Co-Published by Fast Company
How much influence has a former Jerry Brown staffer-turned-lobbyist had over the governor?
Climate-change activists hoping to hear the governor propose a new climate initiative during his State of the State speech Thursday were disappointed.
On the list of society’s most reviled professions, somewhere between tax collector and a member of Congress, sits the lobbyist.
The nurses who showed up at state Senator Richard Pan’s Capitol office in May were furious. They had been assured by Pan, a Democrat from Sacramento, that he would be on their side when it came time to vote on Senate Bill 346, a charity care measure aimed at providing transparency to the state’s currently murky rules governing tax-exempt status for nonprofit hospitals.
But Pan, a physician who has risen to prominence this year as the sponsor of a mandatory school vaccination bill, abstained when the bill came up for a vote in the Senate’s health committee, effectively killing it when it fell one vote short of passing in that committee on April 29. The nurses alleged that the bill died because Pan withdrew his promised support after heavy, last-minute lobbying by the California Hospital Association (CHA). Pan’s spokesperson, Shannan Martinez, later issued a denial,
Here’s something you probably didn’t know happened in California in the last few years, and maybe it’s something you never imagined could happen: In 2011, two high-ranking state regulators were fired from their posts for pissing off the oil industry. No one really disputes the veracity of that statement; not even Governor Jerry Brown. “They were blocking oil exploration in Kern County,” the Sacramento Bee reported Brown announcing at an event six months later. “I fired them, and oil permits for drilling went up 18 percent.”
Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association, also celebrated without restraint, unconcerned that the people of California might detect her hand guiding the Governor’s pink-slip pen. After the firings, Reheis-Boyd boasted to the Los Angeles Times that her industry once again had a “clear pathway for people to get permits and proceed with drilling in this state.