Matthew J. Cunningham is scurrying around the internet trying to plug the holes in his sinking conservative reputation. Amongst other things, he has accused the Friends of posting portions of his invoices “out of context,” whatever that means. Of course he refuses to explain the details of his activities and continues to do the old “look over there” routine.
You want context? Fine. Here are all of the Pacific Strategies invoices that we scanned. Enjoy.
Here’s an article from Tim Cavanaugh at Reason, having some fun with Rob Reiner’s big government First Five Program.
The best part is the reference to our old friend Matthew J. Cunningham. Follow the links all the way back to a 2006 Flash Report blog post Cunningham did on the program – before he got hooked up with all that Children and Families green!
And here is a tale in The Voice of OC(EA) about how our local branch is suing the State to keep their stash from going to help support MediCal! It seems these people are really, really desperate to keep their gravy train rolling along. After all, the Executive Director of the OC branch makes $327,000 a year in salary and benefits. His job? Handing out cash. Nice work if you can get it.
Right now the First Five superstructure is tottering and about to collapse. Let’s help give it a push.
The other day we re-ran a post from last year questioning how repuglican yakmouth Hugh Hewitt was qualified to be on OC’s version of Rob Reiner’s tax and redistribute Children and Families Commission. See, we didn’t believe he could possibly meet the requirements for membership defined in the County ordinance.
Watching yesterday’s Board meeting provided some enlightenment and showed how much Supervisor BillCampbell, who chairs this ultra-liberal commission, wants Hewitt on there. Badly.
As Campbell explained, Hewitt does indeed qualify in the education category. How? Because he is a director of the local branch of something called Young Life. I googled the name and found this. Not much to go on. No list of directors, so we’ll just have to take Hugh’s word for it. But check it out. It’s a Christian-based program for adolescents. This has zero to do with 0-5 child development and nothing to do with any professional qualifications for anything, so at least now we can be completely satisfied that Hewitt’s appointment was always bogus.
But as they say on TV infomercials: wait, there’s more!
According to Supervisor Shawn Nelson, who objected to Hewitt’s appointment, the latter missed seven meetings in a twelve moth period, and, per the code, was automatically removed from the Commission. Of course the Commission staff never notified the Board of Supervisors as the law requires. Hewitt was simply permitted to keep participating in the few meetings he was able to make, and was casually “re-appointed” along with the rest of the incumbents. And on that subject Nelson demonstrated that no solicitation for new members had ever been made – also required by the law.
So there you have it. A packed, opaque Commission doing whatever the hell it damn well pleases, and answerable to nobody, except presumably, its grossly overpaid Executive Director and his protector Bill Campbell.
Here’s a post we ran last summer. Why is it timely? Beacuse I noticed on Tuesday’s Board of Supervisor’s agenda an item to reappoint all of Supervisor Bill Campbell’s minions on the OC Children and Families Commission – including Hugh Hewitt – who is not legally qualified to be on the Commission in the first place.
P.S. Apparently you can join Hewitt on a cruise! If you decide to go be sure to ask him to explain the complicity of a “conservative” on a big, liberal tax-redistributionist scheme. Let us know if you get a coherent answer!
And what useful purpose does he serve there?
According to the State Health and Safety Code, and the County Code that created the “First Five Commissions” (pursuant to liberal activist Rob Reiner’s successful tax and redistribute Prop 10), the commissions are made up of people in the kiddie welfare biz.
Which brings us to Hugh Hewitt, whom Gustavo Arellano has described as a “conservative yakmouth.” We’ll leave aside the conservative tag for a bit and reflect upon the fact that Hewitt is a lawyer, talking head, writer (when not being ghost written for by Matthew J. Cunningham), etc.
Here are the minimum qualifications, per the Code, for the membership category in which Hewitt is enrolled:
A representative of a local child care resource or referral agency, or a local child care coordination group, or a local organization for prevention or early intervention for families at risk, etc…
Since Hewitt is clearly not recognizable by the Code’s definition, we are entitled to inquire and speculate about the real reason this ‘pug is on the Commission. Could it be simply to help ratify contracts to his pals and buddies at the behest of Commission Chairman Bill Campbell, the avuncular cipher who represents the 3rd District on the County Board of Supervisors? Campbell appointed him.
And maybe he is there to help his old friend Cunningham put some sort of conservative polish on this big, liberal road apple.
The OC Register’s Tony Saavedra penned a nice little piece today exposing the Orange County Children and Families Commission Executive Director’s fabulous salary. Mike Ruane, the guy in question, pulls down a nifty $327K by the time everything is said and done. He has a grand total of 23 employees.
In the past we have explored the huge sums of money this tax-and-redistribute operation has paid out to political PR operations like Kurt Pringle; and we have detailed the idiotic $200 an hour payments to one Matthew J. Cunningham for doing thngs like listen to the radio and publicize toothbrush handouts.
It turns out that Ruane and his well-connected repuglican pals are not the only folks doing well by doing good. According to Saavedra over half of Ruane’s small posse pulls in over a hundred Gs per annum!
So who’s in charge? Well, nobody, of course. This is the worst kind of unaccountable government. The Board members are all appointed, but don’t answer to anybody. They can basically do any damn thing they want so long as the word “child” is mentioned somewhere. Atop the pyramid of power sits Supervisor Bill Campbell. You remember him. The one who actually wept here on the dais contemplating the good works of the Human Relations Commission. The Kids Commission is his pet project and damned if he isn’t going to do his God-ordained good works with your tax dollars.
Campbell’s respone to Saavedra is just comical and suggests that this idiot is probably just as profligate with County resources as he is handing out tobacco tax dough to kiducrats.
A while back we posted a story about the OC Grand Jury callying for a lobbyist registry. They also attacked the practice of government agencies paying lobbyists to lobby other government agencies. Teri Sforza at the OC Watchdog did a post, here.
Yes, it certainly seems even more disturbing when practiced by opaque agencies like Water Districts and of course, by our old pals at the Children and Families Commission.
As we have amply documented, this commission has paid Curt Pringle to lobby on its behalf and it has also employed the services of former State legistalor Phil Isenberg. Just yesterday we did a post about wordsmith Matthew J. Cunningham raking in some big bucks getting ready and attending a lunch for legislative staffers. Presumably the whole thing was a lobbying sales job.
The worst part of this of course, is that the OC commission is not lobbying for itself. No point in that – unless there’s a call to change the money distribution formula to benefit OC. No, all these hundreds of thousands of lobbying dollars are going to defend Prop 10 revenue in general. In other words, the OC Children and Families Commissions is spending all this dough lobbying for the other 57 counties’ First Five Commissions.
Are these other counties lobbying themselves? Who knows. Not unlikely. But this just emphasizes the point that the whole thing is out of control – no matter how many times Cunningham ghost writes blather about how well run they are.
And while we’re at it, let’s remember The White House Writers Group and their six-figure contract to promote the commission outside around the country!
If you think about it the whole thing really stinks. Time to pick off the scab on the commission and see what’s supperating underneath.
Here’s a compilation of invoiced time Matthew J. Cunningham spent ghost writing for the supposed conservative Hugh Hewitt,who is a proud member of Rob Reiner’s Children and Families Commission.
Hewitt is Cunningham’s blog mentor who encouraged him to start what is today called “Red County”.
As noted above Hewitt is also a commissioner on the CFCOC, and thus Cunningham’s boss.
It’s odd that the presumably literate Hewitt can’t write his own letters and “op-ed” pieces if he believes so strongly in the Commission. He needs his buddy Cunningham to do it at a cool $200 an hour; and he’ll do it too, dammit, no matter how many hours it takes.
Of course it’s also odd that Hewitt is on this ridiculous commission in the first place, unless one recognizes it as a platform to dispense patronage to old pals.
Sometimes its hard to tell whether certain people are stupid or lazy. Or maybe a little of both. Take, for instance, County Supervisor Bill Campbell who is currently the Chairman of the OC Children and Families Commission.
As a commissioner he has approved big PR contracts to his political pal Matthew J. Cunningham whom he also appointed to the County Parks Commission. And I mean really big contracts. And apparently free of either competition or real scrutiny.
Part of Cunningham’s job is to ghost write pro-commission “op-ed” pieces for politicians across the political spectrum who either can’t be bothered, or who are too illiterate to do it themselves. The topic of these scribblings is always the same: protect the tax revenue!
Here’s an invoice where Mr. Conservative Republican Wordsmith is wordsmithing hard for – Bill Campbell!
And looky here, we’ve uncovered the fruits of Mr. Cunningham’s labors in the OC Register.
There are some fun quotes about rigorous audits and Grand Jury approbation that come a-tumblin’ out of the old mannequin’s mouth, but these are my faves:
“I can say unequivocally that if state government emulated the prudent, sensible and farsighted operations and budgeting practices of the Children and Families Commission, there would be no state budget crisis.”
Uh, yeah, like handing out a $200K per year PR contract that enables your pal to put semi-intelligent words in your mouth for $200 an hour.
“…while our commission contracts out as many functions as possible so more dollars go toward funding services rather than bureaucracy.”
See comment above. Contracting out unnecessary PR crap for $200 an hour services like facebook updates, going to lunch with Steve Greenhut, and passing out toothbrushes. Newsflash Bill – that robs funding. Contracting out for unnecessary services is incompetent. Directing that largess to a political crony is despicable.
“Taxpayers should cast a critical eye on the idea of abolishing such county Children and Families commissions, which are locally accountable and manage their budgets responsibly…”
Uh huh. Yeah. Sure, Bill. You pass out hundreds of thousands annually for lobbying and PR most of which seems to be mysteriously directed outside Orange County. Well, Campbell also seems to be one of the masterminds behind the unintentionally hilarious Harry Sidhu for Supervisor campaign. And that, in a nutshell, really tells you all you need to know about that sawdust head.
And finally a free wordsmithing tip to the Wordsmith: when you’re going to put words in the mouth of numbskull try to avoid words like “panoply” and “unequivocally.”
Was a ghost written “op-ed” worth the $3,200 that Cunningham charged the OC Children and Family Commission? You be the judge. Here is the article that found it’s way into some obscure journal. Notice how the supposed writer, Shawn Steel, starts off by announcing his opposition to prop 10. Sound familiar? Then begins the fight to save Rob Reiner’s legacy.
But really. How could this have taken the better part of 20 hours to produce? That’s two and a half freakin’ days! The Declaration of Independence was written faster.
The irony of the “we know the value of a buck” schtick written by somebody billing the taxpayers $200 an hour to hand out toothbrushes is profound.
And why can’t Shawn Steel write his own op-eds if he actually cares about this issue instead of wasting the CFCOC money? Of course he may not be very bright. For some reason he is a supporter of Hide and Seek Sidhu.
Anyway, here’s the Pacific Strategies billing that reflects the effort on that masterpiece. So what does that work out to, ten bucks a word?
In the comments thread to our post this morning on Matthew Cunningham billing the taxpayers $200 an hour to have lunch with former Register editorialist Steve Greenhut in September, 2008, an observant Friend “nobody” drew our attention to a July 2008 blog article written by Greenhut. In the article Greenhut calls for getting rid of the Children and families Commission altogether.
Well that wouldn’t do! So what does the Commission do? It sends its Ambassador to Conservatives, Matthew J. Cunningham and its Executive Director, Michael Ruane to lunch with Greenhut. Did Greenhut learn the errors of his ways? I wonder. Steve?
What I don’t wonder about is how much this lunch cost the taxpayers.
Oh, and for extra fun, read the one and only comment on Greenhut’s post. It’s by a guy named “Michael” and he’s he’s defending the Commission from State budget raids, calling that a new tax. Here’s the money quote from “Michael’s” comment:
“Granted, there are always imperfection and waste when government doing anything, but at least with Prop 10 the money returned to the counties where anybody could see if there is a misappropriation and fix it.”
Ho, ho! Imperfection and waste? Hoo boy, he nailed that one! Butanybody could see if there is a “misappropriation?!” If by anybody, “Michael,” you really meant almost nobody, then we are agreed. How many people know the Commission has a $195,00 a year contract for PR with Pacific Strategies? How many people knew the Commission was paying Cunningham $200 an hour to read blogs, Facebook, recycle the same “op-ed” piece over and over again, and do all those lunches? For the love of God, Michael, please tell us you were only joking!
Hmm. Come to think of it now I wonder if Pacific Strategies didn’t write that comment for “Michael.”