Capitol Weekly hits the stands today with its complete run down of competitive statewide races
and legislative races
With neither candidate finding traction with the voters, both Phil Angelides
and Steve Westly
are spending their resources going negative on each other
. Steven Harmon writes in the Merc News: "Political experts say they expect more -- and perhaps nastier -- ads. What started with testy exchanges during the debates could evolve into a full-scale negative ad war in the primary's final three weeks between the two men trying to unseat Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger."
"Neither campaign has established rapport with the public, much less a stronghold with voters, nor have the candidates effectively differentiated themselves. All of which, political experts say, has created a tight race in which both candidates are looking for an edge by getting voters to dislike the other guy."
"In short, the Democratic primary has evolved into precisely the sort of campaign in which negative advertising can be so important."
"'Negative campaigns can be incredibly effective in determining the outcome of a race,' said Darry Sragow
, a longtime Democratic strategist. 'They are a force of good or evil, depending on what they say and how they say it.
Negative ads are nothing new, but they could backfire on Westly
, who promised not to be the first to go negative. "'I promise, unilaterally, I will not do a single negative ad on TV against my opponent unless he attacks me first
,' he tells a crowd," writes Michael Finnegan in the Times.
"Then the ad, aired by his rival Phil Angelides, pillories Westly as a hypocrite, closing with a Sacramento Bee headline: 'Westly first to air negative TV ad.'"
Which begs the question -- is a negative ad of your opponent promising not to go negative an attack ad?
Of course, "'[t]he guy to throw the first punch is the guy who is losing
,' said Chris Lehane
, a Democratic strategist unaligned in the primary."
Expect both sides to deny today that they threw the first punch.Westly talks with Capitol Weekly about the race
in a brief sit down today.
While the Dems engage in mutually assured destruction, the governor is watching the state's credit rating increase
and is making nice with firefighters
. "The Schwarzenegger administration has reached a tentative two-year contract extension agreement with the state forest firefighters union in a deal in which an estimated 80 percent of the 5,500 employees would retain their current health and pension benefits but not receive pay raises
," reports Andy Furillo.
"If ratified, some 800 to 1,200 seasonal firefighters employed by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection will receive pay increases of up to 20 percent, according to the Department of Personnel Administration - the result of an hourly 37-cent wage hike to $9.09, combined with a lowering of their overtime threshold from 96 hours a week to 72."
"The 135 employees of the department who qualify for 40-hour workweek coverage would receive 3 percent costof- living increases."
"Other department employees would receive no raise under the deal."
Can't imagine Local 1000 is crazy about the firefighters taking this deal.
Meanwhile, the guv gets ready for November. And in that spirit, Capitol Weekly profiles Schwarzenegger's million dollar woman
. "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has paid her more than Rob Stutzman, Marty Wilson, Bob White and Steve Schmidt -- combined. She has earned more than George Gorton, Mike Murphy, Jeff Randle or Don Sipple
Her name, unknown to all but the upper echelon of Republican consultants, donors and candidates in California, is Renee Croce and she is at the epicenter of the governor's elaborate and record-breaking fund-raising apparatus."
CW's John Howard takes a look at the rise of the independent expenditure committee
, and the role IEs will play this cycle. "They are like highway brigands
--crouching in the weeds, armed to the teeth and waiting to pounce. These are the independent-expenditure (IE) committees, a stealthy creature of California politics that was formed for no other reason except to affect elections and provide a haven for limitless amounts of campaign cash."
The Weekly's Goldmacher also talks to the Big Four ... big four pundits
, that is, coming soon to a political analysis piece near you. "What do the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, Los Angeles Daily News, San Jose Mercury News, Oakland Tribune, Reuters and the Associated Press have in common?
They all quoted Sherry Bebitch Jeffe the day after last month's Democratic convention.
Jeffe isn't with either the campaign of state Controller Steve Westly or state Treasurer Phil Angelides. She isn't even a Democrat. But Jeffe, a political analyst at the University of Southern California, is one of California's leading opinion-slingers.
Often pithy, and always on-the-record, she is a standby of the Capitol press corps, racing to meet daily deadlines with an insatiable need of a good quote."
The LAT's Eric Bailey looks at Jerry Brown
's campaign for attorney general, which is largely based on his success as Oakland's mayor rather than his previous stints in statewide office
"With the election drawing near, he's waving a list of accomplishments — an urban housing boom that by the decade's turn will deliver 10,000 new residents, a 30% decline in serious crimes, dozens of new charter schools and a budding collection of art galleries. The city also enjoys an $8-million budget surplus this year, the biggest since the dot-com boom."
"'When he came to Oakland, Jerry calculated that he needed to reinvent himself,' said state Senate leader Don Perata
(D-Oakland). 'He needed to play down the quirkiness and become more centrist.'"
Speaking of the pro tem, "State Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata said Wednesday he will block state money from paying for President Bush's proposal to deploy California National Guard troops
to the Mexican border," reports Andy Furillo in the Bee.
"Perata, D-Oakland, scheduled hearings for next week, to be held by a committee he handpicked to probe how the president's plan to stem illegal immigration by sending National Guard troops to the 2,000-mile border would affect California's Guard units."
"'The president of the United States is putting California residents in high jeopardy for political purposes of his own
,' Perata said, noting that the border deployments would remove the state's National Guard troops from their traditional roles of responding to natural disasters and civil unrest. 'This is a foreign policy matter, and he's doing it at the expense of California residents.
"For his part, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was demanding answers
— to a host of questions — from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff
, who briefed him Wednesday. The governor had spent 45 minutes on the phone with Bush senior advisor Karl Rove
on Monday about the plan. But after both conversations, the governor complained about being left in the dark," Robert Salladay and Nancy Vogel write in the Times.
"'Think about it," he said Wednesday after a Sacramento speech. "'Every two weeks we will rotate out the National Guard? That's like starting a heart surgery and having the whole team of doctors and nurses leap up after every five minutes and switch.
How are you going to be successful with that? I have a lot of concerns with it.'"
"'But bottom line is we want to be cooperative. We want to be helpful in this crisis. And we want to come in, but just temporarily. Not permanently.'"
George Skelton believes the National Guard might be the perfect solution to control the border
"The California Supreme Court on Wednesday denied billionaire investor Ronald W. Burkle's bid to keep his divorce records secret
, an action that expands public access to California courts," reports John Spano in the Times.
"The decision, in which the high court declined without comment to hear Burkle's appeal of a lower court ruling, was hailed as a 1st Amendment landmark by media lawyers and feminists."
Meanwhile, the Robert Dynes had to defend his leadership to the University of California Regents
. "Dynes told the regents that he had missed 'red flags' about compensation problems that have racked the university for six months. He blamed a culture of "paranoia" that encouraged secrecy and said the university had a 'thicket' of confusing, conflicting and outdated policies," report Tanya Schevitz and Todd Wallack in the Chron.
"'It is a climate of exceptions, and it is a climate of trying to get away with as much as possible and disclose as little as possible, and that has to change,' Dynes said."
"However, he defended the decisions by UC administrators in his office and across the 10-campus system to grant lucrative pay packages to top executives, saying there is intense competition for them."
"He insisted he can fix the problems of policy violations and secrecy. 'I am putting mechanisms in place so this will not slide through anymore,' he said."
The Bee's Jim Saunders looks at Loni Hancock
's bill to ban field coursing
, a sport involving dogs chasing and killing wild rabbits. Hancock "proposed Assembly Bill 2110
to ban the sport after watching TV footage of a Solano County event in which dogs played tug-of-war with a captured rabbit.
"I was shocked," Hancock said.
California prohibits cockfighting and other sports in which animals kill or injure each other, so it should ban live field coursing as well, Hancock said.
"'(We) do not advocate any activity that causes an animal to suffer or be put in harm's way for the sake of human entertainment,' said Alexis Raymond
of United Animal Nations, a Sacramento-based animal welfare group."