Posts Tagged ‘Blue Plymouth’

The Envelope Please: Winners and Losers from State Dem Meeting

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

If there’s one thing Calbuzz can’t stand, it’s that whole self – esteemy, kissy-mama “We’re All Winners” thing, where every rug rat who shows up for after-school league soccer practice goes home with a red ribbon and a cheesy trophy. Politics is all about winners and losers and there were plenty of each at the California Democratic Party state convention last weekend. Here’s our user-friendly guide to both:

Capitol Creaturesdebra-bowen-official-photo

Winner: Debra Bowen. The SOS, a young, smart and very competent rising star, got one of the weekend’s warmest receptions from the delegates. Not to mention, she’s one of the few denizens of Sacto without a single fingerprint on the budget debacle and the looming special election disaster.

Loser: Darrell Steinberg. In his maiden voyage into statewide visibility, the Dems’ state senate leader bet the house on the budget deal embodied by the May 19 ballot props. On Sunday, he lost the pot, when SEIU and AFSCME outmaneuvered him to block an endorsement of Prop. 1A; Steinberg’s post-game effort to declare victory was beyond lame, and only made matters worse.

Event Planner Optics

Winner: Tacos. Assemblyman Hector de la Torre, who’s running for Insurance Commissioner, showed a political talent that approaches sheer genius by throwing all his resources at the key feature of campaign organzing: free food. Hector’s taco giveaway on the K Street mall was mobbed by convention goers who made it among the best-attended events of the weekend.

Loser: The Blue Plymouth. The surprise appearance of AG Jerry Brown’s 1974 powder blue 150 hp, 318 cu. in. V8 Plymouth Satellite (list price $3,342), the iconic image of his first turn as governor, was sweet and sentimental, but it served to underscore the historic set piece nature of his event at the Governor’s Mansion, which itself is a museum, ferhevinsake.

Gubernatorial Gumption

Winner: Gavin Newsom. S.F’s pretty-boy mayor did everything he needed to do to introduce himself to party regulars and insiders in a big way, instantly establishing his credibility as a statewide candidate. If Prince Gavin learns to turn down his constant charm offensive a notch or two, he could be formidable.

Loser: Antonio Villaraigosa. We’re still searching for the urgent, this-just-in bulletins on the big “crisis” budget talks that forced the L.A. Mayor to stiff the convention at the last minute. Tony V’s already hampered by his inability to raise money for a gov’s race before late summer, and skipping what traditionally is the kickoff event didn’t help establish him as a force in the contest.

Special Interest Sweepstakes

Winner: SEIU and AFSCME. Fearful that Prop. 1A’s spending cap will mean lost jobs and wages for their members, the two public employee unions, with an assist from the liberal netroots, out-organized and out-hustled the Democratic legislative leadership to deny the 60% vote needed for a party endorsement of their deal-with-the-devil initiative. If 1A goes down, though, these same union leaders will be on the hook should the prop’s supporters be right in their sky-is-falling prognosis of more and worse budget cuts to come.

Loser: California Teachers Association. The teachers are in a truly awkward position, in bed with Arnold on Prop. 1A, in order to win approval for Prop. 1B, which is what they really want. The Demo delegates endorsed 1B all right, but it was a hollow victory for CTA ‘cause all bets are off unless 1A passes first. Despite heroic efforts by their consultants to fashion a silk purse, CTA is stuck with a sow’s ear.

Comic Relief

Winner: Tony V’s press guys’ line: “Antonio Villaraigosa is not going to Twitter while Rome burns.”

Loser: Bill Lockyer. To his credit, Mr. Treasurer tried to lighten things with a Power Point presentation of the Top 10 movie remakes to come out of the recession. But Good Lord, man, stop the droning and watch some Letterman re-runs: Top 10s only work if they’re short and punchy to the point.

Media Mavens

Winner: Carla Marinucci.
Watching Chron teammates take buy-outs by the score, the Chron’s political chief does it all, racing around and schmoozing at warp speed while covering all the bases, in print and online. She scored a coup by video-blogging Brown giving her a tour of the governor’s mansion, a scoop that turned Calbuzz green with envy.

Loser: Liberal bloggers. We love the energy, smarts and passion of our netroots colleagues on the left, but seriously, guys and gals, there’s no cheering in the press box. The sycophantic questions for Barbara Boxer were bad enough, but the applause at the end of her press avail was truly over the top.

Marketing Strategy

Winner: Ben Tulchin, of Tulchin Research in San Francisco, who dropped a governor’s race poll into the mediasphere just before the convention opened, guaranteeing that it would generate buzz –- positive and negative, alike — for his newly-established survey firm.

Loser: Traditional news media. If their survival depends on making themselves indispensable to their hometown readers, the newspapers demonstrated anew that they’re 24 hours late and $14.95 a month (or whatever the going subscription rate is) short.

Jerry vs. Gavin: The Sacto Party Smackdown

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom each invited hundreds of their closest friends to a big party last night to promote his Democratic primary campaign for governor. The people, places and performances by each politician spoke volumes about the approach each candidate is taking. Here’s the Calbuzz tale of the tape:

Event: JB- outdoor reception GN – block party concert with loud music
Location: JB – Historic governor’s mansion GN – Sacramento’s Lavender District
Crowd : JB- 800+ middle-age voters GN – 2,000+ 18-30-year-old rap fans
Music: JB – recession reception playlist GN – Wyclef Jean, Butterscotch
Activity: JB – Mansion tours and schmooze with Jerry GN – Dance your ass off to throbbing sounds
Drinks: JB – Free beer GN – Cosmopolitans, martinis at cash bar
Backdrop: JB – Jerry’s 1974 Plymouth GN – Badlands, Faces, The Depot and Head Hunters
Ally on hand: JB – Wife Anne Gust Brown GN – Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson
Cost of event: JB – Pretty cheap GN – Really expensive
Crowd attire: JB – Political buttons and blazers GN – Black hoodies and cocktail dresses

Some outtakes:

Gavin met with bloggers in the afternoon and bragged that his announcement came when he “pushed the button” to 300,000 online fans and followers . . . said it’s not about old versus young but attacking the status quo . . . also said he can’t support Props 1 C, D and E . . . He was way late getting to the party in his honor. . . Calbuzz could barely see the guy and he gave no political speech at all.

Jerry scoffed at Gavin’s Twitter boast: “You can’t solve the problems of California by Twitter”* . . . said he would live in the historic mansion if he were elected governor . . . recalled living there when his dad was governor: “I had a small room on the second floor. This time I’ll take the big one.” . . . Calbuzz learned late Saturday that JB is staying in his old apartment on N St. during the convention.

* That’s the short verion. Long Jesuitical version: “You can’t solve the problems of California by Twitter. To state the proposition is to refute it. What is the proposition? That you can solve the problems of California by Twitter.”

P.S. Here’s Brown’s 1974 Plymouth which he didn’t know would be there