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The first sign was Mayor Pulido scuttling away from his half-million-dollar finder’s fee – no, wait, let me back up a little…
You may recall that, in the twilight weeks of his shame-filled governorship, Arnold Schwarzenegger nearly succeeded in selling 22 state-owned buildings (owned by you and me that is) to some group of investors that Miguel helped put together; with the catch that you and I were on the hook for leasing those buildings back for the next 20-30 years. At a loss, of course.
[Lexicologists will note that this blog coined the term "sleasing" for this practice, and we eagerly wait for the term to catch on.]
This scam had a number of features in common with the Fairgrounds Swindle:
- They were both justified dubiously by a modest short-term goose to Arnold’s budget;
- They both consisted of selling valuable public real estate at the bottom of the market;
- They both seemed to really be basically favors to venal political allies of the Governor, suggesting an “unconstitutional gift of public funds”;
- They both were pushed through with jawdropping desperation in the final month of 2010 with the obvious implication that Jerry Brown wouldn’t countenance such crookedness;
- And they are both HELD UP IN COURT as we speak, hopefully in Terri Schiavo mode.
Well, look now. Nobody even wants to admit to having been part of the group, “California First LLC,” that’s trying to make this purchase. Crackerjack journalist Liz Stevens of the Bay Citizen has put buku effort into tracking down who’s actually involved in the deal, and what does she get – a bunch of double-talk, unreturned calls, “We’re only involved as advisors,” and “We’re not involved any more.”
As one of the lawyers for the folks trying to derail this scam observes, “I think, frankly, they cannot stand to see the light of day on their transaction.” So, so Arnold. His shadow fades from our state and you can practically hear the “clack clack clack” of all the cockroaches scuttling away into the corners. And so may it be with our Fairgrounds and Facilities Management West!
Worst Governor Ever Even Worse Than Worst President Ever?
Well, okay, there’s no way Arnold committed anything like the crimes or caused anything like the damage of George W. Bush. But when it comes to end-of-term pardons, Bush shines in comparison. Having somehow, so belatedly, wrested himself free of the baneful influence of Cheney, Rove and Rumsfeld, Bush refused to completely pardon Scooter Libby, sending Cheney into apoplexy. In fact he made a point of pardoning nobody powerful or well-connected (creating a nice contrast with Bill Clinton and his shameful last-minute pardon of billionaire scumbag Marc Rich.) Instead Bush showed mercy to obscure and hapless losers like the guy in Kentucky who accidentally poisoned some bald eagles instead of coyotes, which sort of made a sweet and humble coda to his disastrous presidency.
Arnold, though. With no forewarning, letting Fabian Núñez’ scumbag slasher son go free. The punk who boasted “My dad will get me off.” And no statement, explanation, apology, or letting the victim’s family know. This just tastes worse the more it sinks in.
What’s “Good Riddance” in Austrian?