Posts Tagged ‘Dennis Hollingsworth’



Krusty Krashes, Meg De-Friended, Flash Squished

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Gandalf Discovers Technology, Chapter 23: Reports that Jerry Brown’s web site crashed, moments after Barack Obama e-blasted a political support pitch for him, may have caused some brief embarrassment to Krusty’s bare-bones campaign staff, but it was quickly overcome when Jerry’s Kids started toting up the bottom line impact of the message.

Obama’s email (…meeting these challenges will be possible only if we have bold leaders like Jerry Brown working alongside us, yadda yadda…) hit our inbox at 12:13 p.m. and Gandalf’s site went down around 12:45, coming back up about 10 minutes later.

Even at that, said trusty Krusty flack Sterling Clifford, more than 3,000 people signed up for campaign emails in the first hour, or about one every 1.2 seconds, according to calculations prepared by the Calbuzz Division of? Critical Mathematical Thinking and Old Abacus Restorations.

Not half bad and, while we waited and waited until push-the-button time for Brown’s vast and far-flung IT department to ship us more data about the Obama readership spike, it seemed impressive enough to keep us from crafting another full-length cheap shot about how hideously over-matched his online and tech operations are against the Empire of eMeg.

“We’ve been in regular touch with the White House political team for months, going back to last winter,” said Clifford, explaining the genesis of Tuesday’s presidential play. “They’ve offered help in a number of ways…with presidential involvement.”

Brown’s campaign, however, offered only clichéd coyness when we asked about any plans for Obama to fly out for a fundraiser in the fall. “That’s for us to know and you to find out,” Clifford actually said. “This is not the only time we’ll see the support of the White House.”

I thought you were my friend. Calbuzz pal Barbara O’Connor, one of our favorite, well-informed eggheads on the subject of state politics and government, checked in to say that reports about her supporting Meg Whitman are not only wrong but also result from a manipulative practice by Team eMeg.

Meg Whitman’s Facebook ad misused my name. They said I was a supporter because I looked at her website and Facebook page as an observer. So much for trying to see what they are posting. If you see my name on any of their materials please complain and ask it to be pulled. I am not supporting her.

Duly noted. To get off the list, she defriended eMeg. (Gasp!)

By the numbers: State GOP chairman Ron Nehring has gotten a lot of mileage out of bragging on the gender and ethnic diversity of the Republicans statewide slate.

“We’ve got a statewide ticket that looks like California, that reflects the diversity of California,” ?Nehring told reporters over the weekend.

Among those who ran with Mr. Chairman’s spin was the grassroots blogger Mayhill Fowler – yes, the very one who captured Obama’s famous “cling to their guns and religion” private comment during the 2008 campaign –in her choi thu casino truc tuyenHuffpost report about the convention:

The top of the state ticket has the flavor of inclusiveness that Americans like in their politics now: three women (Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina and Mimi Walters), an African-American (Damon Dunn) and a Hispanic (Abel Maldonado). Diversity was on display in San Diego.

Fair enough, but let’s not get too carried away. While Nehring would have us think the GOP has practically become the UN, the Republican ticket “looks like California” exactly as much as does the Democratic slate: both parties nominated three women and five men, six whites and two minorities for? eight statewide offices.

It’s also worth noting that the most recent demographic data on the parties, a report from the Field Poll released last summer, showed that white voters still account for 79 percent of registered Republicans, although whites are now a minority – 43 percent – of the state’s overall population; by comparison, white voters represent about 55 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of independents.

Of course, a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step, as Mao Tse Tung, the Ron Nehring of his own party, was fond of quoting Lao Tzu.

Final word from GOP confab: Jon Fleischman, the state Republican party’s Man of Many Hats, was in a state of constant motion throughout the just-concluded weekend convention, careening from event to event to fulfill the duties – or further the machinations – of his various roles as apparatchik, blogger and political conspirator.

Around midnight Saturday, Fleischman collapsed his hefty frame into a chair in the Grand Lobby Bar of the convention hotel, joining a trio of off-duty journos who were about 13 or 14 drinks into the mission.

Amid the gossip and good fellowship, Flash recounted an absorbing yarn of how, as a 21-year old knuckledragger-in-training in the early 1990s, he had been roughly flung and pinned to the floor, face ground into the carpet, by two of Pete Wilson’s bodyguards – for the ideologically pure, if woefully misguided, act of shouting personal insults about tax increases at PeeWee while running towards the governor at a high rate of speed down an otherwise deserted hotel corridor.

It explained a lot about Fleischman.

Mid-tale, he glanced at his phone to read a text message he’d just received.?? Sent seconds before by state Senate Republican Leader Dennis Hollingsworth who, as it happened, was sitting with a lively group a mere 10 feet away, the text read: “Hanging out with squishes?”

After sharing the message with his journalistic companions, who took it as a compliment, Fleischman finished his story and his drink, then wearily rose to join Senator Hollingsworth’s party, shaking his head at the unstinting demands placed on a man with multiple agendas.

Final photo from GOP confab: Pictured here: The volcanic Sarah Pompei, eMeg spokeshuman, on the convention floor on Friday night, shortly before she mysteriously disappeared and turned up missing from the Dr. Hackenflack dinner.

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: We’re pretty sure the numbers on peeing in the pool are wayyyy low.

What Happens If (When) Budget Props Go Down

Friday, May 1st, 2009

By Greg Lucas, Calbuzz Capitol Bureau

arnoldshotupThe state’s budget plot sickens.

April income tax and corporate tax collections fell nearly $2 billion short of expectations – and voters seem poised to reject three key propositions on the May 19 special election ballot, adding $5.8 billion to an already serious problem.

Given the sorry state of the state’s economy, the gap between revenue and spending commitments is only going to get bigger – the consensus being double digit billions for the foreseeable future. So what will Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Democrat majority Legislature do on the morning of May 20, assuming current polling trends hold?

First will come the mandatory, flat-footed dance macabre: Rounds of obligatory teeth-gnashing and garment-rending over how draconian spending cuts will devastate the most vulnerable among us – that would be the Democrats — and, from the other guys, how hard-working Californians will be crippled by stealing more of their livelihood through higher taxes to feather the nests of soul-less bureaucrats.

Then what will really happen?

There are basically only three ways to balance a budget – increase revenues, decrease spending or a combination of both. A combination of both would seem the most rationale strategy – but don’t look for that to happen.

In February, Democrats were able to lure a handful of Republicans into voting for a budget that temporarily increased taxes by more than $12 billion, including a 1-cent boost in the sales tax that took effect April 1. Those tax increases will be in place for this and next fiscal year, even if Prop. 1A, which would extend the taxes two more years, loses on May 19.

The price tag charged by GOP senator Abel Maldonado for his vote – in the dead of night – included allowing a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment to allow open primaries; getting rid of an increase in the gas tax in the budget; and placing Prop. 1F on the May 19 ballot prohibiting lawmakers from receiving salary raises in ugly budget years.

Because Democrats blithely paid his ransom, they effectively set a new floor. Now, similarly minded vote-traders will raise the extortion bar far higher. High enough that even Democrats eager to strike a deal, any deal, may find the price too dear.

Some Republicans, like several members of the Assembly, voted for the budget without any political quid pro quos, earning the ire of their party and, in two instances, recall attempts. Senate Republican leader Dave Cogdill of Fresno lost his post when a majority of his caucus opposed the taxes he had negotiated in the budget. They replaced him with Dennis Hollingsworth of Murrieta who has repeatedly voiced his refusal to lend Republican support to any further tax increases.

The GOP governor has gotten over his pledge not to increase taxes but legislative Republicans simply don’t fear or even respect him and would be more likely to do the opposite of whatever he says – just as, in most cases, they have already.

So if the chances of Republicans voting again to jack up taxes are slim to none – and slim left town – that means even further ratcheting down of state spending. So where would the cuts fall?

Mostly on public schools. The budget signed by Schwarzenegger in February gives schools 43 percent of the state’s $92 billion general fund. Like Willie Sutton, who robbed banks because that’s where the money was, budget cutters turn first to the biggest ticket item, irrespective of numerous speeches by lawmakers and the governor about education’s importance.

Second biggest call on general fund revenues is health and human services programs like welfare and Medi-Cal, the state’s health care program for the poor. Those programs comprise 34 percent of general fund spending for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Higher education is 13 percent; prisons are 11 percent.

Democrats are not eager to cut further into state spending – some $15.7 billion was axed in the current budget. Their leadership has also been snubbed by some of their most generous givers – public employee unions who were angered by this year’s spending cuts.

So, as they have in the past, Democrats likely will try to close some of the budget gap through “fees” which can be approved by majority vote, rather than general taxes, which require two-thirds.

The Hail Mary play would be what the Democrats threatened to do in December – pass a “revenue-neutral” majority-vote budget that cuts out the ability of the GOP to influence it.

Cities and counties fear that, as it has in past fiscal crises like 1991, the state will transfer some of its responsibilities to reduce state expenditures. This time, though, cities and counties worry all that will come their way will be responsibilities and no cash to pay for them.

If passage of this most recent budget – and the previous one, which set a record for tardiness – are any indication, rigid Republican lawmakers, unfettered by a governor capable of reining them in, are going to hold what Willie Brown calls the “whip hand” until California ditches its two-thirds vote requirement.

Greg Lucas is a Sacramento-based political writer who covered state government for the San Francisco Chronicle. He blogs about the people, policies and plots of the Capitol at www.californiascapitol.com.