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Sep 7, 2010

Jerry Brown spent Labor Day weekend on the campaign trail, unveiling his first campaign ad in Los Angeles and speaking at a union picnic in Sacramento.


"Brown accused the campaign of the GOP's gubernatorial nominee, Meg Whitman, of "trying to create fear and loathing on the campaign trail."


"It's not a time to scapegoat illegal immigrants or scapegoat public employees," he said.


Brown said that Sacramento "is a little screwed-up," but vowed to focus on solving the state's budget problems. "We're going to bring in groups -- business, labor -- and we're going to talk about it. It's like a big collective bargaining" session.


Brown also focused on his long political record as an asset, and said he would speak candidly if he is elected governor. "I'm going to level with you. I'm going to tell you the truth," he said. "California is not a logo to be rebranded by Meg Whitman."


You can watch Brown's new ad here.


Monday afternoon, Brown was joined by Sen. Barbara Boxer at a Labor Day event in Alameda.


Maeve Reston and Seema Mehta report, "Officials kicked off the program by handing "golden hatchets" to actors dressed up as Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, who is challenging three-term Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, and former EBay chief Whitman, who is running against Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown.

"If we do our job right we are going to drive Meg Whitman so far out of politics that she will have spent all of her money — and after the election don't be surprised if we see her in an apron asking people if they want fries with their burger," said Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. "Today is the beginning of the fight, the beginning of the resistance to Meg Whitman's unprecedented attempt to buy the governorship of California."

"The gathering at the conference center of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, and later events in Sacramento and Oakland, highlighted the critical role labor will play in the governor's race. Unions have served as a powerful counterweight to Whitman's wealth, spending at least $14 million over the summer to keep Democratic nominee Brown competitive against his billionaire rival, who has put $104 million of her own money into her effort."


Michael Mishak looks at what Meg Whitman's money is buying her on the campaign trail.

"Those donations have allowed her to target her campaign mailings to the smallest subsets of voters and sort out which television shows are popular among independent voters. (It turns out they are big fans of "Bones," the crime show rife with romantic tension, on which Whitman has aired ads.)


"Dozens of outside consultants and a paid staff the size of some presidential campaigns run an operation that seems to be the living embodiment of Whitman's book title: "The Power of Many." After record amounts spent on television advertising, mail and ground organization, there has even been enough money left over to sponsor a youth soccer team."


Soccer? Does this madness know no bounds?


Will California be a political firewall for Democrats in what is expected to be a Republican year across the country?

"Across the country, Democrats are morose and Republicans jubilant about their prospects, with the intransigent economy feeding a voter revolt against the party that controls the White House and Congress. Prognosticators are competing to issue dire predictions of sweeping Democratic losses in legislatures, governor's offices, congressional delegations and Senate seats.

"Yet California, at least for now, is different. The two top races, for governor and U.S. Senate, are acknowledged by all sides to be too close to call, a victory of sorts for both parties. Few expect much adjustment in the legislative or congressional lineups. Part of the reason is structural: District lines drawn to protect incumbents have isolated the lawmaking houses from both Democratic and Republican tides for a decade. Part is geographical: Even powerful storms lose their strength as they blow from Washington to the West Coast."


We thought weather moved west to east, but we digress...


Cathleen Decker reports the state's weak economy has turned voters more conservative.

"A detailed portrait of the state's likely November electorate, drawn last week by pollster Mark Baldassare at the Public Policy Institute of California, showed heightened economic concerns and increased ideological polarization in the last several years. Both factors, this year, would favor Republicans. But the review also demonstrated that the demographic changes that have benefited Democrats in California continue unabated.

"Over the short term — say the nine weeks until election day — Republican views are ascendant, though that appears to be more a reaction to economic woes than a permanent realignment of the state's political DNA."


Carla Rivera reports new legislation will require California children entering kindergarten turn 5 by Sept. 1 rather than Dec. 2.


From our Where Are They Now Files, the Orange County District Attorney fired former Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, the deputy once hand-picked to be his successor.


"Todd Spitzer, a former assemblyman and Orange County supervisor, was at one point Rackauckas' hand-picked successor and has worked at the prosecutor's office since last year, moving between assignments apparently to get on-the-job experience.

"Spitzer has made no secret of his desire to become district attorney and was prepared to run against Rackauckas, but he backed off when the district attorney said he would bring him aboard and probably support his candidacy in 2014.

"What changed was the firing of Todd," said Rackauckas' chief of staff, Susan Kang Schroeder. "He was hoping to hand off the office to someone he trusted, and now circumstances have changed."

"Spitzer says he was fired for political reasons, most likely to make room for Schroeder to run for district attorney herself."


Speaking of ambitious prosecutors, Steve Cooley's political donations have raised questions about the targets of his investigations.


"Cooley's top anti-corruption deputy says there is no connection between campaign money and the district attorney's investigation or prosecution of public officials.


"But the donation highlights a tricky choice for an elected prosecutor like Cooley. Where does he draw the line on taking money from people who could figure in an investigation?


"The question has also arisen in Bell Gardens. Cooley's campaign accepted $13,000 from City Manager Steve Simonian, a longtime friend and former aide, during and immediately after an inquiry involving two of Simonian's bosses on the City Council.


Cooley's campaign spokesman, Kevin Spillane, said the prosecutor's ethical line is clearly drawn: Political fundraising has no influence on the work of the district attorney's office. Suggesting otherwise is "ridiculous and it's insulting," he said. Cooley doesn't track all the donations his campaigns have raised, he said.


And finally, "San Francisco police have arrested a man who scaled the exterior of a 58-story downtown skyscraper and unfurled an American flag at the top.


"Police tell KCBS Radio that the man is veteran skyscraper climber Dan Goodwin. The 54-year-old Lake Tahoe resident's other climbing credits include Chicago's Sears Tower.

Goodwin used suction cups but no ropes to scale Millennium Tower, a 645-foot residential building overlooking San Francisco Bay. Police say he ignored orders to stop climbing."


Suction cups? Couldn't the dud just shoot webs out of his wrist?

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