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Archive for the ‘Susan Jordan’ Category



Friday Fishwrap: Time for Mayor Tony V’s Close-up

Friday, June 5th, 2009

lu-parker-4Setting the record straight: The news that L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been granting, um, exclusive face time to yet another TV journalist of the female persuasion brought an anguished cry of apology from Dr. P.J Hackenflack, Calbuzz staff psychiatrist and executive BBQ chef.

Several L.A. media hounds, led by KNBC-TV,  reported that Hizzoner has been doing close ups with Lu Parker, a local TV reporter and fill-in anchor, who also was Miss USA of 1994 (Our old pal Rick Orlov of the Daily News, the town’s most venerable political scribe, has the best piece on the gubernatorial implications of the matter). As all the world knows, Tony V in 2007 crashed his decades-long marriage when he had a much-publicized affair with another TV reporter, Mirthala Salinas of Telemundo.

Here at Calbuzz, we’re mostly of the what-he-does-on-his-time-is-his-own business school of political affairs, but when we occasionally wade into tabloid territory, we like to make sure our facts are nailed down. To wit: our own Dr. H was asked, back on April 11 why Villaraigosa was eyeing a race for governor so soon after being re-electeed mayor and replied:dr-hackenflack

“He heard that Telemundo has a new reporter on the political beat.”

Who knew? Today the good doctor issued this correction:

On April 11, I incorrectly identified the TV outlet employing the reporter in question. Ms. Lu works for KTLA-TV, not Telemundo. The Hackenflack Institute regrets the error.

GOOOAAAALLLL!!! When a grim-faced Gov. Terminator stood before the Legislature Tuesday to deliver the latest bad budget news, he somehow forgot to tell them about his latest happy idea for bringing big bucks to California.

Seems the same day as the speech, the AP reported that Arnold is helping to kick start the effort to bring the World Cup to the U.S. – and hopefully to Kaleefornya.

coliseumtitle

“Soccer is the world’s most popular sport and California has been home to some of its most exciting games, and I am proud to be a part of bringing the World Cup back to the United States,” Schwarzenegger said. “The millions of fans from around the globe that will travel to the United States to cheer their teams will prove a great benefit for our state, our nation and the world of soccer.”

Not only that, Herr Governor has offered a host of possible venues – including at least two owned by the state – Cal’s Memorial Stadium and the L.A. Coliseum. Wait a minute – isn’t Arnold selling the Coliseum to make money to keep the schools open? Talk about double booking a venue.

Endorsement ennui: eMeg Whitman has gotten major mileage for her Rose Garden campaign for governor from several big-name national endorsements, including the ubiquitous John McCain, whom we apparently have to blame for convincing Her Megness to get into politics (Yo Meg! Ever heard of the Straight Talk Express?)and House Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, proclaimed an alleged rising star by much of the Beltway MSM.

Now Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, the grouchiest man ever to run for governor, is firing back with his own set of endorsements. And while they’re not flashy, unlike most endorsements, they might be actually useful in running a governor’s race.

Poizner spinmeister Kevin Spillane reports his guy has collected endorsements from 32 of 44 GOP legislators, plus “eight former California Republican Party Chairs, dozens of local elected officials, numerous current and former Republican County Chairs and hundreds of members of the California Republican Party State Central Committee.”

Such backing from the political hoi polloi for sure won’t get you a seat with Wolf on “The Situation Room,” not to mention a sloppy wet kiss from Fred Barnes; but it can’t hurt if your goal is to organize a voter registration or GOTV operation in some Assembly district out in Indio or Buttonwillow.

Drill baby drill: The shaggy dog story about the much-chronicled-by-Calbuzz Tranquillon Ridge offshore oil drilling project took another turn this week, when the State Lands Commission hit back at the governor for his effort to overturn their decision rejecting the proposal.

The commission meeting on Monday featured mucho fireworks, with Lite Gov. John Garamendi, who opposes the plan, facing off against fellow commissioner Tom Sheehy of the Department of Finance, representing the governor. For political junkie fans who tire of watching re-runs of Brian Lamb interviewing presidential biographers on “Booknotes,” much of the entertainment is up on You Tube here.

Our favorite highlight is watching Santa Barbara coastal advocate and Democratic assembly hopeful Susan Jordan try to keep her head from exploding when she testifies after Sheehy’s comments.

susanjordansbJordan had a weird week all in all: on Wednesday, the layoff-riddled Chronicle ran an obit of famed lefty attorney Susan Jordan, who cut a wide swath in Bay Area political trials back in the day, and who died in a plane crash this week. Apparently lacking anyone who was around in those days, the Chron managed to publish it with a photo of The Wrong Susan Jordan, who fielded calls from friends across the country to assure them reports of her death were greatly exaggerated. The Chron ran a no-big-deal correction, but no one from the paper bothered to contact The Wrong Susan Jordan to apologize.

Calbuzz condolences to the family of attorney Susan Jordan and to Tom Sheehy, who had to leave the lands commission hearing when he was informed of the untimely death of a family member.

Must reads of the week: The Wall Street Journal reports that California is far from the only state in crisis – and that fiscal health is not returning to the states anytime soon.

Finally: Amid all of America’s awful problems, let’s be glad we at least don’t have a poetry scandal.

Key Schwarzenegger Aide: Governor’s Offshore Plan Not An End Run

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Governor Schwarzenegger’s bid to capture $1.8 billion by resurrecting a controversial deal to expand offshore oil production near Santa Barbara is not a backdoor attempt to short-circuit anti-drilling policies in state coastal waters, a top administration official said Friday.

“This is not an attempt to circumvent the California Sanctuary Act,” protecting coastal waters, Thomas Sheehy, chief deputy director for policy of the Department of Finance, told Calbuzz. “This is in no way a camel’s nose event.”

As new details emerged about the governor’s plan to authorize a new offshore oil lease, unveiled in his latest budget proposals, leaders of a key environmental group that earlier favored the disputed deal over the drilling area reacted cautiously to Schwarzenegger’s move.

“We’re still processing,” said Linda Krop, lead attorney for the Santa Barbara-based Environmental Defense Center told us, moments after finishing a conference call with Sheehy in which he briefed her on the proposal. “My first reaction was ‘What? You’re going to take this action without full public (participation)?’

“They’re addressing some of our concerns,” she added. “It’s still unfolding.”

As a political matter, the support of Krop and her group is crucial to Schwarzenegger’s hope of renewing the deal on offshore drilling, long a third-rail issue in California politics.

At issue is what is known as the Tranquillon Ridge project. Earlier this year, the Environmental Defense Center (EDC), representing a broad coalition of coastal protection groups, and the Houston-based Plains Exploration & Production oil company (PXP) hammered out an agreement that would allow the company to drill in state waters at Platform Irene, located off the coast near Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The company now drills in federal waters on one side of the ridge, and there is no end date for them to stop doing so. At the same time, the California Sanctuary Act of 1994 has blocked the company from drilling in state waters, which extend three miles out from the coastline.

In exchange for a state lease to expand drilling for oil and gas, which drain from federal into state waters at Tranquillon Ridge, the company agreed to a series of environmental concessions sought by EDC.

Chief among these was an agreement to permanently shut down Platform Irene in 2022, ending all drilling in both federal and state waters. PXP also promised funds to permanently protect thousands of acres of onshore lands, about $350 million of tax revenue for local government, plus $1.8 billion in royalty payments to the state over the next 14 years.

Despite support from both the company and most local coastal protection groups, the deal was rejected by the State Lands Commission in January by a vote of 2-to-1. Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi and Controller John Chiang opposed it while Sheehy, the Department of Finance representative on the panel, voted in favor.

With the state now facing a budget deficit of $15-21 billion, depending on the outcome of next week’s election, Schwarzenegger is now trying to breathe new life in the proposal, through legislation that would overcome the State Lands Commission’s disapproval of it. His new plan for addressing the budget crisis counts $100 million in new revenue for the coming fiscal year, an advance on the royalties from PXP.

In a prepared statement, PXP said that, “We are encouraged that the governor recognizes the merits of the project, which includes substantial monetary value to the state.

“PXP is ready to move forward with this project following its approval by the governor and the California state legislature,” the statement said.

Krop said that her first thought after hearing of the proposal Thursday was that the governor was trying to end run the normal, comprehensive public hearing and multi-agency processes involved in such an environmentally sensitive project, which could establish a precedent for doing so. After hearing from Sheehy, however, she said she felt somewhat reassured.

“Is it really a precedent?” she told us. “This is the only place in the state” that would be affected.

(Wonk Alert! Next section goes deep into policy and process weeds).

Department of Finance officials said the governor’s plan included these elements:

– A budget trailer bill that would allow the Director of Finance to “reconsider” an offshore deal that conformed with legislative language defining six specific circumstances which apply only to the PXP deal; the most important is that oil and gas are draining into state waters at the site, and Tranquillon is the only project that meets that criteria.

– A process by which the Department of Finance would hold a public hearing in Santa Barbara, the Coastal Commission would also have hearings, and federal Minerals Management Service would review the deal in a manner that officials said would be “fully transparent.” The State Lands Commission would not get another opportunity to vote on it, although finance department officials would consult with staff about its environmental concerns.

– A provision to sunset in January 2011 the legislation giving special authority to the Director of Finance to review offshore projects that meet special conditions.

“Tranquillon is the only project that fits” the narrow criteria in the legislation, Sheehy said. “This project has tremendous environmental benefits for California, and we can’t turn a blind eye to the financial benefits.”

But Susan Jordan, a longtime advocate for coastal protection, who broke with her longtime allies at EDC and opposed the PXP deal back in January, was not persuaded.

“They’re giving special treatment to this project,” she said. “The most important issue is, they’re not following existing legal process and (they’re) taking away existing legal protections” that govern offshore projects.