New York Times Spins for Jerry Brown on State Employees Doing Oil Search on His Land

December 29th, 2015 12:25 AM

What do you do if you are a liberal governor trying to present the public image of a concerned environmentalist and then get caught red handed using state employees to find oil on your personal property? Why you have Adam Nagourney of the New York Times perform spin control to paint a picture of yourself as a rugged outdoorsy type surviving as a nature boy on that very same land you wanted to exploit for an accursed fossil fuel. First we find Jerry Brown with his hand caught in the petroleum cookie jar as reported by Breitbart on November 5 followed by the nature boy spin control just now provided by the New York Times.

California governor Jerry Brown used state experts to prepare a 51-page report on the prospects for oil development on his family’s private land in Northern California, according to an Associated Press investigation released early Thursday morning.

“Senior staffers in the state’s oil and gas regulatory agency over at least two days produced a 51-page historical report and geological assessment, plus a personalized satellite-imaged geological and oil and gas drilling map for the area around Brown’s family ranchland near the town of Williams,” the AP reported.

Brown’s office declined to comment, referring the AP instead to the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, which said that the agency had responded to the governor’s request for information as it would have for any other citizen.

Oil company executives and industry executives found that hard to believe, however: “they never heard of regulators carrying out and compiling that kind of research, analysis and mapping for private individuals.”

Uh-oh! So how to erase that nasty memory of Jerry Brown acting like a greedy crony capitalist oil man? Welcome to the new image of Jerry Brown, the Nature Boy outdoors man who lives a life so rugged on his land that such vulgar thoughts of fossil fuel exploitation never, ever entered his mind. Take it away spinmeister Nagourny!

WILLIAMS, Calif. — Four dusty miles off State Route 20, around a curve on a dirt road once used by stagecoaches, a scattering of barns and dilapidated buildings sits hidden among rolling hills speckled with oak trees. There is no electricity or cell service. There is a compact outhouse and a redwood cabin just big enough to hold one air mattress. There is no other sign of civilization for miles.

This is Rancho Venada, and for all its isolation and ostensible inhospitality, it is the place that this state’s governor, Jerry Brown, is gravitating to as he approaches the end of his 50-year career in politics. These 2,514 wind-swept acres have been owned by the Brown family for almost 150 years, since the governor’s great-grandfather August Schuckman, a German immigrant, traveled to central California on a wagon train.

Yeah, he has been gravitating to it in his role of rugged Nature Boy ever since he was exposed in his unwanted role as Oil Man. Nagourney continues to lay it on thick with the spin control:

For the past year, Mr. Brown, 77, and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, have adopted this land as something of a mission. They sleep in the tiny cabin many weekends, rebuilding barns piled with garbage and pockmarked with bullet holes, organizing family reunions and laying plans to create a library here documenting the history of the ranch and this politically storied family. They may even live here after his term ends in 2019.

Really? I sure hope they install a shower since Mr. and Mrs. Brown could get sick of each other's body odors mighty quick.

Oh, and now the obligatory reference to that silly oil scandal that, heh-heh, we sure hope you forget about once Nagourney lays it on even thicker with the nature boy shtick:

Mr. Brown’s interest in the property grew deep enough that he asked a state official — one of his appointees — to research the mining and oil drilling history of the land, The Associated Press reported last month, prompting accusations of impropriety. The official who conducted the review has since resigned, although he said the decision was not related to the governor’s request, and another state employee filed a whistle-blower’s complaint for being ordered to do the work.

“What’s so special about Jerry Brown’s ranch?” asked the headline of a Los Angeles Times editorial that questioned Mr. Brown’s drawing on government resources for personal needs. Mr. Brown defended the request, saying he was simply seeking publicly available information, as any citizen is entitled to do.

“I said, ‘Hey, what’s out there?’ ” Mr. Brown said. “They always try to overdo it for the governor. I have to be very careful what I ask for. Bureaucrats don’t own public information — the people do. And the governor, as one of the people, gets to look at it, too.”

Yeah, yeah, yeah! That's the ticket! Just some overenthusiastic bureaucrats a bit too eager to help a governor who had absolutely no interest in finding out if black gold flowed beneath his land. And, now that we have gotten that bit of hopefully down the memory hole nastiness out of the way, we return now to the warm tale of Jerry Brown, Nature Boy Survivalist:

The outhouse is a 200-foot walk from the cabin, which replaced a tent where Mr. Brown slept when he started coming here. “I can definitely touch the walls lying on the bed,” he said. On winter nights, there is not much to warm the cabin. “Just each other,” Mr. Brown said, gesturing to his wife, “and the two dogs.”

Hey! Do I detect a hint of skepticism on your faces? Sigh! Okay back to that oil business that Jerry Brown had absolutely no interest in for the last time. Got that? The very last time!

Steven Bohlen, who was the head of the state oil and gas division and the official Mr. Brown called for help in evaluating the property, has returned to his previous employer, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Mr. Bohlen said he had left his state job because he had been overwhelmed by “all the negative press and all the negative state legislative work” that accompanied his agency’s efforts on fracking and other oil and gas issues.

“We do this for the public all the time,” he said of the governor’s request.

Mr. Brown said he intended to display documents he had collected from his request — which included a single-page summary about finding no evidence of significant oil or gas wells — in the library he plans to establish. “They give you the old well records: I want to put those behind a glass case,” he said.

Hey Steve! Could you prepare a 51 page report on the possibility of oil beneath my property? I'm not a governor but you perform that service for the public all the time. Right? Right? Are you there, Steve?

And now for a nature boy encore:

Gazing across his ranch at the fluttering flags of California and the surrounding Colusa County, Mr. Brown seemed to take contrarian pleasure in the notion that he could find peace in a place others find forbidding.

“You know what I like?” Mr. Brown asked. “You get up in the middle of the night, the stars are very bright, the moon shining on the barn. It makes for a good balance between the intensity of the political and the serenity of the land.”

Hmmm... And I take the contrarian view that I would prefer to have an oil rig pumping money into my wallet and enjoy the bright stars and shining moon on a Caribbean island tropical paradise instead of hanging out on an arid stretch of dirt in order to put on a desperate bit performance art for the spin doctors.