Archive for the ‘Pedro Nava’ Category



Calbuzz Secret Plan to Plug Gulf Coast Oil Gusher

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Along with the rest of the nation, Calbuzz finds ourselves in the unlikely position of rooting for the predatory greedbags at BP, desperately hoping they succeed with their latest half-baked scheme to stem the poisonous, filthy geyser of oil that their rapacious recklessness has sent spouting from the sea bottom in the Gulf of Mexico.

The avaricious thieves at BP are trying to stop the toxic torrent with a method called “top kill” which, as the New York Times explains, “involves pumping thousands of pounds of heavy fluids into a five-story stack of pipes in an effort to clog the well .”

Sounds good, but we have one important suggestion:

Instead of thousands of pounds of “heavy fluid,” why not jam up the hole with thousands of pounds of “ bungholes and bores,” the kind of self-absorbed pols and media celebrities who give Calbuzz a major pain, stuffing them down in there until the flow is stopped by the sheer mass and weight of every annoying and unbearable cretin, nitwit and schmuck we can round up.

Feel free to email us your own list of candidates, but for our money, here’s the Top 10 List of “Top Kill” nominees to squish down into the well.

1-Chris Matthews – How we wish this self-deluded pea brained, loudmouth putz, who keeps setting new standards of stupidity, would choke down a couple barrels of sulfurous crude, which might be just the thing to cure his chronic case of logorrhea. Of course, then we couldn’t watch him.

2-Glenn Beck – By itself, the combination of Beck’s fat head and fat ass could be enough to seal off the entire pipe, particularly if we throw his friggin’  blackboard in there with him. Plus: the phony tears this repulsive wiggler loves to shed on cue could take the place of that “heavy fluid” the Times keeps mentioning.

3-Gavin Newsom – The vast clouds of natural gas pouring from the well would help Newsom keep his over-inflated sense of self-importance at a high level, and he’d never even notice a couple thousand extra gallons of oil in his hair.

4-Sarah Palin – Corking up an oily hole would be cosmic justice for Ms. Drill Baby Drill and, given her latest whack job Facebook rant, she’d no doubt be well-pleased to escape the prying eyes of Joe McGinnis.

5-Arlen Specter – The ghastly and decrepit octogenarian has-been is well-suited to navigate any unexpected twists, turns and bends in the undersea pipe, given his sorry history of political contortions, not to mention his authorship of the Magic Bullet theory.

6-John Boehner – A good thick coating of rust-colored grease is just what the insufferable House minority leader needs to keep his unnatural skin color slick and shiny, not to mention that the federal deficit will likely plummet when taxpayers quit forking out for his daily spray man tans.

7-Lindsay Lohan – A mile beneath the Gulf of Mexico is just about the only place Lilo could possibly succeed in not having a drink, or getting a spoon stuck up her nose, for five minutes. The only non-pol to make the list, she’d also finally get a break from her monstrous father, Michael.

8-Bill Clinton – That massive pie hole of his is big enough to head off half the goo destined for the coast of Florida, and the cruel sacrifice of him not being able to hear himself talk for the first time in six decades is worth the chance he might win a special citation Nobel, finally getting even with that anti-fossil fuel goody-goody Gore.

9-Rand Paul – He’s no doubt right that Barack Obama’s bashing of BRITISH Petroleum is un-American, so here’s his chance to be a hero on behalf of private enterprise, nice and cozy in the one place he doesn’t have to worry about people who look different plopping down in a seat next to him.

10-Arnold Schwarzenegger – Putting aside the high-value, practical plugging worth of his bulging pecs, lats and glutes,  the guy ain’t good for much else, let’s face it.

Black Gold, the sequel: On Tuesday, we told you about Democrat John Laird whacking Republican Sam Blakeslee with an ad about offshore oil in the special election race in the 15th senate district, one of two  campaigns in the neighborhood where the issue takes center stage.

A little further south, a hotly contested primary battle in the 35th Assembly District, in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties,  has Democrats and environmentalists divided in their support for coastal advocate Susan Jordan and S.B. city councilman Das Williams.

The district has been ground zero in the long-running battle over the now defunct Tranquillon Ridge plan, and the Jordan-Williams match-up is the political manifestation of local polarization over the project.

Jordan is married to termed out 35th AD Assemblyman Pedro Nava, who led the successful fight against T-Ridge in the Legislature, and when she first announced her candidacy to succeed him last year, Williams said he was backing her.

But Jordan was fighting fiercely against the offshore proposal, which was backed by other local enviros, including Williams, who in short order  dropped his backing of her to declare his own candidacy, saying he was doing it because of T-Ridge, co-sponsored by several Santa Barbara green groups and PXP oil company.

Fast forward to the present, and the two are exchanging volleys of mailers and angry charges on the subject. Williams, seeking to inoculate himself, sent out a brochure  highlighting his past opposition to drilling, without mentioning the politically complicated PXP matter; Jordan counter-punched hard, with a mailer featuring a big ole color photo of the Deepwater Horizon exploding and burning, with a screamer headline: “Das Williams supported the PXP oil drilling deal – even after the Gulf spill.”

At which point the local Democratic county committee, which is led by a close pal of Williams, called a press conference to denounce Jordan for alleged dirty campaigning, a move that served to make it more likely that the PXP offshore drilling will be the decisive issue in the race.

We’re just sayin’: One of the big issues in the T-Ridge debate was whether or not the state would have the power to enforce end dates for PXP to stop drilling off federal platforms near Santa Barbara, a key feature of the proposal.

Jordan, among others, repeatedly insisted the authority on the federal leases would eventually rest with the U.S. Minerals Management Service. and that the agency has a natural pro-drilling bias that could upset the whole deal. After reading the new Inspector General’s report on the MMS, it’s hard to argue with that position.

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Why Arnold’s Pick for Lite Gov Actually Matters

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

platformnewUpdate 5:15 p.m. The governor’s pick for Lieutenant Governor is state Senator Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, who voted against the controversial Tranquillon Ridge oil drilling project off the coast of Santa Barbara. If Maldonado remains consistent with that position as lieutenant governor, sponsors of the project would fall short in an effort to overturn an earlier decision against it at the State Lands Commission, where former Lite Gov.  John Garamendi cast the key vote rejecting the proposal.

Of course, given his political  history, putting “Maldonado” and “consistent” in the same sentence is pretty much an oxymoron.

“He was a ‘no’ note in the Senate, and I’m glad he did that,” said Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, who has led the fight against the T-Ridge project in the Legislature. “But while he demonstrated good judgment one time, we’re going to need to know a lot more about his positions on ocean protection, state lands and other public trust issues. This is not a simple position.”

Nava’s comments reflect just one of many political cross-currents and conflicts that will confront Maldonado and Schwarzenegger as the nomination moves through the Legislature.

BTW, our sources say Democrats John Laird, and his successor Assemblyman Bill Monning both are likely to run for Maldo’s open seat. Here’s a piece on why the Lite Gov appointment matters, posted before  Arnold’s announcement.

By David Ferry
Special to Calbuzz

While pundits and journalists have been contemplating how many buckets of warm spit* can fit in the Lieutenant Governor’s office, California environmentalists have anxiously awaited Governor Schwarrzenegger’s appointment with more substantive concerns.

Amid the speculation following the election to Congress of former Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, a number of students of state government say the governor’s pick matters not a whit. Ted Anagnoson, a professor emeritus at CSU Los Angeles, told Calbuzz, essentially, “who cares?”

“We still basically have no real need for a Lt. Gov…I think the office is a total waste of money. We would survive just as well if the governor’s job went to the head of either the Assembly or the Senate if the governor were indisposed, or to one of the other statewide officials.”

However, there is at least one key policy area where Arnold’s selection could make a big difference. The governor remains a strong proponent of Plain Exploration and Production Co.’s proposal to drill in state waters off the coast of Santa Barbara County, and many environmental groups fear the appointee could help fulfill the lingering calls from the 2008 Republican National Convention to “Drill Baby, Drill.”

The lite gov is, of course, a de facto member of the State Lands Commission, and Garamendi — a former Department of Interior official and anti-offshore environmentalist — cast the deciding vote to scuttle the PXP deal in January.

However, as Timm Herdt reported, the proposal is far from dead. Paul Thayer, executive director of the commission, said that PXP could “absolutely” resubmit its application whenever it wants for a lease in state waters at Tranquillion Ridge; the process could move quickly because the original paperwork is still good. PXP CEO James Flores said in a conference call two weeks ago that the company is just waiting to see who Schwarzenegger will choose as Garamendi’s replacement.

A new push by PXP would instantly restart a bitter intramural conflict between state environmentalists. A number of Central Coast groups and local officials – who typically oppose offshore drilling – including one formed in response to the 1969 spill that started the movement – have signed on to the deal. But plenty of other conservationists aren’t buying it, even though the plan was brokered by the respected Environmental Defense Center, which has been in the center of previous offshore battles.

As Calbuzzers know, Assemblyman and anti-oil crusader Pedro Nava has been fighting the PXP proposal since the beginning. He says that he won’t be surprised if Schwarzenegger makes T-Ridge a “litmus test” for picking his appointee.

Susan-Jordan-File2_t150Susan Jordan, a Santa Barbara County environmentalist who’s married to Nava and running for his termed-out seat in 2010, went a step further. She said in an email that any new pro-PXP Lt. Governor “is also likely to be pro-oil, pro once-through cooling, pro-desalination, etc. That is the real danger. A vote beholding to the Governor has far greater implications then just this project.”

EDC and other supporters back the PXP proposal because it calls for the company to end all drilling in the area – including its current operations in federal waters – by 2022. The company also has agreed to donate thousands of acres of Central Coast land for protection. However, when the Lands Commission voted the project down in January, it said these agreements between PXP and the EDC did not appear to be binding.

Linda Krop, chief counsel for the Santa Barbara based Environmental Defense Center, lamented how politicized the process has become, when Calbuzz asked about the deal and the prospect of a new Lieutenant Governor. She said the EDC worked out the agreement solely for its environmental benefits, and maintained that the project would actually safeguard the coast. Although she said she hopes the governor won’t use a T-Ridge Test in his pick, she would like a second chance before the Lands Commission: “We do believe that we can address the concerns raised by the SLC,” she said.

The family drama may not matter much if Schwarzenegger fills the post with someone opposed to the project. Of frequently floated names, Republican state Senators Abel Maldonado voted against the plan while Dave Cogdill voted in favor on this summer’s attempt to push the deal through the legislature as part of the budget. Former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg has founded three alternative energy businesses since retiring. GOP Assemblyman Mike Villines, on the other hand, punched ‘Yea’ in the infamous expunged vote this summer and freshmen San Diego Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher was one of two Republicans who abstained.

Of course, the governor’s pick is subject to approval by the legislature, which could theoretically strike down anyone in favor of drilling. But more important criteria for confirmation seem to be the concerns of legislators already lining up to run for the job and the fact the new lite gov would have a leg up on a future race for a big statewide office. Never mind that, according to Tim Hodson, Professor and Director for the Center for California Studies at CSU Sacramento, only three Lite Govs have gone on to become Governor or U.S. Senator.

Professor Hodson suggested that Arnold could render all the speculation moot: “With Gov Schwarzenegger it’s always possible that he go for the theatrical and leave it vacant.”

*The late Texas Senator John Nance Garnet famously referred to the job of be4587_732572791127_3626475_42588334_5742619_ning vice president as “not worth a warm bucket of spit,” and the post of California lieutenant governor presumably would be worth even less. Over the years there has been some dispute about the noun Garner used in his formulation; many sources make it “a warm bucket of piss” and the Senator reportedly once called a reporter who employed the spit substitution “a pantywaist.”

Calbuzz Bay Area Correspondent David Ferry works for the Climate Watch desk of KQED-FM’s “California Report.”

Desperate Times & Measures: Our Dinner with eMeg

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

dinnerwithmegTop-flight pros that we are, Calbuzz does not take it personally that we’ve been repeatedly stiffed on our multiple requests to interview Meg Whitman.

Just because eMeg has shined on our bid for a sit-down for six months, refused us access to one of her fundraisers in our own backyard and blown us off when she came through town the last time,  doesn’t mean she’s trying to avoid us. We understand that she’s very, very busy, and has lots of important stuff to do, like braiding her horse’s tail (or kissing other horses asses, like Dick Riordan).

So the Calbuzz Department of  Soirees and Social Planning decided to make it easier for her to clear some time on her calendar. Right around Labor Day, we visited the Whitman for Governor web site, clicked on the icon to “Request Meg to attend your Event” and emailed her a personal, special invitation to a lovely private event, namely Chinese dinner with the entire Calbuzz staff at Zen Peninsula, conveniently located in Millbrae, not far from her home.

Almost immediately we got back a pleasant response: “Thank you for your invitation,” said the subject line on the email from eMeg’s very own “Director of Scheduling” who said:

“Thank you for submitting an invitation for Meg Whitman to participate in your event. Our team will review your request and get back to you as soon as possible with any follow up questions in regards to the Dinner with Calbuzz.

“In the meantime, please sign up on our website at www.MegWhitman.com to receive regular email updates. Also, you can check out our website for news about the campaign and information about upcoming events with Meg.

“Thanks for supporting Meg and thank you for your invitation!”

Oh boy, oh boy, we thought, we’re finally on our way to getting to some serious face time, rubbing our hands at the delightful prospect of really, really getting to know Her Megness in what you might call your up and close personal way. Be still my beating Fleischeart!

Then we waited. And waited. And waited. Nothing, nada, not a word.

Finally, when we had just about decided our invite must have been squeezed out by Meg’s spam filter, we heard from the lavamoric Sarah Pompei, Whitman’s campaign press secretary, who rang us up on September 29.

“Meg appreciates your invitation to dinner,” she said, without a hint of disdain or irony. “This just isn’t a good time, but she really looks forward to having dinner with Calbuzz. We’ll get back to you.”

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, we thought. We studied up on dim sum, went out and rented tuxes, lined up a limo and launched a Google search to find out what her favorite flowers were so we could bring a bouquet.

Sadly, we’re still waiting by the phone for Meg to call. We can’t for the life of us figure out what’s happened to our invite now. All we can say is, please call us eMeg, your flowers are wilting.

joanofarcattacksSpeaking of annoying things about eMeg, we wonder if anyone is as deeply offended as we are by her campaign slogan:  “I refuse to let California fail.”

Really? You refuse? All by yourself? And you’re gonna’ save us? All by yourself?

Her tagline goes directly to what we find most troubling about Whitman’s candidacy, about which we’ve ranted oh, say, 12 or 13 times: the underlying assumption that being governor is kind of like being queen, where you just decree that things will happen and everyone else falls in line.

As a practical matter, politics is a team sport, and the idea that “I” can accomplish anything, no matter how a big wheel you were at eBay, is simply ludicrous. Governing – as opposed to being governor – requires a great deal of emotional intelligence and insight, and the ability to convince, cajole, con, wheedle, flatter, threaten, reward and punish. As we’ve wondered aloud before: What in eMeg’s background demonstrates that she has any clue how to handle the Assemblyman from Parlier who says, “Sure, I’ll vote for your budget just as soon as you include $4 million for a swimming pool in my community center”?

We can see the commercial now. eMeg in armor on horseback: “Je refuse de permettre à la Californie à l’échec.”

navaNew greasy tax: The last time Californians had the chance to impose a severance tax on oil companies doing business in the state, they turned it down, big time.

By a 55-to-45 split, voters in 2006 rejected Proposition 87, a measure backed by a coalition of environmental, health and consumer groups that sought to impose a tax on companies that extract oil in the state and to earmark the revenue for alternative energy and green technology projects.

But Assemblyman and Attorney General hopeful Pedro Nava, who unveiled a bill Monday to impose a 10 percent severance taxes on California oil producers, thinks the political landscape has changed considerably since then.

“People are now in a position where they can actually feel the cuts we made last year,” said Nava, who represents oil spill central in Santa Barbara.

Nava’s legislation, known as AB 1-6X since it’s being introduced in the Legislature’s sixth special session, would generate about $1.5 billion annually for the general fund. He said he so far has 15 co-sponsors in the Assembly, which he reads as sign that public sentiment is running in favor of California joining every other oil producing state in levying an extraction tax.

“When the public realizes (oil companies) are the only industry that gets this special treatment, support will grow,” he said.

You read it here first: The folks from Exxon Mobil and Chevron won’t be kicking into Pedro’s campaign for AG. Always trust Calbuzz scoops.

Slimy Parsky Oil Play and a Yorba Linda Lecher

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

waynepunchAs we first reported late Wednesday, tax reform commission Chairman Gerald Parsky sucker-punched at least some members of his panel by sending them an unexpected, last-minute recommendation to generate “tens of billions of dollars” of new revenue by vastly expanding offshore oil drilling in state waters.

Also in the last-minute materials was the final proposal for a nearly-flat (two-tier) personal income tax  that would give a massive tax cut to the richest California taxpayers and a teensy-weensy slice to the poorest taxpayers. Coupled with the knuckle-dragging business net receipts tax, the Parsky proposals are about as regressive as musclebound Gov. Schwarzblunder and his diminutive, cigar-sucking sidekick Susan Kennedy could ask for.

But at least commissioners and the public knew that was coming.  The revival of Schwarzenegger’s proposal (which we understand was the brainchild of his economics guru David Crane) to gain approval of the twice-defeated Tranquillon Ridge offshore oil project as a tax-revenue scheme — now that was a nasty surprise.

“There are several economic reasons for permitting new oil leases,” reads the oil-drilling recommendation, to be considered by the commission today, when it meets to craft a final proposal to send to the governor and Legislature. “Unlike all other revenue sources, the oil companies, which would make these new royalty payments, have requested the ability to do so. Revenues from this source would create no economic distortions, and the economic activity being taxes could not migrate elsewhere.”

The recommendation came as a shock, not only because the offshore issue was only casually discussed during the commission’s months of hearings, but also because it deepened the atmosphere of secrecy and sleight-of-hand in which Parsky assembled the agenda for the panel’s final, crucial meeting. As a political matter, such an expansion of offshore drilling would also directly conflict with decades of state policy, in which environmental protection of coastal waters and beaches have trumped economic issues, resulting in a long-held moratorium on new leases.

The proposal for more offshore drilling seems to have worked its way onto the commission’s plate at least in part at the request of conservative Hoover Institution economist Michael Boskin, who also sits on the board of Exxon Mobil.

The commission’s analysis cites a State Lands Commission study estimating that there are 1.635 billion barrels of “recoverable oil on state lands that are not currently under lease.” The U.S. Minerals Management Services, which controls leasing and drilling on federal lands beyond three miles from shore, projects an additional 10.1 billion barrels that remain “undiscovered but is technically recoverable.”

Current royalties paid by oil companies on a small number of existing, small state leases vary from 16.7 percent to 55 percent of the revenues they generate, which altogether yield about $400 million for the state.

“If the ban (on new leases) were lifted,” the recommendation says, “it could make available the 1.63 billion barrels (and) California would receive a share of revenue from new leases on federal lands off of the state’s coast.”

“Over time, the state could receive as much as $34 billion in royalty revenues from new leases in California waters, assuming oil trades on average $70 per barrel and the average royalty rate is 30 percent.”

The recommendation, sure to draw the ire of environmentalists and coastal legislators, pointedly does not suggest imposing a new severance tax on oil companies. California is the only oil-producing state that does not have such a tax, which is being pushed in the legislature by several members of the Assembly, including Assemblymen Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, and Alberto Torrico, D-Fremont.

BTW: There’s no frigging way the agenda and agenda packet was ready early enough for the public to have legal notice. Not that Parsky seems to give a rat’s butt.

duvall

Eternal Filthiness of the Adulterous  Mind: To be honest, Calbuzz had never heard of (now) ex-Assemblyman Mike Duvall, a Republican from Yorba Linda, until Wednesday morning. But after this and this , and his resignation a few hours later, it’s hard to imagine there’s anyone left on the planet who hasn’t heard of him now. Seriously, you just know that in, oh say, Guinea Bissau or the Republic of Nauru or on Chuuk Island, guys were walking up to their friends all day and saying, “Mike Duvall,” and then both of them would fall down in the street and laugh uncontrollably.

We’ll leave it to others to draw the great moral lessons implicit in the NFW tale of a dumbass holy roller, family values, fat lying tub of goo who brags over an open mike about cheating with kinky sex, not only on his wife but also on his mistress, in favor of noting that no matter what he does or where he goes the rest of his life, Mike Duvall will be a walking double entendre:

Take for example, this lede on a recent Capitol Weekly piece about him:

“If you want to know what issues are important to Assemblyman Mike Duvall, R-Brea, just look at what he did the other weekend.”

Or this from his soon-to-be shut down web site:

“In February 2009 Assemblyman Duvall was named “Legislator of the Year for 2008″ by the California Attractions and Parks Association for his opposition to Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed ‘fun tax.’”

You also gotta wonder whether Chapman University wants its plaque back:

“Chapman University awarded Duvall the Ethics in America Award in 2000 for his ‘demonstration of the highest standards of ethical integrity.’”

And finally this: The hearing room where Duvall let his potty mouth run wild is festooned with a large color portrait of the late, great Jesse Unruh, a man of great appetites who famously said of lobbyists, “If you can’t take their money, drink their liquor, fuck their women, and then come in here the next day and vote against them, you don’t belong here.”

Of course, that was in the days before women were lobbyists.

PS: Get this, from Duvall’s web site:  “I want to make it clear that my decision to resign is in no way an admission that I had an affair or affairs. My offense was engaging in inappropriate story-telling and I regret my language and choice of words. The resulting media coverage was proving to be an unneeded distraction to my colleagues and I resigned in the hope that my decision would allow them to return to the business of the state.”

Got it.

Swap Meet: Greasy Poll, eMeg Patrol, GOPer Trolls

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

oilrigMargin of error: The oil company based in Houston that is trying to win a lease for drilling in state waters off the coast of Santa Barbara is e-blasting an alleged summary of poll results about the controversial project, providing a case study of how scientific public opinion surveys can be manipulated for political purposes.

Days after Calbuzz examined the misuse of polling data, both on our site and in the L.A. Times, Plains Exploration & Production Co. (PXP) is circulating a memo titled “Highlights from Statewide Poll,” which claims – surprise, surprise — that two-thirds of California votpxpers favor their proposed Tranquillon Ridge project. The sheet consists of a series of bullet points, all of them purporting to show statewide support for the project among some genus or species of Californian.

PXP said the survey was done by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates — a polling firm for which we have high regard but which does a lot of work for advocates and candidates with clear-cut agendas. Our request for the oil company to send us the actual survey results, questions and cross-tabs was unsuccessful, as were those of Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, Pedro-Navawho’s led the legislative fight to defeat the project last month.

Nava is putting out a daily press release demanding PXP cough up the data, and sarcastically asking if they asked a series of slanted questions that would favor the anti-drilling position: “I intend to ask a question every day until I get some answers,” Nava told us. “It’s obvious they don’t intend to release it – they intend to continue to mislead us.” Calbuzz sez: Free the Secret PXP Poll – and All Political Prisoners!

blakesless

Oleaginous update: The proposal to authorize the T-Ridge lease, which was earlier rejected by the State Lands Commission, has been resurrected by Assembly minority leader Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, Nava told us, using a “gut and amend” maneuver to dump the substance of an energy bill and insert the PXP project language previously voted down in the Assembly.

Lots of subplots on this one, including the fact that fingers were pointed at Blakeslee  last month when Capitol Weekly disclosed that the Assembly vote on the PXP measure had been expunged from the record. Blakeslee, who denied it, nonetheless sure had a motive: he represents a coastal area but voted in favor of the lease. If he, as expected, goes after the Senate seat now held by Abel Maldonado, who opposed the offshore project, he’d represent even more coastal constituents.

Calbuzz has a hunch that the endgame of all of this will be a PXP-sponsored ballot initiative seeking to circumvent the Legislature and win voter approval for T-Ridge. The strategy would run some risk, however, as it could also trigger support for proposals to impose a severance tax on companies extracting oil in California, the only state that doesn’t have such a levy.

megyoutubeSteve (doesn’t) Heart eMeg: Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, whose team rolls out an average of 316 press releases a day bashing GOP guv rival Meg Whitman, may finally have gained some traction with one of his attacks.  It’s a You Tube spoof of the “Love Boat” which skewers Her Megness for some gushy comments she made about Van Jones, the former Oakland lefty who’s become Obama’s green jobs adviser – and is now in the free-fire zone over at Fox News.

If you haven’t seen the video, it’s pretty damn funny and you can watch it here. Chronicler Joe Garofoli has the play-by-play of the Stevie Wonder-eMeg exchange on the issue here, including Team Whitman’s Friday statement, which tries to make the whole thing go away. The defensive tone, the length and detail of it, however, shows that Poizner has stung her by highlighting associations with lefties for the edification of conservative GOP voters. Only 276 days until the primary!

More on eMeg: Whitman’s 493-second encounter with reporters in Santa Barbara Tuesday  smoked out some interesting new nuggets (block that metaphor!) about her views on key issues, demonstrating why it actually matters that All Right-Thinking Journos in California keep pressing her campaign for interviews, avails and accessibility.  Examples:

1-When Calbuzz asked her about offshore oil drilling, she disclosed that she’s changed her position since the beginning of the campaign:

“I would say that when I started this process, I was against offshore oil drilling and then I began to understand deeply the new technology that is available to extract oil from existing wells – slant drilling and other things and I think we ought to look at this very carefully because there’s no question that the resources off the coast of California and other parts of the country can help us reduce our dependence on foreign oil…I don’t think it’s sending a bad (environmental) signal. You have to look at the situation in which we find ourselves…We have to say times have changed and we’ve got to look at this again.”

2-When Susan Rose, Calbuzz correspondent on women’s issues, asked her about abortion rights, eMeg filled in some blanks, both on her position and on her perspective of how it may affect her among pro-life GOP voters:

“I am pro choice…I’m not for late term abortion or partial birth abortion and I did vote ‘yes’ on the parental notification proposition that went on the ballot. And I don’t want to take choice away from women…(Her position) will help in some sectors and it will not be helpful in others… (P)eople will know my positions on the social issues and if they are single issue voters and I don’t agree, they won’t be for me but hopefully they will put the whole package together and say ‘got it.’”

3-When Mark Mason (CB handle: “Planet Santa Barbara”) asked why voters would think she’d do a better job than Arnold Schwarzenegger, who made similar promises, she expounded on the differences between them:

“The governor has done a number of good things. Workman’s compensation…I’m a fan of Proposition 11, the redistricting (measure) but I will say that the results – unemployment, infrastructure, the health of the economy, are not good and the governor has to be accountable for the results…The biggest difference …is my business experience.”

McCain_Meg_art_400_20080610122428

eMeg fun factoids: She’s a Leo and the youngest of three kids (which explains a lot, as all astrological students of birth order know); her mother served four years with the Red Cross in New Guinea during WWII (“she knew where the need was greatest”); she was a high school jock (tennis, swimming, soccer); Princeton ’73 (fourth class in history with women in it); came to California when her neurosurgeon husband had to choose between Harvard and UCSF for a residency (“your mother lives in Boston, we should go to California”); her favorite Hasbro toy while working there was Mr. Potato Head (NOT  Barney or Teletubbies, she pointed out).

But what about the little guy? In recent months Jerry Brown has been putting on a clinic on how to align his public duties as Attorney General with his political aspiration to be governor again, getting his fingerprints on  high-profile cases from Anna Nicole to Michael, all the while attacking international drug rings, sleazy investment firms and consumer scams of every persuasion –- not to mention pushing to include climate-change impact statements as a requirement for new developments.

govjerrybrownNow Brown is taking aim at the mother lode of populist outrage, launching an investigation of Health Management Organizations, in which he promises to probe how HMOs “review and pay insurance claims submitted by doctors, hospitals and other medical providers” amid reports that the state’s top five insurance provides are denying nearly 40 percent of claims.

“These high denial rates suggest a system that is dysfunctional (ed. note – ya think?),” Brown said in statement put out by the AG’s press office, “and the public is entitled to know whether wrongful business practices are involved.” Cue it up, Omar: “In-DEED.”

Three-dot Republicanism: Here’s how Whitman is playing among right-wingersTonyStricklandBball

Latest sign that the quixotic crusade to ban independent, decline-to-state voters from GOP primaries is in trouble comes from Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark. Taliban Tony is the real, hardcore deal, a drown-it-in-the-bathtub movement conservative who made his bones playing Ronald Reagan in his 4th grade class debate in 1980  and came up through the ranks serving as squire to Skinflint Tom McClintock;  Timm Herdt reports that Strickland turned thumbs down on the no-indies rule, which can’t be good news foken-khachigian-copyr Flashreporter Jon Fleischman, sponsor of the plan…

Hell freezes over: Ken Khachigian, the squish-squishing senior statesman of California Republicanism, caught giving advice to Barack Obama.

Have a great weekend.