Advisors to Govs. Brown, Schwarzenegger trade barbs
Top advisors to Gov. Jerry Brown and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger traded jabs this week over each administration’s use of catchphrases and stunts that they argued glossed over the other's shortcomings on larger issues.
Steve Glazer, Brown’s longtime political advisor, took the first shot during a panel on reform, challenging Schwarzenegger’s oft-repeated promise to "Blow up the boxes" and "Cut up the credit cards."
"I think it's just a form of manipulation. It’s advertising," Glazer said of the frequent use of the phrases. "It’s just trying to appeal to a voter’s instinct or emotion." Glazer noted that despite the vow to cut up credit cards, Schwarzenegger left the state with a pile of debt.
"No one really understood what he meant by 'blow up the boxes.' It’s just anti-government," Glazer added during the discussion in Sacramento hosted Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.
That drew a counter-jab from panelist Rob Stutzman, Schwarzenegger’s former deputy chief of staff.
"You forgot to mention 'take away the cellphones,'" Stutzman said, referring to one of Brown’s public vows to cut state costs by reducing the number of phones in the hands of state employees. The high-profile campaign barely made a dent in the multi-billion-dollar shortfall the state was facing earlier this year, critics noted.
Glazer said the campaign to reduce cellphones was part of a larger consolidation of state government and that and a program to reduce state cars represented "one way to connect with voters." Stutzman said Schwarzenegger’s vow to "blow up the boxes" also was not an empty promise.
"The Schwarzenegger slogan, granted a political slogan, of blowing up boxes actually led to a very substantive study,'' he said, referring to the California Performance Review done during the last governor's tenure. The review recommended 1,200 ways to improve state government, though most were shelved by the Legislature.
"It was more than just advertising," Stutzman insisted.
--Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: Steve Glazer, a longtime political advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown, (pictured with the first dog, Sutter) was critical this week of some of the political sloganeering engaged in by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Credit: Don Kelsen.