Geez, We Left Out the Biggest One!

The other day this blog ran a post on the meaning of Repuglicanism, and shared some honest-to-goodness examples. But we left out one of the biggest: Anaheim’s own Mayor, Curt Pringle. Pringle has been using his political contacts and trading on his position for years as a Sacramento lobbyist and string puller.

What comes after A?
What comes after A?

In case there was any doubt of Pringle’s status as a ‘Pug, the Ackerman campaign today crowed about getting Pringle’s endorsement for her carpetbagging run for the open 72nd Assembly seat. Well that figures. As a ‘Pug, Pringle is basically in it for what he can get out of it, and the constituents be damned. So what if the candidate lives in Irvine? Pringle can afford to be fast and loose with his endorsement, for what it’s worth. The 72nd includes only a small part of Anaheim. And he’s termed out of office next year.

Why do all the lobbyists flock to Mrs. Ackerman?

Milking The Cash Cow; John Lewis et. al. and The Politics of Profit

Oh, jeez, here he comes again...
Oh, jeez, here he comes again...

Why is it so many supposedly conservative, small-government OC Republicans seem to make it their business to make as much money as they can off of the very entities that they are constantly railing against? For many of these miscreants the County government is nothing but a plantation to be worked, and worked over, as often as possible.

Take the case of former State Senator John Lewis, supposed arch-conservative Republican, who as a campaign consultant gets his boys elected and then as a lobbyist raises money for them – right before he puts the squeeze on them for a vote or two. His “firm” brags about being able to navigate the complex maze of government. Hmm. Seems like it’s to his advantage to keep government as big, complicated, and non-user friendly as possible. The list of other Republicans -like Anaheim mayor Curt Pringle, County GOP party Chairman Scott Baugh and his predecessor Tom Fuentes, who lobby this or that – is pretty long. We’ve even heard from one reliable source that the latter’s endorsement can be had – for 2500 bucks.

But back to Lewis. His most recent Lewis scam seems to be the utterly bizarre candidacy of one Laura Cunningham for the County Clerk job – as reported by Lewis himself on the Orange Juice blog here. We say bizarre because this idea is so weird that it barely deserves consideration. Except that what the hell, somebody’s got to win this election! Ms. Cunningham is the spouse of Matt Cunningham, a Lewis protege and collaborator; according to her on-line resume she also used to work for Lewis himself as a lobbyist at the County Hall of Admin – so the promotion of this “candidacy” makes sense. But this woman seemingly has no experience or record managing anything. Like her husband, she seems to have spent an adulthood spinning yarns for this or that Republican politician, or trying to help some clients “navigate” some public issue or other (i.e lobbying and PR); running a public agency? Nuh, uh.

Can't these people get real jobs?

Lewis may be afraid that his boy Tom Daly is getting cold feet about running to replace Chris Norby as Supervisor and wants him to nail his colors to the mast by endorsing a potential successor. Ultimately Lewis has nothing to lose by promoting an unqualified unknown. Who knows? Maybe the whole thing is just a ploy. On the other hand maybe Lewis figures this could be the start of a brilliant new political career – and ultimately a lobbying target in the future!

P.S. The funny thing about all of this is that everybody seems to be forgetting about Chris Norby who until a few days ago was also running for the Clerk job. If he gets beat by Ackerman in the 72nd Assy primary in November will he re-train his sights on preserving our vital records at the County Clerk’s office? And what would Lewis do at that point?

The Tongue Bath

We knew it was coming, of course. The last obsequious tribute of the ultimate repuglican lackey to the ultimate repuglican puppeteer. Still, it’s pretty gross even when you knew it was coming.

No mention of incompatible offices, or of directing hundreds of millions to pet projects, or of do-nothing contracts with opaque organizations like the Children and Families Commission and the Cemetery District; no mention of a financial interest Form 700 that’s over 60 pages long; and no mention of “freedom-friendly” up-zoning that cleared out huge swaths of light industrial employers and employees to make way for high-density condos built by buddies.

Well, what did you expect?

BIG SIDHU SUPPORTER IN DEEP FECAL MATTER WITH FEDS?

Last December we posted about a character named Ajit Mithaiwala who had built a heavily subsidized low income housing fustercluck project in Fullerton in the 1990s that epitomized the futility and incompetence of Fullerton Redevelopment Agency.

Remember? His name popped up on a host committee list for a fund raiser thrown by high speed rail impresario  and con man Curt Pringle, in honor of his boy, Hide and Seek Harry Sidhu. Since the name appeared to be mispelled we had fun with the notion that it might be somebody else.

Oh, no, no, no! That is another guy, I tell you. There are hundreds of them. Thousands of them.

In the post we wondered aloud what had become of Mithaiwala, and what he had been up to the past ten years.

It turns out we weren’t alone. Federal government auditors, prosecutors, and the FBI have been wondering too, according to an L.A. Times article forwarded to us by an alert Friend.

All sorts of misbehavin’ have been attributed to this guy and his development company that found a niche building subsidized, low-income housing projects, including fraud, failure to report income, and building shoddy, unsafe buildings. His politcal contributions have been scrutinized, too.

Here are a few choice morsels in the article from the Federal investigator:

“virtually no financial records,” no general ledger, no balance sheet and no bank reconciliations. Working with forensic accountants, he said he had discovered “potential fraud and criminal activity.”

On Tuesday, he told the court he was still trying to gain control of company assets and had identified 400 bank accounts, as well as $600,000 in gold bullion and three cars, including a Bentley.

It transpires that besides Fullerton, Mithaiwala has left a trail of tears behind him in cities across Southern California, including our neighbor to the south, Anaheim,  where the Mayor Pro Tem is none other than Hide and Seek Harry Sidhu.

I know nothing. Nothing!

Yikes. You don’t mess with the Treasury Department, boys. Even Al Capone could tell you that.