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Whitman slips on taxes; Brown defends home

June 9, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
With Election Day just over four months away, the California governor's race is all about money: how many tax dollars Republican Meg Whitman can save Californians, and how much Democrat Jerry Brown spent on a new home.Jerry Brown says there is no substance to Meg Whitman's plans for running California. Brown promises he won't raise taxes unless the people vote. Whitman seems to have hedged on her no-taxes pledge.

On another front, Brown, proud of his frugality, defends his nearly $2-million home with a bay view.

Brown carries his own bags on his way to his Southwest Airlines flight at Los Angeles International Airport. And he expects voters to carry the responsibility for taxes if he's elected as California governor.

"I've said something very different," said Brown. "I've said no taxes unless the people themselves want it and show that desire by actually voting for the tax."

Whitman toured a water recycling plant in Santa Paula. She seems to have found some wiggle room in her pledge not to raise taxes. She said Tuesday she wouldn't rule it out if there was a big natural disaster.

Some critics and supporters were surprised. Whitman tried to set the record straight Wednesday.

"I am adamant about the fact that we cannot raise taxes on business or individuals in California," said Whitman.

Whitman has put out a magazine with her proposals in it. It's handed out at every rally. She says Brown doesn't have a plan.

"I've put together a very detailed plan," said Whitman. "Many of you may have received this book. Say what you will about this, it is a detailed plan."

Brown is slowly rolling out his own details. He says he will soon present plans for pension reform.

"She picks up a menu and thinks it's a meal," said Brown. "No. What she has is a pamphlet and a photo album."

When Brown, currently state attorney general, was governor, he was frugal. He slept on a mattress in an apartment and drove a used Plymouth.

Now Brown is defending his ownership of a nearly $2 million house in the Oakland Hills with a view of San Francisco Bay. Brown says it is a two-bedroom house, and not lavish by local standards.

"Here I am at 72, frugal, saved my money, my wife finds this beautiful house and we have the money to buy it out of our savings," said Brown.

Brown's wife is a former executive with Gap Inc. Much of Brown's life has been spent in elected office. He was mayor of Oakland before becoming attorney general. Now he's trying for what would be his third term as governor.


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