Category Archives: California Politics

John Cusack for Governor 2010? Sure, Why Not?

Say+Anything+001+resized.jpgNow, calm down and bear with me here. I’m not entirely kidding. Here’s why.
There’s no denying that after 7 years of mismanagement by Governor Doofinator, the 2/3rds rule and an array of inexperienced or corporatized “Democrats” in Sacramento, combined with endless bullsh*t “ballot measures,” we need a change at the top.
But right now our choices are limited to “eMeg,” another vain billionaire who has no idea how government works, and AG/Former Governor Jerry Brown, who is smart, knowledgeable, but has chosen to run a campaign so low-profile, no one knows he’s running, and is likely to lose, especially with the Democratic base divided over “President” Obama’s performance, and a GOP who’s willing to cater to the batshit insane to reclaim power.
Now, my scenario here was a bit more relevant in January, when I came up with it, but I figured I’d put it out now, on the eve of the California Democratic Convention, since I’m worried we’re going to have a new level of arrogant stupidity invade the Capitol. So for your consideration, I wonder if perhaps Democrats run John Cusack* for Governor in 2010.
I came up with this for several reasons. While Brown was able to dispatch the inept and expensive “Newsom for Governor” campaign in 2009 by raising money and spending little, that approach does not work in early 2010, which is what the campaign chose to do.
Up against a crazy billionaire, though, at this late date, it isn’t working anymore. Now, we have the prospect of a candidate who has no challenge in the primary coasting, but not building a statewide network to fight this craziness. The “kitchen table” approach won’t cut it this time around. Brown has name ID amongst older voters, but he doesn’t necessarily have an image or name ID with many new voters, nor does he have a mechanism to do that. (And sorry, but f*cking Facebook doesn’t count)
More to the point, we can’t afford another vanity governor who will do more damage to the state, and who’s willing to lie to get the job. And while I note the irony of replacing one Hollywood candidate with another, I’ve been reading Cusack’s articles and interviews for some time now, and he’s a very bright, very engaged person, not amongst your typical arrogant Hollywood liberal who drives around in a Prius but does so for just for show. And, his career hasn’t had the post 80s drop off that others of his generation have had – he’s still fairly well known amongst voters of all ages. (and it’s not like similar ideas haven’t popped up before!)
Admittedly this is all a bit wild – but the fact is if either Cusack, or any Democratic candidate could have easily upset Brown if they’d just had the courage to step up for both the Party, and more importantly, the improvement of the State of California. Brown would have been caught flat-footed, and people would have had a chance to make a real choice in June.
Of course, Mr. Cusack has better things to do than waste his time working with an incompetent, lying state government. It’s too bad that more people that know this to be the case never bothered to even try. But cowardice in the Democratic party starts at the top, with a President who is always willing to sell out his own party for the sake of keeping the people who hate him happy, and it continues on down to an array of California politicians who don’t seem to know, or care, how to make this state great again.
Unfortunately, we all lose in the end.
* I also propose Mr. Cusack because he just seems cooler than most “stars” but Hell, it could be anyone (politician, star, or otherwise) with a little cash and some name ID who isn’t a moron (because voters are too stupid to read up on this on their own) to do what Arnold could have done, but failed to do – cut the crap and rally people to a reform agenda. The trick is whoever this magic person is would have to surround themselves with good people – something again in short supply in politics!

OUCH! Former Newsom Campaign Manager Garry South Issues Scathing E-Blast On…Gavin Newsom?

That’s all I could think of when I was sent this email from Garry South, the chief strategist of the Hahn for Lt. Governor campaign, who also happens to be a former advisor to the now defunct Newsom for Governor campaign. Newsom, as you may know, might actually run for LG after all, and the fact one of his former advisors is working for another candidate? Well one had to wonder if that was going to end in tears or not.
Today, the following communique was issued by Mr. South. Upon reading it, all I could think of was just how much of a knockdown dragout fight this race could be. Read on:

I am surprised and perplexed that my friend and former client Mayor Gavin Newsom apparently has decided to jump into the lieutenant governor’s race at the last minute – especially against an already-announced candidate who would be the first woman lieutenant governor in California history.
In every one of several conversations we had about the job while he was running for governor, the Mayor expressed nothing but disinterest in and disdain for the office of lieutenant governor. In fact, he was derisively dismissive of Gray Davis’s decision to run for and serve as lieutenant governor prior to running for governor (“I’m not a Gray Davis,” he said). On a couple of occasions, he directed me to repudiate publicly in the strongest terms that he had any interest in ever running for lieutenant governor.
The Mayor himself told the Chronicle in October that rumors he may run for lieutenant governor were “absurd” and “a complete lie,” and angrily accused Jerry Brown of personally spreading false information to that effect. As recently as December, he himself said flatly “no” when asked directly on a San Francisco radio show whether he intended to run for lieutenant governor.
In addition, when he precipitously pulled out of the governor’s race in late October – against my advice – he said he couldn’t continue as a statewide candidate because he was a husband, a new father and the mayor of San Francisco. So far as I know, he’s still a husband, a new father and the mayor of San Francisco. So it’s pretty hard to see what’s changed over the last four months that would now allow him to run for another statewide office.
If the Mayor does run, it is his responsibility to explain why he now claims to want an elected office he summarily dismissed publicly numerous times over the last several months, and which just earlier this year he called “a largely ceremonial post” … “with no real authority and no real portfolio.”

I’ve got to wonder why Mayor Newsom would want to subject himself to a statewide race against some of his own people, who seem quite willing to take out the blowtorch and pliers and go to work on the Mayor over here. I sure as Hell wouldn’t want to go through that, and I can’t imagine why Newsom would either. Even if he won the primary, he’d come out of it with enough damage that it might make the LG in reach for the Republicans in November since everything’s kind of up in the air now.
Bring on the pain, Democrats!

Hold On A Second…That Sign Looks Like It Was Photoshopped, Mr. Mayor!

gavinsignfake.jpgSo, it seems Mr. Mayor Whatshisname has a new campaign video out. I guess nowadays posting something on YouTube is a really big deal, and this is like, way Web 2.0 campaigning and all Obama-like and whatnot. Fine.
However, I find this video interesting. but not for a reason Team Newsom might like. You see, I was noticing that suddenly the Mayor is supportive of a “Constitutional Convention” to reform our state’s government. This is an idea popular with the liberal types, the conservative types, the business-y types, and political bloggers. So now I guess he’s on board. Um, woo hoo?
What’s funny is while watching this video (with the older, cooler logos from earlier this year) I saw this image at 0:24, and it made me wonder out loud if this thing was photoshopped in some way. I didn’t recall seeing any old Newsom 1.0 signs with “Constitutional Convention” on ’em before, and I’m nerdy enough to notice and keep track of things like that. What really got my attention was how oddly colored this is compared to other elements in the video.
Anyway, I figure the good people on the blogs can pick this apart and have fun with it. Maybe I’m right and maybe not. But the great thing about The Internet is you can always pose a question and let others do the heavy lifting.
UPDATE: It seems great minds do think alike and our friend MattyMatt noticed the same thing also.
Mainstream media? Gavin Newsom? You got some ‘splainin’ to do! 😉

Let’s Show Gavin Newsom How Crowdsourcing Is Supposed To Work

image.php.jpegSo the other day I ranked on “Mayor” Newsom’s gubernatorial logo crowdsourcing efforts, something I still stand by. I mean, not to go all Don Draper on this, but this selection is a joke. I say this with many years of experience conceiving and executing mail and online campaigns. And as I’ve said before, although I personally do not do design, I know how to talk to creative people in the design field to execute good products.
After talking to several colleagues, we all agreed that perhaps this might be an opportunity to show how crowdsourcing is done properly. Now while I can’t offer cash prizes for submissions, I DO have a couple of projects coming up soon that will need some work, and I’m interested in casting a wide net for talent.
So, in the spirit of Being Constructive and Having Fun, I’m putting out a call for my own Gavin Newsom Logo. Here are the design parameters I’d like you to consider:
-Since we’re not the official campaign, we’re going to go with “Go Gavin Newsom!” as our slogan/logo/whatever.
-Stylewise, I’m looking for something that’s pop-culture aware, but not too cutesy
-The artwork has to be easily seen from a distance (signs) and reproduce well on a variety of media (t shirts, stickers, mousepads, signs, etc)
-Irony, humor, satire and so on are welcome if done well
-If you use the Obama Font, do so carefully. It’s already overdone as is, so show me something new.
Personally, my biggest wish in the political mail business was to do a bio of a candidate in the style of a 70s action movie poster (you know the one where they have scenes of the movie behind the main actor, all popping out at you from the center), but no one ever went for it. I suppose action scenes of commission meetings and speaking out at public comments time aren’t as cool to detail as chasing bad guys in a speedboat in Louisiana.

Is This REALLY The Best Way To Make Serious Energy Policy Decisions?

Presidential election years bring with them not only a Big Decision about who will lead our country, but a plethora of ballot measures at the state and local level. This year is no exception – we’re being asked to vote on a tremendous amount of policy questions (and in SF, a lot of non-binding “feel good” resolutions that have no power at all). In particular, however, voters are being asked to make some pretty major decisions about energy policy at the local level, and with 2 state propositions.
Energy policy is a complicated question at best, and our state’s experience with the disastrous “deregulation” scheme should have been a warning about the dangers of politics in energy policy. We were promised lower rates and competitive energy providers – instead we had Enron and others driving up costs and causing rolling blackouts when there was no reason for them.
Now, we’re being asked to make some serious decisions this November, and while the campaigns all use the language of Good Intentions, all seem to be hiding something in the details. People are right to be concerned about global warming and our dependence on oil from unstable regions of the world. Unfortunately, the three measures we’re being asked to vote on contradict each other, or hide what they’re really about.
Prop. H, on the San Francisco ballot, claims to be about requiring the City to use clean energy sources in the future. It even has produced campaign commercials online that claim the support of Sen. Obama and Vice President Gore for the measure (even though neither has endorsed it). More importantly, though, the measure is not really about clean energy at all – it is all about a public takeover of the power system from PG&E. Ironically, PG&E has signed the world’s largest contracts for solar and wind power – but that’s something Measure H backers won’t tell you.
There is no reason why the two should be connected at all – yet the promoters of Prop. H are playing off people’s good intentions to pass something else – and give the City the authority to take over any “utility” – even if it has nothing to do with power generation.
Likewise, Propositions 7 and 10 make many similar green promises about clean energy. What’s strange, though is that many people already in the business of providing solar or wind power oppose these, because they were written to benefit specific companies or people (such as T. Boone Pickens, the right wing oil billionaire). Even an expert would have a hard time decoding what these things really do or do not do, so it’s hard to imagine how we, the people are supposed to make a decision about this when we have our daily lives to lead and so on.
It is too bad that our Governor and our Legislature are busy posturing and politicking to perhaps come up with one comprehensive energy strategy for California, one that helps us reduce carbon emissions and provides us with stable energy supplies we need to compete globally. This patchwork of local and state measures, none of which seem to coordinate with each other, is a recipe for another energy mess like we had in the past, and it’s time citizens demanded more from our supposed leaders.
I have to believe with all the smart people we have in California, be they from academia, business, the technology sector, and so on we can’t come up with a better way to make good energy policy that will leave a positive legacy for ourselves and our planet, instead of this hodge podge of politically motivated ballot measures.

DNC Chair Howard Dean is in Millbrae on Friday, the 13th. Discuss.

This might be interesting: Dr. Howard Dean, chair of the Democratic National Committee is in town on Friday the 13th (!) for an executive board meeting of the state’s party. The folks at Calitics cover this in WAY more depth than I.
It was only 3 years ago that Dr. Dean was running for Chair of the Party, and there were all sorts of dire warnings if he won. Three years later, and Dean’s plan to actually work in all 50 states has paid off somewhat. And much of the internet/grassroots organizing of Dean evolved into what would later become Sen. Obama’s campaign.
If you’re a registered Democrat and want to stop by the proceedings, you can stop by the Westin SFO, located at 1 Old Bayshore Highway, in Millbrae, just off of 101, and not too far from the BART/Caltrain station. They ask for a $20 donation if you’re not an e-board member, but remember, that’s just what they ask. Unless you’re doing something really outlandish, they don’t mind Democrats watching the oh-so-thrilling proceedings.

The Only Post Mortem I’ll Do on the Leno/Nation/Migden Bitchfest…

Plenty of geniuses can do all the political post mortems on how Carole Migden and her Sacramento crew invented a new way to lose a sure-win re-elect. For me, I have but one question: will the people who stole my photos of frakking Flickr at least have the courage to reveal themselves, and buy me a case of Schlitz Beer for stealing my photos?
Come on. You stole an image from me, and didn’t have the courage to post an email address or any contact info on your website. The election is over, Leno won, now come clean. It’s good for your karma, and I’ll happily forgive as a good Christian, but I can’t do so unless you ‘fess up.

Bogus Turnout Means It Didn’t Take A Lot of Votes to Win…

While reading up on the results of last nights sort-of election here in the Bay Area, I wanted to see how things turned out in some San Mateo County races, and I was struck by two things:
1. San Mateo’s elections site is easily the best one out there. While all the other counties have some long boring URL, San Mateo’s URL is, and they even name brand their (excellent) results section as “RaceTracker.”
Beyond that, if you’ve ever had to deal with San Mateo County’s combined Assesor/Clerk/Record/Elections department, you know that this is easily one of the few citizen-friendly, efficient operations out there. Warren Slocum has long been recognized as a leader in applying innovation and technology to improve the elections process, and the function of the departments he controls, with amazing results.
While we in San Francisco continue to plod along with an Elections and Ethics system that’s half-assed, San Mateo has a model of honest, efficient government. In other words, how it’s supposed to work. Can we vote to get annexed by San Mateo County, or pay the brainiacs at the stem cell council to clone the awesome Warren Slocum? Pleeeease?
2. Anyone running in an open primary in most races really didn’t need a lot of votes out of the eligible voter ranks to win. Check out the results for the Assembly seat down south – the winner only needed 10,000 votes to win! So few people bothered to show up (as there was no presidential contest or statewide contest on the ballot) that really, only a handful of people voted at all, and the winner, who will now probably coast for three terms, got off pretty lucky.
It’s kind of funny to think for all the money the outside interests spent to support or oppose the candidates, the cost-per-vote must be huge. But those trees were gonna die anyway, so I guess they died for a good cause.

When Did Anyone Ever Expect to Read the Words “Hillary Clinton” and “Longshot Campaign” in the Same Sentence?

Whilst reading the breaking news that John Edwards finally endorse Barack Obama (AFTER the North Carolina primary), I have to say I was more than a bit surprised to read this:

Democrat John Edwards is endorsing former rival Barack Obama, fresh signs of the party establishment embracing the likely nominee even as Hillary Rodham Clinton refuses to give up her long-shot candidacy.

Now, mind you, I was never one to simply assume Mrs. Clinton had this thing pwned from the beginning, but many other people did, and made their choices as appropriate. Now, Bill and Hillary are personally in debt, have $20 million in general election campaign money they can’t spend, and have pulled out all the stops to block Barry, all to no avail. Up against a guy who most people hadn’t even heard of just a few years ago.
Go figure. That’s almost as baffling as the state Senate incumbent with a warchest full of cash and an array of Sacramento insiders running the show, now running third in a three way race. Strange how a year changes things.

Yes, San Franciscans, There IS an Election on April 8th! Vote for Jackie!

Many people don’t realize that there’s an honest to goodness Special Election on April 8th. There’s been some campaign activity, to be sure, but even with all the nice pieces of mail from the Elections Department, et al, it’s easy to forget. Heck, I forgot to apply for an absentee ballot this time around, and now have to go vote in person!
As I noted on my way more popular blog on all things MUNI, right now we don’t have anyone in Congress representing the 12th CD (which includes part of San Francisco and San Mateo County) due to the death of longtime Rep. Tom Lantos. Now, if 50%+1 of the good people of the 12th CD vote for Jackie Speier, we can send her to Congress immediately (she doesn’t have to pass “GO” and doesn’t need to collect $200), and we can have one of the most effective members of the Legislature (yes, we’ve had a few and she was one of them) be representing us on some pretty important issues right now.
If, however, we don’t vote, and she doesn’t make the threshold, there’ll be a “Special General” election, that will coincide with the June Primary. However, she’ll win that one for sure, but we will not have anyone in Congress representing us. Besides, put it to you another way – how many of the current crop of candidates kicked ass on privacy issues and have a train named after them? Hint: Just one, and isn’t some hippie-dippie Green candidate.
Today (Sunday, April 6th) there’s an event for Jackie at the Machinists Hall down in Burlingame. For a mere $10 donation, you can enjoy a fine spaghetti dinner and meet the candidate and her many supporters. It’s an easy commute for those of you in San Francisco – you can take BART or Caltrain to Millbrae, and walk a few blocks to the union hall.
Whatever you do today, be sure to vote on April 8th! We can all talk big in San Francisco, but now it’s time to do something about all that big talk, and send an effective legislator to Congress who can shake things up. Go Jackie!