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Posts Tagged ‘Jacques Barzaghi’



The Gov’s Debate Calbuzz Would Like to Live Blog

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

When Tom Brokaw, Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown meet for their three-way in Marin County tonight, we’re betting it will be a pretty tame affair, with NBC’s anchor emeritus setting the tone with genteel inquiries delivered with urbane civility as Meg and Krusty display their best behavior.

Or not.

In any case, while the candidates have been hunkered down boning up for tonight’s big event at Dominican University, political writers have been furiously trying to answer the crucial question of who played the opponent in debate prep for eMeg and Krusty.

Calbuzz hears eMeg was played by Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board,  in at least one debate prep session. We’ve been unable to unearth any more than that. So we decided to cast the sparring partners ourselves, as you can see above.

We’re also offering Calbuzz readers a look at the debate questions you won’t (and probably shouldn’t) hear as you’re deciding whom to support to lead the Great State of California.

With his Olympian air, Brokaw might turn to Brown and ask, for example: “Gov. Brown, what medication do you take for your ADD?” (For Bigfoot Tom this has the advantage of having no “ls” to swallow.)

Or, in his most resonant basso, he might look quizzically at eMeg and ask: “Ms Whitman, after not voting for 28 years, exactly when did you decide you wouldn’t let California fail?”

But really, since it’s not our debate – you may recall, Jerry accepted the invitation we proposed along with FlashReport and Calitics but Meg declined – we’d prefer to see the candidates question one another. To wit:

Meg: Who you calling a whore, bitch?  It was Anne wasn’t it?

Jerry: Hey Meg, how come you never talk about those boys of yours?

Meg: Who does your eyebrows, anyway?

Jerry: Don’t they have any decent hairdressers down there around Atherton?

(For the record, we criticize ourselves severely).

Or on the slightly more serious side, how about this:

Meg: How come you didn’t fire Jacques Barzaghi the first time he sexually harassed a woman on the city staff?

Jerry: Why didn’t you hire Nicky Diaz an immigration lawyer ?

And if they want to get really nasty:

Meg: Mr. Brown,  why don’t you just come out now and admit you’d like to put a measure on the ballot to overturn Proposition 13’s requirement for a 2/3 vote for tax increases?

Jerry: Ms Whitman, what are you going to do when an assemblyman from Firebaugh tells you he’ll vote for your budget as soon as you put a $4 million swimming pool in his district?

Meg: Would you appoint anyone to the bench who doesn’t support the death penalty?

Jerry: Would you appoint anyone to the bench who doesn’t support a woman’s right to choose?

Here’s what we don’t want to hear, yet again: talking points from their respective web sites – positions honed and polished by their advisers and allies – brought to life as a filibuster.

Which is what we’re likely to get if Brokaw doesn’t force Whitman and Brown to explain their reasoning, to get beyond the simple-minded superficialities they’ve resorted to in the campaign to date.

Well actually, Krusty hasn’t even offered too many of those.

What the hell, we’ll live blog it anyway. Sure you can watch it live on your local NBC affiliate, but you’ll be much better off coming back to Calbuzz around 6:15 p.m. Plenty of free parking.

Coming Up Next: Brokaw Takes on eMeg and Krusty

Monday, October 11th, 2010

First there was the Duel in Davis. Then the Fracas in Fresno. And now comes the Brokaw Brawl.

The former NBC News anchor will be the third conspicuous presence in the match-up on Tuesday at Dominican University between Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman. The substance, tone and texture of the debate will be entirely decided by Tom Brokaw who, despite having no intimate knowledge about the race for governor, has a facility for asking candidates questions that probe the thinking beneath their talking points.

For Gandalf, that should not be much of a problem: it doesn’t take much to get him to talk about the philosophical underpinnings of his political ideas. His only risk is letting loose a verbal arabesque that references G.K. Chesterton, St. Ignatius and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and leaves listeners asking, “WTF is he talking about?”

But we have no idea how eMeg will handle the challenge because as far as we know she’s never submitted to an interview where her political ontology has been revealed. She’s a smart woman with an accomplished business resume but she didn’t even vote for 28 years before she woke up one day and decided she just couldn’t let California fail.

In the 2008 presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain, Brokaw took time between questions from the audience and the interwebs to ask questions like:

– “Quick discussion: Is health care in America a privilege, a right, or a responsibility?”

– “Should we fund a Manhattan-like project that develops a nuclear bomb to deal with global energy and alternative energy or should we fund 100,000 garages across America, the kind of industry and innovation that developed Silicon Valley?”

– “Let’s see if we can establish tonight the Obama doctrine and the McCain doctrine for the use of United States combat forces in situations where there’s a humanitarian crisis, but it does not affect our national security.”

– “This requires only a yes or a no. Ronald Reagan famously said that the Soviet Union was the evil empire. Do you think that Russia under Vladimir Putin is an evil empire?”

Of course, a well-trained seal candidate can revert to talking points, even in the face of a thoughtful question. But at the risk of looking like a shallow evader – especially if the moderator or the opponent points out that he or she never answered the question.

Consider the possibilities. In a moving 2006 commencement address to Stanford’s undergraduates, Brokaw spoke of a world of perpetual contradictions, unintended consequences and unexpected realities, and he described how he admires most people who gave up comfort and convention to make a difference.

He said he could hobnob with elites anywhere in the world but that he never felt so intellectually alive as the time he heard a young nomadic tribesman in Mongolia describe riding his horse 20 miles through freezing temperatures just for the chance to vote.

Will he use the passion he has about commitment and participation to ask Whitman why she never voted for all those years? Or to ask Brown why, if he’s genuinely committed to democracy, doesn’t he advocate a majority vote for passing taxes?

Just because Brokaw is in charge, however, doesn’t mean the candidates won’t have their own debate strategies. Brown, believing he is leading in the polls, has no reason to attack and every reason to project himself as an elder statesman who does not have to wrestle in the dirt. Voters know he’s got what it takes to be governor; they just want to know he’ll keep his hands off their money.

But if Whitman believes she’s behind (as she apparently did going into the Univision debate), she will want to make Brown bleed and pressure him to make an error. She’ll want him on defense (which is not that hard if you attack his record). But as we’ve seen, Brown is a consummate counter-puncher and is not afraid of breaking the conventions of TV format if he has to. So if Whitman comes at him, it’s a move that carries risks, especially when her No. 1 challenge is to demonstrate that she has the skill, knowledge and temperament to be a governor.

In an interview with comrade Joe Garofoli of the Chronicle back in August, Brokaw, who said he won’t be a “patsy,” even though he has been following California politics from Montana. “The big issues obviously are spending and taxes and special interests and the referendum procedure. These are all critical issues for California,” he said. “The large issue for California is, ‘Are the golden years over?’ Or, is there a new era for California? And if there is, how do we get to it and bring everybody on board?”

Let’s hope he doesn’t ask vapid questions like that because he’ll just get the same drivel the candidates spew on the stump.

Tuesday’s debate may serve as a pivot point for the rest of the campaign. We’re not sure when Whitman will make her next move against Brown on TV:  Will it be before the debate or after? Will she put something up that she wants Brokaw to ask about, or will it be something she’d rather not have brought up in the debate?

Most consultants we’ve talked to in the past few days are predicting that Whitman will throw whatever’s left of the kitchen sink at Brown in the next weeks. Some think she’ll just hammer him further about taxes and spending – since the Armies of eMeg believe that’s his weak spot.

Others foresee nastier hits, perhaps something aimed at women tying the “whore” comment to Brown’s handling of his friend and aide Jacques Barzaghi (whom Brown belatedly fired long after he’d been charged with sexual harassment) and to his questioning, in 1995, the value of mammograms (a debate that is still going on in the medical world, btw).

As for the mammogram issue, a story which got fed  to Maggie Haberman of Politico in New York like cheap bait to a fish, we have two notes. First, this from the (All Bow Down) New York Times – an article noting that the usefulness of mammogram screening is still hotly debated in medical circles. And the quote of the week from Brown’s spokeshuman Sterling Clifford (or Clifford Sterling, if you prefer):

“Jerry Brown opposes cancer in all cases.”

eMeg Jumps NASCAR, Carly IEd, Meyer’s Latest

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

In the greatest tactical move since Hannibal whup-assed the Romans, Meg Whitman has stolen a march on Steve Poizner, copping an invite to fly the flag a day early at this weekend’s NASCAR racing in Fontana.

With Poizner set to ride in the pace car at the start of tomorrow’s Sprint Cup Auto Club 500, eMeg will wield the green flag for tonight’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Stater Brothers 300, with a field of drivers that includes auto racing buzz queen Danica Patrick.

“Sunday will be the only time Steve Poizner leads a race all year,” snarked Team Whitman spokeshuman, the volcanic Sara Pompei.

Although the Saturday night race is the AAA equivalent to Sunday’s Major League event, eMeg’s late entry into the NASCAR panderstakes came as a surprise that may take some of the steam out of the appearance by The Commish.

Bottom line: When Calbuzz speaks, the campaigns listen.

P.S. eMeg’s sudden agreement Friday to participate in a second debate with Poizner, this one to be broadcast May 2 on the electric television, may also help to blunt Poizner’s effort to foment trouble with a peasants-with-pitchforks petition demanding the two to face off at the March 13 GOP convention.

On the other hand, it kinda undercuts the “Hey, Hey, Steve, Steve, Get Out of My Race” line that the Armies of eMeg have been broadcasting to agree to join him in a debate in May. Talk about your mixed messages.

Negative Exposure for Hurricane Carly: The latest independent expenditure committee to surface in California — in the wake of the two aimed at boosting Jerry Brown for governor –  is “CarlyExposed.com,” an operation by the Lantern Project, a labor-funded political organization that waged a campaign against now-former Republican U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

“The first aim of the Lantern Project’s work in California is to make sure as many voters as possible are exposed to the facts about Carly Fiorina,” says Julie Buckner, a Los Angeles political strategist working with The Lantern Project. “It is absolutely our goal to help Californians understand that Carly is nothing like the innovative, problem-solving high-tech whiz kid she portrays herself to be, and to blunt misleading information conveyed to voters by Carly’s slick and well-financed campaign committee.”

At the moment, Buckner acknowledged, Carlyexposed is just a web site, a media plan and a fund-raising plan. But Buckner, an experienced political operative in Los Angeles (who also runs InYoga Center which fronts for her Laurel Canyon Media Group out back), and partner Celia Fischer expect to have a thriving anti-Carly operation running soon.

A preview: On the site is a video clip from a report by Mark Matthews of KGO-TV showing that Fiorina was for taxing internet sales before she was against it.

Buckner, Fischer and their liberal labor allies are strong supporters of Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer who, according to sources, is more worried about a challenge from Fiorina (because she is a woman with some appeal to independent voters), than she is about Assemblyman Chuck DeVore or former U.S. Rep. Tom Campbell. Thus the focus on Fiorina.

“On the occasion of Barbara Boxer formally getting into this race, it comes as no surprise that her public employee union allies would use a shady 527 organization to falsely attack Carly,” said Fiorina spokeswoman Julie Soderlund. “Carly is clearly the candidate Boxer would least like to face in the general election because she knows Carly can beat her and will hold her accountable for her failed record.”

Whether Fiorina represents the greatest threat to Boxer, however, is arguable. Because he’s pro-choice, pro-gay rights and pro-environment, Campbell might well represent an even greater threat to Boxer in a general election. Helping knock out Fiorina in the primary could backfire on Boxer’s allies in the fall. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Tom Meyer today offers perspective on the, um, PR problem facing the spinners for Blue Cross Anthem, after the company imposed 39 percent health insurance rate increases for California customers.

In a weird week filled with political meltdowns and corporate furors, the Blue Cross controversy  was just one of many challenges facing highly-paid professional liars, who did their collective best to draw happy faces on dreadful situations.

Here’s the Calbuzz Top 10 quotes of the week.

I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did was not acceptable.
–Tiger Woods, master of understatement and major jackass

It’s not a secret that she has a medical condition for which she’s being treated. That condition does not affect her ability to do her job as a senator. But it can make her irritable, and when she’s irritable, she lets it be known.
–David Miller, press secretary to state Senator Pat Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa, challenging Tiger on spin, after his boss went nuclear at a hearing when a staffer forgot to refill a water pitcher.

History shows that great companies learn from their mistakes.
–Toyota USA president and CEO Jim Lentz, getting a little ahead of himself, in a full-page ad seeking to stop the bleeding as consumer confidence in his company plummets.

I was thinking tonight, I was trying to figure out that if I did announce, what the hell would I say?
–Jerry Brown, offering insight into why he’s running for governor, in a widely panned speech in San Francisco.

On a personal level I am glad that (Jerry Brown) has married. As I watched him awkwardly dance in the 1980’s with a songstress late at night at Eilish’s Bar, I gave his social development little chance. The subsequent growth may indicate some Brown progress.
–Former Congressman and current Calbuzz commentator Ernie Konnyu on how well Brown is not only aging, but maturing too.

If a Customer cannot comfortably lower the armrest and infringes on a portion of another seat, a Customer seated adjacent would be very uncomfortable and a timely exit from the aircraft in the event of an emergency might be compromised if we allow a cramped, restricted seating arrangement.
–A spokeswoman for Southwest Airlines, dancing as fast as she can, after the airline was criticized for booting 340-pound director Kevin Smith off a flight for being too fat.

So, what I’m trying to do is run a smart, strategic campaign. We’re trying to get our message out.
–Republican wannabe Governor Meg Whitman moments before fleeing into the night to avoid answering questions from reporters at an appearance in Lafayette.

I was stupid and careless and fucked up and thought [the copy from the Wall Street Journal) was my own stuff, or it somehow slipped in there.
–Fired NYT business reporter Zachary Kouwe, setting a world record for prevarication to avoid taking responsibility for being a plagiarist.

If the Olympic champion doesn’t know how to jump a quad, I don’t know. Now it’s not men’s figure skating. It’s dancing. Maybe figure skating needs a new name.
–Dethroned Olympics skating champion and roundhouse jerk Yevgeny Plushenko trash talking American Evan Lysacek’s victory performance for not including a quadruple jump.

You know, I don’t live here.
–Jacques Barzaghi, international man of mystery and banished and disgraced former Jerry Brown aide caught lurking around Oakland by the Chronicle’s Chip Johnson.