Jerry Brown wants to have another turn on the Governor of California ride. The "About" page on his campaign website features a little story about him. [UPDATE 5/27/2010: See the new information at the end of this piece]
Of the 1035 words written to summarize Jerry’s long political career, 196 words are dedicated to Brown’s accomplishments while he served as
Brown personally founded the
for the Arts and the Oakland Military Institute. Both schools serve students from the 6th grade through the 12th and are among the best performing schools in Oakland School . Their graduates are now studying in such outstanding universities as Yale, Vassar, Stanford, Oakland West Point, UCLA and UC Berkeley.
Now, an astute observer will notice something’s missing – namely any mention of the 50,000 or so students who attended the schools which weren’t either of Jerry’s charters. With so little information about his views on public education or any other possible involvement he had had, an independent critical thinker will be curious how the claims on Jerry’s website mesh with reality.
About Jerry’s SchoolsThe Oakland Military Institute (OMI) opened its doors in the fall of 2001. For its first three years, OMI was under a charter granted by the California State Board of Education, after which it was granted a charter by the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). The first school year for the
Here are the enrollment figures for Jerry’s charters:
|OMI||OSA||Total||OUSD||Percentage of |
served by Jerry’s
I lived in
Because it is tied into downtown development – and therefore connected to Jerry Brown’s developer friends – the OSA is Brown’s specially-tended “baby.” Despite the fact that OUSD had performing arts programs at the traditional public schools (most notably
Even today, Jerry Brown continues to undermine the traditional public schools by leveraging his connections to bring in millions of extra dollars to his one special “baby.” In this era of “choice,” Jerry Brown is doing his very best to make the traditional public schools look like poor, undesirable half-siblings.
Andrew McIntosh just wrote an online piece for the Sacramento Bee which tells us all we need to know (Jerry Brown's 'kids' get ka-ching from Bing,
Brown, the state's top law enforcer and former governor, has raised $9.8 million for two
charter schools that he helped launch while he was mayor of the Bay area city: the Oakland for the Arts and the Oakland Military Institute. Oakland School
More than 200 corporations, foundations and people have given to the two schools at the urging or "behest" of Brown since 2006, state financial records show.
That includes an eye-popping $1 million alone from Steve Bing, the uber media-shy Hollywood producer who owns an entertainment company, a green building construction firm and a solar energy venture under his Shangri-La Group of companies.
While state law limits the value of campaign contributions and gifts to politicians, there are no limits on so-called "behested" payments to politicians' favorite pet charity.
Such donations aren't considered campaign contributions or gifts under state law but must still must be reported to the FPPC if they top $5,000 a year from a single source.
Steve Bing made his donation to the
for the Arts through Oakland School law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which reported the donor as "B. Co." in records. Los Angeles
Brown spokesman Scott Gerber reports that "B. Co." is Bing. The donation was made
Aug. 5, 2008, state records show.
Bing owns green construction firm Shangri-La Construction L.P., corporate records show. It was incorporated in
on Delaware Sept. 9, 2008.
The construction firm three months later became a partner in a $100 million green building investment fund, a news release shows.
Paul Bloch, a
publicist for Bing, declined to comment on the millionaire's donation or his company, adding: "We don't ever comment on anything." Los Angeles
Gerber said it's "absurd" to link Bing's generosity to the
charter school to Brown’s push for Oakland cities statewide to embrace green building ordinances. California
"Jerry Brown has a long record of championing environmental causes and protecting the environment," Gerber said.
Brown relishes his record of raising cash for the two schools, Gerber added. "The schools have achieved an enviable record of helping disadvantaged young people get into prestigious universities such as Yale, Stanford, UC and
West Point,” Gerber said.
Robert Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies in
, doesn't think that such donations can be banned. The key, he says, is that they're all disclosed. Los Angeles
"It's great to give, but are they giving because Jerry Brown is a great guy or because he's attorney general?," Stern asked.
Donors backing one or both of the
schools have included oil giants, banks, mortgage lenders, utilities, health plans and telecom giants, and Indian tribes with gambling interests, many of which are regulated and investigated by his department. Oakland
Other big donors include:
- General Atlantic Corporation, a private equity giant, $450,000.
- Lytton Rancheria in Santa Rosa and United Auburn Indian Community, both casino operators: $250,000 each.
- PG & E, $75,000
- Wal-Mart Stores, $50,000 [this was probably the Walton Family Foundation]
- Occidental Petroleum: $25,000
- Safeway Foundation, $25,000.
- Clorox Company $40,000; the Clorox Company Foundation, $100,000.
- Dow Chemical Foundation, $10,000.
- Hearst Foundation, $150,000 into to Oakland's Military Institute, while Hearst heir William R. Hearst III personally donated another $50,000.
This all is being conducted while the performing arts funding of Oakland's traditional public schools is nearly totally neglected!
And keep in mind this information from the FPPC:
The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) was created by the Political Reform Act of 1974, a ballot initiative passed by
voters as Proposition 9. California
The FPPC educates the public and public officials on the requirements of the Act. It provides written and oral advice to public agencies and officials; conducts seminars and training sessions; develops forms, manuals and instructions; and receives and files statements of economic interests from many state and local officials.
The FPPC investigates alleged violations of the Political Reform Act, imposes penalties when appropriate, and assists state and local agencies in developing and enforcing conflict-of-interest codes.
The FPPC regulates:
- campaign financing and spending;
- financial conflicts of interest;
- lobbyist registration and reporting;
- post-governmental employment;
- mass mailings at public expense; and
- gifts and honoraria given to public officials and candidates.
So with the gobs and gobs of money, and by reading the glowing blurb on Jerry’s campaign website, you’d think that all would be more-than-well with his two schools. My goodness, millions of extra dollars for just a handful of
Well, it’s about time someone took a closer look.
*UPDATE: The following year, it was Robert Downey, Jr.'s turn (Iron Man) to help Jerry raise dough for OSA. The event was held at the mansion of Ann and Gordon Getty on May 5, 2010. Look at pics of the guests and setting here.
And speaking of gubernatorial elections (Jerry Brown for governor and Gavin Newsom for lieutenant governor), be advised of these generational social connections between Brown, Newsom, Getty, and Pelosi.
- Jerry Brown is friends with William Newsom (SF Mayor Gavin Newsom’s father, a retired state appeals court judge and administrator of the Getty family trust). Their fathers were close friends (Pat Brown and William II).
- William Newsom is also a close friend of Gordon Getty (son of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, and composer). They met in the late 1940s while attending St. Ignatius Catholic prep school in San Francisco.
- William Newsom’s (Gavin’s father, Jerry’s friend) late sister Barbara was once married to Ron Pelosi, brother-in-law of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
- Gavin Newsom’s business ventures were funded by Gordon Getty. Gavin and Gordon’s son (Billy) were friends but may have had a falling out in 2000. http://articles.sfgate.com/2000-08-11/news/17655760_1_getty-money-gordon-getty-gavin