SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The first event to feature most of California's gubernatorial candidates kicked off Wednesday at Santa Clara University with Attorney General Jerry Brown saying he's not yet decided to run but vowing to hold the line on taxes if he does become governor.
"The whole system is bogged down all over Sacramento," Brown said. "We need a very strong leader who can pull everyone together. I'm not a candidate. Yes I am leading in the polls, but I'm not yet convinced....The people of California are not anxious to hear from their candidates yet, and the deadline for filing papers isn't until March - so tune in."
The candidates were part of a morning-long program sponsored by the business organization the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. The event is set to feature two Republicans, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and former Congressman Tom Campbell, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Brown.
Brown, a former California governor, hasn't yet announced whether he's a candidate but is expected to run. The only missing major candidate was Republican Meg Whitman, former CEO of the online auction firm eBay.
Whitman was appearing Wednesday at a summit of most powerful women sponsored by Fortune magazine in Carlsbad. Whitman had spoken to the Silicon Valley Leadership Group in April at the headquarters of the online giant Yahoo!
Poizner started the morning by pledging to keep his hands off local funds.
"I'm a big believer in local control," Poizner said. "There's way too much power concentrated in Sacramento. It's illegal to be robbing these dedicated funds put together by voters for specialized causes."
Brown followed by calling the logjam in Sacramento "a management problem" and saying legislators needed to carefully choose priorities in deciding how to stimulate the economy.
Brown said he would not raise taxes if he became governor, noting that the public is opposed. "We're not in the revenue raising business," he said.
The gubernatorial candidates were not scheduled to debate each other but instead speak to separate panels of Silicon Valley CEOs and Bay Area journalists about topics such as transportation and infrastructure, energy and the environment and taxes and business regulation.
Recent polls show Whitman leading the Republican field with Campbell in second and Poizner coming in a distant third, while Brown leads Newsom among the Democrats. Whitman and Poizner are both billionaire former Silicon Valley CEOs who are pouring their own personal wealth into their campaigns.
Read the full story at sacbee.com.