Saturday, December 10, 2005

Meet & Greet with Steve Westly

Today SoCal Grassroots - in conjunction with Valley Grassroots for Democracy - hosted a Meet and Greet with Steve Westly, current controller for California and 2006 Gubernatorial Candidate. As you may have guessed, your humble contributor attended.

Unfortunately, due to the infamous Los Angeles traffic, I didn't arrive until the event had been underway for an hour. Thankfully I didn't miss Controller Westly's talk to the gathered group of progressives.

He spoke to the usual progressive talking points: universal health care, funding education for children starting in pre-school, environmental issues and, in answering a question from the audience, his full support of same-sex marriage. Very sincere in his support of all these issues, but they are the bread and butter of progressive candidates. As they should be.

Where he differed was when he spoke of ways to fund programs. He spoke about his record as controller, how he has managed to reduce the deficit in California without raising taxes by using "found money," i.e. collecting taxes from corporations that were owed to the state (amongst other methods). And he promised to use the same sort of financial acumen to help California.

There was no opportunity for me to meet with him, as he had to leave for the airport immediately after he addressed the group.

My impressions? He spoke well. When I saw him address the Women's Caucus at the California Democratic Convention in April, I found him too polished. It didn't feel as if he spoke to me. This time I was more favorably impressed. Perhaps it was that the smaller group gave a more intimate feeling. I can't really say.

I will say that I think he makes a fine candidate. Personally I've been leaning towards Phil Angelides, but I'm happy that I got a chance to see Controller Westly speak again. It's good to know that we've got good Democratic candidates out there who could very likely win the governorship.

Nicely done, Mr. Westly. Very nicely done.

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