Politics & Government

The Buzz: Oil industry treated California legislators to $13K dinner

As negotiations heated up in September over a bill to regulate hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, oil companies poured millions into lobbying the California Legislature, quarterly reports released last week show.

The three interest groups that spent the most money from July 1 to Sept. 30 were oil and gas companies: Chevron ($1,696,477), Western States Petroleum Association ($1,269,478) and Aera Energy LLC ($1,015,534).

Nearly $13,000 of the Western States Petroleum Association’s spending went toward hosting a dinner for 12 lawmakers and two staff members at The Kitchen, one of Sacramento’s poshest venues.

Moderate Democrats seemed to be the target: Assembly members Adam Gray, Henry Perea and Cheryl Brown attended, as did Sens. Norma Torres, Ron Calderon and Lou Correa.

The dinner was held Sept. 4, as Senate Bill 4 by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, was awaiting a vote on the Assembly floor.

After the bill was amended, environmental groups withdrew their support. A week later, the bill passed the Legislature. Gov. Jerry Brown signed it Sept. 20.

– Laurel Rosenhall


Nearly half of middle-class Americans don’t think they can save enough for a comfortable retirement, according to a new survey, and more than a third figure they’ll work until they are “at least 80.” The Harris Interactive poll, commissioned by San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co., found that more than half said paying bills trumps saving for retirement. Having a written plan is key: 91 percent of those with one said they have the willpower to save, but 69 percent of respondents ages 40 to 59 had no plan.

– Jon Ortiz


“This legislative body – the Senate, I cannot speak for the Assembly – will not be reduced to a rubber stamp.”

Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, voicing frustration Monday that the North Fork Rancheria negotiated its off-reservation casino compact with Gov. Jerry Brown before the Legislature could weigh in.