Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursday Must Read: Brown Still Has $23 Million to Spend; Whitman and Fiorina Avoid Palin

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at 6:56 AM

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1. Jerry Brown has a five-point lead in the polls and plenty of money in the bank as he enters the final month of the governor’s race. The Chron reports that the ex-Oakland mayor has $22.6 million in his campaign account, while mega-wealthy Meg Whitman only has $9.2 million. Brown’s lead and cash advantage likely will force the ex-eBay CEO to dip further into her pocketbook. So far, she has spent a record $119 million of her own money — and a total of $140 million in all. That’s nearly fourteen times as much as the $10.8 million Brown has spent.

2. Whitman and GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, meanwhile, have decided to steer clear of Sarah Palin in the wake of a new Field Poll that shows the former half-term governor of Alaska is downright toxic with California voters, the LA Times reports. The poll showed that 53 percent of California voters view Palin unfavorably and the exact same percentage said that they would be less likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by the Tea Party Mama Grizzly. Fiorina’s avoidance of Palin in the final month of the campaign represents a stark turnaround from the June Republican primary when the ex-Hewlett Packard CEO warmly embraced her. Palin is scheduled to appear at a major event in Anaheim on October 16, but both Whitman and Fiorina say they won’t attend because they have other plans.

3. Governor Schwarzenegger reached a tentative pension deal with SEIU, the state largest public employee union, the Sac Bee reports. The deal calls for current state government workers to kick in an additional 3 percent toward their pensions. The giant union also agreed to unpaid furloughs one day a month — the equivalent of a 5 percent pay cut. In exchange, the governor agreed to spare the union from additional future furloughs. SEIU represents about half of all state government workers.

4. California’s green-tech sector is one of the few bright spots in the state’s lagging economy, Capitol Weekly reports, citing a new study. The study, by Next 10, a nonpartisan research group, showed that California green-tech has attracted $11.6 billion in venture capital investment since 2006, representing about one-quarter of the world’s total. In the first half of 2010, the state drew about 40 percent of the total investment in green tech worldwide. However, that could all change if state voters approve Prop 23, the anti-green-energy measure, on November 2.

5. Tesla Motors, the electric car company that took over the former NUMMI auto plant in Fremont, unveiled its new innovative battery pack yesterday — a giant flat battery that runs the length of the car and can be easily switched out, the Mercury News reports. Tesla plans to offer battery packs that can last 160 miles, 230 miles, and 300 miles before recharging.

6. And Facebook is releasing a new feature that will allow users to more easily group their “friends,” thereby allowing people to share more private information with close friends and family, while withholding it from mere acquaintances, the Chron reports.

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