Candidate for governor visits SLO: Whitman wants to trim the fat

California GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman says she would “skinny down the bureaucracy” if she is elected, saving 12,000 jobs a year for three years by not hiring people to replace state employees who leave.

The proposal was one of several suggestions Whitman proposed for tackling the state’s budget crisis. A report issued by a legislative analyst on Wednesday predicted a $20.7 billion budget deficit in the coming fiscal year.

Whitman, one of the leading candidates for the Republican nomination for governor in 2010, stopped by Tolosa Winery in San Luis Obispo on Wednesday evening to speak with supporters. The event was co-sponsored by the county Republican Party and the Lincoln Club.

The former president and CEO of eBay, Whitman vowed to bring her business savvy to Sacramento. One of her chief themes as she answered questions from local media was “focus.”

Focus is important, Whitman said, adding that the government should not try to “boil the ocean.”

“Let’s stop doing new stuff” and deal with existing problems, she said, adding that the Legislature introduced 2,400 pieces of legislation this past year.

“Every legislator wants to be a hero in their own district,” she said.

Whitman also attacked the state’s tendency toward crisis management and advocated careful planning over time, as well as the patience to implement it. She said the government should not wake up on Monday and expect to solve a problem by the following Friday.

Her remarks were general and theme-oriented, and she did not set forth specific proposals for dealing with the gridlocked Legislature, despite questioning.

Among Whitman’s other remarks:

Whitman’s chief competitors in the Republican primary are former Bay Area Congressman Tom Campbell and state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

Attorney General Jerry Brown is widely expected to seek the Democratic nomination for governor.