Posts Tagged ‘Chip Hanlon’



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.

New Secret Offshore Deal, AB32 Rollback Brawl

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

In the latest twist in the Tranquillon Ridge saga, Calbuzz has learned that PXP oil company and its environmental allies have submitted a new proposed agreement to the State Lands Commission aimed at authorizing expanded drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara.

Our efforts to learn how the new proposal differs from an earlier version, which the commission rejected last year, were unsuccessful, however, because neither the parties nor the commission would release a copy, saying the document is a draft, and the deal is still under review. (Our all-you-need-to-know primer on T-Ridge is here).

“We signed a confidentiality agreement,” Paul Thayer, Executive Officer of the Lands Commission, told us. “They want to get our reaction to it. It’s being reviewed at a staff level, and we’ve also asked the (Attorney General’s) office to look at it.”

The previous PXP-EDC agreement, reached in 2008, was kept secret until Calbuzz obtained a copy and published the document. At a time when controversy is still simmering over elements of the first agreement, key opponents of the project are unhappy with the news that an amended version of the proposed deal is, at least for now, being kept confidential.

“I’m disappointed that PXP and EDC are going down the same failed road,” said Democratic Assemblyman Pedro Nava, whose district adjoins the proposed new drilling. “Whatever the new agreement says, apparently both PXP and EDC believe it can’t stand public scrutiny and so they are hiding it.”

“PXP likes to claim some kind of oil company executive privilege,” he added.

As a political matter, the secrecy of the first agreement played a key role, both in its defeat before the commission, and in the widespread opposition to the T-Ridge deal generated among other environmental groups.

When Calbuzz disclosed the text of that agreement, representatives of both PXP and the Santa Barbara-based Environmental Defense Center told us they were working on a second version, aimed at addressing various concerns that commissioners expressed in voting against the plan last year. Both organizations said that the amended agreement would be made public.

“No, it is not final yet,” Linda Krop, chief counsel for the EDC, emailed us when we asked for a copy of the new agreement.

“We have nothing to hide,” said Scott Winters, a spokesman for PXP. “Once the agreement is final, we will release to the public.”

“Substantial amendments have been added to clarify the enforceability concerns raised by the State Lands Commission (SLC) staff and members of the environmental community,” Winters added in email responses to our questions.

Thayer said the Commission’s review of the proposal was conditioned on keeping its contents confidential.

Nava said the Commission’s willingness to enter into a confidentiality agreement with an applicant “certainly piques my interest.”

“I’ll be inquiring into the terms and conditions under which (SLC) entered into such an agreement.”

Weed whacker alert: PXP’s Winters said that release of the new agreement depended entirely on when the lands commission scheduled another hearing on the project.

“As of right now, the SLC has not calendared this matter for a re-hearing. PXP’s hope is that the SLC will move expeditiously to hold a re-hearing,” he said. “The sooner the SLC schedules a hearing, the sooner the public will have another chance to consider the benefits offered by the project to discuss whether approval is in fact in the best interest of the state.”

We asked Thayer when PXP might get a new hearing in front of the commission. He said it depended on whether they filed a new application for the project, or requested a rehearing on their previous application. A new application would require staff to review it within 30 days, and commissioners to act in 180 or fewer days, he said. But PXP has asked for a faster method to gain approval, such as a rehearing. “We’ve never done one,” Thayer said, adding that the staff is investigating the possibility of such a procedure.

Jerry Blasted on AB32: The folks behind the movement to suspend AB32, California’s historic climate-change legislation, are furious at Attorney General Jerry Brown for the ballot title he has assigned to what they were hoping to sell as the “California Jobs Initiative.”

Crusty’s title:

Suspends air pollution control laws requiring major polluters to report and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming until unemployment drops below specified level for full year.

(Which is a little like titling the initiative to legalize marijuana as follows: Ushers in an era of human kindness and peace on earth through availability of non-toxic and eco-friendly natural substances).

The anti-AB32 initiative is backed by Assemblyman Dan Logue of Chico and U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock,? Ted Costa and others who argue the legislation is a job killer – as Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner also contend.

Score round one for Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs, who has hired our old pal Steve Maviglio to manage the opposition.

As a political matter, Brown has hardly been neutral about AB32. In fact, when he was on KGO Radio last week he referred to people opposing the measure as “Neanderthals . . . who want to turn the clock backwards.”

Here’s the dilemma for business interests who’d like to chip in to kill AB32:

1) this is likely the only legacy achievement Gov. Schwarzmuscle has going for him and he’s not going to be happy with people who try to kill it and 2) with a ballot summary like that, who’s going to vote to give a break to “major polluters”?

You never know. Maybe eMeg or the Commish will toss in a few million to the effort and campaign for it. Of course, we think it will backfire in a general election, but hey, stranger things have happened in California politics.

GOP ratfuck update: As close readers will recall, an online firefight broke out last December between Chip Hanlon, proprietor of the Red County web sites, and Aaron Park (formerly known as Sgt. York),? who was one of his bloggers. When Hanlon fired Park/York for secretly being on Steve Poizner’s payroll, we gave Hanlon a choi thu casino truc tuyenhat tip for “canning Sgt. York and disclosing the matter to his readers.”

Given what we knew then, it made sense to note that, “At a time when ethical blogging is too often an oxymoron, it’s nice to see somebody step up to defend his credibility.”

Since then, we’ve learned more, which colors our HT just a bit: It seems that buried deep in eMeg’s campaign finance report is a $20,000 disbursement to Green Faucet LLC, which is an investment firm owned by Chip Hanlon and also the parent company of his Red County web sites. The payment was made about a week after Hanlon fired Park, the erstwhile, paid Poizner sock puppet.

Hanlon tells us this was a straight-up business exchange: eMeg bought advertising on his web sites. And sure enough, her ads are there. But we spoke with another advertiser on Red County who’s paying about $300 a month – closer to the going rate for small political sites – for equivalent exposure on Red County sites. Which suggests the $20K from eMeg could be a big, fat subsidy to Hanlon – not much different than the $2,500 a month Park was getting from Poizner (and which, he says, eMeg’s people tried to match).

All of which raises questions about the use of web site commentary by MSM media, like when the Mercury News recently called on Matt Cunningham, a featured Red County blogger, to comment on Poizner’s charge that eMeg’s consultant had tried to bribe him out of the governor’s race.?If you really want to get into the internecine Orange County GOP rat-fucking, you can catch up to the action here and here and here.

(Memo to eMeg Marketing Dept: Our New York-based, commission-paid advertising staff would be well pleased to get $20K for ads on Calbuzz. Hell, they’d even take $300 a month like Poizner is paying for his ad on the page. Plenty of free parking.)

Jerry Brown Meets Sgt. York & Flavor Flav

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

brown 74Forget Jayson Blair’s flagrant plagiarism and Judy Miller’s tireless flacking for the Iraq war in the news pages. The New York Times has now committed its most hideously glaring factual error in recent memory, if not the history of the world: it misstated the model of Jerry Brown’s famous ride from his first term as governor.

As every California school child knows, Brown in his first days in office in 1975 sent powerful signals about his frugality, first by choosing to live in a rented apartment instead of the governor’s mansion and, most famously, by rejecting an executive limo in favor of a 1974 blue Plymouth.

Yet the so-called newspaper of record, on Sunday’s A1 no less,? got the whole thing bollixed up in describing Brown within a piece about former governors in four states who are seeking to return to the office they once held. Here’s Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer on the subject:

A third, Jerry Brown of California, has traded in his groovy blue Valiant that he drove as governor for a Toyota Camry hybrid, which thieves recently removed the wheels from.

“Groovy?” “Blue Valiant”? Really? Apparently The Times no longer publishes stories that copy editors remove the errors from.

For the record, Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s state auto was a powder blue 1974 Plymouth Satellite, a 150 hp, 318 cu. in. V8 (list price $3,342). The? Valiant was Chrysler’s Plymouth division play in thejerry-brown-plymouth-car_425-x-283 compact class and manufactured from 1960 to 1976; the Satellite, unveiled as the? top model in the mid-size Belvedere line in 1965, was produced until 1975.

No wonder newspapers are going out of business.

Yo, wussup washpost? Making its bid to capture the prize for the second most moronic mistake of the year, the Washington Post ran this correction on Dec. 3:

A Nov. 26 article in the District edition of Local Living incorrectly said a Public Enemy song declared 9/11 a joke. The song refers to 911, the emergency phone number.

jpg_flavor-flav-newswire-400a111606The article in question was headlined “A note of hope from voices of experience – Public Enemy reaches out to homeless youth in D.C.” In it, local reporter Akeya Dickson reported about Flavor Flav, Chuck D and? posse touring a homeless shelter to raise awareness of the problem, then playing a concert to benefit the district’s? Sasha Bruce House:

Public Enemy has earned notoriety with more than 20 years of politically charged music about fighting the power, challenging racism and declaring that 9/11 was a joke.

Well, actually not. As Jason Linkins reported in his “Eat the Press” column:

The important distinction between “911″ and “9/11″ could have been made a number of different ways — by either listening to the song, or reading the title of the song or simply noting that the song “911 Is A Joke” was on an album released on May 26, 1990.chuckd

To his credit, Linkins did not put the last words of that sentence IN CAPITAL LETTERS. For the record (again!) the lyric in question is:

So get up, get, get get down
911 is a joke in yo town
Get up, get, get, get down
Late 911 wears the late crown

Ow, ow 911 is a joke

In more ways than one.

Is that a puppet in your sock or are you just glad to see me? Inside Baseball Alert: For Calbuzz, the big kerfuffle over Steve Poizner campaign cash finding its way into the wallet of a conservative blogger who spent his days writing posts that gushed praise for Steve Poizner raises one very fundamental question:

You mean people get paid for blogging?

york_moviestillA quick refresher for those who got drunk and slept through the day: Chip Hanlon, CEO of the right-wing blog Red County, put up a post Wednesday informing his readers that he has banned from the site the blogger formerly known as Sgt. York (who in real life is Placer County GOP activist Aaron Park). Hanlon, it seems, belatedly discovered that the Sarge was receiving payments from a consultant called Steve Frank who was himself receiving payments from Team Poizner; Sarge, it seems, neglected to mention this sort of significant, um, fiduciary relationship to Hanlon.

Complications ensued.

For more on the facts of the case, see posts by Joe Garofoli and Martin Wisckol. Here’s our take:

1-We just love this whole Orange County Republican rat-fucking political culture and the steady stream of sleazy soap operas it produces.

2- HT to Hanlon for canning Sgt. York and disclosing the matter to his readers. At a time when ethical blogging is too often an oxymoron, it’s nice to see somebody step up to defend his credibility.

3-Team Poizner’s response which amounts to? “everybody does it and 1smellfishbesides, we didn’t know anything about it” doesn’t pass the smell test.

4-Hanlon’s secondary claim that Poizner’s camp froze him out and ignored his requests for e-mailed campaign info is over the top, as this would mark the first time in the history of American politics such a thing happened.

5-There are not enough facts in evidence for us to adjudicate the bitter exchange between Hanlon and Poizner flack Jarrod Agen about whether the site is in the tank for eMeg because she buys a lot of advertising. Did we mention we’re not getting paid?

6-The whole dispute returns us to some broader issues we raised a while back about using partisan web sites as third party validators in campaign material:

In other words, does the singular fact that something is published on a web site, any web site, qualify that information to be employed by a serious contender leveling a serious charge in a big statewide race?

If it is, what is to prevent candidates from using campaign cut-outs, perhaps clad in pajamas and tin foil hats, from posting all manner of web-based vitriol beneath all manner of screamer headlines, and then featuring those posts in TV attack ads as evidence that neutral parties think ill thoughts about their rival?

Roseanne_RoseannadannaWhere, exactly, is the line to be drawn? Or is the very notion of a line self-incriminating evidence of discredited MSM-style thinking?

As Roseanne Roseannadanna famously said, “You sure do ask a lot of stupid questions.”

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: The Silicon Valley Insider reveals hidden secrets of AOL bloggers.