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SkyBox Davis

| 34 Comments | 7 TrackBacks
Update: My post on Jill Stewart's response to John Carroll is here. My post reviewing the L.A. Times' columnists is here. Original Post: When I did the post below, I couldn't find the Jill Stewart article referenced due to the corrupt, anticompetitive buyout of the New Times LA by the LA Weekly/Village Voice chain. But Sebastien, of the Sadly, No! blog came to the rescue with an electronic copy. I'll apologize in advance for whatever copyright violation I may be committing, but my lawyer is out of town until next week and so I'll just go on ahead and offer the column up. I think that this is a story that needs to be told to allow undecided voters, like myself, to balance the news that Arnold acts like a boob and grabs asses. It appears that Gray kicks them. From the November 27, 1997 issue of New Times LA, a column on Gray Davis by Jill Stewart.
Closet Wacko Vs. Mega-Fibber Jill Stewart I have this file, labeled Gray Davis, that for the last few years I've been stuffing with all the bizarre little tales that are quietly shared among journalists and political insiders about the man who, though probably viewed as a blandly pleasant talking head by most Californians, is in fact one of the strangest ducks ever elected to statewide office. Long protected by editors at the Los Angeles Times--who have nixed every story Times reporters have ever tried to develop about Davis's storied history of physical violence, unhinged hysteria and gross profanity--the baby-faced, dual personality Davis has been allowed to hold high public office with impunity.
Perhaps you are among the millions never told of Lieutenant Governor Davis's widely known--but long unreported--penchant for physically attacking members of his own staff. His violent tantrums have occurred throughout his career, from his days as Chief of Staff for Jerry Brown to his long stint as State Controller to his current job. Davis's hurling of phones and ashtrays at quaking government employees and his numerous incidents of personally shoving and shaking horrified workers--usually while screaming the f-word "with more venom than Nixon" as one former staffer recently reminded me--bespeak a man who cannot be trust with power. Since his attacks on subservients are not exactly "domestic violence," they suggest to me the need for new lexicon that is sufficiently Dilbertesque. I would therefore like to suggest "office batterer" for consideration as you observe Davis in his race for governor. The most disturbing aspect of Davis's troubled side is the ease with which the power elite in California, many of whom know he is unbalanced, laugh off the long public deception that has created Davis's public persona. "He'll never be governor," one well-known Democratic state senator explained to me last year, justifying his own failure to criticize or out Davis. "He'll never be the Democratic nominee," the senator insisted. And that's certainly how things stood, in my own mind, until Davis announced his intention to run for governor. It quickly became apparent that Davis's only Democratic "competition" would be Al Checchi, a guy who squeezed $50 million out of a lot of little people ten years ago in his sudden vault from silver-spooned graduate of Harvard Business School to Texas mega-multimillionaire during the reorganization of Disney. The Disney deal made Checchi an instant player who immediately began dreaming of becoming a senator--or was it governor?--of Texas. So self-absorbed in building his millions is Checchi that, although he has lived in Beverly Hills with his family for much of this decade--when he wasn't decamped to his mansion on Lake Harriot in Minneapolis during his takeover of Northwest Airlines--most of my friends still think Checchi comes from somewhere in Northern California. They can be forgiven their ignorance, because throughout the civic debates that have embroiled Los Angeles, Checchi has been a cipher. He is a leading champion of no causes, has established no meaningful charities, has left no laudable trace. He's the 312th richest man in America, and nobody can even pronounce his name. So it was with alarm that I read the very similar speeches given by these two men as they both offered plans to reform the dismal academics in California's public schools, a scandal that many observers believe will be the hot issue in the governor's race. In his speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco last week, Checchi at least had the nerve to identify teacher incompetence and lack of teacher testing as a key problem. Davis, who has long slept with the power anti-reform teacher's unions in Los Angeles and other cities, could not bring himself to utter such a blasphemy. In his only major divergence from Checchi, in a speech to Town Hall of Los Angeles in September, Davis largely blamed parents. Observing this pair of oddballs, the notion struck me: Isn't it a fatal flaw of the Republicans, not the Democrats, to promote candidates for top office who have no right to lead a civil society? How can it be that the Democrats suddenly suffer Dan Quayle Disease, after their years of carping about the Republicans' penchant for nominating louts and fools? More specifically, why on earth is the California Democratic Party allowing such sour milk to rise to the top, when California so desperately needs great men and women in charge? One cannot get a straight answer to these questions via official channels, such as the Party itself. But one can at least delve into the true nature of the life and times of the disturbing Davis and, as his detractors predictably dub him, of checkbook Checchi. Most crucial of all is the fact that both Davis and Checchi have based their considerable career successes on the perpetuation of carefully crafted whoppers. "I guess Gray's biggest lie," says his former staffer who notes he often flies into a rage, "is pretending that he operates within the bounds of normalcy, which is not true. This is not a normal person. I will never forget the day he physically attacked me, because even though I knew he had done it before to many others, you always want to assume that Gray would never do it to you or that he has finally gotten help." On the day in question, in the mid-1990s, the staffer was explaining to Davis that his perpetual quest for an ever-larger campaign chest (an obsession she says led Davis to routinely break fundraising laws by using his government office resources and non-political employees to arrange fundraisers and identify new sources of money) had run into a snafu. A major funding source had dried up. Recalls the former staffer: "He just went into one of his rants of, 'Fuck the fucking fuck, fuck, fuck!'" I can still hear his screams ringing in my ears. When I stood up to insist that he not talk to me that way, he grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me until my teeth rattled. I was so stunned I said, 'Good God, Gray! Stop and look at what you are doing! Think what you are doing to me!' And he just could not stop." Perhaps the worst incident--long known to Davis-adoring editors of the Los Angeles Times but never published by them--was Davis's attack four years ago on a loyal aide in Los Angeles who for years acted as chief apologist for his "incidents." The woman refuses to discuss the assault on her with the media, but has relayed much of the story to me through a close friend. On the day in question, State Controller Davis was raging over an employee's rearranging of framed artwork on his Los Angeles office walls. He stormed, red-faced, out of his office and violently shoved the woman, who we shall call K., out of his way. According to employees who were present, K. ran out clutching her purse, suffered an emotional breakdown, was briefly hospitalized at Cedars Sinai for a severe nervous dermatological reaction, and never returned to work again. According to one close friend, K. refused to sue Davis, despite the advice of several friends, after a prominent Los Angeles attorney told her that Davis would ruin her. According to one state official. K. was allowed to continue her work under Davis from her home "because she refused to work in Davis's presence." (Checchi's campaign should get a copy of the tape recording Davis left on K.'s home telephone, in which he offers no apology to K. but simply requests that she return to work, saying, "You know how I am." Well, we do now Gray. Of course, the problem is that Davis's only serious Democratic opponent, Checchi--though not missing obvious nuts or bolts like Davis--has also built his entire public life on a disturbing fabrication which throws into severe doubt his ability and worthiness to run California state government. As a San Jose Mercury News writer and a New Times writer showed in recent exposes of Checchi's history at Northwest Airlines, Checchi's claims that he "saved" Northwest in a dramatic takeover in 1989, and that he deserves to be governor of California because he is a turnaround genius, are not supported by the facts. Northwest was not, in fact, a troubled airline when Checchi--using inside information from his best college buddy who sat on Northwest's board of directors--dreamed up a plan for buying up Northwest stock with other investor's money and forcing Northwest into a position of selling the company to Checchi and pals. In fact, the company spiraled into trouble and near-bankruptcy under Checchi, requiring both major union concessions in 1993 and a huge government bail-out in 1992. Yet Checci openly chortles about how he risked less than $10 million of his own money on the original $3.65 billion takeover deal, which has today made him a very rich man. He is very, very proud and has every reason to be," insists Darry Sragow, Checchi's campaign manager. With two men running for governor who are so willing to gloss over their questionable histories, the unsettling tradition of "opposition research" may play a more critical role than ever in the history of this race. (Op Research, if you're not a cynic in the know, is the practice of hiring political assassins to dig up dirt. The damaging info is: A) widely broadcast or B) dangled in private before the offending candidate as a way to silence that candidate on a major issue on which they have been personally compromised. Garry South, the talented campaign manager hired by Davis, has hired op research whiz Ace Smith (I'm not kidding about that name) who operates his assassin outfit from the Bay Area. Darry Sragow, the inspired campaign manager hired by Checchi, has hired the Berkeley and Houston firm of Rice and Veroga. I asked both camp if they intend to go after the really Big Lies both men are relying upon: Gray as the mild-mannered man of decency, Checchi as the savvy savior of troubled institutions. Says Elena Stern, an official with Checchi's campaign: "Al is adamant about not running a negative campaign, so he will only offer comparisons, not attacks." One "comparison" Stern pointed out is that Davis' camp recently planted a hit story against Checchi in the San Francisco Chronicle claiming that Checchi is facing a discrimination lawsuit by a fired worker. The fine print, however, is that the suit was thrown out by the 9th Circuit three years ago, and it arguably has little remaining merit. Says Stern, "By comparison, Gray Davis has actually lost a race discrimination lawsuit" filed against him by a former female employee. But is the Checchi camp going to unveil to voters Davis's history of violent "incidents" and hysterical fits? Stern wouldn't say, and Sragow said he "questions whether they way a candidate acts in private has anything legitimate to do with the campaign. So I don't think you'll be hearing from us about whatever violence is alleged amongst Gray's staff or others." By contrast, South, who admits that Ace Smith has been digging up dirty for Davis's use "for nearly a year" seems far more prepared to discuss the lie holding up the house that Checchi built. "Until he fucked up Northwest Airlines, Checchi had visions of sugar plums about running for office in Minnesota, and there were numerous local news reports about that in '89, '90 and '91, and about Checchi even meeting with political consultants," says South. "He denies it now because he needs to look like a loyal longtime resident of California, but we think voters want to know that his interest in California is recent indeed." The ploy of trying to cover up one's sudden self-serving interest in California did not work for another carpetbagging multimillionaire, Michael Huffington, and it is likely to backfire on Checchi as well. For example, California voters will be disturbed to know that shortly after the employees bailed out Northwest and the government spent nearly $1 billion saving the airline, Checchi sold his Minneapolis mansion in 1994, abandoned all thought of running for office there, and escaped back to Beverly Hills. Once back, he barely took a breath before hiring consultants to explore running for California governor. These two dreary choices for governor leave me hoping that DiFi will jump into the race. Feinstein's hatred for Gray Davis is well-known, and a source close to her confirmed to me last week that "She is still weight a late entry"--in part because she can't imagine a worse fiasco than Governor Gray. And there's a solid chance that the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Dan Lungren, can beat the tainted Democrats at the polls next year. But, unfortunately, Lungren is as free of meaningful ideas as Kathleen Brown, who ran for governor in 1994, and voters may reject Lungren as swiftly as they did Brown. So my question is simple: how did we get stuck in the position of hoping that the job of governor of California, one of the most august positions of power in the Western world, is not won by a mega-fibber or a closet wacko. The Democratic Party likes to wheeze on about how it has all the answers. I'd love to hear them explain this one.
(edited to correct date of column)

7 TrackBacks

Tracked: October 3, 2003 2:09 AM
Late Hit Piece from damnum absque injuria
Excerpt: I realize that no one except maybe Jon Carroll has ever accused the Daily Monopoly L.A. Times of being Fair™ or Balanced™, but assuming they are still in the "news" business, couldn't they have reported this a little earlier in...
Tracked: October 3, 2003 3:01 AM
Closet Wacko Vs. Mega-Fibber from The Interocitor
Excerpt: Look what surfaced! Go read the long lost 1997 New Times LA collumn by Jill Stewart Closet Wacko Vs. Mega-Fibber for everything the LA Times would never print about Gray Davis Here's the lede:I have this file, labeled Gray Davis,...
Tracked: October 3, 2003 5:16 AM
Excerpt: Jill Stewart and KFI's John and Ken were creaming the LA Times today for their politically motivated coverage of California...
Tracked: October 3, 2003 6:22 AM
Gray Davis: Psycho or Maniac? from Hud's Blog-O-Rama
Excerpt: Now this is rich! You gotta read the whole thing. Gray Davis comes off like a total psycho and that comes as no surprise. Perhaps you are among the millions never told of Lieutenant Governor Davis's widely known - but...
Tracked: October 7, 2003 7:06 PM
Excerpt: Columnist Jill Stewart accuses the L.A. Times of covering up accusation that Gray Davis abused his female staff:Since at least...
Tracked: October 7, 2003 7:33 PM
Keeping Our Smears Balanced from Lying Media Bastards
Excerpt: Columnist Jill Stewart claims that Gray Davis has a history of physically assaulting his staff. More details in a reprint
Tracked: October 7, 2003 9:41 PM
Gov Davis - Office Abuse? from On the Record - Liner Notes
Excerpt: I found this blog by Lying Media Bastards - proclaiming to keep "our smears balanced." Winds of Change posted this


but he's so quiet you and keeps to himself....

The obvious difference is that Stewart is an opinion columnist who hates liberals, has credibility problems of her own, and only used unnamed sources in this attack, so we have no way of knowing whether these allegations are true (for all we know, the sources she cites might have been Lungren campaign workers).

Yeah, this is going to need better sourcing.

Who, exactly, would call Grey Davis a "liberal"?

Jesus, Mary and Joseph - what happened to the Democratic party? Even the Tammany machine in New York, while corrupt, would deliver for SOME of the working class stiffs who supported it.

Consider the ramifications if Mr. Davis is not recalled - and I don't mean uncomfortable social situations at the "better" Sacramento parties.

Steve -

Can you back up the 'credibility problems' tagline? I went over to your blog and it appears that you like some bills that she doesn't. Differences of opinion != lack of credibility.

I've personally disagreed with Jill (amusingly, we've interacted in meatspace on some issues where we were on opposite sides), but find her consistent and honest.

So you wanna back that charge up?

And to the 'we're gonna need more credible sources' - as compared to the LAT story?



Actually, the only statute in question she described that I would say I support was SB892, a bill that would fine schools that failed to clean-up unsanitary bathrooms (she thought that was a bad idea). I provided links to the rest of the bills (something she failed to do) to enable readers to see the actual language of the bill, and compare it with her somewhat imaginative description.

To list one example, Ms. Stewart described SB796 as a bill that would "(allow) workers to seek fines of $200 each from firms who commit tiny labor violations...One code specifies a font size employee notices must be posted in. So 50 employees can now get $10,000 over improper fonts." In fact, the only section of the state labor code that mentions font size is Labor Code Section 5432(a), which requires law firms and medical providers to use a certain sized font when advertising for workers comp cases. Since it is unlikely any court will allow a workers comp law firm to represent one of their own employees who got injured on the job, the situation she described is non-existent. It is not simply a matter of our opinions differing on the merit of legislation; she made assertions about a number of statutes that were false.

As far as the Times article is concerned, several women went on the record and made the allegations in question. You can hardly read the piece and determine that the remaining background sources were the figment of the writer's imagination, especially after A.S. all but admitted he had not been a gentleman on the set during his film career.

--Steve Smith

Steve -

I'll dig in in the morning. One misrepresentation doesn't a 'credibility problem' make; I've followed her work for a number of years (since she was at the Times), and found her one of the better reporters on the L.A. political scene (one I have some first-hand knowledge of), so I'm fairly comfortable with her credibility, even where I've disagreed strongly with her opinions.


BTW, I'd have opposed the 'bathroom clean up bill' as well; micromanagement from Sacramento is how the schools have gotten themselves into the condition they are in.

As someone who has known Gray Davis from the start of his career when he ran for state treasurer, I think Stewart is mostly guilty of wishful thinking and gross exageration.

Gray has always been intense, although very smart and driven (One of his opponents in his first assembly race, referred to him as "nerdboy" during a speech).

Early on in his career, Gray could take things too far, but so far as I know, he has not had a major problem with his temper since his election as State Controller.

To give a better idea of what he is like as a human being, there are about fifteen people who have held top political positions for Gray at sometime in his career. People that are well known political consultants like Parke Skelton, Michael Berman, Jerry Seedborg, Steve Rivers, etc. etc.

All of these people have had several chances to work in campaigns against Gray and refused out of loyalty to the person that once employed them and then made a different choice by hiring someone else.

If Gray Davis was a jerk, these people would have jumped at the chance to show him he made a mistake. Instead they all respect the fact that he cares and didn't want to work against him, even though they were free to do so.

All of these people are opposed to the recall and most are doing something substantial to fight it.

Another example of the type of person Gray Davis is was shown last week when Gray received a major contribution (approximately $10,000) from lower level employees who had worked with Gray in some capacity in Sacramento(four were secretaries when he was in the Assembly) and got together on their own to pass the hat and contribute to his campaign. Gray Davis wouldn't command this type of loyalty if he was a jerk.

Stewart (whom I do respect as a writer) is taking the word of someone who probably had a different agenda in that governors race. Notice no mention of Jane Harman, while trashing both Gray and Checci. Everyone knew Harman was going to get in the race. This story probably came from a lower level (and not very professional) Harman supporter looking for a negative story and Stewart who hates Gray jumped at the opportunity to stick a dagger in.

Sevral things about the story are questionable and the statement about teacher competency testing is completely untrue. Gray Davis had a lot of problems with the teachers union on that issue and still has some clashes with their leaders that go back to his work on education reform. You can probably remember newspaper stories where teachers union people criticized Gray openly.

All in all, the whole story was very questionable without quoting any sources.

Tom, it's my bedtime, so I'll Google tomorrow, but your name sounds familiar; are you a political consultant? The folks you name are fairly prominent in that circle here in L.A. If so, are you currently engaged in any aspect of this election?

Others who read this blog might not know your role...

(I'm not, BTW; I have no financial or personal role in this election except as a voter and web commentator)


Ah, The Art of the Knife... but sometimes it's true. Our job as voters is to do our best to figure out when that is.

Who is Thomas Kaptain?

Are you *this* Thomas Kaptain:

THOMAS KAPTAIN | THOMAS KAPTAIN, CONSULTANT | $3,000 | 09.30.2003 | Yes for Bustamante
(Campaign donation information from Recall Watch)

And is that the same Thomas Kaptain described **here?

After a November 2000 campaign that was rife with personal attacks, Anderson's mailer set a new high for clean campaigning, with Penner pledging not to distort facts, not to make personal attacks and not to use "wedge" issues to win votes based on race, religion or gender.

On the other end of that spectrum was a piece of mail from this weekend. Created by Burbank slate-mail consultant Tom Kaptain, the ad pretended to represent the Democratic Party but urged Democratic voters to cast ballots for several Republicans in the supposedly nonpartisan City Council race.

Among the Republicans endorsed by the fake Democratic mailer were Palmdale City Council candidates Richard Loa and Celeste Eckley, both of whom are acknowledged Republicans and backed by the area's most conservative GOP group, the Antelope Valley Republican Assembly.

According to the mailer, Loa and Eckley paid to appear on the ad created by Kaptain, who has a history of creating election mailers that advise Democrats to vote for Republicans.

And the guy who sent out this:

"...Tom Kaptain’s slate mail organization, entitled, 'Democratic Voters’ Choice,' published a slate mailer for the 2000 primary election that included on the front of the mailer the words 'Vote Democratic' around a donkey logo, along with the statement that, 'The Democratic Party was Established in 1823.' The inside of the mailers, which contained the slate listing, had the headline 'Our Democratic Team' or 'The Team for Democratic Voters.'"

Just exactly what's your agenda, bud?

Wow! The power of the Internet in action! Great post psuedoDub even if it was merely interrogatory.

Folks from my former company went along to a fundraiser for Davis in 2002. (We're in the construction and development industry, so it was deemed a Good Idea to pay our baksheesh to the Governor.) The folks who went reported that Davis was not terribly bright, and was hyper-focused on getting money from people, to the point of rudeness.

It's good that businesses got tax deductions for those contributions, they really are a cost of doing business in California.

Yes, I am the person mentioned in the news stories, although before anyone gets the idea I am some kind of a big shot, I should mention that several people are involved with and pay for the slate mailings that I produce and my main role is in the preparation of the mail(I write direct mail, primarily commercial mail for a living).

The news stories you mentioned are primarily the product of reporters not understanding the business and reading campaign forms wrong. The role I play is similar to that of a printer. It is also more a labor of interest, than of profit. Political work pays less than one fourth of my income in any given year and I think that virtually no politico would call me a major player in the political world, although my ego is such, that I do wish I had that kind of clout.

I have had an interest in politics since I was a kid and keep my hand in, by being available for hire in the production of direct mail for political causes. Although I personally am a liberal Democrat, the work I do in politics winds up being for candidates on all sides of the spectrum. I have worked for major candidates in both parties as well as having done work for several minor party candidates along the way.

The process is basically this. A consultant gives me information about what they want in a mail piece and I put it together in a brochure and take care of the mechanics of getting it delivered. In some ways, I should have probably compared myself with a graphic artist instead of a printer.

The news stories you cited, exagerate my role dramatically, but that background did allow me to meet the consultants and candidates in question and to know and understand their motivations and feelings about the recall. People in politics are very high strung and generally hard to deal with, but Gray is no worse than anyone else, which was the basic point of my post.

As for Cruz Bustamante, I am a contributor to Cruz, although I did not originally think he should run in this race. Many years ago (1986), I was involved with Young Democrats and met Cruz on a campaign, back when he was a nobody.

We became good friends and remain so, although obviously as he has become a very important player, we talk less. When he first ran for State Assembly, I took a week off work (I was then in a completely different line of work) and went up to Fresno at my own expense to volunteer on his campaign. He is a very warm and generous human being.

So the reason you suddenly see my name on a lot of posts on this site, is not some clever attempt by a big shot to influence the election. It is by an overly emotional liberal Democrat who is watching his candidates go down in flames (at least if you believe the polls) and can't keep away from arguing (Probably the biggest reason I am not a political big shot). I actually enjoy this type of stuff, because I think the exchange of viewpoints is good and in this case, I guess mine would qualify as unique.

El Kapitain,

You got busted. Hard.

give it up.

In case the storm troopers get to you, I've posted the article too.

I still don't understand what you, as a "slate mailer", were trying to do. If you were a true believer, emotionally or ideologically invested in politics, then why would you send out "slate mailers" designed to confuse other liberal Democrats into voting for Republicans? Didn't you sue the California Fair Political Practices Commission to ensure your right to send-out these deceptive flyers?

See, I don't buy your argument from above that: "[Gray Davis] has not had a major problem with his temper since his election as State Controller", he's a good guy, and this shows since people give money to him.

It's well known that Davis has a problem with his temper. His tantrums are legendary and surprising only to the naive who rely on newspapers to cover the candidates honestly and fairly.

His excesses in fund-raising are widely known to include bringing pressure to bear on even the most trivial donors. I doubt that anyone gives money to Davis out of loyalty, since loyalty has never been an important part of Davis' MO. He's routinely screwed other Democrats and even his own donors (e.g., the CTA).

I don't know how an ideological, liberal Democrat could defend a man like Davis. I can see how someone who sues for his right to send deceptive direct-mail designed to confuse Democrats into voting for right-wing Christian conservatives could support or defend Davis. That the same guy would put his money behind Bustamante is, if not surprising, disappointing to anyone interested in competent, ethical candidates.

Slate mailers are team mailers where multiple candidates combine resources to put out a mailer. Whether they are honest or sleazy primarily depends like all political mailers on the content. My job is to take what is given me and design the basic mailer. My services are open to anyone that pays me. I hope I am not sounding like a good german by that. As I mentioned above, I am similar to a printer who will print literature from politico's he disagree's with. I don't think its out of place. I still keep actively involved in my community and consider myself a good citizen and follow politics closely. As for Gray Davis, we obviously disagree on his temper and my comments had nothing to do with people who gave him money. My selection of individuals named was consultants precisely because he replaced every one of them and they all had chances to make money by working against him after that. Not one would do so because they thought highly of him. I think it takes a lot for a person who has been fired (or replaced) by someone not to hold a grudge. It politics there is a lot of turnover, but I think it says a lot of good things about Gray that so many people who have left him still feel good enough about him that they support him, even when it costs them money out of their own pockets. I should also point out in case anyone thinks I was trying to pull a fast one by posting on this site that I used my own name (unlike most people on the internet) and I didn't need to do that.

> should also point out in case anyone thinks I was trying to pull a fast one by posting on this site that I used my own name (unlike most people on the internet) and I didn't need to do that.

That should teach ya.


BTW, Bustamante sucks.

Where you say: " comments had nothing to do with people who gave him money", I was referring to the comment above where you said "Another example of the type of person Gray Davis is was shown last week when Gray received a major contribution (approximately $10,000) from lower level employees who had worked with Gray in some capacity in Sacramento(four were secretaries when he was in the Assembly) and got together on their own to pass the hat and contribute to his campaign. Gray Davis wouldn't command this type of loyalty if he was a jerk." And I say that I'm less convinced that this is loyalty than arm-twisting. Loyalty is symmetric, Davis isn't particularly loyal to people, party, or causes once the coffers are full or the campaign is over.

I think its very admirable of you to post using your real name. I won't do the same, although it wouldn't take much to figure it out.

And I think it is your right to print and send-out whatever you want and charge whatever you can get for it. But it seems one should draw the line at using a party's images and words to imply that an ideologically opposite candidate is associated with or shares some affinity with that party.

Anyway, I think the mechanisms of politics are often more interesting and revealing than the supposed "larger issues", so thanks for sharing a bit with us.

Here’s a nugget! I found a little preface by the article’s author Jill Stewart added to the “Closet Wacko Vs. Mega-Fibber” as it appears at a radio station Website, KFI AM.

Note: Since this story, I have interviewed K. and published subsequent columns about these incidents. She did go back to work but with elaborate rules in which she never had to work in the same room with Davis. She finally sought a transfer because she couldn't bear being around him and facing another possible attack.

i've read the article. given that i did work in government (not california) for several years and law for 17 as well as an engineer for 20, i've had some experience with individuals who rise to power.

it is remarkable that many of those who are abusive manage to put a veneer of sanity on a public face. and unfortunately these bullies manage to cow a number of people into submission and create an atmosphere of fear in which most people simply will not speak out or defend themselves or anyone else.

how do they get where they are? because good people have done nothing.

if davis is this violent and has committed these physical and verbal assaults on his staff, he has no business being in any office or any position where he has authority over any person, animal or thing.

can you assume that these kind of people will get help? no. you cannot. most states do allow someone who is violent to be committed.

the voters in california elected davis. clearly they didn't do their homework and the people who surrounded davis and continued to work for him inspite of his physical and verbal assaults are shameful, if this is true. there is no amount of money in the world which justifies placing this kind of individual in power.

Steve -

I went and read SB796, and it's actually a horrible, horrible bill. I'm shocked that there wasn't a larger outcry over it -

Here in CA, we recently had a flap in which a couple of local law firms (who have since withdrawn from the practice of law in the face of being disbarred) filed 'private attorney' actions as contemplated in this act against a number of businesses; it was in essence a legalized shakedown, in which they would scan the regulatory postings for businesses which had violated the law, and then write the business - typically small body shops and mechanics - and threaten to sue unless they got a settlement in the $5 - 10K range.

This law extends the same bad practice to labor laws - note that the exposure to the employer is $200/employee for any violation - PLUS legal fees, which is where the real money in this scam would be.

I'm a big believer in strong enforcement of labor laws. I just happen to think that regulators and publicly accountable bureaucrats are the ones who ought to be doing the enforcing, rather than a bunch of marginal lawyers who stand to make $3 - 5K per violation, and have little interest in solving any issues like as long as they can preserve and profit from them.

Go read the text, and let me know if you disagree.


Everyone who is dismissing Jill Stewart's credibility might consider this:

The issue isn't why didn't the LA Times reprint her story verbatum. The issue is why the allegations never even investigated in the first place -- not in 1998 and not even after deciding to expend considerable resources to dig up dirt on Arnold. I see no reason to question Stewart's integrety, but even if I did, the LA Times double standard still stinks to high even.

Again, I wasn't commenting on the merits of SB796, but only the misleading journalism practiced by Ms. Stewart.

Steve, I'm not a labor lawyer, but I think that you're hanging a strong charge on a narrow reed.

You're accusing Stewart of 'misleading journalism' based on a pretty fine interpretation (which I'm not yet prepared to grant; the bill in question allows employees and - more important - attorneys who like generating fees - to act as private attorneys in any matter of labor law where a state regulatory agency hasn't acted.

Because I'm not a labor lawyer, I can't speak with certainty as to the standards for posting in workplaces; I know that certain environmental postings have to in a set point size, and I would be rather surprised to find that the law - statute or administrative regulation - doesn't have similar standards somewhere.

If Stewart has misinterpreted a fine point of labor law - and the suggested issue is a relatively fine point - her core point stands, which is that there is an immense body of relatively arcane regulation which the law opens to enforcement by employees and the attorneys who stand to generate substantial fee income from prompting these actions.

To take this narrow distinction and broaden to to challenge Stewrat's credibility as a whole doesn't work for me; I'm not a friend or co-employee of hers (I am a fan of many of her opinion columns), and I'm happy to see some basis for making the challenge.

My whole point doesn't rest on whether what Jill reported was Gospel; it is that serious claims have been made that deserved seriosu investigation by the "newspaper of record" which declined to do so. Jill is convinced those charges are true; they are charges I've heard (although have no personal evidence of) in my dealings with people at the state politics level. They are damn seriosu, and the Times should have made some effort to see if they held water or not.

They didn't.

That's sleazy.


I just read Jill's article on the Drudge Report and eventually ended up on this web site. I can't tell you how sickened I am at the thought of someone covering up conduct such as this, whether it be for politics, basketball or whatever. Tom Kaptain’s list of supporters seem to be men. (I am not from California so am not acquainted with those referenced.) Is he afraid to shove a physical equal?

I particularly like the comment from one reader, " El Kapitain, You got busted. Hard.
give it up. Posted by: Yankee Zionist on October 3, 2003 05:05 PM ".


I think Jill's point is being missed. It was about the LA Times and their motive and timing and double standard. I agree with her and would like to call for a boycott of the paper. Maybe a one month boycott. What do you think?


The statute actually is limited to the Labor Code; administrative regulations aren't covered. Also, the great thing about statutes that award attorneys fees to the prevailing party is that it's reciprocal: employers will recover anything they spend if a frivolous law suit is filed against them.

The "font size" issue is the heart of the issue: it's easy to research (about five seconds of WestLaw was all I needed) and it reflects the simplistic reasoning used by Ms. Stewart in her columns: liberals are evil, teachers are hacks, etc. She used the spin points given her by the Republican caucus without performing further fact-checking or due dilligence, so her descriptions of the legislation in that article were either false or ridiculously biased. The whole notion that the Times should take her partisan hatchet jobs seriously (even if one believes that a cussing, loud boss is somehow as morally reprehensible as a groper) is ludicrous, akin to a newspaper allowing the Wall Street Journal editorial page or the American Spectator to dictate its political coverage.

Well, Steve, our biases are showing a bit, aren't they?

Just off the phone with an attorney friend (not labor law); he suggested that I search the Labor Code for the term "posting" - at - get 10 hits. He points out that in most cases the standards for the postings - including font sizes - are set by the Dep't of Labor, and that a violation of the administrative requirement is in fact a violation of the law. (The law requires that you post, the regs tell you how to)

That's about all the legal research I have time for, but it suggests that to a reasonably well-informed observer there might at least be a question about the factual issue you raise; again a reed not nearly strong enough to support the argument you make.

And you're right; the Times has no legal or moral obligation to investigate Davis - unless they want to have editorial credibility, which they have wasted through their highhanded acts.

And if you think Jill's reasoning is simplistic, I'll suggest that you've missed much of what she's written.


I found your article really eye opening, and think it is a dirty shame that it hasn't been made more available to the public and the press. Has Gray Davis ever been investigated for abuse to his wife or children?

Thank you,
Raynee Kremer
San Diego CA

If Davis is such a negative 10, why are his issues coming to the fore now? Similarly if all these women were groped and fondled, why didnt they come forward a few years back? Why now?
I have a problem with people believing that politics is supposed to be dirty hence it is alright... so the assumption is anything goes at anytime.

All I know is that I am paying the highest gas prices and the most in rent of any of the other states in the Union. My children go to substandard schools and I have no access to public transportation easily. I get fleeced in taxes and yet I dont see it working as I would even if I were in Alabama with so much money and tax revenues.

And I am sick of it. And the only person who can do it is Davis himself not because he is the best man but because there isnt enough time for the rest

If Davis is such a negative 10, why are his issues coming to the fore now? Similarly if all these women were groped and fondled, why didnt they come forward a few years back? Why now?
I have a problem with people believing that politics is supposed to be dirty hence it is alright... so the assumption is anything goes at anytime.

All I know is that I am paying the highest gas prices and the most in rent of any of the other states in the Union. My children go to substandard schools and I have no access to public transportation easily. I get fleeced in taxes and yet I dont see it working as I would even if I were in Alabama with so much money and tax revenues.

And I am sick of it. And the only person who can do it is Davis himself not because he is the best man but because there isnt enough time for the rest

I agree with none of you and all of you. The point of Jill's article is that the LA Times is slanted. Okay, true. But she's full of sh!t. The slant, to reference Mr. Franken, is that of sensationalism. Arnold is a big star - believe it or not, even bigger than Gray Davis. Not only are his misgivings more fun to read about, they are also easier to research, being that all this misconduct went on right in the Times's backyard. So, if there is any reason that the Times hasn't printed an article on Davis's mad temper and violence towards his staff, it's probably because it's a boring story, not true, or impossible to substantiate credibly.

I'm a liberal and I hate Gray Davis. Most real liberals do too. So to think that the LA Times has a liberal agenda is too miss the point, Jill! Even though it is considered a mainstream paper, it still dabbles in tabloidery (is that a word?). Every paper has articles on Ben and J. Lo and Kobe and such. The Arnold thing is just another one of those types of stories that was sought out by the LA Times, because it's fun to read and thus it sells papers.

People in California don't like Gray Davis. That's why he is probably going to be recalled. So who gives a sh!t if he's a hothead.

Now, if it came out that he engaged in strange sexual behavior with George Michael in a park bathroom stall, that would be different. I would find it strange if the Times dropped the ball on a story like that... if it could be substantiated.

But come on... this whole "K." story is just boring and not even worth looking up.

Jill - the LA Times isn't out to make the world Democrats. They just want to sell papers. Even though I like Arnold's personality more than Gray's, I'd prefer to read about Arnold grabbing asses over hearing about Gray giving a staff member a "dermatological" reaction.

In my opinion, Gray is as conservative as Pete Wilson. There is absolutely no reason for the Times to get his back on this one. I'm gonna read about Arnold, laugh a little, vote for Camejo, then go to Europe while the Terminator does his thing in California. I hope things work out okay.

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