Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. Meg Whitman is now portraying Jerry Brown as being beholden to Big Labor, the Chron reports. Her argument got a boost earlier this year when California unions banded together and spent $10 million attacking her on his behalf. Unfortunately for Brown, public-employee unions could prove to be the electric-third-rail in this year’s election battle. Spiraling pension and compensation costs have played a pivotal role in the state’s budget crisis and the unions have been less than cooperative in reining those expenses. For his part, Brown contends that public employees will have to share the pain in order to balance the state’s finances. And he’s following up on the unions’ campaign against “Queen Meg,” portraying her as a Wall Street maven who pocketed huge bonuses while downsizing eBay.
2. It also should be noted that during Brown’s tenure as mayor of Oakland, he greenlighted generous public employee wage and pension packages that are now helping bankrupt the city. Indeed, Whitman has pounced on Brown’s record in Oakland and is using it against him, the Chron adds. Whitman notes that crime spiraled out of control during his tenure, and that Oakland Unified went into state receivership after he appointed three members to the school board. Brown will have to convince voters that his successful efforts in revitalizing Oakland’s downtown more than made up for his shortcomings and that Whitman’s lifelong disinterest in politics renders her unsuitable for the job. It could be a tough sell in this anti-incumbent year, and Brown won’t have much time to make it.