State

August 15, 2014

The Buzz: Enron energizes California schools chief race

After a contentious primary battle, the race for California superintendent of public instruction doesn’t appear headed for calmer waters.

State schools campaign

raises Enron connections

After a contentious primary battle, the race for California superintendent of public instruction doesn’t appear headed for calmer waters.

In its latest fundraising email to supporters, incumbent Tom Torlakson’s campaign invokes the ghost of scandals past, tying challenger Marshall Tuck to the company at the center of California’s 2000-01 electricity crisis.

“Before it went bankrupt and its senior executives were sent to jail, Enron traders made millions during California’s energy crisis by manipulating the state’s fragile electricity market,” it reads.

“Now, a one-time Enron trader is pouring money into” Tuck’s campaign. John Arnold, a Texas hedge fund billionaire and Democratic donor, has given him $8,300.

Tuck’s campaign pointed to Torlakson’s own Enron ties: He took money from the company as a state senator, including $1,000 in January 2001, during California’s rolling blackouts.

“Back in 2001, Enron was telling Californians they were the good guys by investing and providing energy to our state,” Torlakson spokesman Paul Hefner wrote in an email. “Now, everyone but Marshall Tuck seems to know better.”

Alexei Koseff

Worth repeating

“Believe it or not, I’m not a gambler ... I’m not good at that stuff.”

ASSEMBLYMAN ISADORE HALL, Compton Democrat and chairman of the Assembly committee that considers gambling issues, at a Capitol blackjack demonstration by cardroom advocates.

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