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Posts Tagged ‘affair’



Saturday Swap Meet: Jacko, Farrah & Ed, RIP

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

sanfordThat was the week that was: We’ll leave to more talented social commentators the task of weaving together the sad, always-happens-in-threes departures of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, and focus instead on another crossover entertainer who seared himself into the nation’s consciousness with a breakthrough performance this week: South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

As everyone who’s watched Sanford’s narcissistic, nihilistic, nut ball performance in confessing to an Argentine love affair already knows (anyone who hasn’t is banned from reading further until you do ), the guy flat-out retired the Loony Tunes Lifetime Achievement Award with an excruciating, stream of consciousness, political-train-wreck-in-public act.

Between his opening incoherence – “I won’t begin in any particular spot” – his self-pitying Andrew Lloyd Webber knockoff – “oddly enough, I spent the last five days of my life crying in Argentina” – and his extraordinary explanation of how he’d violated moral law – “the biggest self of self is indeed self” – Sanford managed the seemingly impossible feat of mmariaaking Rod Blagoevich and Sarah Palin seem like Ozzie and Harriet.

(Calbuzz finds it fascinating that Sanford’s Argentine lover,  María Belén Chapur, was a producer at the television network America from 2001 to 2002 — kinda reminds us of LA Mayor Tony V’s fixation on TV babes.)

Oh sure, between eMeg, Prince Gavin and General Jerry, our own field of candidates for governor includes a few eccentricities and some borderline weirdness. But Calbuzz feels a profound sense of journalistic injustice at being denied the career peak experience of covering a total whack job like Sanford.

In our view, the only decent thing for Sanford to do — with just 18 months left in his term, Palmetto State legislators screaming for his head and almost a year to go before California’s primary — is to move to the left coast and jump into the Republican primary with twin barrels aimed at both feet. Please, governor, you’re the only one who can save us from the earnestness of Tom Campbell, the grumpiness of Steve Poizner and the unctuousness of Meg Whitman. Plus: great connections to BA from LAX.

BTW, the Sanford saga produced some yeoperson efforts by the ladies and gentleman of the press. Top honors in the print category go to the San Jose Mercury News for a keeper front page, carefully crafted for single copy sales, which featured a big foto of the wild man and a red, screamer hed: “What Was He Thinking?” Online division kudos to the Washpost for its special, Sanford edition slide show titled: “Interactive: A history of political sex scandals.” Interactive? Really?

Don’t Invitems: Capitol Weekly and the Bay Area Council went head-to-head twice within a few days over the former’s coverage of the latter’s proposal for a constitutional convention.

The first flap focused on a Weekly piece published Monday, in which Malcolm Maclachlan reported that the council was circulating a draft convention call that would bar changes to Proposition 13. When we checked out the report, Council execs grumbled that the Weekly had overreached in its sweeping assertion. Because the Calbuzzer motto is, “We’re from the press – we’re here to help,” we offered our own report that addressed the nuances of the council’s position on the complex issue, ever eager to heal a breach between two organizations we respect.

Then on Thursday, Maclachlan filed again, this time reporting that the Council was moving to “hand off” the campaign for a convention to an independent third party. At this, council vice president John Grubb let his feelings show – hollering “foul” and loudly demanding a correction.

At issue in the new dispute is a report about a panel of “experts” that the Council plans to convene for the purpose of wording and framing the exact questions that convention delegates would consider; the language this panel will draft is to be included in the “call to convention” initiative BAC is aiming at the November 2010 ballot.

The Weekly story suggests the “experts” panel gives the council a pass-the-buck way to escape the political heat they’re getting from anti-tax groups threatening to oppose the convention if it tackles Prop. 13. Not so, insists Grubb, who told us the “experts” panel has been part of the plan all along, and that the Council fully intends to remain the lead dog on the constitutional convention campaign.

“It was kind of weird to have your obituary written,” Grubb said of the latest Weekly story, “without having participated in your death.”

Anthony York, the editor of the Weekly, told us he’s confident the story is factually accurate, but “understands (Grubb’s) sensitivity” to the suggestion the council is ceding control of the convention process. York called it “a semantic difference” and said he’s invited Grubb to submit a letter or a commentary addressing his concerns.

Putting aside the journalistic subtleties here, the crucial substantive  issue is how and whether the convention deals with Prop. 13. Whatever your favorite cliché for the tax-cut measure – political third rail, elephant in the room, the Big Enchilada – trying to revise California’s system of governance without dealing with the multiple strands of Prop. 13 is like trying to blog without links; it kinda’ misses the point.

dianne_feinstein

Dissin’ Dianne: Back in the day, when she was Empress of San Francisco, Sen. Dianne Feinstein once chewed out a Chronicle reporter for running a scoop that disclosed a draft plan for a new ballpark that Her Honor wasn’t yet ready to make public: “I don’t want any more premature ejaculations in the paper,” she told him angrily, promptly generating a follow-up story that prominently featured her lovely comment.

The old quote came to mind this week, when DiFi again got in trouble for being candid with a reporter, this time on a Sunday talk show, where she threw cold water on President Obama’s big health care reform plan: “Well, to be candid with you, I don’t know that he has the votes right now,” she told CNN’s John King. “I think there’s a lot of concern in the Democratic caucus.”

Damn that candor.

It didn’t take long for the armies of the netroots to launch a full-scale attack, led by Moveon.org, which rallied its members to swamp her office with calls assailing her for politically incorrect (for a Democrat) thought. By week’s end, as David “Comrade” Dayen reported on Calitics ,  Moveon and its coalition had organized a full-bore, multi-platform assault.

With an arsenal of Facebook, Twitter and My Space weapons arrayed against her, Feinstein responded with a throwback press release featuring a laundry list of principles she would support in health care . The techno mismatch of the fight between an old-school pol and new generation social network forces was fascinating to behold – who knew from one-click re-Tweets? – and made us start to wonder if maybe Dan Schnur might be on to something with his out-of-right-field prediction in a L.A. Times op-ed: “Feinstein is an unlikely candidate for re-election in 2012.”

Wussup on the internets: Mega-kudos to Nikki Finke, who sold her DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com site for a reported $14 million , which establishes a decent enough price floor for when it comes time to unload Calbuzz in a month or so (why of course, Tom Campbell will drive more traffic than Jacko!). Don’t miss Finke’s post-sale grilling by arch-rival Sharon Waxman, who runs The Wrap.

In other internets news, the Public Policy Institute of California has an interesting new survey on digital usage in the state, including a full and frank examination of the 12 people who actually use Twitter. Key finding: internet use has increased from 70 to 76 percent over the past year (clearly due almost entirely to the launch of Calbuzz).

Must read of the week: “California to Feds: Drop Dead,” Joe Mathews’s terrific piece over at Fox and Hounds analyzing the chutzpah of Obama et al in refusing loan guarantees for California.

Finally, we note Kevin Roderick’s classy tribute to TMZ for their ace online reporting on Michael Jackson’s death — which killed the traditional media in LA.

Flea Market: Ensign-Newsom Sorry Similarities

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

ensignSex, Lies and Politics: The sordid tale of how Republican presidential wannabe and Nevada Sen. John Ensign had an affair with a campaign aide who happened to be the wife of a senior adviser in his Capitol Hill office  carries unfortunate echoes for Gavin Newsom.GavinNewsom

The San Francisco mayor and wannabe California Governor copped to a dangerous liaison involving an eerily similar triad two years ago, a scandal that came and went in S.F.’s laid back liberal culture, but is likely to resurface in the heat of Newsom’s first statewide campaign. (The GOP has already trotted it out on cable news.)

There is at least one big difference between les affaires politiques, however: Newsom to his credit stood up tall and accepted responsibility when he acknowledged the whole icky mess, while Ensign has spent the days since his admission trying to slime the unfortunate couple, who say their “lives have been ruined,” with shaky allegations of being blackmailed.

That said, the magnitude of the breach of trust involved with both cases is considerable. Former governor and ex-Marine Pete Wilson used to say that being in a political campaign with someone was the closest thing to going through war with them. Some way to treat your foxhole buddy, eh?

More on sex: A sharp-eyed reader opines that Calbuzz misread a recent L.A. Times analysis examining the impact of sex scandals involving Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa on the governor’s race; we characterized the piece as kissing off the importance of the political playboys’ wandering, um, eyes, but Cathy Decker’s nut graf, buttressed by an academic study, states that it will truly matter to some voters. Busted.

boxerangryBoxer Rebellion: Barbara Boxer’s snippy insistence that a military officer address her as “Senator” instead of “Ma’am,” – “I worked so hard to get that title” – offers a good measure of how fiercely she intends to fight to keep it.

Although we keep reading speculation about how formidable and well-financed former Silicon Valley executive Carly Fiorina will be as a Republican challenger when (if?) she finally gets into the arena, Boxer got a nice boost from an unlikely source this week when Steve Forbes, the erstwhile GOP presidential contender and silver spoon publisher bashed Fiorina is his new book, “Power Ambition Glory.”

“Examples of business leaders who rise to heights of corporate power only to be brought carly_fiorina_630xdown by their egos include…Carly Fiorina, former head of Hewlett-Packard,” Forbes writes. “As leaders of corporate empires, both failed because they focused on what flattered, instead of what mattered.”

There’s more: Fiorina was “high-handed,” “brusque” and “concerned more with publicizing herself and socializing with entertainers and high-fashion figures than with promoting HP and running the business.

“There were even rumors that she was positioning herself to run for political office.”  Imagine that.

Thanks to Calbuzzer CA Politech for the cites.

We Get Letters: Big Bad Dan Walters cries “foul” over our Fishwrap item that trashed the California press for whiffing on the no-go fed rescue of the state budget story. BeeDan sniffs at a WashPost piece we highlighted as “old news,” and forwards his column from May 22 saying “the Obama Administration said it couldn’t underwrite loans (for California) without congressional authority.”

Fair enough, but his column was referencing public congressional testimony, constructed with Clintonian obfuscatory precision (or precisely Clintonian obfuscation) by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner; the new Post piece advanced the ball considerably, reporting private White House meetings involving Obama’s big brain troika of Geithner, Lawrence Summers and Christina Romer…

Comment of the Week: Buddyg takes home a coveted “I’m a Calbuzzer” button for his calbuzzertake on our latest post on Senator Difi’s shifting position on the Employee Free Choice Act. As winner of our first Calbuzz Comment of the Week, he also gets his comment highlighted in full:

DiFi has always been too MOR for this state, on too many issues. In this case, she is also naive if she thinks there is a compromise that will give even ‘half a loaf’ to both sides.

There can be no denying that federal labor law is broken and employers regularly take advantage of that when resisting union campaigns and collective bargaining negotiations.

Simply put, the cost and consequences of violating the law are just not substantial enough to make it worthwhile for employers who don’t care about workers’ rights to comply. That is the reality, and has to be the analytical starting point, which of course, the Cs of C of the world will deny forever.

Until DiFi gets over the idea of (dis)pleasing everyone and realizes there is a right and a wrong on this, she will continue to be pressured. It would be fitting and just for labor to mount a campaign to knock her out of the box, and take Arlen Specter with her!”

– By Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine

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.