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DiFi Plans Another Run for Governor


Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, spilling the beans in his SFGate blog, brags about the two-and-a-half-hour lunch he and DiFi had in North Beach the other day, where she brought lots of charts and graphs: not about the race to get 60 Democrats in the Senate, but about how the state government needs to manage its way out of the mess Arnold has made.

She didn’t tell me outright that she’s running. She talked a lot about how she wanted to make sure the Democrats have 60 seats in the Senate after Nov. 4 so they and Barack Obama will be filibuster-proof – assuming he’s elected as well.

But she didn’t talk about staying in the Senate, either.

She talked about how things are supposed to work between the Legislature and the governor, and she wondered why they aren’t working these days – and did I have any formula for fixing it?

She even brought notes. I don’t know who prepared them, but somebody had done what appeared to be a detailed briefing paper on the state of California, including its finances.

I, for one, fail to see any evidence that Dianne Feinstein is making any effort to help Senate Democrats get to 60. I certainly don’t understand how spending that much time at lunch with Willie Brown gets the Senate Democrats to 60.  Presumably, he’s voting for Barack Obama — and there’s no Senate race in California this year.  So the purpose of this lunch, ten days before Election Day, is rather baffling.

I see nothing to indicate she’s working her own state — or any other, for that matter — to run up Obama’s margin. She’s certainly quiet about Prop 8, although she did issue a lukewarm statement opposing it.

But — Willie Brown thinks DiFi thinks he’s her lucky charm:

When she ran for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1969, I was one of the few Democrats with clout to support her – all the others saw her as too conservative.

So what happens? She comes in first and becomes the first rookie to become board president.

When she first ran for governor in 1990, no one was with her. Even Clint Reilly, her campaign manager at the time, fired her. She had just had a hysterectomy and was coming out of the hospital when that happened.

So her husband, Dick Blum, and the late Democratic fundraiser Duane Garrett and I took her to dinner at Harris’ Steakhouse, where we all plotted how to clean John Van de Kamp’s clock in the Democratic primary.

I was Assembly speaker at the time, and I told all the Democratic members that they would be judged on whether they helped Dianne win.

Of course, Van de Kamp helped things by talking about "draining the swamp in Sacramento." That got everyone mad, and he wound up being the one who got drained.

Whatever luck Willie brought her didn’t last through the general election: Feinstein lost the governor’s race to Pete Wilson.  Two years later, she paid a huge $190,000 fine for improperly reporting campaign contributions and expenditures.

Dianne Feinstein, an unsuccessful candidate for Governor in 1990, her committee, and the committee treasurer failed to properly report campaign contributions and expenditures. The campaign statements did not disclose expenditures of $3.5 million, accrued expenses of $380,000, and subvendor payments of $3.4 million. The guarantor of loans totaling $2.9 million, Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, was not disclosed. Monetary and non-monetary contributions totaling $815,000 were not reported on campaign statements and late contributions of $90,000 were not reported. Notices were not sent to 166 major contributors who made contributions of $5,000 or more advising them of possible filing requirements.

This fine is not a huge number, though, when viewed within the context of Dianne Feinstein’s personal wealth. She is the Senate’s sixth-wealthiest member, on her own — not counting her husband’s extensive wealth, separated from hers by blind trusts. Her personal net worth, based on Senate Ethics Committee required reporting within wide categories for each asset type, ranges from fifty-two million to $115,998,023. She raised more than $12,000,000 in the last election cycle.

Neither Dianne Feinstein nor Richard Blum are listed among the contributors to the NO on Prop 8 campaign.

Will California elect a Governor who doesn’t stand foursquare against bigotry and intolerance?  Will California elect a Governor who allows lies to enter the public debate without standing up?   Will California elect a Governor who lets voters be misled about children’s education, church’s tax-exempt status, and requiring same-sex marriages in all churches?

Will California elect a Governor who permits voters be lied to? 

Stand up, Senator Feinstein.  Stand up and be counted.  Stand up against the lies.  

We’re waiting.  

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