Blakeslee and Achajdian traitors or saviors?

March 4, 2011


Senator Sam Blakeslee and Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian found their political heads figuratively impaled on sticks this week on a Los Angeles talk radio show and web site.

The John and Ken Show on L.A.’s KFI AM 640 has been scouring state GOP legislators who have not committed to opposing tax extension measures that Governor Jerry Brown hopes to place on a June ballot. In order to place a referendum on the ballot, Governor Brown needs the votes of two Republican senators and two Republican assembly members, in addition to the votes of Democrat legislators. John and Ken are aiming to prevent that.

The afternoon radio duo, comprised of loud talker John Kobylt and springboard Ken Chiampou, have relentlessly blasted any and all Republicans who appear weak on opposing Governor Brown’s tax referendum. The John and Ken Show–the most listened to “local” talk radio program in the U.S. with one million listeners–is famous for mercilessly blasting political ‘hacks’ and double-talking ‘spokesholes’ on issues such as taxes, crime, and illegal immigration. While largely viewed as conservative, John and Ken support gay rights, are pro-choice and are against the war in Iraq. Ken voted for Obama in 2008. The hosts eschew party labels and loyalties and are quick to attack Republicans and Democrats alike.

Politicians drawing the strongest ire of the John and Ken Show are treated to a metaphorical placing of their head onto a stick. On Monday, it was the head of our local Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian for failing to take a position on Brown’s tax referendum:

“Katcho Achadjian has quite an unfortunate… haircut?” Kobylt lambasted, just prior to the figurative lifting of Katcho’s head onto a stick.

“It is a big, heavy, balding head! So, Katcho Achadjian, here we go. Lift! And lower!”

The political impalement is accompanied by squishing sound effects and a painful grunt from the unfortunate radio show victim whose image then joins previous victims on the show’s web site.

“Heads on a stick!” became a John and Ken Show war cry at public rallies organized in 2009 which were likewise aimed at Republicans who supported then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tax ballot measures. The show’s 5 p.m. hour is dubbed “John and Ken’s Tax Revolt” and begins with a recording of a crowd chanting the “Heads on a stick” cry followed by Howard Beale’s line from the 1976 film, Network, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

It would be difficult to label John and Ken as Republican talk radio considering all the Republican heads on sticks, the hours they devoted last year to castigating Meg Whitman’s double-speak, and the signature drive and fund raising in 2009 for the recall of San Bernardino County Republican Assemblyman Anthony Adams. In short, John and Ken despise crooked and weak politicians. It only took them six weeks to figure out Katcho Achadjian who isn’t even a Los Angeles area representative.

Since February, John and Ken have been doggedly calling each and every Republican legislator demanding a firm answer whether or not they support voting for Governor Brown’s tax extensions.

“The only assemblyman who hasn’t called us back is somebody named Katcho Achadjian.” John Kobylt said on the air last Friday, mangling Katcho’s last name. “I can’t believe a $55 billion tax hike is in the hands of Katcho Achadjian!”

John and Ken also tore into our local Senator Sam Blakeslee for refusing to sign the “no tax pledge”, labeling such behavior ‘suspicious’.

Kobylt raged about the possibility of Republican deals in exchange for the votes Governor Brown needs, reflecting on Abel Maldonado’s deal making over Schwarzenegger’s tax measures in 2009, “That’s what they did two years ago. Damn these people! Damn them, I hate them so much! This is our 55 billion dollars!”

“One hundred percent of the power is in the hands of the Republicans,” Kobylt charged. “They have the power to shut this damn thing down, and if it’s not shut down it’s their fault.”

Republican Senator Bob Huff, recently lamented John and Ken in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, “Their action resulted in throwing people under the bus, or getting their heads on a stick.”

John and Ken responded with a new addition to their web site: a cartoon graphic of themselves driving a bus–with Republicans underneath, including Huff.

Fast-forward to this Thursday, after the addition of two more Republican heads alongside Katcho (Senators Bill Emmerson and Tom Berryhill). The Wall Street Journal published an article alleging Senator Sam Blakeslee is secretly cutting a deal with Governor Brown.

“Let’s get state Senator Sam Blakeslee’s head up here on top of that stick and also… under the bus,” Ken Champiou announced, followed shortly by the squishing sound effect as Blakelee’s head was lowered into place; then, the sound of the show’s political bus backing up over Blakeslee and the other Republicans.

Don’t bother shaming John and Ken for their theater. On Monday, John Kobylt reveled, “We were denounced five times in five newspaper columns in four different newspaper publications over the weekend! A record!”

Will San Luis Obispo again be blamed for electing the legislators that make billions of dollars of statewide taxes possible, just as Abel Maldonado did in 2009? Phone numbers to contact Katcho Achadjian and Sam Blakeslee can be found on the John and Ken Show web site at Right next to their heads on a stick.

Kevin P. Rice is a Central Coast political activist.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Why this opinion is relevant–Our local reps are being dogged by a radio show with 1 million listeners–that is an effective player in Brown’s tax hike game. Proof today from Associated Press:

Brown says he does not have GOP votes for budget

“There is a lot of fear that the entire machinery of the more conservative elements will be turned against whoever votes to put this on the ballot,” Brown said.

“Because they feel that their heads will be on a stick,” Brown said, referring to KFI radio’s “John & Ken Show,” which aggressively target Republican lawmakers who support any policy the hosts perceive as not conservative enough.

I knew about the comments on the “John & Ken Show,” prior to making my previous comments. I read your article. I just don’t think figures of speech transitions into visuals too well. You could have done better than that, Mr. Rice.

Why does Kevin have to explain the relevance of his own opinion piece?