HB V

is older than it's ever been and now it's even older

2/02/2001

Corruption they get away with


You may recall that early last month I mentioned in passing Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating's history of under the table payoffs as a reason why he didn't get a place in the Bush administration (original linked article here, to save you time). Keating had accepted about $250,000 in the name of his children from an old buddy named Jack Dreyfus. Bush didn't want any of his nominees to have even a whiff of corruption about them (he obviously feels all corruption should start in the new administration. See my energy column).

Well, now Keating has come under official scrutiny, even becoming the target of an ethics complaint. I'm surprised this was even printed in the Oklahoman, the "state newspaper," because it's been so unswervingly supportive of the Governor for as long as I can remember. To thicken the plot further, field correspondent for Hobbsblog II Stephen Hobbs reports:

"Frank says he reported the "gift" to the feds/Senate Judiciary Committee when he was being touted for a federal judgeship he didn't get back in 1993. But nobody in Oklahoma ever knew that he was "on the take" from Dreyfus (though we do have an ineffectual Ethics Commission). Now, the deferred compensation program for state employees in OK has transferred its account from T. Rowe Price ... to the Dreyfus Fund, which may or may not have any connection to its founder, the same Keating sugar daddy."

You can trust Hobbsblog II to stay on top of the developments in this case.

I got to thinking about corruption in the first place after hearing more about the California energy crisis. Now, it's not my intention to keep running pieces about this over and over; but this is a truly outrageous story, perhaps the most horrible case of documented corruption ever unpunished in the US. The story dates all the way back to the turn of the (last) century, when San Francisco needed water. The only water anyone was able to get was a claim in the middle of Yosemite National Park, in the Hetch Hetchy valley. To develop this water claim, the city would need to dam the river and flood the valley, a terrible enough proposition that led conservationists like John Muir to declare:

Dam Hetch Hetchy? As well dam for water tanks the people's cathedrals and churches; for no holier temple has ever been consecrated to the heart of man.

Nonetheless, it was dammed, in a compromise with progressives under the provision in the Raker Act that the dam be a hydroelectric dam to provide cheap power to a municipal electric district for the city of San Francisco. In all of the years since, no such electric district has ever been created; something like 8 separate bond measures have been defeated that would create it. The city has for 75 years or so been (illegally) selling the power to PG&E at wholesale rates, which then sells it back to the citizens at retail prices, all in violation of the Raker Act. The San Francisco Bay Guardian has been reporting this continuously since 1969 (the article is a must read to understand this problem) fruitlessly, as major newspapers won't report it, city officials (including current Senator Dianne Feinstein) have stonewalled, and PG&E has refused to to release any documents or even comment about the matter. Truly an outrageous situation. Full archive of SFBG articles on this subject here.
Random links

Ok, I was trying to avoid talking at all about any other blogs (navel gazing, as some of the other bloggers refer to it) but can't resist linking to Our-J's 2-tite Site. It's what happens when you try to write a blog in ebonics. Compare that to Herbert Kornfeld, and then tell me which one is serious and which one isn't. Warning: either may make you laugh out loud.

LAPI: I guess masturbation doesn't shrink one's penis. Someone call Joycelyn Elders. She's still right.

Finally, go ahead; delete those Email petitions. I give you permission. They don't work at all.

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