Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

March 9, 2014
VIDEO: Gavin Newsom, Wilson Phillips celebrate 'winter of love'

newsomparty.jpgLOS ANGELES - Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom's Twitter handle and photographs of gay weddings he oversaw while mayor of San Francisco lit up the side of The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites on Saturday night, and for a few hours at the California Democratic Party's annual convention no politician was in higher demand.

At a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the "winter of love" - the precursor to years of debate over same-sex marriage and, eventually, the overturning of California's gay marriage ban - hundreds of supporters drank cocktails on a poolside patio and crowded around Newsom to heap praise on the lieutenant governor.

"If you were any cuter, I might throw up right now," said Carnie Wilson, a member of Wilson Phillips, which played at the event. "Gavin, you are one awesome human being."

For gay rights advocates, the event highlighted how far their movement has come in the years since gay marriage was outlawed here.

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For political watchers, it was a reminder that Newsom has not always occupied the least influential of statewide offices, and that he maintains a base of support that will benefit him if he runs for higher office in four years.

"I'm grateful for the folks behind me, for their courage, for standing on their principle," Newsom told the crowd. "They didn't have to show up in 2004 when we opened up the doors. They didn't have to show up and say, 'I do,' and continue with the sense of faith and love and devotion and constancy as they have for the last ... 10 years."

A decade ago, he said, "We started a conversation ... It was millions of those conversations that were won that ultimately has led to where we are today."

PHOTO: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom addresses supporters at a party at the California Democratic Party convention in Los Angeles, while an image of his Twitter handle is projected on a wall on March 9, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders

March 8, 2014
For Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the crowd's already at the bar

newsomconvention.jpgLOS ANGELES - Oh, the indignity of a minor speaking spot - and the self awareness of its holder.

Only a smattering of Democratic activists remained when Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the final speaker of the afternoon, took to the podium to address the state party's annual convention Saturday.

"Thank you very much," he said. "It's good to see all four of you."

The crowd applauded, thin though it was after a day of convention activities.

"I'm getting to finally live out a lifelong dream of achieving a profound and highly sought after honor of being the last speaker of the day," Newsom said. "The question I've been asking myself in the back is what did I do to deserve this spot? So I think I've come up with a few explanations. No. 1, Gov. Brown chose the speaking order."

Newsom and Brown have a distant relationship, and there were some howls in the convention hall. Newsom said, "I could have said (first lady) Anne Gust, or Sutter," the governor's dog.

Newsom offered two other possible explanations for his spot in the speaking order, then left the subject with one more.

"No. 4, and this may actually be the real reason," he said. "The party makes a lot of money if people leave early and head to the bar, which clearly I think folks have."

PHOTO: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom addresses the California Democratic Party convention in Los Angeles on March 8, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders

February 14, 2014
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom: Spend high-speed rail money elsewhere

20140122_ha_BROWN_SOS00588.JPG

Now leaving the station: Gavin Newsom's support for high-speed rail.

The Democratic lieutenant governor doesn't typically align with Republicans. But during an appearance on a conservative radio program, Newsom embraced a position that Republicans have championed in Sacramento: Reallocating voter-approved high-speed rail bond money toward other projects.

"I would take the dollars and redirect it to other, more pressing infrastructure needs," Newsom said during an appearance on the Seattle-based Ben Shapiro Show on AM 770 KTTH.

That puts Newsom at odds with Gov. Jerry Brown, who has substantially lashed his legacy to the embattled project. The Brown administration recently asked the California Supreme Court to intervene in a legal dispute over the train's funding plan, and a lower court is poised to reconsider the issue.

But Newsom reflected public skepticism about the high-speed rail. A 2011 Field Poll found nearly two-thirds of voters advocated another vote on a $9 billion bond issue for the project, with a clear majority saying they would vote down the funding measure voters had passed in 2008.

"I am not the only Democrat that feels this way," Newsom said during his radio appearance. "I gotta tell you, I am one of the few that just said it publicly. Most are now saying it privately."

Over the last few years, Newsom's public position on the state-spanning bullet train has gradually shifted. In 2011, he pronounced himself "extraordinarily excited" about the undertaking.

"I personally have been supportive of the high-speed rail project since my time as mayor of the city and county of San Francisco," Newsom said, going on to tout the project's job-generating capacity and its role in moving goods and people around the state.

By 2013 he appeared distinctly less enthusiastic. During a talk at the Milken Institute Global Conference last May, Newsom said that "more and more legitimate questions are being raised" about the rail project.

"I think we have to be sober about this," he added.

PHOTO: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks before Gov. Jerry Brown delivers the 2014 State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 at the State Capitol. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua.

February 7, 2014
Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsom to get warning letters in FPPC case

brownchamberbreakfast.jpgGov. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom are among state officials who will receive warning letters in the California Fair Political Practices Commission's investigation of a firm headed by a Sacramento lobbyist who held lavish fundraisers for politicians at his home, a source said.

Thomas Willis, whose law firm represents Brown, Newsom, state lawmakers and various political committees, said in an email that his firm has not seen any warning letters.

"What we can say is that our clients properly paid and disclosed all known expenses," he wrote. "Of course, they did not disclose expenses that they were not made aware of."

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez also expect to get letters.

Stephen Kaufman, Perez' lawyer, said in a statement that the speaker held one fundraising event at lobbyist Kevin Sloat's home in June 2011.

"The Speaker's committee paid the full amount of the catering invoice that was submitted," the statement said. "The Speaker has no knowledge of any other costs associated with the event. It is our understanding that because legislators were unaware of such expenses and properly reported all known expenses, the FPPC intends to resolve the issue with a warning letter and no further action."

In addition to Brown and Newsom, as many as 40 elected officials are expected to receive warning letters from the commission in the case, in which Sloat Higgins Jensen and Associates, a lobbying firm headed by Sloat, has reached a tentative agreement with FPPC staff to pay fines involving violations of state political disclosure rules.

The action was prompted by a lawsuit filed in Sacramento Superior Court against Sloat and his firm in December by a disgruntled former employee under investigation for embezzlement. The former employee claimed Sloat's elaborate events amount to non-monetary campaign contributions that lobbyists are not permitted to give.

A list provided to The Bee of senators who can expect to get letters included Kevin de Leon, Jerry Hill, Marty Block, Norma Torres, Lou Correa, Alex Padilla, Cathleen Galgiani and Rod Wright.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at the California Chamber of Commerce's annual host breakfast in Sacramento on May 22, 2013. The Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli

October 22, 2013
Antonio Villaraigosa says 'there's a lot I can learn' at Edelman

Villaraigosa_Press_Club.jpgFormer Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was on the phone Tuesday from Harvard University, where he is a visiting fellow, to talk about his new job at Edelman, the public relations giant where he will work as a senior adviser.

Villaraigosa said he hopes to help companies navigate "that place where ... the corporate world meets public policy and community," but also that "there's a lot I can learn here" about business.

The ability to say four years from now that he has spent time learning about the private sector could help the former labor organizer and Assembly speaker if he chooses to run for governor in 2018, but there are other interests Californians value. Villaraigosa demurred when asked how his appointment compared in resume-building terms to last week's announcement by another potential future candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. He will lead a panel to study legalizing marijuana.

"If you notice, I'm here at Harvard," Villaraigosa said - and also at Edelman and at the Bipartisan Policy Center, where he is a senior fellow, and at Herbalife, the nutritional products company he is advising. Villaraigosa, 60, is on the lecture circuit, and he said he will soon announce an affiliation with another university.

"So I'm kind of continuing the 18-hour days," Villaraigosa said.

On this day the Democrat was between speaking engagements, and The Harvard Crimson, the college newspaper, was waiting for an interview.

"They're calling me here," he said, and with that he had to go.

PHOTO: Antonio Villaraigosa, then mayor of Los Angeles, speaks before the Sacramento Press Club, in Sacramento on Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli.

June 26, 2013
VIDEO: Gavin Newsom calls DOMA, Prop. 8 decisions 'historic'

Supreme Court-Gay Marriage_Gavin_Newsom.jpgLt. Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed reporters Wednesday afternoon in his Sacramento office and expressed his elation over the U.S. Supreme Court rulings on DOMA and Proposition 8, calling it "a profound day, and a historic day."

When Newsom was mayor of San Francisco, he made headlines in 2004 by telling city clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. About 4,000 couples were issued licenses before the California Supreme Court ordered the city to stop. Wednesday, he called the Supreme Court decisions a bookmark to those actions in 2004.

"The great thing about what happened today was not a legal brief that was filed and oral arguments that were made and the Supreme Court adjudicating on equality," Newsom said, adding that it was "the human element" that underlay it all, "the narrative of people's lives, these lives that were affirmed and now are celebrated."

VIDEO: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom talks to reporters in Sacramento on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/ Amy Gebert

PHOTO: Gay rights advocates acknowledge Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, center, during a celebration at San Francisco's City Hall on Wednesday, June 26, 2013, shortly after a Supreme Court decision cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California. As mayor of San Francisco in 2004, Newsom ordered city clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Associated Press/ Noah Berger

June 10, 2013
Gavin Newsom jokes about tech mogul wedding controversy

20130115_PK_NEWSOM_0248.JPGAt a panel discussion hosted by The Sacramento State University's Hornets Policy and Politics alumni chapter on Monday, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom kept the conversation centered on his latest book - but dropped in a joke about the controversy surrounding Napster-founder Sean Parker's multi-million dollar wedding.

Newsom took some flak last week for attending the Facebook co-founder's Big Sur wedding after news broke that Parker would pay a $2.5 million fine for building a multi-million dollar wedding site on coastal land without the proper permits.

"There's a lot of dust flying in the air around the controversy surrounding Sean Parker's wedding - coming from most people who weren't invited," Newsom quipped.

Newsom's book, "Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government," focuses on the "hyper-connected" digital world that government operates in today - a point he illustrated using the guest list at Parker's wedding.

Newsom noted that Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich - one of the most outspoken critics of Napster - was one of Parker's wedding guests. Though Parker and Ulrich may seem like strange bedfellows, Newsom said their friendship illustrates how far technology has come since Napster's birth in 1999.

"Technology [was] attacking the old model of music," Newsom said. "Meanwhile, as these guys are running around in the corner, a guy called Steve Jobs goes, 'You know what? I've got an idea.'"

Following his appearance, Newsom sidestepped a reporter's question on the wedding's environmental impact.

PHOTO: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has a new book, "Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government" about how social media can change the face of government. Photographed in his office at State Capitol on January 15, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Paul Kitagaki Jr.

April 23, 2013
Acting Gov. Gavin Newsom declares official California foods

AVOCADOES.JPGAs it turns out, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom did make some momentous decisions when he was serving as acting governor during Gov. Jerry Brown's jaunt to China.

Newsom did not mention them during his crowd-rousing speech at the California Democratic Party convention in Sacramento earlier this month.

(He did tout other "remarkable achievements" including having appointed someone else to walk first dog Sutter Brown and boosting the state's hair gel industry).

But a proclamation dated April 9, a few days before the convention, corrected a "glaring absence of agricultural products from the list of our officially adopted icons."

Yes, Newsom has established a quartet of previously undeclared state-honored foods. For the duration of 2013, avocados are the state fruit, almonds are the state nut, artichokes are the state vegetable and rice is the state grain.

Newsom is a frequent guest on San Francisco radio station KGO's morning show. After the show's hosts learned that California had failed to fill its state-food void, they held a contest soliciting listeners' views on deserving candidates and then encouraged Newsom to make it official.

KGO listeners had selected the artichoke, prompting Newsom to defend the avocado on air and ask if people had rigged the vote, citing broad support in a survey on his Facebook page for the avocado.

"I think we need to call Jerry Brown," Newsom joked during a broadcast.

But he ultimately obliged with a solution that accommodated four of California's main agricultural products. Newsom read an on-air proclamation heralding the honors during an April 10 broadcast.

"I know this is not education reform, water policy," Newsom said, but he argued that the distinction was meaningful given that "we are the breadbasket in the world" and that California has a state fossil.

You can read the proclamation here:

LG Proclamation Statefood

PHOTO CREDIT: Avocado, California's state fruit. It's what's official. Owen Brewer / Sacramento Bee file, 2005.

February 15, 2013
Colbert to Gavin Newsom: 'What the (bleep) does any of that mean?'

colbertNewsom.jpgLt. Gov. Gavin Newsom was describing his new book, "Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government," on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" on Thursday when the host, Stephen Colbert, asked him, 'What the (bleep) does any of that mean?"

Newsom had been talking about the "broadcast model of governing" and about how "big is getting small and small is getting big."

Colbert flipped through the book.

"Is there a bull (bleep) translator?" he said. "What are you talking about?"

Newsom tried again.

"I want to democratize voices," the former mayor of San Francisco said. "I want real citizen engagement. I want two-way conversations. I want citizenship to be redefined. I don't want people to do things to me, I want ... people to do things with me. So it's all about building partnership and building capacity, building community."

January 7, 2013
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom's wife pregnant with baby girl

Thumbnail image for Gavin Newsom inaugurationLt. Gov. Gavin Newsom's wife is pregnant, with the couple expecting a baby girl in July, Newsom's office confirmed this afternoon.

Newsom told the San Francisco Chronicle over the weekend that he was elated by the news. The former San Francisco mayor said the child will be the couple's "third and last," according to the newspaper.

Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, have two children, Montana, 3 1/2, and Hunter, 1 1/2.

Photo: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during his inauguration ceremony on Jan. 10, 2011, at the state Capitol. (Hector Amezcua/The Sacramento Bee)

January 2, 2013
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom's cable TV show going off air

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom's Friday night talk show, "The Gavin Newsom Show," is going off the air.

A spokesman for Newsom said in an email this afternoon that Newsom was "already moving in a new direction" before it was reported by The New York Times that the show's network, Current TV, was being acquired by Al Jazeera.

"The Gavin Newsom Show was a remarkable opportunity and a truly educational experience for which he is grateful," Peter Ragone, a spokesman for Newsom, said in a prepared statement. "But the Lt. Governor's original agreement with Current had recently concluded and he was already moving in a new direction."

The hourlong show premiered in May on the network co-founded by former Vice President Al Gore. Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco, interviewed guests including cyclist Lance Armstrong, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and author Paul Ingrassia.

It was unclear when the final show will air. A new episode is scheduled to be televised Friday night, according to Current TV's online listings.

October 31, 2012
Gavin Newsom criticizes Jerry Brown in KGO Radio interview

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom two weeks ago criticized Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative approach, suggesting to KGO Radio in San Francisco that the governor was slow to hit the campaign trail and that he was telling college students "something that's not true."

Newsom spoke to KGO on Oct. 17, a day after Brown appeared at UCLA in the first of several appearances at state colleges and universities. But the interview got little statewide notice until Bee columnist Dan Morain referenced Newsom's caustic words for Brown in today's Bee. Though both Democrats who support Proposition 30, Newsom and Brown have endured a difficult relationship.

Newsom, who sits on the University of California Board of Regents and the California State University Board of Trustees, emphasized several times in a four-minute interview that Brown was misleading college students by suggesting Prop. 30 would avert tuition increases. That has since become a central part of Brown's campaign message.

"My big concern is, we went down yesterday and said there will be no tuition increase if you support this," Newsom said. "That's just not true. You can't say things like this."

May 19, 2012
Gavin Newsom debuts as cable talk show host

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, debuting as a cable talk show host on Friday night, told viewers he often wished to share in public the kinds of conversations he has with fascinating people all the time.

"Hosting this show is definitely not in place of doing my job as lieutenant governor," Newsom said. "It's an 'and,' not an 'or.'"

The Gavin Newsom Show, he said, is "in many ways is just an extension of what I'm already doing."

Politics, yes. But also talking with people to "learn from them, to listen to them and to explore new ideas with them."

The weekly, hour-long program on Current TV aired at 8 p.m. on the West Coast. Guests were champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, Google Vice President Marissa Mayer and The New York Times columnist Nick Bilton.

Armstrong talked about the doping scandal - he's tired of it - and about Proposition 29, the ballot measure he supports to increase California's tobacco tax to raise money for cancer research.

"This is interesting," Newsom said. "Some nice kid from Texas is out in California now all the time getting involved in a politically charged issue out here."

He asked Mayer about innovation and the willingness to try new things and fail.

"I think the one most important part of failure is being able to learn from it," Mayer told him, "and to be able to learn from it, you have to diagnose when it's happened, and actually figure out what you should learn from it and move on."

April 18, 2012
Gavin Newsom to host cable talk show

Gavin Newsom.JPGLt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, in addition to his limited duties at the Capitol, will become a cable talk show host next month.

"The Gavin Newsom Show," a weekly, hour-long program, will feature the former San Francisco mayor interviewing "notables from Silicon Valley, Hollywood and beyond," Current TV announced today.

"We've got Gavin: New show in May," the San Francisco-based network announced on its website. "The California lieutenant governor and former mayor of San Francisco brings his trail-blazing perspective to Current TV with a new weekly, hour-long show."

The announcement follows the network's recent split with Keith Olbermann. Newsom and Gov. Jerry Brown, both Democrats, have appeared before on the network's "The War Room with Jennifer Granholm," a show hosted by the former governor of Michigan.

PHOTO CREDIT: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, file photo, Feb. 7, 2011. Autumn Cruz / Sacramento Bee.

February 17, 2012
Jerry Brown: California to reopen foreign trade offices in China

Nine years after California disbanded its foreign trade offices amid controversy, Gov. Jerry Brown announced today that the state will open two offices in China.

California shut down 12 taxpayer-funded trade offices in 2003, after the Legislative Analyst's Office, among other observers, questioned their effectiveness and cost. Brown's office said in a statement that new trade offices in Shanghai and Beijing will be financed by "partners in the private sector."

"The Pacific Rim has become the center of the world economy, presenting California with countless opportunities to grow alongside our neighbors across the ocean," Brown said in a prepared statement. "The office will encourage direct investment and further strengthen the existing ties between the world's second- and ninth-largest economies."

The announcement coincides with a visit to Los Angeles by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping. The Democratic governor is in Los Angeles today hosting him.

The idea of reestablishing a presence in China came up last year, when Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he would seek to reopen California's foreign trade offices, first in China.

February 1, 2012
Gavin Newsom suggests Jerry Brown lacks 'vision for greatness'

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who pops up from time to time to snipe at Gov. Jerry Brown, suggested today that his fellow Democrat lacks a "vision for greatness" and is "not necessarily the most collaborative executive," and he criticized social service cuts Brown has proposed.

"We've got a governor who is doing a very good job focusing on solvency," the former San Francisco mayor, who dropped out of the gubernatorial race in 2010, said on KQED Radio's Forum. "But what we need is a vision for greatness again."

Brown and Newsom have a distant relationship, and about the warmest thing Newsom would say about Brown today is that he is a "unique person" and "in many respects a brilliant political tactician."

As he has before, Newsom said he was disappointed by proposed cuts to early education and welfare programs. But he also suggested that he could do better, and that he had an answer for the administration when asked what budget measures he might come up with instead.

"You give me your finance team, give me the controller, and give me your department heads, and give me 48 hours," Newsom said, "and I'll come up with them."

Brown spokesman Gil Duran declined to comment, except to say, "We stay busy over here in the governor's office."

October 26, 2011
Newsom calls for 'pattern interrupt' on jobs, higher education

MC_NEWSOM_01.JPGLt. Gov. Gavin Newsom railed against tuition increases and said this afternoon that the state's master plan for higher education is outdated, promising "a different narrative" for higher education by the end of the year.

It was unclear what the plan might contain or how Newsom, a Democrat, might propose funding it.

"We're going to come up with some out-of-the-box recommendations, is our hope and expectation," he told The Bee's Capitol Bureau.

Fifty years after the production of the California Master Plan for Higher Education, Newsom said he and school officials are preparing to "try to create a different narrative for higher education as a system, as opposed to UC as a system, CSU as a system and community colleges."

Newsom, who as lieutenant governor is a member of the UC regents and the CSU trustees, said he is willing to consider a unified higher education system.

The University of California suffered a $650 million state budget cut this year and faces another $100 million this winter if state revenue falls short of expectations and trigger cuts are enforced.

UC regents voted in July to raise tuition by 9.6 percent, following n 8 percent increase the previous year. Newsom was one of four regents to vote against the increase.

"You can destroy a system that Lincoln built, with the college grants, the land grants," he said. "It took hundreds of years to build a system, and you can destroy it in a few years. And what we're doing is walking down that path. And I know I sound like a cliché, like every single lieutenant governor, opposing the tuition increase, demagoguing it, putting a press release out, organizing the students for some political hay. But I believe this in my gut."

October 13, 2011
Gavin Newsom accuses California of growing lazy about jobs

BEVERLY HILLS - Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, continuing to press his jobs plan at an economic conference this morning, said California has been held back by a lackadaisical attitude about job creation that began long before the flagging economy's most recent downturn.

"We cleaned everyone's clock, we left everyone in the dust between 1950 and 1980 in California," Newsom said at the Milken Institute's State of the State Conference at The Beverly Hilton. "The last 30 years, we put up our legs, we sat back. We're like the aging high school football player who talks about the good ol' days."

He said the state has also suffered from partisanship in Sacramento.

"It's tribal," he said. "Democrats, Republicans."

Newsom, a Democrat, this summer proposed a jobs plan that included re-opening California's foreign trade offices and creating a Cabinet-level economic development office and "strike teams" to address regulatory and permitting matters. Newsom said the trade offices, disbanded in 2003, could be financed privately.

"There are so many things we can do where money is not the issue," he said. "The money's out there. What we lack are new ideas."

Newsom's jobs plan this year was overshadowed by Gov. Jerry Brown's own jobs agenda, including a legislative package that was largely defeated by Republican lawmakers.

Newsom will be upstaged again today. Brown, a Democrat, is scheduled for a one-on-one discussion with Michael Milken here this afternoon.

August 29, 2011
Newsom to play nice when Jerry Brown leaves town

Gov. Jerry Brown couldn't leave the state when he was governor before without looking over his shoulder at Lt. Gov. Mike Curb, who feuded with Brown and made mischief when he was gone.

But as Brown prepares to leave California for the first time since retaking office this year, he can rest easy: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who will become acting governor while Brown is in Las Vegas on Tuesday for a clean energy conference, is unlikely to misbehave.

"The Lieutenant Governor takes his constitutional duties seriously and is prepared to work closely with Governor Brown to ensure consistent operations," Newsom spokesman Francisco Castillo said in an e-mail.

Newsom, like Brown, is a Democrat, and so far this year he has been deferential to Brown.

Brown traveled more when he was governor before, from 1975 to 1983, and Curb, a Republican, stirred the pot. Curb tried to elevate a Republican judge to the appellate court (Brown rescinded the appointment), for example, and he signed a bill to permit a temporary increase in the lead content of gasoline.

July 29, 2011
Gavin Newsom proposes state jobs office, trade post in China

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said today that this fall he and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez plan to send Gov. Jerry Brown a bill to establish a Cabinet-level economic development office, eliminating several commissions Newsom called redundant, including his own.

"What I'm offering in this plan is getting rid of commissions like mine," Newsom told reporters in San Jose. "I'm the chair of the Economic Development Commission in the state. You've never heard of it for good reason. I don't want you to ever hear about it again. I think it should be done away with, and it should be re-organized under the governor's office."

In a report released today, titled "An Economic Growth and Competitiveness Agenda for California," Newsom said California has "lacked a strategic, statewide economic plan" for more than a decade.

He said he will seek to reopen California's foreign trade offices, which were disbanded amid scandal in 2003. Newsom said new offices would be privately funded and that he will announce in "a few weeks" details of the first one, in China.

July 29, 2011
Newsom blasts Marin query as point of 'trivia and insignificance'

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom was in San Jose this morning to release his new economic development plan, starting with a news conference.

First question?

"Lieutenant Governor, there's a report that someone is trying to oust you from the Democratic Central Committee in San Francisco because you're a Marin County resident. Is that true?"

The former San Francisco mayor was announcing the first policy effort of his lieutenant governorship, and the distraction annoyed him.

"This is a point of such trivia and insignificance, it's hard for me to even put together a sentence," Newsom said.

In the end, however, he did: "Yes, I have temporarily located in Marin, and as a consequence was sending in a letter of resignation to the local Democratic Central Committee. Now, as a temporary resident in Marin, I'm afforded the opportunity to be on the Marin Democratic Central Committee. This is unbelievably non-consequential."

July 12, 2011
CSU approves $400K salary for San Diego State president

California State University trustees today approved a salary for the new San Diego State president that is $100,000 higher than his predecessor's -- despite receiving a letter this morning from Gov. Jerry Brown telling the board that its "approach to compensation is setting a pattern for public service that we cannot afford."

Trustees voted 11-4, with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Margaret Fortune, Melinda Guzman and Steve Glazer voting against the compensation package for Elliot Hirshman, who began earlier this month as the president of San Diego State. The package called for a salary of $400,000, with $50,000 of it paid for with private funds from the university's foundation.

Hirshman's predecessor, Stephen Weber, earned an annual salary of $299,435 at the end of his 14-year tenure at the helm of San Diego State.

Newsom argued that CSU shouldn't approve such a large pay increase on the same day it raised tuition for students. Before voting on Hirshman's compensation, the board approved a second tuition increase for the fall that will make undergraduate education about $1,000 more than it was last year.

"I caution us today with these two decisions, and I feel compelled to make this point," Newsom said. "There are plenty of people watching, and people we need as supporters."

Newsom said he had heard from two lawmakers earlier in the day who were concerned about the proposed salary hike. One of them, state Sen. Ted Lieu, posted his thoughts on Twitter:

"To CSU full board, let me be very clear: I will find it extremely difficult to vote to restore CSU funding if SDSU Prez salary is approved," Lieu wrote.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Trustee Melinda Guzman also voted against the compensation package for Hirshman, making the vote 11-4 in favor Corrected 1:56 p.m., July 13, 2011

July 12, 2011
CSU approves second tuition increase for the fall

Tuition is going up this fall at California State University. Again.

Today trustees approved a 12 percent increase that comes on top of a 10 percent increase approved last year. Combined, the two increases bring undergraduate tuition at CSU's 23 campuses to $5,472 a year. That's an increase of about 23 percent compared with last year, and does not include campus-based fees that average $950 a year.

The tuition increase is a direct response to the state budget approved last month, which cuts state funding to CSU by $650 million, or about 24 percent compared with last year.

"The enormous reduction to our state funding has left us with no other choice if we are to maintain quality and access to the CSU," Chancellor Charles B. Reed said in a statement. "We will focus on serving our current students by offering as many classes and course sections as possible. We will also be able to open enrollment for the spring 2012 term, which is critical for our community college transfer students."

The full board of trustees voted 13-2 for the tuition increase, with student trustee Steve Dixon and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom opposing.

"We must invest in higher education and we can no longer allow the Legislature to get off the hook," Dixon said.

UPDATED 3:35 p.m. with final vote of full board

June 23, 2011
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom dons a new hat

ha_GNEWSOM20338046.JPG
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is adding to his workload.

Besides putting together a job creation plan for the state and serving on the boards of the state university systems, Newsom will serve as chairman of the committee trying to bring the 2022 Olympic Winter Games to California, the group announced today.

"We are very excited to have Newsom lead our efforts and we believe his addition will help successfully position California to win the games if the [United States Olympic Committee] chooses to solicit bids from US cities for a 2022 Winter Games," said Michael Faust, the California Winter Games Committee's president. "We believe his leadership will empower the committee to make good on today's investment in youth sports and will continue to do so into the distant future."

Faust, the vice president of the Sacramento Metro Chamber, launched the effort earlier this year to bring the games to the Lake Tahoe region. The idea has the backing of Sacramento's mayor and city council.

Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, is one of several honorary chairmen. A group of business coalition leaders, developers and politicians sit on the board.

The U.S. committee may start soliciting bids as early as next year, with the International Olympic Committee expected to make its final site decision in 2015 or 2016.

PHOTO CREDIT: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks to guests after he was sworn in to office on the Senate chambers on Monday, Jan. 10, 2011. Hector Amezcua, Sacramento Bee.

May 23, 2011
Newsom backs stem cell institute pick

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has added his support to the nomination of investment banker Jonathan Thomas to lead California's stem cell research board.

Thomas was endorsed last week by Gov. Jerry Brown and state Treasurer Bill Lockyer to replace Robert Klein, outgoing chairman of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine's independent oversight committee.

In a letter to Klein, Newsom said the institute is "at a crossroads" and that the next chairman must have both a passion for stem cell research and "be able to leverage your successes with those in the private sector who will become increasingly important in funding future research, developing clinical trials and ultimately, delivering cures to the myriad of diseases being researched by CIRM-supported projects."

Controller John Chiang is also entitled to nominate a candidate for the chairmanship. A board of UC professors, investors and biomedical company executives is expected to pick a new chairman in June.

April 30, 2011
VIDEO: Gavin Newsom talks tax election, targeted cuts

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom isn't on board with the idea some fellow Democrats have raised to target GOP districts with steeper budget cuts if Republican legislators fail to support a budget deal that involves continuing higher tax rates.

"That's not the fault of those that are in those districts that their leadership are recalcitrant and I don't think we should hurt those who need us the most," Newsom told reporters on the first day of the state party's three-day convention.

The San Francisco Democrat said he believes legislators will be able to come to an agreement to resolve the remaining $15.4 billion deficit without resorting to an all-cuts solution. But he said while he supports Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to ask voters to ratify $11 billion in higher tax rates, he sees a scenario where it would be "acceptable" for Brown to go back on that pledge.

Find out what that would be and see his full argument against targeting GOP districts with cuts in the video clips below.

April 21, 2011
Gavin Newsom to pen book on social media, politics

ha_GNEWSOM20338046.JPG Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is adding author to his resume: He's penning a book on the intersection between technology, social media and politics that's set for release as the 2014 campaign takes shape.

"This solution-driven book suggests that we are at the dawn of a revolutionary change in the way government and the people interact," trumpets a release by the Penguin Press, which has acquired rights to publish the manuscript.

The San Francisco Democrat is certainly social media savvy -- he announced his short-lived gubernatorial primary campaign as well as the birth of his daughter via Twitter and was described as "The Twitter Prince" by a New York Times blog after a Manhattan-based startup ranked him the fourth most-followed politician on the microblogging service.

The winter 2013 publication date suggests that the contents will lay out the message of Newsom's next campaign -- whether it's a reelection effort or a bid for other statewide office.

Newsom is reportedly already taking steps for a future run at the state's top post, though he isn't expected to challenge Gov. Jerry Brown if he runs for reelection himself in 2014.

He would be far from the first California politician to use a book to drive his message and generate press about his platform. The 2010 cycle saw titles by Meg Whitman, Steve Poizner, Carly Fiorina, and Kamala Harris, to name a few.

PHOTO CREDIT: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks to guests after he was sworn into office on the Senate chambers on Monday, Jan. 10, 2011. Hector Amezcua/ Sacramento Bee.

February 2, 2011
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom goes to bat for Jerry Brown


Lt. Gov. and former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is getting involved in the brewing budget battles by pitching Gov. Jerry Brown's message in a Web video recorded for the California Democratic Party and released this morning.

Since taking the oath of office Jan. 10, Newsom has been feeling his way in his limited role, which gives him virtually no power over the budget process. The one-time gubernatorial hopeful has expressed in no uncertain terms that he would relish a chance to participate.

Newsom gets his shot in the 79-second video, in which he says, "I agree with the governor. It's not going to be easy. But by working together, as Californians first and foremost, we can get our state back on the road to recovery and back to being a world leader. On behalf of the governor, I'm asking for your help throughout this process."

Newsom was also scheduled to appear today in San Francisco, where he kicked off the State of Green Business Forum drawing clean energy executives and experts.

January 21, 2011
Whitman's money shaped primary, UC Berkeley panel agrees

UC Berkeley's regular post-election conference is under way at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza, and the clear theme of the first session, which analyzed the gubernatorial primary -- billionaire Republican candidate Meg Whitman's money.

In the thick of the primary race, both Democratic candidate Jerry Brown and Republican Steve Poizner based many of their political calculations on how to counter Whitman's threat to spend up to $150 million of her own money on the race. She ended up spending more than $140 million.

Poizner strategist Jim Bognet said that money allowed Whitman to rebound after Poizner pummeled her with ads attacking her immigration positions and her ties to the investment bank Goldman Sachs. Whitman's monster lead over Poizner, which widened to around 50 percentage points at one point, shrank to single digits, according to some polls.

Whitman spent $15 million on direct mail criticizing Poizner compared to the $400,000 Poizner spent on mail, Bognet said. Poizner ultimately burned through about $25 million of his own money.

"We were taking punches left and right, on the radio, from September, on TV, from February," Bognet said. "We really couldn't punch back. When we did punch back on character and on immigration where there was differentiation, she didn't take the punch very well for six weeks. She then kind of rebooted her campaign with a new message."

The result: Poizner losing the nomination to Whitman by more than 30 percentage points.

January 19, 2011
Gavin Newsom suggests challenging Jerry Brown's UC cuts

Gavin Newsom inaugurationIn his first remarks at a University of California Board of Regents meeting this morning, Lt. Gov. and Regent Gavin Newsom proposed challenging half a billion dollars in cuts to the UC system proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Newsom said the regents shouldn't automatically accept the cuts and said, "I'm not convinced we're going to lose that half a billion dollars."

The remark suggested Newsom won't hew tightly to the Brown administration line as lieutenant governor, despite coming from the same party and sharing longtime family ties. Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco, had expressed some concern about Brown's proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies on Jan. 10, just minutes after taking the oath of office.

Wednesday's remarks at the Board of Regents meeting, however, reflected a stronger tone from Newsom. The lieutenant governor's office comes with a Board of Regents seat.

Overall, Newsom struck an ambitious and challenging theme at the meeting held at UC San Diego, after UC President Mark Yudof warned his audience of the painful cuts to come.

"I sit here bewildered by the state not of only our state but the state of our UC system," Newsom said. "I didn't come here to fail more efficiently. I didn't come here to play in the margins. I didn't want this job to keep asking the same old questions."

He added, "I think we need to ask some different questions around here."

Newsom also said he planned to "blow up" the state Commission for Economic Development, which he chairs as lieutenant governor.

"It's been frankly a waste of energy of folks participating," he said.

Photo: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during his inauguration ceremony on Jan. 10, 2011, at the state Capitol. (Hector Amezcua/Sacramento Bee)

UPDATE: In an interview this afternoon, Newsom elaborated that the UC Board of Regents should look for alternatives to some of the cuts suggested by Brown and help the governor avoid making them.

"Isn't our job to make the case to the Legislature about alternatives and give the governor some cover?" Newsom said. "(Brown) needs people to advocate against it."

The Bee caught up with Brown this afternoon and asked him about Newsom's comments.

Brown's response: "I understand that regents are going to advocate, and just like the cities ... everyone is going to be advocating in the best way they can. At the end of the day, you've got to come up with our $25 billion in solutions. It's all moving the pieces on the board. And each group does advocate but at the end of the day we'll get most of them in the room and we'll come out with something."

January 10, 2011
Maldonado opposes tax extension; Newsom cautious about cuts

Abel Maldonado may no longer be lieutenant governor or a senator. But after a little break from the public light, he plans to join the fight against a tax extension ballot measure proposed today by Gov. Jerry Brown, Maldonado said.

The Republican former lieutenant governor attended this afternoon's swearing-in ceremony for his successor, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who beat Maldonado for the office in November.

Maldonado tirelessly worked the room after Newsom's 23-minute speech, shaking hands and slapping backs. At one point, he playfully slapped Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, on the cheek.

When asked by The Bee what his future held, Maldonado responded, "I'm going home. I'm going back to the ranch," referring to his family's ranch in Santa Maria.

Maldonado then said about his political plans, "I'm going to work against this tax increase. We told the people of California that it was temporary, and it was going to be temporary. And that if they allowed us a temporary tax, we were going to make some decisions. And taxes should be the last and final emergency resort."

Maldonado voted in February 2009 for the temporary tax hikes, which are set to expire this July. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Maldonado as lieutenant governor after the elected Lt. Gov. John Garamendi won a congressional seat in November 2009.

When asked how he was going to fight the tax extension, Maldonado said, "I'm going to be very vocal about it. Because when I did the tax increase, we were shutting down construction jobs the very next day. We were sending IOUs as tax refunds to Californian taxpayers and we had a $60 billion deficit. We don't have that today, so this notion of going out asking for more taxes is actually kicking the can down the road."

Newsom, a Democrat who just stepped down as San Francisco mayor, struck a more cooperative tone in his remarks after taking the oath of office. He said he would focus on job creation and help Brown any way he could.

Attending the ceremony were former Assembly Speaker and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, who launched Newsom's career after appointing him to a San Francisco commission, incoming San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Garamendi, among others in the Senate chamber.

Newsom said he would make the most of his office's limited responsibilities, which include serving as chairman of the state Commission for Economic Development.

"I come here with a lot of ideas," Newsom said, "a foundational philosophy and principle that states are laboratories of democracy but cities and counties are laboratories of innovation. And that we got to unleash that innovative spirit."

He told reporters later that he had concerns about Brown's plan to eliminate redevelopment agencies.

"It's at our peril that we eliminate all, but the debate's an important one," Newsom said. "And I want to underscore that. There are some real abuses on redevelopment where they're not doing what they should be, and so it's a very legitimate debate. And that's why I honor (Brown's) willingness to put it up, but I also look forward to honoring his willingness to keep an open mind about the ultimate outcome."

January 10, 2011
Rex Babin: Jerry and Gavin

SED_G0109_7BABIN0109.standalone.prod_affiliate.4.jpg

Rex Babin is the political cartoonist for The Bee. This cartoon was originally published in Sunday's Bee. You can see a collection of his work here.

January 3, 2011
Steinberg says budget deal must be done quickly

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said after Gov. Jerry Brown's inaugural address today that Brown's post-inauguration period of goodwill could help him to resolve California's budget crisis, but that Brown and the Legislature must succeed quickly.

"He's going to use these first months where he has, you know, I think, a real sense of goodwill, from not only the people, but also from the legislature," said Steinberg, D-Sacramento. "We're going to put this fiscal crisis behind us early ... If we don't put the fiscal crisis behind us early, everything else we do will then pale."

Steinberg said politicians have many positive things to focus on, such as green energy and job creation, but that "first we have to show the people that we can put this fiscal crisis behind us, and put it behind us in the first six months."

Asked about Brown's intention, according to sources, to put a tax-extension matter on the June ballot and to propose dramatic reductions to virtually every area of state service, Steinberg said, "I don't like them (the cuts), but I'm prepared to work with my caucus and to work with the minority party and to work with the governor to do what has to be done."

He said Democrats would not "just take the governor's budget proposal and pass it on Day 1," but he said they would accelerate their review of his budget proposal and "work together to get it done."

"I don't like those cuts," Steinberg said. "But I'm not going to reject them out of hand."

Lt. Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, also a Democrat, said Republicans had better start cheering for Brown, too.

"I want Jerry Brown to be successful. If he is, the state's successful," he said. "I think every Republican out there should hope he's successful, as well. We can't afford an unsuccessful governor."

Newsom said Republicans and Democrats must both be prepared to accept massive spending reductions. Everyone is "in for a rough ride," Newsom said. "We all need to get in together."

December 31, 2010
Schedule: Brown, constitutional officers to be sworn in Monday

By Torey Van Oot
tvanoot@sacbee.com

All eyes will be on Gov.-elect Jerry Brown Monday as the 72-year-old Democrat is sworn in for a third term as California's chief executive.

That takes place at 11 a.m. at Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium. The Brown transition team has said an undetermined number of seats will be available to the public, but so far has provided no other details. A reception is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the California Railroad museum. Watch this blog for additional details as they become available.

Brown won't be the only constitutional officer taking the oath of office Monday. Here's a rundown of when, where and by whom the other statewide officials elected Nov. 2 will be sworn in.

Controller John Chiang

Time: Approximately 9:30 a.m.
Place: Elks Tower Ballroom, 921 11th St., Sacramento
Officiating: Sacramento Superior Court Judge Russell L. Hom will administer the oath of office.
Reception: Chiang's ceremony will kick off with a private reception at 8 a.m. sponsored by the Grace Initiative, a new nonprofit effort focused on providing financial literacy programs for low-income working families.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson

Time: 9 a.m.
Place: The gymnasium of Concord's Mount Diablo High School, where Torlakson taught before beginning his career in politics.
Officiating: Torlakson will be sworn in by Barbara Nemko, Napa County schools superintendent.
Reception: Torlakson will head to Sacramento to host an open house at the California Department of Education, 1430 N St., from 3 to 5 p.m.

Attorney General Kamala Harris

Time: 1 p.m.
Place: The swearing in will be private, at the California Museum For History, Women & The Arts, 1020 O St., Sacramento.
Officiating: To be determined.
Reception: A private reception will follow at the museum.

Treasurer Bill Lockyer

Time: 3 p.m.
Place: Capitol Rotunda
Officiating: Lockyer's wife, Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer, will administer the oath of office. Former Democratic Sen. Art Torres will emcee the event.
Reception: Lockyer hosts a private reception following the ceremony at the state Treasurer's Office.

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones

Time: 5 p.m.
Place: Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I St., Sacramento
Special guests: Controller John Chiang, a longtime friend and high school classmate, will emcee the ceremony. California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye will administer the oath of office.
Reception: A public reception follows the ceremony, lasting until 6:30 p.m.

TUESDAY, JAN. 4:

Secretary of State Debra Bowen

Time: 10 a.m.
Place: Secretary of State Office Building Auditorium, 1500 11th St.
Officiating: Attorney General Kamala Harris will administer the oath of office.
DELAY: Bowen's staff said the elections chief opted to wait a day to be sworn in for her second term because of the already crowded schedule on Jan. 3.

LATER:

Lt. Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom will be in Sacramento to attend the swearing-in ceremonies for Gov.-elect Jerry Brown and other constitutional officers, but the San Franciscan won't take the oath of office himself.

Newsom has scheduled an inaugural celebration for 1 p.m. on Jan. 10 in the Capitol Rotunda, though a spokesman said he could be sworn in sooner.

Constitutional officers are eligible to be sworn in as soon as the first Monday in January following the November election, though the term will not technically start until they take the oath of office.

Newsom's decision is a political one, albeit local. By holding off on resigning as San Francisco mayor, Newsom will ensure the newly elected San Francisco Board of Supervisors, a more moderate bunch than the current board, selects the interim mayor to fill the remainder of his term there.

Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, the Republican Newsom defeated in the November election, is eligible to remain lieutenant governor until Newsom takes the oath of office.

October 18, 2010
The Clinton-Brown show hits San Jose

Bill Clinton and Jerry Brown upped the male bonding Sunday night at a boisterous rally at San Jose State, where the two men warmly praised and embraced each other before thousands of cheering supporters.

It was the second such rally for the former president, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate and lieutenant governor candidate Gavin Newsom after a similarly energetic event held Friday night at UCLA.

Brown appeared more focused and looser Sunday night, hurtling through his stump speech and even referring to his clashes with Clinton throughout the 1990s. He and Clinton gave each other hardy handshakes and shoulder pats, a contrast to the seemingly more fatigued Brown from two nights ago.

"Now I know this president, it's amazing, he took a lot of, a lot of crap from a lot of people, OK - yeah, I did a little myself," Brown said, drawing a laugh from Clinton behind him. "But remember this is the guy that really persevered in the face of the most outrageous Republican opposition."

Brown also tried out rhetorical hits on Republican rival Meg Whitman's lack of government experience, while Clinton listened with arms crossed, as if evaluating Brown's acumen on the stump.

September 17, 2010
Clinton to visit California to stump for Brown, Newsom

Bill Clinton.JPGIf former President Bill Clinton was sore about Jerry Brown's dig over the weekend, he seems to be over it now.

Clinton is coming to California next month to campaign for Brown, the Democratic nominee for governor, and Gavin Newsom, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, Brown's campaign said this morning.

Clinton endorsed Brown on Tuesday, after Brown apologized for referencing the Monica Lewinsky scandal and saying Clinton did not always tell the truth.

The two competed harshly in the 1992 presidential race, and Clinton more recently has worked against Brown. He came to California last year to campaign for Newsom when Newsom was Brown's primary opponent in the gubernatorial race. Newsom, the San Francisco mayor, dropped out of the contest last year.

In a written statement, the Brown campaign said Clinton would join Brown and Newsom at a series of events in northern and southern California on Oct. 15 and Oct. 17. It had no details.

"I am very pleased to have the endorsement of President Clinton, and I look forward to campaigning with him and with Gavin Newsom," Brown said in the statement. "President Clinton accomplished a lot for California, and we have a ticket that will accomplish a lot for California's future."

Photo CREDIT: Former President Bill Clinton greets the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colo., on August 27, 2008. (Chuck Myers/MCT)


June 10, 2010
Jerry Brown: Start budget process before January

The state Democratic ticket made its first joint appearance Thursday morning at the Solaria solar panel plant in Fremont, where gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown said his party's ticket represented much-needed frugality and authenticity compared to the Republicans' free-spending ways.

Brown also laid out more details about how he would balance the state's budget, such as starting the budget process before January every year and taking budget proposals to the ballot.

If anything, Brown showed Thursday why he's one of the most quotable people in state politics, speaking at a quick patter and shooting out a thick mix of attacks, jokes and data. Whitman, by contrast, stays closely to talking points when talking to crowds and the media.

"The governor is one person, the Legislature is the other, you've got to bring us all together in a very deliberative process," Brown said to dozens of media and white-jacketed company employees. "We'll cut everything we can."

Brown spent much of the morning repeating his challenge to Republican rival Meg Whitman to debate, dismissing her criticisms that he hadn't released enough policy details yet. Whitman has said she's done just that by putting out a 48-page policy booklet.

Brown's take? "She doesn't have a plan," he said. "She has a pamphlet, and most of it is pictures."

June 8, 2010
Governor's race timeline

With this primary season about to finish, take a look at the key events that defined the governor's race in this timeline. It all started in July 2008...

May 25, 2010
Gubernatorial race timeline - the debut

Here's our beta timeline of the gubernatorial race, to be updated over the next six months.

Tips on using it: Click the green right and left arrows to move forward or backward through time. Use the green up and down arrows to shorten or lengthen the time line.

Click on the picture to read a short blurb about the event, if available for that entry. If the link button appears, click on it to read a related story or blog item. Now, relive the rollercoaster that was and is governor's race 2010.

May 11, 2010
Will Hahn tie Newsom to SF crime lab trouble?

JANICE HAHN.jpgLos Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn is ramping up her use of San Francisco's troubled crime lab in her quest for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor on June 8.

Hahn and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom are two self-identified progressive Democrats vying for the nomination to become the state's second-in-command. Hahn's campaign staff has publicly questioned what Newsom knew about the lab's problems.

Last Friday the campaign submitted a public records request to Newsom's office seeking e-mails and other documents related to the lab.

The lab was shut down in March in the wake of explosive allegations that former technician Deborah Madden had absconded with drug evidence. Prosecutors have dismissed hundreds of criminal cases as a result of the scandal.

The Hahn campaign's records request seeks memos and e-mails from or to Newsom's office that contain the name "Deborah Madden."

Hahn campaign manager Michael Trujillo, who signed the request, said Tuesday Newsom deserves "points" for having appointed San Francisco's first woman police chief in 2004.

But, Trujillo said, "he's also responsible for what happened under that police chief." The chief in question, Heather Fong, resigned from her San Francisco position last August. She hasn't been implicated as responsible for the lab's problems.

Trujillo said Newsom's office responded Monday to the records inquiry by saying the office is working on the request. Trujillo wouldn't go into whether the crime lab might make its way into a Hahn campaign ad as June 8 primary approaches.

Tony Winnicker, spokesman in Newsom's office, said: "We are treating this as a public records request just as from any other member of the public. ... We don't give it special treatment because it's from a political candidate."

Newsom told The Bee in a recent interview that he's sure he's raising much more campaign money than Hahn, and his campaign has internal polling looking good for him.

Hahn has suggested that she -- a woman from Los Angeles -- would better balance the Democrats' slate in November. Jerry Brown -- a man from the Bay Area -- is the Democrat's presumed gubernatorial candidate.

This post was updated with a comment from Winnicker at 2:13 p.m.

PHOTO CREDIT: Los Angeles City Councilwoman and candidate for Lieutenant Governor Janice Hahn talks with an attendee at the California Democratic Convention in Los Angeles on April 17. Reed Saxon/Associated Press.

April 16, 2010
Jerry Brown wades into the Democratic convention

Gavin and Jerry.JPG

Photo by Hector Amezcua

The state Democratic convention kicked off Friday afternoon at the gleaming new JW Marriott hotel in Los Angeles with all the drama of a giant family reunion. The star and eccentric patriarch of this year's gathering was gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown.

Wearing a dark suit and a blue-striped dress shirt without tie, Brown roamed the hotel's halls receiving the well wishes of some of the 3,000 Democrats expected to attend.

He greeted old friends such as Kam Kuwata, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein's former campaign manager, and new ones like the groups of excited young women who angled for pictures with him.

When asked by Brown for campaign advice, Kuwata's words of wisdom: "Don't f**k up."

Brown spoke briefly to four caucuses - environmental, lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender, women and the California Teachers Association - and reviewed the row of campaign stands.

Brown's own campaign stand was strikingly minimal compared to those of the other candidates - little more than a flimsy banner held up with binder clips and two young men looking eager to devour the big pizza in front of them. "Is this it?" Brown asked as he approached the stand. The pair of young men straightened up in their chairs as Brown approached.

On two occasions, Brown's path crossed that of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who dropped out of the governor's race in October and is now running for lieutenant governor.

The two men mostly avoided each other except for a quick handshake in the stairwell outside the women's caucus' room.

March 17, 2010
Hahn team files complaint against Newsom over donor cash

Democrat Janice Hahn's lieutenant governor campaign has filed a complaint alleging that primary rival Gavin Newsom violated the Political Reform Act by accepting contributions from donors who maxed out to his failed gubernatorial bid.

The complaint, filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission, claims that the San Francisco mayor has"flouted state law in an unprecedented manner" by fueling his lite guv campaign with cash from donors who had already given amounts that exceed the lieutenant governor contribution cap to his gubernatorial bid, which he dropped in October. Individual donors are permitted to give up to $25,900 to gubernatorial candidates, but just $6,500 to lieutenant governor hopefuls.

"Unlike other state candidates who have raised money during the same election cycle for multiple offices and then transferred funds from one committee to another using the transfer and attribution rules, Mr. Newsom raised and spent the funds he collected at the higher gubernatorial limit -- which no doubt served to benefit his candidacy in the June 8 election," complainant Stephen J. Kaufman wrote. "Mr. Newsom is now raising additional money from the same maxed-out donors to be spent in the same election, he is using contributions totaling amounts well in excess of the $6,500 limit."

Newsom's attorney Tom Willis, an expert in campaign law, said in a statement that the complaint has no basis because a candidate "can open separate committees for different offices being voted on at the same election, and each of those committees is subject to separate contribution limits."

March 12, 2010
Gavin Newsom says he's ready for less expensive Lt. Gov. race

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced his run Friday to become California's next lieutenant governor, declaring he'd use the office sometimes billed as "guv lite" to promote what everyone wants: jobs.

Newsom, 42, dropped his bid last October to become the Democratic gubernatorial nominee. He was badly trailing Attorney General Jerry Brown in fundraising and endorsements.

"I have no regrets about dropping out of the governor's race," Newsom told the Bee on Friday morning.

He said he "was looking down the barrel" of a very expensive race with few prospects of raising the kind of cash required.

Plus, he said, at the time he had a newborn baby and felt he couldn't run San Francisco while juggling such monumental fundraising needs.

The lieutenant governor job, widely viewed as a stepping stone to a higher office, isn't going to be as expensive a race.

Newsom said Friday that his baby is older now and his "enthusiastic wife" is backing his decision.

He also said a good friend -- former Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown -- urged him to run. "If there's one big reason that this got back on the radar," Newsom said, "it was Willie's encouragement."

Newsom said he feels his background as a businessman in San Francisco is a plus that's little known that he wants to promote. It could help him build an image beyond being a strong advocate for same-sex marriage and social causes popular among progressive voters.

"I'm not profligate as a progressive," Newsom said. "I come from the private sector. I created over 1,000 jobs."

Newsom will square off in the June primary against Janice Hahn, a Los Angeles city councilwoman from a south-state political family. Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, dropped his bid to run for the nomination Friday and endorsed Newsom.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, also endorsed Newsom.

Newsom said he's not daunted by what could become a north-south showdown against Hahn. He said he drew large crowds at rallies in Southern California when running for governor.

"Our values resonate down there," Newsom said. "I'm going to be down there a lot."

March 12, 2010
Florez drops candidacy for lieutenant governor

State Sen. Dean Florez has decided not to run for lieutenant governor after all.

The Shafter Democrat, in a letter to supporters, said that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's decision to seek the post makes it unrealistic for him to continue running. Newsom announced his candidacy today.

Polls show that "he commands a formidable lead that would be hard to surmount," Florez wrote.

Florez thanked supporters for their help, but said, "As an African proverb says, 'When the music changes, so must the dance.' Well, the music has changed, and sadly so has the dance."

"While it hurts to undo so much hard work, I'm not embittered about this predicament," he said. "I am pragmatic enough to recognize that politics is unpredictable."

Florez said that he will continue fighting for his constituents in the Senate until he is termed out in December, and that he will use his campaign funds to help elect a Democratic governor and other party candidates.

Newsom and San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who is running for attorney general, are two candidates that Florez vowed to assist.

"Make no mistake, I want to see our party succeed in the upcoming election," he said.

February 25, 2010
Garry South takes shots at Gavin Newsom's 'guv lite' talk

California politicos are salivating at a potential lieutenant governor primary showdown between Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

But it's not just the idea of a contest between the SoCal and NorCal big hitter Dems that has perked the interest of campaign junkies.

Hahn has hired a slew of big-name Democratic strategists, including Garry South, who happened to play a leading role in Newsom's failed gubernatorial bid.

Today, the ever-quotable South didn't hold back in sharing his feelings about his ex-boss mulling an entry into the race.

In a statement to reporters, South wrote that he was "surprised and perplexed" that his "friend and former client" was considering running for a job he previously derided as "a largely ceremonial post" that had "no real authority and no real portfolio."

February 17, 2010
Will Gavin Newsom jump in the 'lite guv' race?

BB DEMCON TWO  836.JPG
Update 5:40 p.m. Newsom filed paperwork with the Secretary of State indicating he's exploring a run. Jack Chang has more here.

Gavin Newsom appears to be gearing up for another run at statewide office.

As buzz grows that Newsom could throw his hat in the lieutenant governor race, SF Chron's Philip Matier and Andrew Ross are reporting that the San Francisco mayor is putting together a campaign team for a possible run.

This comes two weeks after a Newsom ally released a poll showing the former guv-hopeful at the front of the field of Democrats eying the lieutenant governor post.

Plagued by anemic fundraising numbers, Newsom dropped his gubernatorial bid in October, saying his mayoral and parental duties made it "impossible to commit the time required to complete this effort the way it needs to -- and should be -- done."

If he jumped in this race, Newsom would likely face Sen. Dean Florez and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, whose campaign team is led by his former strategist Garry South, in the June Democratic primary.

In other "lite guv" news, GOP Sen. Abel Maldonado, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's embattled pick for the job, has been raking in campaign contributions despite his ongoing confirmation struggle.

PHOTO CREDIT: San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newsom talks to the California Democratic Party Convention in San Jose, March 29, 2008. Brian Baer/Sacramento Bee

January 28, 2010
Jerry Brown takes off gloves, dings Gavin Newsom

Thumbnail image for Jerry Brown.jpgJerry Brown promised to "mix it up" this morning on his weekly call into San Francisco radio station KGO. And mix it up he did. Listen here.

The attorney general and undeclared Democratic gubernatorial candidate was asked about San Francisco Mayor and former gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom's recent remark that Brown didn't appear to have "fire in his belly" for the race.

Brown responded, "He's been giving a lot of advice to the president and now me, and I'm sure there'll be others because when you don't have a lot to do, you can start checking out what other people have been doing.

"I appreciate the advice, and I'm going to be examining my intestinal fortitude here."

November 20, 2009
Newsom clashes with CBS 5 reporter

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom clashed with CBS 5 reporter Hank Plante this week when he was asked about him avoiding the press and missing some public events since he dropped his gubernatorial bid last month.

An irritated Newsom responded that he'd been working hard, while Plante repeatedly confronted him with media criticism of him.

The mayor responded, "I don't read the press. It is comical some of the things that have been written. It's beyond laughable. Damaging? No. I think only to the credibility of some of the news organizations that have written it. And to the extent that I care? I don't."

See the video here.

November 4, 2009
Gavin Newsom laying low - reportedly in Hawaii

After months in the public spotlight, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has vanished since he dropped out of the gubernatorial race Friday and is reportedly spending the week in Hawaii with his wife and baby daughter.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Newsom had been scheduled to speak today to thousands at an Urban Land Institute conference in San Francisco and appear at an all-day conference organized by a city agency that promotes trade with China.

Instead, Newsom will be out of town until Sunday.

Here's a television report about Newsom's absence.

November 3, 2009
Rex Babin: Candidate down

babingavin.jpg

Rex Babin is the political cartoonist for The Bee. You can see a collection of his work here.

October 29, 2009
Denver mayor Hickenlooper endorses Newsom

First Clinton, now Hickenlooper.

That would be Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, who has endorsed San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in his bid for the California Democratic gubernatorial nomination, according to a Newsom news release sent out today.

"I have had the pleasure of working with Gavin on many issues through the U.S. Conference of Mayors," Hickenlooper says in the release. "He and I share priorities on issues like education, health care, ending homelessness, and safeguarding the environment. His dedication to public service and commitment to reform and innovation are what California needs for a new direction."

Newsom won former President Bill Clinton's endorsement at a Los Angeles event last month and has also been endorsed by U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, and state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, who is Newsom's campaign co-chairman.

Attorney General Jerry Brown has yet to announce his candidacy for governor but is leading Newsom in the polls and in money raised.

October 14, 2009
MAP: Ten spots Newsom might want to avoid in Sacramento

In case you haven't heard, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson's garment bag was snatched while he was helping out an old man he met on the San Francisco BART last weekend (for those who are concerned, the bag was recovered and is en route back to Sacramento).

Johnson had this to say about the experience:

"Next time I see San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, I'll tell him the story and give him my word nothing like that will happen to him in Sacramento. And I'll hope I can make good on the promise."

The Bee's Phillip Reese has rigged up a map of some crime-heavy hot spots around town that Johnson might advise Newsom to avoid if he wants to live up to his word. The
red areas are the police grids with the most thefts -- excluding shoplifting and car theft -- reported between January and August 2009. Click on an area for more information.


View Theft HotSpots in a larger map

October 13, 2009
Newsom backs constitutional convention in Web video

"Constitutional reform" is tomorrow's buzz phrase du jour, with the results of a new Field Poll and a daylong conference exploring different options for putting the function back in California's dysfunctional governmental processes on tap.

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Gavin Newsom set out to make his stance on how to fix California clear a day early, unleashing an online video voicing his support for calling a limited convention to revise the state constitution.

Newsom and GOP gubernatorial hopefuls Meg Whitman and Tom Campbell have all previously thrown their backing behind the idea, while Republican candidate Steve Poizner says he's not a fan of the constitutional convention route. Democrat Jerry Brown, who's still not an official candidate, told CalBuzz last spring that he's open to the idea.

Here's Newsom's new spot. See read the transcript after the jump.



October 8, 2009
AM Alert: Gov2010 matchups

A new Field Poll released today looks ahead at the field of gubernatorial hopefuls.

The poll put Attorney General Jerry Brown 20 points ahead of Democratic rival Gavin Newsom among Democratic primary voters.

Brown, of course, hasn't officially declared his candidacy but recently opened an exploratory committee to raise money for the race.

The poll indicates that Brown's support is stronger in the south state, with a much tighter five-point lead in Northern California.

The 42-year-old San Francisco mayor holds an edge over 71-year-old Brown with a nine-point lead among voters ages 18 to 39.

The poll also picks up on a potential race changer. If U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein threw her hat in the ring, she would lead both Brown and Newsom, with 40 percent of the Democratic primary voters polled throwing their support behind her.

On the GOP side, Meg Whitman leads the pack of Republican hopefuls, with 22 percent of GOP primary voters backing her bid. Former U.S. Rep. Tom Campbell came in a close second with 20 percent. Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner trailed with 9 percent.

And almost half of GOP primary voters -- 49 percent -- say they're still undecided.

Looking ahead to next November: Brown leads all the Republican contenders by margins of 21 to 25 points, while Newsom holds a single-digit lead over his GOP foes.

Pollsters interviewed 1,005 registered voters in California by telephone between Sept. 18 and Oct. 5.

Want more on the poll and what it means? Colleague Jack Chang has the scoop in today's Bee. Click here to see the poll and tabulations prepared exclusively for Capitol Alert.

On tap today: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders are set to meet at 11:30 to try to hammer out the details of a water deal. The clock is ticking with just four full days for Schwarzenegger to act on more than 700 bills that have been sent to his desk. Lawmakers say he is holding out on signing or vetoing the measures until a water accord is reached.

Today's negotiations will be "Big Five" plus one, at least.

The office of Assemblywoman Anna Caballero said last night that Assembly Speaker Karen Bass has asked the Salinas Democrat to join the talks.

The Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee kicks off a two-day series of hearings on Commission on the 21st Century Economy's proposals for overhauling the state's tax system.

The committee, which meets at 10 a.m. in Room 126 of the Capitol, will hear from Commission Chair Gerald Parsky, Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor, Department of Finance Research Chief Phil Spilberg and a slew of other commission members and tax experts.

Representatives from the California Chamber of Commerce, California Budget Project and the California Tax Reform Association will also give their takes on the plan. You can see the agenda and a list of people scheduled to testify here. Click here to see the agenda for Friday's hearing.

September 30, 2009
Newsom challenges Brown to 11 debates

Just a day after Attorney General Jerry Brown announced he was forming an exploratory committee for a possible gubernatorial run, declared Democratic candidate Gavin Newsom challenged Brown to 11 debates in every media market in the state.

"Our state is in need of real reform -- we have a broken system that must be fixed," Newsom said in the news release. "And now that there are two candidates for governor, we owe the Democratic voters of California an opportunity to compare our visions and platforms side-by-side."

Newsom suggested ground rules in the debate invitation, which his campaign faxed to Brown, the news release said. That included suggesting that 10 of the debates focus on one topic each, with the 11th dealing with a range of topics.

Among other suggestions, according to the press release:

• 90 minutes in length • Opening and closing statements • Moderated, town hall-style debates with direct audience participation • Segments with moderator questions, public questions, and candidate-to-candidate questions • An opportunity for candidates to respond directly to any assertions made about their record

Brown adviser Steven Glazer just sent out this response:

"September 30, 2009

Dear Mayor Newsom-

Thank you for your kind invitation to Attorney General Brown to hold 11 debates prior to the June Primary for Governor.

As you may know, Attorney General Brown is not a declared candidate for Governor. While he has processed the paperwork to create an exploratory committee for that office, he is currently focused on doing his job as Attorney General -- protecting consumers and prosecuting criminals.

If Attorney General Brown decides to declare his candidacy for Governor, I'm sure he would support the notion of holding debates under terms to be mutually agreed upon by the candidates.

Thank you again for writing.

Steven Glazer

Senior Advisor"

September 28, 2009
Brown holds edge over GOP guv hopefuls in new poll

He's still not officially in, but a new Rasmussen Reports poll on the 2010 gubernatorial race gives attorney general and likely Democratic candidate Jerry Brown a nearly double-digit edge over all three candidates vying for the Republican nomination in hypothetical match-ups.

Brown, who has yet to declare his candidacy but is expected to form an exploratory committee for the race sometime this week, held a 9-point advantage over RepublicanMeg Whitman , leading the former eBay executive 44 percent to 35 percent. The match-ups also gave Brown a 13-point edge over Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and put him 10 points ahead of former Rep. Tom Campbell.

The telephone survey of 500 likely California voters, taken last Thursday, puts all three Republican contenders ahead of declared Democratic candidate Gavin Newsom.

Campbell held the widest lead over Newsom, beating the San Francisco mayor 42 to 36 in the poll, which has a 4.5-point margin of error. Newsom also trailed Whitman by 5 points, 41 percent to 36 percent, and Poizner by 4 points, 40 percent to 36 percent.


September 18, 2009
It's a girl for guv hopeful Gavin Newsom

San Francisco Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom got a new job this afternoon: father.

Newsom and his wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom announced the birth of daughter Montana Tessa Newsom early this afternoon.

The due date for the couple's first child was later next week, but Newsom broke the news on Twitter today that the mother-to-be was on her way to the hospital and soon posted that the baby girl had arrived.

Despite the flurry of baby talk on Newsom's Twitter feed today, the last update hints that the tweets might taper off a bit:

"Jen is doing great.. Not sure she is happy I am on Twitter.." he posted at 2:21 p.m.


September 18, 2009
Gubernatorial campaign teams shape up

The marathon for the governor's seat may only be hitting its first miles some nine months before the primaries, but most of the candidates' campaign staffs are ready to run.

On the Republican side, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman has already spent millions of dollars on her campaign and brought in national figures such as communications director Tucker Bounds, who won headlines as a spokesman on the McCain-Palin campaign. Whitman has also tapped California expertise, such as Rob Stutzman, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's former communications director.

GOP candidate Steve Poizner, another former Silicon Valley CEO with deep pockets, has also brought in national staff, including deputy campaign manager Audrey Perry, who served as campaign finance counsel for McCain-Palin. Poizner's campaign manager, Jim Bognet, was Schwarzenegger's chief deputy special advisor for jobs and economic growth.

The third Republican, former Congressman Tom Campbell, runs a tighter ship. His former congressional aide Hana Callaghan is coordinating the campaign.

The only declared Democratic candidate, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, has tapped Democratic heavyweights such as campaign manager Nick Clemons, who worked on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, and veteran politico Garry South, most notably former Gov. Gray Davis' chief consultant and now a Newsom strategist.

Attorney General Jerry Brown hasn't declared his candidacy yet but is already talking like a gubernatorial hopeful. Longtime strategist Steven Glazer is serving as de facto press aide to the former governor's unannounced gubernatorial campaign. Asked about Brown's campaign staff either for re-election as attorney general or for governor, Glazer responded, "We have a wonderful collection of volunteers and only have paid positions in accounting, web and clerical."

Here are the complete lists, minus Brown as noted above, courtesy of the campaigns:

Tom Campbell

Hana Callaghan, campaign coordinator
Jamie Fisfis, press secretary
Mindy Finn and Patrick Ruffini, Web managers

Gavin Newsom

Nick Clemons, campaign manager
Garry South, strategist
Ricky Le, political director
Chris Corcoran, finance director
Abbe Ross, chief operating officer
Peter Ragone, communications adviser

Steve Poizner

Jim Bognet, campaign manager
Stuart Stevens, strategy and media consultant
Audrey Perry, deputy campaign manager
Sarah Simmons, senior political advisor
Lanhee Chen, deputy campaign manager and policy director

Meg Whitman

Jillian Hasner, campaign manager
Jeff Randle, general consultant
Tucker Bounds, communications director
Richard Costigan, policy director
Todd Cranney, political director
Sarah Pompei, press secretary
Rob Stutzman, senior advisor
Henry Gomez, senior advisor

September 16, 2009
Newsom responds to reports of beef between Bill and Brown

Guv-hopeful Gavin Newsom dismissed today speculation that President Clinton's endorsement of his gubernatorial bid is a swipe at Attorney General Jerry Brown, saying "I don't know that Bill Clinton is that petty."

Buzz about bad blood between Clinton and Brown, who both ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992, emerged shortly after news of the former president's plans to endorse Newsom hit the wires. Brown hasn't officially entered the race, but is widely expected to do so and has a lead over the San Francisco mayor in the polls and in campaign fundraising.

"This guy has been attacked not just by Jerry Brown but by the best of them. And I'm not sure he thinks about those things," Newsom said. "Does he forget those things? I don't know. It's a little too convenient to say it's just about that one moment, that it's just about one exchange. Politics is heated. That was nothing compared to what he's endured from real opponents."

Newsom made the remarks during an interview with The Bee's Jack Chang. Newsom, Brown and two GOP gubernatorial candidates spoke at a forum earlier today. Read more on that event here.

September 15, 2009
President Clinton expected to endorse Newsom

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom has reportedly scored the support of President Bill Clinton.

Clinton is expected to endorse the San Francisco mayor when he joins Newsom at two Los Angeles campaign events Oct. 5.

Art Torres, former head of the California Democratic Party, told ABC News that a former president has never before endorsed a candidate in a California primary for statewide office.

All in the family flashbacks:

Newsom endorsed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's White House run early in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary.

Clinton outpolled Attorney General Jerry Brown, who is expected to announce a gubernatorial run, by 7 points in the 1992 California presidential primary.

August 24, 2009
Poll: Newsom behind Brown even in his hometown

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is hitting strong headwinds in his gubernatorial bid - even in his home base, according to poll results reported by the San Francisco Chronicle today.

A poll conducted from Aug. 15 to 18 by David Binder Research found Newsom trailed Attorney General Jerry Brown by 17 percentage points among San Francisco respondents who had made up their minds in the race or were leaning toward a candidate in the race, the poll found. Brown won 51 percent of respondents' support in San Francisco, while Newsom won 34 percent, according to the poll of 423 likely Democratic voters.

Brown hasn't yet declared his candidacy but is widely expected to do so. Various polls have shown Brown leading Newsom among Democratic voters statewide.

August 13, 2009
No clear leader in governor's race, poll finds

A new poll by the political blog Daily Kos shows the early gubernatorial match-up between Attorney General Jerry Brown and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom as relatively close, with Brown leading Newsom by nine percentage points among 600 likely voters polled.

Brown enjoyed 29 percent of respondents' support while Newsom had 20 percent, the poll found. Brown hasn't yet declared himself a candidate but is widely expected to run.

Among declared Republican candidates, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman drew the support of 24 percent of respondents in a three-way match-up against former U.S. Rep. Tom Campbell, at 19 percent, and state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner at 9 percent.

The poll, which was conducted by the firm Research 2000 from Aug. 9 to 12, also found Californians almost evenly split about same-sex marriage, with 47 percent of respondents saying they would vote for an initiative legalizing such marriages and 48 percent saying they would oppose it if a vote was held immediately on the issue.

July 27, 2009
Eric Jaye out as Newsom media strategist

Eric Jaye, longtime adviser and top strategist for gov hopeful Gavin Newsom has signed off of the San Francisco mayor's gubernatorial campaign.

Jaye, who ran both of Newsom's mayoral bids. told the San Francisco Chronicle's Matier & Ross that he resigned over "a fundamental difference in how to run the campaign." You can read their full post here.

Here's a video of Jaye, who coordinated Newsom's new media campaign, talking Twitter as part of a PBS series on changing media models.

Hat tip: LAObserved

July 15, 2009
Newsom seeks to extend L.A. reach with Padilla appointment

Gavin Newsom, who faces significant challenges to gain political traction in Southern California, today named state senator and former Los Angeles city council member Alex Padilla to chair his 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

Padilla's appointment may boost Newsom among Latino voters and give him some extra reach in the L.A. media market where the San Francisco mayor lags behind likely Democratic candidate Jerry Brown in name recognition.

Padilla was elected to the Los Angeles City Council at 26 in 1999 and became council president in 2001. His 20th Senate District, representing 850,000 residents, covers a wide swath of the L.A. region.

"Senator Alex Padilla is one of the brightest and most accomplished rising political stars not just in Los Angeles but anywhere in the country," Newsom said in a statement. "I look forward to working side by side with Alex to bring about the change Sacramento needs."

Padilla said in a statement that he is "convinced that Gavin Newsom will bring that change to state government in a way that no other candidate in this race can."

July 8, 2009
Newsom's new pitch: 'The future is electric'

J.F.K. had the space race. Today, San Francisco Mayor and wannabe governor Gavin Newsom is hyping the "Great Electrical Vehicle Race."

In a speech for Gas 2.0 media, a blogosphere outfit promoting alternative fuel technologies, Newsom pitched a plan to make his city the nation's "epicenter" for electric cars.

July 6, 2009
NY Times Magazine cruises California gubernatorial trail

The New York Times Magazine took a tour of the left coast, including a conversational jaunt with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and some rhetorical tanning time with likely gubernatorial contenders Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsom, Meg Whitman, Steve Poizner and Tom Campbell.

The magazine's July 5 story, featuring Newsom as the cover boy with the text, "The Gavinator?!?!, asks in its headline: "Who can possibly govern California?"

In the lengthy piece, writer Mark Leibovich offers some pointed observations on the present governor and his potential replacements.

On Schwarzenegger:

- Schwarzenegger reclined deeply in his chair, lighted an eight-inch cigar and declared himself "perfectly fine," despite the fiscal debacle and personal heartsickness all around him. "Someone else might walk out of here every day depressed, but I don't walk out of here depressed," Schwarzenegger said. Whatever happens, "I will sit down in my Jacuzzi tonight," he said. "I'm going to lay back with a stogie."

On Brown:

- An unlikely grown-up in the field, Jerry Brown recently dubbed himself the Apostle of Common Sense...Brown credited Schwarzenegger with "making the job of governor bigger"...I asked Brown if he added size to the governor's office during his two terms..."I don't know he said. I added some...dimension to the job." "Dementia," (wife) Anne (Gust) said, laughing. "No, dimension," Jerry clarified.

On Newsom:

- There is indeed about Newsom something of that quintessential California type, the overgrown and hyperactive child. Immensely gifted but flawed, he is a jumble of self-regard, self-confidence and self-immolation - potential greatness and a potential train wreck in the same metrosexual package."

On Whitman:

- Whitman is probably the early leader in the "Why this Place is Such a Mess" campaign. The state is "bleeding jobs," she says. It is "effectively bankrupt."...Whitman's campaign message is "A New California." ("Thank God for West Virginia and Mississippi" didn't test well, apparently.)

On Poizner:

- Poizner faces many obstacles. For starters, he is the state's insurance commissioner, which is hardly an electoral launching pad. He also looks like a state insurance commissioner (bookish, with a beakish nose) and is little known, and his name sounds like "poison."

On Campbell:

- Of the three Republicans, Campbell is by far the most socially liberal - he calls himself libertarian - and the only one who opposed Proposition 8. His positioning on social and fiscal issues probably aligns him most closely with many of the potential voters and donors from Silicon Valley whom Whitman and Poizner are competing for.

July 1, 2009
Hopefuls in 2010 governor's race raising millions

Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate for governor, said today that her committee has raised more than $6.5 million since her campaign began earlier this year, while her top Democratic rival, Attorney General Jerry Brown, says he's banked a cool $7.3 million.

Whitman boasted that though she was the last Republican candidate to form an exploratory committee, she's ahead of her rivals and also claimed she has attracted contributions from every corner of California.  

The $6.5 million raised by Whitman's team is in addition to the $4 million of her own money that she has pumped into her campaign.

Team Whitman's spin: "This unprecedented outpouring of support for Meg confirms the demand for a new style of leadership that creates jobs, cuts wasteful spending, and effectively manages state government," said former Gov. Pete Wilson, Whitman's campaign chairman. "Meg's appeal reaches far beyond just traditional Republicans. She is attracting new donors and new voters to expand our party at a critical time ."  

June 24, 2009
Newsom declines to dance on Villaraigosa's departure

Antonio Villaraigosa's decision to honor his L.A. mayoral gig and not to run for governor had just given Gavin Newsom a chance to own the stage as the new generation challenger to likely Democratic favorite Jerry Brown.

And yet the San Francisco mayor seemed melancholy when asked at a Tuesday presser in the City about his L.A. colleague.

"I called him yesterday and obviously it was a tough decision for him to make," Newsom said of Villaraigosa, a veteran lawmaker and former Assembly speaker. "...In spite of some of the punditry, Antonio Villaraigosa and I have always gotten along and I admire his stewardship and his commitment. He has been in office for decades and has served, I think, very, very well."

Newsom, who said he was "surprised, but not shocked" by Villaraigosa's announcement demurred on whether he thought he now has a better chance of getting elected governor with the L.A. mayor out of the race.

"People like me should not answer those questions," Newsom said.

June 17, 2009
Newsom camp sells 'glimmers of hope from San Francisco'

First, Attorney General Jerry Brown, who used to be California governor, stridently announced in a fundraising e-mail that California's budget mess is causing him to "think seriously about running for governor again." Translation: You can count on it.

Now, the campaign manager for Mayor Gavin Newsom, who's already declared his candidacy, is seeking to raise fundage by selling "glimmers of hope from San Francisco" as an antidote for "the terrible news from Sacramento."

In a memo called "Why We Organize," Newsom for California director Eric Jaye pitches Newsom's "smart budgeting" as mayor in dealing with San Francisco's own fiscal crisis.

Jaye also sells Newsom's role in helping implement universal health care in San Francisco and links to a Newsom interview on MSNBC.

The MSNBC host charitably bills Newsom's on-going work on the Healthy San Francisco program as a model for Washington.

Newsom, who's trying to become the first San Francisco mayor elected governor of California since James "Sunny Jim" Rolph in 1930, will likely be happy enough just making it to Sacramento.

June 1, 2009
It's back to the future for Newsom on gay marriage

Ever since Gavin Newsom opened San Francisco's City Hall to same-sex weddings in 2004, he hasn't shied away from the political, legal and social firestorm he helped fuel.

Yet the San Francisco mayor's gubernatorial campaign has also been working doggedly to shed his single-issue candidate persona. Newsom and his handlers have tried to advance his image as a "hard-headed pragmatist" who gets things done, who reshaped San Francisco with green buildings and new housing and now is making tough city budget choices amid California's fiscal crisis.

But when the California Supreme Court affirmed the Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage --while preserving 18,000 same-sex marriages already performed -- Newsom retook center stage on the issue. And despite a renewed flurry of news stories speculating whether he can define himself more broadly, his campaign increasingly sees the marriage issue as a winner in the Democratic primary.

"We're not backing away from the issue," Newsom's senior campaign adviser, Garry South, said today. "Newsom has made it clear over and over again that he will stand where he is on same-sex marriage. In the Democratic primary, this is an issue that I think will propel him to victory. Far from shying away from it, it is a major, major part of who he is and who he will be as governor."

On the day of the Supreme Court ruling, Newsom appeared nationally on CNN's Larry King to declare that the court's support for legal civil unions is not enough. "Separate is not equal," he said of the marriage debate. "A word does matter."

South argues that will be particularly true in the Democratic primary, where Newsom's stand may give him sway with Democrats who voted 68 percent to 34 percent against Proposition 8 -- which passed statewide 52 percent to 48 percent. He will likely compare his standing on the issue with that of Attorney General and former Gov. Jerry Brown, who filed unsuccessful court briefs arguing that Proposition 8 violated an "inalienable right to liberty" under the state constitution.

The Newsom camp is clearly wagering that the mayor will have more street cred in the primary as the man who took on the gay marriage issue first -- and longest. It also making another, perhaps riskier, calculation that the issue won't hurt him if he becomes a general election candidate.

South points to a 2008 CNN post-election poll that showed independent voters opposing Prop 8, 54 percent to 46 percent. The way his political theory plays out is that a Republican gubernatorial candidate needs 60 percent of California's "decline to state" vote in order to win in the blue state.

"It's pretty hard to see how you're are going to do that if you are demagoguing on same-sex marriage," South said.

Meanwhile, the issue may prove tricky in the Republican primary because none of the current GOP candidates is staking out a position clearly in concert with social conservatives.

Meg Whitman, who supported Prop 8, also said the same-sex marriages performed before the initiative's passage should stand. Whitman and Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner -- who also supported the gay marriage ban -- back civil unions, a position still out of touch with many conservatives. And Campbell took an even greater risk with Republicans voters, who overwhelmingly supported Prop 8. Shorly before the election, he penned an editorial calling for a "no" vote, declaring that "discrimination at any level is bad for business."

But whether Proposition 8 is good for gubernatorial politics is a question soon to be answered.

April 27, 2009
AM Alert: All the news (and non-news) from the Dem convention

JerryBrownConvention.jpgIt was a busy weekend of conventioning for Democrats in Sacramento.

Much of the intrigue surrounded the propositions on the May 19 special election ballot.

Delegates at the convention on Sunday failed to endorse Proposition 1A, the measure Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature have sold as the lynchpin of the budget package.

The delegates voted 58 percent in favor of endorsing the measure, which would extend tax hikes and constrain future state spending. But it fell short of the 60 percent needed for passage, after the party's resolutions committee had recommended support for the measure on Friday.

The party's position on the rest of the measures:

1B: Endorsed (Visual vote)
1C: Endorsed (67 percent support)
1D: Neutral (52 percent support)
1E: Neutral (50.1 percent support)
1F: Endorsed (Visual vote)

Irony alert: It should be noted that at a convention where delegates (particularly those who disliked the budget package) railed against the supermajority vote budget requirement in the Legislature, opponents of the May 19 ballot measures used the party's own supermajority endorsement requirement to their advantage.

GavinNewsomConvention.jpgThere was also all the jockeying in the governor's race, from the speeches to Jerry Brown's "Recession Reception" (complete with the famous old Blue Plymouth) to Gavin Newsom's blowout block party with Wyclef Jean.

Newsom, trailed by an entourage of campaign staff, certainly had the largest presence inside the the convention center. It wasn't really even close, as Brown remains officially mum on actually saying out loud that he's running for governor. But along the way the Newsom camp also, almost certainly, spent a decent-sized wad of campaign cash.

The down-ticket candidates also worked the crowd, particularly in the attorney general's race, where the campaigns of Kamala Harris, Rocky Delgadillo, Ted Leiu, Pedro Nava and Alberto Torrico all made their presence known.

Insurance commissioner candidates Dave Jones and Hector De La Torre schmoozed, as well. As did lieutenant governor hopeful Sen. Dean Florez, whose campaign operated a booth all weekend, and Sen. Alan Lowenthal, whose campaign did not.

Of course, there was the swag.

It was Art Torres' last convention after more than a dozen years at the helm of the California Democratic Party.

He was replaced by former Senate leader John Burton, known both for his sharp wit and sharp tongue.

"I'm quite certain our next bleeping party chairman will be a bleeping standard-bearer for our bleeping party," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell egged on the delegates.

Burton named changing the two-thirds vote requirement for budgets -- a popular topic among the rank-and-file delegates -- and beating back the open primary initiative on the 2010 ballot as early priorities.

Burton said he sees his and Democrats' job as "fighting for the poor" and "making sure they don't get screwed every year."

Does that mean he endorses a two-year budget?

Photo: Attorney General Jerry Brown addresses the Democratic convention on Saturday. Credit: Autumn Cruz/Sacramento Bee

Photo: Kelsey Skaggs, the director of the Students for Gavin Newsom at U.C. Davis screams her support on Saturday. Credit: Autumn Cruz/Sacramento Bee

April 25, 2009
Newsom, Brown address convention (plus full text of Newsom's speech)

My colleague Peter Hecht has posted a story on sacbee.com about the two contrasting speeches by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Jerry Brown this morning to the California Democratic Party convention.

Brown spoke without a script, while Newsom's speech was pre-written.

Here's a copy of Newsom's speech, as prepared:

April 24, 2009
Newsom seeks new gay marriage front: The Census

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who stirred California's battle over gay marriage by opening City Hall to same-sex weddings in 2004, is suggesting another front in the marriage fight.

Newsom told attendees at a gay and lesbian political caucus at the state Democratic Party's annual convention today that he wants the U.S. Census to count same-sex couples who say they are married.

"When we go out and do the Census, people are going to be asked if they are married and same-sex couples will say, 'Yes,' " said Newsom, a newly minted candidate for governor. "And when the Census people analyze the data and go back to their computers they'll say, 'No.'

"The gay and lesbian community will not be counted unless we also fight for that change."

April 24, 2009
Babin on Newsom on Twitter

Here's Rex Babin's latest cartoon:

RexBabin38.jpg

Related: Speaking of which, I'm Twittering all weekend about the California Democratic Party convention.

April 24, 2009
Private poll gives Brown the Democratic lead

A private poll gives Attorney General Jerry Brown a 2-to-1 lead over San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in the early race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

The poll, conducted by Tulchin Research on behalf of the Acosta Salazar political consultants in Sacramento, showed Brown with a 31 percent to 16 percent lead over Newsom. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was third with 12 percent in the survey of 472 likely Democratic primary voters.


April 21, 2009
Newsom: 'I'm a candidate for governor'

NewsomEvent1.jpgSan Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is no longer flirting with a run for governor of California -- he's officially in.

The 41-year old mayor announced his bid through Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, a sign the mayor intends to make his next-generation appeal a centerpiece of the 2010 campaign.

"I'm a candidate for governor of California because I know we can do better," Newsom says looking straight into the camera in his YouTube announcement video.

The two-term mayor will tour Facebook's headquarters later this afternoon. Newsom has already being "followed" on Twitter by nearly 275,000 people as he has been criss-crossing the state for townhall-style meetings in the last few months. His campaign hopes his new media announcement will directly reach a half-million people by the day's end.

Newsom is the second Democrat to officially join what's expected to be a crowded Democratic field in 2010 to replace the termed-out Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Lt. Gov. John Garamendi is an announced candidate and Attorney General Jerry Brown is widely expected to run. Other potential candidates include Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Garamendi, however, is also considering running for a soon-to-be vacant Bay Area congressional seat.

On the Republican side, there are three major contenders exploring runs: former Rep. Tom Campbell, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman.

Photo: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom speaks to over 150 people gathered in the library of Redwood High School in Larkspur, Calif. on Monday, December 1, 2008. Credit: AP/IJ photo/Alan Dep.

April 20, 2009
Newsom, dad describe awakening on gay marriage

Gavin Newsom likes to tell the story of the stunned reaction of his father when he told him in 2004 that he was going to open San Francisco City Hall to gay marriage.

On Sunday night, the San Francisco mayor and gubernatorial candidate told an audience of Placer County Democrats how he emerged as a political lightning rod for the same sex marriage issue.

But on this occasion, Newson's dad, county resident and retired state appellate justice William Newsom, was on hand to verify his son's story. In an interview, he also discussed his own difficult awakening on the issue.

Speaking to about 300 people at the Blue Goose Fruit Shed in Loomis, Newsom, the son, said he decided to do something about gay marriage after hearing President Bush declare his support for a national constitutional amendment to ban same-sex weddings.

He said he called his father in the historic Placer County mining town of Dutch Flat and described his plan to allow San Francisco City officials to marry a lesbian couple. Newson said he intended to grant a marriage license to Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, a couple of 51 years, to force a test case on the issue.

As the young mayor from the traditonal Irish Catholic family telephoned his father, Gavin Newsom said, he felt a chill from the other end of the call.

"When I called my Dad and said guess what we're doing?...I'm not sure that went over that well," Newsom told the Loomis crowd. "At least it didn't sound like it on the other side of the phone. It wasn't an easy thing to do."

In an interview, William Newsom, said he was indeed taken aback. He said his son challenged his personal beliefs - as well as those passed down by his late father, William Newsom Sr., a San Francisco developer, close confidant of former Gov. Pat Brown and devout Catholic.

"My mind was closed," William Newsom said in an interview. "I'm from an Irish Catholic family. My father was a bit nonplussed about this. And I was too."

But he said over the next year or so, his son changed his mind about gay marriage and he came to see it as a matter of equal rights.

"It took awhile," the elder Newsom said. "He changed my mind on it, not by arguing, but he made me think about it....I gradually came around to his point of view. I wasn't prepared for it. But over the last year or so, I've come fully on board."

Gavin Newsom told the crowd that he thought there would be only one same-sex marriage at San Francisco City Hall. The plan was for the city to then sue the state of California to overturn California's ban on gay weddings.

But in February and March of 2004, the city and county of San Francisco went on to issue marriage licenses to some 4,000 gay couples, drawing worldwide attention to the issue and triggering intense political and legal battles in California.

It was a tough sell in Dutch Flat, where William Newsom has lived since the early 1970s.

"A lot of folks are a little nervous about that son of Bill Newsom, that San Francisco mayor," Gavin Newsom said.

But the younger Newsom is a regular in the small Sierra town. After his parents divorced when he was child, he shuttled between his mother's home in Marin County and his father's house in Dutch Flat.

"The reality is that I grew up in Dutch Flat," Newsom said. "I grew up at Dingus McGee's restaurant. I grew up watching the 4th of July parade every year. If any of you haven't been to the 4th of July parade in Dutch Flat, you don't know what you're missing.

"And if you do miss the floats, don't worry because they go by about a dozen times. It's a pretty small town, and it's a pretty small parade."

April 17, 2009
Newsom takes campaign to Placer County

Gavin Newsom's gubernatorial road show hits one of California's reddest counties on Sunday.

The San Francisco mayor goes live in Placer County at the county Democratic Party's Jefferson Jackson Dinner. The $30-per-person fundraiser runs from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Blue Goose Fruit Shed, 3550 Taylor Road in Loomis.

Newsom's appearance comes after fellow Democrat Charlie Brown narrowly lost last November to Republican Tom McClintock in the historically conservative 4th Congressional District, which extends from Placer and El Dorado counties to the Oregon border. Brown is also expected to attend the event.

Newsom campaign manager Eric Jaye said the mayor intends to campaign in all 58 California counties. "He is not looking at a red California or a blue California. He'll be in every part," Jaye said.

April 14, 2009
Brown: Newsom wants 2010 theme of 'I'm Hillary, and he's Obama'

In an interview with the Associated Press, Jerry Brown, California's attorney general and likely 2010 candidate for governor, talked about his pursuit of the state's top job -- the one he held for eight years decades ago.

The quote of the story was Brown criticizing his rival, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom:

Brown is quick to reject comparisons to Hillary Clinton, whose presidential bid foundered last year after rival Barack Obama framed her candidacy as a relic of the past. "Newsom is trying to make everyone think I'm Hillary, and he's Obama, but those analogies just don't work," Brown said of his Democratic rival.
April 10, 2009
Wyclef Jean to headline Dem convention block party

Yet another Sacramento street is going to be closed for a block party. But this time it's political - and only for Democrats.

The stretch of 20th street between J and K will be closed on the evening on Saturday April 25 for a party sponsored by the California College Democrats headlined by Grammy-winner Wyclef Jean.

The party coincides with the California Democratic Party's state convention, held in downtown Sacramento. The block party gets started at 7 p.m. with the general show beginning at 10 p.m.

It will be the second block party in as many months, as L street was closed for a outdoor St. Patrick's Day festival. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson plans to attend. "It is sure to be remarkable experience," he said in a prepared statement.

Steve Maviglio, the Democratic mayor's spokesman, said Johnson was not concerned about closing a street for a partisan event.

"The mayor thinks there will be a good economic benefit because we all know that Democrats are big spenders," Maviglio said. "Republicans will be able to hear from the outside because music travels down the street."

Also in attendance will be San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who will be schmoozing his way across Sacramento that weekend to build support for his 2010 run for governor. The college Democrats are honoring Newsom with an award.

Admission is free to the block party, but only for invited guests of California College Democrats. Invited guests and Democratic convention-goers can sign up for tickets here.

April 7, 2009
Jerry Brown turns 71

Attorney General Jerry Brown, who is widely expected to seek the California governorship in 2010, turns 71 today.

Brown's long history (and old-guard age) are already at issue in the 2010 campaign.

Last week, the Steve Poizner for governor campaign sent out a sarcastic congratulations to Brown for his 40th anniversary in elective office.

"As Brown seeks his third term as Governor, the last forty years have changed California dramatically. But it seems Jerry hasn't. Professional politician Jerry Brown is always campaigning for another office," Team Poizner wrote.

Today, Garry South, a strategist for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's campaign, wrote on Facebook that he "wants to wish Jerry Brown a very happy 71st birthday today! Imagine being born when FDR was president!"

April 7, 2009
AM Alert: The latest 2010 governor chatter

AntonioVillaraigosaDebate.jpgIt's a slow week around the Capitol so let's check in on the 2010 governor's race.

In his Sunday column in the San Francisco Chronicle, Willie Brown wrote of a recent conversation he had with Antonio Villaraigoisa, the reelected mayor of Los Angeles and potential candidate for governor in 2010.

In it, Brown says Villaraigosa was touting a recent statewide poll showing him trailing Attorney General Jerry Brown by only 4 percentage points.

(That was the margin in the latest Field Poll, when Sen. Dianne Feinstein was not included.)

Poll results aside, the point is that Villaraigosa, who has declined to comment on his gubernatorial ambitions, is hawking the poll in the first place.

Meanwhile, The Bee's Peter Hecht profiled Anne Gust, the wife of Jerry Brown and one of his top advisers.

"If Jerry says he wants to give it all up and be a farmer, I'm fine with that," she said.

"I don't think he'll be a farmer," she added.

Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, meanwhile, could skip out on his bid for governor and instead run for Congress.

CalBuzz, the new California politics Web site by Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine, has a fun rundown likening each of the candidates for governor to a particular Silicon Valley company.

Jude Barry, who departed Lt. Gov. John Garamendi's campaign last week, authored the comparisons:

Jerry Brown is to Apple...as Gavin Newsom is to Facebook...as Antonio Villaraigosa is to Yahoo!...as John Garamendi is to Sun Microsystems...as Meg Whitman is to eBay...as Steve Poizner is to Intel....as Tom Campbell is to Wilson, Sonini, Goodrich, & Rosati.

Garamendi announced Monday that he had hired a new "messaging" consultant, Peter B. Collins, a liberal radio talk show host.

In the Los Angeles Times on Monday, Bill Whalen, a former speechwriter for ex-Gov. Pete Wilson, said GOP candidates Whitman and Poizner must get beyond trying to channel Ronald Reagan.

"For the same reason that the Dodgers showcase Manny Ramirez and not Kirk Gibson, California Republicans have to resist the urge to revisit the greatest hits of the 1980s and making the election a history lesson on "Morning in America." Save it for Lincoln Day dinners, not the campaign trail," Whalen wrote.

Whalen concluded:

As individuals whose run for office is financed by personal fortunes born of ingenuity rather than the GOP cliche of trust funds, Whitman and Poizner should leap at the chance to show they are reflective souls, not some manifestation of focus groups and hackneyed rhetoric or the product of political consultants.


To borrow very loosely from Reagan, taking such an approach might go a long way in tearing down the wall that keeps Republicans out of higher office in California.

In non-2010 news, Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River, hosts his first town hall of 2009 in Gold River.

California Health and Human Services Agency Kim Belshé and Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health, will release new data on smoking in the state and tout the benefits of the state's 20-year old tobacco control program in a morning press conference.

And the secretary of state's office today will conduct its random alphabet drawing to determine the ballot order for those lining up to replace Rep. Hilda Solis.

Photo: Los Angeles mayor Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa talks to the media in the spin room following the CNN/ Politico Democratic presidential debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on Thursday Jan. 31, 2008. Credit: Brian Baer/Sacramento Bee.

March 30, 2009
Newsom dances on Villaraigosa's stage

It's no rivalry akin to the Giants and Dodgers. But San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom swooped into the potent Los Angeles media market last week and won a surge of coverage in airwaves and real estate typically dominated by L.A. mayor and potential gubernatorial rival Antonio Villaraigosa.

Newsom attracted a horde of news cameras and and dealt out a dozen interviews on St. Patrick's Day at a town hall meeting attended by 600 people in Santa Monica. "He turned out more people in Santa Monica than any of the Irish bars - and no green beer was required," said Newsom's exploratory campaign manager Eric Jaye.

Newsom was also feted at an L.A. fundraiser at the Pacific Palisades home of NBC-Universal exec Ben Silverman.

His reach into the Los Angeles market, where Villaraigosa enjoys overwhelming name recognition and strong Latino voter support, may be a key test for Newsom.

In a recent Field Poll of early voter preferences for the 2010 gubernatorial race, Newsom ranked third with 16 percent support to 22 percent for Villaraigosa and 26 percent for Attorney General and former Gov. Jerry Brown.

Villaraigosa, who was re-elected mayor against a field of unknowns March 3, has made no secret he is considering saddling up anew for a gubernatorial bid. But political observers say his 55 percent vote margin suggests that his home turf voters could be lacking in enthusiasm. Newsom won re-election in San Francisco in 2007 with 73 percent support.

For now, Jaye is playing down any Nor-Cal vs. So-Cal mayoral rivalry for the state's top job.

"Mayor Newsom is conducting conversations in counties all around California, including Los Angeles," Jaye said. "Mayor Villaraigosa is welcome to campaign in San Francisco if he gets into the race. It's all part of California."
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March 17, 2009
Whitman makes her case; Newsom in Villaraigosa's home turf

Some 2010 updates...

GOP gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman writes in an op-ed why she opposes the measures on the May 19 ballot.

Meanwhile, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is in Los Angeles today for a town hall.

Last week, Newsom held a town hall in Oakland.

"We expect that this could come down to a tale of three cities -- and the relative records of Mayor Newsom, former Mayor Brown and Mayor Villaraigosa," Newsom's political strategist, Eric Jaye told the San Francisco Chronicle.

March 11, 2009
Jerry Brown sounds off on governor's race

Don't expect Attorney General Jerry Brown to actually admit that he's running for governor anytime soon.

"People are worried about the economy, they're looking to Washington, they're worried about the budget. Most of them are not going to dial up on the campaign yet," he told the San Francisco Chronicle in an interview.

Brown sounded off on all manner of topics -- from his 1980 presidential campaign slogan to his would-be wealthy GOP opponents.

Asked if the Republicans posed a threat, he said, "You bet they do. You spend $150 million, you spend $2 million a week attacking the Democrats ... attacking their character," he said. "That's very serious stuff.''

As for not campaigning yet, he said:

"Maybe others have to reach out, they have to introduce themselves," he said. And some are encouraged by "paid political consultants who colonize the political process."

In other 2010 news: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom campaigned in the hometown of his rival, Attorney General Jerry Brown on Tuesday. Oakland Tribune.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is in Washington D.C. looking for more money for his hometown. Los Angeles Daily News.

March 5, 2009
AM Alert: Feinstein, Whitman atop early 2010 poll

MegWhitmanClose.jpgSen. Dianne Feinstein, should she run for governor in 2010, would be sitting pretty, with a 22-point lead in the latest Field Poll.

On the Republican side, Meg Whitman, former eBay CEO, has the early lead with 21 percent support, with 54 percent undecided.

Those numbers are for the hypothetical match-ups 460 days from now. Capitol Alert has the exclusive statistical tabulations.

The GOP primary:

Whitman: 21 percent
Campbell: 18 percent
Poizner: 7 percent
Undecided: 54 percent

The Dem primary:

Feinstein: 38 percent
Brown: 16 percent
Villaraigosa: 16 percent
Newsom: 10 percent
Garamendi: 4 percent

Former Controller Steve Westly, schools chief Jack O'Connell and Treasurer Bill Lockyer weigh in at 2 percent or less.

Without DiFi:

Brown: 26 percent
Villaraigosa: 22 percent
Newsom: 16 percent
Garamendi: 8 percent

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who just won reelection on Tuesday, outpolls Attorney General Jerry Brown in Southern California, 29 percent to 22 percent.

IN COURT: Today the California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the effort to overturn Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban. A decision will come within 90 days.

Brown, who opposes the measure, promises to provide "periodic comments" on the court hearing on Twitter. Seriously.

The hearing will be streamed live on www.calchannel.com.

EVENT: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and other Senate Democrats will hold a press conference to discuss "ways to link education to emerging economies and a high wage workforce."

PHOTO: Meg Whitman speaks to reporters during the California Republican Party's spring convention in Sacramento on Feb. 21. Credit: Hector Amezcua, Sacramento Bee/ hamezcua@sacbee.com

February 27, 2009
Newsom on 'Real Time with Bill Maher' tonight

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will appear on Bill Maher's HBO program "Real Time," with a 10 p.m. airing this evening.

Hat tip: SF Chron

February 26, 2009
Gavin Newsom's wife's sexy new movie

Newsomwife.JPGJennifer Siebel Newsom, the pregnant wife of 2010 gubernatorial candidate and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, stars in a new sex-romantic comedy that's already making a splash with its racy preview.

FoxNews headlines it: "First Lady of San Francisco bares all in raunchy sex scene.''

"It is going to cause quite a stir as people aren't used to seeing a political figure like this," director Gene Rhee is quoted saying. "But I just hope people judge her (Jennifer) for her amazing performance not for her political associations."

Siebel Newsom is quoted talking about filming intimate scenes in "The Trouble with Romance."

"It's always a little awkward, but I'm a dancer and an athlete so I have a more tomboy figure so I just went for it. The film was a challenge, but fun."

As for her role in a risque film while being the wife of a mayor and a candidate for governor (made before they met), she said, "Gavin jokes ... and teases me and says he'll have to approve all scripts from now on."

The movie is being released "on demand" and has a limited theater release this Friday.

The YouTube preview, at least, is already a hit -- with 50,000 page views and climbing.

Photo: Actors Jennifer Siebel and Kip Pardue in "The Trouble with Romance," courtesy of the film's MySpace page.

February 18, 2009
Newsom, wife expecting first child

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has serious designs on becoming the next California governor. But Newsom, 41, and his wife, actress Jennifer Siebel Newsom, 34, are now focusing on a more immediate development -- starting a family.

Newsom's spokesman, Nathan Ballard, confirmed in a statement today that Newsom and his bride of seven months are expecting their first child.

"We are pleased to confirm that Mayor Gavin Newsom and first lady Jennifer Siebel Newsom are starting a family," Ballard said. "The mayor and the first lady are thrilled to be embarking on this adventure together, and they appreciate your good wishes."


February 12, 2009
AM Alert: What's the dealio?

SteinbergPressClub.jpgLegislative leaders and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger did not release details of the tentative budget pact they've struck, though that didn't stop details from leaking out.

The 30,000-foot view: $15.8 billion in cuts, $14.3 billion in tax increases, $10.9 billion in borrowing. And if California gets $10 billion in federal stimulus money, cuts drop by $1.2 billion, borrowing by $5.5 billion and tax increases by $1.8 billion.

Delving deeper, the plan: Gives K-12 education $5 billion less than it was otherwise entitled to.

Eliminates two paid holidays for state workers, with the final number of furlough days per month through June 2010 still subject to negotiation.

Cuts UC and CSU by 10 percent.

Eliminates cost-of-living increases for recipients of CAL-Works and SSI-SSP.

Cuts the corrections department's medical budget by 10 percent.

Eliminates funding for local public transit agencies.

On the tax side, the plan increases sales tax by 1 cent on the dollar, vehicle license fees from current 0.65 percent of vehicle value to 1.15 percent, and gasoline taxes by 12 cents a gallon with proceeds to pay off transportation bonds. Income taxpayers would pay a 2.5 percent surcharge on tax liability - 5 percent if federal stimulus comes in under $10 billion. Reduces tax credit for dependents from $309 to $99.

Taxes would be increased for two years, and an additional one to three years if the spending restriction measure is approved on the ballot.

Other new "revenues" include taking from voter-approved taxes for mental health and early childhood programs.

The whole thing would have to go before voters in a whopping five-measure package: borrowing from the lottery, changing Proposition 98, approving the spending cap, and taking funds from Proposition 10 (tobacco tax for early childhood programs) and Proposition 63 (tax on millionaires for mental-health programs).

That, of course, is if the whole thing passes the Legislature in a vote now scheduled for Friday.

"I'm not guaranteeing any votes," Senate GOP leader Dave Cogdill said Wednesday.

"I felt it was as good as I could get and I was willing to release my members," he said. "It's up to them (his members) to make that decision."

So far GOP Sens. Dennis Hollingsworth, Sam Aanestad, and Abel Maldonado have all publicly said 'no deal.'

Then there's the case of moderate Democratic Sen. Lou Correa.

"I just don't think it gets out if he doesn't go up on it," Cogdill said

Steve Wiegand's January profile of new Assembly members walking a political tightrope is worth a re-read. (On the Democrats-only budget passed in December, none of the four freshman Dems to win in previously GOP-held seats voted. They all abstained. Schwarzenegger eventually vetoed the proposal.)

"A deal is never a deal around here," Republican Sen. Bob Huff warned Wednesday, "until it's in writing, and you're voting on it."

Which could be as early as tomorrow...

February 10, 2009
AM Alert: Floor sessions, but nothing to vote on

BUDGET: Floor sessions are scheduled in both houses of the Legislature today. No budget vote Is expected..

Senate leader Darrell Steinberg said Monday that the earliest a vote could occur would be Wednesday, "but it may even be a day or two later."

Senate Democrats huddled in an after-hours caucus on Monday night to discuss the latest budget developments.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the four legislative legislative leaders are scheduled to continue their closed-door negotiations today.

EVENTS: The California State PTA will rally in Glendale against budget cuts to education. Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell is slated to attend.

The Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee will hear legislation by Sen. Joe Simitian to increase the requirement on utilities to provide power from renewable energy.

The current standard is 20 percent of power from renewables by 2010. The Simitian bill would up that to 33 percent by 2020.

PRESSER: The state Assembly will announce plans for the first of its savings by cutting operating costs. Today, the lower house will commit at least $2 million of its own funds to the Employment Development Department.

That's the state unemployment agency swamped with calls as the unemployment rate has jumped to 9.3 percent.

The money is part of the Assembly's pledge to cut 10 percent, or $15.1 milion, from its budget. A whole host of Democrats (Assembly members Juan Arambula, Joe Coto, Noreen Evans, Ted Lieu and Sandré Swanson) will hold a press conferrence to announce the giving.

GOVERNOR 2010: Lt. Gov. John Garamendi will be in Tulare today, pressing for his plan for an accelerated medical school at the UC Merced.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will be in San Jose for a town-hall style event.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa can't commit to serving a full second term.

And, if you missed all the Meg Whitman coverage Monday, here's a roundup of the Capitol Alert headlines:

Whitman boots up campaign for governor
Ex-Gov. Wilson tops list of early Whitman backers
Poizner's response: 'Welcome' to the campaign
Whitman settles cybersquatter case -- out of court
Hudson files FPPC complaint against Whitman...gets Poizner's support

February 9, 2009
AM Alert: 96 days...

Believe it or not, it's been 96 days since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called a special session to address California's historic budget shortfall.

The wait for a budget fix continues.

Workers in both houses of the state Legislature have today off, recognizing Lincoln's Birthday a few days early. They'll also have next Monday off for Washington's Birthday.

Leadership says key budget staff will still be working.

CAPTION CONTEST: You have until just before midnight tonight to enter the Capitol Alert caption contest featuring the Dianne Feinstein-Leon Panetta grip-and-grin.

PROPOSITION 11: The state auditor's office holds the second public meeting to get input on its selection process for the Citizens Redistricting Commission. That's the group that will draw California's new political boundaries for Assembly, Senate and Board of Equalization seats following the next census.

2010 WATCH: Lt. Gov. John Garamendi will be in Monterey today, announcing his support for a statewide ban on take-out Styrofoam packaging. He'll be joined by local and environmental officials.

Funny, some other city with a mayor who happens to be exploring a run for governor also banned such to-go containers.

Speaking of big-city mayors who might run for governor, Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles was on NPR's Morning Edition on Friday talking about the federal stimulus package and why money should go directly to cities and not through Sacramento.

"Because when it goes that way you never get your fair share, that's why," Villaraigosa said. "We're 26 percent of the population in California. We often times get 12 percent of the money, sometimes 16, 18 but that's after a fight."

Except, no doubt, when he was the speaker of the Assembly.

February 6, 2009
Newsom kicks up gubernatorial road show

Officially, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom isn't yet a gubernatorial candidate. But the rollout of his exploratory bid makes it clear that he is in full campaign mode.

The 41-year-old mayor is already boasting of 25,000 new best friends on Facebook and 50,000 e-mail subscribers. He has attracted a few thousand more to a series of Northern California events over the past three months.

Now he's making eight campaign town hall stops across California over the next six weeks.

"People across this state are sharing their thoughts about the future of California and it is very clear that they are looking for a new way forward," Newsom said in a statement.

It's pretty clear that the mayor is looking for a way forward too.

His coming road show schedule is after the jump:

February 6, 2009
Poll: Feinstein tops Dem field; GOP race tight in 2010

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein now holds a 22-point lead over her closest competitor in the Democratic primary, should she run for governor next year, according to the first Capitol Weekly/Probolksy Research poll.

Of course, Feinstein has been pretty skittish about what exactly her plans are.

The poll's breadown:

Sen, Dianne Feinstein: 36 percent
Attorney General Jerry Brown: 14
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom: 9
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: 9
Lt. Gov. John Garamendi: 4
Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell: 3
Ex-Controller Steve Westly: 1
Unsure: 22 percent

The poll reports a margin of error of 3.7 percent.

On the GOP side, former Rep. Tom Campbell narrowly tops a field of largely unknown candidates with 15 percent support. Next up is former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman, with 14 percent. Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, who counts the majority of a supermajority of GOP legislators, polls only 4 percent. Another undeclared would-be candidate, Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy, clocked in at 1 percent.

Take those results with a grain of salt, the pollster told Capitol Weekly:

Pollster Adam Probolsky cautioned against reading too much into the results, particularly on the Republican side. Probolsky noted that the survey used identifiers for the candidates that could not be used on an actual ballot. In the survey, Whitman was identified as a former eBay CEO, but she would not be allowed to use the name of the company on the ballot, according to state election rules.

"What we really see in this survey is that the eBay brand trumps the insurance brand," said Probolsky.

The big winner in the GOP primary race was "unsure" -- at a whopping 62 percent.

January 30, 2009
Brown sits atop Democratic money primary

JerryBrownSchwarz.jpgThe 2010 primary election for governor is nearly 500 days from now. But the race for campaign dollars is well under way.

Attorney General Jerry Brown announced Friday that he raised $3.4 million in 2008 in advance of an expected bid for governor in 2010. That sum leaves Brown, a Democrat, perched above his two declared Democratic rivals, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, who each reported raising on the order of $1.1 million last year.

Brown's haul, combined with leftover cash from his 2006 election, leaves him with $4.1 million cash-on-hand, a total that dwarfs the roughly $750,000 available to Garamendi and the $540,000 available to Newsom at year's end.

Why does the campaign cash matter? Because in a state the size of California, money pays for the political mailers and TV ads that are crucial to swaying large blocs of voters.

A healthy campaign treasury hardly guarantees victory (see Al Checchi, Steve Westly, and Bill Simon), but a lack of funds can often spell defeat.

The spin from all sides on the initial round of numbers has been fast and furious.

Newsom's campaign, which released its report earlier this month, touts that the mayor raised $1.179 million in only six months -- half the time Garamendi and Brown spent coaxing contributors.

Brown hasn't publicly said he is running for governor, but his behind-the-scenes jockeying has left little doubt among political observers.

Brown's campaign touts its low "burn rate" - the ratio of spending the money it raised.
The Brown operation has been largely a two-person show, the attorney general and his wife, Anne Gust. As such, Brown spent only a $172,000 in 2008, less than one-third of what Newsom or Garamendi spent.

January 30, 2009
O'Connell, short on funds, still eyeing governorship

JackOConnell.jpgState Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell wants to be governor. But the Democratic officeholder says he's struggling to put together the money to make a credible run to be California's next chief executive.

"We're trying to put it together for governor, but it's just regrettable that it's so costly and so expensive and I'm not a multimillionaire," said O'Connell in a brief interview this week. "That makes it very challenging."

O'Connell, 57, has continuously held state elective office in California since 1982, when he joined the state Assembly. He later served as a state senator and will finish his second term as state schools chief in 2010.

Asked if financing the campaign is what's standing in his way of a run for governor next year, O'Connell replied, "You got it."

Though he has won twice statewide, O'Connell does not boast a statewide profile like that of potential Democratic candidates Jerry Brown, the attorney general and former governor, or Dianne Feinstein, California's senior U.S. senator.

Nor does he have the political sizzle of the younger San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom or Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

In a mid-2008 poll, he pulled in 9 percent support along with Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, another declared Democratic candidate for governor.

Running for governor in California is an expensive proposition. Ex-state Controller Steve Westly, for instance, spent more than $40 million running for governor in 2006 -- and he lost the Democratic primary.

As of last June, O'Connell had some $830,000 left over from his 2006 reelection campaign that he could transfer to run for governor in 2010.

January 28, 2009
Wednesday tidbits

The Little Hoover Commission, a government agency that analyzes the performance of other agencies, has issued a new report dedicated to "improving performance and outcomes at the state water boards.

After the national branch of the Service Employees International Union has taken over the Oakland-based 150,000-member United Healthcare Workers West, the old union leadership is launching a new rival labor group.

Meanwhile, San Francisco Mayor and 2010 governor hopeful Gavin Newsom is in Davos, Switzerland, for the big World Economic Forum -- and getting some heat from his hometown paper.

January 21, 2009
Newsweek does Newsom

The big newsweekly has a feature on San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and his potential run for governor of California in 2010.

Not surprisingly, there's a bit of focus on gay marriage. The story begins:

Gavin Newsom is the sort of politician who leaves an impression. There's his prodigious résumé--at 41, he has started a multimillion-dollar wine business, served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and won election, twice, to serve as that city's mayor. There's his colorful personal life--after divorcing a knockout TV anchorwoman, he had an affair with his campaign manager's wife, an affair Newsom admitted to before then marrying a 34-year-old actress. Then there's his striking appearance--white teeth, long limbs and that hair, big and brown and slicked back on the sides. In spite of being straight, white, rich and male, he's managed to make himself the center of San Francisco politics for the past five years. Not the sort of man you forget. But ask average Californians what they remember about Newsom at the moment, and they're likely to offer six words: "whether you like it or not."

Later in the story, Newsom jokes, "No-Drama Obama? Yeah, that's not me."

January 14, 2009
Newsom raised $1.2 million in '08 (and a glance at the rest)

NewsomArnold.jpgSan Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was the first candidate out of the gate announcing an exploratory committee for governor last July.

And he's the first candidate out of the gate announcing his fundraising totals.

Newsom told supporters late Tuesday that he had raised just shy of $1.2 million in the second half of 2008 from "more than 1,000" contributors.

Newsom touted that two-thirds of the donations were collected online.

Attorney General Jerry Brown has not filed a full report for the second half of 2008, but initial filings (showing only donations of $5,000 or more) have him collecting more than $2 million. Brown also started on July 1 with $1.7 million in the bank, compared to Newsom starting from zero.

Brown has not declared for governor and has raised the money in his account for reelection as attorney general, though the funds are fully transferable.

Lt. Gov. John Garamendi has reported raising more than $200,000 in large contributions in the second half of 2008.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa raised more than $2.7 million for his reelection campaign in the full calendar year 2008, as he cleared the field of any well-known and well-funded challengers.

The LAT and Daily News have more.

Villaraigosa could be reelected as early as March, should he avoid a runoff election. The mayor has not said he is interested in running for governor in 2010, but speculation has continued that he could run.

Photo: Gov. Schwarzenegger talks as San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom listens as the governor launches Bank on California, on Friday Dec. 12, 2008. Credit: Brian Baer/Sacramento Bee

December 12, 2008
AM Alert: $41,800,000,000

So yesterday's Big Five meeting didn't go so well.

(Witness Senate Republican leader Dave Codgill pronouncing, "I just don't see this process as being productive or helpful.")

But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the two Democratic legislative leaders did get back together in the afternoon to name the 12-member tax commission.

The commission will be chaired by Gerald Parsky, as previously reported.

There will be two veterans of the Hoover Institute (John Cogan and Michael Boskin), three former lawmakers (Fred Keeley, Becky Morgan and Curt Pringle), one dean of the UC Berkeley law school (Christopher Edley) and one publisher of a Spanish-language newspaper (Monica Lozano).

We've posted the brief bios of the dirty dozen on Capitol Alert, courtesy of the governor's office.

Their tax report will be due on April 15. No joke.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who has been presenting his own bad budget news to his city this week, will be in Sacramento today.

He'll join newly elected Mayor Kevin Johnson and Fresno Mayor Alan Autry for an event touting Johnson's "proposal for a more accountable government structure."

Read: More power for the mayor.

Schwarzenegger, meanwhile, will celebrate the launch of Bank on California, which will be dedicated to offering checking and savings accounts to those without them. It's a first-state-in-the-nation program.

Of course, with the direction that this state seems to be moving, let's hope all the accounts are FDIC-insured.

In our Daily Piece of Bad Budget News: The Schwarzenegger administration has now put an official number on just how bad the deficit will be through June 2010: $41.8 billion.

They say that includes a $2 billion reserve.

Ain't that quaint.

November 3, 2008
Members of the class of 2010 stake out their positions (or not)

GavinNewsomNoon8.jpgCorrection: The original version of this story said that state Treasurer Bill Lockyer had declined to take a position on the three law-and-order ballot measures on the Nov. 4 ballot. That is not true. He was opposed to Proposition 5, as we reported here.

In Capitol Alert's survey of potential 2010 candidates for governor, several interesting facts emerged.

Among them:

The state's former top cop has declined to take a position on two of the three law-and-order measures on the ballot. The closer a candidate is to being a frontrunner the less likely he or she was to take a stand on anything. And not much separates the Democrats who participated - they largely agreed on the issues.

November 3, 2008
Where the 2010 candidates stand

Thumbnail image for StevePoizner2.jpgCapitol Alert set out to get all the potential candidates for governor of California in 2010 to declare their positions on the 2008 statewide ballot measures..

Not surprisingly, some politicians were more accommodating than others.

All told, we surveyed eleven political figures whose names are floating as potential 2010 candidates (three Republicans and eight Democrats).

They range from Lt. John Garamendi, who has already announced his candidacy, to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who still faces reelection and has said he does not want to run.

Thumbnail image for JohnGaramendi.jpgFour of our list of candidates chose not to participate: Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, Attorney General Jerry Brown and Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The positions we report below are the stands they had previously taken publicly.

Read our analysis of some of the most interesting findings among the would-be governors' positions.

October 31, 2008
AM Alert: Polling on the props

BUSH_OHIO.jpgCORRECTED The Field Poll handed out good news for some ballot measure enthusiasts with today's assessment before Tuesday's election.

Support for Proposition 2, which would give egg-laying chickens a little more room to spread their wings, is favored by three-fifths of likely voters, including 55 percent of those who have already cast ballots. About a quarter are opposed, with 13 percent undecided.

Support is flagging for Arizona billionaire Peter Sperling's Proposition 7 to double the requirement for electricity generators to use renewable energy, with 43 percent opposed and 39 percent in support.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's effort to revamp the way legislative districts are drawn, Proposition 11, is ahead 45 percent to 30 percent. But a quarter of likely voters remain undecided.

The battle over the ballot's centerpiece issue -- Proposition 8 -- remains tight.

Yes: 44 percent
No: 49 percent

That has moved from supporters of a gay marriage ban in the state Constitution with 38 percent support in September, with opposition dropping from 55 percent. Seven percent remain undecided.

Check out all the details of the poll and Capitol Alert's exclusive statistical tabulations here.

It's the home stretch of election season as campaigns have one last weekend to get out the vote.

Schwarzenegger, who has kept up a busy California campaign scheduled, heads to Ohio today.

Four years ago, Schwarzenegger made a big appearance there days before the last presidential election with President Bush. He repeats himself today with a rally in Columbus with Sen. John McCain.

Lt. Gov. John Garamendi is out there stumping for his fellow Democrats -- and building up chits for his own run for governor.

He begins the day at an event with long-shot Assembly candidate Linda Jones in AD 36. Then, he's off to see former Democratic Assemblywoman Julie Bornstein, who is trying to unseat GOP Rep. Mary Bono Mack.

He'll head south to AD 80, where he'll give a speech backing Democrat Manuel Perez to a group, followed up with some precinct walking.

And that's just Friday alone.

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass is in Los Angeles today for a fundraiser with incoming Sen. Carole Liu.

In San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be talking about high-speed rail.

On Saturday, tens of thousands are expected to attend Qualcomm Stadium for The Call, a religious event featuring "12 hours of prayer and worship." Much of that energy is expected to oppose support Proposition 8.

*The original version of this post said The Call's energy would oppose, not support Proposition 8. Apparently, we fell victim to the same mistake as Willie Brown.

Speaking of Qualcomm, the man who plays there on Sunday, San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, has donated $10,000 to the Yes on Proposition 4 campaign.

Photo: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Bush greet a crowd of supporters during a campaign rally at Nationwide Arena Friday Oct. 29, 2004 in Columbus, Ohio. Credit: AP Photo/ Jay LaPrete

October 29, 2008
AM Alert: Tom, Gavin, Arnold and Abram

In the final stretch of his bid for Congress, Sen. Tom McClintock will attend two town hall-style meetings today in Roseville and Lincoln.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which is short on cash and has been deserting some GOP incumbents across the country, came to McClintock's aid this week with a new TV ad attacking his opponent, Democrat Charlie Brown.

The ad tries to tie Brown to Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- an unpopular name in the GOP-heavy 4th Congressional District.

The NRCC ad comes after its counterweight, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, released an attack ad of its own against McClintock, which covers a dizzying number of topics in 30 seconds.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom holds a fundraiser for the No on 8 campaign at his S.F. home tonight, said his political adviser Garry South.

South said the event had already brought in pledges of $100,000 -- with more to come.

Newsom first set in motion the events that led to the legalization of same-sex marriage earlier this year, when he allowed his city to perform such ceremonies in 2004.

He's been an active opponent of Proposition 8 -- and, initially, the face of the Yes campaign, which took footage of Newsom saying gay marriage was going to happen "whether you like it or not."

"They were trying to demonize him, and all it did was tick him off and make him work 10 times harder than he was going to do anyway," said South, who is working with Newsom as he explores a run for governor in 2010.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will campaign outside the Capitol for Proposition 11, the redistricting measure, joined by former state officials supporting the initiative. Schwarzenegger has a second Yes on 11 event in the Bay Area and will headline an evening fundraiser for Republican Assembly candidate Abram Wilson, who is running in the 15th Assembly District.

Lastly, Sen. Leland Yee's 2005 law to prevent ultra-violent video games from being rented or sold to minors faces a court test today. A federal judge struck down the statute last year, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the case today in Sacramento.

October 7, 2008
Schwarzenegger's crystal ball

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger thinks Sen. Dianne Feinstein will run for governor if John McCain wins the presidency. But if Feinstein stays in Washington, Schwarzenegger said Attorney General Jerry Brown "has the best shot of becoming governor of the great state."

The Republican governor played prognosticator for the 2010 gubernatorial elections during a question-and-answer session at the American Magazine Conference in San Francisco. He was asked whom he thought would win the Democratic nomination for governor in 2010, and he didn't once mention San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom even though he was in Newsom's city.

Though Schwarzenegger was asked whom he thought would win the Democratic nomination for governor, it seemed for a moment that he answered whom he thought would win the entire race. And the fact that he said Brown, a Democrat, was a shock considering that he's a Republican governor, albeit not as great a shock as it would have been if he weren't a self-declared "post-partisan" governor.

The governor's office disputes whether he actually said he thought Brown was best positioned to become governor and insists he was only answering the question about the Democratic nominee.

But Schwarzenegger did flat out say "Jerry Brown I think has the best shot of becoming governor of the great state." He then mentioned Republican Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner in the next breath, which suggests that he was handicapping the overall race, not just the Democratic contest.

Here's the full transcript of what Schwarzenegger said:

Q: Who will be the Democratic nominee for governor when your term is up?

A: You know I think the best potential ... it depends on if Dianne Feinstein comes into the race or not. I think that depends also on who will win the presidency. Because if McCain wins the presidency, I think she most likely will leave Washington and come and run for governor. I think that if Obama wins the presidency, she will want to be part of that move and want to stay because of that change, want to stay in Washington. And then Jerry Brown I think has the best shot of becoming governor of the great state. And Steve Poizner has also a good shot, who is a Republican and making his way up right now. So you know, to me, I think Jerry Brown because he has been governor twice before in California and has worked his way back up again from being mayor of Oakland to becoming the attorney general right now. And he can kind of reach the Republicans and Democrats and bring people together, so I think he has the best shot.



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Capitol Alert Staff


Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. achance@sacbee.com. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee. smith@sacbee.com. Twitter: @DanielSnowSmith

Jim Miller Jim Miller covers California policy and politics and edits Capitol Alert. jmiller@sacbee.com. Twitter: @jimmiller2

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. dsiders@sacbee.com. Twitter: @davidsiders

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. ccadelago@sacbee.com. Twitter: @ccadelago

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. lrosenhall@sacbee.com. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers the Legislature. jwhite@sacbee.com. Twitter: @capitolalert

Koseff Alexei Koseff edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. akoseff@sacbee.com. Twitter: @akoseff

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. dwalters@sacbee.com. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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