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Jon Fleischman

Jon is the elected Vice Chairman, South of the California Republican Party.

 

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Today's Commentary on the News

 

More Problems for Jerry Brown as LA Times Reports New Book Examines Mob Ties

 

by Jon Fleischman - Publisher (bio) (email)

 
9-2-2006 10:36 am

Jerry Brown has had a very frustrating summer. First, his disingenuous efforts to portray Oakland crime as down when it's actually been exploding on his watch (homicides up 57% from 1999-2005) were overwhelmed by daily headlines of carnage in the city streets.  Yesterday, the Oakland Tribune reported the city now has had more murders this year than all of last year.  The aggressive campaign of Senator Chuck Poochigian has been relentlessly pounding on Brown's (typical) neglect of Oakland as he campaigns full-time for AG while the city is in the grips of what can only be called a public safety crisis.  Come to think of it, a public safety crisis is exactly what the Poochigian has accurately labeled the ever-worsening situation in Oakland.
 
Now, Wednesday's LA Times reports that a new book by an experienced investigative reporter is again raising questions about Brown's integrity.  Jerry Brown's questionable competence and integrity have always been his weakpoints and are resurfacing at a most inconvenient time for the (perennial) candidate.
 
The book is titled "Supermob" and focuses on famed fixer Sidney Korshak who was named by the California Attorney General's office and others as a major figure with alleged ties to organized crime.  The Times reports investigative reporter Gus Russo says that "Brown took campaign contributions from Korshak and unions with suspected mob ties during the 1970s, and then granted them political favors.  In an interview, Russo said the timing of the book's release had nothing to do with Brown's candidacy.  But "I would question anyone running for political office who would curry that kind of favor," Russo said."

More excerpts from LA Times reporter Eric Bailey's story follow:

Jerry Brown received "massive contributions" during the 1974 gubernatorial race from friends and associates of Korshak, the book contends.  During his reelection campaign four years later, Brown's association with Korshak "became a major point of criticism and even mockery," the book says.

"Newspapers noted Korshak's attendance at a $1,000-a-plate Beverly Hills fundraiser for Brown in 1978 after a report on organized crime by then-state Atty. Gen. Evelle Younger named the influential labor lawyer, "the key link between organized crime and big business."

"According to the book, Younger's report said Korshak, though never indicted, had been the subject of several FBI investigations and had been linked to organized crime since the 1940s. One U.S. Justice Department official described Korshak as a senior advisor to organized crime groups in California, Chicago, Las Vegas and New York. Korshak denied the charges."

Korshak took a Teamster chief and his wife as guests to the Brown fundraiser, which raised $50,000 from a guest list culled in no small part from Korshak's personal address book. Another $50,000 contribution, Republicans charged, came from an arm of the Teamsters.

Brown then appointed the brother-in-law of a union boss to the board that named concessionaires at the state's racetracks and county fairs, the book contends. Russo alleges that the profits from concessions were "skimmed" and sent to reputed mob figures.

Russo's book also asserts that Korshak attempted unsuccessfully in 1979 to force a total shutdown of Hollywood Park racetrack during an labor impasse intended to "pave the way" for an organized crime takeover of the track.

"Just then, Governor Brown played into Korshak's hands" by trying to close the track, citing safety risks with critical employees on strike, according to Russo's book. Brown, at the time, said he made the move to demonstrate that he was "pro-labor."

"Not long after siding with Korshak at Hollywood Park," the book says, Brown traveled to New Hampshire to campaign in the state's presidential primary. He was aided in campaigning there by Service Employees International Union, which represented workers at the Southern California racetrack."   

Obviously these are allegations, and Brown will now have to be on the defense as he tries to 'explain away' his once-close affiliation with Korshak and his associates.  More likely than not, he will try to ignore the entire matter.  And it is equally as likely that the main stream media will help him by ignoring it as well.
 
However, this is another reminder of why the idea of Jerry Brown as Attorney General should concern everyone.  This next two months will not be a cakewalk for Brown.  The revelations from this book, his failure to lead in the City of Oakland, his left-wing term as Governor of California (remember Rose Bird?) -- all of this and more will make for open season on Jerry Brown.  Add to it that the top strategist for Brown's opponent, State Senator Chuck Poochigian, is none other than Ken Khachigian, hold onto your chairs.  Ken is savvy, and aggressive. 

With this much fodder, and the millions that Poochigian has raised with which to carry a message, those who think the campaign will be a cakewalk for Brown should stay tuned.

Below, even liberal Gary Trudeau, in his Doonesbury cartoon, has taken on Brown for his ties to the mob...




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