On politics in the Golden State

Category: 2012 Presidential Race

Jerry Brown rallies unions in Las Vegas, slams GOP


Fresh off a legislative session in which Republicans killed his tax plan, Gov. Jerry Brown went into campaign mode Monday, attacking the GOP in a barn-burning speech before thousands of union delegates at a labor convention in Las Vegas.

Brown told union members to focus their energies on reelecting President Obama, retaking the U.S. House of Representatives -- and perhaps helping him increase his Democratic majority in the California Legislature. He boasted about signing a bill that would make it easier for farmworkers to organize and said increased tax revenues would mean more public works projects and more jobs for the decimated ranks of the country’s construction workers.

“Yes, that takes some tolls or fees or taxes, but that’s an investment in ourselves and our own people rather than buying stuff that’s made for 50 cents an hour, 25 cents an hour, 10,000 miles away,” Brown told the gathering of the Laborer's International Union of North America.

The governor railed against Republicans who blocked his tax plan.

“There’s this idea that [if] you have a little extra tax, that somehow that’s an evil,” Brown said. “And we’ve got a group in California, that every time you try to raise a little money for more roads and more dams, for more bridges, for more train tracks, they block it.”

Brown rallied the crowd with a red-meat speech that served as a call to arms for next year’s elections, invoking former President Harry Truman and saying Democrats should run against the “do-nothing House of Representatives.”

“As governor of California, I refuse to let the Republicans and the non-union contractors get away with their schemes to reduce wages,” he said to applause and tooting air horns. “We’re not poor, we’re just poor in some of the politics that drives the country and I’m counting on you and your allies in organized labor to turn that around because it’s not going to come without a fight.”

He blamed Republicans’ opposition on the clout of taxpayer groups, especially the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., which urged Republicans to oppose Brown's package.

“It’s amazing that actually elected people are so subject to that kind of political pressure,” he said.

Brown ended his speech at the Paris Las Vegas casino with an invitation for the delegates to visit California.

“It’s not as hot” as Las Vegas, he said. “You won’t lose as much money in the slot machines. You’ll have just as much fun. And, if you get arrested, I can pardon you.”


Jerry Brown concedes defeat on tax deal

Brown tax deal may go nowhere

Brown, Assembly reach tax deal

-- Michael J. Mishak in Las Vegas

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks in Long Beach earlier this year. Photo Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

Romney latest 2012 hopeful to plan fundraising trip to California

Republican 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney is planning to hopscotch California next week to raise campaign cash at events in five cities. The former Massachusetts governor is the latest politician seeking to mine the state's wealthy donor community.

To read more, please visit PolitiCal's sister blog that covers all things 2012: Politics Now.

-- Seema Mehta in Los Angeles

Jerry Brown offers state budget update in new video

Gov. Jerry Brown said in an online video Sunday that he wants changes in pensions regulations and state pensions to be part of a budget deal, but he still lacks the support from four Republican lawmakers to place those reforms and billions in taxes before voters this fall.

Brown said his plan "will put California's finances on a firm footing for many, many years to come...but what we don't have are the four Republican votes necessary to put it to a vote of the people of California."

He did not outline what those policy changes would entail, but said he was "really perplexed at why a package of this magnitude and this permanence ... cannot be allowed for you the people to decide on.

Brown posted the video to his YouTube channel Sunday, just three days before lawmakers are constitutionally required to pass a budget, to give his budget status report to voters.

This year, for the first time, lawmakers' pay will be docked if no spending plan is in place by Wednesday's deadline.

Brown plans to hold a Capitol press conference Monday with representatives from many of the various groups that have backed his budget, and the idea of placing higher vehicle, sales and income tax rates before voters, along with changes to state pensions and a limit of future state spending.

Among those represented Monday will be labor, public safety, education and business groups, said Brown spokesman Gil Duran.


To survive, state GOP must reinvent itself

Interactive: Has your district been redrawn?

New boundaries shake up California politics

--Anthony York in Sacramento

Potential 2012 contender Haley Barbour tells Caliifornia Republicans they can win if they 'try hard enough'

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who said he is “seriously considering” a run for president in 2012, told delegates at the California Republican convention Saturday that they should not be discouraged by their losses in November and that voters would be receptive to the economic arguments that helped the party pick up seats in other parts of the country. 

During a weekend in which state Republicans set about trying to rebuild their party’s clout in a political environment that favors Democrats, Barbour sought to buck them up. Closing out the Saturday night session, Barbour recalled that President Reagan, his former boss,"used to say that California was the wind tunnel of America -— anything that worked in California, people would try everywhere else.

"That works in the other direction too,” Barbour told delegates. “We didn’t win this year in California, but it isn’t because we didn’t have the right ideas. We just didn’t drive them home well enough; we didn’t cast the net wide enough."

He added that “what works in the rest of America will work in California if y’all try hard enough," Barbour said.

The Mississippi governor did not elaborate on why the party was unable to get its message across in 2010 in the race for governor, where former Ebay chief executive Meg Whitman outspent Democrat Jerry Brown by a 5-1 ratio.

More at:



 -- Maeve Reston in Sacramento


State GOP delegates debate what it will take to rebuild

John Bolton blasts Obama on foreign policy at GOP gathering

California's redistricting panel can't escape partisan pressure


Former U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton opens contentious state GOP convention

As California Republicans opened their biannual convention in Sacramento on Friday, former United Nations Ambassador and potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate John R. Bolton delivered a searing indictment of President Obama’s foreign policy.

The speech took place as the state party struggles to deal with its November ballot losses, intra-party fighting over endorsements and whether Republican legislators should negotiate with Gov. Jerry Brown about his budget proposal, which would close a multibillion-dollar deficit partly by extending tax hikes.  

Read more at Politics Now: Former U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton bashes Obama on Libya

-- Seema Mehta and Maeve Reston in Sacramento


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