“When the elephants start pounding their hooves, the little ants get out of the way. That’s just part of the way life is.” — Gov. Jerry Brown on doing favors for billionaires.
Looking down from on high where he rides his moonbeam to a political fantasyland, Jerry Brown sees a world of elephants and ants — people he admires like that gay-bashing, immigrant loathing big shot Phil Anschutz and little people like the rest of us.
It’s the law of the jungle Jerry Brown embraces.
A year ago when signing into law exemptions from environmental laws and legal processes for Anschutz’ Farmers Field/Convention Center project downtown, Brown declared if anyone wants to “build big,” they should come see him to get the same deal.
In fact, he has promised the business community to gut CEQA if they help him get his Proposition 30 tax hike passed in November — a plan that was written by the education lobby just as his pension reform plan that does nothing to solve the state’s financial problems was written by the union bosses.
“When the elephants start pounding their hooves, the little ants get out of the way. That’s just part of the way life is,” Brown told CBS2 reporter Dave Lopez last year when asked about why he was catering to Anschutz and his company AEG.
Those comments –emblematic of who this version of Jerry Brown is — came back to haunt him in Lopez’ report last Thursday on a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, poverty and environmental groups challenging the special legislation AEG got on legal and constitutional grounds.
“The legislature fumbled the ball on this one. It engaged in unsportsmanlike conduct. The courts, our referees, will penalize them, and finally, we will have a level playing field,” said ACLU attorney Dan Stormer, who is representing Play Fair Farmers Field, the coalition that is challenging the legislation.
The group released a study it commissioned on the negative health, environmental issues that the stadium will bring without effective study to determine mitigation measures that would protect the low-income residents nearby.
Three days after the lawsuit was filed, the LA Times broke a shocking story of how AEG executives up to top gun Tim Leiweke and owner Anschutz were fully aware of the drugged and seriously ill state superstar Michael Jackson was in as he was being pressured to rehearse for a 50-concert run in London.
In an email, Leiweke was told: ”MJ is locked in his room drunk and despondent. I [am] trying to sober him up … He is an emotionally paralyzed mess riddled with self loathing and doubt now that it is show time.”
Leiweke’s response: “Are you kidding me?”
In other words, let’s get on with the show. That point was made clear by AEG’s response to the Times article which was based on 250 emails leaked by Lloyd’s of London which is suing AEG over the $17.5 million policy it wrote based on what it says are the entertainment company’s false claims.
“If you are in the creative arts business, you are going to be involved with individuals who have a great many problems,” said AEG attorney Marvin Putnam. “Michael Jackson was an adult and … it is supercilious to say he was unable to take care of his own affairs.”
Jerry Brown couldn’t have said it better. AEG is the elephant and the soon-to-be-dead Michael Jackson was less than an ant.
Yet, with the clock ticking down, the LA City Council and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa –now a famous national figure and friend of so many elephants — are ready to sign off on the deal that will give AEG massive subsidies of various sorts to take control over a huge chunk of downtown with Staples Center, LA Live, Farmers Field and the rebuilt Convention Center.
This is a city government that is doing everything it can to keep Walmart from opening a modest grocery store in Chinatown that was built with taxpayer money but has been sitting empty for 20 years.
This is a city government that turned away the chance to create more than 600 local manufacturing jobs to build light rail cars in LA because the company, Siemens, has subsidiaries that have done business with Iran. Instead, the cars will be made in Japan with a couple of hundred assembly jobs here.
Jerry Brown wasn’t completely honest with his elephant-ant morality crack. It appears even among the elephants, some elephants are more equal than others, especially the killer ones like Phil Anschutz.