Update 4 p.m. Attorney General and wannabe governor Jerry Brown announced Friday that agents from his office will conduct “an independent investigation” of doctors involved in the LAPD’s ongoing probe of Michael Jackson’s death. With the county coroner having ruled Jackson’s death a homicide, Brown said members of the AG’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement would pursue leads in the case, most likely involving prescription drugs and anesthesia administered to Jackson shortly before his death.
It is the second high-profile criminal matter that Brown has stepped into in recent days.
Calbuzz pleads guilty. . . To writing about Jerry Brown way more as a candidate for governor than as California’s Attorney General.
But when we saw that Crusty the General’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, working with the Imperial County Narcotic Task Force, Imperial County District Attorney Otero, and Imperial County Sheriff Raymond Loera, had seized 550 pounds of cocaine and marijuana and indicted 16 people – “dealing a body blow to Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel” – we had to take note.
Not so much of the bust – although that was pretty impressive. But of the groovy name of the joint investigation: “Operation Silver Fox.”
Calbuzz is not making this up. (BNE coined the name, we’re told.) This is what you might call perceptual synchronicity – a perfect harmonic convergence of moniker and monikee, of label and labeled. And it gave the Silver Fox himself a chance to brag.
“This notorious cartel smuggled massive quantities of cocaine and marijuana into Southern California, fueling addiction and violence across the nation,” Brown said. “Through a very dangerous and courageous undercover operation, the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and Imperial County Narcotic Task Force has dealt a body blow to this syndicate and seized hundreds of pounds of narcotics.”
According to Jerry’s press release:
“Initiated in January 2009, the investigation found that the Mexican cartel smuggled drugs into Southern California-often through the Calexico ports of entry using vehicles equipped with hidden compartments-and would subsequently distribute the drugs to buyers in cities throughout the United States and Canada.
“The 8-month investigation included more than 100 surveillance operations (carried out in Bell Gardens, Calexico, Colton, Fontana, Los Angeles, Ontario, Pacoima, Rialto, Riverside and San Diego), 30 undercover meetings and the execution of 6 search warrants. The operations resulted in the seizure of: 420 pounds of cocaine and 136 pounds of marijuana, with a combined street value of more than $19 million; $1.7 million in U.S. currency; and 9 firearms, including 7 handguns and 2 assault rifles.”
They forgot to add: “And, we got to give it a really cool name.”
It’s On: Accusing Meg Whitman of a “secret smear campaign,” Steve Poizner threw up a new, “myth-busting” web site Thursday, trying to counter a mash-up attack video, quietly shopped to the media by eMeg’s press secretary, that hits him on the issue of early release for felons.
The video, which is here, juxtaposes a clip of Poizner in 2004, when he was running for the Assembly, with audio tape from an interview he did this week with “John and Ken,” hosts of a conservative talk show in L.A. As a legislative candidate, Poizner said it’s reasonable for the state to grant early release to non-violent felons; as a candidate for governor, the Insurance Commish says that it’s a “terrible, terrible idea” and tries to make like John Wayne.
Whitman flack Sarah Pompei sent the video as an attachment to an (as yet) unidentified reporter on Wednesday. Below a subject line reading “Not for attribution” Pompei wrote “Here’s the video I was telling you about over the phone.” At which point the reporter appears to have forwarded it to Poizner flack Jarrod Agen; he smartly splashed Pompei’s email on Poizner’s new web site, under a big honking headline that reads “Meg’s Smear Campaign.”
“Attacks are fine but make them above board,” Agen told Calbuzz. “Whitman’s avoiding debates and interviews, then has this secret campaign going on, which she doesn’t want linked back to her.”
Pompei shrugged off the “secret smear” charge, noting in an email that “this is a very common practice in media relations,” then turned the attack back on Poizner: “Does our opponent really believe he can freely crisscross the state making statements that are completely at odds with his own record – and it wouldn’t be reported.?”
Armed with this set of facts, the Calbuzz Department of Justice and Janitorial Services issues this considered opinion:
1. The attack on Poizner over early release is totally legit, as were Pompei’s actions in pushing it out, but she loses major style points for getting busted on her email.
2. Agen did nice work in moving quickly in trying to make eMeg’s sneaky M.O. the issue instead of Poizner’s flip-flop on early release* but loses minor style points for hyperventilating rhetoric.
3. Props to both of them for not snitching out the reporter.
4. The abiding issue is that Her Megness is still ducking and hiding instead of coming out into the arena and playing the game. If she wants to accuse Poizner of being a flip-flopping weenie, fine, but have the stones to stand up and say it, instead of hiring Inspector Clouseau to plant the evidence.
*For the record, Poizner’s web site explains his change of position this way: “Since he first ran for the State Assembly in 2003, Steve Poizner has learned more about the serious problems facing California’s prisons, and believes that short-term fixes like the early release of inmates from state prisons cannot fundamentally solve our state’s corrections crisis.”
Paris, Brit…and Carly? Back when she was, um, leading Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina briefly basked in the adoration of the nation’s business press, which dubbed her a “Celebrity CEO.” Now limbering up for a U.S. Senate run, Hurricane Carly, in a serendipitous turnabout, has hired on Strategic Perceptions Inc., the campaign media consultants who produced the famous “Celebrity” ad for John McCain in last year’s presidential race.
The McCain ad, which is here, was produced by SPI chief Fred Davis, who performed a lovely work of political ju-jitsu, tagging Barack Obama as “the biggest celebrity in the world,” while juxtaposing images of his rock-star trip to Europe with those of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.
Davis says on his web site that “the spot surpassed one million YouTube views in just 24 hours and instantly changed the national dialogue in that race.” And “The Battle for America 2008,” the terrific, newly published recap of the campaign pretty much affirms that analysis:
“The ad was mocked as petty, a diversion and the latest example of how far McCain had strayed from the kind of campaign he ran either years earlier,” write Washposters Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson. “And yet the commercial worked: It put McCain on offense and, despite the public’s apparent dismissal of the ad, threw the Obama team off its stride.”
Now that Carly the Celebrity is the client, it will be interesting to see what kind of Ju-Jitsu II move Davis devises to inoculate Fiorina against the same kind of charge he used to great effect against Obama. As they like to say over at Fortune magazine, “flexibility is the key to survival.”
More on Hurricane Herself: The always readable Michael Hiltzik offers a full airing of the “I, Carly” issue in the By God L.A. Times, while a Central Coast Calbuzz correspondent reports that the excerpt of her new novel in Dr. H’s column the other day reminds him of the famous line from comic sci-fi writer Douglas Adams: “She looked cool and in charge, and if she could fool herself, she could fool anybody.”
Oh, can’t we open our presents now? As the countdown hits 24 hours, anticipation is building to fever pitch in advance of the big announcement of the Calbuzz New Deal. See this space Saturday for full details.