ESPN pulls plug on Kevin Johnson documentary

Oct 13, 2015

 Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who sees himself as the heroic champion who kept the Kings from moving to Seattle, got a rude awakening Monday: ESPN indefinitely postponed a nationwide documentary starring Johnson after an old Phoenix police videotape surfaced of a young girl describing how Johnson allegedly molested her. A local pre-show of the documentarty went ahead, however. The case has been known in the capital for years, but the tape's posting and the ESPN move put the issues back on the front burner.

The Bee's Marcos Breton tells the tale: "ESPN confirmed that no one from the network would attend the Sacramento event. The network cited “a recent, renewed focus on allegations” against Johnson as its reason for postponing the national release of the film."


"Before the Crest showing, Johnson spoke outside to a crowd gathered on K Street, including more than a half-dozen reporters. He said there was no “there there” to the allegations, which have been public for many years. He said it was ESPN’s prerogative to pull the film, but he is confident it will be released within weeks."


“When you’re in politics, you take hits,” Johnson said. “The people of Sacramento knew about these allegations, and I was lucky enough to be elected anyway.”


Meanwhile, in the story that keeps on giving, we turn to the latest hassle with the Bay Bridge: A group of scientists and engineers is urging an immediate retrofit of the $6.4 billion eastern span of the Bay Bridge project, saying the action is need to protect the main cable from corrosion.

From the Chronicle's Jaxon Van Derbeken: "In its report to Caltrans and a Bay Bridge oversight committee, the maintenance peer review panel cited concerns ranging from the span’s well-publicized problems with high-strength rods to a lack of maintenance access on the project."


"But the integrity of the main cable was a key issue that emerged during a yearlong study by the experts, who included the Golden Gate Bridge’s chief engineer and officials of the Bronx Whitestone Bridge in New York, Hong Kong’s Tsing Ma Bridge and the Forth Road Bridge in Scotland."

"Recently, the chief designer of the Bay Bridge project warned Caltrans that rainwater leaks posed a corrosion risk to the two chambers where the cable strands splay out under the road deck. Now, the maintenance panel is sounding the alarm about the main cable itself — a bundle of steel strands that loops over the top of the tower, under the bridge and back over the tower."


Getting tax breaks and other incentives for buying luxury cars isn't exactly what policy makers had in mind, state or federal, but that seems to be what's happening in the case of a $100,000 Tesla. By the way, the same break applied to Hummers. Hmmm ....


The LAT's Charles Fleming: "Tesla has confirmed reports that the falcon-winged all-electric SUV, because of its gross vehicular weight, may qualify for a federal tax break designed for heavy equipment." 


"The tax break was originally intended to encourage farmers to invest in their businesses by spending more freely on equipment. A weight of 6,000 pounds was set as the limit. Vehicles weighing less, which includes most passenger cars and many light trucks, did not qualify."


"As an apparently unintended consequence, though, Section 179 of the IRS code also applied to certain automobiles, most notably the enormous Hummer vehicles sold by General Motors."


Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, who lost a bitter special election race to fellow Democrat Steve Glazer in the 16th Senate District, says she's not going to run against him next year, as had been widely expected.


From Josh Richman in the Political Blotter: "In a Facebook post Monday morning, Bonilla, D-Concord, indicated she doesn’t want a do-over of that ugly race."


"...In order to ensure that all of our collective efforts remain focused on building a stronger foundation for the next generation of families, I am announcing that I will not run for State Senate in 2016,” she wrote."

"Glazer, D-Orinda, beat Bonilla by 9 percentage points in the May special election to fill the vacancy left by Mark DeSaulnier’s election to Congress last year. The contest between the centrist Glazer and union-backed liberal Bonilla saw tremendous independent spending and a corresponding avalanche of negative advertising that soured many of the district’s voters."


Meanwhile, back in the Capitol, Brown's actions on a number of bills during during the recent flurry of vetoes and signings made it clear that business interests won decisively, and that business groups couldn't have been happier.


From  Allen Young in the Sacramento Business Journal: "On many levels, Gov. Jerry Brown “really gets it,” said Tom Scott, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business. “He’s pragmatic. He understands what businesses are facing. Overall, I thought it was a very positive (legislative session),” Scott said."


"The California Chamber of Commerce announced Monday that it helped bring down 18 of 19 “job killer” bills, or legislation that the organization targets as having the worst impact on private industry."


"The governor is attuned to “the adverse consequences of overly broad legislation,” said Allan Zaremberg, president of the CalChamber, in a statement."