Index
Monday
Jun022014

POLITICS/MEDIA: White House Press Secretary, "Washington's ultimate burnout job": "The job of presidential press secretary takes a toll" ....

* Washington Post:  "The job of presidential press secretary takes a toll" - From the WP:

It may be Washington’s ultimate burnout job. Presidential press secretaries get to consult regularly with the most powerful man on the planet, travel to exotic locales on Air Force One, and become the most visible representative of the White House after the president himself. But the job takes a toll. Jay Carney, President Obama’s press secretary, seemed to acknowledge as much Friday when he announced that he would be stepping down after 40 months.

As press secretaries go, the 49-year-old Carney was practically an iron man. President George W. Bush had four press secretaries during his two terms; President Clinton had five. Obama is on his third, after Carney’s deputy, Josh Earnest, 39, was named his successor. The last person to last two full terms as press secretary was President Eisenhower’s spokesman, James Hagerty.

“The grueling part isn’t just the hours, which are bad, it’s that your mind never gets a rest,” says Ari Fleischer, George W. Bush’s first press secretary. “You’re always war gaming. It’s constant intellectual chess. You’re thinking of the next question that the press is going to ask, and that leads to the next question and the next question et cetera, et cetera.”

Fleischer, who served 31 months during an intense period spanning the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the start of the Iraq war, grew weary of being in the middle of the tug of war between the news media and the administration. The latter, he says, is cautious about saying too much; the former are “insatiable,” demanding more and more disclosure. “Even if you think you’re succeeding, someone will tell you it’s not enough,” he says. “It’s never enough.”

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Joe Lockhart, who was President Clinton’s spokesman from 1998 to 2000, says press secretaries aren’t really off even when they’re off. “You don’t have the luxury of getting behind because you’ll never catch up,” says Lockhart, who also runs a communications firm. “It’s hard to go off the grid. You don’t get pure time off.” And this was before smartphones turned everyone into a 24/7 info zombie.

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Carney, who hasn’t announced his plans, received praise from his boss (“I’m going to continue to rely on him as a friend and adviser,” Obama said), but more mixed assessments from reporters..........................

Monday
Jun022014

POLITICS (Bay Area): Assembly District 16, "Democratic demolition derby": "East Bay Assembly race draws big special interest funds" ....

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):  "East Bay Assembly race draws big special interest funds" - From the Chronicle:

The Democratic demolition derby in the East Bay Assembly race between labor-friendly Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti and business-backed Orinda City Councilman Steve Glazer is turning into a do-or-die race - with some of the state's biggest special interests rooting from the grandstands.

Glazer, a political consultant, has received $1.9 million from Realtors and other business interests. Sbranti, the former head of a teachers union's political action committee, has gotten $1.8 million in labor help. That's the most outside money that has popped up for any legislative race in the state this season.

Glazer set the tone early on when he came out swinging against BART's unions for striking twice last year - a message his backers have driven home with more than $1 million in radio and billboard ads. The unions - particularly the California Teachers Association - responded with their own mail and radio blitz, portraying Glazer as the tool of big tobacco and big oil.

Tracking polls indicate that Glazer, Sbranti and a third Democrat, Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich, will divide their party's vote in the 16th Assembly District, which stretches from Orinda to Livermore - leaving the path clear for the lone Republican in the race, attorney Catharine Baker, to finish first in the top-two primary. Sbranti hopes to tip the balance in the closing days and make it into the November general election with the help of hundreds of union volunteers coming in to walk the district for votes.

With labor - Democrats' most reliable source of campaign cash and foot power - taking such a strong interest, the outcome will attract a lot of attention from insiders tracking the future of the party's moderate and progressive wings.............

 

Monday
Jun022014

POLITICS: Political campaigns, advertising, mailers: Editorial, "Campaign mailers are worth the price of postage, if stamps were free"; also, commentary (Opinion L.A. -- Kerry Cavanaugh), "Misleading mailer: Sheila Kuelh makes too much of L.A. Times editorial"; "Ad Watch: Torlakson ad exaggerates facts to undermine opponents" ....

***Political campaign advertising, mailers, how truthful???

* Sacramento Bee (editorial):  "Campaign mailers are worth the price of postage, if stamps were free"

* Los Angeles Times (Opinion L.A. -- Kerry Cavanaugh):  "Misleading mailer: Sheila Kuehl makes too much of L.A. Times editorial"

* Sacramento Bee:  "Ad Watch: Torlakson ad exaggerates facts to undermine opponents"

Monday
Jun022014

SACRAMENTO: Court ruling, litigation, CalPERS, long-time care insurance program: "Judge issues final decision on CalPERS' request to toss insurance case" ...., 

* Sacramento Bee:  "Judge issues final decision on CalPERS' request to toss insurance case" - From the Bee:

A Los Angeles court has issued a final ruling that allows litigation to move forward against CalPERS for allegedly mismanaging its long-term care insurance program and misleading policyholders. The decision by Judge Jane Johnson confirms an earlier tentative decision that rejected CalPERS’ request to have the case thrown out.

Johnson also declined to certify her ruling, which would have allowed CalPERS to appeal it immediately instead of waiting until the case concludes. CalPERS could still ask the apellate court to take up the decision, but without ceritification the higher court is much less likely to consider it.

Lawyers are seeking to expand the lawsuit to cover about 150,000 CalPERS members who purchased insurance between 1995 and 2004 to cover convalescent care, in-home living assistance and similar services.................

Monday
Jun022014

POLITICS/EDUCATION (South Bay/Los Angeles County): Inglewood Unified School District, contract extension, state-appointed administrator: "State-appointed leader of troubled Ingelwood Unified signs 3-year contract extension" ....

* Daily Breeze:  "State-appointed leader of troubled Inglewood Unified signs 3-year contract extension" - From the DB:

The state-appointed leader of the troubled Inglewood Unified School District has a message for anyone who doubted his commitment to turn things around: He’ll be there another three years — probably. Don Brann, who was tapped nearly a year ago to serve as the district’s unilateral decision-maker, has signed a three-year extension on his contract.

Brann says the latest deal — finalized May 23 between him and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson — should send a stark message to any deadwood employees in the broken district he has been hired to fix. “Trying to wait me out won’t work, because I’m committed,” said Brann, the second Torlakson appointee to lead Inglewood Unified since it was taken over in the fall of 2012. “That’s not good for those who thrived on being where they are because of people they knew — or through corruption.”

Brann’s new deal, which is good through June 2017, is pretty much the same as the old: his annual salary amounts to $180,000, with no buy-out clause. The only difference is he voluntarily eliminated his stipends for auto expenses, which translates into a $7,200-a-year pay cut. The reason? When he entered into the one-year contract last year, Brann didn’t realize he’d be shuttled to and from work by bodyguards who provide the same black-car detail for Gov. Jerry Brown.

 

As the administrator, Brann acts as the one-man replacement to the five-member board that lost its legislative powers and the local superintendent who lost his job as part of the takeover, which came with a $55 million loan — $29 million of which has been spent.

Brann is beginning to rein in the chronic deficit spending that has plagued the district. . . . . . . .

 

But the district remains a symbol of dysfunction, and the road is still rocky............................