Calbuzz contributor Susan Rose, in a post filed Tuesday, roundly bashed Governor Arnold, characterizing his tenure as “a combination of insults, bullying, threats and failures.” After the post, David Crane, Special Adviser to Governor Schwarzenegger, asked for a chance to respond:
By David Crane
Special to Calbuzz
Susan Rose’s recent attack on Governor Schwarzenegger shows an utter disregard for facts.
Ms. Rose conveniently left out the single most important fact about the state budget, namely that explosive growth in government-employee compensation is responsible for crowding out spending for all those social programs she favors.
As one example, from 2003-2010, retirement benefit costs took more than $25 billion away from higher education, parks & recreation, environmental protection, health & human services and other important programs. As another example, the per employee cost of compensation nearly doubled over the last ten years, stripping money from programs.
All of these costs were cemented into place by contracts and legislation passed by the last administration. Governor Schwarzenegger has fought mightily to reform those contracts and legislation but legislators in hock to special interests refuse to budge.
Ms. Rose’s column is just another example of non-fact-based partisanship designed to fulfill the wishes of one special interest or another. The real fact is that the only way to protect programs is by reforming government employee compensation. While Ms. Rose is happy to raise taxes in order to keep paying more to government employees, Governor Schwarzenegger is not.
Actions speak louder than words. When Ms. Rose is ready to do something about the damage being caused by out-of-control government employee compensation it’ll be time to listen to her.
All eMeg All the Time: The Calbuzz Department of Dumpster Diving & Green Earth Recycling has stumbled upon an internal report from Meg Whitman’s campaign which details the size and reach of her current advertising buy, which can be described in two words: Holy Cow.
The campaign’s Gross Rating Point report, measuring total delivery of the current week’s broadcast ad schedule in 11 markets in California, shows that eMeg’s buy is comparable to what a fully-loaded campaign might ordinarily deliver in the closing weeks of a heated race – not three months before a primary that she’s prohibitively leading.
“These are some big fuckin’ numbers,” said Bill Carrick, the veteran Democratic media consultant after reviewing the report. “She’s buying the whole shebang.”
As a practical matter, 1,000 GRPs a week means that an average TV viewer in a large market would have about 10 opportunities a week to see a Meg Whitman ad; in smaller markets, with only two or three stations, 700-800 GRPs would be a significant buy. Here’s what the internal campaign report shows she’s doing around the state (N.B. Calbuzz did not independently confirm these numbers):
–Palm Springs 806
–San Diego 1,008
–San Francisco 702
–Santa Barbara 929
“With this buy, the chances of not seeing a Meg Whitman spot are pretty slim,” Carrick said.
According to the report, Steve Poizner’s current buy in various markets is a fraction of eMeg’s – ranging from 15 to 50 percent – which seems in the ballpark, based on anecdotal reports from several veteran California media consultants who watch TV incessantly.
One Republican source not affiliated with the governor’s race said he thought the eMeg strategy of going on the air so heavy so early in the campaign might backfire:
“She’s way overdoing it – she’s going to wear out her welcome.”
Meg wears out her welcome: And that’s exactly what the Great Woman did in the East Bay yesterday, when she set off a row with veteran Bay Area political reporters by once again refusing to take any questions – after inviting press coverage of her tour of the Union Pacific Railroad site at the Port of Oakland. Chronicler Carla Marinucci picks up the story:
Then came the news that Whitman also wouldn’t take questions; reporters had been called in to “see” her make statements on “how she could be helpful as governor” on jobs and the economy, Whitman spokeswoman Sarah Pompei said.
Veteran reporters, who included KTVU’s Randy Shandobil and KPIX’s Hank Plante, were among the crowd that wasn’t amused. Question: is Whitman a candidate for governor, or a museum piece to be “watched” by reporters?
Pompei told reporters Whitman said the no press tour was a Union Pacific call — that the company’s officials did not want media coverage. (Union Pacific spokesman Aaron Hunt begs to differ. He just told us that “we planned, actually, to have press talk with Meg on the tour….we understood there would be media availability and we wanted to work with that.”)
Calbuzz last year was among the first to throw a flag on eMeg’s obsessive avoidance of the California press corps as a significant campaign issue. (While Steve Poizner and Jerry Brown have both granted us extended interviews, the ticking clock on our request for a sit-down with Her Megness is now six months, three days and counting).
After Tuesday’s disgraceful performance, it seems clear that there are serious issues of temperament and judgment – control freak arrogance, fear and contempt for reporters whose job is to serve as the eyes and ears of ordinary voters, for starters – that raise questions about her fitness to handle elected office and public life.
Here’s a suggestion for our campaign trail media colleagues: Don’t reward eMeg’s bad behavior. She’s not the governor, she’s not even the nominee of her party, she is a CANDIDATE for the nomination, and so far she has earned exactly nothing.
If Whitman is unwilling to abide by the norms and forms appropriate to a political campaign, then she should not receive coverage appropriate for candidates who do. Stop running stories on any Whitman events in which she refuses to take questions from reporters. Period.