“Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,” Got Lost in Sidhu’s Bermuda Triangle

Harry Sidhu likes to blather on about jobs, jobs, jobs, but maybe he would be well-advised to remember that government shouldn’t be in the jobs business and that lots of things government does destroys jobs. Sidhu should know.

In Anaheim he’s been Curt Pringle’s right hand man in the (over development) of the much lauded, now ghost town like “Platinum Triangle.”

Pringle, Sidhu and Company changed the zoning to benefit the big developer who comes in and clears out lots of businesses who employ people in order to over build monster apartment and condo blocks. Where’s the outrage from Lucy Dunn and the OCBC when their golden boy Curt Pringle led this charge?  Who benefited from the loss of jobs, surely not the city of Anaheim.

The fact that Curt Pringle was employed as a lobbyist for Lennar while Lennar was buying up several industrial buildings in the Triangle while Curt and Sidhu were secretly planning to rezone the “Platinum Triangle” does not sit well now that the entire project is a flop, jobs are gone and the property is vacant, or a shit-load of condos are in default. Where’s the outrage Ms. Dunn? Can’t hear you.

If there ever was an example of what not to do in planning and business this is the model project for it.

Harry Sidhu & His Gang of Supporters

Now that Harry Sidhu mailers are landing in your mailboxes like confetti I thought  it might be a good time to do a recap, just like FFFF did last fall about the cipher Linda Ackerwoman, in order to complete a character profile of the people that have lent their names to his fraudulent 4th District candidacy.

Can't be an empress without the dough-re-mi!

1. Sidhu is a perpetual office seeker. I’ve now given up trying to count the number of elective offices he has run for, or put out feelers for, in the past eight years.

2. Sidhu lives in an “elegant estate” – in the 3rd District.

3. Sidhu faked an address at the Calabria Apartments on Lincoln Avenue. Even though he never lived there he claimed he did under penalty of perjury (twice) that he did.

4. Sidhu cooked yet up another address on Lucky Way, in Anaheim, and proceeded to carpetbag the race for GOP Central Committee from that locale.

5. Sidhu is barely intelligible when he speaks; and

6. When Sidhu does speak he demonstrates that he knows absolutely nothing about County government, including defined benefits, etc. etc.

7. Sidhu has become the darling of the Sheriff Deputy’s Union that have already poured tens of thousands of dollars in mailers telling us the opposite of what we have already seen for ourselves.

8. Sidhu has accomplished zilch during his tenure on the Anaheim City Council.

9. Harry Sidhu is a rich SOB who will spend any amount of money to get himself elected something – anything.

And now Friends, let us contemplate the Harry Sidhu supporter. What self-respecting person would let his or her name be attached to such a rickety bandwagon? Of course that’s a rhetorical question. Here’s a hint: all the political connective tissue that bind these people to Sidhu attach at point #9, above.

I have my reasons. And they're all selfish.

And then there are those who also are willing to a support a non-entity like Sidhu not in spite of the fact that he is ignorant, but because of it.

The less they know the more we like it...

One fellow in particular supports Sidhu as his own personal puppet to promote his vast High Speed Rail boondoggle.

Harry Sidhu is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.

And let’s not forget the worst of the bunch. The lobbyist whose former tentacled stranglehold on the 4th District office was lost when his boy Chris Norby left town.

You'd better get to wordsmithing for Sidhu, pronto...

Then there are the ones whose own ethical problems were so embarrassing that they actually were removed from “host committee” lists – proving that even Sidhu’s well had a slimy bottom.

Actually, that whole sports hall of fame thing was a total scam. But I've decided to keep the $48,000 and all my new shoes.

Well, that’s certainly a rogue’s gallery. Sidhu’s campaign looks more like a jail break than a political campaign, and I apologize for having to inflict such tough love on the Friends. Still, in case anybody has any illusions about what Sidhu as a county supervisor means, just let your imaginations have at it.

State Auditor Rains on Pringle’s High Speed Rail Parade

Pay no attention to that man in front of the curtain...

In a comprehensive indictment of the High Speed Rail Authority’s procedures and protocols, and its abilities to manage and oversee spending public bond revenue, the California State Auditor has taken a considerable step in derailing the proposed boondoggle. Read the highlights for yourself.

Although this doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t suspect, it does confirm the worst suspicions about poor planning and lax or non-existent oversight, and raises the worst spectre of all: a worthless, duplicative, hyper-expensive and disruptive system – a mere leg – say from Anaheim to downtown Los Angeles.

Tonight Pringle’s PR consultants are coming to town, not to ask our opinion about anything, rest assured. Rather they are coming to soft sell what’s already been decided. But there’s no reason why we can’t go and share our opinions, and maybe even ask Mayor Bankhead (who’s bound to be there) how come he stood up a couple years ago and told people that the City of Fullerton supports this disaster in the making.

They’re going to be at the Senior Center from 5-8 with a propaganda presentation at 6pm.

Pacific Strategies Jackpot – The $1680 Day

It's only bad if you get caught...

UPDATE: as one of our commenters pointed out, you can click on the billing fragment, below to get the picture of what happened for the month of July 2009. Enjoy, but try not to retch.

August 17th, 2009 was a great day to be Matthew Cunningham. See, the Red County Blog editor and pretended conservative pulled down $1680 wordsmith pimping for the liberal welfare state via his lucrative deal with the OC Children and Families Commission.

Why this Commission, that was created to help little children, is dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars each year into opinion swaying of dubious value is exasperating. The fact that this money is going into the coffers of well-connected repuglicans also gives off quite an aroma – influence peddling-wise.

How and why these contracts are awarded is certainly a topic that should be addressed by the Commission and their Executive Director Michael Ruane, as well as by the Board of Supervisors, who appoint Commission members.

One thing is crystal clear. This Commission is more interested in PR and lobbying for their revenue than they are actually accomplishing anything.

Here is the billing statement for that day that put a happy face on all the Cunninghams in Suite C. Who knew that revising vanilla versions of op-eds could be so rewarding?

Maybe Cunningham really does believe in the good works of the Commission, although I’ve got to wonder what other tax and spend schemes he will be promoting next.

It’s That Time of the Year for the Children and Families Commission

Yup. The time of the year when this little-known, virtually opaque level of government that was created by Rob Reiner’s tobacco tax hands out its PR and lobbying contracts to well-connected “small government” types like blabbermouth  Matthew J. Cunningham and Anaheim’s Mayor for Hire, Curt Pringle.

The hell with the kids. It's our turn at the trough!

I have previously documented the big government gravy being slurped up by Pringle and Cunningham here, and here. Were talking really big bucks here, Friends, and you get the feeling that not only is this Commission in existence to dole out the government largess to local repuglicans, but that its proprietors are a lot more interested in smiley face public relations and protecting their flow of tax revenue from Sacramento than they are in helping any kids. See, it takes a village to raise those children but unfortunately the bureaucracy and its spokesholes don’t come cheap.

Anyway, May and June are the months these contracts seem to come due and also seem to keep getting rolled over with almost no public scrutiny, or really any sort of performance audit for that matter. You can bet the family farm we’ll be reporting on the attempts to renew these contracts in the future.

More Register Fail

Here’s a link to a Register article by Tony Saavedra that starts out with the breathtaking news that the OC Cemetery Board voted to hold a meeting to talk about raising it’s stipend 5%. That’s 5% of $100 per meeting, or a whopping five bucks per member. If they meet once a month that would total a mammoth $300 per year. Thanks for that earth-shattering news, Tony.

In the meantime, not a squeak about this opaque public district paying Anaheim mayor and general fixer/influence peddler Curt Pringle $6000 per month to locate a new graveyard site for the boneyard boys that we reported about here; a task that could have been handled by a realtor for the price of a commission paid by the seller. Of course Pringle was also supposed to grease the skids – which seems to be his only marketable job skill. No word yet on whether he accomplished anything at all, although this seems not to be a requirement to get a lucrative contract with one of these little known but apparently well-heeled public agencies.

Pringle's cup runneth over.

But Saavedra seems to think his readers are more interested in the $5 per month scandal that’s he’s trying to brew up into something potable. Sadness.

And by the way, here’s a choice nugget from The Register’s OC Watch Dog, Teri Sforza, inviting whistleblowing news tips that I recently stumbled across. Maybe the Register reporters should (re)read Ms. Sforza’s stirring words. Here’s the kicker: “…we’ll put together a blogroll of local muckrakers like ourselves.”

Yeah. Right. Anything you say, Teri.

Was It Something We Said? HSR Board Blinks

You are becoming very sleepy...

Responding to mounting criticism about taking a bunch of property along the proposed right-of-way for its multibillion dollar boondoggle, the California High Speed Rail Authority took a step back the other day and voted 6-1 to entertain a shared track option previously discarded when they thought nobody was paying attention. Read all about it in the LA Times.

Even lobbyist and fixer Curt Pringle, the termed-out Mayor of Anaheim, joined the majority. Is he perhaps starting to fear a Buena Park, Fullerton, and Anaheim backlash that might spoil all of his crafty electoral machinations for 2010?

Well, it’s a step in the right direction, but it still begs the question of bureaucratic and rolling stock cost vis-a-vis minimal travel time gains to downtown LA.

The lone “no” vote came from Quintin L. Kopp, the former Bay Area politician who also advocated for the controversial BART extension to the San Francisco Airport. Apparently Kopp thinks it’s too late to be smart – always a bad sign.

Sucking Hard at the Teat of the Welfare State

Move over Pringle...

The other day I described how Republican Mayor Curt Pringle made some big bucks as a lobbyist for the so-called Children and Families Commission, a by-product of the 1998 liberal feel-good Proposition 10 that placed a new tax on tobacco and redistributed the dough to the Government Kiddie Bureaucracy. I promised to shake the branches of this tree to see what other strange fruits might tumble out. Well, Lo and Behold.

Matthew "it takes a village to raise a child" Cunningham

It turns out that Matthew J. Cunningham who masquerades as a local “conservative” blogger may be the biggest big government gravy slurpers at the Children and Families Commission trough.

As he pontificates about the joys of small government on his blog, Cunningham is making a killing as a PR flack for the ultra-liberal Commission and it’s professional do-gooders. And why not? His buddies Bill Campbell and Hugh Hewitt are/were on the Commission when he started his lucrative shill-meistering and wordsmithery for a government bureaucracy, and it’s hard to conceive that his uberboss, John Lewis wasn’t somehow responsible for directing this huge windfall to its rather unlikely recipient.

Here are the fun facts of the Cunningham contracts with the Commission:

Contract 230   July 6, 2005  $ 25,000

Contract 227   May 2 2007   $100,000

Contract 227A May 7, 2008 $195,000

Contract 264   June 3, 2009  $185,000

Hey you poor hungry kids out there: that’s almost half a million bucks in just three years to a guy who couldn’t even proof read his own website! And let’s not forget the hundreds of thousands of dollars dished out to Pringle and the White House Writers Group.

And if you look at the Exibit B scope of work attachments you’ll come away hard pressed to see how the scope of work amounts to more than a handful of hours a week, flack-wise. No wonder Intrepid Boy Journalist has so much spare time for his blogging and political punditry.

The biggest challenge for Cunningham appears to be to get conservatives to buy the spin on all this hogwash. And naturally a lot of his “scope”  is the usual nebulous “assist the staff” bullshit. Of course we can only wonder at the selection and bidding process at work here.

It’s perfectly clear to me that this opaque and over-funded commission needs complete outside scrutiny with fiscal and performance audits. Maybe Cunningham’s pals at the Grand Jury might want to delve into the doings of this public agency.

And the next time Matthew Cunningham preaches at you that you must believe in the joys of small government and lower taxes, or when he suggests whole village child rearing is Obama socialism, just give him a wink and a nod and try not to stare too hard at the giant scarlet H on his forehead.

The Pringle Money Machine Finds Unlikely Opportunities For Growth

Your friendly and well-paid guide to the next life.

Okay. We know there’s a lot of money in lobbying. That’s why lobbyists contribute so much to political campaigns – to influence legislation and win government contracts for their clients.

But who knew there was so much taxpayer gravy to be slurped up in and around opaque local government districts? The other day we looked at Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle’s massive windfall lobbying for the little-known OC Children and Families Commission, here. But Pringle has not only scored big bucks lobbying for the Heathy Kids Bureaucracy, he’s also made some serious green lobbying for the dead!

Yep. That’s right. In 2008 Pringle was awarded a $6000 per month annual contract to find new burial grounds for something called “The OC Cemetery District” and to do some sort of educational outreach to the community. He was also supposed to be some sort of “consultant” on developing the existing Lake Forest bone yard. You read right. $6000 per month is $72,000 per year. With a $25,000 bonus if he actually managed to accomplish something.

According to the General Manager of the Cemetery District, Tim Deutsch, the contract was extended to cover the balance of fiscal year 2009-2010, so presumably Pringle failed to deliver in year one, and was naturally rewarded with a contract extension.

The lobbyists are dying to get in...

So we have several problems as far as I can see:  one is a pretty vague contract with completely disparate elements, awarded without any sort of competition; and then there’s the amount – what seems to be an exorbitant sum of money with no guarantees of actually accomplishing anything; and finally, there seems  to be a lack of any sort of quality control or financial oversight in the management of this District.

Pringle got $6000 a month and all I got was this lousy mug...

It’s pretty obvious that the District has more money than it knows what to do with. But the real question is: why didn’t they simply engage a commercial realtor to find them more land – at zero cost? And while we’re contemplating embarrassing questions, what qualifies Pringle’s PR shop as a cemetery planner or a cemetery entitlements developer? Isn’t that what the District pays it’s general manager to do?

And finally, why on Earth does the Cemetery District need anybody to do community outreach?  Isn’t that why the phone book has the Yellow Pages?

Another Day Another Dump on Pringle’s Main Chance Choo Choo

You are growing very sleepy...

This time it’s a story by the LA Times featuring former OCTA boss Art Leahy and others questioning the dedicated tracks, the impacts, and of course some of the basic operating assumptions of the California HSR.

Meantime we’re not holding our collective breath for the release of Curt Pringle’s “business plan” that seems to be at least 5 years late.