Schwarzenegger is Left With Defending Dirty Money and Issuing Dirtball Attacks on Angelides Through His Operatives

By Frank D. Russo

Yesterday, Phil Angelides came out forcefully and forthrightly for campaign finance reform. Along with Assemblymember Loni Hancock who broke her pick the last two years trying to get her clean money measure, AB 583 through the state legislature, he appeared before the California Nurses Association and stated:

"I've thought a lot about this initiative, and it’s the right thing for California.. It’s time in California to return to true democracy, where the power of a person’s beliefs again reigns supreme...Prop. 89 is the best shot we have at doing that. So I’m going to fight hard for this with each and every one of you.

The special interests - big oil companies, drug companies, insurance companies, HMOs - spend millions of dollars hoping to earn special favors like tax breaks and corporate tax loopholes. It has become a dialing-for-dollars democracy, with the unjust influence of these special interests silencing the voices of Californians. The people of California deserve a state government worthy of their trust, one that hears the voices and attends to the needs of hard-working families, not the special interests."

Phil was eloquent and spoke from the heart. He spoke of his college years, what got him into politics, and even his Greek heritage, saying “Greeks are in favor of democracy†to a few chuckles. He said “When I was a college student, I got involved in politics at a time when what mattered most was your energy and your enthusiasm, not the size of your bank account.â€

His statement, delivered without notes, and his answers to reporters and others questions, brought about a warm feeling in the room. He drew strength from the hugs he received from Deborah Burger, the President of the nurses and Loni Hancock who has championed this issue.

Rose Ann DeMoro, the Director of the nurses association, who was sitting in the audience rose from her chair, and told Angelides she was proud because “You dared to stick your head above the crowd.†She warned that “The entrenched special interests who are against this like the status quo and they fear change.â€

Well it didn’t take long after the glow of the event for the Governor, hiding behind his surrogates to begin the counter attack. Matt David, Schwarzenegger’s spokesperson, said “This was absolutely a publicity stunt. Phil Angelides has no standing when it comes to campaign finance reform.†Other more unkind words have been uttered about this.

The problem isâ€"that Arnold Schwarzenegger has no record when it comes to campaign finance reform. While it is easy to take jabs at any candidate who has lived in the real world of politics where money must be raised, “the mother’s milk of politics,†as former Assembly Speaker Jesse Unruh called it, that doesn’t take away from the need to reform the system. Also, while it is easy to find fault with any proposal that tries to deal with this area of reform, one has to askâ€"What is your proposal? The Governor has none.

Speak Governor, speak. Let’s hear from youâ€"not your handlers and spokespeople. When you were at the Commonwealth Club last month and asked about this, you said you hadn’t read the ballot initiative and usually didn’t take positions on ballot items until later. You never took a position on AB 583. You haven’t crafted your own solution. You are left defending the status quo.

Not a great position to be in from someone who ran in the recall saying “I will go to Sacramento and I will clean house. I don’t have to take money from anybody. I have plenty of money.†After that pledge you have raised a record of $94 million in campaign contributions. No wonder you are not speaking on this publicly yourself.

By the way, that comment of your guy, Matt David, about “publicity stunts,†this is the headline and story you got in the press yesterday while Phil was discussing the substance of reform in this areaâ€

See the article on California Progress Report website

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