Meg Whitman

What California Can Teach America About Stopping Extremist Obstruction

By Robert Cruickshank

If you read Calitics at any time between 2007 and 2010, you'd have seen a site focused on the same problem now facing the country as a whole: how to keep a government, an economy, and a society functioning in the face of Republican obstruction. The latest nonsense surrounding the so-called "fiscal cliff" shows that the House Republicans have learned well from their Sacramento counterparts. The method is the same: make Democrats do what they otherwise would not do by threatening to block passage of crucial legislation, then up the ante by rejecting initial deals and demanding even more once Democrats have shown they will make concessions to avoid the predicted disaster that comes with legislative inaction. The resulting deals were destructive to the state's economy and safety net, worsening the already bad financial and social crisis.

Tom Hiltachk, Master of Deception

By Matthew Fleischer

Any lawyer with some experience in Sacramento politics can draft language for a statewide initiative. But crafting deceptive ballot measures that can trick people into voting against their core beliefs is nothing less than an art form.

For many years, the undisputed master of the misleading initiative has been Thomas Hiltachk. So it's little surprise that Hiltachk is the author of Proposition 32, which promises to rid Sacramento of special interest money – but which would actually give almost complete control of state politics to corporations and the super-rich by effectively crippling the ability of unions to participate in elections and lobbying. Hiltachk has also quite possibly written into the initiative a poison pill that would shield corporations from its provisions and leave only unions to suffer the consequences if Prop 32 passes.

An Education: How Prop 32's Backers Have Tried to Ditch Public Schools

By Matthew Fleischer

The billionaire backers of Proposition 32 are an eclectic bunch–from bow-tied Tory parodies like Charles Munger Jr., to Bible-thumping fire-breathers like Larry T. Smith, to old-fashioned oil tycoons like the Koch brothers. Over the years members of this crew have combined to push a number of conservative pet projects through the halls of Sacramento's Capitol - on every issue from stripping gay rights to dismantling environmental protections.

If Proposition 32 Passes: A Not-So-Green Golden State

By Matthew Fleischer

How different would California look with Proposition 32's passage? To imagine, it's not necessary to focus on a Golden State without the legacy of its unions, but rather to think of a California in which only the rich and powerful have a say in Sacramento and in the polling booth.

"It will have a devastating effect," says John Logan, director of Labor Studies at San Francisco State University, of Prop. 32's impact. "California would be transformed as a state."

On environmental issues alone, Prop. 32 stands to roll back decades of progress in making California a global leader in green policy-making.

Meg Whitman’s Funny Numbers

By Peter Schrag

Considering the $160 million she spent on her clumsy campaign for governor last year, you’d think Meg Whitman would be a little cautious in her casual talk about overspending and misspending in California government.

But there she was at the Public Policy Institute of California last week, wildly tossing numbers around to support a thick ladling of conservative wisdom some of which bore only a distant relationship to the facts.

Having just become CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Whitman’s ideas and recommendations for her “blueprint” of simple solutions for California’s fiscal problems no longer have much immediate bearing on state policy. But as a reflection of the beliefs and prevailing myths among her fellow conservatives, they tell a great deal. They should also make some H-P investors just a little nervous.

Meg Whitman and the Latino Vote

By Robert Cruickshank

Over a month and a half after Meg Whitman went down in flames, losing to Jerry Brown by 13 points, recriminations are still flying among California Republicans about the embarrassing loss. George Skelton's column yesterday uses an interview with Rob Stutzman, a Senior Advisor to Meg Whitman and a former communications director for Arnold Schwarzenegger, to point out that a big factor in Whitman's defeat was her alienation of the Latino vote:

But the veteran Republican strategist is blaming the mini-landslide size of Whitman's loss on some ugly dust-ups over illegal immigration that alienated Latinos from the GOP....

"Republicans need to understand that they live in suburbs with second-generation Mexican American neighbors whose parents came here and worked in agriculture and the service industries and are very proud" of their families' success, Stutzman says.

What of the Union that Backed the Wrong Horse?

By Brian Leubitz

Meg Whitman didn't have much in the way of labor support.  However she was able to purchase secure one major public employee union, that of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association.  You might remember this from the incident where CSLEA extracted a promise from Whitman to exclude law enforcement from any pension reform process.  That incident became quite the brouhaha, first in that the candidate then said that she might take public employee pension reform to the ballot (without mentioning the topic of pension reform), and then later because somebody on Jerry Brown's staff called Whitman a "whore" for selling out to the union.

Binder: Labor Supported Efforts Have Key Impact on Election Results

Rebecca Greenberg
California Labor Federation

This year, unions stepped up like never before to beat back Meg Whitman's corporate takeover of California. Over the course of the campaign, Labor engaged more than 2 million California union members with broad grassroots efforts that included 30,000 volunteers making millions of contacts -- on the phone, at the door and at the worksite -- to expose Whitman's Wall Street agenda. As a result of a massive program by the California Labor Federation, Central Labor Councils and affiliated unions, union members had a key impact on Tuesday’s election results.

But given Whitman's unlimited resources, Labor also needed to reach beyond union members to communicate with key groups like blue-collar non-union voters, Latinos and Asian Americans about the stakes in this election.

The Morning After

By Robert Cruickshank

California Democrats are poised to have a clean sweep of the statewide elected offices, depending on whether Kamala Harris can maintain a razor-thin margin of victory over Steve Cooley. (Seriously, who the hell votes a Brown-Boxer-Newsom-Cooley ticket? WTF is wrong with those people?)

Here are the results as we know them, with 96.6% reporting across California. Note that the Secretary of State's site appears to be back up. It's not her fault the site crashed - they apparently got screwed by a vendor that made promises they could not keep.

Governor: Brown 54, Whitman 41
US Senate: Boxer 52, Fiorina 42
Lt. Gov: Newsom 50, Maldonado 39
Sec State: Bowen 53, Dunn 38
Controller: Chiang 55, Strickland 36
Treasurer: Lockyer 56, Walters 36
Attorney General: Harris 46.1%, Cooley 45.6%
Insurance Commissioner: Jones 50, Villines 38
Supt. of Public Instruction: Torlakson 55, Aceves 45

Ballot props:

It’s All About GOTV

By Steve Smith
California Labor Federation

In recent days, Meg Whitman’s campaign has been trying to convince anyone who will listen that the polls are wrong because she has used her unlimited resources to buy a superior Get Out the Vote operation that’s going to shock the prognosticators. Just one problem with that… there’s already a massive, sophisticated GOTV operation under way to defeat her.

That operation is powered by the energy of tens of thousands of union volunteers who are embarking on restless days and sleepless nights through Election Day to get the word out to millions of voters. If Whitman's ace in the hole is to beat Jerry Brown with a ground operation, she might consider a Plan B.