Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘TMZ’



Why Meg v Maid Saga Is a Big Deal: The Latino Vote

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

The latest dramatic chapter of the governor’s race, torn from the pages of eMeg’s Secret Diary, finds the campaign of one of the richest women in California threatened by the comments of one of the poorest.

Finally, a political story TV can understand.

For Republican Meg Whitman, who employed an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper and nanny for nine years, the revelations on Wednesday by Nicky Diaz Santillan and her attorney, Gloria Allred, not only raise legal questions of what eMeg knew and when she knew it, but also serious political ones about her personal integrity, not to mention her efforts to court the state’s crucial bloc of Latino voters.

Team Whitman responded swiftly when word broke on TMZ that Allred had called a press conference with “explosive” allegations by the candidate’s former maid. Strategists did their best to a) preempt the presser by sliming Allred, one of L.A.’s most notorious celebrity lawyers and b) argue through the media about social security cards, employment applications and a host of other documents that they insisted prove conclusively that eMeg is pure as the driven snow in the matter.

At the end of the day, despite her team’s yeomen efforts at damage control, Whitman had been knocked way off message and was entangled in a gnarly web of charges and counter-charges, caught in the worst position for any political candidate: defensively explaining herself.

As a political matter, the most significant impact of the flap on the campaign will come, in still-undetermined magnitude, in Whitman’s multi-million dollar effort to take enough Latino votes away from Democrat Jerry Brown to help push her over the top on November 2.

With Whitman and Brown preparing to debate in Fresno Saturday, an event co-sponsored by Univision and set to be broadcast in Spanish and English, Democratic strategists organizing Latino voter registration and GOTV efforts were privately pleased over the expected political effect of the disclosures made by Allred and Diaz, eMeg’s former employee.

Calbuzz hears that a coalition of labor and Democratic organizations is planning a major demonstration in Fresno on Saturday and expects the Diaz matter to add considerable enthusiasm and profile to that effort:  “We’re going to dominate the scene,” said one strategist.

“It’s possible for her to win the 15 percent of the Latino vote that is Republican,” the source added with a smile, “although she’s now putting that in jeopardy.”

Coming one day after the first televised debate between Whitman and Brown, the surprising turn of events proved anew that 24 hours is a lifetime in politics. Here is a look at the key issues in the controversy.

The facts: There is no disagreement that Diaz was undocumented during the nine years she worked for Whitman, from spring of 2000 to late June, 2009: the key question is when did eMeg find out about it.

Meg says she was clueless about Nicky’s immigration status until her housekeeper informed her last year, on or about June 20 and she fired her June 29. That was some four months after Whitman had announced her candidacy for governor. (Diaz says [@1:25] she spoke with Whitman and Dr. Harsh on June 20. Harsh was furious and said, “I told you she was going to bring us trouble.” And on June 24, in a phone call, Whitman told her she could not help her with immigration.)

The maid says Meg had to know before 2009 that there was a problem. Among other things, Diaz and Allred said, the Whitmans received a letter from the Social Security Administration dated April 22, 2003 informing them that there was a discrepancy with the Social Security number Nicki had provided to the employment agency that sent her to eMeg; Diaz also alleges that several similar letters came later from Social Security but that the Whitmans threw them in the trash, where she saw them.

Whitman insists there was no such letter; Allred hinted broadly at her press conference that she has a copy but was not prepared to release it yet. Production of the document would put the lie to Whitman’s statement; Allred’s failure to produce it would be exculpatory for eMeg.

Another key issue on the documents released by the Whitman campaign in its effort to show that she is blameless in the matter: Neither the W-4 tax return nor the I-9 Immigration and Naturalization Service form [click on View Docs for the pdfs] for Diaz in 2000 was signed by either Whitman or her husband, in the line designated for employers.  The I-9 requires employers to sign the following statement:

I attest, under penalty of perjury,  that I have examined the document(s) presented by the above named employee, that the above-listed document(s) appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee named, that the employee began employment on (month/day/year) and that to the best of my knowledge the employee is eligible to work in the United States.

The problem for Meg: in written and direct statements by her and the campaign Wednesday, she said she relied on the social security card and drivers license that Diaz presented to confirm that she was in the country legally.

Why, then, didn’t Meg sign the statement affirming that belief? The Whitman campaign did not return calls seeking comment.

The optics: The video of Diaz sobbing and describing how she says she was treated badly by eMeg, shot in Allred’s office at the press conference, is very powerful stuff.

Whether you believe that Whitman knew for years that Diaz was illegal, or that she simply fired her as soon as she found out, it’s not hard to imagine clips of the emotional words and images of the domestic worker turning up in an independent expenditure committee ad for Brown (Diaz later repeated her statement in Spanish).

Recounting her recollection of the conversation in which Whitman fired her, the woman said:

“From now on you don’t know me, and I don’t know you. You never have seen me and I have never seen you. Do you understand me? . . . and she hang me up . . . She was throwing me away like a piece of garbage . . . She treat me as if I was not a human being.”

In her own brief comments to reporters, recorded by the Chronicle’s resourceful Joe Garofoli,  eMeg tried to blame the whole thing on Brown, whom she accused of a political stunt, and on Allred, whom she said was manipulating the housekeeper.

“Everything Gloria Allred is saying is an absolute lie,” she said.

The problem for eMeg, however, is less what Allred said (although there could be legal sanctions attached to the civil complaint the attorney said she will be filing) than what Diaz said.

The politics: Explaining the way she managed her household help for nine years was most likely not what eMeg hoped to be doing the day after she turned in a solid performance in her debate with Brown (although one reporter noticed eMeg was very shaky, almost trembling, at her post-debate press conference, and speculated, without a shred of evidence, she might have just learned of Allred’s plans. But we digress).

Several issues occur:

First, either she knew that her housekeeper was illegal, or she didn’t perform the due diligence to find out, which doesn’t speak well of her much-vaunted executive abilities. Liar or incompetent? You be the judge.

Beyond that, there is the question of eMeg’s oft-shifting policy positions on illegal immigration.

At Tuesday night’s debate, she stated, as clearly as she has done during the campaign, that she opposed any legislation that would provide a “pathway to citizenship” for undocumented workers.

Translating her policy view to her personal circumstance, this led her to slam the door in the face of  a woman who labored loyally, by all accounts, in her home for nine years and was asking for her help in making herself legal (BTW, since Nicky was doing all the housework and schlepping the kids around, why couldn’t Meg find time to vote? Inquiring minds want to know).

Her behavior will fuel Brown’s narrative that she is a hypocrite with an enlarged sense of entitlement, and that her wealth, values and social status give her contempt or, at best, indifference to the real-life problems of real-life working people. He made the point during the debate when he argued their values are very different because he respects the dignity of “people who clean bed pans, our police, our fire…I do cherish and appreciate the work they do.”

While it is still unclear what the fallout from the media storm over eMeg’s treatment of Diaz will be on the governor’s race, it is clear that Democrats will do all they can to keep it alive for Saturday’s second debate.

In that regard, it’s worth noting that the 6 p.m. newscast on Spanish language KMEX-TV in L.A. has a larger audience than any the three major networks.

PS: Did anyone else think it was more than a little suspicious that Team Whitman held a conference call to refute Nicky’s charges even before she and Allred made them, as if they were prepared for an eruption about eMeg’s illegal housekeeper problem?

Key Questions Emerge as Dem Party Confab Opens

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

As the Calbuzz National Affairs desk settled into our sky box high above the floor of the California Democratic Convention, our battalion of political correspondents buttonholed delegates, honored guests and party hacks alike to answer the 10 key questions looming over the weekend events:

1-Will Jerry Brown manage to stay awake for the Young Democrats party? With Brown’s unopposed stroll to the party’s nomination for governor sucking all drama from the proceedings, Crusty’s job this weekend is to energize the several thousand activists on hand, who are in a grumpy frame of mind because of Meg-a-Million’s fast start on the Republican side. The under-30 set, who weren’t born the last time Jerry was governor but whose enthusiasm will be important come November, are in particular need of wooing; alas they don’t start partying until 9 p.m. tonight, and the 72-year old Brown’s handlers must hope he hasn’t slipped into his jammies by then.

2-Can Dr. H avoid the paparazzi? The second annual Dr. P.J. Hackenflack Democratic Convention Dinner is scheduled for tonight at a hush-hush exclusive location, with a celebrity-packed A list roster of glittering guests. But in the land of TMZ, a fish as big as Dr. H will be hard-pressed to protect his privacy.

3-Will United States Senator Barbara Boxer Herself stalk out when some rude blogger calls her “Ma’am”? At last year’s convention, California’s junior senator looked like a mortal lock for re-election, but things seemed to start to unravel for her when she famously condescended to a top military officer at a committee hearing not long after. Now the episode has become a metaphor for Boxer’s arrogance and sense of entitlement after 18 years in office, amid the worst political atmosphere for arrogant, entitled incumbent Democrats in a generation.

4-Has Jerry improved his salsa steps? The headline act of the weekend is Los Lobos, which will be performing at the L.A. Convention Center on Saturday night. Political observers will be watching closely to see if Brown’s awkward moves have improved from the ’70s when he was kicking it with girlfriend Linda Ronstadt at Lucy’s El Adobe.

5-Will this be Nancy Pelosi’s last state convention as Speaker? Talking to the most liberal crowd outside of Cuba, Pelosi will no doubt be hozannaed to the heavens, if not nominated for sainthood, for her leadership in passing health care reform.  She should enjoy it while she can, since the legislation is viewed considerably less favorably by voters in the districts of dozens of Democratic members, whose defeats could trigger a Republican takeover of the House.

6-Will Mickey Kaus collect any items for his blog? Kaus, the Mr. Crankypants blogger who’s mounted a symbolic centrist challenge to Boxer, has been banned from speaking to the convention by Democratic Party Minister of Annoyance John Burton.  Mickey writes some of the smartest contrarianisms on the web, so hopefully he’ll at least pick up some stuff for his site.

7-How many times will the words “Goldman Sachs” be uttered from the podium? Even before theSEC’s legal move against the giant investment bank on Friday, Goldman Sachs was emerging as a leading villain of coming Democratic rip jobs on eMeg, whose seamy history as a board member challenged the limits of ethics, if not the law. Brown previewed the line of attack late Friday, when he combined a shot at Whitman’s Wall Street connections with her effort to buy the election: “The rules of democracy are not changed just because a billionaire decides she wants to be governor…You can’t have a hostile takeover of the democratic process.”

8-Will Gavin Newsom and Garry South make it pistols at 10 paces? Political consultant South has done some serious trash talking about Prince Gavin, who quit the campaign  for governor that South was running and now is running for Lieutenant Governor, against South’s new client, L.A. City Council member Janice Hahn. The pair got within a few feet of each other at a convention bash last night, but Gavin wouldn’t even look at Garry: “He’s conflict and confrontation averse,” said South.

9-Will anybody top the spread put on by the CCPOA? The California Correctional Peace Officers Association– thank you Michael Flores –  set a high bar with their Friday cocktail party reception honoring Speaker John Perez: salmon-caviar canapés, satay chicken, crab cake balls, fresh shrimp, pot stickers, egg rolls and an open bar. Today’s “Taco Truck Throwdown,” presented by Perez and Senate leader Darrell Steinberg could mount a serious challenge. Rest  assured Calbuzz will be there to do some Actual Reporting.

10-Will live blogging drive traffic or drive away traffic? Calbuzz will be indefatigably bringing every minute of non-stop action from the podium, assuming we get up in time.

P.S. Late Friday Calbuzz stumbled onto an oddity: Newsom’s reception — sponsored and approved by labor unions — was catered by non-union restaurateur Wolfgang Puck.  At first, Calbuzz thought this might have been a bonehead,  rookie mistake at the all-union-all-the-time Demo convention. But it turns out steady hand Cal Strat consultant Jason Kinney, who worked his butt off to organize the event, got the whole deal sanctioned by all the key state and local labor groups. And in fact, the sponsors of the event included the teachers, nurses, faculty and farm workers unions.  On your behalf, Calbuzz tested the martinis and the chocolate at Newsom rival Janice Hahn’s and found them far superior to Puck’s potato chip, red licorice and crudite spread. But, Newsom’s event at the Target Terrace above the Grammy Museum had live entertainment with Lisa Loeb, Benji Madden and Steven Weber while Hahn just had a boom box.

DiFi Shocker: Whadya Mean She’s Not Running?!?!?

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Feinstein shocker: We were floored – floored! – at Dianne Feinstein’s announcement in Orange County Tuesday that she’s decided not to run for governor.

Not because she turned thumbs down on the campaign, but because as a Convent of the Sacred Heart girl, we expected she would have the grace and courtesy to hold off until the official first anniversary of the piece with which we launched Calbuzz – “Why Dianne Feinstein Won’t Run for Governor” – so we could mark the momentous occasion in a properly flamboyant manner.

Madeline Sophie Barat would be soooo disappointed in you, Dianne.

We did, however, get a kick out of the world-weary tone of Dena Bunis, the Register’s DC chef de bureau, in reporting the news:

I don’t know anyone in political circles who really thought Feinstein was going to give up the chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee – she’s the first woman to hold that post – to try for another run for California’s chief executive.

Ha! Excuse us while we build a stadium big enough to hold our laughter. Yeah right, no brilliant California cognoscenti insiders had that thought for a second – which is why stories speculating about DiFi jumping into the race got recycled through the California press (and blogosphere) with the regularity of the garbage guys picking up the cans on Monday morning. Sheesh.

There we were, out on the limb, as everyone from Costco Carla to the Oracle of Cruickshank seemed hell bent on sawing off our perch just to see if they could send us crashing to the ground. (Memo to Scott Sabatini at examiner.com: We’ll take our Momo’s martinis very dry).

What’s the matter – Larry King wasn’t available? So after months of bashing Meg Whitman for spending all her time talking to national media types instead of the greasy grubs of the California political press corps, Steve Poizner now decides to nominate a couple of Beltway Wise Guys to moderate the one and only debate he knows he’ll get with the elusive eMeg.

In a letter to the New Majority, the band of fat cats who are sponsoring the debate on March 15, Poizner campaign manager Jim Bognet tells the group’s leaders they have “an opportunity to raise the profile of the New Majority and you are in the rare position to garner significant statewide coverage for the event. “

Fortunately, two well-known and respected journalists have already expressed interest in moderating the debate:

–Juan Williams, Fox News and National Public Radio
–Mark Halperin, Time Magazine and Author of “Game Change”

We feel strongly that this debate should be viewed by as many Californians as possible and involving either of these journalists would greatly increase the likelihood of national cable news coverage or statewide coverage from network affiliates. Having this debate widely televised is key to giving Republican voters across the state the opportunity to learn about the candidates.

You gotta be kiddin’, Bognet. Putting aside the most obvious choice for neutral, well-informed, if not well-groomed, moderators (we name no names) there’s a whole batch of distinguished California types who’d not only do a superb job of making the trains run on time for the TV cameras, but actually know something about  state issues. Think John Diaz, Jack Kavanagh and Warren Olney for starters, not to mention the esteemed Dr. P.J. Hackenflack who, we have on strong authority, is free that evening.

At least she’s consistent: Joe Garafoli’s tape of eMeg cutting and running after one question from the reporters who showed up to cover her Baja Commonwealth Club appearance in Lafayette the other night is an instant classic. Although the quality of the video is only slightly worse than a 7-11 security camera might get of the guy cadging cookies over in Aisle 3, the spectacle of Whitman being hustled away, as if being chased by hyenas, while Costco Carla is in mid-follow-up mode, is priceless.

The volcanic Sara Pompei, one of the cutters-and-runners featured in the tape, insists eMeg is getting a bad rap on the whole she’s-afraid-to-talk-to-informed-reporters meme, noting that the candidate doled out a couple minutes each to several Bay Area TV types this week, including our old friend Hank Plante, who managed a couple nuggets out of her, including her claim that she can identify $15 billion in savings in the budget.

(Hey Meg, here’s a thought: If you really know where to trim $15 billion why not send a note to H.D. Palmer over in Finance and tell the poor, ignorant bastard where he’s overlooking the obvious savings that you, in all your wisdom, have divined.)

Even as eMeg starts to ease into talking to reporters who actually live here, however, communications director Tucker Bounds let the cat out of the bag in talking to Steve Harmon of  the CoCo Times:

The simple truth is this: California voters watch their local TV news a lot more than they read their local newspaper, and as a result, Meg Whitman has been interviewing with local newscasts at virtually every stop along the campaign trail.

Wait ’til the by-God L.A. Times reads that!

Foy coy no longer: Few Californians statewide have likely heard of Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy, but his endorsement of Poizner this week was a nice little pick-up for The Commish. A darling of the Tea Party set, the name of the conservative Foy was widely batted about early this year as a possible movement conservative to challenge the squishes Poizner and Whitman.

The endorsement of the pro-life Foy will capture the attention of right-wing believers among GOP insiders, folks who actually work on political campaigns:

As much as anything else, we need to have confidence in our governor and a belief in the values and principles he or she will bring to the job. But I ask you today to consider something perhaps even more important: We must also evaluate the judgment and instinct of our candidate and give special consideration to how they will approach those challenges and circumstance we do not foresee today. Whatever the issue, I am confident Steve Poizner will not veer off the conservative course.

Unlike a certain Van Jones-loving, Delta Smelt-coddling, Barbara Boxer kissy-pooing, other so-called Republican he could name but chooses not to in the event she wins the nomination.

In other news: Don Ringe today presents an exclusive interview with Sarah Palin, opining why Foy would have been just the ticket for the state GOP.

Never trust Husband #9: The AP finally tumbled to the fact that “Prince” Frederic van Anhalt, ninth spouse of Zsa Zsa Gabor, has decided to throw his crown into the ring as an independent candidate for governor.

Those who think he’s just another amusing goofball candidate, may wish to check out his background, chronicled in graphic detail by TMZ here, here and here.

Clips: Rachel, Jaimee & Kalika Meet Ed Mendel

Friday, December 4th, 2009

rachel uchitelPersonally, I’d use a lob wedge, Elin: Obsessed with Rachel Uchitel (right), Jaimee Grubbs and Kalika Moquin, the entire staff of the Calbuzz Department of Celebrity Gawking and Guilty Pleasures has been severely reprimanded for spending far too much time hanging out at TMZ, Radar Online and usmagazine.com this week, following every twist, turn and sext message in the Tiger Woods School of Professional Driving saga.

With that in mind, this week’s coveted Little Pulitzer Investigative Punditry award goes to Charles P. Pierce, whose sharp Esquire essay on the situation not only raises some actual intriguing social issues, but also is simply the best thing written about the case.

…when Tiger ran his Escalade over a hydrant and into a tree, and his reputation squarely into a ditch, he then produced a cover story that smacked of implausibility, when it didn’t smack of utter science fiction. Listening to Tiger explain how he’d managed to hit two stationary objects within thirty yards of his driveway — and how his plucky wife pulled him from his non-burning vehicle by smashing the back window with a golf club — was like listening to Peter Lorre telling Bogart in The Maltese Falcon, ‘I certainly wish you would have invented a more reasonable story. I felt distinctly like an idiot repeating it.’

Like virtually every politician in America (Barney Frank comes to mind as a notable exception) Woods has worked tirelessly to construct an idealized image of himself and to control as closely as possible the way he is portrayed in the media. And just like every politician who missteps into scandal, he now is paying a steep price for falling from grace, a cultural narrative that Pierce, who got bashed by Team Tiger when he wrote some unflattering things a decade ago, gets just right:

But the more impenetrable Tiger’s cocoon was, the more fragile it became. It was increasingly vulnerable to anything that happened that was out of the control of the people who built and sustained it, and the events of last week certainly qualify. Now he’s got one of those major Media Things on his hands, and there is nothing that he, nor IMG, nor the clinging sponsors, nor anyone else can do about it. He is going to be everyone’s breakfast for the foreseeable future…And he’s going to be some kind of punch line for the most of the rest of his public career.

Old guycalperss win again: Mega-kudos to our old friend Ed Mendel, who carries off this week’s prize for Investigative Blogging for his recent splendid scoop, disclosing how the California Public Employees Retirement System lost $1 billion in a blind faith purchase of goofy investments which turned out to be backed by subprime mortgages and other risky assets.

Mendel and Calbuzz are both so old that we met when he worked for the Sacramento Union, the first newspaper west of the Mississippi fercrineoutloud. A 30-year veteran foot soldier in the war of words, he’s  reinvented himself online as the state’s most dogged reporter regularly covering CalPERS and CalSTRS, which have two of the world’s biggest investment portfolios, along with 80 other public employee pension funds.

His latest excloo, explaining how fund execs fell for exotic financial instruments called “structured investment vehicles,” is a reminder that California’s  enormous public pension systems have long been inadequately covered, when covered at all; despite the billions at stake, the story’s historically proven just too complicated and filled with too many numbers to hold the interest of your average High-Powered News Executive.

Amid the continuing collapse of California’s finances, however, untangling the system’s byzantine structures and multi-layered scams is not only an increasingly important political yarn but also a terrific example of throwback public interest journalism, making Mendel’s site a must read.

leonard_downie_140x140

The future starts here: Media junkies in need of a new doorstop, or with a spare eight or nine hours on their hands, are well advised to check out “The Reconstruction of American Journalism,” the 15,766 word opus by Washpost suit Len Downie and journalism egghead Michael Schudson, in the current issue of Columbia Journalism Review.

Despite its arid tone, the piece does a swell job of describing and defining the seismically disrupted news and information landscape of today. The yarn  comprehensively catalogues and analyzes virtually every major business model and experimental form of journalistic enterprise swirling in the Wild West new media world, concluding with a list of recommendations to nurture and sustain what the writers dub “accountability journalism.”

What is under threat is independent reporting that provides information, investigation, analysis and community knowledge, particularly in the coverage of local affairs. Reporting the news means telling citizens what they would not otherwise know. ‘It’s so simple it sounds stupid at first, but when you think about it, it is our fundamental advantage,’ says Tim McGuire, a former editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. ‘We’ve got to tell people stuff they don’t know.’

The CJR piece suffers from one big flaw: a foreshortened, MSM gatekeeper perspective that looks more to the past than the future for solutions, mistaking the map for the territory. Jan Schaffer, director of American University’s Institute for Interactive Journalism, sums the problem up in one of several critiques of the report smartly offered in the same issue:

If we really want to reconstruct American journalism, we need to look at more than the supply side; we need to explore the demand side, too. We need to start paying attention to the trail of clues in the new-media ecosystem and follow those ‘breadcrumbs.’ What ailing industry would look for a fix that only thinks of ‘us,’ the news suppliers, and not ‘them,’ the news consumers? I don’t hear from any of those consumers in this report.

Still, the Downie-Schudson collaboration offers a first-rate overview pulling together all the crucial strands of what’s happening in the post-newspaper, post-network news report world of journalism. You can find it here.

Why toraboraladenRumsfeld is a bigger weenie than you even thought: After Obama’s big speech on Afghanistan the other night, the insufferable Donald Rumsfeld started whining that the president had unfairly trashed him by describing how the former Defense Secretary in December 2001 shined on urgent requests for more troops to help capture or kill Osama Bin Laden, when the U.S. had him cornered in a rugged area of the eastern White Mountains known as Tora Bora.

Thanks to the Chron’s trusty Carolyn Lochhead, who pointed to a just-released Senate Foreign Relations Committee report about the incident,  however, the full scope of the blunder by Rumsfeld and top commander General Tommy Franks becomes clear.

When Gary Berntsen, the senior CIA paramilitary commander on the scene, went to Major General Dell Dailey, commander of U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan to plead for the troops, he was flatly turned down “on orders from Franks at U.S. Central Command Headquarters,” according to the report, “Tora Bora revisited: How we failed to get bin Laden and why it matters today.”

Dailey refused to deploy U.S. troops, explaining that he feared alienating Afghan allies.

“I don’t give a damn about offending our allies,” Bernsten shouted. “I only care about eliminating al Qaeda and delivering bin Laden’s head in a box.”

Dailey said that the military’s position was firm and Bernsten replied, “Screw that.”

Whatever you think of Obama’s just-announced policy on the Af-Pak war, the report is a well-written, extraordinary narrative that goes a long way to explaining why we’re still mired in Afghanistan eight years later.

Diane.von.Ferstenberg.2005

Well they’ve got to be at least half right: Our pal Carla Marinucci made us green with envy once again with her blog post reporting all the A-list names – Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg, Kate Capshaw and Stephen Spielberg, Peter Morton, Chet and Janice Pipkin, Rob Reiner, Stewart and Lynda Resnick, David Geffen, Wallis Annenberg, Sebastian Paul and Marybelle Musco, Stephen Bing, Larry Ellison, Diane Von Furstenberg, yada yada yada – who pitched in big bucks to Jerry Brown’s (shhh) campaign for governor at his big Brentwood fundraiser last month.

But we were kinda’ baffled when she reported in the same piece that the funder had raised Crusty only $700K in November, which seemed rather low. Then came Carla’s Chronicle colleagues (we love the smell of alliteration in the morning), Phil Matier and Andy Ross, who reported a few days later that the AG had raised $1.65 million for the month.  Figuring there’s no one left on the copy desk to reconcile such matters at the paper these days, we did our own actual reporting and came up with $1,577,700, giving the nod to M&R on this one.

Mlingleaholo Fail: The Calbuzz Maui bureau is more than a little miffed at our former colleague Greg Lucas, who spoiled our world exclusive about the budget woes of Hawaii’s state government with his own scoop on this crucial, pressing national story over at California’s Capitol.

Just when we were poised to deduct the total cost of our Napili Bay junket  by cobbling together a quick and dirty post buttressed by a couple of stats  ripped off from the Honolulu Advertiser, here comes Lucas, who gets an actual copy of Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle’s budget message, beating us to the punch by writing off his own trip to Kaui a couple weeks earlier.

Mele kalikimaka to you too, bruddah.

TMZ Scoops Everyone on the Tiger Smash-Up

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

tigernewsTMZ, the Hollywood gossip news site, has been WAY out ahead on the Tiger Woods smash-up story including having the original police report and then tracking down and pestering Rachael Uchitel, who is, according to the National Enquirer, the “other woman” over whom Tiger and his wife Elin Nordegren may have argued before he drove his Escalade into a fire hydrant and a tree 100 feet from his driveway in Windermere, Fla.

Calbuzz, a big fan of Tiger’s exploits on the golf course, has no special insight into the Thanksgiving Smash Up although we’ve always thought Tiger helped pave the way for Barack Obama, by demonstrating that a black guy with great talent can dominate on what has traditionally been white guys’ turf. And we’re pretty sure Obama won’t be linked in the tabloids to another woman other than Michelle in the near future.

We note that in his official statement, Tiger argues, “This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way. Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible.” Guess we’ll have to wait a while to find out which rumors are false, unfounded and malicious. And which aren’t.