Sunday, January 8, 2012

State Senator Bob Huff is a Josh Groban Fan

I was going to include this as part of yesterday's contemplation on the sad state of the California Legislature, but figured it was a bit too good to not receive its own special place in the sun. So it will, and on a Sunday, no less. The photograph of Bob and a very impressed Sierra Madre dignitary was taken by Bill Coburn. Bill has a veritable community rogue's gallery of such pictures over on his site, and it really is worth a visit every now and again. You just never know what you'll find there.

California Watch, which was founded by the Center for Investigative Reporting, is a site that prides itself on exposing the discrepancies shown by some politicians and their claims of properly serving the citizenry. And the focus of their attention on January 5th was none other than our own State Senator, Bob Huff. Bob was recently chosen the new State Senate Republican leader (over all 15 of them), and California Watch (click here) figured it should share some of the things it knows about the influential Bob Huff with its readers. Here is some of what they had to say:

Special interests gave money, gifts to new Senate GOP leader - Behind the legislative record of newly chosen Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff is a host of special interests that have funded his campaigns and given him expensive gifts.

Last year, for example, the California Dental Association spent $124 to send Huff to a Josh Groban concert, the day after giving him a $1,700 donation. AT&T, meanwhile, gave Huff a ticket to see Eric Clapton last March, and PG&E spent $146 on dinner for him at Morton's Steakhouse in Sacramento, according to lobbying records. Huff attended these events with other legislators.

Huff, who represents parts of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties, served in the State Assembly from 2004 to 2008, when he was elected to the Senate. Along the way, his biggest campaign contributors were a developer for whom his wife has worked, a casino-owning Indian tribe and the tobacco company formerly known as Philip Morris, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics.

California Watch then went on to list Senator Huff's Top 10 political contributors. A couple of them having some significance here in Sierra Madre. AT&T, noted for its exceptionally lousy cell phone service, is certainly one. But also the California Building Industry Association, which once featured Bart Doyle as its head legal beagle and tried to almost single handedly buy the referendum on Measure V, is another. Fortunately we weren't for sale. Also there is Majestic Realty, of which we will have more to say in a moment. Here is that Top 10:

1) Majestic Realty --- $67,850
2) Altria --- $21,600
3) Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians --- $21,600
4) Farmers Insurance Group --- $16,740
5) Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians --- $15,580
6) AT&T --- $15,500
7) California Building Industry Association --- $15,500
8) Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers --- $14,550
9) Eli Lilly & Co. --- $14,350
10) California Dental Association --- $14,300

As interesting as their insights into Bob Huff's political money-line might be, California Watch may have missed the boat on one important item in their report. Here is what they had to say:

Huff was named a 2011 Legislator of the Year by the League of California Cities for his fight to save local redevelopment agencies, which were abolished by the Legislature. Huff, however, came under criticism because his wife simultaneously worked for a big developer benefiting from redevelopment funding.

The developer, Majestic Realty, led by billionaire Ed Roski, is Huff's biggest campaign contributor, giving $67,850 since 2004. Huff abstained from voting on a 2009 bill that waived environmental review requirements for a Majestic project to build a football stadium in the City of Industry.

What is unfortunate about this is while Sen. Huff did abstain on that particular vote, he did cast one on a procedural item that was essential in getting Big Ed Roski's NFL stadium CEQA exemption moved onto the Senate floor for a vote. Had the helpful Senator Huff not intervened as he did this matter would have died in committee.

Back in October of 2009 a related piece was posted on the site, "Leftovers from City Hall." This article (click here), along with a comment attached to it, sheds some light on our observations above.

Huff defends Senate procedural vote - I spoke with State Sen. Bob Huff Wednesday, who was less than pleased over the allegations he had a conflict of interest when casting a vote in the Senate last week. The vote in question was a procedural one to help move an environmental bill to the Senate floor. Problem is, that environmental bill --which passed -- will exempt a proposed NFL stadium in Industry from state environmental laws.

Members of the Citizens for Community Preservation, Inc., which had a lawsuit filed against the stadium, said the vote was unethical because of Huff and his wife's involvement with Industry and the stadium's developer, Majestic Realty.

Huff called the allegations "about as bogus as the lawsuit," and said he had consulted with legal counsel, who told him there was, in fact, no conflict. Huff said he originally was not going to participate in the vote at all. But then he was asked to step in, and even the Senate President -- along with others -- told him there was no legal conflict.

Back in the day used to attract some pretty lively on-line commenting. But for whatever reason that site turned over its commenting function to cyber-dustbin liner Facebook, which then completely killed off any conversation there, whatsoever. That said, here is what a commenter in 2009 by the name of James I. Flourney had to say about Sen. Huff's complaints:

Legally Huff may get a pass. I understand that the Citizens have filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). But ethically Huff failed to live up to community standards. Huff's wife works for Pacific Palms Resort which is owned by Majestic and Roski. California is a "Community Property State."

Huff had said he was conflicted but when faced with the choice of following the rules or suspending the rules, Huff voted to suspend the rules thus bypassing sending the bill to committee which would have given it the hearing it deserved.

Huff said he originally was not going to participate in the vote at all. That was the correct choice. But then he was asked to step in. By whom, Steinberg? Romero? And why? Because if he had not fallen on his sword for Majestic the vote would have failed. Whose legal counsel did he consult? Majestic's? Getting political cover does not make his vote ethical.

Bob Huff must resign.

Of course, resigning because of some ethical disgrace is not how things work in California right now. Today if you abuse the trust voters gave you when they sent you to Sacramento, the powers that be make you a Senate Leader. Which then, of course, results in making the likes of Sen. Huff eligible for even more money from the special interests whose needs he puts first.

The rot is everywhere. And so are the consequences.


  1. Watching you huffy puffy gonna blow your house downJanuary 8, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    Good Morn,

    Since it is Sunday, I believe it is okay to bring up the deep spiritual belief, my god voice, my ka to my ba, that affirms for me that Bob Huff is a dirty birdie. It is a feeling that I have grown to trust, perhaps when you pray for truth, as long and as hard as I did for many years, taking into the consideration that the truth delivered is not always what you or I want, but is that "not my will but yours be done", type. Seeing horrific acts, lack of ethics, breaches of integrity by persons for power and/or money. It is that wall of feeling, instinct, wisdom, that rises up like gall when I hear the name Huff. A man that consults his attorney for outside definition of conflict instead of choosing what is truly right or wrong repulses my god sense, stirs my righteous indignation. It will be a told ya so, moment and those of us with ethics and true integrity refrain from saying that outloud.

  2. I guess no one's up yet this morning, eh? Bob Huff's corrupted nature is not surprise. I'd bet you could not find an incorruptible politician - that just seems to go with the territory. It's the level of corruption and the blatant abuse of power that seems to be increasing, as we saw with Huff's machinations in favor of Majestic Realty regarding the building of an NFL stadium in the City of Industry. His response to complainants proves that he, much like our local council people, believes himself to be above the law, unaccountable to his constituency, untouchable and empowered to act in whatever way he likes, despite the repercussions.

    Nice shot of Susan Henderson sucking up to one of her compatriots. Birds of a feather do indeed flock togetherl

  3. Huff is a fine example of what rises to the top in Sacramento.

  4. Susan was a Republican before she was a Democrat.

  5. 8:57
    Yes, and she was a slow growth "best friend" of Katina and Kevin Dunn's slow growth paper the Mount Wilson Observer, until she started writing bad checks (I guess they got fed up covering for her). She supported Yes on V....until after the election. She then stole Katina's paper, and sold out to the highest bidders....the dirts and their crooked pol pals.
    Susan Henderson has no integrity, she'll sell out.

  6. Maybe she was asking Bob for a "loan."

  7. Don't forget to take a closer look at the top of the head in the lower right hand corner.

    Easy to spot another phoney.

  8. Must have been a very special occasion.

  9. Great photo for those playing "Where's Mosca?"

  10. Once politicians started taking "gifts" the corruption was inevitable. I don't understand how our body politic ever allowed that polite system of bribery to continue, let alone start.

  11. More linguistic shenanigans!
    Just what do the words Conflict of Interest mean anyway?
    These blatant crimes can drive a person crazy!
    Why does Huff get away with this?

  12. 9:21, I imagine that Huff and staffers went back to his office, looked up Susan Harriet Henderson Poole whatever for future usefulness, and decided pretty quick that an association with her would not be prudent. Good old Coburn for catching the moment anyway.

  13. The Mountain Views News publishes Huff's column from time to time. A deal must have been made. I wonder what the Foothill Democrats think.

  14. When my kids were little, I used to bake cookies for their teachers two or three times a year. How about if we limit politicians' gifts to home baked goods?

  15. What exactly are all of Hendersons names?

  16. That is a great picture. Lot of love happening there.

  17. The Sierra Madre in crowd loves itself dearly.

  18. Susan Harriett Poole Carter Henderson I believe. Did I miss any?

  19. Huff should resign, or be fired.
    What is required to make that happen. Probably more money, more grassroots groups who open up their wallets to launch a recall, and then make it happen.
    It's a full time job keeping our politicians on task.

  20. Eli Lilly & Co, hum? So what does big Pharm buy from Huff?

  21. Was Bob Matheson there?

  22. 12:40, Matheson is all over the archives at Coburn's site. The man was an attendee at every event someone would take a picture of.

  23. Matheson was a Chamber of Commerce member. He attended all of their functions. Usually dressed in a kilt. Kind of made all those claims that they didn't know him not so believeable.

  24. Yes Matheson was there. Sierra Madre Citizen of the Year party, 2009. And yes, there's a picture of him.

  25. Sierra Madre's finest.

  26. Being special means never having to say you're sorry.

  27. "Take stock of those around you and you will ... hear them talk in precise terms about themselves and their surroundings, which would seem to point to them having ideas on the matter. But start to analyse those ideas and you will find that they hardly reflect in any way the reality to which they appear to refer, and if you go deeper you will discover that there is not even an attempt to adjust the ideas to this reality. Quite the contrary: through these notions the individual is trying to cut off any personal vision of reality, of his own very life. For life is at the start a chaos in which one is lost. The individual suspects this, but he is frightened at finding himself face to face with this terrible reality, and tries to cover it over with a curtain of fantasy, where everything is clear. It does not worry him that his 'ideas' are not true, he uses them as trenches for the defense of his existence, as scarecrows to frighten away reality." - Jose Ortega y Gasset

    You should try taking your own advise, Mr. Moderator.

  28. Huff is an interesting politician. “I defy teachers”, that from State Senator Bob Huff.


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