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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Jerry Brown Rehires Official Who Protested State Building Privatization

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 7:40 AM

click to enlarge That was a close call.
  • That was a close call.

​After he was quoted in the Snitch protesting a proposed sale of 24 government office buildings to private investors, Arnold Schwarzenegger fired Donald Casper from his job as a state buildings commissioner.

Now that Governor Jerry Brown has scotched the Governator's money-wasting, patronage-tarnished privatization deal, Casper was just given his old job back."The state office buildings are back in safe hands," Casper says. "They're back in the hands of those who consider that public assets belong with the public."

Casper is the former chairman of the San Francisco Republican Central Committee. But he strongly favors the position of California's new Democratic governor when it comes to privatization.

Casper's saga began more than a year ago, when he learned of a deal whereby then-Governor Schwarzenegger would seek to raise $2.3 billion to fill a one-year budget gap by selling office buildings in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and elsewhere. The state would then pay the building's private buyers $5.2 billion in rent over 20 years.

Casper had for 16 years served on an obscure commission set up to oversee the repayment of bonds issued to build state office buildings in San Francisco, such as the one at Civic Center housing the California Supreme Court. 

In order to sell the buildings, Schwarzenegger had to go through this long-ignored commission. After Casper was quoted on the Snitch criticizing the deal, he was promptly fired.

In February, Brown examined the deal's usurious terms and cancelled it. And more recently he has hired back dissident commissioners who Schwarzenegger had dismissed to grease the building sale.

"Jerry Brown is no pushover," Casper says. "He is seriously, seriously trying to work the state out of a financial hole."

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