Another day at the beach for junketing California Assemblymen
03/07/2013 11:51 AM
03/07/2013 5:44 PM
This morning seemed rather slow on local topics, so I started digging back in the Sacbee Capitol Alert section to see if there was anything a bit...yeasty.
I noted that there was yet another Fabulous Free Hawaiian Vacation Package set-up for California state legislators by Perfectly Innocent Lobbyists.
Now, honest to God, here we are in 2013, where we've put a man on the moon and everything, and these people still haven't gotten the memo on how bad/tawdry/unseemly/catastrophically corrupt this all is.
Naturally, they all discuss public policy issues while staying, for free, at the Kea Lani Resort on Maui, as I surely would.
You're looking at someone who's going to Association of American Editorial Cartoonists convention in Salt Lake City this year.
Now, I like Salt Lake City. My great great grandfather had four wives and 38 children (his name was Joseph Smith Black--he Googles), so I have a little soft spot for Utah. But if I tried to sell the senior McClatchy executives on subsidizing a nice little gig in Maui with my cartoon homies, I suspect they'd take away my corporate credit card (which I love just...looking at).
In Oregon, one of the lobbyists for the beer and wine industry tried to rig a Hawaii junket like this, and the local news media absolutely took his head off. For weeks. On the front page. He aged about ten years in two weeks. He needed beer and wine after the story broke out.
In California Politics Land, it's just another day at the beach. Ho hum. And pass the SPF 50.
Naturally, one of the groups that paid for these trips were appropriately vaguely named, as they always are -the California Independent Voter Project and the Pacific Policy Research Foundation. Now, I am certain that these people are all on the up and up, both being run by former assemblymen and everything, but if it's so very sanitary, why the delay in reporting the trip until April? If it's so pro bono publico, then shouldn't the participating legislators just have a nice little news conference and pipe right up about what a great time they're going to have on Maui? It's just a little sister state eco-devo, right?
Oh, and the California Independent Voter Project and the Pacific Policy Research Foundation don't have to disclose their donors.
Why do we keep putting up with this stuff? Because they make the rules, and you don't seem to care too much. That's why.
So, maybe the California Independent Voter Project should think about another state for next year's Thinking About California Public Policy, Legislation, and Issues.
I like Utah. Salt Lake City.
Then they won't get distracted.
About This BlogJack Ohman joined The Sacramento Bee in 2013. He previously worked at the Oregonian, the Detroit Free Press and the Columbus Dispatch. His work is syndicated to more than 200 newspapers by Tribune Media Services. Jack has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Scripps Foundation Award and the national SPJ Award, and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and the Herblock Prize in 2013. Contact Jack at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @JACKOHMAN.
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