July 16, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

California Governor Jerry Brown Called Lazy,Vulnerable:

Jerry Brown has been called a lot of things in his 45-year political career, from “Gov. Moonbeam” to “the old man,” but no one ever accused him of being a do-nothing dud of a politician. Until now.

Changing the state’s school-funding formula, balancing the budget after years of deficit, proposing a massive water transportation plan and spearheading a successful campaign for a tax increase were not enough to make Brown a busy man, says his most likely fall reelection rival.

“Brown is a caretaker governor,” charges Neel Kashkari, leading Republican in some recent polls. “I’m telling you, he’s a status quo guy. I call him lazy and unwilling to make the major changes we need to bring California back from the Great Recession. All he does is nibble around the edges of problems.”

This unique criticism of Brown will be a major theme of Kashkari’s campaign against the 75-year-old Democrat. Kashkari, a former executive of the Goldman Sachs banking house, led the federal Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program for several months under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He takes much credit for rescuing the U.S. economy from disaster and is the early favorite over fellow Republicans Tim Donnelly and Andrew Blount in the June primary election.

For sure, Kashkari is a different sort of Republican candidate, perhaps one California voters will be ready to accept. The Ohio-born son of Indian immigrant parents, he didn’t get here until 1998, then left for more than three years’ work in Washington, D.C. So he’s only lived here about 13 years, less than any serious candidate for governor in modern memory.

“If time in California were the criterion leading to a great governor, Brown would be great,” the intense, shaven-headed Kashkari said, seated in a San Fernando Valley coffee shop.

Kashkari is unlike other recent top Republican nominees: He’s not a billionaire, his net worth estimated at “only” about $5 million; he can’t write big checks to his campaign every time the bank account gets thin, a la Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, Arnold Schwarzenegger and William Simon.

“I won’t contribute anything,” he says. That would contrast enormously with Brown’s 2010 opponent, Silicon Valley executive Whitman, who spent more than 140 million of her own dollars without coming close.

“Brown is vulnerable,” Kashkari declares. “He wants to spend $67 billion on his crazytrain (Kashkari code for high speed rail) and one poll I saw had only about 33 percent of voters wanting to reelect him.” The same survey, however, found 59 percent approve Brown’s job performance, an odd polling combination.

Kashkari says he’d pursue two main goals if elected: creating jobs and reviving California education. Asked how, he makes a major commitment to exploiting the state’s huge shale oil and gas reserves, without imposing a new drilling tax. He would also make a big push for less regulation of business, something Brown has tried, but not been able to push through the Legislature.

How would Kashkari operate as a Republican dealing with a large Democratic legislative majorities? He doesn’t explain in detail. But he insists that “I would bring a lot of companies back to California, not have them continue moving out of state,” also a theme of the previous three GOP candidates for governor. But he doesn’t detail how he’d help business cope with high housing costs that prevent many companies from recruiting out-of-state workers here.

He also insists he’d pursue development of new reservoirs to store water in wet years and prepare for dry ones, but does not say where he’d put them. “We need a large water bond on the fall ballot,” he says. “I blame Brown for lack of preparation for the drought.”

But in more than an hour discussing what he would do, there were no details on how he’d revive education, where California’s per-student spending is among the lowest in America.

Kashkari brings obvious energy to the campaign trail. But his big handicap also is obvious – voters don’t know him. Not one person in that coffee shop appeared to recognize him, despite his distinctive appearance.

Can Kashkari win in a state where Republicans are badly outnumbered and where he’s never run for any office, where he’s voted in barely half the elections during his time here? He says yes.

Brown doesn’t seem worried.

in Opinion
Related Posts

SM.a.r.t. Column: Food Water and Energy Part 1 of 3

July 14, 2024

July 14, 2024

Civilization, as we know it, requires many things, but the most critical and fundamental is an uninterrupted supply of three...

Letter to the Editor: Criticizing Israeli Policy Is Not Antisemitic

July 10, 2024

July 10, 2024

In the past several months, we’ve seen increasing protests against Israel’s actions in Gaza. We have also seen these protests...

SMA.R.T. WISHES ALL A VERY HAPPY 4TH OF JULY WEEK

July 7, 2024

July 7, 2024

We trust you are enjoying this holiday in celebration of Independence. Independence to be embraced, personally and civically, thru active...

SM.a.r.t Column: Santa Monica Under SCAG’s Boot

June 30, 2024

June 30, 2024

Four years ago, our esteemed colleague Mario Fonda-Bonardi wrote the prescient essay below when much of the legislative development juggernaut...

SM.a.r.t Column: The Up Zoning Scam (Part 2)

June 23, 2024

June 23, 2024

Last week’s SMart article  (https://smmirror.com/2024/06/sm-a-r-t-column-the-up-zoning-scam-part-1/)  discussed the ambitious 8895 units (including 6168 affordable units) that Santa Monica is required to...

SM.a.r.t Column: The Up Zoning Scam (Part 1)

June 16, 2024

June 16, 2024

Over the last few years, the State of California has mandated a massive upzoning of cities to create capacity for...

SM.a.r.t. Column: Shape Up – On Steroids

June 9, 2024

June 9, 2024

Nine years ago, SMa.r.t wrote a series of articles addressing the adaptive re-use of existing structures. We titled one “Shape...

SM.a.r.t Column: The Challenge of Running a City When City Staff Have Different Priorities

June 2, 2024

June 2, 2024

Living in a city has its perks, but it can be a real headache when the folks running the show...

SM.a.r.t. Column: A Path to Affordable Ownership in Santa Monica

May 27, 2024

May 27, 2024

[Note: our guest author today is Andres Drobny, a former Professor of Economics at the University of London, the former...

SM.a.r.t. Column: A Path Forward for Santa Monica: Part II

May 19, 2024

May 19, 2024

As referenced in Part I of this article, the state’s use of faulty statistics and forceful legislation has left a...

SM.a.r.t. Column: A Path Forward for Santa Monica: Part I

May 12, 2024

May 12, 2024

To quickly summarize, California grapples with an ongoing housing crisis spurred by state implementation of over 100 policies and mandates...

SM.a.r.t. Column: Where Will Our Huddled Masses Sleep? Navigating California’s Affordable Housing Mandates

May 5, 2024

May 5, 2024

Just as Lady Liberty beckons the “huddled masses” of immigrants to America, cities like Santa Monica have an ethical obligation...

SM.a.r.t Column: SMCLC SPEAKS

April 28, 2024

April 28, 2024

SMart (Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow) periodically invites guest columnists who have made a significant contribution to the...

SM.a.r.t Column: Building Modern Boxes Lacks Identity

April 21, 2024

April 21, 2024

In the relentless pursuit of modernity, cities worldwide have witnessed the rise of so-called architectural marvels in the form of...

SM.a.r.t. Column: Santa Monica Needs Responsible Urban and Architectural Design

April 14, 2024

April 14, 2024

[SMa.r.t. note: Eight years ago, our highly esteemed and recently-passed colleague Ron Goldman documented his thoughts on the need for...