Brown says campaign momentum is 'growing gradually'
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown used the nation’s largest privately owned roofing and solar company Thursday as a campaign backdrop to oppose a ballot measure that would suspend California’s global warming law. At the same time, he needled Republican opponent Meg Whitman for refusing to take a position on the measure.
However, shortly before Brown’s news conference at PetersenDean Roofing and Solar Systems in Newark, Whitman, after delaying for much of the general-election campaign, issued a statement Thursday opposing Proposition 23.
The assembled media informed Brown of the news after he called on Whitman to take a position. The Democratic candidate didn’t flinch: "Good," he said, "Better late than never." He then called on Whitman to withdrawal her proposal for a one-year moratorium on the global warming law.
"That makes no sense," Brown said of Whitman’s plan. "You want to create the certainty. You want to create a framework of confidence so people will invest. ... And yes, flexibility makes sense -– but not uncertainty. And that’s really what her position generates."
In a statement, Whitman stood by the moratorium idea and reiterated her belief that the global warming legislation, AB 32, is a “job killer” in the state’s sour economy. She said the law must be tweaked to protect businesses from incurring costs as the state grapples with rising unemployment.
"This is not an easy issue," she said. "While green jobs are an important and growing part of our state's economic future, we cannot forget the other 97% of jobs in key sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, transportation and energy. We compete for jobs with many other states and our environmental policy must reflect that reality."
Brown disagreed, saying that state needs to send "a clear clarion call, not some muffled political expediency that Meg pandered to her base.
"Stop and start is exactly what people hate about government -- they can never get their act together and keep going. What Meg Whitman is saying is something she’d never do in business. That is, say you’re going to do something, then say you’re going to delay a year. I think we have to have a clear mandate, a clear signal that California is open for business in renewable energy."
Brown’s news conference came on the heels of a new Field poll showing the race is a dead heat.
"This is a very close race," Brown said. "It’s going down to the wire, and we have withstood the most expensive political barrage in the history of the American republic. And we are not only standing tall, we are growing gradually, and as our efforts and campaigning and commercials kick in, I think you’ll see this campaign gradually move into the Democratic column.”
-- Michael J. Mishak in Newark
Photo: L.A. Times file.