Laird appears headed back to Sacramento

January 2, 2011

Former Democratic state Assemblyman John Laird, who lost last summer’s special state Senate election to Republican Sam Blakeslee, is expected to play a pivotal role in the new Jerry Brown administration. [Mercury News]

Laird, 60, who also served as mayor of Santa Cruz, is expected to be appointed Monday to serve as head of the state Natural Resources Agency, giving the well-known environmentalist major oversight on issues relating to logging, fishing, farming, parks, and water policies.

A Brown spokesperson refused to comment on any possible appointments, saying nothing official would be announced until after the governor-elect is sworn in on Monday. However, the advocacy group Environment California announced that they have been told to expect Laird’s appointment.

Laird, currently teaching at UC Santa Cruz, earned a score of 100 percent from the California League of Conservation Voters, which called him “hands-down one of the best legislators California has had this decade.”

The new position pays $175,000 annually.



  1. WiseGuy says:

    I refuse to buy into the “I’m a poor victim” mentality that wants to blame “environmentalists” for all the ills of the world. It’s absurd, and the fact that so many unhappy, unfulfilled people continue to spread that ridiculous propaganda shows how easily fear and hate can be used to brainwash people.

    How come there is never a right-wing business owner who says it was his own fault that his business failed? No, it’s always the “socialists” or the “liberals” or the “environmentalists” or “illegal immigrants” who are blamed.

    (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
  2. Paperboys says:

    This is a hugely influential job. The Secretary of the Resources Agency is over Fish & Game, State Parks, The Coastal Commission, Cal-EPA, Dept. of Toxic Substances Control, Air Resources Board, State Water Resources Control Board (and the regional boards under them) and many others too.
    It’s the state’s equivalent of the federal USDA, which is the single largest Cabinet Level Agency in the federal government and literally has its hands in just about all aspects of everyday American life.
    I like Laird. I believe he will do a good job as Resources Secretary or at least as good a job as anyone can do in today’s political climate.
    He should watch his back though, because Brown will toss him to the wolves to save his own skin if he has to, without hesitation, too.

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  3. azuresees says:

    Well, hotdog, I wasn’t bragging about not supporting our state. Perhaps I mis-worded that sentence, or you misread it. When I said ” I am now buying produce from foreign countries and not supporting our state, but other countries,” I didn’t mean spritually, I meant financially…. I thinks it’s sad that in this hugely agricultural state (or it used to be), that my food products are imported. I’ve stopped buying fish from Viet Nam, China and Thailand. I am planning to discontinue buying produce from Mexico. I believe that our state is fully capable of providing sustainable produce and seafood.

    Now, concerning “responsible environmental oversight,” I think you took the issue to an extreme. Of course there have to be safeguards for pollution etc. but a complete government takeover is a bit much.

    The dustbowl in the CV corridor wasn’t caused by “unfortunate weather conditions” or ” bad management by individual farmers.” It was caused by congress who were lobbied by California’s environemtal extremists into believing that a smelt is more important than agriculture.

    That being said, we could argue all day long about our obvious leanings, but you didn’t address this: Why is it that our state and NY are going down the tube?

    (15) 23 Total Votes - 19 up - 4 down
    • WiseGuy says:

      Sorry, I don’t believe California is “going down the tube” any more than any other state. California will continue to be one of the most desirable states to live in, due, in part, because of its environment and the environmental protections that are in place.

      Enron—thanks to “Reaganomics”—ripped off, criminally ripped off, California taxpayers to the tune of billions of dollars. Outrageous salaries to SOME state workers has also contributed to problems. The continual paving over of agricultural land in order to build more shopping malls is another tragedy that harms this state.

      California will prosper if this state continues to be a leader and innovator in environmental consciousness and environmental technology and sustainable farming and other ideas and actions that nurture nature and our children, while preserving our ocean, beaches, mountains, rivers and all the other precious resources that our state, like few others, has been blessed with. By honoring and preserving nature we honor and preserve ourselves.

      Outrageous over-consumption and waste, and the cult of consumerism where shopping malls selling disposable fashion are more celebrated than organic farms, threatens our community well-being far more than regulations aimed at minimizing the amount of toxins we breathe and feed our children and grand-parents.

      (1) 13 Total Votes - 7 up - 6 down
      • azuresees says:

        Oh.. Must have missed the deficit numbers. Sorry. We are A-OK. Just checked: The State web site must have meant that the $81,873,185,794 was profit, not the red. My mistake….And people are FLOCKING here for the environmental regulations…I’ve seen them….They are mostly northbound…I do, however, agree about the consumerism comment. And I do agree that we need to preserve. I don’t agree with hotdog’s extreme, sarcastic review of over-regulation. There has to be a halfway- symbiotic- if you will, relationship, between business that brings in MONEY TO THIS STATE, and the extremists who want it taken back to the Lewis & Clark setting.

        Running businesses out to other states (even those who don’t pollute: those darned capitalists who want to make an honest buck), is counter productive; even to the socialists who want to garner productivity and spread it to a bigger government.

        I also agree with your comment about outrageous state salaries…and Laird is a prime example. My goodness, what would the SEIU say about such gouging?

        (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
        • zaphod says:

          so much for the progressive era

          (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
        • WiseGuy says:

          Laird didn’t set his salary, and you can’t expect someone to ask for lower wages than what is being offered.

          And people DO continue “flocking” to and from California. Millions leave the state each year, and millions arrive. It’s long been a very mobile population—going in both directions—compared to other states.

          Despite the well-organized and funded propaganda, environmental laws and “environmentalists” are not what have caused our state’s financial problems. But it’s easier to be simplistic and spout off scripted nonsense and blame “environmentalists” or “socialists” for the state’s woes, rather than face the non-simplistic reality, or, God-forbid, blame a “capitalist” such as a predatory mortgage broker or people who don’t pay their fair share of taxes. And let’s not forget what Enron did to our state.

          California’s budget problem is nothing that can’t be handled with a few years of austerity and re-prioritizing under Governor Jerry Brown. If a few toxic-spewing businesses prefer to stay out of California , I don’t have a problem with that.

          (1) 9 Total Votes - 5 up - 4 down
    • brook says:

      Your apparent politics aside, I find it ludicrous that you are not purchasing local foods.
      Anyone living in SLO has easy access to dairy, fruits, vegetables, fish, meat and poultry grown locally and sold at Farmer’s Markets in just about every community as well as in many of the grocery stores.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  4. Mr. Holly says:

    Here we go-$175,000 a year, Add about 30%-40% on for benefits and perks and we are up to around $235,000 a year. I guess this might be a prelude to balancing the budget. The balance will be on the back of the lonely taxpayer to support actions like this in Sacramento.

    (14) 24 Total Votes - 19 up - 5 down
  5. hotdog says:

    You actually brag about not supporting your state, some attitude! Without responsible environmental oversight we would be buried in smog and other pollutants. There would be no more fisheries due to over fishing, the land would be despoiled and our air a mess.
    Dust bowls often come from unfortunate weather conditions and bad management by individual farmers. Your whining about government elitists paints you into the small corner of angry and dysfunctional complainers with little to offer society.

    (-9) 35 Total Votes - 13 up - 22 down
  6. jeffpelline says:

    This was reported on Friday: Jeff Pelline’s Sierra Foothills Report

    (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
  7. azuresees says:

    As he drives north on the 5, let him pause and reflect on the damage that big government has done to the central valley farmers. It is an absolute dust bowl up there. I am now buying produce from foreign countries and not supporting our state, but other countries. Shame on the smiling big government elitists. Why is it that our state and NY are going down the tube? Progressive big government is why….RIP California.

    (15) 43 Total Votes - 29 up - 14 down
    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      I agree on farmers and some problems with water alocation and the kangroo mouse. That being said let’s spin this fairly too. The mention of buying foreign produce does not have to do entirely with what I just mentioned. We, the consumer want, to have avaocado’s, tomatoes, fruit, lettece, oranges, etc. at our local market year round and at somewhat reasonable prices. Now HOW IN THE HELL do that when some of these crops are seasonalble crops due to weather?? You can either grow some in a hothouse, which would have limited supply (and you know how supply and demand works) or you go to other places on the globe with better weather condidions or the fact that they are in a different season based on geograpy vs where we are. That is mostly why I believe you see a lot of foreign produce.

      (-3) 9 Total Votes - 3 up - 6 down

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