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Darry Sragow, an experienced Democratic consultant based in Los Angeles, says that for good or ill, a familiar political name like Hahn is "not going to remarkably determine the outcome of an election." But too much emphasis on Kenneth Hahn could be bad advice, he says, noting, "Politics is littered with failed campaigns of people talking about the past, of how things used to be."
Looking to the future, Hahn says her biggest priorities are "education, the economy, the environment, and I'm one of those who's going to be championing local control of government's monies up and down the state. I think that cities and counties should be able to keep the monies that are coming to them instead of having the state take that money."
Beyond that, things get more vague. Hahn, with her aides sitting nearby, says she will "look forward" to attending various commission and board meetings and wants to "bring people to the table."
Would she work with a Republican governor, which would be either Whitman or Steve Poizner? "I'd have to wait and see," Hahn replies.
Newsom says he wants to shake up the role of lieutenant governor, who only votes as the president of the state Senate, and then only when a tie needs to be broken. He plans, he says, to work closely with the next governor — Republican or Democrat. Even so, Newsom can't resist a dig, saying, "If Meg Whitman is there, God forbid," but, he continues, "I want to work with her. I don't want to be partisan. I want to do what's right for the state."
In the end, says Tim Hodson, executive director of the Center for California Studies at Sacramento State University, the lieutenant-governor job — which comes with a $159,134 salary and a small staff — is not demanding unless, for the first time in years, the next officeholder is determined to make a difference. Neither Garamendi nor his legendarily inactive predecessor, Cruz Bustamante, tried very hard. "If a lieutenant governor attends a lot of meetings," Hodson says, "he could have some influence. But typically that's not what the lieutenant governor does. He's usually seen as a tourist in political circles."
Still, says Hodson, "Lieutenant governor could become governor. So you should really vote on whether or not you want this person to become governor."
That advice is not going to change the mind of Henry Broomfield in Watts. "I'd hate to throw her on the state," he says. "But the state's already so messed up, it can't be hurt any more." He'll be voting for Hahn.
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