Debate Report: CA Jerry Brown vs Neel Kashkari for Governor- 9-4-14

By George Miller


BrownKaskariThis was the first and possibly the only debate between California gubernatorial candidates Jerry Brown

Debate sponsored by California Channel, Sacramento, CA-

Interestingly, both moderators were from the political left, from LA Times and Telemundo Ch 52.

Abbreviated notes from debate:



Opening statements:

Brown– I saved the state budget, vetoed 1st CA budget in state history, made cuts, right decision. -$27 billion to a surplus, got all 1.4 million lost jobs back.


Kashkari: Want to rebuild middle class of CA., Brown out of touch. Schools ranked 46th, job market 45th.  I’ve lived American dream due to good education. I a have plan and the experience to get it done.

Moderator– (to Kashkari) you’re 16 pts behind, even Swearingen says she may not vote for you.

Kashkari: Committed to end $70MM high speed rail,  Only $2BB for water? It is not enough. Train crowds out all other investments.  Water and schools are much more important than the train.

Brown: Deficit was main issue, along w/jobs, education. I saved them. What momentum we now have!

Q: Water situation- SoCal depends on NoCal water. 

Brown: Water is in the North, people are in the South. My father helped improve this.  The Delta system protects fresh water. Must strengthen the Delta to protect against earthquake, sea rise, etc. Plan is going through EIR (Environmental Impact report)- 75000 pages. While still protecting Northern California water rights.

Kashkari: What about the $25BB tunnel?  The Bay bridge project went way over budget and was late. This project was mismanaged. Study and get it right. No tunnels.

Brown: Salt water intrusion would be a disaster. The Delta plan will prevent.

Kashkari: Even Obama says this project is flawed.

LAT/Newton: Lost Tesla project to Nevada. What can we do to keep it? Favored tax and energy waivers?

Kashkari: Ranked 50 in business climate under Brown. While Gov. Walker’s state of Wisconsin went up to 17th.  Deals with big companies with lobbyists. We need expedited review/encouragement for ALL business. Bring in good jobs to rebuild middle class.

Brown: Tesla wanted massive cash, upfront payments. Fremont plant was good and electric cars are promising. Tesla will bring down battery cost for electric vehicles.

Q: Climate change law- production of fuels will raise cost

Brown: Scare tactics.  Climate change and pollution existential threat.  We need carbon cap.  Allowance if companies make targets. We can buy high-speed rail and other green projects with revenue.  High gas prices? They fluctuate,

Kashkari: I believe in climate change, but Brown is trying to raise gas prices to make his projects look better in comparison and pay for high speed train.

Telemundo “Undocumented” children?

Kashkari: I’m a son of an immigrant, immigrants add value, my heart goes out to kids all over who are suffering. The solution is not open borders in America. We need to send them home, help improve conditions all over world. California kids are suffering, too.  We need to help them first.  We can’t solve world’s problems with an open border.

Brown: A tragedy. Keep the bill for hearings for children- they face gangs, murder, prostitution. Least we can do is give them a fair hearing.

LAT- Newton: Teacher tenure ruling. You will appeal? Dispute judge’s conclusions?

Brown: Our Constitution demands appeal of this. I care about kids. I helped Oakland schools, disadvantaged children. Founded school.  California adopted reform and puts more money up for disadvantaged children.

LAT– Does tenure contribute to effective teaching?  What about recent ruling challenging tenure?

Brown: Lack of (family) income etc. is more important in determining results.

Kashkari: This is an important civil rights case. Failing schools. You should be ashamed of yourself government.

LAT: (Kashkari) Championed 2008 TARP bailout, then joined CA investment firm profiting from TARP. 

Kashkari: (My performance on) TARP is an asset on my resume. Two Presidents asked me to address the issue. Entire economy on verge of collapse. Experts said parties couldn’t work together. I was successful in having Pelosi, Boehner, Obama, Bush all work together. Got all the dollars back and made $13BB in profit. I am proud of my time in DC and bipartisanship.

Brown: System was stabilized, but $32BB in bonuses. Inequality, unfairness, bailouts. Huge bonuses to people who caused the problems. No relief for the people.

Kashkari: Brown raiding $400 million from taxpayer funds … (cut off by moderator)

Telemundo: Crime rate up, prison realignment- state to county transfer of prisoners. 

Brown: Biggest prison system change in 40 years. Anything in government takes time.  Prison population increased 500%- overcrowded, court-mandated releases/transfers. Need services, too.   Prop 30 guaranteed billions of dollars- it is working.  Most crime is not going up.

Kashkari: Program is failure. Don’t kid yourself. Serious criminals are being released, committing robbery, rape, murder (one released felon killed own grandmother)  Rent more bed space if necessary.  Release is not an option.

LAT- Newton: CEQA reform– CEQA is mainstay of environmental protection. What reforms envisioned to facilitate development?

Kashkari: CEQA takes way more time/money. SUE that’s Brown’s shortcut used by politically connected groups.  CA has highest poverty rate in America- 24%.  Jobs leave- poverty increases. Improve business climate.

Brown: I fight for CEQA reform. Reagan created it. We created 1.4 million jobs. Best agriculture in country. CA is the place of dreams.

LAT/Meyer: High Speed rail- you didn’t create it, but are itsbiggest champion. Feds won’t provide $38 billion. Will it get built?

Brown: Yes, Can’t expand roads or airports enough.  High speed rail is cheaper, cleaner, creates jobs. Start it in the Central Valley. $2billon from the state. $3 billion for the fed. $8 billion Economic impact.

LAT: Kashkari calls High Speed rail project the “crazy train.”

Brown: Kashkari is crazy paying out $30 billion in bonuses to bailed out company employees.  Trains working fine in China. 

Kashkari: He’s raising your gas prices to fund the crazy train. Want jobs? Build real water infrastructure.  Let’s do something useful- Water. Not just one little water storage project- not the crazy train

Telemundo: Prop 8?

Kashkari: I want the government out of our lives. Government should not interfere in marriage- keep government out of our lives. Applauded Brown for not appealing.

Brown: CA is only state spending significant additional amounts for poor kids.  I signed (bill) 215 to get rid of bad teachers.

NYT/Newton: Unfunded pension gap is enormous and growing. What would you do to turn around?

Brown: 8th largest economy in world- we paid down deficit, did pension reform, stopped spiking, capped pensions, rescued teachers retirement. Made major progress. 1st pension reform ever- do more in the next four years.  Health care. Keep paying down then wall of debt. Less debt service.

Kashkari: We were fifth largest economy. $500 billion liability. Brown threw dissenters off pension board. I would appoint competent, honest accountants. Real progress , not just incremental.

NYT: You called ACA (Obamacare) “job destroyer” Defund?

Kashkari:  No- fix it. My own plan was canceled. 16% of Californians have no job or part-time jobs. You think we’re back? No. Obamacare incentivize reducing hours and headcount.  Need plan to incentivize job creation and truly affordable health care. Can’t dismantle law of land, but we can fix it.

Brown: Kashkari is just doing a sales pitch, not reality, a la Goldman Sachs who destroyed economy.  CA is doing the best Obamacare implementation. 

Telmundo: Drivers licenses for illegals: markings on them lead to discrimination?

Brown: No. Now they can drive to work.  Signed  Dream Act- scholarships. 30% kids undocumented or have English problems. Will forbid police to discriminate.

Kashari: Federal issues affect CA, Brown says he can’t do anything. Not true and I will do something.  I would have signed drivers license bill.

Kashkari: I admire Schwarzenegger- he is a tremendous success in life. Not as successful as he would have liked as governor. I spent three years in DC, figured out how to get leaders to work together in a national crisis.  24% CA poverty- families are in crisis.

Brown: No Kashkari programs helped poor people.  Arnold had big plans but couldn’t get it done.  But I have brought state back, recovering faster than the rest of nation.

NYT:  Plastic bag ban. Will you sign?

Brown: Yes. 50 cities have their own ban causing confusion. Need a statewide standardization, minimal disruption.

Kashkari: California is focused on banning plastic bags, regulating football practice, bringing dogs to restaurants. NOT working on building the middle class.  These won’t do it.

Telemundo: How to make college affordable?

Kashkari: I took out $100K in loans for college- scary. Colleges prefer out of state higher tuition students. Students, CA kids, should come first.

Brown: Half of community college students pay no tuition. CA kids have half the debt of other states’ kids. Middle class scholarships, frozen tuition, online learning. Kashkari wants to oppose prop 30.

LAT: Will you do another debate?  

Brown: No, we’ve already exposed our differences

Closing statements

Brown: Four years ago we had a failed state. Not the case anymore. Water, workers compensation, rainy day fund, regained 1.3 million jobs economy recovered. Lowered sales tax on mfg. Got momentum, right direction.

Kashkari: Key question: is your family back? Kids in good schools? Good job? Every kid should have the same shot I did. Dedicated to rebuilding the middle class. I have ability and experience to do it.


Post debate Notes:

No questions on Second Amendment, Common Core, corruption in legislature, streamlining state bureaucracy, level of spending, Prop 13, 14, AB32, SB2, Agenda 21, offshore drilling, fracking, campaign finance, highway/infrastructure situation.


Related Links: 


LA Times:



George Miller is Publisher of and a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.


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Citizen Reporter

This is one of the very first reports published after the debate. We noticed that most of the others made value judgments, tried to tell you what to think. We just tried to tell you what they said (iand cases WASN’T asked) and let you decide for yourself.

Nancy Larned

The Republican Party in CA has moved so far to the left that I don’t even recognize it any more. Kashkari is a perfect example of that. The “debate” didn’t even touch my hot button issues, probably due to the lefty participants and moderators. Two or three big cities make all the decisions at the Capitol in Sacramento. As a conservative, CA resident of over 52 years, even after many years of trying, I had no voice in I left.

Citizen Reporter

comment from Nancy L:

Nancy– The Republican Party in CA has moved so far to the left that I don’t even recognize it any more. Kashkari is a perfect example of that. The “debate” didn’t even touch my hot button issues, probably due to the lefty participants and moderators. Two or three big cities make all the decisions at the Capitol in Sacramento. As a conservative, CA resident of over 52 years, even after many years of trying, I had no voice in I left.