When former Rep. Gary Condit went to Sacramento as an assemblyman, he formed with four other state assemblymen the "Gang of 5" that tried to oust Willie Brown from the speakership of the state Assembly. When former Rep. Tony Coelho resigned due to exposure for accepting a loan from Michael Milken, who served a prison sentence for high financial derring-do, Condit went to the House of Representatives, where he served a dozen years. Near the close of his tenure in office, he was able to bring a great deal of political pressure to bear on the governor and University of California to site a new UC campus in Merced, thus making certain that there would be an absurdly destructive residential housing market boom, complete with much construction, followed by a colossal bust -- sort of like what happened to Condit's political career. Condit and was replaced by another former Ceres mayor, Sal Cannella. Now, Cannella's son, Tony, yet another former Ceres mayor, has joined another gang of 5, this time in the state Senate, winning the seat his father was unable to win 12 years earlier. The object of this crew is to hold up the state budget unless the Gov. Jerry Brown agrees to weaken the California Environmental Quality Act. The Redding Record-Searchlight calls this proposal "anathema to environmentalists," but CEQA is only as good as the public groups willing to defend it against development in court; and whatever the Sinister 5 may contemplate doing to CEQA, it could not be as bad as what competent corporate counsel and incompetent environmental attorneys have done to it since it was enacted 41 years ago.
In closing let us assert without fear of contradiction that CEQA is not the reason for poverty in Ceres.
Badlands Journal editorial board
Wandering and wondering
Five Republican state senators are holding Governor Jerry Brown hostage. The GOP solons say they will not vote for the budget unless Brown guts the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The GOP 5, as they dubbed themselves in a letter to Brown, are Sam Blakeslee, San Luis Obispo; Anthony Cannella, Ceres; Bill Emmerson, Hemet; Tom Berryhill, Modesto; and Tom Harman, Huntington Beach. They are negotiating independently of their leader, Senator Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga, who remains opposed to allowing voters to decide whether to extend current taxes another five years. Their proposal would sharply limit the rights of California citizens and local government agencies to enforce critical environmental protections. Please contact Governor Brown online at ecovote.org/budget-ceqa. You also can write to Governor Jerry Brown, c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814; or call 916-445-2841; or fax 916-558-3160.