Josh and Robin Cook (from Josh's Facebook page)
Josh Cook is my Assemblyman's Chief of Staff. I've never met him. I have talked to him on his personal cell phone. You see, I was trying to get permission to visit Assemblyman Brian Dahle's ranch during the Adin Coyote Hunt. I asked Josh if I could visit Brian at the ranch while I was in Modoc County covering the coyote slaughter. I'd learned that Brian Dahle participated in the hunt every year. I wanted his reaction.
Well, while I was talking to Josh about that, Brian Dahle was on the radio talking to Bruce Ross up in Redding. The news had gotten out that Brian was a coyote hunter and Dahle had to do some quick damage control. Bruce Ross had a radio show up there. He was the editor of the opinion page at the Redding Searchlight but now is Brian Dahle's District Manager.
Josh thought I might be able to visit the ranch, and he promised to get right back to me. I had his personal cell phone number so I called it every day I was in Adin, asking for a return phone call and a response from Brian Dahle and a chance to visit the ranch. I called Friday, Saturday and Sunday when I was covering the hunt. Josh blew me off.
I never got a return phone call. I did get an e-mail from Josh with a reaction from Brian Dahle about the Coyote Hunt. Of course, I got this e-mail after the deadline Josh thought I had. I used the quotes in the article and I was very fair to Brian Dahle.
As is so often in life, paths keep crossing. We work out our karmic dance, each fighting for our own side.
Robin Cook is Josh's spouse and the CEO of a political consulting business she and Josh Cook own together called JWCook. Well, Robin showed up at the last Butte County Board of Supervisors meeting claiming she was an interested land owner who would be bankrupted by a fracking ban. Nobody knew at the time that she and her husband (and Brian Dahle's Chief of Staff), had pocketed $37,500 in May and June from Californians For Energy Security which is the front group for Chevron. Chevron gave this organization 1.2 MILLION dollars so far this year.
It pays well to be a consultant for Big Oil.
Bruce Ross is a good guy. A moderate Republican who actually believes in climate change. I wrote him via Twitter and asked him for a comment on what I called "unacceptable graft" by Josh Cook. He wrote back that "Political consultants engaging in politics ain't graft. Beyond that, the people involved can comment. I am not one if them." (sic)
Bruce went on to forward my original question to Josh Cook. I haven't heard from him yet.
If graft is defined as using political influence for personal gain, I don't think it is inappropriate to state that Josh Cook is participating in a bit of greed by taking money directly from the oil companies at the same time he collects a check from the People of California. And here is an airtight example of a political staffer benefiting from their relationship with Big Oil. All Robin Cook had to do is get up and give a speech to the Butte County Supervisors. Not a bad pay day.
Joni was at that same Supervisors meeting arguing for democracy---letting the Fracking Ban move to the ballot for the people to decide. But Joni doesn't get any money from anybody. She fights for our water and our climate. Robin and Josh Cook seem to be earning a fine living off the people of California through Josh's job with Brian Dahle (he is a public employee) and through the Oil Companies from Josh and Robin's political consulting gig. They fight for a much warmer California.
Somehow it reminds me of Jackson Browne's song "Lawyers in Love". It is all about greed and excess and power. Robin Cook was appointed by Jerry Brown to sit on an unsalaried Ag Board. Should we put political consultants on public commissions? Before that Robin worked for Wally Herger. These two have made a life profiting from Republican politics in northern California.
I'd love to have dinner with them sometime to discuss life, public service and our children's future. I'd let them pick up the tab; they have much more money; being a Republican pays better.