There are so many dangerous, powerful and just flat wrong Californians … how can I pick just 13? That’s easy … by starting at #13 and counting down.
#13 – Mary Nichols, Director, California Air Resources Board
As the chief enforcer of AB32, California’s Quixotic crusade to single-handedly stop global warming, Nichols has led the charge to tax industry on carbon emissions, force us into less-safe cars, and shower today’s generation of Robber Barron capitalists with piles of our tax dollars as “incentives” for green energy. Her efforts to set truck diesel emission levels low enough to force most truckers out of business was so corrupted – with her full knowledge and consent – that it is tied up in lawsuits.
#12 – Matthew Rodriguez, Sec. for Environmental Protection/CalEPA
CalEPA – which you can thank for women’s false fears about a link between passive smoke and breast cancer – has long thrown its weight behind unproven (unprovable?) science. Especially if it increases the power of the state. Rodriguez has globe-hopped this year promoting California’s carbon tax scheme to other countries. He says he’s doing no such thing, as he’s “loathe to get involved in the international discussions” about carbon credits. Yeah, but he said that at a UN carbon credits conference … in Poland.
#11 – Ron Calderon, D-Montebello
His state senate district includes the jaw-droppingly corrupt city of Bell, and Calderon can match that city’s cesspool of corruption dollar-for-dollar. Calderon isn’t just a player in Sacramento’s pay-for-play underbelly, he’s its poster boy, waving around expensive cigars after more expensive meals at even more expensive posh resorts, all paid for by lobbyists and favor-seekers. His political empire is crashing now in an FBI investigation, so if there’s any justice at all for us taxpayers, he’ll soon be sharing a very un-posh jail cell with disgraced Bell city manager Robert Rizzo.
#10 – Pam O’Connor, Santa Monica Councilmember and Statist
There are, unfortunately, hundreds of big-government power-grabbers in California, but O’Connor takes the Gov Girls Gone Wild thing to a higher level. The former mayor of the People’s Republic of Santa Monica is a big player at the appropriately named SCAG (SoCal Area Governments). There she chairs its Regional Comprehensive Plan Task Force, whose goal it is to tell us how they know we should live – crowded into urban flats our forefathers had the wisdom to flee, taking mass transit (she also chairs LA’s money-losing Transit Authority) to green jobs so we can pay more and more taxes.
#9 – Dan Richard, Chair, California High Speed Rail Authority
It was a bad year for the CHSRA this year, and for reasons much worse than its lack of a cool acronym like CARB or SCAG. It seems that judges want to hold Richard’s agency to the promises made in the ballot initiative that created it, and if that weren’t bad enough, the feds insist on treating it like any other rail agency. The nerve. Still, Richard soldiers on, convinced that if he can bamboozle Californians into letting him build just one forlorn stretch of track in the hinterlands, the money machine won’t shut off until the entire money-losing monstrosity is completed.
#8 Roxanne Sanchez, President, SEIU Local 1021
Sanchez heads one of two Bay Area Rapid Transit unions whose strikes subjected 400,000 Bay Area commuters to chaos earlier this year. She became the face of public employee hubris as she articulated the arguments why workers whose average salary is over $70,000 a year plus $11,000 in overtime – and who contribute nothing toward their lucrative retirement packages – should get a raise of 23 percent. As if that weren’t enough, after a deal was struck, she sued BART over a fine point in the new contract to get even more money.
#7 – Carlos Ramos, California’s Chief Information Officer
California is home to Google, Apple, Facebook and legions of other competent, successful tech companies, but all the brainpower of the Silicon Valley is powerless against the computing black hole that is Sacramento. This year, it was the 124,000 Californians who didn’t get their unemployment checks because a simple programming update brought a decrepit, 30-year-old state computer system to its knees. That was nothing compared to the big California computer tragedies like the Oracle Scandal and the California Courts Case Management System. And the buck for all this stops at Ramos’ desk.
#6 – Mary Shallenberger, Chair, California Coastal Commission
In Crazifornia, I call the California Coastal Commission the Star Chamber of the Coast because it’s a nest of religious radicals with a predilection for torturing those who offend their goddess, Mother Earth. And Shallenberger is the demi-goddess of the Commission. When she’s not advocating abortion on demand for the Guttmacher Institute, she is taking the most radical environmentalist position on Coastal’s board of radical environmentalists. Yes, she actually believes it’s perfectly fine to suck a human embryo out of a mother’s body, but a mortal sin to suck a fish egg into a power or desalination plant.
#5 – Mark Berndt, Former Member, California Teachers Association
Berndt, you may be unfortunate enough to recall, is the LA-area elementary school teacher accused of feeding his semen to children in his class. As if that weren’t obscene enough, LA Unified soon discovered that the teachers’ union’s hold on schools was so tight that they couldn’t get rid of Berndt unless they paid him off with $40,000. Why? Because he filed a complaint that he had been wrongly fired. The California Teachers’ Association is the most powerful union in Sacramento – and never forget it represents teachers, not students.
#4 – Mark Leno, D-San Francisco
As San Francisco’s state senator, it’s no surprise Leno has written or backed every recent bill calling for liberalizing drug laws and giving greater rights to everyone but heterosexuals. What should concern us more is, first, the bill he sponsored this year to advance the Progressives’ all-out attack on Proposition 13, second, the two bills he sponsored to restrict our Second Amendment freedoms, and third, that he just might our Attorney General or even Governor before too long.
#3 – Tom Steyer, Billionaire Environmentalist
Steyer, a ridiculously wealthy San Francisco wealth manager, first entered our consciousness when he pumped $30 million of his own money to pass Prop 39. (Hat-tip to Christopher Cadelago and Kevin Dayton for your sharp eyes on my previous error, now corrected.0 That’s the 2012 ballot initiative that increased taxes on out-of-state corporations and sprinkled the largess on alternative energy companies like those his company, Farallon Capital Management, owns pieces of. This year, he was the Big Spender that got Terry McCaullife, a politician so slimy he taught Bill and Hillary dirty tricks, elected governor of Virginia. If your money is in OneCalifornia Bank, move it, because Steyer owns it.
#2 – Jerry Brown, Governor
Brown, the master of political deceit, once said his politics is like canoeing: He paddles some on the left, then some on the right. But he’s a left-handed canoeist and his course ultimately pulls to the left. He was definitely paddling left this year when he signed SB7, a bill that stripped Charter Cities of their constitutional right to set wages on construction jobs – a big victory for the unions that put him in power. Like most Progressives, Brown has inherited wealth – in fact, he inherited an oil fortune – and he salves the resulting guilt by sticking Californians with the fat bill for “government generosity.”
#1 – Kamala Harris, Attorney General
I can say with near-certainty that our next governor will be younger and more attractive (physically, anyway) than our current one. Harris, who cut her political teeth out-liberaling every other attorney in the San Francisco DA office, has her eyes set on the governorship … and her agenda set firmly in the Progressive camp. The liberal magazine The Nation tells us, “When she was a child in Berkeley, her parents took her and her sister, Maya, to protests and nudged them to view the world through a social justice lens.” Count on her to continue to use her office to kill ballot initiatives that would help California, while continuing to build her political bank account with public employee unions and trial lawyers.