We all know that lobbyist are at work in Washington, and in Sacramento. What we should not have to expect is for the Governor to appoint a lobbyist to head key commission or task forces. That is exactly what Schwarzenegger has done. Do you want to really influence government in Sacramento? Get yourself appointed to a commission that oversees the very area that you are lobbying against.
We saw this when Schwarzenegger appointed Catherine Reheis-Boyd, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Western States Petroleum Association to chair the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force. That is what we really needed to have, an offshore drilling loving petroleum industry lobbyist protecting our fisheries, kelp beds, etc.
What I did not expect was that he had appointed another lobbyist, Phil Isenberg, to head the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force, a group that heavily responsible for the mish-mash of legislation so hyped by State Senate President Darrel Steinberg.
According to a release from Restore the Delta, Isenberg had strong business ties to a Southern California Water District.
His lobbying firm, Isenberg/O'Hara Government Relations, has received more than $224,000 in payments for services rendered from the Irvine Ranch Water District during 2008 and 2009. Specifically, his firm received payments while he served as the Chair of the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force - which Mr. Isenberg has repeatedly held up in public testimony as a truly independent commission. (Click here to see the lobbying report filed by Isenberg/O'Hara with the Secretary of State.). In the first case, Reheis-Boyd did little to hide the connection. It was out there for all to see. However, Isenberg has frequently described the Delta Vision Task Force as independent, when it was not.
Now, the Governor gets to appoint 4 members of the newly created Delta Stewardship Council. Will that council get packed with the likes of Isenberg, a chameleon, a hypocrite who pretends to be above the politics but in reality proves to be just another hack with his hand out.
This is a day of great frustration. First, I was trying to come to grips with the specter of Richard Pombo back in politics since he could not seem to hold a job as a lobbyist. Then, to get this. No wonder Californians are looking for other alternatives to the politics of money.