Tag Archives: Governor 2010

Sign Our Letter Demanding Meg Whitman Release Her Tax Returns

Calitics Friends:

Over 43 days ago, we at Level the Playing Field, a coalition of nurses, teachers, and other working Californians, called on Meg Whitman to do the right thing and make her tax returns public.

Whitman agreed to release those tax returns – even saying she would release 25 years of her tax returns if other candidates did too.

Two weeks later, she flip-flopped. She broke her promise and now refuses to release her tax returns.

Since then, the San Jose Mercury News, Monterey County Herald, Vallejo Times Herald, and Marin Independent Journal have all called on Meg Whitman to keep her promise and release her tax returns.

Why is Meg Whitman flip-flopping on releasing her taxes? We don’t know, but we aim to find out, and you can help.

Sign our letter to Meg Whitman requesting that she stop flip-flopping and release her taxes.

Tax Day is one week away and regular Californians who work hard and play by the rules will be filing their tax returns on that day – so we need you to sign this letter now!

Whitman has committed to spending $150 million to convince voters that it’s time for leaders in California to “mean what they say, and say what they mean.”

How can she break such a basic promise as the one she made to release her tax returns?

A person’s tax returns reveal core truths about the content of their character: what their values are, whether they play by the rules, and in Meg’s case, what type of leader she would be.

We need your help to make sure Meg Whitman does not get away with flip-flopping on simple promises that she makes to voters. We need your help to make sure that she doesn’t get away with winning the Governor’s office without ever releasing her records.

Sign our letter demanding she release her tax returns. We need your help to keep the pressure on.

The clock is still ticking…43 days and counting since we asked for her to do what every major candidate for office has done and release her tax returns.

California needs your help – sign our letter today.

Help us keep up the pressure. Hold Meg Whitman accountable for her public promises.


Team Level the Playing Field

P.S. We may not know the details of Meg Whitman’s tax returns yet, but we do know that her tax plan would spell disaster for California. That’s why it’s essential that we hold Meg accountable. Sign our letter calling on her to release her tax returns today.  

Gavin Newsom launches Exploratory Committee for Governor

Shocking news out of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom is setting up an exploratory committee to run for Governor! Not shocked? Well, I guess that’s to be expected. Interestingly, this was the first year that Gavin took the stage at SF Pride and was actively involved. In previous years, he would hang out in the background. But, good on him for stepping up this year.  From the LA Times:

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who built a national reputation pushing cutting-edge — and controversial — policies on same-sex marriage, healthcare and other issues, today launched an exploratory bid for governor.

His move placed the 40-year-old, two-term mayor out in front of a large Democratic field eyeing the race to succeed Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is barred by term limits from running again in 2010. Newsom said he expected to decide by year’s end whether to proceed with a full-fledged candidacy. (LAT 7/01/08)

I must admit that I am a bit surprised about the timing. He was slightly less obvious about his ambition than Jerry Brown, who practically begged for votes based on his experience. Get ready for a long battle, folks.

Jerry Brown in 2010?

In today’s San Francisco Chronicle, Matier and Ross report on a J. Moore Methods poll that shows Jerry Brown with a huge lead among theoretical Democratic 2010 gubernatorial candidates. The poll has to be taken with a whole shaker of salt – it’s only 2007, no candidates have declared, this is really just a poll of name recognition, etc.

But by a clause in CA’s term limits law, Edmund G. Brown, Jr. is eligible to run for a third term in office should he wish to return to it. In the M&R story he said he had “no plans” to run in 2010. Still, the 31% support – far outdistancing Antonio Villaraigosa who had 17% in the poll (although becoming the clear favorite when Brown’s name was not included) – makes this at least interesting Sunday morning coffee and donut speculation.

Jerry Brown was one of only four Democrats elected governor in CA in the 20th century, and was greatly helped by sharing a name with his popular father Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, as well as capitalizing on voter discontent with Reagan’s governorship in the 1974 election.

However, it’s my view that Brown was not a successful governor, and failed to provide leadership during the most pivotal moments in recent CA history. Brown entered office with some interesting ideas, but found his most immediate task to be dealing with a protracted economic crisis. Brown’s solution was austerity, cutting or freezing state spending on everything from social services to freeway projects. Half-finished offramps were left hanging in the air as Brown declared an “era of limits.”

While he was not totally wrong in recognizing the need to change, he failed to grasp the voter mood. His spending cuts led the state to amass a sizable surplus – over $1 billion by the 1977 legislative session. Meanwhile inflation had led local governments to hike property taxes to provide for local services, stoking a voter revolt over taxes.

Brown’s failure was to not find a way to cut property taxes or spend the surplus to forestall Prop 13, written and passed in 1978. In his 1977 State of the State address he called on the Legislature to provide tax relief, but Brown was unable to bring a fractious Democratic majority to agreement on the subject. And since he was unwilling to spend the surplus, voters saw the situation as absurd. Worse, critics of Prop 13 who pointed out its eventually disastrous effects on government finances were told by tax revolters that the state could simply use its billion dollar surplus to bail out local governments.

Facing reelection in 1978 Brown came out in favor of Prop 13, though not enthusiastically and after an earlier period of opposition. It passed by an overwhelming margin in June, and Brown knew that if he were to be reelected, he would have to embrace it. He did in fact use the surplus funds to bail out local governments, but though this was only a short-term fix, it set the precedent that the state has been following ever since, as more and more of the general fund has been going to pay for local government costs that property taxes used to cover.

Moreover, state projects never recovered from Brown’s spending freeze. A few were finished, but many others were postponed, a delay that’s now lasted over 30 years. While CA’s problems cannot be wholly laid at Brown’s feet, he did fail to provide leadership to solve them.

The above historical detour is valuable in shedding light on what kind of governor Brown might be. He has always preferred a centrist course, and though he is not especially friendly to corporations, neither has he been sufficiently skeptical of their power. His populism is real, but it has never found a clear manifestation in politics or policy. His term as Oakland’s mayor did not see significant improvement in its fortunes, although as anyone who’s driven down 880 near Broadway knows, he did prove a friend to developers.

My gut tells me Brown will not run in 2010, but in discussing this theoretical possibility, we can also determine what we DO want from our gubernatorial candidates. A commitment to single-payer universal health care seems paramount. Some sort of plan to fix this state’s chronic financial problems also would be good – a gubernatorial campaign built around a well thought-out and well-researched proposal could generate significant political momentum of its own. All governors who have taken office since Brown left in 1982 have merely offered as-needed solutions, which have typically only worsened our budget problems.

Our gubernatorial candidates need to address infrastructure questions, from transportation to water, in a way that emphasizes sustainability, not sprawl. They need to have a good grasp on the state’s economic situation and have some idea of where we can promote job growth for the next decade. They also need to be committed to equal rights, whether it’s equal marriage or protecting all immigrants’ human rights.

The above isn’t an ideal, it’s instead a sensible list of goals. Both the Westly and Angelides campaigns offered much of the above, although were inadequate on the long-range infrastructure and budget issues. Their 2006 platforms should be considered a minimum benchmark for 2010, while we also help build the more long-range and visionary answers to budgets and infrastructure that these times demand.