A day after the unofficial Labor Day election season kickoff, the two major gubernatorial candidates came to the Bay Area, as the governor traipsed into hostile territory on the Peninsula while his challenger spent his time in heavily Democratic San Francisco.
It was another bill-signing of Democrat-sponsored legislation for Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger while Democratic state Treasurer Phil Angelides rolled out his endorsement from Los Angeles Democratic Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa after a silence-is-deafening wait for the show of public support.
In Palo Alto on Tuesday, Schwarzenegger signed three consumer protection bills at the Avenidas Senior Center, another Democratic–type event in a series of notches in his belt, including capping gas emissions and raising minimum wage, that have some questioning the chances of Angelides.
Schwarzenegger signed bills requiring independent counseling from a Housing and Urban Development-approved agency for all reverse mortgage transactions; allowing the Department of Real Estate to suspend the license of a broker who lies about his experience; and a bill allowing the Department of Corporations to suspend a mortgage broker who is misleading about his experience.
Schwarzenegger responded to some of his opponent’s comments, such as Angelides’ calling him a "first-class fraud" in this election year move toward the middle after the governor’s lackluster support for his programs at the ballot box in November.
"It’s very important when you’re the governor that you represent all people," he said, recalling his support for stem cell research, a position unpopular with conservatives.
Flanked by Mayor Gavin Newsom and Villaraigosa, Angelides accepted the endorsement of the L.A. mayor at the 16th Street BART station in the Mission district before a crowd of about 100, which included a number of labor union workers.
Angelides said the "California dream is under assault by the policies" of President Bush and Schwarzenegger, saying they have made the wealthy wealthier at the expense of working families, who are faced with higher-than-ever college tuitions and increasing health care costs while wages remain stagnant.
A Public Policy Institute of California poll coming out just days before the start of Labor Day weekend showed Angelides trailing the governor by 13 points, 45 percent to 32 percent.
The same poll had the state’s treasurer leading Schwarzenegger 42 percent to 32 percent in the Bay Area among likely voters, with 18 percent undecided.
Speechwriter for former Republican Gov. Pete Wilson and Hoover Institution research fellow Bill Whalen said, however, that the two candidates’ appearances in the Bay Area on Tuesday spoke volumes about the positions of their campaigns and that Sacramento Democrats haven’t been doing the Angelides campaign any favors.
In San Francisco, Newsom criticized the governor for acting like a chameleon when it comes to political issues.
After the event, Newsom said, "Phil knows who he is. Arnold Schwarzenegger increasingly does not."