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Westly hopes links to Gov., caution on taxes will woo voters

As the Democratic primary approaches, Capitol Weekly caught up with
Controller Steve Westly to talk about the gubernatorial campaign. Seated in
his capital crash pad, complete with eBay lava lamp and munching on a salami
sandwich, Westly talked about Angelides, tax cheats and the reason Arnold
Schwarzenegger should be dumped.

Capitol Weekly: So, the campaign is heading into the home stretch. How’s it
going?
Steve Westly: I think I have the right training for it. As someone who’s
been an executive, I know what it’s like to have a schedule where you’re
literally blocked in 15- to 30-minute segments. I’ve always been pretty good
at delegating. I think the staff we have in place at the controller’s office
is just exceptional. It’s something you really need to have, and frankly I
think it’s a good test for a governor: Do you have the people on your staff
who are really first rate. My chief of staff is a Harvard Law School grad,
[an] exceptional manager. The other people we have here are outstanding. If
you look on the political side, my job running for governor is to put
together the best campaign team in the United States. When I decided to run,
which was actually quite a while ago, I interviewed people in New York,
around the country. Because you have to trust those people. That’s a
difference between me and one of my opponents, [that] I know how to be an
executive, manage, I know how to delegate. We’ve got great teams on the
state side and the political side, and I think they’re doing a good job.
I’ve heard other stories about other people trying to run everything, and
that’s certainly not what you can do in this race, it’s certainly not what
you can do as governor. You have to put the right team together and trust
them.

CW: Early on, you were seen as very close to Schwarzenegger, but now you’re
in a Democratic primary where, presumably, some of those voters won’t be
happy you were that close to Schwarzenegger.
SW: Well, I think your premise is not correct. Mr. Angelides says, ‘My God,
he was close to the governor.’ Folks, full stop here. Your average Democrat
is driving around in an SUV with their kids wondering why no one is fixing
the schools, improving the roads and making California a better place.

They’re not saying, ‘Oh my God, was he ever in a picture with
Schwarzenegger?’ If that was the case, Mayor Villaraigosa wouldn’t be mayor,
Don Perata wouldn’t be president of the Senate, Fabian N


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