Street’s Spin-Cycle

It looks like the Chriss Street spin machine is in full wash mode; bleaching the truth and spinning out his dirt. From Peggy Lowe at Total Buz this morning:

Street: ‘reckless demagoguery’ 

December 14th, 2007 · posted by plowe

As I alluded to in my earlier post, Treasurer-Tax Collector Chriss Street fires back at Supe John Moorlach today, writing in the Register’s “Orange Grove” that Moorlach (and union boss Nick Berardino) are guilty of “reckless demagoguery.” Their transgressions? Criticising Street for his many controversies and his handling of the growing concern over his decisions about the county’s investment portfolio. 

“I have lost my old friend John to the allure of ambition and the pragmatism of politics,” Street writes.

I got wind of this earlier this week, not from any Register sources, but rather from some folks in the Hall of Administration. Seems Street’s been using this piece to help his lobbying efforts in advance of Tuesday’s meeting. That will be the one where the board decides if Street gets to keep his investment powers for the next year. Another part of the lobbying? Today’s hastily-called SIV “workshop”.

– Peggy Lowe

I’ll write more on Street, his workshop, and related spin later.

UPDATE : “Oh how I love a good Street Story in the Morning!”

Christian Berthelsen over at the LATimes has a great analysis/story on the Investment follies of Treasurer Chriss Street. Reading the spin from Street’s investment team I cannot get out of my head how similar this mess seems to the stories that surrounded the County bankeuptcy 13 years ago.

  4 comments for “Street’s Spin-Cycle

  1. Hydrangea
    December 14, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    It appears that the red meat express is sharpening their cutlery in anticipation of a banquet size helping of Chriss Street.

    Although there is some smoke here, Chris, and we should keep an eye on it, but don’t you think your statement: “..spin machine is in full wash mode; bleaching the truth and spinning out his dirt. ” is itself spin?

    You actually agree that Street was speaking the truth, just that it is overstated?

    I’ve been following this treasurer thing for a while and something does not add up. Normally when someone is doing something wrong they hide it or act very harshly towards their detractors. I’ve only recently seen Street today in the Register begin to defend himself. And it wasn’t the way I’d expect a guilty man to respond. It was succinct, cogent and deftly compared and contrasted previous Treasurer Moorlach’s actions regarding SIV downgrades and disclosure to Supe’s.

    There should be some rustling of paper work to determine if what Street is saying is accurate about Moorlach, as it points out an apparent hypocritical position by the Supervisor; failure to disclose downgrades of SIV’s portfolio’s when he was Treasurer.

    I know Street is not on your list of Dem’s, but the real story is maybe the apparent power grab by Moorlach and the rest of an unwitting Board, of the Treasurers office is what this is really about. Throw in a previous employee of the Treasurers office who is now head of the Union and you have a recipe for “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” scenario.

    I’m very interested Chris if you will be seeking the truth of what’s going on or are you going to perform an Art Pailido – God I hope not. Blogs normally go for the red meat and I would, for once, like to begin to see some real insight, sans the political bias, on the subject. OK, throw in a little bias.

    Thanks.

  2. December 14, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    Hydrangia,

    You figured us out. TheLiberalOC is a LIBERAL blog. And as such, it is out responsibility to provide the “Counter-Spin” to that of Republican elected officials, even if they hold a non-partisan office.

    I believe that Street is “speaking the truth” as he chooses to see it. In this case I think his portrayal of SIV’s as AAA rated investment vehicles (and therfore nothing to worry about), is a stretch. A BIG ONE! The deeper one digs into the story of SIV’s and their actual risk, the crazier they seem as part of the County investment portfolio.

    BTW, I thought the bleach & dirt analogy was funny.

    But you lost me with this part of your comment:

    I know Street is not on your list of Dem’s, but the real story is maybe the apparent power grab by Moorlach and the rest of an unwitting Board, of the Treasurers office is what this is really about. Throw in a previous employee of the Treasurers office who is now head of the Union and you have a recipe for “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” scenario.

    Exactly what Union head are you talking about? Did you drink some of Art Pedroza’s Crazy Juice? Stop that, It’s not good for you! :)

  3. Hydrangea
    December 15, 2007 at 8:50 am

    Modern medicine is a great thing and you ought to access the optometry side of it to cure that myopia you are suffering from before the liberals socialize it and you’ll have to wait 10 to 20 years to get some eyeglasses.

    I know you guys are a liberal blog and I can appreciate your slant. But trying to spin just to counter someone elses “truth spin” is, well, spinning. It serves neither Democrats or Republicans or anyone for that matter except to satiate the red meat appetites.

    As to the power grab, you wouldn’t want me to spell everything out, would you?

    By the way, Art is just misunderstood…lol. But my brain was going numb from some of his rants.

  4. December 15, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    Hydrangea:

    On the matter of power grab…

    I can find no Orange County employee union that has a head who used to work in the Treasurer’s office.

    On the matter of spinning red meat…

    I am sure that you know, investing involves a certain amount of risk. Reasonable people can disagree on what is acceptable risk. The problems with SIV’s became widely known in October when the US Treasury Secretary negotiated an $80 billion security fund with major banks to shore up the SIV market and prevent a panic in that market.

    The County Treasury Investment Committee discussed SIV’s in September and Street provided the Board with the record of that meeting in his September Management Report. (I’m still looking for the report on the Treasurer’s website, but it isn’t included in his report online.)

    True transparency would have required our Treasurer to inform the Board of the problems and offer his assurances long before Moody’s made their decision. But given the timing, it looks as though Mr. Street may have been distracted by something at that time.

    Street got lucky, and the major banks stepped in to cover the losses when they really didn’t have to. That luck is not an example of the investing skills of Street or his staff as he tried to tell us yesterday. It is just luck, plain and simple.

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