performance which calculates the average number of days before or after the July 1 deadline by which a governor signs the budget, shows:

– Jerry Brown: five budgets on time or early, three late; average = 4.375 days late.
– George Deukmejian: three budgets early, five late; average = 8 days late.
– Gray Davis: two budgets on time or early, three late; average = 25 days late.
– Pete Wilson: one budget on time, seven late; average = 29.75 days late.
– Arnold Schwarzenegger: one budget on time, five late; average = 35 days late (this does NOT include the 2010-2011 budget which is 78 days late and counting as of today, which will drive up Arnold’s average delay if and when the 2010-11 version ever gets signed).

Does Krusty the General rank best because he was a better governor than all the others? Of course not. What the numbers do show is that getting a budget signed by the constitutional deadline has become increasingly unlikely, given the partisan divisions and gridlock in Sacramento.

Also that, once again, Her Megness has her facts wrong. If she wants to smack Brown around for late budgets again, we have no doubt that she’ll take even stronger whacks at Deukmejian and Wilson, her campaign chairman..

*(The Department of Finance chart above does not include Jerry Brown’s first two budgets. When they are included, the final numbers show the budget was signed by the deadline 10 times for an average of 19 days after the deadline).

Fun with numbers: To the surprise of no one, eMeg has already shattered New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s self-funding record for a U.S. political campaign – with seven weeks left to go before the November 2 election.

With her most recent $15 million check to herself, eMeg has now personally forked out $119,075,806.11, according to the ever-punctilious Jack Chang.

Rounding off and discounting the couch change, this means that she has spent an average of $203,767.12 on each and every one of the 584 days since she declared her candidacy.

For those keeping score at home that works out to a 24/7 average of $8490.29 per hour, $141.50 per minute, and $2.36 per second.

Talk about in for a dime, in for a dollar.

Tea Party surge surges: The brilliant Beltway pundits who totally whiffed on forecasting the victory of Palin whack job clone Christine O’Donnell in the Republican Senate primary in Delaware didn’t miss a step in pivoting to educate all of us provincial types about What It All Means.

Our three cents:

1-By essentially taking The First State off the table as a possible Republican pick up of a Democrat seat – even Karl Rove thinks she’s nuts -  O’Donnell’s nomination will likely mean Barbara Boxer’s tough race against Carly Fiorina is going to get even tougher.

Although the GOP is generally loathe to spend on longshots and lost causes in California, Babs’ seat has instantly gone from would-be-nice to must-have in their recalculations for taking control of the Senate. So look for more big money to pour in like the multimillions the U.S. Chamber just started spending to bash Boxer on the airwaves.

2-It’s not likely Fiorina will get much oomph in California from the alleged national Tea Party wave (just ask Republican nominee Chuck DeVore). The TP’s most ballyhooed wins have come in low-population states – Alaska, Delaware, Nevada and Kentucky – where what they’ve actually accomplished has been to expand the universe of GOP primary voters.

Hurricane Carly has a much bigger problem trying to get back to the political center to attract some coastal moderate and independent voters than she does in pandering further to the three-cornered hat brigade.

3-Former Delaware Governor and current Rep. Mike Castle’s defeat signals that the ancient species known as a “moderate Republican” is now way beyond endangered and is pretty defunct.

Castle, who was close to a mortal lock to capture Joe Biden’s old Senate from the Democrats, is by all accounts a decent, dedicated and effective congressman who knows how to work across the aisle – no more politics as usual! – to get important things done quietly. That his own party turned him out is testament to the blood-lust cannibalism that Fox News has wrought, and his post-election comments add further evidence in support of the Calbuzz Death of Truth theory.

This just in: Jerry Brown is up with a new 30-second positive starting today. It couldn’t be simpler: Brown looks directly into the camera and delivers a little tough love straight talk, Most interesting to us is his reference to “at this stage in my life,” which both addresses the Gandalf issue and offers a subtle contrast with President eMeg’s motivation for running.

Our state is in a real mess. And I’m not going to give you any phony plans or snappy slogans that don’t go anywhere. We have to make some tough decisions. We have to live within our means, we’ve got to take the power from the state capital and move it down to the local level, closer to the people.  And no new taxes without voter approval. We’ve got to pull together not as Republicans or as Democrats, but as Californians first. And at this stage in my life, I’m prepared to do exactly that.

Brown spokeshuman Sterling Clifford says the new ad is joining, not replacing the 15-second Pinocchio spots in rotation. 

PS: After a bit of lawyering, Comcast, at least, is reportedly going to put the California Teachers Association ad attacking Meg Whitman back on the air. Joe Garofoli of the Chron has all the details.

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.

3-Dot Pot Shots: Madonna & Paris vs. Carly & Babs

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

carlyIt’s on: Not since Madonna’s smack down with Paris Hilton over Kabbalah has there been such an intriguing match-up of big-name narcissists as the potential U.S. Senate brawl between Barbara Boxer and Carly Fiorina – both of whom probably thought that song was about her.

Fiorina’s self-aggrandizing style has been well chronicled in stories about her destructive reign as CEO of Hewlett-Packard. And Boxer, whose shameless self-regard recently popped out in her public dressing down of a Pentagon officer who dared call her “ma’am” instead of “Senator,” has recently written yet another cheesy political thriller that admiringly focuses on her alter ego, Ellen Fischer (guess who’s the “honest, tough and energetic” U.S. Senator?).

At a time when California’s unemployment is soaring and its public schools are going down the toilet, there’s something vaguely creepy about the state’s junior senator tooling around with an entourage to book readings as she tries to cash in on her office with fine writing like this swooning recollection of the first glimpse her heroine’s hubby had of her:barbara-boxer

“Listen, ever since I saw you across that room, fighting for your children’s bill with every nerve in your body, I’ve loved you and wanted you and I can’t stand the thought of losing you.”

Whoa – peeping legislative posturing makes you hot? Duuude!

As Kimberley Strassel wrote about Boxer’s “Blind Trust” in a Wall Street Journal review,  the book  “begs to be read less as a thriller than as an attempt to score real-life political points in fictional form.”

Carla Takes On Carly: As a novelist, Boxer is, um, a really good politician. No matter what you think of her, she certainly paid her political dues, as a county supervisor and a member of congress, before stepping up to run for Senate, unlike Fiorina.

Yet from Boxer’s first, down-to-wire campaign against the mercurial Bruce Herschensohn in 1992, she has been routinely underrated by Republicans. Every six years, they think they’ve found the guy who can knock her off, and this time out, Fiorina is the guy being anointed by establishment GOPers such as Texas Senator John Cornyn, chair of the Republican Senatorial campaign committee. Unlike some of the other stiffs that Boxer’s vanquished, Fiorina at least will offer her a serious challenge in the swollen head sweepstakes.

“One is hard-pressed,” ABC-News Silicon Valley columnist Michael Malone wrote of Fiorina, “to think of anything she did during her time at either Lucent or HP that wasn’t designed to burnish her own image — at the sacrifice of anyone who got in her way.”

madonna_dont_tell_me_coverBe that as it may, the famously failed and fired CEO  Fiorina does know a thing or three about product launches, so the rocky roll-out of her nascent Senate candidacy this week can’t have pleased her very much.

For starters, there was this roundhouse right attack by party rival Chuck DeVore, whose slashing style makes Steve Poizner look like the Dali Lama. Then came a total takedown by the ubiquitous Carla Marinucci, who added to her previous reportage about Fiorina’s spotty California voting record the new news that the would-be Senator never voted in the 1980s and 1990s, when she lived in Maryland and New Jersey.

“Fiorina strongly disputes the voting records as ‘just wrong,’” an unfortunate spokeswoman for Carly told Carla.

Yeah, well, Calbuzz strongly disputes our birth certificates as “just wrong” too, but that don’t make us young.mug-shot-paris-hilton

The final epee cut to the rookie contender came from Michael Finnegan of the By God L.A. Times, who graced his yarn with a fine example of proper technique in  employing  the understated story kicker: “Fiorina was fired from Hewlett-Packard after a rocky tenure.” As Brian Leubitz put it in Calitics: “Ouch”

“Carly doesn’t understand Boxer,” one triple smart GOP insider told us. “If she tries to play that princess act, she’s toast.”

Calbuzz early line: Give the points and take the incumbent.

Speaking of entitlements: It’s disappointing to learn that San Francisco Mayor and wannabe governor Gavin Newsom views as a state secret the public costs of the cops who follow him everywhere, including on his campaign travels.

Let’s be clear that we don’t begrudge Newsom a round-the-clock security detail, especially given San Francisco’s history of violence against public officials. But refusing to disclose the bill taxpayers are footing, on top of his years-long resistance to releasing his daily mayoral calendars, suggests a petulant disregard for transparency in government, a troubling trait for an elected official at any level, let alone a governor.

The mayor’s office contends that releasing such information could compromise Newsom’s security and put him at risk, an argument that doesn’t seem to fly with the U.S. Secret Service or other big city mayors.

The Prince of Pride’s obstinacy on the issue has won him an extended beef mirkarimi_lgwith S.F. Supe Ross Mirkarimi, who’s sponsoring an ordinance that would not only make the mayor disclose how much his  personal protection on the campaign trail costs taxpayers, but also require him to reimburse the city for the politicking portion of his security bill.

“If he’s campaigning outside the city, there’s a question of commingling taxpayers’ money with his campaign,” Mirkarimi told us. “It’s good public policy that we recover those funds.”

Press Clips: Not sure who Tom Campbell knows at the Journal, but he got himself a big sloppy wet kiss this week trumpeting his bid for the Republican nomination for governor, in which a whole brigade of unnamed “analysts” offered a rosy view of Dudley Do Right’s chances…The always worth reading Nate Silver offers a forecast that should keep Nancy Pelosi awake at night — “While the Democrats are not extraordinary likely to lose the House, such an outcome is certainly well within the realm of possibility” –- over at FiveThirtyEight.com… Check out California’s Capitol, where Deadhead Greg Lucas turned off the iPod long enough to analyze the true shakiness of the just completed budget deal.

Swap Meet: Milk Carton Alert for Obama

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

barack-obama-is-on-fire“The Battle for America 2008,” the new memoir of last year’s presidential campaign by Washposters Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson, is a terrific read that, among other things, serves as a reminder of how consistent, clear and disciplined Team Obama was in delivering his message throughout the race.

Which leads Calbuzz to the obvious question: What ever happened to that guy?

The president-elect met with Balz and Johnson at his transition headquarters in Chicago six weeks after the election and offered this post-game assessment of his own campaign:

“What was remarkable in my mind about our campaign was we never really changed our theory,” the president-elect told them. “You could read the speech we gave the day I announced and then read my speech on election night and it was pretty consistent.”

True enough, but then how in the world can a guy who runs one of the most masterful message campaigns in history manage to do such a dog-ass job of explaining the two most important and defining initiatives  shaping his presidency: 1) How the economic stimulus is supposed to work and 2) What he’s trying to accomplish with health care reform.

Sure, the Republican attack machine is doing its best to create confusion and misapprehension. But it’s the White House Office of Communications’ job to explain things in simple language, lay out the general and specific issues at hand and rally support for these ideas. And this time, Team Obama is getting outflanked at every turn by naysayers, wingnuts and imbeciles, not to put too fine a point on it.

The message really ought to be fairly straightforward: The people versus a) rich investment bankers and b) the insurance companies.

Anything else makes the issues clear as mud. We’re just sayin’.

chuck devore

Welcome to the NFL, Carly: If Carly Fiorina is watching gal pal Meg Whitman’s head-stuck-up, uh, in-the-clouds campaign for governor and thinking –- Hey, this whole politics thing looks easy! — Chuck DeVore just delivered a smack upside her skull that might bring her back down to earth.

Devore, the red meat Republican Assemblyman from Irvine, is a long shot contender for Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat who’s been limbering up for the race by taking some not-half-bad cheap shots at Babs, but set aside a couple minutes this week to take a few whacks at Fiorina, who’s been sending signals from her Peninsula manse about seeking the GOP nomination.

Chowing down in D.C. with some true believers from the staff of The American Spectator, DeVore dissed his future party rival as a squish and a “self-funded dilettante” who got canned as CEO of Hewlett-Packard and booted off the McCain-for-President campaign for being a bonehead. As the conservative rag’s Brian O’Connell reported:

“‘Never in California’s history has a self-funded dilettante ever won any top office, Governor or Senate,’ the candidate said this morning at a breakfast sponsored by TAS and Americans for Tax Reform, when asked about a potential primary challenge from Fiorina. DeVore pointedly told attendees that Fiorina was fired from Hewlett Packard and from the McCain campaign for making several gaffes. He criticized her for supporting the financial bailout and said her views on most  policy issues were unknown. Moreover, he questioned whether Fiorina’s wealth, which he estimated at around $40 million, would even allow her to self-fund in a state such as California, with a population of 37 million and many expensive media markets. He also took issue with Sen. John Cornyn, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for ‘already making up his mind’ to support Fiorina, even though she hasn’t declared her candidacy.”

There were no injuries.

samiam

Holy Pocket, Sam! We LOVE this item from Anna Handzlik at Politico, who got a tip that a Good Samaritan found Congressman Sam Farr’s wallet in a Santa Cruz men’s room and returned it to him. But only after noticing that the Democrat from Carmel had in his wallet “a card marked ‘confidential’ that describes rendezvous points for congressmen in case of national emergencies.”

The finder, who described himself as a “supporter of single-payer health care,” reported that when he asked Farr’s aide if he’d noticed his wallet was missing, the aide nodded and said, “It’s been a real crazy morning.”

dr-hackenflackYe Old Mailbag: Dr. P.J. Hackenflack, who 40 years ago this weekend found his bliss while writhing in the Woodstock mud, tore himself away from his synthetic mescaline flashbacks long enough to pick the Top 5 comments of the past seven days from Calbuzz readers, the crème de la crème of California’s cognoscenti class.

1-sqrjn-sqrin said, of Tuesday’s rant assailing Obama’s reported pact-with-the-devil deal with the pharmaceutical industry:

“The Obama letdown continues. At least their secret deals aren’t with Oil execs right? Big Pharma’s better than Big Oil, right?

I don’t know which is worse. A.) the white house is making closed door deals with industry people and then lying about it B.) they didn’t make a deal, but this is a symptom that they are totally frazzled and disorganized, progressing quickly to screwing the pooch on a major reform.”

2-Divebomber responded to Berkeley professor Geoffrey Nunberg’s “Fresh Air” essay on political linguistics thusly:

“I disagree with Prof. Nunberg that the GOP successes to this point in the debate about state-run health care are the result of an implied negative view of the term ‘government’…

“In reality, boiling the issue down to simple semantics speaks to the real issue with the democrats and their proxy’s such as Prof. Nunberg – arrogance. They refuse to believe (and in many cases, simply are unable to conceive) that those with logical opposing positions to theirs have any real intelligence or critical analysis ability, and thus are easily swayed by simple word games.”

3-Prospero offered this take on Monday’s analysis of the new Field Poll report on changing patterns of partisanship in California:

“Don’t misunderestimate the effect of the meltdown of the state GOP in nailing down the color chart. In large part, we elect Dems to statewide offices because the GOP has become content with their second-string in the legislature, and aren’t even interested in fielding moderates who might some day grow up to be contenders. That’s why so many of their recent gubernatorial candidates have to come from outside the legislature – or even elected office.

“Independents swing blue here because the the GOP likes being isolated with the right wing who will continually whisper sweet red nothings in their ear. On fiscal issues in particular, California’s voters might very well take a serious GOP candidate seriously. It’s no accident that they repeatedly reject blue-ish proposals from the Gov that didn’t seem very fiscally prudent.

The collapse of our state GOP leaves the field blue by default. But the Dems shouldn’t be flattered by that into thinking the DTSs are equally blue.”

4-cavala provided an historic coda to Calbuzz’s Big Think piece on Jerry Brown’s eyebrows:

“And i can remember when Jerry was accused of dying his sideburns gray to add gravitas to his run for Sec. of State.”

5-And, finally, pdperry questioned the accuracy and authenticity of Calbuzz reportage about ’60s fashion sense:

“head band”?! I’m sure you meant head bang…

Which drew a rare response from Dr. H. himself:

“Actually, in the olden days, long before there were head bangers, some young men actually wore head bands.

To which pd riposted: “oh, dude… i get it now.”

Oh dude, only 298 days until the primary.  Enjoy your weekend.