DRIVING THE DAY — That recent AP investigation which revealed that Gov. Jerry Brown asked state workers to make a detailed assessment of his 2,700 acre Colusa County family ranch for mining and oil drilling possibilities has kicked up a cloud of controversy, including one consumer group that’s now urging every state landowner to take advantage of the same treatment.
FIRST: WHISTLEBLOWER WRONGED? — “Regulator lodged complaint over work for Brown,’’ by AP’s Ellen Knickmeyer: “A worker in the state oil and gas regulatory agency lodged a whistleblower's complaint over being ordered to prepare a state map of the oil and gas potential, history and geology of California Gov. Jerry Brown's family ranch, the worker and her attorney said Monday. The attorney for Jennie Catalano, “a mapping specialist who has been with the state Department of Conservation for 18 years,” says she faced retaliation after being suspected of lodging the complaint over being directed to do the personal work for Brown. http://bit.ly/1Mmdf3F
THEN: The Consumer Watchdog organization notes that within days of the governor’s request to the California's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, “the agency produced at no cost to the governor a 51-page historical report and geological assessment, plus a personalized satellite-imaged geological and oil and gas drilling map.”
Carmen Balber of Consumer Watchdog tells POLITICO: “Either the governor misused his office, and misused public employees and tax dollars for his own personal benefit — or this is really something anyone in California can ask for. If that’s the case — it’s a public service, and I hope Californians take advantage of it.”
— The group’s email to California consumers Monday: “The government agency says it does (such work) all the time for private citizens. If that's true, where's yours?” Included in the release is a form for CA property owners to file to the state, which reads: “As Governor Jerry Brown did, I am requesting (the agency) research, map and report back on any mining and oil drilling potential and history on my land. All at no cost to me.” So far, no response from Governor’s office.
MORE REACTION — LA Times editorial: “It's inappropriate for the governor to call the head of an agency for help with personal business, especially someone he had just installed in the job nine days before.” http://lat.ms/1lh75v5
— CALL TO INVESTIGATE from Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Del Beccaro, via Facebook: “I call upon my opponent Attorney General Kamala Harris to undertake an investigation into Brown's use of public resources for his personal benefit…..This is not a game. His policies harm people — and yet he seeks to profit from fossil fuels?"
— SKELTON CALLS BS — “Controversy over oil study on Brown ranch is mainly bull,” by the Los Angeles Times’ George Skelton: He says the AP’s “characterization of the service appears to be a stretch. Except for a one-page personal memo, all the material collected for the governor amounted to merely a pile of old letters sent other property owners, historic data from yesteryear and some oil field maps.” http://lat.ms/1kkVs6g