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Posts Tagged ‘Capitol Weekly’



Chamber Yanks Attack on Brown; Fish Odor Lingers

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Under fire from board members, Attorney General Jerry Brown and editorial writers, California Chamber of Commerce CEO Allan Zaremberg on Thursday decided to cut short the TV ad campaign attack he produced and financed with $1.3 million from the Chamber’s coffers.

With University of California President Mark Yudof raising a stink (but relative silence from CSU and community college chancellors Charlie Reed and Jack Scott)*, with at least four Chamber board members in open revolt, with the Sacramento Bee labeling Zaremberg’s ad campaign a “cannonball of dishonesty,” and with the Attorney General and his former businesswoman wife lighting up board members, Zaremberg beat a hasty retreat.

Aren’t you glad Calbuzz blew the whistle on all this?

We have no idea what Zaremberg thought he was doing when he got authorization from his board to do issue ads and then produced and bought TV time for an attack ad that blames Brown for Proposition 13, a $200 billion deficit, spiraling taxation and the decline of civilization as we know it. We don’t know because the chicken-livered Chamber CEO won’t even come to the phone when we call.

He did speak to the Chronicle and to  Capitol Weekly, telling them: “We’re ready to move on to the next phase of our paid media campaign . . . We believe we’ve accomplished what we tried to accomplish with the first ad, which is bring attention to these important issues. We probably got a little more attention than we expected.”

What?  “Accomplished what we tried to accomplish with the first ad?” You gotta be kidding?

“California is facing serious challenges, and the voters deserve honesty from candidates and organizations like the Chamber of Commerce,” Brown campaign manager Steve Glazer said. “This ad was misleading, the funding is a mystery and it should never have been aired. We’re pleased the ad is down, and we hope the Chamber will return to a more constructive role in public affairs.”

Calbuzz checked with ad traffic managers at stations in Sacramento and Los Angeles who said, indeed, orders have been received to replace “Enough Is Enough” — the attack ad — with an ad titled “Plan,” which they had not yet seen.

We also heard that while the Chamber board had only approved issue ads in general, Zaremberg’s executive committee approved the specific ad. But we were unable to reach the chair of that committee, Larree M. Renda, executive vice president, chief strategist and administrative officer of  Safeway Inc. Wonder how happy Safeway is with Zaremberg, now?

Late Thursday, Tucker Bounds of the Meg Whitman campaign put out a statement alleging that Brown had “spent the last several days directly telephoning the top executives of companies who sit on the California Chamber of Commerce board to threaten both labor unrest from his allies and direct regulatory action from his office.”

Bounds offered no individual names and campaign spokeswoman Sarah Pompei could not either. But their pal and fellow Republican partisan Chip Hanlon, over at Red County, said Brown had threatened labor unrest and other investigations in conversations with executives from Safeway and the Bank of America.

If true, of course, this would represent a serious misuse of power by the Attorney General of California. But according to Brown’s spokesman Sterling Clifford, who said he was within earshot of all the calls the Browns made to Chamber board members, “It is frankly and flatly false. It’s a face-saving, desperate statement of a campaign whose allies attempted to circumvent campaign finance law and were uncovered.”

If we hear from some Chamber members that Brown was stupid enough to threaten them, we’ll be among the first to call for him to be held to account. In the meantime, here’s what’s bothering at us about all this: something’s fishy over at the Cal Chamber.

Why hide who the donors are who financed the ad? That’s what Zaremberg did by having the Chamber produce and place the ad instead of running the operation through the Chamber’s Political Action Committee, which would have to disclose the donors.

The Chamber can argue that’s because this was an “issue ad” — not a political ad — which may be legally true but practically specious.  Even if it was legally an issue ad because it never called for viewers to vote for or against anyone, this was an attack ad — pure and simple.

Why was the ad — which decries job losses in California — produced at Interface Media Group in Washington, DC, and why was it placed by Mentzer Media of Townsend, MD? Who made the ad? Who financed it? Did anyone at the Chamber get a commission or a fee?

Can someone explain this transaction? Does the Chamber board want to know?

* Update, 3:40 p.m. The following is a joint statement from California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott, California State University Chancellor Charles B. Reed, and University of California President Mark Yudof:

While our campuses are forums for free and unfettered discussion of ideas, as leaders of California’s three public higher education systems we do not engage in partisan politics and we have some concerns about the advertisement recently released by the California Chamber of Commerce.

Though we serve on the Chamber’s 100-plus member board, we were not consulted about this advertisement and were not aware of it prior to it becoming public. We each have independently expressed our concerns to the Chamber, and it is our understanding that the ad has been pulled.

We value our inclusion on the Chamber board, which provides an opportunity to interact with business leaders on issues that are of vital importance to the future of California. This is a dialogue that has been of great benefit to higher education, the business community and the state as a whole. We hope Chamber leadership will understand and address our need not to be drawn into partisan politics through participation in the Chamber.

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: Google Text Ads Meet Health Care Riots

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

stevepointingAt least he’s not defensive: Thanks to the anonymity-please Calbuzzer who forwarded a Steve Poizner Google text ad encountered during a no-doubt vigorous session of web surfing. It reads, in full:

“Be Well Informed in 2010 – www.StevePoizner.com –Meg isn’t the only candidate. See the alternatives.”

To which the alert member of the Calbuzz Insider News Tip Team smartly opines: “A little defensive, don’t you think?”

Yes, we do, though it’s not hard to understand the frustration that led Team Poizner to post it. While the Insurance Commissioner has begun to make  himself accessible to the press and is offering substantive speeches and policy proposals on issues like water, Meg merrily captures national attention by doing little more than flashing her Cabbage Patch smile.

Latest example of eMeg’s duck-the-press strategy is freezing Calbuzz out of a “Lincoln Speaker Series” fundraiser tossed by the Santa Cruz County GOP, a move which likely has Honest Abe spinning in his grave.

“I’ll be sure to let you know when there’s another event in the area that will be open to media,” Whitman flack Sarah Pompei told us.

Hey thanks a bunch for your faux sincerity, Sarah, we’ll be sure to hold our breath. Sorry about that whole volcano thing, BTW.

Milton_FriedmanWhat would Milton do: Speaking of defensive, Joel Fox over at Fox and Hounds Daily risked dislocating a hip by leaping up and rushing forward to respond after Joe Matthews Mathews wrote a smart column on the same site suggesting that the late, iconic economist Milton Friedman would see the present need to amend Proposition 13.

“I think it is safe to say,” Fox wrote, with a bit of a protests-too-much tone, “that if Milton Friedman were asked today if he would vote for Proposition 13, his answer would be ‘yes.’”

The brainy Mathews isn’t so sure.

He recounted an interview he had with Friedman four years ago in which the great chrome dome said that Prop. 13 had turned out to be a “mixed bag.” Even though Uncle Milton supported the tax cut measure at the time it passed – even making a TV ad for it – he said in the interview that “it’s a bad tax measure because the property tax is the least bad tax there is” adding that it helped bring about an over-reliance on sales and income tax revenue.

Mathews’ otherwise thoughtful piece was badly flawed, however, by his gratuitous inclusion of the fact that he – Mathews, not Friedman – was just five years old when Prop. 13 passed in 1978. A bushel of big fat raspberries from the Calbuzz AARP and Geezer Auxiliary Division for that crack, pal.

Assembly’s Hidden Ball Trick: The By God L.A. Times finally caught up with Capitol Weekly’s Anthony York, who first reported last week on how the political geniuses in the Assembly expunged the official record of the big budget vote against Arnold’s offshore oil drilling proposal. True, the Times did broaden the story to talk about the mischievous practice of dumping vote tallies on other controversial legislation (leading widely-known media critics to suggest their newsroom still operates on its pre-digital principle: “it doesn’t matter if we write it last, as long as we write it long”). But it was left to the reliable Timm Herdt to actually report the damn vote on his blog for the Ventura County Star.

yudoff

Say it ain’t so Mark: Calbuzz has been second to none in bashing Senator Leland Yee for his preposterous notion to turn over governing authority of the UC system to the clown show of the Legislature. But even we have to admit that the Regents offered up a big fat argument in favor of the notion with their latest let-them-eat-cake move, awarding comfy raises and bonuses to top administrators at the same meeting that President Mark Yudof presented the board his plan to whack the salaries of every other UC employee through a mandated furlough policy. The relentless Nanette Asimov dug out the story for the Chron.

A shameful spectacle: All Right Thinking People agree that the recent spate of thuggish shout-downs and near-riots at town hall meetings, convened to talk about health care by members of congress across the nation, are a pure and simple disgrace, orchestrated in part by the kind of vicious-minded reactionary consultants who doubtless find amusing the dangerous ranting of the lunatic Glenn Beck and the repulsive Michelle Malkin.

These Brown Shirt exhibitions of George Wallace throwback behavior fuel not-so-latent racism and visceral fear of the rapidly changing economy among white working class folks who scream with fury when asked about a public option for health care insurance one minute, then shout out huzzahs for Medicare the next.

Always solution oriented, Calbuzz has a small but substantive suggestion for lowering the volume: require attendees to show some form of identification at the door to prove they actually live in the congressional district where the town hall is being held.

Breathless anticipation: Only 305 days to the 2010 primary. Have a great weekend.

Press Clips: Fun Facts & Fine Kerfuffles

Friday, July 31st, 2009

mbaldassareWelcome to the NFL: Torey Van Oot, the rookie California blogger hired by the Bee to juice up its online “Capitol Alert” (which has flagged considerably since the departure for the L.A. Times of the indefatigable Shane Goldmacher) set off a fine kerfuffle Thursday over polling, politics and the smash-mouth issue of offshore oil drilling in California.

Van Oot put up an early morning post about the new PPIC poll’s finding that a majority of Californians now favor offshore oil drilling. The item included an attack on the institute’s survey methodology by anti-drilling Assemblyman Pedro Nava, who called the results “completely worthless” and opined that “PPIC should find another line of work, if this is the best they can do.”

For those who know PPIC president Mark Baldassare (along with the Field Poll’s Mark torey22DiCamillo) as one of the smartest, most trustworthy and thoughtful pollsters in the nation, Nava’s wild man act was an hysteric, over-the-top, shoot-the-messenger rip job that ignored the rather important facts that a) PPIC has been asking the same question since 2003 and b) there’s undeniable evidence throughout their data that a significant shift in public opinion on the offshore issue has taken place (primarily among independents).

The piece was notable for one other reason: it carried not a word from Baldassare, or anyone at PPIC, responding to Nava’s charges, although he  directly assailed the professionalism and competence of the San Francisco-based outfit.

A few hours later, apparently after Baldassare and the Bee Blogger had a full and frank exchange of views, Van Oot posted an update that included a 243-word response from the pollster, which looked like a billboard slapped up on the page, setting the record straight about his methodology:

“At the end of the day, we feel it’s our obligation to as accurately as possible reflect the opinions of all Californians in our polling, so particularly on controversial issues like this one, we take special care to use national survey questions and repeat questions over time to give us a sense of whether opinions are changing,” he concluded.

A feperry white 2w hours after that, Nava issued a press release walking back his direct criticism of PPIC. Transforming himself into a journalism critic, he instead insisted that the media had “misled” the public by writing too narrowly about the offshore drilling question instead of taking a broader approach to other data about environmental issues that “should have been the focus of yesterday’s stories.”

Yo! Perry White! Here’s a tip from the political desk: When you’re in a hole, first stop digging.

World’s First Legislator: The Handbook of Political Writing Cliches requires that all stories about California’s budget include at least one use of the phrase “draconian cuts,” as confirmed by a random check of recent budget yarns in the Bee-minus, the Chron and the By God L.A. Times, as well a quick Google search of “draconian cuts California budget” (126,000 hits).

Ever desperate for a fresh angle, Calbuzz assigned our highly trained and highly paid Department of Evolutionary Linguistics to get to the bottom of this hoary phrase. A wide-ranging investigation, including an in-depth check of Wikipedia, revealed that it derives, neither from Harry Potter pal Draco Malfoy nor Star Wars Imperial Knight Antares Draco, but rather from the uni-named Draco, credited as “the first legislator of ancient Athens.”

Besides his more or less direct responsibility for the free cars, per diem payments and fulltime salaries for part-time work afforded today’s California lawmakers, Mr. Draco also laid down the first written constitution, a rather harsh collection of laws that required debtors to be forced into slavery and called for capital punishment for even minor offenses.

Draco, according to Plutarch, “when asked why he had fixed the punishment of death for most offences, answered that he considered these lesser crimes to deserve it, and that he had no greater punishment for more important ones.”

Ouch.

Eventually karmic justice caught up with Draco, who reportedly died after a demagogic performance at the Aeginetan theatre, when his supporters, in a traditional sign of approval,  “threw so many hats and shirts and cloaks on his head that he suffocated, and was buried in that selfsame theatre.”

Now there’s an idea for a ballot initiative to rein in the Legislature.

More fun facts about language: Calbuzz’s political correctness antennae stood straight up when the redoubtable David Dayen over at Calitics referred to our most recent budget rant, not once but thrice, as “shrill.”

Now while it’s true that the members of the Calbuzz Executive Content Production Team are not technically, well, of the female persuasion, we have been around long enough to know that calling someone “shrill” is just asking to be denounced by sensitive souls, such as ourselves, for some type of “phobia” or “ism.”

But now comes Dayen, graciously concealing his smirk at our utter lack of hipness, to disclose that “shrill” represents a compliment in what you call your online blogging community, high praise for cutting to the bone instead of mealy-mouthing an issue, as explained here.

So little time, so much to learn.

How to fix California: A prolific sort, Dayen churned out an excellent thumb-sucker on a California constitutional convention, one of a pair of intriguing posts this week that highlight the vast ideological divide over the ways and means needed to fix the state.

Chris Reed over at Politicker offered the second, a brisk policy prescription for the excessive spending and trough-feeding public employees whom he perceives as the fundamental cause of the Mess in Sacramento, a package which includes a tight spending cap, pension reform and restrictions on political donations by unions.To Dayen, though, the problem is much more one of structure: “Right now, we have a progressive legislature and a conservative system, which frustrates efforts at accountability.”

And there it is, spectator sports fans: two looks at the dysfunction of state government from opposite ends of the telescope, a case study of the political chasm a con con will have to confront and bridge.

Lou_Cannon-175Must reads of the week: For those looking for one piece on California’s woe that puts it all together, Lou Cannon offers up a smart and stylish overview on Politics Daily that shows why he’s a Hall of Fame political writer…Nice scooplet by Anthony York at Capitol Weekly, who reports that the final vote on last week’s defeat of Arnold’s offshore oil drilling proposal mysteriously disappeared from the official record of the Assembly….Finally, Kevin Roderick, the City of Angels bard who never sleeps, dashed off this very Calbuzz kind of item that demonstrates the true power and importance of links:

Best city for deli: L.A.?

From the Jewish Journal’s food blog, posted by editor Rob Eshman:

‘I just got a peek inside David Sax’s new book, “Save the Deli,“ due out Oct. 19, and can report that it is official: L.A. is the best deli city in America.

Bite that, New York….’”

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.