Fishwrap: Mysterious Behind the Scenes Secrets


conradDeliberative body delivered: The next time Senator Kent Conrad starts holding forth on the tube about why Americans are not allowed to choose a public option for their health care insurance, remember this name: Kelly Candaele.

Conrad is the four-eyed, hose-nosed twit from North Dakota whose self-important pronouncements that there will be no public option in health care reform are eagerly sought and duly recorded by the badge-sniffing stenographers of the Beltway MSM. Conrad was last elected to the Senate with 150,416 votes.

Candaele is a four-term member of the Los Angeles Community College Disrict Board of Trustees.* One of seven members, he was last elected with 151,218 votes – 802 more than Senator Dufus.

The fact that Conrad, an alleged Democrat who has bogged down health care reform legislation along with his buddy, Landslide Max Baucus (who won his seat with one-third fewer votes than President Obama scored in Alameda County – 345,937 to 489,106 – fercrineoutloud) suggests that The Framers weren’t exactly planning ahead when they came up with this whole bicameral, one-house-represents-land-instead-of- people notion.

That cheap suit characters like Conrad and Baucus have the power to hold hostage a health insurance policy that 77 percent of Americans favor is an authentic outrage that makes Calbuzz wonder exactly what a Willie Brown – not to mention Lyndon Johnson – would do to these wigglers, after grabbing them up by the scruff of the neck and tossing them and their office furniture out the window to somewhere south of the Watergate parking garage.

We’re just sayin’.

Candaele*As for Kelly Candaele, who mysteriously – oooh – shares initials with Kent Conrad, Calbuzz was unsuccessful in repeated efforts to reach him to seek his views on health care reform, which seem to us at least as important as those of Mr. Dork from North Dakota. We strongly suspect that  Candaele, a journalist, filmmaker and former labor organizer, (whose mother batted .290 in the women’s professional baseball league memorialized in “A League of Their Own” – you could look it up)  is more of a single payer, public option kind of guy.

nixonParsky Channelling Nixon? Calbuzz is picking up grumblings from some members of  the Commission on the 21st Century Economy who are not happy with the Nixonian tendencies of the group’s chairman – Gerry Parsky the investment firm chairman who once served in (you guessed it) the Nixon administration.

Seems the commission’s agenda doesn’t give anyone a clue about what’s coming up for discussion, members have no time to read position papers or analytical documents before they’re released at or just before meetings and Parsky doesn’t even respond to some pretty credible people trying to stay on top of what’s going on with the commission.

For example, see the agenda for the Commission Workshop on the commission website. See if you can figure out what’s being discussed at that meeting.

Or check out the correspondence from Steve Levy from the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy. Steve, one of the smartest guys in California, suggests to Parsky et. al. ways to evaluate various tax proposals and asks how the commission intends to do this. But has Parsky or anyone responded to Levy?  Nope.

Meanwhile, they’re talking about scrapping most of California’s tax structure and replacing it with a net business receipts tax – a monumentally complex idea which no other state has attempted. Does anyone on that commission actually understand the implications? We don’t think so.


Will She or Won’t She: Kudos to Chapman University for pulling together an October 28 debate with the Republican candidates for governor. Oh wait, make that most of the Republican candidates for governor.

Tom Campbell and Steve Poizner, who share the quaint idea that candidates for office who want the voters to hire them ought to subject themselves to standing face-to-face with their rivals for the job, both accepted the invite with alacrity. Not so fast for Meg Whitman, who acts like it’s five days before the election and she’s sitting on some precious two-point lead.

As Poizner reliably banged on eMeg for running and hiding on her earlier promise to participate in three debates this fall, a spokeswoman for  Whitman offered this, uh, explanation:

“As you know, Meg has made it very clear she is looking forward to debating the issues in the upcoming election, having sent a letter stating those intentions over 2 months ago,” campaign press secretary Sarah Pompei told Calbuzz via email. “She is committed to ensuring Californians know her plans to create jobs, cut spending, and fix education.  Right now, we are looking at the various debate options to see what will work best in our schedule.”

All righty, then.

Gossip: A well-informed, reliable and top-rank California Republican pol whispers that Her Megness, with the aid and comfort of long-time coat holder Henry Gomez, has decided that this whole politics thing isn’t all that different from running a business and so is pretty much directing her own campaign, despite the 87 gazillion dollars a month she’s forking out for consultants. Watch for what you wish for, eMeg.

Health Care Must-Reads: Media critic Jason Linkins, who can be quite tiresome when live blogging the Sunday shows for Huffpost, absolutely nails it in this piece holding the WashPost to account for a dog-ass story packed with anonymous sources attacking “the left” for its hang-tough position on including a public option in health care reform.

And in another morsel of what seems a concerted White House effort to distance themselves from the policy that Obama, um, campaigned on – “We’re shocked! Shocked that these liberals would be wedded to such a thing! – that old mischievous nameless source show up in this nice piece about former DNC chief Howard Dean doing the Lord’s work on health care.

Paging Rodney King: Calbuzz readers gave major props and style points to Garry South, Gavin Newsom’s chief consultant, for his well-honed one liner in our post about Jerry Brown’s expansive views on abortion  the other day.

“This guy’s had more incarnations than Zelig and he’s taken more positions than there are in the Kama Sutra,” South said, to the wild applause of the Croatian judge – “9.9, 9.8, 9.9” – and many others.

While some Democrat critics scold and wag their fingers at South and Newsom for refusing to sign a no-negative-attacks pledge for the primary, others believe in a more positive approach.

Thus, a longtime party loyalist spent several hours Google searching for a  quote in which South actually had something nice to say about Brown:

“I never got to know Jerry very well,” South said in 2007. “But he did a very effective job of becoming a pragmatic mayor in Oakland.”


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There are 13 comments for this post

  1. avatar boatmark says:

    As someone from Alameda County, I am opposed to the “public option.” Can you trust those who brought us the USPS and Fannie Mae or aren’t dealing with the insolvency of medicare or social security to bring us a truely competitive health care option? If you believe so, as the phrase goes, ” I have a bridge to sell to you.”

  2. Meg will be in Santa Barbara on the first. I’ll ask her myself.

    By the way, the new montra is No Healthcare Reform Without Legal Reform. One of the biggest costs of healthcare is all the big money tort lawyers going after doc and hospitals for huge payouts. Of course that would put the Dems in a spot because they are where they are because they got big $$ from those same lawyers.

    So there really is nobody here who can claim higher moral ground in health care. If you really want to make healthcare cheaper and therefore affordable for most people then cut off the forearms of your money sources.

  3. avatar Bob Brigham says:

    Instead of googling to see the nicest thing Garry South has said about Jerry Brown, you should have googled to see what Garry thought of Gavin Newsom before he started getting $25,000 a month to bash Brown.

    My favorite was on the front page of the SF Chronicle when Garry threw Newsom under the bus for re-electing George Bush and referred to marriage equality as, “an unfortunate and somewhat self-indulgent move … that had some effect on the presidential campaign.”


    • avatar Bill Bradley says:

      … Incidentally, Garry established his political career in California as a defender of the Jerry Brown Administration. That is because his principal client and patron was Brown’s chief of staff, Gray Davis.

  4. avatar Bill Bradley says:

    At this stage in the cycle, Garry South was only being paid $15,000 a month by the extremely rich Steve Westly, who was also raising a lot more money than Gavin from sources outside his own bank accounts.

  5. avatar Bob Brigham says:

    Just for fun, here’s some on of Garry’s thought’s on Gavin Newsom before his $300,000 a year conversion.

    “Since when does a mayor of any city, conservative or liberal, have the ability to unilaterally” ignore a state law that was passed by the voters? asked Democratic consultant Garry South. South dismissed Newsom’s nuptials as “overreaching,” as it ended up hurting the Democrats’ “ability to win national elections.”


    “This is definitely not helpful to our cause, not for anyone who cares about beating George W. Bush in November,” said veteran Democratic strategist Garry South and longtime adviser to the ever pragmatic Gray Davis. “A lot of Democrats are shaking their heads and asking, why now? It’s become a huge national issue.”

  6. avatar sqrjn says:

    Where do republicans get this idea that medmal is whats causing cost inflation? And what is wrong with tort law anyway? Do you not believe in juries? Or do you just hate the injuried and infirm? All I got to say is the person claiming no one has the moral high ground is always the one already sitting in the muck.

    Maybe I’m missing something, but medical malpractice equates to medical mistakes. We ought to try reduce the frequency and severity of error in the system. Demonizing attorney’s and the injured isn’t a rational solution.


  7. avatar Adelaides Lament says:

    First, it’s spelled “mantra”.
    Second, tort reform is just one more phony canard that conservatives toss around to try to stop universal healthcare. A woman in my area went in for a mastectomy on her right breast for cancer and the surgeon removed her left breast instead. Yes, she sued. I’m absolutely positive that Mr. Planet would be the first one to sue if he had a kidney removed instead of his appendix. I don’t believe you really want to lose that right.
    Missouri passed a major tort reform law in 2005 and it has had ZERO effect on the cost of healthcare for its citizens. (you can look it up!)

  8. avatar SezMe says:

    What PlanetSantaBarbara has forgotten is that CA passed medical tort reform in 1975 (or ’77?) limiting punitive damages to $250K. That limit has not risen in the intervening 34 years. Now, the $1250K won’t even cover attorney fees. So, that must mean CA medical insurance rates are lower than in other states that have not implemented tort reform, eh? Right, PSB? RIGHT??

  9. avatar Bob Brigham says:

    “Calbuzz readers gave major props and style points to Garry South, Gavin Newsom’s chief consultant, for his well-honed one liner in our post about Jerry Brown’s expansive views on abortion the other day.”

    By major props, did you mean not a single person commented on it?

  10. avatar Silent Sleuth says:

    You’re not Dave Brigham’s brother, are you?

  11. avatar sqrjn says:

    Hows South gonna spin this?


    I’m betting he says “This is a blatant attack by petty blinkered interests who think that they can win points by accusing the Mayor of doing his job. I’ll let space aliens violate every hole in that mans beautiful body before I let anyone of any species impeach him on his excellent record of governance.”

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