Capitol Weekly: The Skinny
June 17, 2010Capitol Weekly
Time and time again, the state Capitol is the place for unresolved local conflicts. The fiercest local fights, that often have big money attached, find their way to Sacramento where they escalate. We saw it last year when Majestic Realty came to Sacramento to help leverage the City of Walnut. And we see it again in a struggle between the City of Hope and physicians in Southern California. And as is so often the case with these types of conflicts, by the time they get to Sacramento, big name consultants and lots of cash is involved. The City of Hope has reached out to Garry South and Jim Brulte to kill a bill by Sen. Dean Florez that would preventCity of Hope from controlling the medical group. The doctors, meanwhile, have turned to Richie Ross, Florez’s political consultant, to help steer the bill through the building. Ross has registered as a lobbyist for the fight. South and Brulte have not. The bill marks the latest chapter in a nasty blood feud between South and Ross that goes back more than a decade. Ross was the consultant who talked Cruz Bustamante into running for governor in the 2003 recall – a move that South still believes helped sink Gray Davis. And Florez was the head of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee that held hearings over the Oracle debacle that embarrassed the Davis administration and Cabinet Secretary Susan Kennedy. South and Ross also tangled over a 2004 ballot measure, Proposition 67, that would have taxed phones to pay for emergency rooms – a fight lead by Ross that was defeated with an assist from South. The bill is scheduled to be heard June 29 in the Assembly Health Committee.