Democrat Kathleen Brown took her gubernatorial campaign theme of one million new jobs on a flying tour of the state Sunday, declaring that the key to the restoration of the California dream is to get people back to work.
Starting in San Diego, Brown visited six of an estimated 500 Brown-for-governor house parties designed to create grass-roots organizations and raise up to $300,000.
At a party at Leisure World, Brown, the state treasurer, said: "With one million new jobs comes one million new dreams and with one million new dreams, we can bring California back . . . to what it once was."
But her chief opponent for the Democratic nomination for governor, Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, has scoffed at Brown's million-jobs theme, unveiled at the Democratic state convention in Los Angeles two weeks ago.
In a speech to the Century City Chamber of Commerce on Friday, Garamendi called it "a small plan."
"If the sun comes up every day the next four years, there'll be a million new jobs in California--and the unemployment rate will go up," Garamendi said.
"I have big plans for California. I'm ambitious for California," added Garamendi, who has proposed the creation of a potential $200-billion industry in California in the manufacture of modern transportation systems. The program would utilize some of the idled technology of the aerospace industry, he said.
A feature of the "Brown 500" house parties Sunday was the showing of a nine-minute videotape. The tape includes a biography, with heavy emphasis on Brown's family, including her father, former Gov. Edmund G. (Pat) Brown. The video also pitches her jobs program and contains endorsement statements from people such as San Francisco Supervisor Carole Midgen and Los Angeles attorney Lisa Specht.
The tape emphasizes another Brown slogan: "America's Best Treasurer." It tells how she earned a record $4 billion through investing state funds and sold more bonds than the past three treasurers combined.
Garamendi responded to the "best treasurer" claim Friday by saying, "I'm sure there are 49 other treasurers out there who will dispute that." Of the $4 billion earnings, Garamendi said, it is the treasurer's responsibility to invest state funds.
"Four billion comes about from simple multiplication," he said. "It's no great trick."
Then Garamendi claimed that 17% of the funds in the Public Employees Retirement System were invested in Japan in 1993 and only 13% in the state of California.
"You want to build the California economy . . . you invest that in growing the California economy. You want to grow the Japanese economy, invest in the Japanese economy. Apparently that's what's happened," Garamendi said.
The house parties marked something of a new direction for Brown's campaign. Under new strategist Clint Reilly, the campaign will be more regionally focused. Until now, Brown has spent considerable time raising funds but has held few public appearances.
In Laguna Hills, she told about 30 late-morning party-goers: "You're part of a grass-roots effort to empower the people of California to have a say in the future." She called it a manner of political reform, bringing people into the political process.
Garamendi has criticized Brown for spending too much time in back rooms on the telephone to big campaign contributors while he is traveling across the state working a variety of jobs alongside ordinary Californians. That is the only way a governor can really learn the problems of the state, he said.
Brown continued to campaign as a front-runner, ignoring Garamendi and continuing to attack Republican Gov. Pete Wilson, who is expected to win the GOP nomination in the June 7 primary with little difficulty.
"I'm running for governor because I'm tired of seeing the dream I grew up with being destroyed job by job," she said. A questioner noted after the talk that "the media is killing you with the crime issue," an apparent reference to a Wilson television commercial that criticizes Brown for her personal opposition to the death penalty.
Brown said she would enforce the death penalty as the law of the state and "will not play politics with it." Brown noted that some have suggested that a female governor might not be as tough on crime and other issues as a man, but she said, "There's plenty of toughness inside this woman."
And she asked: "Has Pete Wilson made California safer in the last four years? Do you feel safer?"
Most of audience replied, "No."