Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Tim Reiterman Reveals Attempted Redwood Ripoff By Pacific Lumber Co.

It takes real gall for a lumber magnate operating on the North Coast to take $480 million from the federal and state governments to limit his firm's cutting of the redwood forest and then turn around and try to blackmail Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger into letting him out of the deal, without, of course, returning the money.

Yet according to the L.A. Times report Jan. 25 by the outstanding investigative reporter Tim Reiterman, edited by the new environmental editor, Frank Clifford, that's what Charles Hurwitz, CEO of Maxxam, Inc., owner of the Pacific Lumber Co., is attempting.

Hurwitz and Maxxam are another example of rapacious Texans out to take California for all they can get. It happened with the energy companies, it's happening with the telephone company and now it's happening with this state's precious redwood heritage. More globalism at work, my friends. First sell the California companies to greasy strangers and then see them rob the state of its patrimony.

In this case, they say that unless they get their way, they may declare bankruptcy and then seek court permission to ignore the deal and go ahead with the cutting. So much for fair dealing.

When the Schwarzenegger Administration was first approached with this proposition, the proper course would have been to punch Hurwitz in the nose and throw him or his emissaries out of the governor's office with instructions never to come back..

Instead, a Schwarzenegger spokeswoman refuses to even discuss the matter, calling it a private meeting. This has come to be the attitude of the governor who said he was going to defy the special interests, but instead has cottoned up to them. Schwarzenegger has been behaving like a girlie-man for sometime now whenever the special interests arrive.

When Reiterman went to Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer's office, however, a spokesman for Lockyer told him, "I am sure if Pacific Lumber Co. sought to evade the requirements of the deal with California, there would be a fierce legal battle to prevent it." It is obvious Lockyer is more of a he-man than Schwarzenegger.

So, for once, is the L.A. Times editorial page. Editor Michael Kinsley may vote in the state of Washington, but this morning his section has an editorial which asks pointedly, "Two questions: Why did Pacific Lumber Co. sign on to a deal with California six years ago if it was not going to be able to honor the agreement? And is it too late to get our $480 million back?" It calls Hurwitz's company "either incompetent or dissembling."

The redwoods are worth more than $480 million. This awful company must be made to keep its bargain. But a good first step would be to wrap Mr. Hurwitz in the California flag and keelhaul him -- very slowly --under the Queen Mary, now at anchor in Long Beach Harbor.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charles' Hurwitz's blatant attempt to renege on his agreement with the federal and state governments to preserve old-growth redwoods, and refrain from environmental abuses on the rest of Pacific Lumber's land, should come as no surprise, even after the federal and state governments paid him $380 million to rape the land. Hurwitz is crooked and scurrilous, and it's amazing that he has not been prosecuted along with his old friend Ivan Boesky. It's too bad that if Pacific Lumber does declare bankruptcy, Hurwitz will most likely file in his native Texas. The Bushies and their friends in the Texas judiciary will probably be glad to let him destroy California's heritage. I would expect nothing less from those who seek to exploit the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and lift all logging restrictions on public lands.

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