160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Thirteen candidates qualified for the Oct. 20 ballot, most notably the Republican congressman, Democratic state Sen. Walter Boasso, Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell and businessman John Georges, who dropped his Republican Party affiliation Thursday before signing up to run as an independent. Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who beat Jindal four years ago, chose not to run for re-election. Nagin had remained coy about his plans even in the final hours, saying early Thursday in a TV interview that he hadn’t made up his mind and was “having great fun with this.” Later in the day, he said in a radio interview that it was “very unlikely.” By Melinda Deslatte THE ASSOCIATED PRESS BATON ROUGE, La. – Keeping speculation alive until the very end, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin opted not to join the Louisiana governor’s race Thursday – a decision that became clear only when the qualifying deadline passed. Many in Nagin’s city were surprised he was even considering a run, with more than 2 years left in his second term, a painfully slow hurricane recovery effort in the city and a gubernatorial candidate – U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal – who has held a commanding lead in polls.
Some continue to call for tighter regulations, but they also are aware that lawmakers are not likely to embrace the idea and, that even if they did, there always seems to be a loophole. Much of the extravagance detailed in Nu ez’s spending report revolved around several overseas trips he has made in his three years. For example, Nu ez ventured to Europe earlier this year to study France’s high-speed rail system and preschool programs. He’s also gone to Germany and Denmark to look at their renewable-energy programs and to South America to examine global warming solutions. Many lawmakers make overseas trips under the auspices of state business, but it was the level of spending in Nu ez’s report that raised eyebrows. His long list of expenditures, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, also highlight the often blurred line between political activities and personal indulgence. The spending included $47,412 on United Lufthansa and Air France; $8,745 at the exclusive Hotel Arts in Barcelona, Spain; $5,149 for a meeting at Cave L’Avant Garden, a wine seller in France; $2,562 for two separate purchases at Louis Vuitton; and $1,795 at LeGrand Colbert, a Paris restaurant. Reports on the Secretary of State’s Web site show that Nu ez has $5.3 million in his Friends of Fabian Nu ez campaign account, even after spending $234,000 in the first six months of the year, and $474,000 last year. But it’s sometimes difficult without specific details – and Nu ez is so far declining to elaborate – to gauge how much of the spending, if any, is personal and how much is directly related to his leadership role. In his most recent campaign filing, Nu ez reports spending $8,337 at the Silverado Resort in Napa – possibly to cover costs at the Assembly Democrats’ spring retreat – $4,969 at Fresh Cut Florist & Gifts in Sacramento, and $798 at Goodie Tuchews, a Sacramento bakery. A spokeswoman for Nu ez said his expenditures were entirely legal. “Expenditures were properly disclosed,” said Beth Willon, “and described as required by law.” Nu ez told The Times his travel is “not only justified but necessary for the decisions I need to make on a daily basis.” Critics, however, said the expenditures are questionable, in part because they were made possible by large donations from special interests with business in front of the Legislature – including $290,000 from health insurers, just as the Legislature is considering health care reform. “Even if it’s all legitimate public business, following the letter of the law, he’s clearly enriching himself by flying around the world with special interest lobbyist money,” said Jamie Court, founder of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. “And every time he takes a step toward helping the industry, the connections become more apparent. “The real issue is how does this type of lavish living on his contributors’ credit cards affect the health care debate? He’s clearly living high on his contributors’ dime. Yet, he claims he’s for the people.” Legislators were loathe to criticize Nu ez’s spending habits; they either did not return calls or referred inquiries elsewhere. Coincidentally, Nu ez is among 30 legislators selected randomly to have their campaign finances audited by the Franchise Tax Board. Results are scheduled to be completed by February. The Fair Political Practices Commission, which regulates campaign finances, has never ruled against luxurious non-personal expenditures, said Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies. “It would be hard to enforce,” Stern said, “other than to say expenses could be the same as what you’d get from per diems you get from the state.” firstname.lastname@example.org (916) 441-2101160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu ez came under fire Friday after a report showed that the lawmaker – who has long fashioned himself a champion of the poor – has used thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to make lavish purchases. Trips to Europe, expensive dinners, extravagant hotel stays and $2,500 worth of gifts from luxury retailer Louis Vuitton in Paris have created a swirl of questions about the Los Angeles Democrat, who aside from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is arguably the Capitol’s most powerful elected official. “It gives the impression that power has gone to his head,” said Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College. “Elected officials often grow very fond of their perks, but he’s done so in a very dramatic and visible way.” Nu ez took the brunt of the criticism Friday – though no one suggested he had done anything illegal – but government watchdogs also questioned what they consider to be lax campaign expenditure rules that allow lawmakers to use their campaign funds in ways that many would characterize as only loosely related to state business.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed Jack Wilshere has undergone minor ankle surgery – as the midfielder’s prolonged first-team absence continues.The Gunners star has been out of action since the Premier League defeat to Manchester United on November 22.Wilshere has been on the bench for the league victory over Crystal Palace last weekend, but speaking to the media ahead of the match with Everton, Wenger admitted the 23-year-old will miss the showdown with the Toffees.“Jack had a little surgery on his ankle because it was irritating him a bit, but it’s a very minor procedure so he will be out for a few days,” Wenger told reporters.“It was planned to be done at the end of the season and because he had an irritation with it we decided to do it now and it’s just a few days. Next weekend will be quick but I don’t know exactly when he will be back but it will be days not weeks.” 1 Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere
1 Raheem Sterling Liverpool are set to reject an improved £40million bid from Manchester City for Raheem Sterling.Manuel Pellegrini’s side have already seen an offer of £25million plus £5million worth of add-ons turned down last week and City have upped what they are willing to pay by £10million.However, that still falls short of the £50million minimum Liverpool believe the 20-year-old England international is worth and they are likely to turn down the offer.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter is showered with cash in a stunt protest on Monday 1 FIFA have announced they will set up an 11-strong taskforce to clean up and reform the governing body following its global corruption scandal.In a press conference on Monday, President Sepp Blatter revealed the reforms will include term limits for officials, central integrity checks for executive committee members and disclosing all salaries and payments to FIFA members.The Swiss chief refused to reveal his salary, however, saying he would do so when all the financial details are disclosed.Blatter had earlier brushed off a stunt by an English comedian to categorically state he will not stand in next year’s FIFA presidential election – and sent a ‘good luck’ message to Michel Platini, the man who is favourite to succeed him.‘THIS IS FOR NORTH KOREA 2026’ – SEPP BLATTER SHOWERED WITH MONEY IN FIFA PRESS CONFERENCEFIFA’s executive committee has decided the date of the special congress to elect Blatter’s successor to be February 26 next year – meaning the 79-year-old will remain in power for another seven months.At a news conference in Zurich, the FIFA boss, for the first time since revealing his intension to resign in June, stated unequivocally that he will not stand again – and said he would try for a new career in radio.Blatter, who was showered with fake money by British comedian Simon Brodkin – better known by stage name Lee Nelson – in a bizarre incident at the start of the news conference, said: “I will not be a candidate for the election in 2016 and there will be election for a new president. I cannot be the new president because I am the old president.“I wish good luck to all the candidates and also to Michel Platini.“On February 26 FIFA will have a new president and I think I will go back to my work as a journalist – this time I will go to radio as this is the most popular item in information.”Platini could make an announcement on his candidacy before the end of the week and released a statement welcoming the election date and the reform process.He said: “I feel that the creation of a task force with internal and external members to deal specifically with reforms is an important step towards improving overall processes and transparency within the organisation. We must now make sure that the reforms outlined today will be undertaken in a swift and effective manner. As I have said various times in the recent past, we need to reform FIFA and we need to do it now.“Regarding the election, we now have a concrete date which means we can look forward to new leadership which will surely bring with it new ideas and new solutions. This is an exciting time for FIFA because we can work together to improve it and restructure it for the good of the game.”
Former Aston Villa striker Dion Dublin has backed current Villans manager Tim Sherwood to improve his former side after years of underachievement.Sherwood took the Villa Park reins in February and subsequently steered the West Midlands side to Premier League safety and an FA Cup final appearance.Villa were unlucky to lose 1-0 at home to Manchester United on Friday night, but Dublin is convinced Sherwood can introduce some consistency and avoid another relegation dogfight this season.“He’s the kind of manager Villa need. He’s very enthusiastic and his winning mentality is infectious. I hope the players can install that out on the pitch,” the former England international told The Weekend Sports Breakfast.Villa have brought in ten new signings this summer and Dublin, who made over 155 league appearances for the club, has urged the players to inject a happier mentality amongst the club’s faithful supporters.He added: “They are playing against very good teams this season and they really need to up their game.“The fans have had nothing to chant about for years and it’s about time the players gave them something to cheer about.”