When Gov. Jerry Brown last week created a new, 18-member Military Council that will be charged with working "to protect California's military installations and operations amid ongoing Department of Defense budget cuts," there was a glaring omission in the list of appointees.
The council includes retired military officers, business executives and elected officials from every area of the state in which there is a significant military presence -- except for the region around Naval Base Ventura County. San Diego is particularly well represented on the panel, which will be headed by former San Francisco Bay area Rep. Ellen Tauscher, who also served as Under Secretary of State.for arms control and international security affairs.
It also includes four legislators who have military connections -- notably including Sen. Steve Knight of Palmdale, whose political interest lies in protecting activities at Point Mugu's sometime inner-service rival, the naval air station at China Lake.
In a letter to Brown this week, Camarillo Assemblyman Jeff Gorell points out this omission and asks that it be corrected -- by adding him to the council.
"While you have appointed excellent representation for the San Diego and China Lake areas, there is no representation for the important bases located in Ventura County - the third region with a high concentration of Navy operations and personnel," Gorell writes.
He goes on to request that Brown select him as the council's 19th member.
Gorell makes an important and necessary point. The absence of anyone on the council who is familiar with and protective of the essential role of operations at Point Mugu and the Port Hueneme Seabee base could put the region at a disadvantage.
But offering up himself as the solution to this oversight could be seen in the governor's office as a self-interested move by Gorell. Surely there are distinguished retired military officers in Ventura County who could be added to the council to give it better balance. Retired Congressman Elton Gallegly could be another possibility, depending on what sort of relationship he and Tauscher developed during their many years together in the House of Representatives.
HEALTHY POLITICS: Freshman Assemblyman Scott Wilk of Santa Clarita has come up with a clever idea to combine constituent outreach with fitness.
On Saturday morning at 8:30 he will host his first "Walking with Wilk" event, inviting consituents to meet him at the Iron Horse Trailhead on Magic Mountain Parkway in Santa Clarita for a half-hour walk.
His office says that similar events will be held in Simi Valley and the San Fernando Valley -- the other two population centers in the 38th Assembly District -- in the weeks ahead. The press release notes that the walk will followed by "coffee and snacks."
If this idea is to work, those snacks better be yogurt and carrot sticks, not doughnuts and coffee cake.
GRANDMA JACKSON -- While some legislators have received some criticism in the press for their travels over the Legislature's spring break last week, it's doubtful anyone will hold it against Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson for the trip she took to Washington, D.C.
She went there at her own expense to visit her newborn grand-daughter, born on St. Patrick's Day. She is Jackson's first grandchild.
Jackson tells me that, by chance, the trip did involve an opportunity to do a little elbow-rubbing with the Washington political elite. On her return flight to California, she found herself seated next to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
MAYBE A COINCIDENCE, BUT ... -- Several weeks back, the county chapter of the National Women's Political Caucus held an event designed to encourage women from Ventura County to seek out appointments to state offices. While it's doubtful it was the result of cause and effect, Brown last Friday appointed Camarillo Health Care District CEO Jane Rozanski of Camarillo to the California Commission on Aging.
Rozanski, 69, is registered to vote as having no party preference.
THE ONLINE FUNDRAISING CONTINUES -- One of the keys to Rep. Julia Brownley's political success last fall was her success in attracking hundreds of thousands of dollars in small political contributions from online donors. She's hoping to repeat that success in 2014.
Brownley sent out a number of email appeals in the weeks leading up to the March 31 deadline for first-quarter fundraising. The results of those efforts will be revealed on April 15, when the reports are filed with the Federal Elections Commission. But in a follow-up email on Monday, Brownley told supporters she was "very grateful" for their responses and indicated she is off to a good start for her re-election campaign.
"When John Boehner and Karl Rove look at our FEC report they will see that they cannot take this seat back without a serious fight," she wrote. "They may have the backing of billionaires and big corporations but we have you."
The fundraising reporting deadlines also explain why Republican Tony Strickland, Brownley's once and apparently future opponent, filed papers establishing his 2014 campaign committee on April 1. The timing means that Strickland can now begin fundraising, but will be able to wait the maximum amount of time (until July 15) to report his contributions. Presumably, that will allow him to time his official announcement for about then -- and he no doubt hopes he will be able to do so with a splash by reporting a big number in his campaign account.