Tag Archives: Steve Cooley

CA-AG: Kamala Harris Wins as Steve Cooley Concedes

In a press conference this morning, Steve Cooley conceded the race to Kamala Harris:

Steve Cooley conceded defeat today to Kamala Harris in the political slugfest for California attorney general, aides said.

Cooley’s concession came 22 days after ballots were cast, with his Democratic opponent, left, holding a lead of about 51,500 votes, representing a lead of about a half percentage points in a race that also attracted four minor candidates.(SacBee)

As you may know, I worked on the Harris campaign.  I am thrilled not only for our team, and her supporters, but also for the State of California.  She really will be an outstanding Attorney General.

California Race Chart 2010 (Part 1 of 3: Statewide Races)

Cross-posted at Swing State Project, Daily Kos, and Democracy for California.

Here I will cover the eight constitutional offices, three State Supreme Court justice confirmations, and nine ballot measures. In the second diary, I will cover the U.S. Senate race and the House races, and in the third the state legislature. I will also combine my regular registration updates within the diaries.

Speaking of registration updates, as you will see in the layout of the statewide registration numbers, Democrats are more pumped up here, adding almost half a million voters to their rolls since 2008. The Republicans in comparison added just 13,000 in the same amount of time. So if you are looking for a lethargic Democratic base, look elsewhere because you won’t find it here!

More info can be found at the 2010 Race Tracker.

Here is the most recent registration data: http://www.sos.ca.gov/election…

Here is the list of candidates that will appear on the ballot: http://www.sos.ca.gov/election…

Statewide Layout

Democrats: 7,531,986 (44.32%)

Republicans: 5,257,669 (30.94%)

Decline to State: 3,427,395 (20.17%)

Others: 776,025 (4.56%)

Key: I will list the incumbent first, in boldface (in the case of open seats, the incumbent party first without boldface), and all minor parties after the two major parties.

D: Democratic

R: Republican

L: Libertarian

G: Green

AI: American Independent

PF: Peace and Freedom

NP: Nonpartisan

SW: Socialist Workers

Race Ratings

Toss-up: Margin by less than 5%

Lean: Margin by 5-10%

Likely: Margin by 10-15%

Strong: Margin by 15-20%

Solid: Margin by more than 20%

Governor: Ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman (R) vs. Attorney General Jerry Brown (D), Laura Wells (G), Dale Ogden (L), Chelene Nightingale (AI), Carlos Alvarez (PF), and Lea Sherman (SW-W/I)

Profile: I see no way Whitman can win. Running as an outsider when the current governor, who also ran as an outsider, is leaving office with 20% approval ratings, is a surefire losing strategy. And pissing voters off by running ads nonstop and spending nine-figure sums of money while they’re forced to cut back is not going to help at all. Brown is leading by example, running on a shoestring budget and calling for everyone to sacrifice, meaning no sacred cows. Polls may not yet show it, but in my opinion I think Whitman is finished. In fact, I’ll be very surprised if she even manages to make it a low-teen loss.

Outlook: Likely to Strong Brown (D pickup)

Lieutenant Governor: Interim Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado (R) vs. S.F. Mayor Gavin Newsom (D), Jimi Castillo (G), Pamela Brown (L), Jim King (AI), and C.T. Weber (PF)

Profile: Here we have quasi-incumbent Abel Maldonado, appointed after John Garamendi went to Congress, running to be elected in his own right against Newsom. While Maldonado is moderate for a Republican (though that is not saying much), being closely associated with Arnold is going to be a huge liability, which I do not think he will overcome.

Outlook: Lean Newsom (D pickup)

Attorney General: S.F. DA Kamala Harris (D) vs. L.A. DA Steve Cooley (R), Peter Allen (G), Timothy Hannan (L), Dianne Beall Templin (AI), and Robert J. Evans (PF)

Profile: This is the only statewide race in California I am worried about, and where my theory (that California has just become too Democratic for even a moderate Republican to win barring unusual circumstances) will be put to the test. Cooley is not that bad for a Republican, having had the audacity to stand against popular opinion of issues such as three strikes and Jessica’s Law, though he is also against dispensaries for medical marijuana. Harris is a rising star in Democratic circles, and is a more formidable opponent than any of Cooley’s challengers in the past. The wild card is the big enchilada of L.A. County, where Harris’ name ID is low and she’d need to win by 18-20% to win statewide. I am of course pulling for Harris because I want our bench to stay nice and full for the inevitable retirements of DiFi probably in 2012, Boxer probably in 2016, and for the open governorship in 2014 or 2018; and also because she has courageously stood up to Prop 8, while Cooley pledges to defend it in court.

Outlook: Toss-Up

Secretary of State: SoS Debra Bowen (D) vs. businessman Damon Dunn (R), Ann Menasche (G), Christina Tobin (L), Merton D. Short (AI), and Marylou Cabral (PF)

Profile: Bowen is a lock for reelection.

Outlook: Solid Bowen

Treasurer: Treasurer Bill Lockyer (D) vs. State Senator Mimi Walters (R), Kit Crittenden (G), Edward Teyssier (L), Robert Lauten (AI), and Debra Reiger (PF)

Profile: Lockyer is a lock for reelection.

Outlook: Solid Lockyer

Controller: Controller John Chiang (D) vs. State Senator Tony Strickland (R), Ross Frankel (G), Andy Favor (L), Lawrence Beliz (AI), and Karen Martinez (PF)

Profile: A rematch from 2006, only with Democrats more pumped up, Chiang will win by a wider margin this time around.

Outlook: Strong to Solid Chiang

Insurance Commissioner: State Assemblyman Mike Villines (R) vs. State Assemblyman Dave Jones (D), William Balderston (G), Richard Bronstein (L), Clay Pedersen (AI), and Dina Padilla (PF)

Profile: In California, when a non-damaged Democrat is up against a generic Republican, the Democrat wins. Take it to the bank.

Outlook: Likely to Strong Jones (D pickup)

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Retired Superintendent Larry Aceves (NP) vs. State Assemblyman Tom Torlakson (NP)

Profile: Torlakson voted against Race to the Top and believes parents, teachers, students, and communities alike all need to come together to improve our schools, while Aceves believes that the problem with public schools is the teachers and hedge funds and billionaires should have more control over K-12 education. This will be a close one.

Outlook: Toss-Up

State Supreme Court confirmation – Tani Cantil-Sakauye: Voters are being asked whether to confirm Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Arnold’s pick to replace Chief Justice Ron George. She is seen as uncontroversial, but likely to share Arnold’s views on corporate power.

Outlook: Lean Confirm

State Supreme Court retention – Ming Chin: Chin was in the minority that voted to uphold the state’s ban on marriage equality in 2008, and is one of the most right-wing justices on the state Supreme Court. I want to see him go, but it doesn’t look likely.

Outlook: Likely Retention

State Supreme Court retention – Carlos Moreno: Moreno was the only justice who courageously voted to overturn Prop 8 at the State Supreme Court last year, and has been a reliable vote for equality and so should be voted to be retained.

Outlook: Likely Retention

Ballot Measures: Nine measures will be on the California ballot this fall. Information can be found here: http://www.smartvoter.org/2010… Field has released polls on 19, 23, and 25. http://www.field.com/fieldpoll…

Prop. 19 (Marijuana): If passed, this proposition would legalize the possession and growing of marijuana for personal use of adults 21 years and older, and allow state and local governments to regulate and tax related commercial activities. This proposition winning may make Washington reexamine its own policy towards marijuana, since what happens in California often makes it way to the other side of the country. Polls have shown Yes leading by single digits, so I’ll call 19 a passing proposition.

My recommendation: YES!

10/21/2010 Outlook: Lean Pass

Prop. 20 (Redistricting Congressional Districts): This proposition would amend the state Constitution be amended to have the Citizens Redistricting Commission (prop 11 from 2008) redistrict for the U.S. House of Representatives seats. This initiative calls for each district being composed of people of the same income level and people with the same work opportunities, which to me feels like a backdoor to the old bygone Jim Crow ways. And passing this prop while giving free passes to Republican-controlled legislatures in Texas and Florida to gerrymander the hell out of those states is likely to put California at a disadvantage when competing for federal dollars. In addition, there is no way this commission can be held accountable.

My recommendation: NO!

10/21/2010 Outlook: Toss-up/Lean Fail

Prop. 21 (Vehicle License Surcharge): Establishes an $18 annual vehicle license surcharge to provide funds for maintaining the state parks and wildlife programs, and grants surcharged vehicles free admission to the state parks. Our cash-starved state parks could use the extra funds. In addition, the governor can’t take funds from this coffer when other coffers are low. The tough economy may dampen the chances of this prop passing, though.

My recommendation: YES!

10/21/2010 Outlook: Toss-Up

Prop. 22 (Local Government Funds): Prohibits the state from taking funds used for local government services. It is well-intentioned but flawed. The cities and counties would get an immediate payment of over $1 billion, forcing further cuts to vital public services.

My recommendation: NO!

10/21/2010 Outlook: Toss-Up/Lean Fail

Prop. 23 (Suspension of AB 32): Backed by Texas oil interests, this prop would suspend AB 32 until unemployment dropped to an unrealistic 5.5% for a whole year and hurt the state’s fledgling green jobs industry, doing the exact opposite of what its backers claim: it would actually kill more jobs than create more jobs. (Here in “business-friendly” Texas, the economic situation is also pretty bad, with unemployment here at its highest level since the late ’80s [and me being unable to find a job to save my life] and an $18 billion deficit for the 2011 budget session, which will make 2003 look like the good old days.) Polls have shown a low double-digit lead for the No side.

My recommendation: NO! NO! NO!

10/21/2010 Outlook: Likely Fail

Prop. 24 (Corporate Loopholes): A long-overdue measure that would close corporate tax loopholes, reducing the budget deficit by $2 billion.

My recommendation: YES!

10/21/2010 Outlook: Toss-Up

Prop. 25 (Majority Vote on Budget): Another very long-overdue measure that eliminates the ridiculous 2/3rds rule to pass a budget in the state legislature. This prop is passing by double-digits in the polls.

My recommendation: YES! YES! YES!

10/21/2010 Outlook: Likely Pass

Prop. 26 (Two-Thirds Vote on Fees): Would require two-thirds vote approval for the imposition of certain state and local fees, including those on businesses that adversely impact the local community and environment. The last thing we need is higher vote thresholds.

My recommendation: NO! NO! NO!

10/21/2010 Outlook: Toss-Up

Prop. 27 (Redistricting Commission): This proposition eliminates the Citizens Redistricting Commission from Prop 11, which barely passed, suggesting some voters have some doubts about its effectiveness. This commission also gives Republicans much more power than their current share of the population.

My recommendation: YES!

10/21/2010 Outlook: Toss-Up

CA-AG: Debate at Noon Between Harris and Cooley

UC-Davis will be hosting a debate between Attorney General candidates Steve Cooley and Kamala Harris.  As you may know, I’m on the Harris campaign, but I think the debate will be interesting even without that fact.  A recent poll showed Harris with a lead within the margin, and that’s pretty much where the race has been throughout.

But for those of you that haven’t been following the race all that closely, let me give you a progressive perspective on the race in a tweet worthy form:

Noon: CA-AG Debate http://twt.mx/R9VE GOP Cooley will defend prop 8, no position on 23, & wants to sue over health care. Vote @kamalaharris

Of course, there is a lot about SF DA Kamala Harris that I couldn’t get in there. Like her work to keep elementary school kids in school, and her work to reduce the recidivism rate by working with the business and labor communities to get young non-violent first time offenders the education and opportunities they need to get a good job.

But, watch the debate, as it will be live streamed and find out more about the candidates.

EQCA needs help to elect pro-LGBT candidates statewide

Hi. I’m sure if you’re reading this site, your e-mail box must be stuffed by now with pleas to volunteer for the election. But I want to let you know about one more volunteer opportunity that I think is really important, just in case it’s a good fit for you.

I volunteer with Equality California, the group trying to repeal Proposition 8 and bring marriage equality back to California. I want to let you know that every weekend until the election Equality California will be holding phonebanks at each of its statewide offices doing get-out-the-vote calls for pro-LGBT candidates like Jerry Brown and Kamala Harris– and we have a huge need for volunteers right now.

The reason a marriage equality organization is working on elections is that the number one question on ending Prop. 8 right now is what happens to the Federal court case. After Judge Walker declared Prop. 8 unconstitutional, Governor Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown declared they would not defend Prop. 8 further and filed briefs in opposition to Prop. 8. This has had a huge impact on how the trial has gone at the appeal level. If Jerry Brown is elected governor and Kamala Harris is elected attorney general this November, they will continue this policy and fight Prop. 8 in court. But if Meg Whitman or Steve Cooley is elected, both have promised to reverse the state’s position and defend Prop 8.

So what we’ve been doing is meeting each Sunday (or Saturday at some offices) from about 1 to 5 to call known LGBT-friendly voters from the old No On 8 database and ask them to vote for the candidates who will uphold gay, lesbian and transgender rights. In each case we talk about Brown, Harris and one downticket race that varies from office to office. For example here at the SF and San Jose offices the downticket candidate we’ve been calling for has been Victoria Kolakowski, a judicial candidate in Alameda County who if elected would be the first trangender judge at the superior court level in the entire United States.

We’re making a lot of progress but we need more people if we’re going to reach all the people we need to reach, and by-mail voting starts as early as next week. You can find the phone bank for your area by clicking here and clicking the area where you live:

EQCA.org -> Take Action Locally

Ignore the signup form that pops up, for now anyway, and keep scrolling– there will be a schedule with times and addresses under the signup form.

Thanks, and I hope you can make it this weekend.

What Every Woman Needs to Know About the Office of State Attorney General

Until recently there were a lot of things I didn’t know about the role of the state Attorney General (AG).  In particular I had no idea how much control that office has over my uterus. 

For example, the AG plays a key part in framing and enforcing laws concerning reproductive rights, including responsibility for enforcing the F.A.C.E (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) Act, for privacy protection and for bringing or not bringing lawsuits against those involved with reproductive rights. 

 Think Phil Kline, past AG of Kansas, who obtained 90 client records from abortion provider Dr. Tiller-the doctor who was later gunned down and killed in his church by an anti-abortionist-before charging Dr. Tiller with 30 misdemeanor counts.  Several of these patient files were later leaked to Bill O’Reilly. 

 Or the Oklahoma law, defended by Attorney General Drew Edmonson, forcing women to have ultrasounds (an exam not normally done that early in a pregnancy) explained to them in great detail before they are allowed to have an abortion.  

  In short, the Attorney General has the power to harass (or protect) abortion providers, enact laws forcing us to have procedures we may not want and to invade (or protect) our privacy.  

  Amy Everitt, State  Director of NARAL Pro-Choice California was kind enough to explain to me  that, “The AG is the single most important office for women’s privacy  and reproductive health.”

 I also learned from Everitt that the  Attorney General is responsible for hospital mergers, a critical issue  for hospital based reproductive rights.  If religion-based hospitals  like the ever-growing Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) are allowed to  merge or take over local hospitals, they can refuse to provide  reproductive health care services-including emergency contraception.

 Imagine being raped and then being denied emergency contraception in the hospital.  

 Or imagine you, or if you are a  man-your wife-, your sister or your daughter is rushed to the nearest  hospital for a life threatening pregnancy complication and refused  options based on religious doctrine.  

 These seemingly outrageous scenarios  could easily become the norm if we don’t have an AG who is pro-choice or  even if we have an AG who just doesn’t care about women’s issues.

 The fact that religious based  hospitals (or even religious doctors) can remove hospital based  reproductive health from women’s lives is a real threat, one that that  the AG’s office is directly responsible for.  

 Right now in California 41% of  counties have no abortion provider, while 91% have deceptively named,  non-medical, pro-life Crisis Pregnancy Centers.

 In learning all this shocking  information I became very curious about the upcoming race for California  Attorney General and I emailed both candidates – Democrat Kamala Harris  and Republican Steve Cooley some questions about their stance on these  key issues.  (Feel free to use my letter and email your AG if you live  outside of CA)

 I posted Kamala Harris’ responses in bold below.  Steve Cooley however, was less responsive. 

 I emailed his office the letter, then  I called his campaign office twice to make sure they received it. Both  times no one answered and both times I left voicemails.  I emailed again  several days later. 

 Finally, after 4 days of no response I  left yet another message, this time casually mentioning that I’m  married to Phil Bronstein, Editor-at-large for Hearst newspapers,  including the San Francisco Chronicle. 

 Within a half hour I had a missed  call from Steve Cooley’s office.  When I called back a Cooley  representative picked up immediately and told me Cooley’s office would  “get back to me by tonight.” And that they were a small office and the  email must have, “slipped through.”

  That was Friday morning.  Still no word.  Does Cooley just not care or is his office just that disorganized? 

 Given his silence, it’s hard for me to believe these issues are important to him.

 When NARAL called and wrote to him  about his stance on abortion they also could not get a response from  Cooley, according to a recent NARAL press release that announced the  group’s endorsement of Harris. 

 Considering that it’s Harris – not  Cooley — who has steadfastly supported a woman’s right to choose, and  women’s rights in general, as do most Californians, why is she the  underdog in the latest poll in a state where 31 percent of registered  voters are Republicans and 45 percent are Democrats?

 Especially since you can’t even find Cooley’s stance on these issues (or many others including the environment) on his website.

I was able to find out that Cooley opposes  the federal health care reform, and that the individual states’ AGs will  have the power to either protect or limit women’s rights with the  handling of these reforms.

 On Kamala Harris’ website you can  easily find her position and historical record on these key issues and  others like environmental preservation, violent crime, financial fraud,  and sex offenses.   If you think Kamala is not tough on crime than you  need to read her statistics on violent crime.   She has increased the felony conviction rate, secured an 85%  conviction rate for homicides, took more gun cases to trial and doubled  the conviction rate in felony gun trials, from 43% in 2003 to 90% in  2006 to name a few.

 We need to get it together come  November or we’ll only have ourselves to blame when a new Attorney  General turns his back on us, or worse, takes away our freedom, privacy  and choices.  

 This means not only getting out to  vote for Kamala, but also spreading the word. Facebook and twitter this  info and please pass this link to 10 people and urge them to pass it to  10 more.  


Letter to Kamala Harris’ office:

 I’m Christine Bronstein, the founder of A Band of Wives (www.abandofwives.com),  a non-partisan social network for women with nearly 1200 members, many  of whom are influential businesswomen and highly successful  entrepreneurs. The vast majority of members are California voters. 

 We’re working to highlight  candidates in the upcoming election who are pursuing offices with a  significant influence on issues important to women.  

I was hopeful that I could get your position  on a few of the issues that you’d be responsible for if you were  elected Attorney General of California.  

  Your responses will be  published on our site for all our members to read and may be picked up  by our members and others who have extensive social networking web  presences.  

 The AG plays a key part in  framing and enforcing laws concerning abortion, including enforcing the  F.A.C.E (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) Act and for bringing or  not bringing lawsuits against those involved with abortion and other  reproductive services. As Attorney General, would you work towards  increasing women’s access to those services, limiting it, or continuing  the status quo? 

  Kamala  Harris has always supported and will always support a woman’s right to  choose.    As San Francisco District Attorney she has campaigned against  the repeated attempts to restrict access to abortion here in  California.  She served as the No on Prop 73 campaign chair in San  Francisco, and also campaigned aggressively against Props 85 and 4, all  of which would have limited a woman’s right to choose. 

As AG, Kamala will make choice a priority in her administration.    

 A campaign of violence, intimidation, and harassment continues to be waged against reproductive health care providers, their patients, and their families.  The California Freedom of Access to Clinic and Church Entrances (FACE) Act, protects reproductive health care staff, volunteers, and our clients from physical threats and intimidation and prohibits anyone from damaging or destroying property.   Kamala support s the FACE Act, and believes that the law is only effective when it is fully enforced. She would also believes law enforcement should be trained in the law to ensure that the FACE Act is enforced, regardless of one’s views on abortion.  Kamala would also ensure that socioeconomic status or geographic location should not preclude women from equal access to abortion services.  And would oppose any bills that would restrict a woman’s access to a safe, legal abortion.



The AG also  plays a key role in assuring women have confidential health services.  What is your stance on maintaining confidentiality for adult women who  seek abortions or other reproductive services? What about minors? 


As a career prosecutor, Kamala has  seen firsthand horrific cases involving child sexual assault and she  believes that confidential access is a matter of safety.  Teenagers, as  well as adults, should have confidential access to reproductive health  services, including family planning, disease prevention and abortion.   


What is your  stance on the federal health care reform plan passed by Congress?  What health care reform you would support, if any? 

Through the historic health care  reform law passed this year, our nation made major progress in reducing  the number of uninsured Americans.  This is an accomplished to be lauded  and as California’s AG, Kamala Harris would support the implementation  of the federal health care reform law to ensure more Californians had  access to healthcare. 


As the individual states’ AGs will have the  power to either protect or limit women’s access to abortion and other  reproductive services with the handling of these reforms (should they  take place), what are your intentions — increasing women’s access to  those services, limiting it, or continuing the status quo?

 As California’s AG,  Kamala would ensure women in our state had access to safe reproductive  healthcare services.   She would protect the reforms provided to women  under the Federal healthcare law for increased access to reproductive  healthcare services.  


 The AG is also responsible  for hospital mergers. With the growing numbers of faith-affiliated  hospitals like Catholic Healthcare West (CHW), it appears there is an  opportunity for these groups to merge or take over local hospitals,  therefore changing the access women or minors might have to abortion or  other reproductive services. In fact, some of these faith-affiliated  hospitals have stated that limiting access to these services is a  specific part of their business agenda.  Is that aspect of their agenda  something you would support?  


 As community  hospitals merge with religiously affiliated hospitals, many women are  faced with reduced access to reproductive health care services because  the religiously affiliated hospitals refuse to provide those services  saying they go against church doctrine.  In many areas, lack of access  to reproductive health services is acute in areas where the only  hospital has a religious affiliation.    Kamala would support requiring  all health facilities that accept public funds to provide and/or refer  for comprehensive reproductive health care services.  Furthermore, the  Attorney General can use the antitrust powers of her office to ensure  that when hospital mergers are proposed, access to reproductive care is  not eliminated.



Would you make a concerted effort to ensure  that hospital mergers would not limit women’s access to hospital  based reproductive rights, including emergency contraception?  If so,  how?

 All women should have  emergency contraception available to them, especially rape survivors  being treated at hospital emergency rooms.  California lawmakers  approved legislation, which would ensure timely access all prescriptions  including Emergency Contraception.  But sadly, pharmacists have refused  women who have sought access to EC and ER staff based on the health  professional’s personal beliefs despite state law that protects access  to EC.  As Attorney General, Kamala would uphold and enforce  California’s laws ensuring timely access to EC.  As California’s  Attorney General, Kamala would work with Planned Parenthood,  NARALPro-Choice California and other providers of contraceptive services  to use both the statutory and bully pulpit powers of the AG’s office to  ensure that women seeking EC access are not denied based on a  provider’s personal beliefs. 



What are some of your past accomplishments in the areas of women’s rights, protections and privacy?

  As District Attorney, Kamala has sponsored and spearheaded the following significant reforms in California:


·      California’s landmark law against human trafficking and comprehensive protections for its victims (AB 22, 2005).


·      Wrote  San Francisco ’s law banning discriminatory evictions of domestic  violence victims, which is now statewide legislation (SB 782, 2009).


·      New state services and support for immigrant women who report their abusers to law enforcement (SB 1569, 2006).


·      State funding for California children who witness violent crime to receive mental health services (AB 2809, 2008).


·      Stricter criminal penalties for adults who pay children to engage in commercial sex (AB 3042, 2004).


·      First  major reform of California ’s Witness Relocation and Assistance Program  to assist crime victims who have been threatened for testifying against  gang members (SB 594, 2007)


·      Doubled state funding for witness relocation and protection by working with Governor and states’ district attorneys.


·      New  protections for victims of elder abuse who are too sick or injured to  make it to court, by allowing them testify by video and help convict  their abusers (AB 1158, 2007).


This is cross-posted from ChristineBronstein.com.  Christine Bronstein is the founder of www.abandofwives.com a social  network and information website for women.  She was CEO of one of the  few women run, venture backed health and fitness companies in the nation  for 8 years and president of a child-welfare foundation for 3 years.   She is a graduate of Columbia/UC-Berkeley executive MBA program and a  member of the honor society Beta Gamma Sigma. 

Chris is married to Hearst/San Francisco Chronicle's Editor-at-Large Phil Bronstein and mother of three. 

Pete Wilson’s Resurgence

Pete Wilson has a long and sordid past in this state.  Casting aside some of his early work in San Diego, his run as Senator left something to be desired, to say the least. He considered himself a “fiscal conservative”, going so far as to go by the moniker of “Watchdog of the Treasury.”  Yet all the while, he was one of the bigger supporters of the Strategic Defense Initiative (“Star Wars”) in the Senate, despite the fact that SDI never showed any glimmer of actually being able to do anything.

And then, as he comes back to California to be governor as some sort of victory lap, where he proceed to well and truly make the situation worse.  He never met an insurance reform bill that he wouldn’t veto for a bit of campaign cash from the industry, and apparently couldn’t find room in his heart from a plea from Mother Theresa on a death penalty case.

Besides his cruel veto of a workplace discrimination protection measure for gay and lesbian Californians, he went on to pass the vile Proposition 187 along with his re-election bid of 1994.  He used the measure to beat Kathleen Brown over the head with the issue, despite the fact that the measure was unconstitutional on its face.  That it was later ruled as such by federal courts didn’t really make a difference for Wilson. After all, he had been re-elected.

Toss in a few anti-labor measures, and there you have a quick summary of Wilson’s career. I suppose at this juncture, I should point out the work he did for reparations for Japanese internment victims, but his record is hardly one of a lifelong commitment to civil rights.  So, this is where he re-enters the game in a big way.  He is now the co-chair of the campaigns of both Meg Whitman and Steve Cooley. And he’s doing everything he can for both of them.

To reduce Wilson’s role in Whitman’s campaign to the immigration issue or to one “tough as nails” radio ad, however, is to miss the significance of his involvement.

Early in the contest, Wilson’s support was significant in signaling to GOP insiders that Whitman, with no political experience, could run a credible campaign.

He came with a Rolodex full of donors and consultants, many of whom helped Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger win election. He also had the perspective of being a former two-term governor and U.S. senator. If Whitman cared to talk strategy, he is the the only Republican to have defeated her Democratic opponent in an election.(SacBee)

You think that’s some big involvement? How about the fact that Steve Cooley has said on numerous occasions that it was the former Governor that recruited him for the AG’s race, rather than the other way around.  Wilson has taken to the role of elder statesmen (or Obi-Wan as the article called him) of the GOP.

But this course is not without risks.  Californians should not forget his role in Prop 187, and his cynical use of families as a wedge issue. Or his fight against the right to organize through his so-called “paycheck protection” measure.  Wilson had it all planned out, and he is still trying to pull the strings on the marionettes. One can only hope we are better at seeing through Whitman than we were cutting through Wilson’s bull.

IOKIYAR: Steve Cooley Edition

Now in Orange.

Oh, the old phrase IOKIYAR. So useful, especially back in the old Jack Abramoff days. In case you are just joining the show already in progress, it stands for It’s OK if you’re a Republican.  Get it? Good.

And here we have the latest contestant, Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley.  You may know Cooley from such one-hit wonders as initimidating and attempting to crush the union in his office and living the good life through gifts, but this one has to be the pièce de résistance:

In 2003, District Attorney Steve Cooley had a billionaire in his sights. Alan Casden was a real estate developer with a history of generosity toward political campaigns, especially those of local Democrats.

After a grand jury investigation, Cooley brought felony charges against a Casden executive, John Archibald, and 13 other defendants for reimbursing friends and associates for donations to city politicians, thereby violating contribution limits. …

At the time of the investigation, however, Cooley was accepting the same kinds of contributions for his own campaign. While he pursued Casden and others who engaged in similar finance schemes, he did not go after his own contributor, Gladwin Gill. (LA Weekly, emphasis added)

To be clear what was going on here, Gill was giving money to other people to contribute to Republican candidates. He plead guilty to these charges on contributing money for George W. Bush through this scheme.  But, importantly, the same people that he used for the Bush scheme? Yeah, they show up on Cooley’s donor lists.

Gill was prosecuted by the federal prosecutors for his federal crimes.  Archibald and Casden were thoroughly investigated by Cooley’s office.  Pierce O’Donnell, another Democratic contributor was dealt with by Cooley’s office.  As for Gill’s local involvement, well, there has been no word from Cooley’s office on that. IOKIYAR, I guess.

Note: As you may know, I do some work for Cooley’s Democratic opponent, Kamala Harris.

UPDATE: Cooley’s campaign consultant, Kevin Spillane, has responded by noting that the statute of limitations has expired, and that the money has been spent anyway. Now folks, that’s how you play IOKIYAR.  

Kevin Spillane, FTW!

The Stage is Set: AB 32 Goes to the Ballot

Today, the oil companies behind the plan to repeal AB 32, our landmark climate change legislation, will submit their signatures to the Secretary of State.

California voters will decide the fate of the state’s landmark global-warming bill in the November election after a big-bucks battle that may break records for political spending on an initiative.

Today, a group heavily backed by Texas oil giants Tesoro Corp. and Valero Energy Corp. plans to submit signatures for an initiative seeking to suspend AB32 until California’s unemployment rate improves dramatically. … AB32’s proponents call it a vital step in efforts to curb greenhouse gases and create green jobs. And with federal climate-change regulations stalled in Congress, the California law takes on added significance as a potential model for other states. (SF Chronicle)

Of course, the oil companies say that it “hurts jobs” without a whole lot of evidence. Of course, to the contrary, California stands as the world’s leader in clean tech. We stand an amazing opportunity to build upon that success. However, if we take a step backward, investors will shy away from the state when we are able to move forward in the future.

Look, at a time when we are facing an unprecedented environmental catastrophe, we just can’t be moving in the wrong direction.  And Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner as well as nearly every statewide candidate have all taken positions favoring repeal. I think Chuck DeVore is personally emitting extra hot air just to piss off the environment, which, according to DeVore is his to exploit.  

But, other statewide candidates seem to want to avoid the subject. Funny how some like to play every side of the issue.