WatchSonoma Watch

New posts for Levine, Allen

Marc Levine, the North Bay’s new assemblyman, and Michael Allen, the man he replaced, each got lucrative appointments on Thursday courtesy of Speaker John Pérez.

Allen, who lost a re-election bid in November despite lots of financial help from the speaker, was appointed to the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. The board, which has provided soft landings for many ex-legislators and ex-gubernatorial aides, pays $128,000 a year for what is effectively part-time work.

Levine, meanwhile, announced his committee assignments. Among them is the Government Organization Committee. You wouldn’t guess from its anodyne name, but this is one of the great fundraising perches in the entire Legislature. Why? Its jurisdiction includes alcohol, tobacco, horse racing and casinos.

Levine’s other assignments include local government, higher education, aging and long term care, and arts, entertainment, tourism, sports and Internet media.

- Jim Sweeney

28 Responses to “New posts for Levine, Allen”

  1. Taxpayer says:

    Nepotism at it’s finest.Pure and simple.

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  2. Joe Leisek says:

    In Britain, these appointments are called QUANGOs (Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organizations) and are handed out to those from whom favors have been granted or requested, or both. The Yes, Minister episode “Jobs for the Boys” is instructional (and funny). Qualified as Michael Allen and others may be, these appointments serve little lasting purpose other than to dial up voter cynicism IMO.

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  3. Reality Check says:

    I’m not sure it matters which taxpayer pocket the funding for the Appeals Board comes from, but the info is interesting.

    That is, if House Republicans ever decided to actually walk the talk they talk so much about, this board would be defunded.

    In any case, with Allen on the board, the success rate of appellants is about to skyrocket, especially if the person is carrying a union card.

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  4. Dan Drummond Sr says:

    How was the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board funded for Fiscal Year 2011-12?
    91.9% Federal Grant Funding
    7.6% State Special Funds/Other
    0.5% State General Fund

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  5. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Reality Check- I agree. These postings do not deserve the salary that is paid. I had hoped Swartzeneggar would have gotten rid of these boards since much of what they do already is done by state employees so they are redundant. These boards seem to exist just to reward ex legislators both Republican and Democrat.

    However, I don’t fault Michael from taking the position. He’s a hard worker so I don’t think part time work will attract him for long. With his skills he’ll find a good place to land and I wish him well.

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  6. Steveguy says:

    I have no problem with his qualifications at all.

    The $128,000 a year for a minimal part-time job with BENEFITS is just plain grand larceny. Disgusting, shameful and just plain wrong…

    I would bet $100,000,000 that a volunteer un-paid appointee to most any City Board will do more work. UNPAID.. Heck, my volunteer Boy Scout service was harder than his new ‘job’… really

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  7. homegirl says:

    From Today’s Press Democrat

    A LIST now boasts the name of former North Coast lawmaker Michael Allen.

    Voters decided in November that Allen had served long enough in the state Assembly. Sent packing, he did what ex-legislators often do, he went in search of a cushy political appointment.

    His crony John Perez, the speaker of the Assembly, hooked him up as a member of the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, a position that pays $128,000 a year.

    With that appointment, Allen joins the roster of the Election Losers’ Last Laugh Club of Sacramento. He’ll collect about $2,500 a week and likely will never be heard from again.

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  8. Reality Check says:

    Reasonable people will differ over whether Allen, or any losing or termed-out politician, should be favored with the appointment Allen received.

    No one, however, should differ with the observation that these–very part-time positions–do not justified the salary paid. Clearly, these positions are little more than sinecures for aging politicians, paid for by taxpayers constantly told that Sacramento has too little money.

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  9. Reece says:

    @David Spencer

    “Based on those facts alone his appointment seems eminently sensible.”

    There is no room on WSC for “sensible;” only right-wing blathering and tin foil hats. Please make note of this.

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  10. Lisa Maldonado says:

    Michael Allen is not only eminently qualified for the job as a long time labor leader and a practicing attorney who is well versed in employment law and public policy with over thirty years experience in labor issues. In addition he also wrote and passed a law law last year on discrimination against the unemployed. While the PD is notorious for their bias against labor and unions, the fact is that workers are entitled to have their cases decided by people who actually KNOW THE LAW and can be expected to administer it fairly.The fact also remains that having commissioners try and adjudicate these appeals on their own by handling a caseload without creating another layer of administrative court bureaucracy and the attendant costs of buildings, support staff and infrastructure actually SAVES the taxpayer money. I know how fashionable it is to attack government and especially attack Michael Allen in the PD but the Speaker made an excellent choice in his appointment. The fact that it upsets all the labor union haters at the PD is only the icing on the cake!
    PS. your editorial staff is shockingly out of the loop on Sacramento information if you can’t see how the committee assignments given to Mark Levine were a slap in the face and not at all a “lucrative” appointment. In fact they are all committees with very little power or prestige and it’s quite a snub for an assemblymember to not get any budget or appropriations committee. assignment.

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  11. Reality Check says:

    As long as your friends and neighbors elect the people they do, this kind of abuse will continue. Where is the outrage!

    Read Coursey’s milquetoast commentary on Sacramento’s “revolving door.” No outrage. And, for sure, Allen’s done nothing wrong by accepting this make-work position.

    Nope, nothing wrong at all, if one’s moral compass is broken.

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  12. David J. Spencer says:

    Lisa Maldonado of the NorthBay Labor Council raises an interesting point: Michael Allen is an Attorney and has worked not only as a Labor Lawyer but as a labor leader. Based on those facts alone his appointment seems eminently sensible.

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  13. Reece says:

    @Write Speaker Perez & @Fed Up

    I just wrote the speaker and thanked him for putting someone who is a lawyer and has knowledge about labor into this position.

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  14. Write Mr Perez says:

    Please write Mr Perez and tell him your feelings on this appointment….I did!

    Thumb up 23 Thumb down 7

  15. Michael Sheehan says:

    Perhaps the most egregious aspect of Allen’s bleeding the taxpayers for $128,000 is that today’s children and those not yet born will be paying for this kind of totally irresponsible extravagance on the government’s part.

    This purely self-centered, “gimme mine now” attitude on the part of so-called “public servants” is absolutely reprehensible.

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  16. Jean Anderson says:

    Allen gets a $128,000 part-time position, one of the cushiest jobs taxpayer money can buy.

    No surprise. After all, broke and nearly bankrupt California
    paid a state psychiatrist $822,000, and a highway patrol officer $484,000 in pay and pension benefits. In addition, 17 employees received checks of more than $200,000 for unused vacation and leave.

    Your tax dollars at “work.” And the roads crumble. What a total disgrace.

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  17. Steveguy says:

    So exactly when is the revolt ?

    They do this over and over, and over, and over again..

    How much will Valerie Brown make ? Or have I missed that one.. Probably MILLIONS at a lobbying firm…. Or a cush state do nothing but wield power post..

    We are sooo scroomed, oh my.

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  18. Nora Gonzales says:

    When we get fired, we have to start looking for a new job. When Allen gets fired, not only does he land on a golden egg, he gets an increase in pay for doing part-time work.

    Another great example of how sick Sacramento really is and how we taxpayers continue to fund this house of horrors.

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  19. Fed up says:

    You have got to be kidding…! I am sure ther are better qualified individuals to Allen

    Thumb up 40 Thumb down 11

  20. homegirl says:

    Art Agnoe, former San Francisco Mayor, Carol Migden, out of control driver and now-Michael Allen have all received these cushy jobs. The taxpayers pay them $100K per year for part time jobs. Time to pass a law forbidding these pay off jobs.

    Thumb up 47 Thumb down 10

  21. Reece says:

    Wrong, Mr. Sweeney! As Bob points out, Levine’s appointments are bottom of the barrel. It is obvious that no one has any respect for him.

    Nice try at spin.

    Thumb up 14 Thumb down 27

  22. Demosthenes says:

    So…Marc Levine didn’t get a post in leadership*, so he has less say in the policies the legislature pursues.

    He didn’t get a slot on the budget committee*, which controls the state.

    He didn’t get a slot on the rules committee or on the appropriations committee, powerful posts for wieling and dealing.

    He didn’t get a slot on the pension committee*, the biggest issue facing the state.

    He didn’t get a slot on the healthcare committee, which will be setting up the health exchanges for Obamacare.

    And he didn’t get a slot on the jobs and economic development committee.

    …nor revenue and taxation, judiciary, banking and financing, consumer protection*, labor*, k-12 education, environmental safety, housing, insurance*, natural resources, wildlife protection*, public safety, transportations, utilities and commerce, or veteran affairs.

    …but he has a seat on the “Arts, entertainment, sports, and tourism” committee where he plays second fiddle to a 27 year old (Ian Calderon (D)-Chair) and a seat on “Local Government” where he plays second fiddle to a Republican (Katcho Achadjan (R)-Chair)

    Man. So glad we have him in Sacramento for THAT.

    *=posts Michael Allen had in his first term.

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  23. brenda says:

    So, Michael Allen took $95,000 of Sonoma County’s taxpayers’ money from the Water Agency (selling his vote on the Planning Commission) and, subsequently, water rates went up. He was fined less than $5,000. A tidy profit for him.

    Now, he’s screwing California taxpayers on a six-figure salary.

    Somebody should put Rosa Koire in charge of appointments!

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  24. Don says:

    They need more of our tax dollars for this!!! When will it stop! We vote him out and he backdoors himself into a sweet job.

    Thumb up 41 Thumb down 12

  25. Juan Lock says:

    Mr. Levine didn’t even wait until he was sworn in to start attending lobbyist fundraisers in Sacramento, so it’s no surprise he’s looking forward to getting his palms greased. For as his campaign materials so clearly stated, the only way to fix the Sacramento political culture is to make a stand against special interests, lobbyists, and outside money. Guess he’s no different from the rest…

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  26. Doodles says:

    So “the people” made it clear they no longer wanted the services of Michael Allen yet one of his buddies keeps him employed at our expense anyway? I’m sure in his spare time from this half time job he’ll lobby his buddies to spend more of our money. Pathetic!

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  27. Bob Whittaker says:

    Sorry, you don’t know Sacramento very well. These are very poor assignments for Levine, some of the lowest prestige and with no budget. It’s pretty unusual for a member to not get on budget or appropriations so if I didn’t know better I’d think Levine was being punished for his attacks on the speaker and “Sacramento culture”. Where’s his office, under the Capitol?

    Thumb up 28 Thumb down 14

  28. Grapevines says:

    Nice to see that Speaker Perez is showing us that the only thing more disgusting than the National Legislature, is the California State Legislature.

    I propose that the Governor sell off the capital where they meet, and have the new landlord toss them all out onto the street. Let them convene at the local IHOP for all the good they are.

    Perfect examples of a total waste of otherwise usable oxygen.

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