Simitian ouster called 'an absolute travesty'

The loss of state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, as the chairman of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee is "an absolute travesty," Rod Diridon, president of the Santa Clara Valley League of Conservation Voters, said Friday.

Simitian was removed from the committee chairmanship by Sen. President pro Tem Don Perata after a heated budget debate at a committee meeting Thursday night. The committee meeting was described by one senator as "raucous."

Diridon said that Simitian was named "environmentalist of the year a few years ago" by his group.

"He understands the issues of rcycling, wetlands and transportation," Diridon said.

"We're disappointed," Rob Rennie of the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club said.

"Joe Simitian was a very strong supporter on environemntal issues. He will have less leverage" after losing his committee chairmanship.

"Sen. Simitian had done a lot of good work on environmental issues," Brian Schmidt of the Committee for Green Foothills said.

"Not having him in that position could be problematic."

"Clearly, Sen. Simitian has been excellent on environmental issues and a strong friend to us," Susan Smartt, executive director of the California League of Conservation Voters, said.

Simitian authored or co-authored 23 bills on environmental issues while he was a state Assemblyman and has authored or co-authored 26 environmental bills since he was elected to the state Senate in late 2004.

His more recent environmental bills included legislation affecting renewable energy, environmental education, the Toxic Free Oceans Act of 2007, delta water and related issues. He has also authored legislation regulating discharges from cruise ships and other ocean vessels.

Neither Simitian nor Perata could be reached for comment on Simitian's removal from the chairmanship.

A member of Simitian's staff said the senator doesn't comment on committee assignments, while Andrew LaMar, a spokesman for Perata, said the senator "does not comment on (Democratic Party) caucus" matters.

-- Don Kazak


Like this comment
Posted by Good For A Laugh !
a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Nice little cat fight!

Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 15, 2008 at 7:08 pm

I felt pretty good when I read that Joe "nanny government' Simitian was slapped down by the democratic leadership.
then I read in the accompanying story that the Committe for the Green Foothills is worried about "nanny" Joe's demotion. Now i feel even better about joe "you need me to tell you how to live your lives" Simitian being put in his place.

Like this comment
Posted by Alex
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 16, 2008 at 8:09 am


You are RIGHT ON! These nannies must be stopped.

I knew Simitian's father, a great guy, and I'm sure he'd agree with us.

Like this comment
Posted by Dig-A-Litter-Deeper
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2008 at 9:21 am

There is more to this story than the Weekly article suggests --
Web Link

> The dust-up came during a Senate budget committee
> hearing on Wednesday night over an arcane matter
> involving funding for schools. The panel, on which
> Simitian sits, was debating a series of proposed budget
> cuts to deal with the state's $14.5 billion deficit through June 2009.

> Although Simitian was arguing for fiscal prudence, the committee's
> chairwoman, Denise Ducheny, D-San Diego, said his approach
> would result in a bigger cut in school funding next year than
> Democrats were prepared to make at this point.

This Weekly article does not seem to come close to discussing the points in the Daily News (MediaNews) article, which deal with the failure of the Democratic-dominated Legislature to deal with the ever-sinking hole of California State Government finances.

Like this comment
Posted by Pimp-my-Government
a resident of University South
on Feb 16, 2008 at 9:23 am

Funny when democrats bitch slap each other.

We need more of this - fun watching.

Like this comment
Posted by Pimp-my-Government
a resident of University South
on Feb 16, 2008 at 9:29 am

> Democratic-dominated Legislature to deal with the ever-sinking hole of California State Government finances.

You get what *you* vote for, now crybabies, when are your glorious prattling leaders going to do what they promised you, eh?

Freedom is when *you* decide how to spend your disposable income. Not those fools in sacramento.

Like this comment
Posted by How It Works
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 19, 2008 at 9:11 am

Joe can use his campaign contributions war chest to buy his way onto another committee. Look at the record, he got the appointment after a large donation to the state democratic party - money he diverted from contributions. This is the way business is done in Sacramento, not just by Joe, but by almost all the legislators.

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