Archive for the ‘Scott Gerber’ Category



Pro-Con: Policy Fight Behind Secret Taping Mess

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

proconartBehind the scenes, a high-stakes political fight which would affect the cost of auto insurance for California drivers is what triggered the on-going controversy over secret tape recordings made by Attorney General Jerry Brown’s ex-press secretary. The language that attorneys in Brown’s office crafted for the Title and Summary of an insurance industry-sponsored measure aimed for the 2010 ballot became the flash point that erupted in public over the tapes. Today advocates for and against the disputed initiative square off at Calbuzz, where we asked each to answer the same question: What is the insurance industry trying to accomplish with this initiative? You can click HERE for the PRO argument and HERE for CON.

Press Clips: Tales of the Tapes & Abortion Wars

Friday, November 13th, 2009

jerrygoldLeaving money on the table: Our friend Beth Fouhy got a wheelbarrow full of pure gold out of her interview with Jerry Brown last April, but left most of it sitting on the table.  A national political writer for AP, Fouhy was one of five journalists whose interviews with Brown or his AG office staff members were secretly taped by ex-press secretary Scott Gerber, in what has turned into a Capitol political drama worthy of its own reality show.

As Joe Mathews notes, the transcript of the lengthy Fouhy interview offers a case study, not only of Brown’s “cagey, canny, and candid” adversarial style  with reporters (Calbuzz would add “charming, churlish and coercive” to the list) but also his singular insight and talent for practical politics.

Because Fouhy was writing a profile of Brown for a national audience, the piece resulting from the interview was of necessity larded up lots of ancient history (not to mention balancing but boring Steve Poizner quotes) that required the sacrifice of most of the great, political junkie stuff she wrung out of Brown, from his to-the-penny recall about his rival’s fundraising to his utter disdain for campaign consultants.

Knowing Beth, we assume she was saving her jucier, insider stuff for a piece closer to the election, when interest would be higher and interviews with Crusty harder to come by. Which is another reason taping even on-the-record conversations with journalists is unethical at least: if the transcripts become public, the reporter’s proprietary questions and the answers he or she has collected are suddenly public property. That sucks. Sorry Beth, that didn’t stop us for one second  from using your stuff.

navelgazingJournalism navel-gazing alert: Investigative pundit George Skelton offers a thoughtful take about his queasiness and guilty voyeuristic feelings at reading every word of the tapes, a rumination that recalls many of the hard questions about the practice and ethics of journalism famously raised by Janet Malcolm in her seminal New Yorker pieces called “The Journalist and the Murderer.”

“Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible,” she wrote back in 1990, setting off an enormous kerfuffle among card-carrying ink-stained wretches across the land.

He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people’s vanity, ignorance or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse. Like the credulous widow who wakes up one day to find the charming young man and all her savings gone, so the consenting subject of a piece of nonfiction learns—when the article or book appears—his hard lesson. Journalists justify their treachery in various ways according to their temperaments. The more pompous talk about freedom of speech and “the public’s right to know”; the least talented talk about Art; the seemliest murmur about earning a living.

Coming from a member of the tribe, such ruthless self-examination about the inherently manipulative nature of the journalistic enterprise was greeted as pure calumny by many of Malcolm’s colleagues.

It’s a plain fact that reporters and editors are notoriously thin-skinned about their own shortcomings – and we include ourselves in that category. In the New Media age, however,  it’s also true that the process of news gathering has become a story in itself,; the time when reporters could enjoy the luxury of treating as private property the ways and means they do their jobs is past, overtaken by the digital world’s demand for transparency.

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Enough with the wool  gathering, what about the politics? Reasonable people may differ about the significance of the content of the tapes: Chilling look into the deep recesses of a troubled soul? Revealing glimpse of journalism at its best and worst? Elephant giving birth to mouse? You Be The Judge. But all right-thinking people can agree on one thing: as a political matter, Brown has botched the handling of this controversy.

More than two weeks after the first disclosure about Gerber recording conversations with reporters without their knowledge or consent, the AG’s office is still playing defense on the matter, and not very effectively at that.

On the day Gavin Newsom dropped out of the primary race, we warned that being the only Democrat left standing would prove a mixed blessing; the serial blundering by Brown’s minions in trying to get their story straight about the recordings has handed the GOP and its field of candidates a cudgel with which to bash him – not on ancient history  like Rose Bird , Medflies or Adrianna friggin’ Gianturco – but on something au courant and easily understood by voters.

The AG’s internal report of the recordings mess – i.e. some poor schmuck was assigned to investigate two of his bosses and, surprise, surprise, found them pure as the driven snow – just doesn’t pass the smell test, even if there wasn’t an email showing that Brown’s chief deputy knew, or should have known, in advance about Gerber’s plan to tape the conversation that got him busted. Which there is.

With Brown’s office concurrently running a probe of the scandal known as ACORN, which happens to include an investigation of whether secretly recorded videotapes were legal, the public perception’s of the integrity of that case  is at risk, as well.

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Which is precisely why Republicans are now in full bay over the tapes matter. The state GOP on Thursday released an online ad attacking Brown on the issue (the tight shots of his old guy eyebrows may be the most damning image in the spot).  NB: This is just an online ad that only a handful of voters will ever see. To make it an effective message point, someone would have to put it on TV with about $2 million behind it. As is,  it’s mostly show-trial stuff.

Meanwhile, the party’s three wannabe govs have found rare unanimity on l’affaire des enregistrements. Team Whitman tagged the affair a shining example of why “Californians have lost confidence in Sacramento politicians” while The Commish said Brown has “failed to exercise (his) duties” to pursue impartial justice, echoing eMeg’s demand for a “third party investigation.”

Tom Campbell, of course, was the only one of the three to actually do his homedudley_do_right-703696work and suggest a rational policy solution (which coincidentally would offer Brown a political pathway out of the briar patch). Said Dudley Do Right:

The Attorney General should invite the State Auditor to conduct an independent investigation pursuant to California Government Code Section 8547.5 to determine whether the Attorney General’s office has violated state law. This step will assure the people of California of the neutrality and validity of the outcome.

The secret taping of reporter conversations is a very serious matter that could have a chilling effect on press freedoms. It is all the more serious when undertaken by a state law enforcement agency without proper consent.

Amen, brother.

Department of Shameless Self-Promotion: In case you missed it, the ByGodLATimes has graciously posted the radio clip from Warren Olney’s “Which Way LA” in which Times Assistant Managing Editor David Lauter is joined by an original Calbuzzer in a discussion of the Times/USC Poll findings as they relate to the constitutional convention and government reform.

Abortion wars: For those, like us, who think the political impact of House Democrats simultaneously approving health care reform and retreating on abortion rights has been underplayed, Washpost media man Howard Kurtz has an excellent round-up of news, analysis and commentary on the issue.

Secrets of Secret Jerry Brown Tapes Revealed

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Consumer Watchjerryshoephonedog, the public interest group engaged in a major beef with Attorney General Jerry Brown’s office, has posted transcripts  of the now-famous secret recordings made by Scott Gerber, former press secretary to the AG.

The Calbuzz Archival Research & Rosemary Woods Memorial Tape Transcription Department has been poring over the contents of the just-released recordings, and has come to the following conclusions:

1. Brown’s Chief Deputy Attorney General has some ‘splainin’ to do.

2. Brown has a fabulous career ahead of him as a public relations consultant or media critic, if this whole governor thing doesn’t work out.

3. Audrey Cooper, the Chronicle’s metro editor, ain’t exactly Lois Lane.

In response to half-a-dozen Public Acts Record requests, including Consumer Watchdog’s, Brown’s office Monday publicly produced transcripts of recordings Gerber made of conversations with reporters without their consent, along with other documents.

The recordings came to light at the end of last month, following an email exchange between Gerber and the aforementioned Cooper about a story written by Chronicler Carla Marinucci, focusing on a conflict between the AG’s office and Consumer Watchdog over the ballot title and summary of an insurance industry-sponsored initiative.  (For those who’ve been vacationing in Uzbekistan, there’s a Calbuzz primer here).

Here are the highlights of the transcripts and emails. A few of the ellipses appear in the transcripts; most of them are ours, marking areas where we’ve edited for space.

Who knew what and when they knew it

When Gerber resigned last week, he issued a fall-on-his-sword statement saying he was the only one who knew about the recordings, and clearing everyone else in the office. Not quite.

In an Oct. 28 email exchange between Gerber and James Humes, Brown’s chief deputy, the press secretary refers an inquiry from Marinucci, about Consumer Watchdog’s charges over the disputed ballot initiative, to Deputy Humes.

Humes messages Gerber: “I need her number. Do you want to be on the call?”

Gerber sent the number, along with this:  “I’d like to be able to tape it, so we have a record…so yes, but I won’t say much, if anything.”

After the controversy over the recordings surfaced, Humes issued a statement acknowledging Gerber should not have recorded the calls and strongly suggesting that this was all news to him:

“In the future, Mr. Gerber will ensure that he will not tape any conversation unless all parties agree…Mr. Gerber has informed me that he has a few other recorded conversations with reporters…”

But in the days that followed, Humes told Dane Gillette, the chief assistant attorney general assigned by Brown to investigate the mess, that he “does not recall noting the recording reference at that time.”

Really? Given that there wasn’t anything else in the email, other than Marinucci’s phone number, that’s a bit hard to fathom, particularly in light of his previous statements.

BrownPortraitJerry Brown: Press Critic

Some of the more interesting material in the transcripts is drawn from interviews that various reporters had with Brown himself. In speaking to Bob Jabro and Beth Fouhy of the AP, and to Shane Goldmacher of the L.A. Times, Brown repeatedly offered friendly journalistic advice.

Call me if you need more bombast

On April 7, Bob Jabro of the AP spoke to Brown to get his response to critical comments from attorneys for Howard K. Stern, who had just been charged in connection with the death of Anna Nicole Smith; Stern’s lawyers alleged that the AG  had pursued the case for craven political reasons. After getting the comment he called for, Jabro struggled to get off the phone with Brown, who kept trying to massage his quotes:

BJ: He says that…he accused you..he said…Jerry Brown has, quote, ‘maliciously and viciously labeled Anna a drug addict knowing full well it’s legally unsupportable.’ It’s a little harsher than you normally get from these guys.

JB: He’s completely out of line…the accusations of the defense lawyers are just smoke and mirrors instead of responding to the carefully prepared case they now face.

BJ: There’s no, I take it there was no smear campaign or anything against Anna Nicole involved in this thing?

JB: Anna Nicole’s dead from multiple chemicals put into her body, that’s the tragedy and for the defense lawyers to try and exploit that for their own purposes is shocking and shocking…shocking (sic).

BJ: Sir, thanks. I sure appreciate it. I wanted to touch base because the language is a little out there.

JB: Did I respond enough, do you think? Did I call him a Hollywood lawyer?…

BJ: Anything else, sir?

JB: No, I think. They’re a little more inflammatory than I am so they get higher up on the damn story. So I gotta say something like “shocking.”

BJ: You’ve been around this job too long!

JB: What should we say? Shocking and…

Gerber: To me it was “smoke and mirrors” was the quote.

BJ:  Smoke and mirrors is good, right. Well, thank you sir, I appreciate it.

JB: Play with it and if you need any more rhetorical fusillade, call me, will ya? Because I don’t want this to be an unbalanced story. I want equal firepower on both sides.

BJ: Thank you sir, I appreciate it.

Is this a color piece?

On April 9, AP national political writer Beth Fouhy did a long interview with Brown for a profile piece looking at his plan to run for governor. Fouhy did a great job of drawing Brown out on a number of political matters*; when she started to wind up the interview, however, he began interviewing her about the piece she planned to write, suggesting she focus on what he regards as the bogus issue of his age, which at the time was being raised by Gavin Newsom, who later quit the race.

BF: Okay I think I have enough here.

JB: Now, is this a color piece or is this a substantive piece?

BF: Well, I’m hoping it’s a substantive piece. It’s a profile.

JB: A profile? Well these are all ideas.

BF: It’s going to be an interview/profile. My thought on this is that people in California…are very aware that you are likely to run for governor again but perhaps that’s not known to a national audience…That’s the kind of piece I’m looking at.

JB: Right, I think that age thing is worth you doing a little something on because I think it’s rather empty. That’s why I try and draw it out in a statement…

“You’re a power player”

On Oct. 7, Shane Goldmacher of the LA Times had a sit-down with Brown about a piece focusing on corporate contributions the attorney general had solicited for two charter schools in Oakland that he started while mayor of that city.

In the interview, Brown is very combative in challenging what he sees as the thesis of Goldmacher’s reporting – that the contributions could be perceived as influencing his duties as attorney general. At one point, Brown delivers a little lecture on the power of the press.

SG: “When you ran for president in 1992 you had a different view about (contribution) limits and it wasn’t the law it was a self-imposed limit…But at the same time, at that point you were

JB: “That’s the luxury you have! I can tell you’re a nice middle-class kid, you’re not in the ghetto. Do you know they have murders in the state…this is not bullshit. This is life and death! I think you ought to be aware of that. I understand your point. It’s a legitimate point that you’re raising questions. You can raise questions about everything we do, who we meet with…but the editorial board has influence too…Make your point, I want to hear your point.

SG: It was actually just a question…

JB: This (the contributions to charter schools) is charity. You need it…The charity is legal. The Sacramento Bee wants to impose…the L.A. Times wants a different standard, go lobby for it. You’ve got to lobby for stuff. There’s a newspaper association, you pay somebody through your dues. You’re lobbying up there because you fight these open records acts…

SG: These are people who have an interest in changing a government and have an interest in knowing that you’re currently ahead in the polls and making you want to answer their phone calls. I mean, doesn’t it, if he gives you a million dollars?

JB: That’s silly!…You’re a power player, too! You’re part of the elite. You get your phone calls answered…It’s not about the money. Why don’t you take your corruption. You intimidate – you have the power of a story. That makes me want to curry your favor…

Gerber: Shane, does that do it for you or do you need more?”

I’ve got to get home for dinner

The documents don’t shed much new light on the Chronicle story that set off the whole controversy, except for an email exchange between Gerber, who was unhappy with the story Marinucci posted on the paper’s web site, and the metro her editor, Audrey Cooper. The Gerber-Cooper emails not only suggest that Cooper blinked the minute that Gerber said “boo,” pulling Marinucci’s story down off the web, but also show her burning desire to get home for dinner, if she could just get this bothersome story about corruption charges aimed at the attorney general of California off her plate.

Gerber (6:38 pm): Audrey, thanks for your time. As you’ll see in this rough transcript, Jim (Humes) spent a lot of time going through why there was a difference in title and summary, and why our summary was fair and accurate. As we discussed, I hope that this can be reflected in the story, and be given the appropriate context.

Cooper (7:03 pm): I think the decision right now is that we need to hold this story because, frankly, I don’t like overruling an editor and talented reporter by adding to the story. But I’m also not (sic) thinking it’s more headache than it’s worth right now. So we’ll do this again tomorrow, I suppose. Good night.

Gerber (7:32): Thanks. We’ll talk in the am then.

Cooper (7:36): Change of plans. Maybe. Carla and her editor have been reached. They think they can improve the story and still get it to run. I’m confident they will do so…I’m leaving the office since I have 10 people waiting for me at home to cook them dinner. I have a blackberry, feel free to use it.

Gerber (8:02): Well that’s a surprise. I had hoped we could work through the substantive issues tmmrw (sic)…

For Gerber, there weren’t too many tomorrows left. After the Chronicle reported on his previously undisclosed recordings a day later, he attached their story to an early morning email sent to his staff:

Let’s talk early about what, if anything, this means…

*P.S. – And another thing: Brown’s feud with the Clintons has been well-documented, here and elsewhere, but he really took off on Hillary during his interview with Fouhy. Asked about the equivalency Newsom at that point was trying to draw between his challenge to Brown and the Obama-Hillary Clinton race, the attorney general said:

JB: That’s all Newsom. He thinks I’m Hillary and he’s Obama. But it’s different because I’ve been in office. I’ve been a candidate, she wasn’t, she was more derivative. I’ve done things…

BF: I think you made a really good point. Hillary had never been a candidate.

JB: She doesn’t have the scope. She didn’t work with Mother Theresa. She didn’t spend six months working in a Zen Buddhism (sic). She didn’t take Linda Ronstadt to Africa. She didn’t have her own astronaut. I had Rusty (Schweickart), an astronaut. I put him on the state energy commission. There is a certain texture to who I am and it’s unique, so I don’t know how you compare it…

But enough about me – what do you think about me?

i

New Calls for Brown to Produce Docs in “Tapegate”

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

HarveyThe consumer advocacy group at the center of the flap about Jerry Brown’s ex-spokesman secretly recording phone calls has sent a formal demand to the Attorney General’s office, seeking all internal documents that could shed light on the matter.

The Public Records Act request, filed by Consumer Watchdog, is one of at least three separate efforts to dig deeper into the controversy, which began with the disclosure last week that Scott Gerber, Brown’s former press secretary, recorded conversations with reporters without informing them or asking their consent. Gerber resigned on Monday.

jerryinterview

Brown shrugged off the controversy Tuesday, during a scrum with reporters before delivering a speech in San Francisco. His new press officer has not only insisted that no one in the Attorney General’s office besides Gerber had knowledge of his actions, but also argued that, in any case, his actions did not violate legal restrictions on when a recording can be made without the consent of both parties.

That may well be true, as a legal matter. As a political matter, however, the dispute over the recordings is the first bump in the road for Brown’s back-to-the-future campaign for governor. While he cleared the Democratic field with the withdrawal of Gavin Newsom, the controversy could provide ammunition to Republicans, as well as prove a drip-drip-drip distraction if he does not deal with it fully and forcefully.

“This isn’t going away,” said Harvey Rosenfield, Consumer Watchdog’s founder.

His organization’s demand, dated Oct. 30, seeks “copies of all transcripts of phone calls recorded by (Brown) or any employee of the Department of Justice.”

“If there are recordings of phone conversations that have not been transcribed, we request a list of the recorded conversations, including the time and date of the call and the names of all people on the call,” the letter says.

In addition to Consumer Watchdog, the Bay Area News Group, which owns and operates a chain of daily papers including the Contra Costa Times , reported that it has submitted two Public Records Act requests to the AG, seeking copies of recorded conversations with its reporters, along with other documents.

And the Chronicle, whose reporter Carla Marinucci conducted the interview with Gerber which first revealed the taping, has called on the Attorney General in an editorial to “fully clear the air about this breach of the law on his watch…and make public his findings.” (Update 1230 p.m. We just learned that the Chronicle also has filed a PRA seeking documents in the case).

At the same time, two Republican legislators have written to Brown, demanding he appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate alleged “crimes” arising from the matter.

Christine Gasparac, Brown’s new press secretary, issued a statement in response to the demand, by Assemblyman Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, and Senator George Runner, R-Lancaster. She said that “the Department’s highest-ranking criminal lawyer” looked into it and concluded “the evidence that has surfaced thus far does not constitute a crime.”

Well and good, but her assertion is all but guaranteed not to put the matter to rest. The practice of having high-ranking law enforcement officials investigate themselves has been pretty problematic since the good old days of John Mitchell.

What it’s all about: The political Sturm und Drang about the recordings (several news organizations have referred to Gerber “taping” conversations, but we understand he used a digital device) has largely obscured the substantive issue underlying the political controversy.

car-crash(Weed whacker alert!) Here’s the background:

Since 1988, auto insurance rates and companies in California have been governed by Prop. 103, an initiative written by Harvey Rosenfield, who led  a coalition of consumer and other grassroots groups that passed it. Under 103, insurance companies are allowed to use three basic criteria for determining the customer premiums: driving safety record, miles driven per year and years of driving experience.

One factor they are greatly restricted in using they are not authorized to use is a driver’s history of insurance coverage. Prior to Prop. 103, insurance companies would sometimes submit drivers to a Catch-22, denying them coverage because they never had coverage before (California has required auto insurance since 1984). It was also not unheard of for insurers to add a surcharge on a policy for a driver without previous coverage, or one who had missed a payment, or had interrupted coverage for other reasons.

Some insurers, including Mercury Insurance, have fought that restriction. In 2003, while larmercuryinsuranceding up Sacramento with campaign contributions, they got a bill passed through the Legislature and signed by Gov. Gray Davis which permitted companies to use prior coverage as an element in determining rates. But the state Court of Appeal Supreme Court invalidated the law in 2005, saying it violated Prop. 103.

Fast forward to 2009: Now comes Mercury and its allies with a new initiative, aimed at the 2010 ballot, to allow insurers to consider a driver’s history of coverage in determining rates.

As all good Calbuzzers know, the process of getting approval for an initiative petition to circulate for signature gathering includes getting the Attorney General to issue a “Title and Summary” that boils down the effect of the proposal, and is located at the top of the petition.

On August 13, Brown’s office approved a Title and Summary that said the Mercury measure:

Allows insurance companies to increase or decrease the cost of auto insurance based on a driver’s coverage history…Allows insurance companies to raise the cost of auto insurance based on the absence of prior automobile insurance coverage. Allows insurance companies to lower the cost of auto insurance for drivers who have continuously maintained auto insurance coverage, even if they change insurance companies.

But in short order, the initiative was withdrawn and Mercury submitted a second, similar measure. On Oct. 27, Brown’s office gave it this Title and Summary:

“Allows auto insurance companies to base their prices in part on a driver’s history of insurance coverage…Changes current law to permit insurance companies to offer a discount to drivers who have continuously maintained their auto insurance coverage, even if they change their company, and notwithstanding the ban on using the absence of prior insurance for purposes of pricing.”

At which point Harvey Rosenfield’s head exploded.

Rosenfield immediately took to his Consumer Watchdog blog to blast Brown for issuing a different Title and Summary on the second initiative, which he said “accommodated the company by obscuring the premium increases” that would occur.

“I have rarely seen political cowardice on this level from a seasoned public official,” he howled.

Rosenfield’s blog caught the attention of the resourceful Carla Marinucci. She interviewed Rosenfield, then interviewed Gerber and top attorneys in the AG’s office, and then proceeded to write a newspaper story about the dispute, which was posted on the Chronicle’s web site at 5:57 p.m. on October 28.

Upon reading the story, Gerber and his colleagues in the AG’s office felt that it did not fully reflect their position. In their view, the second initiative submitted by Mercury was substantially different than the first, and therefore received a substantially different Title and Summary (*Rosenfield disputes this assertion and says the second initiative made only minor changes from the first; Consumer Watchdog has filed a separate Public Records Act request with the AG regarding the issue).

So Gerber phoned up Marinucci’s editor to complain; her posted story mysteriously disappeared from SFGate, the Chron’s news site, somewhere around 6:30. At 9:44 p.m., a second version of Marinucci’s story popped back up on SFGate. It had several changes:

A sentence reporting that Rosenfield was angry with the AG’s office for “rewriting the measure” was corrected to say he was upset with Brown for “approving a new summary for the ballot measure.”

– A comment by Gerber, calling Rosenfield’s charges “utterly ridiculous,” was extended to include a new paraphrase, expanding on the AG’s position: “The summary was rewritten, he said, because sponsors of the measure made substantial changes to it. The new summary is a fair and accurate description of the measure, Gerber said.”

A new paraphrased comment by Rosenfield, denying the AG’s statement that there were substantive changes between the first and second intiatives, was added; his quote about Brown’s alleged “political cowardice” was moved down, from the fourth graf in the first version, to the 9th graf in the second version; another Rosenfield quote attacking Brown for a “flip flop” was deleted in the new story.

So Gerber basically earned his money that day by pushing back on Marinucci’s story. Except for one small problem: While going over her head to complain to her editor, Gerber had buttressed his argument by using a portion of a written transcript of the interview Marinucci conducted with him and the office attorneys.

Which led to a key question: Um, WTF did he get a transcript?

Which led in turn to a key conclusion: Uh, he taped the damn interview.

The Chronicle reporjohnmitchellted on the incident on Oct. 30. That story included Gerber’s acknowledgement that he had recorded calls with reporters somewhat routinely. This led to a fair amount of outrage by some media advocates, among other critics, including Calbuzz, which said that Brown had no alternative but to fire Gerber; he resigned with class a few days later, accepting complete responsibility for his actions, and basically clearing everyone else in the office.

And there the matter stands. For the moment.

Bottom line: It remains to be seen how well Brown’s all’s-well-that-ends-well declaration stands up to challenge from Rosenfield and assorted media organizations. Not to mention Republicans sniffing for blood.

*Weed Whacker Alert II: Kathy Fairbanks of Californians for Fair Auto Insurance Rates, which  supports the disputed initiative, checked in to take issue with Rosenfield’s statement that the two versions of the initiative have only “minor differences.” She said the second measure submitted to the AG contains “major changes” from the first, preventing insurers from raising rates because of the expanded use of a driver’s insurance history that the measure would  permit. Fairbanks also noted that insurers are currently allowed to use coverage history in a limited way, through so-called “loyalty discounts” offered drivers who stay with the same company for a significant period of time; the disputed initiative would give the insurance industry greater latitude in this area. The Rosenfield-Fairbanks disagreement on this point is the crux of a key future campaign argument if the measure makes the ballot. (Update 4:45 p.m. Rosenfield fires the first shot here).