Gov. "Shakedown" Davis

Kickaha

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Gov. Gray Davis' Toxic Scandal

California Gov. Gray Davis is so terribly complex. On one hand he styles himself as an "environmentalist" and makes cars even more expensive. On the other hand he lets "one of California's largest polluters" increase toxic discharges into San Francisco Bay shortly after the company hands him $70,500.

A contradiction, you think? Oh my, no. In his craze for re-election, Davis is, after all, as famous for shakedowns as Jesse Jackson. He'll gladly pursue money from anti-school-choice teachers unions and corporate polluters alike.

Davis' greed and corruption are becoming so notorious even California's leftward-tilting big newspapers are starting to notice and object.

Dioxin Drama

The San Jose Mercury News, in breaking the story Monday, discovered that after Tosco forked over the booty, a state water board decided to let the company spew more deadly dioxin, "one of the most toxic synthetic chemicals known," into the bay.

A coincidence, you think? Then consider these fun facts:


*Davis appoints the members of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board.
*Just four months before reversing itself in June 2000, the board had rejected Tosco's request to pollute more at its Avon refinery east of Martinez.
*Davis received $55,500 of the windfall the day after the board's initial refusal in February 2000.
*"That donation was 10 times larger than any other single donation Tosco had given Davis during his governorship. An additional $15,000 followed before the board issued its unusual reversal," the newspaper reported.
*Before discovering that money is the way to win friends and influence people in the Davis administration, Tosco had tried for seven YEARS to win the exemption.

'Ludicrous' Indeed

Davis mouthpiece Steve Maviglio sputtered this denial, presumably with a straight face: "There is no way in the world that contribution had anything to do with policy, because it is public for all the world to see. Any allegation to that effect is ludicrous."

Communities for a Better Environment attorney Richard Drury sputtered this denunciation, presumably with an angry face: "I am astounded. The implication is that the Davis administration was willing to sacrifice the health of San Francisco Bay for campaign contributions."

Oops, one little snag: Last week a San Francisco judge ruled the water board's mysterious change of heart illegal.

As the Mercury News noted: "The disclosure that an oil company made large contributions to Davis, and then finally won a loosening of its water pollution permit, comes amid other accusations that Davis, since taking office in 1999, has aggressively raised funds and linked those donations to policy decisions.

"The governor's most high-profile fundraising controversy has been the case of Oracle, in which the Redwood City company gave a $25,000 check to the governor's staff almost immediately after the state purchased millions of dollars of software it might never need."

'Sick'

Drury observed: "In a lot of ways, this Tosco case is worse than the Oracle case. Oracle dealt with software. In this case, they decided to sell out human health. Dioxin is a deadly chemical.

"The whole thing makes me sick."

Well, so much for the environmentalist vote.
 

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