Posts Tagged ‘Jude Barry’

Why Goo Goo Plans are Toast; Labor Runs Amok

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

We come to bury California Forward, not to praise it. The goo goo reform plan, now subsumed into SCA 19, contains a host of worthy measures affecting budgeting and spending. But it’s the much-needed centerpiece – reducing the two-thirds vote needed to approve the state budget – that is its undoing. For now.

Why? Because to put the measure on the ballot will itself require a two-thirds vote, which won’t happen because even if all the Democrats lined up together – and that’s not at all certain – the Republicans would kill it.

As His Royal Walters wrote last week: “Politically, the plan appears to be a nonstarter.”

Loyal Calbuzzers know that we have long argued that without a variety of reforms – including majority vote on the state budget — California will remain fundamentally ungovernable.

Sure, a governor and Legislature will play their roles, budgets will be passed, schools and prisons will operate, the state will function. But California will continue to float along like a raft on the ocean, not like a true ship of state being steered along a certain course.

Besides the majority-vote budget provision, the SCA 19 – at the request of California Forward – also includes a provision that says:

any bill that imposes a fee shall be passed by not less than two-thirds of all Members elected to each of the two houses of the Legislature if revenue from the fee would be used to fund a program, service, or activity that was previously funded by revenue from a tax that is repealed or reduced in the same fiscal year or in a prior fiscal year.”

Now, Jim Mayer and Fred Silva of Cal Forward – two really smart guys whose thinking we respect – say this is NOT an attack on the Sinclair Paint decision (which Calbuzz has covered exhaustively) that allows the Legislature to raise fees by majority vote as long as there is a “nexus” between the fee and the service it pays for.

They say it only would apply to a limited situation in which a fee was proposed to replace a specific excise tax used to fund a specific program, service or activity. The measure was inserted, Mayer said, “in order to build some support for majority vote from business groups who would otherwise kill the bill.”

Which kinda underscores our point:  If it doesn’t affect Sinclair, why do it at all? Because, they say, some business interests are worried that the Legislature will try a massive bait-and-switch, swapping out tax-based revenues with majority-vote fees.

The way we read the measure, it does affect Sinclair since every program, service and activity is funded by “revenue from a tax,” and so, any place where the Legislature wanted to subvent tax funds with fee funds would require a two-thirds vote – which under Sinclair only requires a majority. But we’re not what you might call your “tax experts.”

Anyway, even if the liberals go along – and if just a few of them read this like we do, that’s not likely – the Republicans are not likely to give away their one-third-vote leverage. Which is why we say you can stick a fork in Cal Forward’s proposal.

Back Away From the IPhone!

Back in January, Calbuzz was first to break the news that three longtime Democrats from a new Silicon Valley firm were rolling out “a product that – for better or worse — promises to cut dramatically the cost of gathering signatures for ballot initiatives by using social networking and touch-screen technology.”

Verafirma Inc.’s Democracy Project, founded by Jude Barry, Michael Marubio and Steve Churchwell, we reported, makes it possible for activists to use email, Facebook and other social networking venues to distribute ballot initiative language and arguments, and to collect and verify signatures from users who have an iPhone, Droid or other new generation touch-screen device.

So when we heard about Barry, a Calbuzz contributor, getting blacklisted by Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, we thought it was just a case of union protectionism run amok.

The ostensible reason for placing Barry and his firm, Catapult Strategies, on the  “do not patronize” list was that Verafirma is selling its signature-gathering technology to the folks trying to qualify a ballot measure for “paycheck protection” — labor’s most-hated proposal which would ban use of union dues for political purposes.

This didn’t make any sense. Verafirma is licensing use of a technology that anybody can use. It’s as if they’d come up with a pedestrian GPS system and Republican precinct walkers wanted to use it. It’s like selling electronic clipboards and pens. The technology is neutral. It’s like blacklisting an iPod dealer because right-wingers are buying and using his product.

But then we read Internal Affairs in the Mercury News and nosed around a bit more and it all came clear: Pulaski was doing the dirty work for Cindy Chavez, who heads the South Bay Labor Council and who is supporting Forrest Williams for county supervisor. Barry is working for Teresa Alvarado, seeking that same seat on the county board.

Chavez told the Mercury News she didn’t draft the Pulaski letter, although she knew it was in the works. And she took a whack at Barry for allowing “a company of his to support taking the right away from working men and women to speak politically.”

Calbuzz has no candidate in the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors race. We just think Barry  — who worked for Ted Kennedy and Howard Dean, ferchristsake — is getting rat-fucked. Sure paycheck protection is anti-union. And one of Barry’s defenses — that it wasn’t his personal account at Verafirma — is specious.

But none of that should matter: he’s done nothing to challenge labor’s right to organize or influence politics. This stinks.

FPPC Lets Newsom Double Dip: Calbuzz called attention to a loophole in the law governing contributions a while back but the FPPC has decided that you can run for one office, max out to the limit, drop from that race and enter another and max out again from the same donors. This lets Gavin Newsom, now a candidate for gov lite, go back to all those donors who gave him $25,900 when he was a candidate for governor. Whatever.

Washington Post Ranks Calbuzz a Top Political Site in California

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Less than a month into the mission (and even before our redesign), calbuzz.com was named one of the top three political blogs/sites in California Thursday, by The Washington Post’s “The Fix,” written by that paper’s top blogger, Chris Cillizza.

As the ultimate insider’s insider journalist in Our Nation’s Capitol, Cillizza publishes an annual list of “the best political blog (or blogs) in each of the 50 states.” In his updated list, which appears on the home page of his blog every day, Cillizza put calbuzz in the Golden State’s top tier, joined by our friends at FlashReport and Calitics, both featured in our blogroll.

Cillizza made his selections based on recommendations of readers, which means we got a bunch of support from calbuzzers across the state. We hugely appreciate not only your readership but also the great contributions made by calbuzz contributors from every point on the political spectrum, from Fred Keeley to Dan Schnur, from H.D. Palmer to Jude Barry.

You can see Cillizza’s entire list here. Thanks again for your support.

Wednesday Drive-By: So What If Garamendi Bolts Governor’s Race?

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Hoping to signal firm intentions, the John Garamendi for Governor campaign sent out releases this week to trumpet the news that he’s hired two new staffers — a new communications guy and an internet guru.

The announcements followed the bail-out of Silicon Valley consultant Jude Barry from the lieutenant governor’s 2010 bid, and came amid swirling rumors that Big John may switch races to seek the 10th district congressional seat given up by Ellen Tauscher.

Calbuzz says: BFD

Our Garamendi sources say Gov Lite is “still focused on the governor’s race,” but we’re not so sure. Those new hires — liberal radio yakker Peter B. Collins and web whiz Brian Young — could work for a congressional campaign just as easily as one for governor. Which got us wondering: Who benefits if Garamendi does ditch the governor’s race? Place your bets.

1. Attorney General Jerry Brown, because he could pick up some of those older, traditional Democrats* who otherwise might be attracted to old party warhorse Garamendi.

2. Not Jerry Brown, because he wants as big a Democratic field as possible so he can ride hold-over name recognition to victory in a crowded primary.

3. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (aka Tony Villar), because their geographical bases would have greater impact in a smaller field.

4. Not Villaraigosa, because he’d like a field jammed with Northern California white guys.

5. It doesn’t matter – Garamendi had, at best, 8 percent of the vote in the last Field Poll (without Lady DiFi in the mix) and this little slice of the electorate gets dispersed across the field.

Our money’s on Scenario No. 5, because Garamendi has little hardcore support, isn’t raising any money to speak of and has no compelling message.

* Speaking of “older traditional Democrats,” we note with amusement Newsom consultant Garry South’s swipe at the AG on Facebook Tuesday, where he gleefully wished “Jerry Brown a very happy 71st birthday today! Imagine being born when FDR was president!”

Photo lifted from Jerry Brown’s Facebook

A Big Role for Silicon Valley in California Governor’s Race

Monday, April 6th, 2009

The Tech Companies That Candidates Most Resemble
By Calbuzzer Jude Barry

Silicon Valley is known around the world as the epicenter of technology and innovation. For political candidates, it’s a good place to raise money and, perhaps more importantly, establish yourself as the Next Big Thing. This is particularly true for presidential candidates. In the mid-‘80s, Gary Hart tapped into Silicon Valley; his 1984 logo even had a Silicon Valleyesque digitized look.

In the ‘90s, Bill Clinton was the hot new start-up. He trumped George H.W. Bush with high-profile endorsements from Silicon Valley CEOs during the homestretch of the 1992 election, demonstrating that an Arkansas governor, not the incumbent president, understood the problem was “the economy, stupid.”

As president, Clinton emphasized the association by seating Apple CEO John Sculley next to First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the 1993 State of the Union.

Al Gore furthered his connection to Silicon Valley as VP, 2000 presidential candidate and now as a Nobel-prize-carrying private citizen continues to remain active in the community as an Apple board member, Google adviser, and venture capitalist.

John Kerry benefited greatly from the Clinton-Gore network and his own, out-raising President George W. Bush in Silicon Valley by approximately $5 million to $2 million in 2004.

Candidate Barack Obama was the prototypical Silicon Valley contender in 2008. He personified a disruptive technology company: new, young, and a challenge to the status quo. This, of course, translated into dollars. Obama not only raised significant money in Silicon Valley (by the end the primary season, he raised more in Northern California than Southern California), he used Silicon Valley technology and social networking to shatter all fundraising records, raising half a billion dollars online.

While it’s clear that many presidential candidates have used the cash and cachet of Silicon Valley to establish themselves as serious challengers, the high tech imprimatur hasn’t worked as well in statewide California elections.

Former Congressman Ed Zschau, a product and representative of the tech community, narrowly lost a 1986 U.S. Senate race to Alan Cranston (who, for all his liberal credentials, had authored the first bill to cut the capital gains tax – a favorite Silicon Valley cause). Tom Campbell, who served in Zschau’s congressional seat and as a state senator, lost badly in a 2000 U.S. Senate challenge. Former Controller Steve Westly, an early eBay executive, narrowly lost the 2006 Democratic primary for Governor.

But 2010 will be different. The Republican primary now boasts three candidates from Silicon Valley: Campbell, Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO, and Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, a former high-tech entrepreneur. Without a dramatic new entrant, the Republican gubernatorial candidate will have roots and a message based in Silicon Valley.

Whitman is laying the early claim to technology leaders with high-profile endorsements like John Chambers (Cisco) and Carol Bartz (Yahoo).

On the Democratic side, no candidate has similar connections or the network that naturally forms from working in Silicon Valley. But the candidates need not cede either Silicon Valley money or image. With the economy being an ascendant issue, as it was in 1992, Democratic candidates should borrow something from the Bill Clinton campaign playbook and demonstrate to Californians that they understand, as any governor must, one of the important economic engines of our state.

Further, Silicon Valley is morphing into the clean-tech capital of the world. Last year in the U.S., more silicon was used for solar panels than computer chips. Any candidate who recognizes that and can articulate how this will be a solid foundation of California’s economic future where jobs improve, not degrade, the environment, will have a strong appeal to voters.

Who will be the Silicon Valley candidate in 2010? Many candidates have the potential. So here’s a look at the likely gubernatorial candidates and some thoughts on how they might personify certain companies. You decide whose stock will rise or fall.


Jerry Brown – Apple
No Silicon Valley company has re-invented itself more successfully than Apple. From Lisa and Macintosh to Ipod and Iphone, Apple has changed with the times and frequently led the market. You can say the same about Brown and his political career. The one-time leftist, futurist California Governor became the centrist, realist Oakland Mayor.

Gavin Newsom – Facebook
Gavin hasn’t announced he’s in the race for governor yet. And Facebook hasn’t launched its IPO. But Gavin is counting on the same type of young, social-network energy that made Facebook successful. He has more Facebook supporters than any political figure in California.

Antonio Villaraigosa – Yahoo
Yahoo and Villaraigosa have had rough going lately. Yahoo has a new CEO and is laying off workers. Villaraigosa had weak showing in his mayoral re-election last month. But both have terrific market share. Yahoo despite its challenges remains one of the most visited sites. Likewise, the mayor of LA, despite questions about viability is the best known political figure in the largest media market in the state.

John Garamendi – Sun Microsystems

The Lieutenant Governor has been a party standard bearer for decades and is known as a solid and competent Democratic leader who has made policy contributions from health care to workers comp reform. Sun is not a household name, but in Silicon Valley the company has a reputation for strong technology contributions (workstations and Java). However, both are lagging. Garamendi trails known Democrats in the polls and Sun stock is at historic lows.


Meg Whitman – eBay
She’s eBay, of course. She led the online auction company from start-up to new-economy poster child and grew revenue from millions to billions. But eBay isn’t just about selling stuff you find at garage sales. The company created a real online community and a new economy. Whitman will talk about this as much as the jobs she helped create. Like eBay, she will have the marketing budget to just about tell any story she wants.

Steve Poizer – Intel
Poizner made his money and name in Silicon Valley by starting SnapTrack, a company that put GPS receivers in cell phones – over 700 million of them. That’s almost as ubiquitous as Intel, the chip-maker that dominates its market. Like Intel, Poizner isn’t known for being particularly exciting – just everywhere. While he may not have the CEO support that Whitman does in Silicon Valley, he has been cultivating the Republican grassroots both here and around the state.

Tom Campbell – Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich, & Rosati
Campbell served on the Harvard Law Review board, clerked for the Supreme Court and was a tenured law professor at Stanford at the age of 34. We know he’s smart and thoughtful. He demonstrated his legal and financial skills in Congress and in Sacramento as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s finance director. Given his intellectual prowess, he would be the premiere Silicon Valley law firm: Wilson Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati. Both the firm and Campbell are wired throughout Silicon Valley’s tech companies and venture firms.

Jude Barry is a Democratic political consultant from Silicon Valley and was, until last week, working for John Garamendi’s prospective campaign for governor. As of this writing he is unaffiliated in the race.

Garamendi Fired By His Political Consultant

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Making high-tech history, Silicon Valley political consultant Jude Barry has announced his resignation from John Garamendi’s campaign for governor on his Facebook page.

A class act, Barry wouldn’t go beyond the statement he posted to his FB friends when we reached him Tuesday. But it’s not hard to imagine why he bailed: Eight months into the mission, Garamendi has yet to find campaign co-chairs or, more importantly, finance co-chairs, which suggests his fundraising reports won’t be front page news. He and wife Patty seem set on running a Ma and Pa Kettle operation. And don’t even get us started about trying to get an email answered by the campaign.

Beyond the organizational problems, however, there is simply no clear rationale for a Garamendi candidacy: Dudley Do Right has already run and lost for governor twice — to Tom Bradley in the 1982 Democratic primary and to Kathleen Brown in the 1994 primary; now he’s facing the Three Strikes law for politicians (In an earlier post, we incorrectly reported that Garamendi had also run in the 2003 recall election for governor; calbuzz regrets the error).

“I like John Garamendi and appreciate the opportunity to have worked with him and many other good people on his team, both on the campaign and in the Lieutenant Governor’s office,” Barry said in his Face post on Monday. “But, at this point, I’ve done all I can to help him. I don’t think I can do much more and it doesn’t feel right to just hang around the campaign. I wish John and the campaign good luck.”