One week before the democratic gubernatorial primary, current
state controller and governor hopeful Steve Westly pressed the
flesh in Santa Barbara as part of a nine-day, 17-city tour.
Traveling in a bright orange bus emblazoned with the motto,
“Meeting real people where they live and work,” Westly, 49, dropped
into Santa Barbara’s favorite affluent liberal hangout, Restaurant
Nu, for a happy hour loosely styled as a town meeting. More than
100 supporters turned out to listen as Westly declared this
election season the time to “retire Republicans.” After plugging
local sheriff’s candidate Bill Brown and Democratic 24th District
congressional candidate Jill Martinez, Westly took aim at Governor
Schwarzenegger, saying that under his watch, “Sacramento is still
stuck in gridlock. Schools are under-funded and polluters continue
to run rampant in this state.”

Throughout his informal speeches — which he often interrupted to
answer questions — Westly repeatedly harked back to the
catchphrase, “Where Washington has failed, it is California’s time
to lead.” The former eBay exec specifically declared war on No
Child Left Behind, offshore oil drilling, and “millionaire tax
cheats.” While allowing that his opponent in the June 6 primary is
a “good Democrat with a good track record,” Westly separated
himself from Phil Angelides by contrasting his own longstanding
pro-environment stance with Angelides’s history as a “real estate
developer.” He added that Angelides has “spent his life in
Sacramento, while I have spent mine in the real world.” Westly also
paid homage to California’s extensive community college network,
declaring that California should “stand behind” every student
committed to completing a two-year degree by providing free
community college.  — Ethan Stewart


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