Will GOP Condemn Bob Huff's Sleaze?

Steven Greenhut: I can only imagine the outrage from Republicans if we learned that a Democratic state senator had made his cause celebre the salvation of a massive government program that enriched his wife, but that’s exactly the case with Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar. As the Los Angeles Times reported today, Huff’s wife is a major consultant for Ed Roski, the developer whose name is synonymous with the City of Industry. Industry is the biggest redevelopment area in the state, a place that is the poster child for everything that is wrong with this big government, corporate welfare, Soviet-style planning regime that does little more than enrich a small group of developers, empower bureaucrats and run roughshod over property rights.

This is from the Times story: “The foundation of [Roski’s] empire is in redevelopment zones,” said Victor Valle, author of the book “City of Industry: Genealogies of Power in Southern California.” “How does Bob convince his constituents that [his wife] has not shaped his policy agenda on redevelopment?”

What’s really revolting is that Sen. Huff and his wife claim that there is nothing at all remiss here and that there are no connections between redevelopment and the work Mei Mei does for Roski and Majestic. Huff must think we’re idiots. This also is from the Times:

Huff said there is “absolutely no conflict.” If lawmakers “had to stay away from any subject that a spouse of theirs might be involved in, you know, we would severely have our hands tied,” he said.

Oh come on. The Huff family is making serious money from this and Sen. Huff is no bit player in redevelopment. He is the point man involved in saving it from Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to shut these agencies down. Huff has authored key bills toward this end. And his wife has posed with the former governor after legislation was signed helping Roski with his stadium deal.

This is first-class sleaze. It doesn’t even pass the most basic ethics test even if there is nothing legally wrong here. An forget about any political principle that’s remotely conservative. The Huff family is just another in a long line of Republicans who talk about limiting government but who spend their career expanding government and living well off of its power and perks.

Republicans should condemn Sen. Bob Huff’s sleaze or else recognize that they have no moral high ground when they point their fingers at the other party.

MAY 10


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  1. John Seiler
    John Seiler 10 May, 2011, 09:15

    Incredible. Huff should resign.

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  2. Cicero
    Cicero 10 May, 2011, 20:01

    All of the GOP ball-less, spineless slime are on the take in one form or another. If not cash in the pocket there are the high paying boards, commissions or being a lobbyist when their term of “public service” is over.

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  3. Lydia Plunk
    Lydia Plunk 11 May, 2011, 08:01

    Careful. This is awfully close to saying we should go back to the days when a woman must resign because she marries someone in an industry with ties where she works.

    The LA Times failed to mention the tens of thousands of dollars the campaign of Jerry Brown accepted from Roski. Which leads me to consider if the source pushing the story is really interests in locating the proposed stadium in the City of LA, rather than the City of Industry.

    Pardon my skepticisn where billions of dollars are at play and a target is placed upon a man who has done so much good against staggering odds.

    This is one Republican not willing to throw Senator Huff to the sharks because his working philosophy is to bring jobs to my region.

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  4. Cicero
    Cicero 11 May, 2011, 12:09

    **** This is one Republican not willing to throw Senator Huff to the sharks because his working philosophy is to bring jobs to my region. ****

    Lydia, wake up and smell the corruption.

    Huff is a total whore willing to sell out for cold hard cash in the pocket. Of all the lobbyists in Sacramento by accident they just happened to pick the wife of a Senator.

    We need a part-time legislature like New Hampshire. 400 members paid $100 a year. They do their job for 60 days and then go home and work for a living.

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  5. Taylor S.
    Taylor S. 11 May, 2011, 13:44

    Of course the great irony is that the CA Republican party platform states:
    “One of the purest forms of tyranny is government confiscation of its citizens’ private property.”

    Redevelopment is one of the great abusers of private property via the tool of eminent domain. How any “Republican” member could support this process is beyond me and is an affront to the very core beliefs the party claims to uphold.

    As Steven Greenhut appropriately noted in his WSJ article several weeks ago: “While economic development and local control are crucial issues, it’s hard to understand why any Republican would believe that a regime of government planning and subsidy is the best way to achieve those goals. They should be standing up against the abuses of property rights and the fiscal irresponsibility inherent in the redevelopment process and championing market-based alternatives to urban improvement.”

    It looks like we now know why a Republican member would support such a process… and to say the very least, it’s both disturbing and disheartening.

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  6. Taylor S.
    Taylor S. 11 May, 2011, 13:56

    One more note in response to Lydia Plunk’s comment:
    **** This is one Republican not willing to throw Senator Huff to the sharks because his working philosophy is to bring jobs to my region. ****

    Please note that outside of the singular study bought and paid for by the California Redevelopment Association, there IS NO CREDIBLE study that proves redevelopment agencies create jobs. As a matter of fact all the research shows that the exact opposite is true. Independent research typically finds that any employment gains in redevelopment project areas are offset by losses in other parts of the region.

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  7. Lydia Plunk
    Lydia Plunk 12 May, 2011, 08:44

    I do understand the concern. The conclusion, in this case, is simply wrong.

    Mrs. Huff is not a lobbyist. She is a working wife with great skills as a translator and ecomonics who is properly compensated as such. Her employment was and is fully disclosed.

    The project featured in the LA Times article is the proposed NFL Stadium in the City of Industry. So I look at the evidence with that as the centerpiece.

    The competitor to the the LA specific project in the City of Industry is on undeveloped, fully entitled land. Not redeveloped property. The list of hurdles the property had to clear for contention included then AG- now Gov Brown, who is given a pass in these articles, not because of facts, but because Brown’s position on redevelopment.

    Not all redevelopment is good. Not all is bad. Like all tools, to be handled with skill and caution.

    Both the up and downsides of redevelopment can be explored through the ecomonic development of the cities of Brea and Cerritos. My personal thoughts on studies is they can’t- shouldn’t- replace common sense. Businesses are leaving this state, not entering. The proper place for decisions is with the jurisdiction best able to judge the needs and conditions of a property, which is local, not state.

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