Loudly proclaiming his leadership abilities, California's governor, the man who said he couldn't be bought, lives large. Movie star large -- and on someone else's dime whenever and wherever possible. He is so used to being "comped" that it has been said that he was surprised when he was presented with a bill at a local Starbucks.
According to D-Day...
"Plenty of people I've talked to in Santa Monica have encountered Schwarzenegger, and I honestly can't say that even one reaction is a good one. Of particular note is the story of one employee at a Starbucks in a ritzy area of town, one that receives celebrity customers all the time. When Arnold came in and asked for a couple beverages, he scoffed at the notion that he would have to pay for them. "I'm the governor," he said. The employee told me that he was pretty much the only celebrity customer that's ever pulled that move."
A larger-than-life governor with apparently larger than life expenses -- apparently financed in-part by the mostly un-reported and un-attributed contributions of a non-profit foundation which supports his jet-set lifestyle and lavish travel accommodations.
The Assembly Speaker...
According to the Sacramento Bee...
"Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, citing the state's projected $14 billion deficit, on Thursday for the first time raised the prospects of tax hikes, including increasing the state's vehicle license fee."
Perhaps Nunez should learn a little history. It was the vehicle license fee that catalyzed Californian's into re-calling then-Governor Gray Davis, widely touted as being bought and paid for by the special interests and one of the largest recipients of campaign funds in California's history -- that is until Schwarzenegger hit the scene. Schwarzenegger received a "hero's welcome" when he rolled back the California State license fee to about one-third of its then-current rate.
And it doesn't stop there, Nunez, whose political style resembles that of a Mexican socialist, want to hike taxes and close loopholes -- rather than cut spending.
"I think a tax on Internet purchases, obviously, ought to be on the table," Núñez told reporters at a Capitol briefing.
"Any tax credits to major corporations that are overseas and milking California, but not paying taxes here, we've got to look at those tax loopholes," Núñez said.
"Núñez said the state cannot fix its structural budget imbalance only by cutting services."
Nunez, lying through his teeth...
"The fact of the matter is we've been cutting our way out of this budget mess for the last four years," Núñez said. "I think it's time we show a little bit of creativity."
But ask Nunez about his profligate spending and he has no answers...
According to the Los Angeles Times...
"The state Democratic Party bought $3,238 worth of French wine from Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez's political fund after extensive media criticism of the Los Angeles Democrat's lavish spending."
"Party officials said the wine was for use at a Democratic fundraiser. But nearly half of the 36 bottles, valued at about $90 each, are in a Sacramento wine locker kept by Nuñez's sometime roommate in Los Angeles who is a fundraiser for both the speaker and the state party."
"The wine -- Nuñez's second expenditure at the wine shop this year -- was not consumed at the fundraiser it was intended for, Salazar said, because that event featured a California winemaker."
"On Oct. 5, The Times reported that Nuñez, since becoming leader of the Assembly in 2004, has spent tens of thousands of campaign dollars on overseas travel, meals and goods at high-end retailers."
And what about the $3,199 stay at Hotel Parco in Rome and $2,562 for two purchases of "office expenses" at Louis Vuitton in Paris? And his special connections with non-profit charities?
Aha! The voice of sensibility (NOT)... The Senate President...
How nice of Don Perata to consider that the proposed $10 BILLION dollar healthcare plan (which includes services for illegal aliens) should be reconsidered in light of the looming $14 BILLION dollar budget deficit. Especially since the deficit did not spring up unannounced overnight and that the Assembly and Senate have been working on the program for at least one year.
"Perata: Budget first, health care second"
"Noting the progress in health care negotiations, Senate leader Don Perata issued a statement late Thursday saying "it would be imprudent and impolitic to support an expansion of health care" before addressing the state's budget deficit and its impact on existing programs."
“The real issue now is the deficit and how this squares with everything else that we are going to do,” said Perata, the Senate president pro tem, in the statement.
But Perata is not without the stink of scandal... According to the Sacramento Bee, Perata's tenure has not been without controversy as mentioned in this 2004 item.
"The Don Perata investigation gets messier by the day, with new reports that his children are also subjects of the probe involving the senator's legislation and business interests. Senate Democrats are in a bind, as they don't want to over-react to an investigation that might be politically motivated but also don't want to be stuck with a leader who is hampered by the investigation or formal charges. At this point it still looks as if Perata will be formally installed as Senate leader on Dec. 6."
And the probe is still active as of November, 2007 according to the Los Angeles Times.
"Now several years old, the sprawling federal corruption probe of state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata has spurred him to spend more than $1 million on legal defense, clouded his two decades in public life and swept up close associates and his adult children.
The investigation into the East Bay lawmaker's political and business affairs has largely operated out of sight in recent years, although FBI agents have searched his home and his son's."
"But public records, subpoenas and interviews with officials and others contacted by the FBI show that it has remained very much alive.
A grand jury has heard testimony and issued subpoenas to numerous businesses and government agencies that dealt with Perata. And agents have talked to potential witnesses and collected records about many issues championed by the senator.
These include bond measures for seismic work on a Bay Area transit system, billboards along freeways and federal approval of an airport roadway."
"One common theme is that campaign contributors and associates often stood to gain from Perata's actions, and subpoenas and the FBI's questions suggest that the government has been looking for any money that may have illegally flowed back to him or has not been properly disclosed."
What it really costs Californians and others who purchase California's goods and services...
The governator is always fond of pointing out that his travel does not cost the State of California one cent as it is being paid by the "private sector."
Which is one of those half-truths which conceal more than they reveal. The sad fact is that the special interests who contribute to these organizations and charities do expect something in return and that the bad legislation and under-negotiated deals cost California a hell of a lot more money that do the planes, hotels and fine wining and dining! Millions and perhaps billions more.
As this is written, the California Fair Political Practices Commission is so embarrassed by the media exposure of these jet-setting politicians and their apparent lack of adequate oversight, that they are proposing new regulations to bring greater transparency into political spending.
However, like all appointed and partisan bodies, it remains to be seen if they can actually do something for the people instead of the political bigwigs that secured their positions.
Even if they were to demand full and complete accountability of politicians, it would be only a matter of time until some sharp political lawyer will provide another "interpretation" or expose a loophole in the regulations.
Therefore, the key to reducing corruption has always been the public's vigilance and the media's fearless reporting. Public shame and the possibility of being defeated often is the only checks and balances on today's political animals.
What can YOU do?
Demand that all State expenditures are fully and completely documented and that the use of overly broad categories to define expense justification be discontinued.
Demand that the State curtail its profligate spending. There is no need to visit a global warming conference or a light-rail conference with an entourage of supporters and political hangers-on.
Demand that the State eliminate all of the paid boards and great jobs that were given to supporters and political hacks as a reward for faithful service. Shrink government by at least 25% before increasing taxes.
Demand that public safety programs be funded before social programs. Cut out the subsidies to third-parties who do not perform.
Audit the major state programs and curtail the spending by state universities.
Enough with the nonsense and pork-barrel politics. Enough with the funny financial sleight-of-hand accounting. Let the state hire a Budget Czar -- My nomination is Tom McClintock -- to serve as the people's advocate in the budgetary process.
Defeat the Mexican socialists and hippy do-gooders who have spent California almost into oblivion -- with little or nothing in the way of new infrastructure to replace the crumbling ruins of our 50s and 60s-era freeways and our 1920s water systems.
It's our state and it's about time that we take it back from those who operate it on behalf of the special interests, themselves and the Mexican government.
A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…
The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar “Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar
“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS