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Posts Tagged ‘Dan Weintraub’



Field Poll: Right-Wingers Helping eMeg Crush Poiz

Friday, June 4th, 2010

The Field Poll released today further demonstrates how Meg Whitman put herself in position to claim the Republican nomination for governor on Tuesday: By making herself more popular than Steve Poizner among the strong conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts he aggressively courted – key players in the GOP nominating process but marginal, perhaps even detrimental to her in the general election.

Whitman enters the final weekend before Tuesday’s vote with a commanding 51-25% lead over Poizner, according to the non-partisan Field Poll. Poizner has cut Whitman’s lead to 26% compared to 49% in March (63-14%) to. But that’s still a landslide win for Whitman, who will, compared to Poizner, have spent three times the money to win twice the vote.

What may be worrisome for Team eMeg is that in the process of trashing Poizner – and Calbuzz really does not get why Whitman went up at the end with a new shoot-the-lifeboats ad against Poizner – Whitman’s unfavorable rating among Republicans rose 8 percentage points, although she does end the primary campaign with positive marks – 62-24% – at least among the GOP.

Unlike the PPIC poll released last week, the Field Poll did not immediately release all of its data, including the candidates’ favorability ratings across party lines which – as Calbuzz noted the other day – suggest that Whitman is on her way to winning the nomination at the cost of making herself unacceptable to independents, moderates and other swing voters.

Meanwhile, Capitol Weekly and Probolsky Research  released a tracking poll showing Whitman leading Poizner 54-24% and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina leading former Congressman Tom Campbell 40-25% in the GOP contest for U.S. Senate.

Virtually every poll in the last week or so has found that while Poizner may have gotten close to Whitman in the middle of May, he failed to close the gap and she poured enough money into television and other campaign media to pull away from him.

The Field Poll, for example, showed that Poizner drove up Whitman’s negative ratings among Republican voters, from 16% in March to 24% by the end of May. And Poizner even increased his own favorable rating by a whopping 20 points – from 20% in March to 40% by early June.

But Poizner’s unfavorable rating also inched up – to 39% from 34% in March. In other words, of the eight in 10 GOP voters who have any opinion about him, about half view him favorably and half unfavorably. Having one’s own party split 50-50 on whether they even like you, does not a candidate make.

Whitman, meanwhile, has cemented her impression among Republicans and by a 3-1 ratio GOP voters believe she has a better chance of defeating Jerry Brown, the certain Democratic nominee, in November.

Whitman beats Poizner 52-26% among strong conservatives compared to 49-25% among all others and she wins 55-25% among Tea Party identifiers and 48-25% among all others. In other words, Whitman has beaten Poizner at his own game – trying to be the right-wing candidate in the race.

The question now is this: Having established her bona fides with the knuckle-dragging wing of the California Republican Party, can she credibly appeal to the moderates and independents who are the key to statewide elections in California?

The Field Poll surveyed 511 likely voters May 27-June 2, including registered Republicans and non-partisans who had already cast absentee ballots. Because the Field Poll has refused to allow Calbuzz to become a paid subscriber, Calbuzz had to obtain the survey results by other means.

Press Clips: Timm Herdt throws the flag on Das Williams over-the-line move against Susan Jordan in the fiercely fought 35th Assembly District Democratic primary, where Williams’s guy totally doctors a photograph to make Jordan look bad, and then defends it as just another day at the office:

“We took our poetic license with that,” said Josh Pulliam, strategist for the Williams campaign. “It’s a physical manifestation of what she probably looked like at the location.”

OK, so Calbuzz doesn’t exactly have the high ground in complaining about photoshopped images, but seriously, a champagne flute? Next up: Das puts a turban on Susan’s head, a grenade in one hand, an AK-47 in the other and wonders what all the fuss is about.

Michael Rothfeld channels Don Meredith: “Turn out the lights, the party’s over”…Tom Friedman used to be a helluva’ reporter so it’s sad to watch him turn into a parody of himself, as he did in using the first person pronoun 13 times while declaring sovereignty for the nation of Friedlandia in his column on Israel’s Gaza flotilla attack…Best take to date on digging into Jerry Brown’s papers from his first stint as governor comes from SacBee’s  Marje Lundstrom, who teased out a terrific yarn about the political triangle of Jerry, father Pat and erstwhile chief of staff Gray Davis.

Why Newsweek is failing: 3,359 words, 7 bylines and not a single new fact…Why Newsweek is failing II: the insufferable Jon Meacham…Best evidence of why California needs a split roll property tax system comes from part-time Timesman Dan Weintraub…Nifty analysis by Robert Reich, the Barbara Boxer-sized former Secretary of Labor, shows  how America’s great new wave of entrepreneurship is really just a bunch of despairing unemployed Boomers.

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: Who had a worse week – Kendry Morales or Jim Joyce? You be the judge.

Press Clips: Morain, Marinucci & a Tale of 2 Tic Tocs

Friday, March 26th, 2010

What is eMeg so afraid of? Although our friend Dan Morain has become a full-fledged, thumb-sucking (all rise) Opinion Page Columnist, the guy just can’t stop himself from doing Actual Reporting. That’s why he’s the winner of this week’s coveted Little Pulitzer for Investigative Punditry, for his look inside Meg Whitman’s Proust-length campaign spending report, a piece that included an angle we didn’t see anywhere else:

She also frets about security.

Whitman has paid $204,000 to John W. Endert, a former eBay security executive who has a permit to carry firearms and describes himself as experienced in corporate investigations, executive protection and threat mitigation. She categorized the $10,500 per month expenditure as a campaign worker salary.

Whitman paid $3,500 to what she called a “campaign consultant.” The recipient, Walsingham Associate Inc., says on its Web site that it specializes in detection of eavesdropping equipment.

Last year, Whitman’s campaign paid $20,383 to a company called Western Limited and called the expenditure “polling and survey research.” Western Limited describes itself as a private investigations firm that seeks to “solve your case – whether it is obtaining damaging video, locating the background records that you need, or obtaining a statement that helps you make a claims or business decision.”

All this, plus details of eMeg’s luxury private jet travel and a close look at her catering bill that was almost as hard-hitting as our own.

Why it matters what candidates say: In his infinite wisdom, Joe Mathews has taught all us geezers that it’s a waste of time to write down the actual words that politicians actually speak. Now, it turns out, once in a while, their utterances actually become newsworthy. Say it ain’t so Joe!

Joe Garofoli and Carla Marinucci, the Twin Terrors of Fifth & Mish, were the first to jump on Her Megness for a total flip flop about releasing her tax returns, which was only fitting as it was Costco Carla who raised the question, during Whitman’s breakthrough media scrum in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara at the GOP convention, that elicited the quickly broken promise to make public 25 years of tax returns.

ABC (Always Believe Calbuzz): The Get a Life Division of our Department of Obscure Campaign Intelligence was the first to throw a penalty flag at eMeg, more than two weeks ago, for her dog-ass idea of organizing legislative “teams” to implement her personal agenda for California:

As we may have mentioned once or twice, eMeg’s major downside is that she appears not to understand that politics is a give-and-take, give-some-to-get-some business, that legislators are also elected by the people, and that the Capitol is a teeming cacophony of conflicting interests, not the site of an Imperial Governorship. In the KNBC interview, she made quite clear that she sees the role of lawmakers as secondary, when she graciously said they’d be welcome to serve on her “jobs team” or her “schools team.”

“Where do I sign up?” Senate leader Darrell Steinberg is no doubt asking.

Now comes the B Minus to report that Whitman not only isn’t backing away from this ludicrous notions, she’s expanding on it, demonstrating once again her staggering lack of understanding of how Sacramento works.

Which begs the question: Since some of the people around her do understand how the legislative process works and how the Legislature and the governor interact, is she just so pig-headed, she simply ignores advice from those in the know around her? Or are her legions of purse carriers just so blinded by the huge sums of money they’re sucking out of the campaign that they’re afraid to challenge her?

Her authentically alien approach to governing — I’ll decide what should happen and everyone will join teams to make those things happen — raises another key question: Is Long Island really another planet?

Health Care Hotline: Who’s the real hero who saved health care reform?

On Sunday, the NYT, in a P1 triple signer tic toc by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Jeff Zeleny and Carl Hulse, gave the nod to Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

In a series of impassioned conversations, over the telephone and in the Oval Office, she conveyed her frustration to the president, according to four people familiar with the talks. If she and Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, were going to stick out their necks for Mr. Obama’s top legislative priority, Ms. Pelosi wanted assurances that the president would too. At the White House, aides to Mr. Obama say, he also wanted assurances; he needed to hear that the leaders could pass his far-reaching plan.

“We’re in the majority,” Ms. Pelosi told the president. “We’ll never have a better majority in your presidency in numbers than we’ve got right now. We can make this work.”

One day later, however, the Washpost’s Ceci Connolly credited President Obama for his “singular” performance in saving the day, in her own 8 zillion word narrative reconstruction:

The remarkable change in political fortunes thrust Obama into a period of uncertainty and demonstrated the ability of one person to control the balance of power in Washington. On Jan. 19, that person seemed to be(newly elected Massachusetts Senator Scott) Brown.

But as the next 61 days would show, culminating in Sunday night’s historic vote, the fate of the legislation ultimately rested in the hands of Obama, who in the hours before Brown’s victory was growing increasingly frustrated as Pelosi detailed why no answer was in sight.

Intriguingly, both pieces used essentially the same anecdotal lede – the top-dog meetings at the White House in the immediate wake of Brown’s stunning victory – but reached entirely different conclusions.

Three dots are better than two: Credit LAT man Evan Halper for noting Jerry Brown’s nifty job of threading the needle on health care, paying lip service to looking into GOP demands that he join other attorneys general in a constitutional challenge to health care, while making it perfectly clear he would do no such thing…Perceptual scoop honors to Washpost whiz kid Ezra Klein for beating the pack to the story of how Republican Beltway types are now backing away from their angry promise to repeal the health care legislation…

More medical meanderings: Kudos to Dan Weintraub at Healthy Cal for a clear, detailed and useful Sunday look at exactly what was in the damn bill in advance of the big vote…HT to Hall of Fame Calbuzzer Kam Kuwata for pointing us to this excellent health care mash-up.

Just because: Andy Borowitz does it again.

Press Clips: Three Columns and a Bird In the Hand

Friday, October 30th, 2009

none_skelton_Score one for old school: The best columnists are first and foremost good reporters, as George Skelton proved anew this week, with a splendid 848-word takedown of Meg Whitman for the latest in her string of brazen departures from the truth. Capturing the coveted Calbuzz Little Pulitzer for Investigative Punditry,  George did an honest day’s worth of Actual Reporting to absolutely nail eMeg with a piece called “Meg Whitman’s Radio Whoppers” (memo to copy desk: nice hed).

The L.A. Timesman painstakingly demolished her phony claim that state spending has increased 80 percent in 10 years – for those keeping score at home, the true, slightly smaller, figure is, um, 27 percent:

We instinctively grant latitude to advertisers, whether they’re peddling politicians, dog food or miracle paring knives. But we do expect that an ad will not flat-out lie…

Now, in the very first series of radio ads in the 2010 gubernatorial race, comes blatant baloney from billionaire political novice Meg Whitman, the former chief executive of EBay who is running for the Republican nomination.

Blatant baloney indeed. This is now at least the third time in a few weeks that Her Megness has been exposed as an almost total stranger to the truth. After her ceaseless dissembling about her disgraceful voting record and the bald-faced lie she told conservative radio yakker Eric Hogue in promising to debate Steve Poizner three times before winter, this latest bit of stinky cheese has the full aroma of something rancid.

As we used to say at the city desk, if it happens once it’s news, twice it’s a coincidence and three times, it’s a trend.

vidablueWeintraub Watch: Ahem, ahem (sound of ponderous throat-clearing):

The last time California elected a governor who was pro-life, Ronald Reagan was president, Vida Blue was pitching for the San Francisco Giants and Gavin Newsom, now San Francisco’s mayor, was a sophomore at the University of Santa Clara . It was 1986 when George Deukmejian beat Tom Bradley in a re-match of their 1982 nail-biter.

We offer that ersatz column lede as an antidote to this unfortunately real one:

“The last time California elected a governor from Northern California, John F. Kennedy was president, the San Francisco Giants had just won their first National League pennant, and Gavin Newsom, now San Francisco’s mayor, had not been born. It was 1962 when Gov. Edmund G. Brown won a second term by defeating Richard M. Nixon.”

Now, Calbuzz is simply delighted that Dan Weintraub got himself a forum in the ByGodAllMighty New York Times (even if only in the NYT’s skimpy Bay Area pages), but we really wish he’d borrow a page from Skelton’s book and do some actual reporting so he could write something relevant about California politics.

The stop-the-presses premise of last Sunday’s column – that the state in 2010 will elect a governor from Northern, not Southern, California – is nothing but fluffy flapdoodle. (Especially when, just the week before, Weintraub teed up a chin-stroker quoting a top legislator as saying, “The whole Northern California versus Southern California frame is so 1980s. It’s different now”).

Lest this seem unduly harsh, we hasten to add that we, of all people, understand how truly difficult it is to come up with ONE COLUMN A WEEK(!!!). Because we’re collegial and collaborative fellows who understand that There Is No “I” in T-E-A-M, here are some suggested ledes for future – strange but true! – political anomaly columns:

1-The 2010 governor’s race is the first in memory in which 60 percent of the candidates have first names with five letters  while only 40 percent have three, The Times has learned.

2-Next year’s election will mark the sixth consecutive contest for governor of California without a strong Armenian-American in the field, according to veteran political professionals on this coast.

3-For only the third time this century, a gubernatorial campaign will be conducted without a contender named Angelides strongly positioned to win his party’s nomination, sources said.

You could look it up.

joe_matthews280x350

Going, going, con-con: Our Department of Drill Down Policy Analysis and Professional Wonkery  is still working its way with a yellow highlighter through the 8,000 words of the second of two initiatives sponsored by the Bay Area Council aimed at convening a constitutional convention in California.

While awaiting what we like to call their work product deliverable, we deduce that the best online package put together on the proposals to date  may be found over at Fox and Hounds, where proprietor Joel Fox, the estimable Joe Mathews and the inevitable John Wildermuth cobbled together an examination of the matter from various perspectives.

The reliably nimble Mathews piece,which posits a batch of not-so-frequently-asked questions, is the best place to start, as he gets elbow deep in the crankcase grease of the thing, and pulls out some surprising spare parts:

So what’s not on the table?

Raising or reducing taxes and fees. Specifically, the convention’s revisions, amendments or suggested statutory changes “may not include new language, or alter existing language, that (1) directly imposes or reduces any taxes or fees; (2) sets the frequency at which real property is assessed or re-assessed; or (3) defines “change in ownership’ as it relates to any tax or fee.’”

Are you kidding?

It was just a few months ago that Calbuzz was defending con con sponsors in their dispute with Capitol Weekly, which had reported that Bay Area Council types were quietly maneuvering to banish debate about Proposition 13 from the convention agenda. Now it appears CapWeekly had it right along.

middle_fingerA Middle Finger Scoop: Mega-kudos to Tim Redmond, our mildly eccentric old friend at the SF Bay Guardian, who scooped the world with his blog post demonstrating that Governor Schwarzmuscle had issued a veto message about one of SF Assman Tom Ammiano’s bills that spelled out “I Fuck You” with the first letter of the first word in nine consecutive lines.

When we emailed Redmond (who apparently was not wearing a Dr, Hackenflack decoder ring) how he’d cracked the code, he said:

Honestly, I got a tip to look at it (as you know, once you’ve been doing this for 25 years people call with all kinds of stuff), and once you look at it it’s pretty clear. Amazing, huh?

Absolutely bro. Another amazing thing was that rival news organizations jumped in to follow Redmond’s scoop, rather than pooh-poohing it or pretending it didn’t exist, in direct violation of traditional San Francisco journalistic practice. The consistently quick off the mark S.F. Weekly, the Guardian’s chief rival, came back with its own scoop, reporting that a top  mathematician put the odds at  1 in 2 billion that the governor’s salute to Ammiano was a coincidence, while the dry-witted John Diaz at the Chron used the same technique to embed his own secret message to the governor (“grow up girlie-man”) in an editorial tut-tutting at Arnold for the stunt.

Good times.

Jerry-CNBC Replay Meets Chron-Times Dust-up

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

023-185After Jerry Brown smacked around money honey Michelle Caruso-Cabrera on national TV Wednesday, the vapid CNBC yakker took to her blog to try to win the argument post facto, kinda like a sloppy drunk  mumbling imaginary “I should have told him” lines to herself after getting 86ed from a saloon for acting the fool. Alas, all Ms. Michelle did was dig herself in deeper.

In trying to pooh-pooh the scope of AG Brown’s lawsuit against State Street Bank, she merely proved her incompetence by using a fallacious calculation of damages (based on California’s entire population instead of the much smaller number of actual plaintiffs enrolled in state pension plans).

In reflexively and aggressively defending the bank by portraying Brown’s motivation as totally political, she underscored the condescending contempt that Wall Street hotshots and those paid to kiss their butts for a living have for the rest of us hoi polloi types.

And by invoking as a proper role model for Brown the former New York AG Eliot Spitzer, driven from office by a scandal involving his kink for boning hookers while clad only in executive, knee-length socks, she revealed herself as one of the more dim-witted alums of Wellesley, a fine university, except for its student body’s popular weekend tradition of piling aboard the “Fuck Truck.”

With Crusty twisting the knife by posting his own Huffpost blog, he came away from the incident a clear winner, looking like a champion of the little guy standing up to financial service scumbags, despite the suspicions of some of our friends on the left that it’s more of a pose than a passion.

dragonflippedThe second biggest media kerfuffle of the week came about when Chronsman Phil Bronstein, the Abe Mellinkoff of the new millennium, all but accused the New York Times of plagiarism by noting the similarities between the anecdotal lede of a recent story in his paper and that of a feature featured in the Times’ much-ballyhooed new Bay Area section, which is aimed at eating the remaining crumbs of the Chronicle’s lunch.

Whereupon the nimble and resourceful SF Weekly quickly noted that the Chron lede he cited itself bore a striking resemblance to that of a Long Beach Post-Telegram story published days before.  This was quickly followed by a brushback blog from (all rise) the Times associate managing editor for standards, Philip B. Corbett, who declared Bronstein’s bitch to be “ridiculous.” El Macho, studiously ignoring the Long Beach-Chronicle connection, riposted by harrumphing that he expected more from the Times.

Then he resumed channeling the late Mellinkoff, a longtime High Sheriff of the Chronicle newsroom who, in the twilight of a storied career, was shunted off to write an ed-page column, which longtime rival Bill German  famously declared should always end with the phrase “Solution Tomorrow.”

weintraub

Speaking of self-referential columnists: Calbuzz kudos to Dan Weintraub, longtime opiner at the B-who’s bailed to launch a new web site (brave man) focused on health care, and to write a Sunday column for the NYT’s aforementioned Bay Area pages. But what’s with the self important farewell piece? We counted no less than 25 uses of the word “I,” along with 14 references to “my,” in the piece, an enough-about-me-what-do-you-think-of-me, self-satisfied summing up of what a splendid fellow is Dan Weintraub. Did we mention he  practically invented the Internets?

“While that change has been difficult for the newspaper industry’s business model, I’ve been a big supporter of the Internet as a way for us to better connect with our readers. With my editors’ support, I’ve tried to be a pioneer in the field, and now, to their chagrin, I am taking what I’ve learned and leaving to do my own thing.”

Trust us, Dan, they’ll get over it.

jerrytwirl

Don’t spill that seed: All right thinking Calbuzzers — even the gnostic monads among us — know quite well that the “Omega Seed” refers to the universal and ultimate encapsulation of all the information-learning generated by evolutionary development, a fascinating idea developed by Paolo Soleri and his Arcosanti Project.

Now the Omega Seed has surfaced in the governor’s race, as A-list political reporters recall Brown asking Soleri about the idea, in one of a series of interviews with innovative thinkers he conducted years ago that form the spine of his ’90s era book “Dialogues.”

With anti-Brown political oppo types (we name no names) just now mischievously sowing the field of Campaign ’10 with seeds of ridicule about the General’s, um, iconoclastic past, artifacts like his book and transcripts of his old KPFA radio shows are suddenly – mysteriously! -   turning up in blogs and the columns of California’s finest newspapers, as purported evidence of the strangeness and wackiness of “Moonbeam” Brown.

But here’s the beauty part: As with the Omega Seed notion, the kaleidoscopic “wacky” ideas that have fascinated Brown over the past four decades almost always show themselves to be genuinely interesting, intriguing and even important, and the spectacle of political hacks, insiders and scribes laughing uproariously at them just proves anew what a shallow bunch of anti-intellectual nitwits we are.

Today’s sign that the end of civilization is near (click on the photo): sweatlodge