Posts Tagged ‘paul rolly’

Were Foxley & Pignanelli guarding Governor Herbert’s henhouse last weekend?

Teethmarks and Taliban

Thinking some more about what happened with Governor Herbert’s sudden vanishing act on HB 477, the bill to gut Utah’s freedom of information (GRAMA) law and conceal government records from the public, a couple of curious things come to mind.

1. Paul Rolly’s column.  Rolly claims that the Republican legislators who planned the HB 477 blitzkrieg told him that they’d checked it out with the Governor beforehand and he was down with their plan, until a day later, when he “threw them under the bus.”  According to Rolly, “the more [Herbert] learned…the more uncomfortable he became.”  Quick translation: the more the public and media started to scream, the more uncomfortable Herbert became. Until he hatched a plan to take off the heat.  Or because, let’s face it, the Accidental Governor is not that bright, someone hatched one for him.

2. Rolly says that legislators changed their minds on Monday when they learned that Herbert had decided that delaying the bill’s enactment date would give him cover.  And so, the legislators who felt they’d been thrown under the bus decided to roll over and help him?  Public clamor doesn’t bother these people in the least.  Something doesn’t add up.

3. The ad.  Tuesday morning, a full page ad basically endorsing the fake resolution to the crisis appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune, headlined “A Break in the Clouds”.  The Trib‘s printing deadline would have been sometime early Monday afternoon.  At the latest.  Management had to approve the concept, someone had to create the ad, and management had to sign off on the finished product.  Consider the timeline.

It’s not impossible that the Trib didn’t find out about the fake fix until the same time Monday morning as the legislators who felt thrown under the bus and then – if you believe what you are being told – not only decided to lie there but also decided to help drive the bus over themselves.  Just completely implausible.  I think the Trib knew about the deal to pass the bill by Sunday night at the latest.  Being on Foxley & Pignanelli’s client roster (Utah Media Coalition, Utah Press Association), why wouldn’t they?

The ad that didn’t run

Let’s consider for a moment the ad the Tribune could have run but didn’t.  Instead of heralding the governor’s slithering out the back door as a “break in the clouds,” the Tribune could have run an ad that said “Hey!  Where do you think you’re going?  Grow a pair and pick up the veto pen!”  Well, not that exactly – we’re in Utah after all – but something like it.  The “break in the clouds” is your tipoff.  The Tribune actually saw this – the passing of the bill with a promise to tweak it later – as a good thing.  Who would have sold them on that idea?  There are your Foxley/Pignanelli* teethmarks.

Plus, Foxley and Pignanelli are veterans of the 2000 holy war over HB 320 which granted a bonanza to the utilities by depriving citizens of representation in ratemaking.  Lots of people have forgotten, but I’m guessing these two haven’t, and they know perfectly well that the strategy on HB 477 is nothing new, because it’s exactly the same as that for 320.  HB 320 was passed with a delayed enactment date, fake negotiations ensued, and the bill became law, as planned.  After a HUGE fight, it was repealed, a miraculous event that will not be repeated here because a very different crew is in control now, Utah’s homegrown Taliban.  They Don’t Care What You Want.


So I take back what I said about Pignanelli pretend negotiating on HB 477 between now and July.  (Not the part about being a cream puff though.)  I think all the negotiating was done by last weekend, and Herbert is really a bigger fool than most people already assume.  By accepting the “break in the clouds” presented to him as his escape route, he managed to alienate both sides – the legislative wingnuts who are were his core support, and the public that was (and remains) pissed off with him to begin with.  The wingnuts may say they feel thrown under the bus, but when all is said and done, they’ll get their bill.  The real roadkill will be Herbert.

Herbert, and the public’s right to government transparency.  The really sad thing is that if my hunch is correct, it wasn’t even the governor who sold out the public but the Salt Lake Tribune and its crack lobbying team.  And now they have the nerve to suggest that the public fix what they screwed up?  That takes balls.

* Doug Foxley and Frank Pignanelli are Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough alumni who run a Republican/Democrat lobbying firm a la Matalin/Carville, Foxley being Matalin and Pignanelli being Carville.  Without the humor.  The genius behind such a pairing is the ability to play both sides down the middle.


PCE pirates strike back

It seems that Utah Gravy Train has struck a nerve at the new UAPCS/PCE brain trust.

Accidental Lobbyist/UAPCS Interim Executive Director Kim Frank sent out an uncharacteristically verbose email to the charter faithful this week, denying the voucher bodysnatcher charge and insisting that there was nothing screwy about the cancelled member vote.  She helpfully attached minutes from UAPCS board meetings between November 2009 and April 2010. Unfortunately, minutes from the May and June board meetings remain AWOL.

The newly liberated minutes cleared up at least one mystery: in his interview with Paul Rolly, UAPCS board chair Mark Cluff mentioned that the board “openings had been well known for months, but only three people applied. The two who were appointed were chosen unanimously by the existing board.”

We’d been wondering about that third person and what happened to her.  Was she eliminated in a runoff vote? Hardly.  Remember, these people have a mortal terror of losing elections (Robyn Bagley knows how it feels) so when they cannot avoid them by canceling them completely, they set them up so that they face no competition on the ballot.  They’re all about choice except when there’s a chance they won’t be chosen.  Don’t accuse Utah Gravy Train of making up a conspiracy where there is none – it’s all there in black and white in the minutes. Continue reading

Questions, we’ve got questions

Paul Rolly’s story on the hostile takeover at the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools (UAPCS) was a good start.  Here’s a little more …

1. UAPCS Board Chair & PCE Board Member Mark Cluff told Rolly that the annual meeting was simply moved to October so that the bylaws could be re-written.  But this is not a simple delay.  It is a cancellation.  By precedent, UAPCS held its annual vote in May, prior to a fiscal year that begins in July.  If there was a vote in May 2009 and no vote in May 2010, then by definition, the vote for the 2009/2010 year was cancelled.

2. What exactly is the horrendous problem with the UAPCS bylaws that requires six months to repair and necessitates the cancellation of a simple unrelated vote on a board of directors?  If member schools can’t even understand it, perhaps Rolly could ask Cluff to explain?

The association just held its annual statewide conference this week at the Provo Marriott, two entire months after the April member meeting where the cancellation of the May vote was first announced.  What about that venue was not seen as convenient and by whom?  Perhaps the PCE/for-profit consulting junta running the UAPCS board was a tad nervous about whether or not they’d be endorsed unless they had time to run a campaign?  How much time would they need?  Would six months spiced with a little fearmongering about upcoming anti-charter legislation do the trick? Continue reading