Changes are in store for Sacramento Legislators. In a press release posted on the Republican Caucus web page yesterday, Senator Robert Dutton announced he will step down as Republican Minority Leader effective in early January when lawmakers return to the Capitol. Dutton, who is termed out in 2012, said the change is “right and logical”. Dutton said his focus for the remainder of his term will be on enabling legislation that will help business create jobs. It’s not clear at this time if Dutton will seek another office at the end of his term.
Dutton did not name a likely successor. However, shortly after his press release, Senator Robert Huff of Diamond Bar released a statement that he will seek the leadership role. Huff claimed in his own press release that he has enough commitments from Caucus members to be elected. Huff currently serves as Republican Caucus Chair.
“It makes sense that we have a new leader in place before the governor announces the new budget, so he or she can begin to negotiate immediately with the majority party on a budget solution that ends California’s fiscal crisis and the state’s economic uncertainty,” Dutton said. However, it remains to be seen whether the Governor will even be interested in resuming talks with Republicans. Because of recent changes in the law, Democrats no longer need to reach across the aisle to get a budget deal. And, Governor Brown has already made it public that he will seek a tax increase directly from the people of California with a November ballot measure.
Huff, who served as his caucus’s point man on the budget, said, “There’s always a role, even if we’re outside the door banging on it. We’re willing to work with him if he’s willing to.” We’re betting he isn’t.
The dust has settled on the county redistricting plan and Tustin is firmly entrenched in the middle of Orange County Board of Supervisors District Three. Bill Campbell is termed out and a small war of words is heating up between two early candidates for the job. I am speaking, of course, about Todd Spitzer and Chuck Devore.
It is literally a small war of words because their battleground is the the social networking and micro-blogging service, Twitter. Twitter allows a person to send short messages of 140 characters or less to their followers. Short and concise are keywords on Twitter. Wikipedia describes it as the “SMS of the internet”. But, it is much more than that. It is micro-blogging at its best.
I was an early adopter of Twitter. In fact, I opened an account a year or so after it hit the internet and, like most early users, had no idea what to do with it. I had no followers, didn’t know what a hashtag was and forget trending. But, I had an account and, before long, I actually had tweeters following me. For the average, everyday user it’s a fun social tool. For a serious blogger it is a necessity. I get some of my best information from Twitter. Bloggers thrive in the tweeting world. And, the race between Devore and Spitzer is a prime example.
Chuck Devore joined Twitter in 2008 and, had been an avid user even before he announced his candidacy for the Third District. Chuck tweets all things political with a conservative viewpoint. If you want to know how Devore feels about any political topic local, state or federal, I suggest you follow him at @ChuckDevore. Chuck is thoughtful and usually well reasoned. One thing you can do on Twitter is tweet directly to one or a number of users, even if they are not following you. It is one of the most powerful features of the service. Ask Chuck a question or give your opinion to him and you are likely to hear back from him, and often many of his followers, almost immediately (unless he is busy watching the GOP debates). Chuck comes into his own on Twitter.
But, it’s Devore’s active Twitter campaign against Spitzer that is noteworthy. Shortly before both of them formally declared their candidacy, Devore started in early and was attacking Spitzer for his record of supporting labor unions. He attacked Spitzer’s vote in favor of expanding public safety pensions during his previous stint as a Supervisor, even though he was joined by the other conservatives on the board who also voted to approve them.
Unfortunately, Devore overstepped the bounds of good sense when he jumped on Spitzer’s “union junket” to Las Vegas.
It turns out, the junket was the annual Baker to Vegas race, a famous endurance event that attracts teams of law enforcement officers from all over the world. Spitzer says his expenditures went to support the DA’s team which he claimed was a proper use of the funds.Devore still has mud on his face from that faux pas as the local prosecutors association backed Todd and everyone in blogworld (except CalWatchdog) blasted Devore.
Although Spitzer has a Twitter account, until recently, he has not been nearly as active on it, apparently preferring more traditional (and easier to understand) forms of communication such as his website and Facebook page. In fact, Todd tweets an average of once every two days compared with Chuck’s nearly five per day ( if anyone is interested, I average 1 per day but I didn’t really start tweeting until two years ago). Still, Todd has managed to slip in a zinger or two and he tweets more often these days. He outed Devore for financing his housing in Sacramento with the per diem lawmakers receive for personal expenses while in Sacramento.
So Chuck Devore admits he took the per diem to finance his second residence in Sacramento. Now that there is… http://fb.me/EFDubldR
Newsflash, Todd, Devore isn’t the only assemblyman to ever do that.
Todd also has his own style. He rarely attacks Chuck directly but prefers to set the record straight when it is skewed by his opponent. He also likes to tout his own fundraising ability compared to his opponent, raking in $100,000 to Chuck’s $70,000 in the first part of the year. As both Chuck and Todd like to remind everyone in Twitter world, Todd also has a sizable bank account of campaign funds from his assembly days and later during his shunted effort to run for Orange County District Attorney.
Devore would like to paint Spitzer as just as much a union lackey as any democrat. The only thing is, it just doesn’t come out that way. Spitzer has signed on to GOP headmaster Scott Baugh’s “no union campaign money”. He also says that, while he did vote for enhanced pensions during his first tenure as Supervisor, he certainly would not do that today, knowing what he knows now. What Devore doesn’t seem to get is that the endorsements have less to do with money than with the man. Spitzer gets all of the public safety union endorsements because he likes public safety, touts law and order in his Republican oriented ideology and public safety likes him. They really like him. Get this, even our own mayor, Jerry Amante, likes Todd.
So, This looks to be an interesting race between two well-known and well-liked Republicans. No Democrats in sight. But, why would a democrat waste their money on a foolish quest in this bastion of republicanism? Still, you never know. In any case, if you want to see bare knuckles digital fighting at its best, sign in to Twitter and follow @ChuckDevore and @ToddSpitzerOC. I promise you some interesting dialogue over the next year with plenty of commentary from us.
Oh, and you can follow us on Twitter at @keepdapeace.