So far during this recession, California's leaders, their staffs and their relatives have taken about 12,000 gifts worth a total of $833,000, according to Bee analysis of tens of thousands of lobbyist disclosure forms. Legislators sat these gifts, which include more than $150,000 in tickets to concerts and sporting events, don't affect the way they vote. Campaign watchdogs counter that they are just short of bribery.
Now it looks like Anthony Adams, the Assemblyman now facing a possible recall vote in a few months, figures prominently amongst those receiving gifts from lobbyists. And out of all the government officials in Sacramento, Anthony Adams comes in at number 7 on the lobby largesse hit parade! And not only that, his staff ranks an incredible #2 on the list of gifts received! This is pretty amazing if you think about it. Why is it this relatively obscure Assemblyman ranks so high on a list of names that includes hundreds of people? What does he do to merit such generosity? And if you go to the database you will see that the list of gifts and those who gave them goes on for page after page after page.
Here is a brief sampling of lobbyist gifts to Anthony Adams, along with the value of these presents:
Body Center "Massage Certificates" $300
Walt Disney Company "Tickets to Disneyland" $300
Metropolitan Water District Southern California "Water" $780 combined
AT&T "Tickets to Kings game" $121
Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs "Lunch and Gift" $107
Nectar Associates "Bluetooth Headset" $120
Anheiser Busch "Beer & Wine" $130
(Now back to our previously scheduled program...)
It looks like the folks who want to recall our Assemblyman Anthony Adams may have succeeded in getting enough signatures to help achieve their goal. This from the Victorville Daily Press:
The effort to recall Assemblyman Anthony Adams has netted enough signatures to qualify for a possible recall special election, organizers announced Thursday. The Committee to Recall Adams plans to submit 36,000 signatures in support of the Adams recall to the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters at 3 p.m. Tuesday. Recall supporters want to oust Adams, R-Hesperia, for pledging not to raise taxes and then providing a critical vote to pass a state budget with $12.5 billion in tax increases - the largest tax hike in California history ... If the recall moves forward, a special election would likely be held in January or February.
Personally I'm a little on the fence about this one. Not that I give a damn for Adams, I don't. And for reasons I will explain a little bit later. No, I'm kind of hung up on that tax-raising question.
Now both of our major political parties certainly have their ration of reprehensible traits. I am personally about as disgusted as a person can possibly be with our local Democrats. And this has not been an easy thing for me to come to grips with. I come from a family where you were born to the blue. My dad, a very political guy, was quite devoted to the affairs of the Democratic Party in Bergen County, New Jersey. One of his proudest possessions, which hung on the wall of his house right up until his death last year, was an autographed picture of a grinning version of his 1972 self next to an equally beaming George McGovern. But despite this touching personal legacy I have come to the conclusion that the Democratic Party of California is a corrupt and compromised disaster, completely in the pockets of the development and realty industries. Amongst many others. Traitors to the people whose interests they so unctuously claim to represent. Sorry, dad. What can I say? It's different out here.
But the Republican Party of California is an equally wretched mess. How a group of supposedly functioning adults can spend as much time as they do obsessing about who is married to whom is beyond me. Who could possibly care? Former Republican Assemblyman Michael "Sempra Love" DuVall? Just leave other people alone and try dealing with your own suspect lives why don't you. That would be my advice.
But where the GOP really goes south, at least in my opinion, is with this tax thing. Now the reason Sacramento needs as much money as it does is because it has to pay for a lot of things. Services, roads, railways, buses, health care, housing, schools, imprisoning about 1% of the state's population, the list is nearly endless. And why is this? Because the voters of California demand it. And where the Republicans have gone wrong is they have made a cause out of convincing people they don't have to pay what they really owe for all those state services they're receiving. Yes, you can accept all the Sacramento entitlements that you can get, and yes they are your right, but we'll still fight to cut your taxes anyway because, quite frankly, we want your vote. Telling people that they don't have to pay their way while still reaping the benefits of big government largesse is just about as irresponsible and hypocritical as you can get, and it's a big contributing factor in the $24 billion of state debt we've all done our part to create.
Now Anthony Adams shouldn't have told his political base that he would never vote to raise taxes unless he really intended to honor that promise. And in light of his subsequent tax raising he deserves their censure. But that said, was he wrong in supporting a tax hike? I don't think so. The people of this state want the government services that they receive, so they should be expected to pay their fair share to get them. Personally I think Adams showed some guts here. And maybe even a little integrity.
So does this mean that I will vote 'No' when the recall election comes around this winter? Absolutely not. I want this guy kicked to the curb and then driven from the district at the head of a howling mob. I don't want him to stop running until he gets somewhere east of Mississippi.
Why? Because Adams voted like a Democrat on SB 375, the law now known as the "Destroy California Cities Act." SB 375 effectively strips cities of the right to control development within their borders, and hands that power over to Sacramento. And why are they doing this? So that our venal legislators in Sacramento can pay back the development and realty lobbies for all those generous campaign contributions and other benefits. SB 375 is the biggest lobbyist boondoggle in California history. And Anthony Adams, member of a party that claims to represent hard working Californians, voted to fork over their interests to people who want to glut middle-class residential towns with shopping malls, vast new condo complexes, and towering mixed use office dungeons. All so that Sacramento's lobbyists can reap the benefits owed for all that cash they send to our lousy legislators.
Of course, what tops this all off is the 'yes' vote Anthony Adams cast this week on Assembly Bill 81 X3, the first piece of legislation in California history to ever attempt to run roughshod over a city's General Plan rights. And all for the benefit of a billionaire developer who wants to build a shopping center with a taxpayer funded pro football stadium attached to it. Yet one more step towards the brave new world of corporate state government. If the worst possible characteristic of the Democrats is the wholesale demolition of City development rights to please their lobbyist friends, then Adams by these two votes has proven himself to be right in there with them.
So yeah, vote to recall Anthony Adams. Throw the bum out. But maybe not for the advertised reasons.