Silicon Valley Hosts Governor Hopefuls

A taste of what's to come

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    Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsom, Tom Campbell, Steve Poizner are hoping to be on the ballot for California's next governor.

    Four of California's leading gubernatorial contenders will get a taste of the challenges they'll face if elected when they participate in a Silicon Valley policy forum.

    Wednesday's event at Santa Clara University is hosted by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. It brings together business, nonprofit and civic leaders to discuss how to make California more competitive.

    Attorney General Jerry Brown and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, both Democrats, and former Congressman Tom Campbell and state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, who are Republicans, will participate.

    Brown, who has not officially declared his candidacy, will speak about energy and the environment. Newsom, who gained the endorsement Tuesday of former president Bill Clinton, is headlining the discussion called Education and Workplace Preparedness.

    Poizner will speak at the Housing, Transportation and Infrastructure. Campbell, who served as the state's finance director in 2004, will be headlining the forum Taxes, Regulation and Competitiveness.

    Former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman has a scheduling conflict. Whitman, also is seeking the Republican nomination next year, is instead speaking at a Fortune magazine event in San Diego.

    Already under attack for missing a debate last week, Whitman will likely face more ire from rival Poizner, who's campaign has launched an anti-Whitman Web site they call MegaDuck2010. She's afraid to face tough questions, Poizner maintains.

    Rather than meeting the masses in a forum-style setting, Whitman is going straight to "grass-roots activists and leaders in communities across California," her campaign says.