I fear that Fox & Hounds Daily rushed to judgment.
I know. Shocking. And on a politics blog of all places.
But this particular mistake came in a moment of deliberation. My colleagues and I thought long and hard about the winner of the Black Bart Award for 2011. And we chose Controller John Chiang.
We were wrong.
How could we have overlooked Anthony Portantino?
Perhaps we chose too soon. We picked before the end of the year. And records surfaced just last week that show the San Gabriel Valley legislator was, at least, mostly right in his fight with Assembly Speaker John Perez.
Portantino, contrary to efforts by the speaker’s office to portray him as a big spender on his own office during the controversy, wasn’t one of the assembly’s biggest spenders. In fact, he had among the lowest budgets and was one of the lower spenders among Democrats, according to news reports.
Portantino wasn’t fully vindicated in his claims that his budget was cut in retaliation for votes that went against leadership’s demands (particularly on realignment and the budget); there is still no smoking gun. But the legislator, in the face of criticism of people like me that he was foolish to pick a fight (boy was I wrong), took the fight to the speaker and won.
He forced the assembly (with more than a little help from the press) to release records it didn’t want to release. He demonstrated that criticism of him by the speaker as wrong. And he got the assembly to back down from an effort to stop paying his staff for a month.
The assemblyman was the underdog, and he won every round of his fight. So I hereby nominate him for a second Black Bart Award, backdated. Can I get a second, Mr. Fox?