Tag Archives: Schwarzenegger

Don’t Delay It, Terminate It!

If nothing else, Governor Schwarzenegger has given us the gift of the endless parody. Even before he was the Governator, we enjoyed snickering at his larger than life caricature. His performance as Governor, however, has been far from funny. Ratcheting up a $19 Billion deficit while pushing public safety professionals out of their jobs, laying off teachers, slashing health and social services, and kicking family farmers where it hurts most has been a real tear-jerker.

To curb the tears with laughter, Food & Water Watch has compiled a simultaneously funny and sad montage of Arnold’s most memorable film moments to accentuate the devastating consequences that the $11 Billion Water Bond would have on California.  

Unsurprisingly, the bond is unpopular with voters across the state. Seeing the writing on the wall, Schwarzenegger and his cronies — who represent the interest of corporate backers — have asked the legislature to move Prop 18 to the 2012 ballot. Why? So they can spend more money trying to hoodwink the public into believing constructing more dams, putting a down payment on a peripheral canal, and giving corporate interests more control of our water supply is in everyone’s best interest. Is this Arnold’s way of taunting us with his infamous phrase, “I’ll be back” long after he rolls his Hummer out of Sacramento? NOOOOO!

This is our chance to play Terminator and say “hasta la vista, baby” to the water bond. Watch the video. Share it with your friends. Send a strong message to your legislators that the water bond should be sent to the scrapyard to be replaced by solid, equitable water policies that benefit all Californians.

California Forward pushes for final action on budget reform

Nonpartisan reform group asks leaders to make reform part of budget talks

SACRAMENTO-California Forward’s non-partisan leaders today asked legislative leaders to address the long-neglected need for lasting and fundamental budget reform as part of this year’s negotiations over the state budget.

Robert Hertzberg and Thomas McKernan, co-chairs of the reform organization, sent the following letter to the four legislative leaders:

May 12, 2010

The Honorable Darrell Steinberg

President pro Tempore of the Senate

The Honorable John Pérez

Speaker of the Assembly

The Honorable Dennis Hollingsworth

Senate Republican Leader

The Honorable Martin Garrick

Assembly Republican Leader

Dear Legislative Leaders:

California Forward recognizes and deeply appreciates the significant commitment of time and energy that you and the other legislative leaders – as well as individual Assembly members and Senators and your staffs – have devoted to thoughtfully examining our non-partisan plan for comprehensive budget reform.

In both the Senate and the Assembly, members of both parties have been engaged in good-faith discussions and deliberations about how to refine the principles we have identified as key to restoring public confidence in the state’s fiscal operations.  It is particularly noteworthy that these discussions have proceeded even as our proposals have drawn criticism from partisan special interests invested in the status quo and opposed to reform.

As each of you know all too well, another difficult budget season is now upon us.  In our judgment, it is critical that long-term budget reform become part of this year’s budget deliberations.

In the next few days and weeks, each of you will have to grapple with hard choices, and set priorities about the spending of limited public dollars at a time when needs are great and California’s economy remains fragile.

There are no easy answers.  But the current crisis does provide California with the opportunity to finally address the long-neglected need for lasting and fundamental budget reform, and we urge you to take it.

Thanks in no small part to your efforts, this goal is in sight.  In both the Senate and Assembly, real progress has been made in crafting non-partisan reforms based on the best practices of successful businesses and other states, including improved accountability and oversight, better long-term forecasting, setting unexpected windfalls aside, and adopting a pay-as-you-go mechanism for both legislation and initiatives.

Furthermore, our plan provides the first step in rethinking the relationship between state and local government, providing new incentives and resources for communities to start working together to address priorities and bring government closer to the people.

We understand that this work is not yet complete – and that significant hurdles remain before the principles we’ve outlined can garner the bipartisan support necessary to place them before voters in November.

We believe, however, that reform remains our best hope for forestalling future difficulties, and that failing to enact significant reforms this year would only hasten the advent of the next fiscal crisis.

That’s why we ask you to continue to work together to achieve this elusive goal, and urge you to place the reforms we’ve proposed on the ballot.  As always, we stand ready to provide any and all assistance we can in this endeavor, and we would welcome any suggestions you have about other steps we can take to move this process forward.

Very truly yours,

Robert Hertzberg, Co-Chair

California Forward

Thomas V. McKernan, Co-Chair

California Forward

cc:  All Senators and Assembly members

A democratic union that we, the members control

My name is Tyrone Dickens and I am a union healthcare worker.

I have worked as a homecare provider in San Francisco for almost six years. My work involves cleaning, cooking and caring for patients in their homes who cannot do these things for themselves. For some of my homecare consumers who don’t have family any more, I am the only companion in their lives.

This week I have attended a civil lawsuit in which the officials of the union that currently represent me are suing the former leaders of my local union, leaders that I elected and that I still support. I know that may sound confusing, but I think I can explain it clearly so that you can understand.

Tyrone DickensDespite my and other members’ protests, officials from SEIU removed the former leaders of my union, SEIU-UHW, from office in January of 2009 and since that time have pursued a civil lawsuit against 28 defendants who used to work for SEIU-UHW asking for $25 million. You can read more about the lawsuit and the defendants here.

Like thousands of other healthcare workers in California, I support the former leaders of my union and the new union we are building together, the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW). NUHW is a democratic union that we, the union members control.

That principle, workers having a democratic voice in our own union, has always been the primary disagreement between the officials of the SEIU and tens of thousands of healthcare workers and the leaders we have elected to represent us.

For that reason, I want the public to understand some facts about this lawsuit. This is a civil lawsuit. For as much as SEIU wants to make this trial seem like a criminal proceeding. It is not.

Despite SEIU making claims to my co-workers that this civil trial is the result of the defendants “stealing” money or that actions taken by the defendants hurt union members bargaining or grievances, the truth is that SEIU’s lawyers, some of the highest-powered attorneys in the country, are not making those claims at all.

However, SEIU is not explaining that to my coworkers.

SEIU is also not telling my coworkers that the scope of their civil lawsuit has shrunk. In fact, Judge Alsup, the federal judge overseeing this trial, reduced the scope of the trial to one fifth of SEIU’s previous charges. Even then, SEIU will have to prove its case in court.

What I’ve seen so far has not impressed me. Today we found out that SEIU staff who took over our union and who were supposed to be looking for and securing files didn’t do a very good job.  The people who are saying that stuff is missing didn’t even try to see if someone else had them. They just said “Oh, well” and let it go.

One of the other things that I have learned about this trial that disturbs me is that the lawyers for SEIU are being paid an estimated three times more than what the civil suit is asking for. Since SEIU’s lawyers are being paid out of my dues money, I think our dues could have been better used fighting Arnold Schwarzenegger and protecting healthcare workers.

Finally, I would also like to share my personal experience of the civil trial. I attended the trial because I wanted information and to see for myself what was being said in court. Sitting alongside me in support of the defendants this week were other homecare workers, nursing home workers, hospital workers, community members, labor allies and friends and family. But don’t take my word for it, come to court and find out for yourself.

Thank you for reading,

Tyrone Dickens, IHSS, San Francisco


{NUHW, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, is a vibrant and democratic movement of healthcare workers, dedicated to dignity, justice, and healthcare for all. NUHW Voice features blog posts by workers from NUHW’s Our Voices page. You can follow NUHW on Facebook and Twitter.}

Sacramento Bee Turns Thumbs Down to Arnold’s High-Tech Fraud Boondoggle

An editorial from Saturday’s Sacramento Bee: High-tech fix won’t stop IHSS fraud

In an effort to cut what Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger claims is rampant fraud in the state’s In-Home Supportive Services Program, the Department of Social Services is pushing a pilot program to assess the efficacy of an expensive high-tech system to fingerprint and photograph care providers and their recipients.

The MorphoTrak device, which the state is testing in three counties, including Sacramento, has been used by the military in Iraq. It can fingerprint, snap a photo and transfer data instantaneously. The machines cost up to $5,000 a copy. If deployed statewide, the state would need 600 to 1,000 of these devices potentially. But let’s hold on a minute.

Before the state commits to buying this expensive equipment and building yet another expensive police bureaucracy that treats all IHSS recipients and their caregivers as potential criminals, it needs to perform a far more thorough assessment of the potential for fraud within IHSS and the best way to address it.  

In the welfare realm, fingerprints and photo IDs are used primarily to prevent duplicate fraud, cases in which aid recipients go to different counties and apply for welfare or food stamps under different names. IHSS services are delivered in recipients’ homes. It’s hard to conceive of an elderly frail or disabled IHSS recipient traveling from Sacramento to Yolo to apply for help bathing or feeding him- or herself at two different addresses.

To the extent that IHSS fraud exists, the vast majority involves caregivers claiming payment for services that were not provided, or elderly and frail IHSS recipients exaggerating the extent of their disabilities.

An expensive bureaucratic apparatus to capture and store fingerprints and photos of recipients and caregivers does nothing to address those problems. A $5,000 camera-fingerprint device would pay for 500 hours of in-home care to poor elderly and disabled people.

Although the administration needs to look out for taxpayers, it shouldn’t waste money on anti-fraud efforts that make little sense.

What’s next: Blackwater home visits?

Here’s the latest “high tech” weapon in Gov. Schwarzenegger’s war on 450,000 elderly, blind and disabled Californians.

Without any authority from the Legislature, the Schwarzenegger Administration is planning to purchase up to $5 million worth of military/security cameras to take pictures of the 465,000 seniors and people with disabilities who receive In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) homecare.

The “MorphoTrak” cameras are currently being used in Iraq and other military locations. According to their manufacturer, they are also recommended for, among other things, “border crossings, gang enforcement, and airport/maritime security.”  The camera itself costs $4,200, plus hundreds of dollars more for docking stations and other equipment.

Last year, the Legislature approved the administration’s demand that county social workers must fingerprint all IHSS consumers as part of a so-called anti-fraud initiative targeting the program.  However, the Legislature neither discussed nor approved photographing consumers. Nor has the administration provided any evidence of how much fraud would be stopped by photographing/fingerprinting these consumers. Under the law, all IHSS consumers must be visited and assessed at home by county social workers before being approved for the program.

The Administration has projected that it will need to purchase 600 to 1,000 of these cameras, costing between $3 million and $5 million. It has borrowed several of these devices from the manufacturer and has solicited Sacramento and San Diego Counties to use them in a pilot project beginning April 1.

The District Attorneys in these two counties have been among the strongest advocates for the administration’s anti-fraud campaign.  However, a recent report from Sacramento County found a total of 19 potential cases of IHSS fraud out of more than 20,000 consumers.

Each $5,000 used to buy a “MorphoTrak” camera would purchase nearly 500 hours of IHSS homecare.

Herb Mayer, 79 year old IHSS consumer, chair of the IHSS coalition and a Korean war veteran, said “My social worker knows who I am without needing a $5,000 camera. How can the administration find money for these cameras but no money to keep the IHSS program going?”

Assemblymember Hector De La Torre (D- South Gate) said: “I am outraged that this administration is again targeting our lowest income seniors and people with disabilities as if they were criminals we need to monitor. How is that we can afford millions for cameras yet we continue to cut their services and the money they live on?”

“This Administration’s misguided attack on alleged fraud in the IHSS program has already caused major disruptions to IHSS services for 450,000 elderly Californians who depend on these services,” said Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). “The small investment in home support for the elderly keeps consumers out of expensive nursing homes and saves the state money. We intend to use our legislative oversight power to ensure the Governor does not waste government resources and harm elderly Californians who desperately need In Home Support Services.”

“The Administration’s proposal to spend $5 million on cameras is ridiculous,” said Assemblymember Dave Jones (D-Sacramento).  “The money for each $5,000 camera could instead be used for 500 hours of IHSS care. The Administration has asked Sacramento County to begin a pilot program with loaner cameras on April 1. I am calling on Sacramento District Attorney Jan Scully not to participate in this misguided program


“It is bad enough that the Schwarzenegger Administration treats 450,000 of our most vulnerable citizens and the people who serve them like common criminals,” said Doug Moore, executive director of UDW Homecare Providers Union. “Now, to add insult to injury, the administration wants to waste millions of taxpayer dollars on these unauthorized and totally unnecessary cameras. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic.”

Schwarzenegger Provides a New Definition of Chutzpah

State Controller John Chiang has released a study by his department which shows a number of instances of fraud in the IHSS program in Fresno and San Diego Counties. Of course, our fearless “fraud-fighting” governor was quick to take credit for these findings.

I can’t believe he had the nerve to try to hook onto the Controller’s investigation.  Here’s why:

The Controller said that the instances of fraud found in his investigation are likely due to inadequate numbers of social workers and case workers needed at the county level to properly administer the IHSS program.  Yet,  Gov. Schwarzenegger wants to cut funding for these positions in his budget proposal.

In his totally self-serving news release praising the Controller’s action, the governor referred to IHSS as: “this important program for Californians that rely on these resources.” This, of course, is the same program that he wants to eliminate completely or cut by 90 percent.

The definition of the Jewish word: “chutzpah” is unmitigated gall. My favorite example has always been the story of the man who killed his mother and father and then threw himself on the mercy of the court because he was an orphan.  But Arnold is providing us with many new examples this year.  

Start Acting Like Democrats

Members of a coalition that supports the popular In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) homecare program have turned their focus toward legislative Democrats, many of whom supported cuts in the program last year.

In a letter to Democratic State Senators and Assemblymembers, coalition members urged them to:


…stand up to the governor, help reform our state’s broken revenue system, and  make decisions on IHSS based on its merits, not on sound bites used to disparage consumers and home care workers…It’s time for Democrats to be accountable and to act like Democrats.

The letter pointed out that 65 Democrats voted for significant cuts in IHSS in last July’s budget deliberations, while nearly two dozen endorsed the governor’s multi-million-dollar campaign to scapegoat IHSS consumers and caregivers as “fraud criminals.”

Interestingly, the letter was sent on Tuesday, January 5, the day before Schwarzenegger’s State of the State message and three days prior to his formal budget proposal.


We already know what the governor will say about IHSS…. Ever since he has been in office, he has targeted IHSS for cuts…. Trying to reason with him about IHSS is like pleading with the bear statue in front of his office….

Leslie Stahl sinks rather than swims.

Leslie Stahl had a segment on 60 Minutes last night that purported to tell us the truth about the California Water Crisis and the Delta.  She talked to Dr. Jeffrey Mount (UC Davis),  Schwarzenegger and 2 farmers from the Westlands Water District who are dependent on getting more of the Delta’s Water.

At no time did she talk to anyone who lives in, works in or would be dependent on the health of the Delta as an estuary.  That seems to be an unusual omissions… or just call it sloppy journalism.

Of all the clips in the show, the one that was the most impressive was a simulation of how an earthquake could cause massive levee failure and turn the Delta into a salt water containment pond.

Below the fold, you can find the comments posted to the 60 Minutes Site by Lloyd G. Carter, Fresno Lawyer and one time UPI Reporter who went national (60 Minutes / Ed Bradley)  with the Kesterson Reservoir story.  

As someone who has written about California water issues for 40 years I found Leslie Stahl’s report on California water remarkably naive. She doesn’t have a clue what is going on out here. First of all, she started by misquoting Mark Twain. The quote is not “Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting” as she said. It is “Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over.”

A small point but telling.

Not once did she mention the selenium-tainted soils of the Westlands Water District. Drainage water from the Westlands fields contains selenium, which got into the food chain at the Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge 25 years ago and killed thousands of birds and triggered deformities in bird embryos. Thanks, in part, to an excellent report by 60 Minutes’ Ed Bradley on March 9, 1985, the poisoned evaporation ponds at Kesterson were closed. Sadly, this latest 60 Minutes report on Westlands is far off the mark. Twenty-five years later the estimated cost for providing drainage to the 600 growers who operate on a thousand square miles in Westlands is set at $2.7 billion. Leslie Stahl should have asked the governor what he is doing about the drainage problem. Answer? He’s doing nothing.

For those who want a different view of what’s really going in California water politics, I suggest you visit the following link to the Golden Gate University Law School Environmental Law Forum:

You will discover that the American taxpayers have showered a billion dollars of subsidies and cheap water on the problem-plagued Westlands. The fundamental problem of San Joaquin Valley agriculture is not lack of water, it is low prices caused by surplus. In the last four years, almonds have dropped from $4 a pound to $1-2 a pound. The San Joaquin Valley now has 650,000 acres of almonds. Do we really need to spend billions of dollars on new dams to grow more almonds? Which the Westlands should never have planted! Stuart Woolf should never have planted his almond orchards. At a congressional subcommittee hearing at Fresno City Hall a couple of years ago, Woolf threatened to take his 25,000-acre “family farm” operation offshore if he was not provided water.

Finally, Stahl failed to mention that big growers like Stuart Resnick, a confidante and major contributor to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, is making tens of millions of dollars re-selling farm water supplies to Southern California development interests so we can grow an ever larger population in the Mojave Desert. This is a prescription for disaster.

I knew Ed Bradley. He interviewed me for the 60 Minutes Kesterson show 25 years ago. Leslie Stahl is no Ed Bradley.

Lloyd Carter


AB 32 Cap on Carbon–Negligible Impact on Small Businesses–New UCS Study

(From our friends at the Union of Concerned Scientists – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

First of its kind economic analysis shows significant cuts in global warming pollution will cost small businesses only pennies

Los Angeles County  –  As international climate treaty negotiations begin in Copenhagen amid controversy over economic impacts, a new report shows that the costs for small business operating under California’s landmark climate law (AB 32) can be measured in pennies. Conducted by leading economists and released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) today, the report finds that AB 32 policies will only increase the percent of small business revenue spent on energy by only 0.3 percentage points–from 1.4 to 1.7 percent–in 2020.  In a case study which examines a real world small business–Border Grill restaurant–the report finds AB 32 will cost diners a mere 3 cents extra per $20 meal in 2020.

The analysis, The Economic Impact of AB 32 on California Small Businesses ( www.ucsusa.org/small_business ), a peer-reviewed first-of-its-kind analysis, uses empirical data on the cost characteristics of small businesses to estimate the economic impacts of AB 32 and was commissioned by UCS and conducted by The Brattle Group, an international economic consulting firm.

“Our report finds that the incremental cost impact of AB 32 on the average California small business will be relatively small and definitely manageable,” said Jurgen Weiss of the Brattle Group, and co-author of the report.  “The AB 32 cost impact pales in comparison to the effect of inflation over ten years, and falls well within the range of historic cost variation most small businesses face everyday regardless of climate policy.”

The Brattle Group projected the likely changes in electricity, natural gas, and gasoline prices due to the major AB 32 policies: cap and trade (which puts a price on carbon), a 33% renewable energy standard, increased energy efficiency measures, and a low-carbon fuel standard.


Report Highlights

~~ Most small businesses will not be directly regulated under AB 32, therefore AB 32 policies will only impact them indirectly to the extent that these policies cause energy prices (electricity, natural gas, transportation) to change.

~~ The average small business spends less than 1.5 percent of revenues on energy-related costs.  So any increase in the price of energy will have a modest financial impact.

~~ Increases projected in electricity, gas and transportation fuel costs due to AB 32 are lower than recent increases in the same rates caused by factors wholly unrelated to environmental regulations.

~~ Increased costs of intermediate products used by small business (food, supplies and services) that result from higher energy prices will also have only a modest impact on small business.

“Energy efficiency is one of the key ways businesses can save money on energy costs” said Jasmin Ansar, a climate economist with UCS.  “This report does not fully reflect the potential cost savings to small businesses from energy efficiency, so even the modest increases forecast by the study overstate the likely cost of AB 32 to small businesses.”

The report includes a case study of Border Grill, a Los Angeles-based Mexican restaurant, chosen because restaurants are more energy intensive than the average small business and represent the largest share of employment in any small business category – 10 percent of total statewide employment.  After auditing five years of the restaurant’s electricity and gas bills, The Brattle Group developed a 10-year business projection based on historical data, and used this projection, along with macro-economic assessment of change in energy prices, to develop the case study results.

The analysis found that by 2020, the cost of a typical dinner at the Border Grill would rise less than 0.1 percent-or less than three cents for every $20.

“Such a miniscule increase, even if noticed, would not cause our customers any heartburn,” commented Border Grill owners and head chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger. “We’re known as the ‘Too Hot Tamales,’ and we’re worried about a Too Hot Future. Our customers are just as worried as we are, and would be more than willing to pay an extra 3 cents to help avoid the most catastrophic impacts of global warming.”

According to the report, in 2020, Border Grill will be spending 2% of its revenue on energy.  By investing in a robust set of efficient appliances, vehicles, and other equipment, the restaurant will be able to use even less energy and improve its productivity and competitiveness.


This report debunks the myth that some large businesses are spewing, claiming that AB 32–the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act–will hurt small businesses.  

For more info, go to  www.ucsusa.org/small_business


Will Jerry Brown get in front of the Orange County Fairgrounds Scandal?

There’s an incredible scandal brewing at the Orange County Fairgrounds and Attorney General Jerry Brown better get on top of this before it blows up in his face. The deal to sell the fairgrounds has stunk, and the Attorney General’s office is right in the middle of the muck.

The Fairgrounds is run by an obscure state agency, the 32nd Agricultural District, and their legal representation comes from the Attorney General’s office. Unfortunately, the current functionary has completely failed to protect the interests of the people of the State of California. The Fair Board, political appointeees of the Governator, have gone far beyond violating open meeting laws, and instead have used public funds in a conspiracy that approaches racketeering.

Here’s how the story unfolds.

The Board of Directors of the Orange County Fair Grounds are as arrogant and clueless a bunch of Yacht Party Republicans as you would find anywhere. Their appointments were political plums for big campaign contributors. Until public scrutiny ended the practice, each of them was receiving tens of thousands of dollars a year  in front-row concert tickets complete with catered meals at the Pacific Amphitheatre summer concert series.  

When their perks were taken away, they redoubled their efforts to free themselves from the restraining yoke of government for the “good of the Fair”. There’s a bizzarro feeling when you listen to political consultant Dave Ellis talk about how oppressive government is as he sits as Director of a government agency which is supposed to be acting in the public interest. But somehow, the idea that they receive no public subsidy, other than the 150 acres of land and over a century of history as a county fair, makes them some free enterprise and justifies their plans to chart their own destiny. No furloughs for their employees and no unions while you’re at it, thank you. No pesky open meeting laws. And bring back those free tickets.

As the state budget negotiations unfolded this year, Republicans dusted off Schwarzenegger’s failed plan to sell irreplaceable assets including the LA Coliseum, race track at Del Mar, and other valuable pieces of state-owned real estate.  Fair Board appointees saw this as an opportunity to achieve their long-held goal of removing their fiefdom from public scrutiny, hired Dick Ackerman to lobby for them. As detailed in the Daily Pilot,

The state Assembly voted to put the property up for sale in July thanks to lobbying done on the fair board’s behalf by former state Sen. Dick Ackerman.

“So, we sort of took a different tack and said ‘Why fight the government on this, and let’s see if we can turn it into a positive,'” Dodge said.

Ackerman, who works in Irvine as a partner with the law firm Nossaman LLP, said he was hired to do some of the initial work in Sacramento.

“In order for the fair to be sold, it would require budget language to authorize the state to sell it,” he said. “I did some preliminary work to get the language in the budget.”

Asked why the fairgrounds was the only property successfully inserted into the budget, Ackerman said “nobody else stepped up and said they were interested. Del Mar Fairgrounds thought about it, but they didn’t have the consensus.”

Ackerman would not disclose how much money he made representing the fair’s board, citing attorney-client privileges.

There are some huge problems with the legislation that was thrown together in secret with no public hearings, and pushed through in all-night sessions. One is the estimated value of the property in the budget negotiations. It’s nowhere close to the absurd amount used in the legislation if it can only be used as a fairgrounds, which is what Costa Mesa zoning dictates. Another is the obvious way that the directors have conspired to act secretly. The latest episode has to do with the formation of their non-profit foundation, where six of the eight members of the board have somehow formed a corporation to buy the Fairgrounds without ever discussing anything that has to do with public business.

Let’s recap. The directors of a public agency conspire in secret to sell public assets to themselves in a sweetheart deal in complete violation of the state open meetings law. The Governator and Assemblyman Van Tran are apparently in on the deal. Costa Mesa Mayor Allan Mansoor, heir apparent to Van Tran’s Assembly seat, is either part of the deal or clueless; with Allan it’s always hard to tell. And the Assistant Attorney General who is supposed to be protecting the public interest is where, exactly?

Aside from the ethics of the people who are doing this, and the blatant conspiracy to violate the Bagley-Keene act, you might wonder what’s wrong with a benevolent non-profit running this operation. It’s pretty simple. The purchase price will need to be financed somehow, and it’s pretty obvious that the money will come from disposing of non-performing assets, which include all of the low-key, low-intensity uses like the equestrian center and the farm. Meanwhile existing uses will need to be squeezed for more revenue.

If Brown wants to get out from under this emerging cloud of scandal, he should immediately call in the FBI and bring in the most dogged prosecutor in his office to help, while putting a few AG’s on disciplinary leave.

And Democrats in the legislature need to stand up and hold hearings on this deal, exposing this to the sunlight that it needed all along, then carry a bill to reverse the sale, while setting up a much better governance system for these special districts.

Are you listening, General Brown? There is a groundswell of public opinion in Orange County, including 10,000 people who have signed a petition to save the Equestrian Center, and a coalition of Fairground vendors, patrons, employees, and Costa Mesa residents who aren’t going away.

Don’t tell us you can fix a broken state if you can’t fix the broken ethics of your own Attorney General’s office.