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State Senator Marty Block, San Diego Democrat, decided not to seek a second term, but as the ever-vigilant Dan Walters notes in the Sacramento Bee, on December 5, just in time for the holidays, Block “got a lucrative consolation prize from Gov. Jerry Brown – a $146,609 per year appointment to the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.” In fact, the governor designated Block as chairman. As Walters observes, “The UI appeals board and other similar bodies have often been landing places for legislators who lose elections or retire.”
As we noted, California’s high-speed rail project, also known as the bullet train, is a giant bait-and-switch project. Even if completed, it would be slower and more expensive than air travel. On the other hand, the California High Speed Rail Authority helpfully provides a board post for Lynn Schenk, a former congresswoman and chief of staff for retired governor Gray Davis. Consider also California’s state stem-cell institute.
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has spent nearly $3 billion but failed to produced any of the life-saving cures and therapies it promised voters in 2004. CIRM paid huge salaries and channeled more than 90 percent of its funding to institutions with representatives on its governing board. In the early going, San Diego businessman Duane Roth offered to serve as vice-chairman and take no salary. CIRM bosses opted to make Roth co-vice-chairman along with former state senator Art Torres. CIRM promptly tripled Torres’ salary from $75,000 to $225,000.
With that kind of dough from California taxpayers, no need for Torres, a lawyer, to work at his craft. Same for Jerry Brown’s newly minted Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board chairman Marty Block, an attorney and former faculty member at San Diego State. For California’s ruling class, it’s always the most wonderful time of the year.