March 28, 2012 archive

Mar 28 2012

AD-38: B.J. Atkins Republican Central Committee Member Calls on Patricia McKeon to Release Steve Cooley Documents

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B.J. Atkins, elected Member 38th Assembly District Republican Central Committee and Castaic Lake Water Agency Board Member

You remember the flap when Patricia McKeon dropped a dime on Scott Wilk to Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley and then lied about it.

At first, Republican California Assembly candidate Patricia McKeon denied that she implicated her husband, Rep Buck McKeon’s former staff member and Assembly race competitor Scott Wilk in a complaint about the website: Really Patricia?.

Last Friday, March 23, 2012, the SCV Lincoln Club held a 38th Assembly District GOP Candidate Forum. All three candidates, Patricia McKeon, Paul Strickland and Scott Wilk, agreed to participate in this Candidate Forum and were present which is where this story unfolds.

The forum format was indicated as follows; each candidate would give an opening statement; a question and answer period on the issues would follow; concluding with a closing statement from each candidate. It also included, in accordance with President Reagan’s 11th Commandment, no personal attacks on fellow GOP candidates would be allowed.

During the forum the following question was asked: “You mentioned you signed the unity pledge honoring Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment. Mrs. McKeon, it has been suggested that your campaign asked Steve Cooley, our District Attorney, and one of your supporters, to investigate Scott Wilk over an anonymous website that has been critical of your candidacy. Would you care to clear the air about this rumor?”

Patricia McKeon, in a rather indignant tone, claimed at the forum that she made a “general inquiry” of the District Attorney’s office about a website that was sharing negative information about her dealing as Rep. McKeon’s paid treasurer. She went on to claim that she did “not say who” was behind the anonymous websites that used her name and personal information. She emphasized that in her letter to District Attorney Steve Cooley that “…I did not ever, ever, ever, indicate one person ever…” was behind these “sites that were very vitriolic.”

You can listen to Patricia here.

And, then this letter appeared:

Now, an elected Republican Central Committee Member from the 38th District, B.J. Atkins, is calling for Patricia McKeon to release all documents she has with regards to her communication with the Los Angeles District Attorney. Here is his letter:

From Atkin’s letter to me:

I would like you all to be aware of this request and the supporting information. It is important for the electorate to know if their elected officials can be “TRUSTED”. Patricia McKeon and Bob Haueter have been adamant in their denial of naming Scott Wilk in a complaint to the DAs office. A complaint intended clearly to prompt an investigation. The complaint was rejected soundly within ten days! The only way to know for sure is to see the correspondence to the DA, from the McKeon campaign.

Well, I agree.

Patricia McKeon should come clean and release all of the documents verifying what she said last Friday. If she was intentionally misleading Santa Clarita Lincoln Club Members and DID drop a dime (which is apparent that she did) on Scott Wilk, then she should be held accountable.

In the meantime, Patricia, inquiring minds want to see those letters between you and D.A. Steve Cooley’s office.

This issue is NOT going away.

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Mar 28 2012

Nathan Fletcher Ditches GOP in Effort to Win San Diego Mayor’s Race

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California Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher

I don’t think changing your party registration two months before the election will do much to win the credibility of voters – even for the non-partisan San Diego Mayor’s position.

California Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher says he’s leaving the Republican Party to become an independent barely two months before voters in the nation’s eighth-largest city decide whether to elect him mayor.

The move could breathe life into an already contested race with a crowded Republican field, in a city where Democrats hold a clear advantage in voter registration. Fletcher has lagged in recent polls that show a large number of undecided voters.

The 35-year-old has broken ranks with Republicans several times since joining the Assembly in 2009 and said he struggled with his party affiliation during his two terms in Sacramento.

“In all candor, I probably should have done it sooner,” he told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “I’ve been a member of this party for almost 20 years. We have a system that is set up and designed for two parties and it’s a difficult move, but it’s what I believe in my heart is right.”

Fletcher backed Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown’s failed attempt to end a tax break for companies based out of state and was the only Assembly Republican to back a bill to require that gay history be taught in public schools. The Iraq combat veteran gave a passionate speech on the Assembly floor last year to argue that the military should end its policy of prohibiting gays from openly serving.

Fletcher has been known as a RINO for years and if he wants to run in a left-leaning urban area, and win, then he might as well re-register as what he really is – A moderate Democrat.

And, the polls show him being lost in the pack of San Diego Mayoral candidates anyway.

Guess Fletcher needed to shake things up and by changing registration, hopes that he can eek out a few more votes.

But, he has not supported issues as a Republican for a while and this move only cements what Republican voters have known for some time.

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Mar 28 2012

Video: California State Senator Sharon Runner Discusses Double-Lung Transplant

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California State Senator Sharon Runner

What a great story!

Just weeks after a life-saving double lung transplant, State Senator Sharon Runner invited me to her home to talk for the first time about the surgery that saved her.

The journey began three years ago when she was first placed on a transplant list after suffering for 30 years from limited scleroderma — an autoimmune disease that essentially attacks the body’s healthy tissue and organs.

The 57-year-old continued working in the Senate until November when the disease progressed to a point where she was hospitalized.

Watch all of the embedded video below:

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Mar 28 2012

AD-38: Scott Wilk and Edward Headington Face Off at COC Forum – Patricia McKeon a No Show

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Democrat Edward Headington (L) and Republican Scott Wilk (R)

The big story is not the forum, but the fact that Republicans Patricia McKeon and Paul Strickland were no where to be found.

People arriving at the College of the Canyons on Tuesday night to hear two candidates debate for the 38th District Assembly seat didn’t find a one-on-one political slugfest of the issues as many expected but, instead, agreement on just about all of them.

What shaped up earlier in the week as a mano-a-mano contest between two contenders — Scott Wilk, the Republican, versus Edward Headington, the Democrat — sounded more like the coming-out of two running mates on the same platform.

Headington used the phrase “I agree with Scott” at least eight times in response to questions.

And, although he used his opponent’s name only once in agreeing with him, Wilk said he had nothing to add to the points made my Headington.

Both candidates, however, criticized the two candidates absent from the debate — Patricia McKeon, wife of Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, and William S. Hart High School District board member Paul Strickland.

When both of the candidates attendance were asked to give their top three priorities, each cited job creation, education and public safety.

It was not a very well attended forum or debate -as most of these type events never are. But, the fact that two other Republican candidates did not make the effort to attend or send a surrogate to stand in for them is noteworthy.

I understand there will be another forum on Friday – which, of course, will receive even less news coverage.

It is difficult to encourage voters in our democratic process, when even the candidates don’t show up to discuss the issues.

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Mar 28 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: March 28, 2012

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Fallbrook, California

Good Wednesday morning!

The California Legislature is in session.  Today’s schedule is here.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s here.

Governor Jerry Brown has some public events today.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s calendar today includes a California National Guard ceremony at which Col. Sylvia R. Crockett will be promoted to general.

It’s a milestone for the Golden State: She’s the first Latina to attain that rank in the California National Guard, according to the governor’s office.

Crockett, who’s now assistant division commander for the 40th Infantry Division as well as director of strategic communications for the California Military Department, started her career with the California National Guard in 1982. The ceremony starts at 11 a.m. in the the governor’s Capitol office.

Brown is also scheduled to speak with police chiefs, sheriffs, district attorneys and others at the 20th annual legislative day of the Alliance of California Law Enforcement. That talk starts at 1 p.m. at the Sacramento Convention Center.

On to today’s California headlines:

Calif. Democratic treasurer perpetrated $7M fraud

Democratic campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee defrauded at least 50 candidates, officeholders and political organizations out of $7 million in a scheme that dates back more than a decade, according to a court filing made Tuesday by federal prosecutors.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Sacramento filed the additional charges in federal court, providing the most detailed account to date in a case that has left some Democratic candidates scrambling for campaign cash in an election year.

Such filings typically are a prelude to a plea, but prosecutors would not confirm such a development or offer any further details.

Durkee, who heads Durkee & Associates in Burbank, was arrested in September and charged with suspicion of mail fraud after millions of dollars disappeared from the campaign accounts of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, other Democratic members of Congress and several Democratic state lawmakers.

The filing details a complex shell game in which Durkee shifted campaign money to cover an array of personal and business expenses.

In one example, $23,000 taken from Feinstein’s account was used to help pay American Express credit card charges from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Amazon.com, Disneyland, Trader Joe’s and Turners Outdoorsman.

Magic Johnson group to buy Dodgers for record $2B

A group that includes former Lakers star Magic Johnson and longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten agreed Tuesday night to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers from Frank McCourt for a record $2 billion.

The price would shatter the mark for a North American sports franchise, topping the $1.1 billion Stephen Ross paid for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins in 2009.

Mark Walter, chief executive officer of the financial services firm Guggenheim Partners, would become the controlling owner.

The deal, revealed about five hours after Major League Baseball owners approved three finalists for an intended auction, is one of several steps toward a sale of the team by the end of April. It is subject to approval in federal bankruptcy court.

“I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise and intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section in our wonderful community of Los Angeles,” Johnson said in a statement.

As part of the agreement, the Dodgers said McCourt and “certain affiliates of the purchasers” would acquire the land surrounding Dodger Stadium, including its parking lots, for $150 million.

Rallying around Brownley

As expected, the region’s Democratic establishment is rallying around Assemblywoman Julia Brownley of Oak Park in the 26th Congressional District as party leaders and activists seek to consolidate enough support behind a single candidate to ensure a second-place finish in the June primary.

The challenge has been discussed here before at some length: With four Democrats on the ballot, a strong Republican in Sen. Tony Strickland of Moorpark and a strong independent in Supervisor Linda Parks of Thousand Oaks, Democrats are in danger of not qualifying a candidate for the November election under the state’s new primary election system, in which only the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation, make it to general election ballot.

California courts scrap $2 billion tech project

One of the largest public technology projects in California history is history.

Faced with mounting criticism about the cost, the state Judicial Council, the policy arm of the courts, on Tuesday voted to pull the plug on a $2 billion computer upgrade for California’s 58 trial courts.

The decision ended a 10-year quest to electronically unify the nation’s largest state court system, a goal that ballooned in price as California hit its worst budget crisis in years.

The council chose instead to give local courts the ability to choose their own tech improvements, setting aside $8.6 million to study that issue and perhaps salvage scraps from the abandoned project.

The computer upgrade has divided a judicial branch trying to weather more than $600 million in budget cuts over the past three years. With courts cutting hours to the public and laying off workers, the tech upgrade became a primary target of critics who said judicial leaders should abandon the project and use the money to restore or maintain other operations.

Hundreds of court employees from the Bay Area and elsewhere rallied outside the state building in San Francisco to press for an end to the tech project.

“It’s just not the right time to go forward with this project,” Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge James Herman, a council member who prepared a report on the upgrade, said after a nearly all-day hearing.

And, finally, Dan Walters on the California Judicial Flap:

Enjoy your morning!

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