California Lt. Governor Democratic Primary

I think I could probably expand this one tweet into an entire book on San Francisco politics.

So, early this morning, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced at Caffe Roma he would indeed be running for California Lt. Governor. There is a popular support for his bid in San Francisco as if he won, the Board of Supervisors would pick who gets to finish out the last year of his term. The smart money is that the Board would go with current SF Democratic Party Chair and former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin.

Hours later, blogger and Examiner columist Sweet Melissa Griffin went to get her afternoon coffee at Caffe Trieste. For those of you who don't know SF, Trieste is 2.5 blocks and a world away from Roma. It is also known as Peskin's office. And there he was, with Janice Hahn -- who has been running for Lt. Gov for months.

Morning coffee at Roma vs afternoon coffee at Trieste pretty much describes the fault-line in North Beach politics.

No word on whether former Gray Davis, Joe Lieberman, & Gavin Newsom consultant Garry South was with Hahn. South went to Hahn after Newsom failed to raise any money in his gubernatorial bid. The news of South joining Newsom's gubernatorial bid was actually broken by a blogger who saw Newsom and South at Starbucks.

After the jump, an Open Letter to Garry South from Calitics & friends, asking him to resign from the Hahn campaign.

Open Letter to Garry South
by: Calitics Editorial Board

Garry,

Please resign.

For the good of the progressive movement, for the good of the state of California, and for the good of your candidate, Janice Hahn, you should resign your post as chief strategist to the Hahn campaign.

In this time of profound economic and political crisis, California deserves a campaign that is focused on solving the issues that have brought our state to its knees, a campaign focused on restoring the California Dream. Petty attacks like those you have begun to level against other candidates -- including attacks on Jerry Brown's age -- not only distract from those issues, but they undermine your own candidate.

Your attack on Gavin Newsom is highly unethical. (See below the fold.) By using against him conversations you held with Newsom while he was a client of yours you are not only breaching the trust you held as a senior advisor to Newsom's gubernatorial campaign, you are also potentially making Newsom into a sympathetic figure, further undermining Hahn's cause.

Janice Hahn has a lot to offer Californians -- she is a successful local government official who has a long record of effectively implementing progressive policies. She has built a considerable amount of support across the state during her campaign because of her pledge to bring a local government perspective to a profoundly broken state government. You risk undoing that work by resorting to your typical, failed approach of attacking the opponent instead of showing the electorate why your candidate deserves their support.

We write not as supporters of any particular candidate or potential candidate, but as progressive Californians who are sick of watching you run promising campaigns into the ground with your destructive style of vicious personal attacks. All you accomplish is electing Republicans. Do the ethical and honorable thing and resign from the Hahn campaign immediately.

Signed,

Dante Atkins
Calitics Editorial Board

Robert Cruickshank
Public Policy Director, Courage Campaign

Marta Evry
Venice for Change

Rick Jacobs
Founder & Chair, Courage Campaign

Brian Leubitz
Calitics Editorial Board

Julia Rosen
Online Political Director, Courage Campaign

Shayera Tangri

Dan Ancona

Joel Wright

David Atkins

Note: for an in-depth explanation of why Garry South is a disaster for Democratic candidates, peruse the open letter Calitics posted laying out South's failures in January 2007.

Note 2: It should be emphasized that this isn't really about Janice Hahn, we were impressed with her during our interview last year. But Garry South is really doing her a disservice over the last few weeks. Mudslinging just isn't the way to win a Democratic primary.
STATEMENT BY GARRY SOUTH

CHIEF STRATEGIST,
JANICE HAHN FOR LT. GOVERNOR
FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR, GAVIN NEWSOM FOR GOVERNOR

I am surprised and perplexed that my friend and former client Mayor Gavin Newsom apparently has decided to jump into the lieutenant governor's race at the last minute - especially against an already-announced candidate who would be the first woman lieutenant governor in California history.

In every one of several conversations we had about the job while he was running for governor, the Mayor expressed nothing but disinterest in and disdain for the office of lieutenant governor. In fact, he was derisively dismissive of Gray Davis's decision to run for and serve as lieutenant governor prior to running for governor ("I'm not a Gray Davis," he said). On a couple of occasions, he directed me to repudiate publicly in the strongest terms that he had any interest in ever running for lieutenant governor.

The Mayor himself told the Chronicle in October that rumors he may run for lieutenant governor were "absurd" and "a complete lie," and angrily accused Jerry Brown of personally spreading false information to that effect. As recently as December, he himself said flatly "no" when asked directly on a San Francisco radio show whether he intended to run for lieutenant governor.

In addition, when he precipitously pulled out of the governor's race in late October - against my advice - he said he couldn't continue as a statewide candidate because he was a husband, a new father and the mayor of San Francisco. So far as I know, he's still a husband, a new father and the mayor of San Francisco. So it's pretty hard to see what's changed over the last four months that would now allow him to run for another statewide office.

If the Mayor does run, it is his responsibility to explain why he now claims to want an elected office he summarily dismissed publicly numerous times over the last several months, and which just earlier this year he called "a largely ceremonial post" ... "with no real authority and no real portfolio."

Paid for by the Janice Hahn Lieutenant Governor 2010 Committee
777 S. Figueroa Street, Suite 4050, Los Angeles, CA 90017

Tags: CA-Ltgov, California, Lt. Governor, Janice Hahn, Garry South, Calitics, Melissa Griffin, gavin newsom (all tags)

Comments

9 Comments

yeesh...

Garry South--the Mark Penn of California politics.  He's done so much damage to California Democrats.  Go away!

by esconded 2010-03-12 09:37PM | 1 recs
same old

I've met a lot of political consultants, and Garry South stands out as probably the most self-assurred at the same time strategically in-ept with understanding new media-- quite the combo. I'll tell you a story of when I met him that explains this quite succinctly.

Back in March 2003, I got credentialed to go to the CA Dem convention, and Markos and I went over there, seeing Howard Dean's famous 'Democratic wing of the Democratic Party' speech. I had heard about Garry previously, and knew that he was going with Lieberman, which looked quite promising for him  (though Lieberman was boo'd by some in the audience when he came on with his televised speech he was the poll favorite at the time). Anyway, the other thing going on in the state at the time was the online rumblings of a potential re-call of Governor Gray Davis-- about a week away from being launched.

When I ran into Garry talking with a reporter, I listened for a while, and then in an opening explained to him what I was seeing online, and wondered about his thoughts regarding the potential that Davis might be sucessfully re-called. He didn't listen to a word I told him in the 1-2 minute explanation of what I was seeing on FreeRepublic, Lucianne, and the online distribution of petition forms that was going viral over the internet.  Instead, he took great pride in rattling off the unsuccessful history of re-calls in California politics since it began in 1911, and was very confident in himself that I didn't have any clue to understanding how it worked, as I attempted a follow-up. He gave me a number of how many signatures had to be physically collected (about 900,000), and assured me it couldn't be done. I did some quick math in my head and realized that we were only talking about 2 thousand online activists going grassroots with the petitions they printed out and getting an average of 400-500 signatures each; that, over a 6 month period, seemed pretty doable. 

You contrast that, with someone like Joe Trippi, who would be having lightbulbs go off in his head at the description of the online potential above I mentioned, and I am not at all surprised that South is being begged to leave the campaign premises by the bloggers. He's likely very good 1-1 with the candidates, in doing just what I descibed above-- assuring them that he knows it all.

But you know, no political consultant is the life or death of the candidate's chances. I've learned over time that the really good ones do their job that they are good at, and get out of the way and let others do the job that they are good at, working as a team. And the worst spot to be in as a consultant is the public interface for the campaign, even moreso if it gets rocky. Especially in Democratic primaries, which tend to bring out all the previous battlelines being re-drawn with re-drama ensuing. I avoid it like the plauge now, and only fill in the details after the race is done and over.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-03-13 12:34AM | 0 recs
RE: same old

Great story.

You contrast that, with someone like Joe Trippi, who would be having lightbulbs go off in his head at the description of the online potential above I mentioned, and I am not at all surprised that South is being begged to leave the campaign premises by the bloggers.
Guess who Hahn's other consultant is.
by Bob Brigham 2010-03-13 12:56AM | 0 recs
RE: same old

They probably get along pretty well. I can't seem to get very excited about the prospect of another Hahn campaign out of LA.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-03-13 10:23AM | 0 recs
making Newsom into a sympathetic figure

A billion dollars can't accomplish that trick. The right will never forgive him for his "whether you like it or not" statement and he has completely burned out bridges here in San Francisco at least among the set I run with. I can't speak for Pac Heights crowd nor for Gordon Getty.

I'm not sure where he thinks he can get any support. Perhaps down in the Southland where people may not be familiar with his abysmal record here in the city. But given that his main competition is an LA Councilwoman, it's hard to foresee him garnering much supported unless she's more loathed than he is, which would be hard to fathom.

Been on Muni lately? I have to add 30 minutes to any trip I do - I don't own a car, I am wholly reliant on Muni to function - so I am either early or on time but it's 30 minutes per trip wasted because it has become so unreliable.

I don't have health insurance so I use Healthy San Francisco. To begin with, that was Tom Ammiano's idea but Newsom got it enacted. But go use it. I started the program back in August. It was November before I saw a doctor. And I haven't been able to get an appointment with my assigned doctor since because you can only sign up on the first of the month and by phone. I can't even get through. I was able to get some badly needed eye care at SF General. For a month, I had a standard appointment at 1 PM on Mondays. The quickest that I was seen was 4 PM. The latest was 10 PM. I appreciate that it is better than nothing but the program is basically emergency services but healthcare, it is not. It's the only lifeline I have and I appreciate that fact but for Newsom to tout it as if it were something akin to actual healthcare is a stretch. 

The city is starved for revenue and he ditches the parking rate hike. "In this economy, we don't want to force people to plug meters until nine o'clock at night." He said. But cutting city services to the poor and destitute that's alright. His signature Cash not Care program is a resounding failure.

Here's Newsom touting his achievements:

"We have the most aggressive local solar incentives in America," Newsom has said. "The highest recycling rates. Pioneering green building standards. Aggressive energy efficiency programs to help wean our city from carbon fuels. We've already rolled back our greenhouse gas emissions to 6 percent below 1990s levels."

Apart from the recycling rates, none of that is actually true. The carbon emissions stat is based on an estimate that neither the EPA or the Bay Area Air Quality Management District will verify. Both Seattle and Portland are doing far more interesting things in both energy and transportation.

Newsom and the media. It's rare to actually side with the media but when it comes to Gavin Newsom, yup, it's a no brainer. What can you say about a man who just disappears and then refuses to talk about it? He won't meet with the press because the press won't agree to his silly conditions. He'll only talk about certain subjects. Willie Brown called a "wuss." Newsom has actually left me nostalgic for Brown.

As much as I would love to get Newsom out of Room 200 asap, I am not so willing to send him to Sacramento in any capacity.

Gavin Newsom is another Mark Sanford/John Edwards. Scum on Earth.

The campaign on Twitter Has Gavin Resigned Yet? reflects the views of many San Franciscans. We want the nightmare over.

I suspect if you don't live in San Francisco, you're likely not aware how fast and how hard this city has fallen the last two years. While one can't blame the economy on Newsom, the inescapable fact is that he has spend more time running for higher office instead of dealing with the issues that are affecting San Francisco. 

It is stunning that he feels this need to run for office. He's out-of-touch and driven by narcissism. Last year, a friend of mine was at a Pasta Pomodoro having dinner. Newsom waltzes in to pick up take out. My friend goes over to just exchange pleasantries. Newsom's response is classic: "I'm sorry but I can't talk right now." Not hello, how are you but I don't have time for you. He then goes back to his limo, sits in it for 10 minutes, chirping away on his blackberry. 30 seconds with a constituent too much for him.

How can anyone believe that this man who has had train wreck after train wreck (which have generally been overlooked) is going to change his pattern of behavior?

But set all of the above aside and ask yourself this: what can Gavin Newsom actually do for California going forward?  

The reality is that he is too abrasive and divisive a figure to get anything done even in a post that has little power. 

Whatever Garry South's faults and limitations, he's not running for office. Gavin Newsom is and with luck he will implode and fail. Perhaps then we can nail that last nail in the coffin of his political career. In that case, I will leap for joy.

by Charles Lemos 2010-03-13 06:30AM | 0 recs
Janice Hahn

Here's Janice Hahn's campaign team:



JANICE HAHN ANNOUNCES ENTRY INTO LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR RACE AND HER CAMPAIGN TEAM LOS ANGELES - After receiving enthusiastic response from people up and down the state, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn has decided to make official her run for lieutenant governor of California. Today, she announced the team that will lead her campaign for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor in 2010.

GARRY SOUTH, CHIEF STRATEGIST Garry South managed Gray Davis's successful campaigns for governor in 1998 and 2002, as well as Davis's run for lieutenant governor in 1994. In the latter race, Davis bucked a statewide and national Republican tsunami to win the second-highest state post by a 52-40 margin over his Republican opponent, receiving more votes than any other Democrat running for office anywhere in America. South also served as chief of staff to Lt. Gov. Davis. More recently, he was senior advisor to Steve Westly's 2006 primary campaign for governor, and played a leading role in Al Gore's 2000 primary and general election victories in California.

JOE TRIPPI, MEDIA/SOCIAL NETWORKING CONSULTANT Joe Trippi's work in politics has spanned more than four decades, five presidential campaigns, and numerous winning state and national elections. These include the successful campaigns of U.S. Senator Alan Cranston, Attorney General Jerry Brown and L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley. Trippi served as national campaign manager for Howard Dean's 2004 presidential bid, where he gained national acclaim for his innovative use of online technology and media to organize "Dean for America," build a grassroots movement and raise an unprecedented amount of money online.

JOHN FAIRBANK, LEAD POLLSTER John Fairbank is a founding partner of California's leading Democratic polling firm, Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3). For more than a quarter century, FM3 has helped elect candidates up and down the ballot and pass some of the state's most important ballot measures. FM3 has provided research to 10 statewide elected officials, 25 members of Congress from California and more than 50 members of the California Legislature. In 2006, Fairbank was lead pollster for John Garamendi in both his successful Democratic primary and general-election campaigns for lieutenant governor.

JOHN SHALLMAN, SENIOR CAMPAIGN CONSULTANT John Shallman managed Janice Hahn's most recent reelection campaign for L.A. City Council, helping her capture a remarkable 76% of the vote. He has engineered a string of victories over better-known and -funded opponents, including U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez over "B1" Bob Dornan for U.S. Congress and L.A. County DA Steve Cooley over Gil Garcetti. Other Shallman clients have included L. A. Mayor Richard Riordan, Congresswomen Jane Harman and Laura Richardson, Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg, L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel and numerous members of the California Senate and Assembly. Shallman also has helped pass over $8 billion in local school-bond initiatives.

MICHAEL TRUJILLO, CAMPAIGN MANAGER Michael Trujillo was California field director for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential primary campaign, and before that worked on Richard Alarcon's successful state Senate campaign and served as San Fernando Valley field director in Antonio Villaraigosa's 2001 Los Angeles mayoral campaign. Trujillo also was deputy campaign manager and director of policy for the Proposition 82 universal pre-school initiative in 2006. He also managed the campaign of L.A. Unified School District Board Member Tamar Galatzan.

JORDAN MARKWITH, FINANCE DIRECTOR Jordan Markwith was deputy national finance director for the successful 2008 campaign of U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), who raised more than $22 million - more than any other Senate candidate in the cycle. Prior to that, he was a senior associate with Chad Griffin Consulting, Inc., a Beverly Hills-based firm that had among its clients Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, as well as several statewide initiative campaigns. In 2004-05, Markwith was a press aide to L.A. Mayor James Hahn. The California Federation of Teachers, California Professional Firefighters and National Women's Political Caucus already have endorsed Hahn's candidacy for lieutenant governor.

by Charles Lemos 2010-03-13 08:18AM | 0 recs
What does the Lt. Governor do?

From the Janice Hahn website:

This was posted in anticipation of Gavin Newsom's run. Why the hell is he even running?

by Charles Lemos 2010-03-13 08:36AM | 0 recs
failing upward

Isn't he finished in SF?  So, he's trying to move up rather than out.

I consider myself a Californian, being from LA and having went to HS in the SJ valley, but it feels alien in the laggardness of its political campaigns on the Democratic side.

I'm not talking about tactics, surely even the old guard of the consultants all talk socnet.

But just looking over the past decade, from the Davis recall to the Schwarzenegger victories, I would grant the Republicans as having more ability of winning tough races than the Democrats. Even now, the narrative things I see coming out of CA are all about tearing down the Republicans, and nothing how transformative and progressive the Democrats are going to be (which is why it is so close in such a liberal state).

The state needs a sea change, and a number of real internet-based insurgent statewide campaigns from candidates whom haven't been in politics for decades.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-03-13 10:32AM | 0 recs
I had to look it up

I knew the Lt. Governor becomes Acting Governor when the Governor leaves the state and that the Lt. Governor is the President of the CA State Senate and sits on the Board of Regents of the University of California but the position has other duties.

From California Voter:

 

Unlike the Vice President of the United States, to whom he is often compared, the Lieutenant Governor of California is a statewide constitutional officer, elected in his own right, with discrete constitutional and statutory responsibilities.

Focused mainly on economic development, higher education and trade, those duties include:

ACTING GOVERNOR Under California's Constitution, the Lieutenant Governor serves as Acting Governor whenever the Governor is out of the State, or is temporarily disabled or under impeachment.

PRESIDENT, STATE SENATE The Lieutenant Governor is President of the State Senate and votes in case of a tie. With the partisan balance in the Senate becoming closer and closer, this power -- like that of Vice President Al Gore -- may become more important throughout the remainder of the 1990s.

CHAIR, CALIFORNIA COMMISSION FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT The Lieutenant Governor chairs the California Commission for Economic Development. The Lieutenant Governor also appoints the staff of the Commission, and by tradition, nominates all non-ex-officio Commission members. He also has wide latitude in directing the activities of the Commission on issues related to the State's economic health.

CHAIR/MEMBER, STATE LANDS COMMISSION Along with the State Controller and the Director of the Department of Finance, the Lieutenant Governor sits on the State Lands Commission, a body with wide-ranging environmental and public-trust responsibilities for California's coastal and other waterways. Historically, the Lieutenant Governor and the Controller have alternated as Chair of the Commission.

REGENT, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA The Lieutenant Governor is one of seven ex-officio, voting members of the Board of Regents, which sets policy for the nine-campus University of California, including student fees, administrative personnel decisions, and teaching and research guidelines. The Regents also oversee federal contracts for work performed by the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

TRUSTEE, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY The Lieutenant Governor is one of five ex-officio, voting members of the Board of Trustees, which sets policy for the 21-campus California State University.

MEMBER, STATE JOB TRAINING COORDINATING COUNCIL The Lieutenant Governor serves as a member of the State Job Training Coordinating Council, which oversees federal grants provided under the Job Training Partnership Act and advises the Governor, Legislature and the State's public education institutions on the adequacy of vocational education programs.

MEMBER, CALIFORNIA WORLD TRADE COMMISSION Along with the Governor, Secretary of State and one member each from the Assembly and State Senate, the Lieutenant Governor is an ex-officio member of the California State World Trade Commission, which serves as the primary agency responsible for coordination of activities to expand international trade for the State of California. To help California businesses identify new markets, the Lieutenant Governor also leads economic trade missions to various parts of the world.

MEMBER, CALIFORNIA EMERGENCY COUNCIL The Lieutenant Governor serves as a member of the California Emergency Council, which is briefed on all current matters and needs related to emergency preparedness and recommends administrative matters requiring action by the Governor.

VICE CHAIR, COMMISSION OF THE CALIFORNIAS (INACTIVE) The Commission of the Californias, of which the Lieutenant Governor serves as Vice Chair, is currently inactive. With the recent passage of NAFTA, a revitalized Commission could become an important coordinating body between the State of California and the Mexican states on our border. ___________

 

by Charles Lemos 2010-03-13 08:53AM | 0 recs

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