2010 California Governor's Race Paul Losch's Community Blog, posted by Paul Losch, a resident of Palo Alto, on Jan 7, 2010 at 5:43 pm Paul Losch is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Am I alone in trying to sort out the 4 "top candidates?"
There is Meg Whitman, with whom I had limited business dealings 20+ years ago. Powerhouse executive, protoge of former Bain and Company CEO, former Massachusetts Governor, and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney
There is Steve Poizner, who has a great SV resume for what he did with his high tech company, and to his credit has been involved in public service for about the last 8 years, currently as State Insurance Commissioner, and with a stint at the White House around the aftermath of 9/11.
There is Tom Campbell, former Congressman, former Stanford Law professor, former Dean of the Haas School of Business at CAL, and former advisor to our current "Governator" on matters economic and budgetary--I don't remember what his official role was. He held the Congressional seat here in the Palo Alto environs which now is occupied by Representative Anna Eshoo.
There is Jerry Brown, two term former Governor, two term former Oakland Mayor, current Attorney General, and the only Democrat of the four I mention.
Whitman and Poizner have deep pockets, and have no compunction about spending money to finance their campaigns.
Campbell does appear to have the money or the appetite to raise it to wage as visible an effort as Meg and Steve have under way.
Jerry Brown has always been a cheapskate, especially when he last was Governor, and since he has no apparent credible Democratic competition, he may not need a treasure chest to help him along.
There is a history in the 30+ years that I have lived in California for business people, usually Republicans, to run for Guv and lose the race. Celebrities?--different animal.
Here's my simplistic take so far:
Meg Whitman is taking a Procter and Gamble (where she worked early in her career) brand manager approach to the campaign--she is the "brand" being peddled, and she is the "brand manager" who will fix California.
Steve Poizner, for all the money he has purportedly invested in this campaign, is largely invisible. I admire Steve, but he is not the most charismatic guy when presenting a public face. This may not be the right job for him, as much as he may want it.
Tom Campbell's resume is beyond reproach. But he does not seem to have an appetite to run for an office, which is understandable. In the case of running for the GOP primary nomination, it is a requirement he cannot avoid. He has made no effort to do so, as far as I know, and he will lose out to two SV executives with juggernaut campaign funding. Never mind that Tom does not like to raise money, and that Meg and Steve are putting a great deal of their personal money into this. At the end of the day, Tom does not have the money.
Jerry Brown scares me. He was a terrible Governor, I perceive he has learned a few things from his experience as Mayor of Oakland, but he was an awful Governor in the 1970's, in my recollection. Too idealistic, too pompous, not easy to work with.
All candiates are flawed at all elections, but this appears to be a particularly flawed choice set. I admire Meg and Steve, but I am skeptical that they have the moxy around working Sacramento. Their Harvard/Stanford MBA training and experience sounds great, but that's not what works in SACTO.
Campbell--he could be effective, but he does not appear to really want the job. Maybe he has a "been there, done that, got the t-shirt and the cap," point of view and he just doesn't want that at this point.
Jerry Brown--I am frightened. Most people living in California today were not yet born when he was in charge. He was an awful Governor when he was in office, a flaky Presidential candidate (Clinton to Brown in a debate: "Chill out, Jerry!")
If I were closing the curtains in the voting booth and choosing one of these four front runners my choice would be...
I am not gonna tell ya, and I would love to have you post your choice.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jan 8, 2010 at 4:57 am Walter_E_Wallis is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Tom Campbell, with his silly "Offshore scenic easement" as justification for agreement with the drilling ban, gave the lie to his pretensions of economic competence. Brown, with his era of limits a, his Rose Birdbrain and his Freeway moratorium and nuclear power ban cast a shadow over California's economy that will not dispel in my lifetime. Silent Steve is [?].
Posted by gerald, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jan 8, 2010 at 7:14 am
California was destroyed by Prop.13 and by a succession of Republican governors who sole purpose in running was to serve blood sucking corporations and qho didn't give a damn about ordinary people. Jerry Brown was flaky but a far superior governor to the bunch of right wing clowns we have sufferedthrough, starting with Reagan. God help us if we get another corporatist in Sacramento.
Posted by Dan, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jan 8, 2010 at 4:29 pm
Moonbeam was a disaster. I hope he is the candidate for the Dems. It would be an automatic win for the conservatives.
Another thing that will help the conservatives is any major move against Prop 13 by the Dems. Bring it on!
An even bigger thing will be any attempt to re-write the Calfiornia consitution, as laong as it is perceived as an attempt to raise taxes in Sacto.
California voters are very worried about the economy. That helps the conservatives, who preach economic private sector growth. This is not a time to be preaching 'green' or raising taxes or more regulations.
If Reagan was still alive, he would win this thing going away.
Posted by martyn, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jan 8, 2010 at 5:47 pm
Every few years, the Democrats have to save the nation from the disaster the Republicans have caused, starting in 1929. The same thing applies to California. If a Republican ends up as governor, this state will collapse. Based on their record, Republicans should be banned from governing at any level. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Posted by Meg for me, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Jan 9, 2010 at 5:17 am
There are still people who believe we never landed on the moon all the way up to that 9/11 was staged by a certain group and with the knowledge of Bush.
Don't even try to talk sense to people like that.
In the meantime, for the rest of us, the utopian vision principles of the left have been revealed to have upside down results, again..When I was young, I voted as Socialist as possible, all the time, because it was "the kind and compassionate way",..until I saw that we created much more troubles than we fixed, every single time. Creating dependency and discouraging risk-taking/business creation just ruins the whole society.
So, my bet is we are going to go back to the better business principles that bring us economic progress and along with it better social progress than any "social progress" economic agenda...which somehow always creates more poverty while distributing the wealth and lowering that rich-poor gap.
I agree with Walt: Campbell has blown his credentials with me..tending to be another "big govt" RINO.
Romney was another "bigger govt" RINO...overseeing the implementation of Mass's "Universal Health care" disaster ( which the nation keeps forgetting has been tried and failed in several states now, Mass being the latest). NO THANKS..no more "big Daddy and Mommy can take care of you" utopian promises that result in worse everything.
I just want the govt, STATE AND FED, to get out of our way and let those of us who work hard and risk all to keep what we earn, and lose what businesses we lose..,pay our own prices, thank you, and when we win we employ millions, and when we lose we lose all we have..so what? Encourage us to win, and win big, so we employ ourselves and millions along with us. In the meantime, the millions we employ have jobs and can take care of THEMSELVES, like adults are supposed to do, and donate to charities they believe in, the ones they see actually working, not just sucking money down a drain.. But when it isn't worth risking losing all our own investment because the gain isn't worth it..we don't hire people. Simple.
We work better when we don't have this "take care of me" attitude toward govt, and when our elected employees don't believe they were elected to take as much as they can from us "for the common good".
I am going for Whitman. She has that attitude, is tough, direct and won't back down. She understands what drives employers/business creators...
I like her. She also has "no experience" in govt, which I like..she owes nobody, she isn't a politician, she has no lobbyists lined up, she owes nobody for funding her campaign.. She is "naive" in the world of politics, which I like. I am completely off of anyone who has made a career of political office.
Posted by Viva El Che, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Jan 9, 2010 at 11:38 am
Geitner should never have been appointed to his post. I was aghast when I realized that both he and Sommers would run Tressury. A genuine Keynesian, Robert Reich or someone like him should be Sec. of the Treasury. Capitalism is a spectacularly failed, cruel and mean scam that translates into Socialism for Wall Street and corporatists and "free market" for the rest. We must either destroy Wall Street, a massively criminal casino engaging in Ponzi scams and replace it with heavily regulated financial markets. We cannot afford corporatists in key position in either D.C. or Sacramento. The right wing record, particularly in regard to the Bush/Cheney junta horror years should not be allowed anywhere near power on any level. If we were a normal, law abiding and intelligent nation, Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld and many of their cronies would be on death row right now, begging for a stay of execution.
Posted by Blondie, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Jan 9, 2010 at 3:52 pm
If we want the state and federal governments to get out of the way, then please be ready to give up Medi-care, Medi-Cal, and the social security check you get each month as a "pension" or disability check.
If you are or were getting an unemployment check, chuck that as well.
If this is being taken care of, I don't get your concept. Since when do we feel we are entitled to focus on our "invincible selves" and ignore others around us? When you lose your job, can no longer afford Cobra medical benefits, and have a heart attack - would you like to stay home and just die? Get real here people, maybe we need to curb or at least revisit how the government does things, but don't think for a minute we will have any kind of democratic society if they pull out of the "taking care" mode. And I don't believe you for a minute that if your spouse, parent or child became seriously ill, and you did not have insurance (because you lost your job in a recession and don't have $100K sitting around) that you would refuse a government health plan option or a government handout or anything else the government would offer.
Posted by Meg, for me, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Jan 10, 2010 at 9:17 am
To Blondie ( and a little, Peter)
Yes, I would HAPPILY give up medicare, medical and the social security checks, and any and all "goverment option" health care plan...let us all get back to work, save for our own future, save for our own health care and stop taking from our kids and grandkids because we don't take care of ourselves.
It is shortsighted, greedy and selfish to keep taking from current and future "others" because we can't take care of ourselves.
And yes, I have already refused multiple "govt offers" of help that I am "entitled" to because I have pride in my independence.
so, yes..I want govt out of the way, and let us get back to being adults and taking care of ourselves and each other voluntarily.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jan 10, 2010 at 5:07 pm Walter_E_Wallis is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
How about letting grocers supply the bags they find most efficient, requiring government monopoly franchisees to price their services based on cost of provision, not on some social or political pressure scheme. Limit government to those responsibilities that are by their nature not suitable to entrepreneurial efforts. Do not grant franchised monopolies except when multiple suppliers are inherently unworkable. Since garbage trucks make three passes by my house anyway, let me contract with the one who offers the best deal. Remember, telephones used to be a monopoly.
Then let government concentrate on those factors that are natural monopolies, like national defense, postal roads and arsenals and a uniform system of laws.
Posted by Meg for me, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Jan 10, 2010 at 8:31 pm
Beautifully said, Walter, and though there is no way at all that Meg Whitman alone can possibly enact such ideas as yours, the basic philosophy of such a candidate agrees with your basic philosophy.
Keep "govt" in its place, and let everything else stay private.
We tend to forget that we didn't have a federal tax until the early 1900s, and the nation managed great.
The State taxes were miniscule, until the 1900s when we started taxing for education, roads etc. Somehow before then we managed to educate our kids and have individual towns work together to get roads between them.
We can't go back there either in this nation or State, having the Pandora's box open, or maybe it is the cat having gotten out of the bag, or the horse out of the barn..whatever..
but we can regain the philosophy of small, local politicians accountable to the folks who know them, have coffee with them, show up at their Town Halls etc.
Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Jan 11, 2010 at 3:55 pm
"Meg for me" - are you seriously espousing "Return to the 19th Century" as a guiding philosophy? It sure looks like it.
Regarding big/small government debates - I'm all for avoiding waste, but if we really take aim at pointless commissions and fake "consultants" I'd guess we'd have savings in the tens of millions, and our state budget is about a thousand times larger than that. Wherever there is waste in government, I wish the CA Republicans would specify the waste and let us take a look. Who's in favor of waste? But now we're talking about cutting services so severely that people's lives are at stake. We're talking about deterioration of our infrastructure that creates an environment that's not conducive to business, and hurts almost everyone's quality of life. I wish the GOP would come clean about the fact that investment in state infrastructure is investment that benefits individuals and businesses. How is business hurt by having transportation infrastructure, utilities, health care for their workers and customers, education for every Californian? By international comparisons, our rates of poverty and child mortality, just to name two benchmarks, are shameful.
And while some of you are fondly recalling Reagan, let it be noted that he did preside over some tax increases, while his overall record as president was one of increased debt and deficit, leading to an economic downturn right after his term.
Prop 13 should definitely be revised. Corporations are sitting on billions in wealth, generating billions in revenue from their properties, and paying taxes that are ridiculously low. Yes, let's protect private homeowners of limited means, but find some compromise that will restore some of what we've lost since Prop 13 took effect. I know people in CA paying a ridiculously low prop. taxes - perhaps a $900-$1,000/yr. - living in homes worth well over $1 million, and not living on fixed incomes. Sometimes they don't realize exactly how far property taxes have come along for the rest of us, and when they do, they see the unfairness. We can fix that without totally putting the screws to those people all at once.
Posted by Dan, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jan 11, 2010 at 4:36 pm
California's major issues are caused by:
1. Monopolistic public unions
2. Uncontrolled immigration, creating a huge underclass
3. Excessive regulation, espcially the ban on oil drilling and new nuclear power plants
4. An education system that is dominated by the teachers' union; It should be replaced with an educational voucher system
5. Confiscatory taxation
6. Disrespect of indivual effort; disrespect of property rights; disrespect of private capital.
Any governor that does recognize these basic facts will lead us into further decline. Moonbeam would be the worst of the worst.
We neeed a new Reagan. He, literally, shot down the riots at UC Berkeley, demanded responsible individual behavior, and left this state better than he found it. He then went on, as president, to restructure our economy, leading to the capital formation that stimulated the dot com revolution. He also won the cold war. Amazing guy.
There is noone on the horizon that is like him, so we are left to pick from the next best. Meg or Poizner might be that person, but I am not yet convinced. If T.J Rodgers was interested, I could get behind him in a nanosecond.
Posted by Meg for me, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Jan 12, 2010 at 5:09 am
Dan, well said.
Skeptical Al: Actually, no.. The 18th century of political thought in this country would suit me better. To be precise, the thought behind the framers of our Constitution. The kind of thought that specifically limited the powers of the feds to enumerated ones, and specifically stated that whatever wasn't stated belonged to the STATES to decide, purposefully trying to restrict the power of central govt.
But, hey..let's keep leaving the founding principles and heading toward the same failed or failing govt principles of the rest of the world.
In the meantime, definitely, Prop 13 needs to be overturned. Go ahead! Do it! I will just laugh and laugh and laugh at the shocked folks who are stunned that there are FEWER taxes coming into the coffers of California 10 years after Prop 13 is reversed, and at all the gnashing of teeth as the old folks leave again. Blah blah blah.
More control of corrupt govt blah blah blah ( yup, more foxes watching the henhouse)
More taxation of corrupt corporations sitting on billions blah blah blah ( yup..drive them and their ridiculous jobs further away)
Reagan and economic downturn right after his term...hahahahah... Do you really think anybody believes that? Looking at numbers 1979 just before entering and 1988 last year..ok..looks good to me ( I was there..I remember) He had to fight a leftist Congress and media, but he had a good communication style behind him, so the People heard him and responded and backed him. Felt the good effects of that for about a year into a Dem President leading a Dem Congress, until that started to collapse us again. THAT president saw the writing on the wall after the Repub takeover of Congress, and declared "the era of big govt is over"..and went back to growing our economy. Do you think this nation will be smart enough to do that again? ( This time, we will keep the Repub feet to the fire, and not let them turn into RINOs looking for entrance into DC parties, good newspaper coverage and money/power entrenchment)
Whatever,it is all just words words words anyway.
The bottom line, as Carville said to Clinton "It's the economy, stupid".
People will vote out whoever, not whatever, is hurting their pocketbooks. Whoever is in "charge" when the economy begins to sag gets sacked, regardless of what policy is really responsible and what the reality is regarding who did what.
So, all this blah blah blah is useless.
Me, I will vote according to the principles that work, per Dan's post.
So, back to Meg for me, so far, as the closest to any of those principles.
Posted by maguro_01, a resident of Mountain View, on Jan 18, 2010 at 12:16 am
California's problems are not solvable by any governor. The state needs a new Constitution to reset everything but that assumes severely curtailing Sacramento pay-to-play politics for a government that the voters can put more trust in. That has to be done in Washington by Amendment which won't happen. People are also afraid of a new state Constitution as it end up loaded with page after page of single issue politics to happen at all, even worse than decades of disconnected Propositions.
When China set its currency at half value and pegged it to the dollar it was economic warfare, not development. When currencies aren't free traded, nothing else is. In Sept '03 the Economist said that factory workers in China got 1/4 the pay of Mexican workers. That killed NAFTA and much of the legal Mexican economy. The result is little hope of development there and millions of refugees here. We would do the same in their place. Mexico maintains its social order by not investing much in education and infrastructure which doesn't help.
California is forced to spend un-reimbursed billions and there will be much more. Agribusiness that wants private profit and socialized expenses will also cost billions as the years go by. Various unions seem to have disproportionate influence too. Silicon Valley corporations have decided that Engineering is not to be a US core competence any more which has implications that grow the more one thinks about it.
If our Valley zillionaires want to spend their money to be a weak governor in California they are welcome. Unfortunately they are Republicans, apparently Republicans the national Party doesn't want if they are really Conservative.
It's hard to believe the Republicans wouldn't want Campbell, say, but they don't. He isn't a Confederate with a Libertarian facade. He has no place there. So he won't go for the national Republican economic program of writing rubber checks for the few and turning our country into a big Ponzi scheme. He probably wouldn't go for convincing some older people that life span is a zero sum game for them so the fewer people with insurance, the better off they are. And kind of not mentioning that even our present percent GDP for medical care is unsustainable. Single-payer is the only thing that might save many of them, given that the medical care marketplace has always been and will continue to be pay-to-play Congress, not the patients.
The Dems, and Obama, are a center/left party, but we don't have a center/right party in opposition. The sooner we consign the Republicans to history with the Whigs and someone starts a real American center/right party the better. Unless we really want California and the US to simply crater, simply starting up where we left off in the fall of '08. Remember, the Republicans as well as their big banks have utterly deserted Main Street which is where jobs come from. They will not and cannot change any more than the scorpion being carried across the river by the turtle. IMHO, the US may be headed for a period of IMF control to restore non-corrupt financial management and stave off disaster - something like Indonesia and Russia had when politics and finance became synonyms as they famously are in Washington.
The politics and categories of yesteryear are just gone.
Posted by George, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2010 at 11:37 am
Meg is another Arnold.
At eBay she put off the tough decisions for as long as she could, which ended up being her entire tenure as CEO. While buying PayPal was one of the best M&A moves of the last ten years, it wasn't a hard decision - it was an obvious one. Meg deferred making important changes to the core eBay experience. She wanted to be loved by eBay's sellers rather than leading the business to more success. As a result, the experience didn't improve.
I am afraid that Meg will not push for the changes that need to be made for California to thrive. She's likely to deem those changes as too tough and to push them off. She'll make the same shift that Arnold did when his propositions failed - she'll become a populist that speaks to change but she will not make real changes that alter our failed path as a state.
The only real leader in this race is Steve Poizner.
Posted by Dan, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2010 at 11:57 am
"The Dems, and Obama, are a center/left party"
Is that jabberwock talk? The Dems and Obama are a socialist party. They are beholden to the unions and trial lawyers. They oppose fundamental economic development, like nuclear power, and oil extraction off the coast. They oppose educational vouchers. They overregulate, they oppose private capital formation, etc., etc.
Posted by maguro_01, a resident of Mountain View, on Jan 18, 2010 at 3:41 pm
"The Dems and Obama are a socialist party."
No they are not. Trying to redefine the center as out near Henry VIII or Napoleon is just rhetoric, not history. All those changes in vocabulary are designed to produce confusion and make discussion impossible. I do understand that unfortunately we have essentially no common grounds and no basis for discussion and negotiation. Yet I recall voting for Campbell. Where are you?
There are a few Republicans who envy the oligarchy and hierarchy of Mexico. Too bad, they can't have it here. There are a few who want people to die in net worth order. Too bad, they can't have that either.
"... like nuclear power, and oil extraction off the coast."
Those issues are indeed arguable, though more people have come to advocate nuclear power.
"They oppose fundamental economic development, .... They overregulate, they oppose private capital formation, "
This is 2010. You would have to show that they oppose these things and specifically what. Regulation can no longer be discussed in binary terms as implied by "overregulate". After the catastrophic failure of a "Libertarian" SEC in the fall of 2008 and before no regulation/reporting is off the table though Republicans will fight it tooth and nail. I'll give them credit for delivering value when they are paid for it.
Speaking of opposing private capital formation, taking a dive in the economic wars and running trade deficits of $2+ billion per DAY for years after 2000, then borrowing much of it back did not exactly promote capital formation in the US. The voters were lulled by all the cheap stuff, assuming that the government was minding the store. The reality was otherwise. Our big banks making tons of money as hedge funds and starving Main Street, where jobs come from, doesn't do much for capital formation either.
Buying Congress, as the medical insurance and drug industries did, won't solve anything. Finance and medical care, AFAIK, will take nearly 1/4 US GDP this year which is unsustainable. That they can do that through pay-to-play politics indicates that we are losing the ability to govern ourselves. It should tell us something that the Republicans and Democrats in Washington traded places in fiscal conservatism years ago. It's not clear how true that might be in California. Our "conservative" party has forgotten that stuff has to be paid for and has an opportunity cost as well. We need a new one; the Confederates are dinosaurs and the old vocabulary is obsolete. How about California?
How can we discuss Brown? After these years where is he on any number of issues? I doubt we know and it's up to him to run if he wishes. In seriousness, Campbell, Brown, and Poizner are actually impressive candidates. Many other states aren't as fortunate.
But if we can't do anything about our pay-to-play politics, a Constitutional flaw, debates are for nothing. It's killing us off.
Posted by Dan, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2010 at 7:34 am
"does not oppose nuclear technology, adding that California should consider all options to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions"
This from the same moonbeam who led the fight against nuclear power. OK, he is older and, presumably, wiser now that he has become an adult, but you can bet your firstborn that he will not lead a charge to actually build more nukes in California.