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When it comes to collegiate competitions, most would be inclined to think of the college football playoff and the national championship game.

Or how about “March Madness” and the “Final Four” … or even “The Frozen Four”?

Probably no one knows about the (Carroll J.) Bateman competition, established more than four decades ago by the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).DSC01384

Even though Bateman draws far less attention … if any … than NCAA football and basketball, the competition is just as intense and success requires working well in a team setting for eight months or longer.

This point is magnified when every student today seemingly has his or her nose buried in a cell-phone screen. Some would contend that mobile technology and the explosion of “apps” has retarded our ability to communicate, let alone getting along well in a group setting. Sounds like a good subject for a future strategic communications blog post. Hmmm …

This point brings the author of Almost DailyBrett to the five members of the Central Washington University (CWU) Bateman team: (left to right in photo) Aubree Downing, Robyn Stewart, Madalyn Freeman (team leader); Masey Peone and Silver Caoili. As Millennials, they get it when it comes to social, mobile and cloud, but they have also demonstrated an increasingly rare characteristic: the remarkable ability to always get along and work well as a team.

“Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Backside … “

Having spent almost 15 years in Silicon Valley, yours truly knows how one disagreeable-and-detestable personality can become a cancer in any organization no matter the level of talent.

And when that person voluntarily (or involuntarily) decides to move on to another opportunity or to spend more time with his or her family, there is the obligatory going away party. Do you really want to go to this send-off? Well no, but in most cases you attend and say nice things even though you really don’t mean it.

In a few egregious cases, there are “going away” parties for former colleagues, who have already departed. To top it off, the person in question is not invited.

The reason for this digression is to point out how important it is to be a team player, and not only to “manage up” to superiors but to co-exist with colleagues and treat subordinates with respect and understanding.

Even though Almost DailyBrett is a tad biased, I am nonetheless floored by how well the CWU team worked together virtually every day for the past 240+ days to advance the university’s proposal to the deciders at PRSSA. They have set a standard that will be difficult for future CWU Bateman teams to match, let alone exceed.DSC01394

Your Home Matters: Affordable Housing Fair 2015

Each year, the best-and-the-brightest at PRSSA decide upon a subject for the participating university Bateman teams located across the fruited plain. This academic year drew a germane, timely subject: Home Matters and the compelling need for affordable housing.

Our five-team members after going back-and-forth for hours, embarked on a comprehensive conventional/digital campaign that was manifested (but not ended) Saturday with the “Your Home Matters: Affordable Housing Fair 2015” in Ellensburg, Washington.

What was particularly exciting was to witness the community involvement, spurred by our team, including the host of the fair: Mandy Hamlin of Allstate Insurance. The participants featured some big names including: Umpqua Bank, Coldwell Banker, Habitat for Humanity, HopeSource, Knudsen Lumber and the Kittitas Yakima Valley Community Land Trust.

Not bad, not bad at all.

There was even an opportunity for kidlets to draw on tiles to give input as to what “home” means to them. Considering that Baby Boomers may be the first generation to procreate offspring that may never have the opportunity to own a home (e.g., Bay Area, SoCal, New England, Mid-Atlantic, SeaTac … ), then “Home Matters” must extend to doable rents to go along with achievable mortgages. It also applies to reasonably priced, sustainable and environmentally friendly building materials.DSC01387

Having worked on close-knit teams in the California Office of the Governor, a publicly traded company and an international public relations firm, your author knows that a public relations team must be able to address conflict without making it personal. Some do well in this environment, and others … well they don’t.

Pettiness and childish name calling should be left to the sandboxes of yesteryear with their Tonka trucks. Today, our august communications segment needs public relations professionals that can not only access information from the screen of a cell phone, but also get along and produce results.

There are at least five students in Ellensburg, Washington who can do just that.

http://prssa.prsa.org/scholarships_competitions/bateman/

http://prssa.prsa.org/about/

http://prssa.prsa.org/about/PRSA/

http://www.cwu.edu/communication/

 

 

… and again, again, and again …

Why is it that some of the best and the brightest just don’t get it when it comes to personal public relations?

There will always be bad days.

And with these bad days are the prospects of worse days in the future.

Was Yogi Berra referring to Brian Williams, John Kitzhaber, Anthony Weiner, John Edwards, George W. Bush, Tiger Woods …?

Almost DailyBrett seriously doubts that Yogi recognizes the name, John Kitzhaber, let alone his now-infamous girlfriend, and the state in which he until recently served as its governor.kitzhaberhayes

Having extended our due respect to Yogi, let’s contemplate another famous Berra-ism: “You can observe a lot by just watching.”

Tell the Truth, Tell it All, Tell it Fast, Move On …

The four principles of crisis communications live on, beginning with what mumsys all across the fruited plain have told daughters and sons: “Always tell the truth.”

These four principles or steps in quick order – Tell the Truth, Tell it All, Tell it Fast, Move On — also translate into another adage: Manage or be managed.

  • Brian Williams with his propensity for self-aggrandizement and exaggeration (e.g., starving at the well-stocked Ritz Carlton in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina) could not or would not recognize the danger signals of his own behavior. Williams became the story (a no-no for any reporter), lost control of this tale and eventually his NBC anchor desk, his position and quite possibly his career as we know it.williamsnbc
  • John Kitzhaber was starting his fourth term as the governor of Almost DailyBrett’s adopted, Oregon. His arrogance mounted over time, including his heavy-handed sacking of the president of the University of Oregon, Richard Lariviere. The ultimate downfall for Kitzhaber pertained to Oregon’s “First Lady” (the governor’s squeeze), her high-salary non-profit job, influence peddling and the governor’s refusal to acknowledge an obvious conflict of interest until it was too late. Yep he had the opportunity to manage, but in the end he was managed and with it he became a poster child for term limits.
  • Anthony Weiner attempted to bluff his way out of the mounting evidence of his “selfies” being sent to designated females from Seattle to New York.
  • John Edwards cheated on his dying wife with his videographer, and stonewalled the media about his love child, Frances, until he was caught by none other than the National Enquirer.
  • George W. Bush had the opportunity to reveal his 1976 DUI arrest in Kennebunkport, Maine (manage), but chose to keep it under wraps until the story exploded four days before the 2000 election (managed).
  • Tiger Woods repeatedly pleaded for familial privacy as TMZ kept listing the names and details of even more women that had affairs with the world’s number one golfer. Woods was managed by the media and his career has never been the same.

Who’s Next?

“I tell our players all the time, ‘As soon as you start going down the wrong track and you start doing something wrong, the clock starts ticking until the day you are caught, because it’s going to happen’…In our world today, you think it’s not going to be found out eventually?” – Nebraska Football Coach Mike Riley

“Who’s Next” is the question posed by Pete Townshend in 1971, but in this case it applies to who or what organization is going to fail to recognize the crisis communication warning signs, eventually losing control of an issue, and then being subjected to a seemingly never-ending story with “legs.”

For BP and its Deepwater Horizon oil platform, the media coverage of the 2009 catastrophic spill that immediately killed 11 workers lasted for more than three months. The multi-billion litigation and the permanent damage to the BP brand continues to this day. “BP” and “Spill” are synonymous terms.oilspillbird

For far too many in the reputation business, crisis communications is simply, response. Certainly, there is a response component to crisis communications, but just as important are the words, prevention and management.

Samsung could have prevented or at least blunted the effect of the movie producer Michael Bay meltdown at the Consumer Electronics Show by practicing how to respond to a faulty teleprompter.

Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol team managed the discovery of cyanide–laced capsules and provided a text-book example of management that not only saved the brand, but restored public confidence in pharmaceutical industry and generated an entirely new regime of safety packaging.

There is no doubt that we will soon be reading, commenting, tweeting, trolling, memeing about some preventable human or institutional failing as it applies to legal tender, sexual dalliances or personal aggrandizement that could have been prevented or at least managed.

Instead, the story takes off and spins out of control. Eventually the digital ones and zeroes go critical and the reactor core starts to melt down. The monster grows legs and runs for days, weeks, months …

What did mumsy say about telling the truth?

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/y/yogi_berra.html

http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2011/12/the_rise_and_fall_of_richard_l.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/loma-prieta/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_oil_spill

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/damn-the-teleprompters/

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=meme

 

 

The author of Almost DailyBrett served as a chief spokesman for California Governor George Deukmejian for seven years (eight years when one counts the 1982 gubernatorial campaign).

He also cut his teeth as a reporter covering the Proposition 13 tax revolt way back in 1978.

And yet there is the realization that he may never return on a permanent basis to California.Calcoast

And likewise, there are literally hundreds of thousands who may never leave their present California residence/rental for another in the state or even across town because they simply can’t.

The problem:

Where can they move?

What will they pay?

How much is the new mortgage?

How much is the new rent?

How much are the increased property taxes?

How much are the income, sales and gas taxes?

How much are the bridge tolls?

Will it still take 45 minutes to drive five miles?

Yes, there are Golden State Handcuffs. Even though they glisten in the light, they are still handcuffs.

Stockton, Modesto, Visalia, Bakersfield

Lovely Central Valley destinations, such as Stockton, Modesto, Visalia and Bakersfield, are all doable for those who want to move to the Golden State. The Mercury rarely exceeds 115-degrees in the summer and the mind-numbing Tule fog usually lifts after about six weeks in the winter.bakersfield

The fortunate ones are those who have found their pads in livable places in the Golden State, but can they actually leave if they wanted to and go someplace else? For far too many, the answer is “no.”

One of the reasons is taxes. When it comes to levies California has every one of them: income, sales, property, gas, bridge tolls etc., etc., etc.

The top federal rate is 39.6 percent and 30 percent for capital gains, figures that need to be factored into this discussion. California’s “progressive” income tax rate tops out at 13.3 percent, the nation’s highest. Translated: high-salary earners spend more than half the year to pay both the feds and the state.

My present home in Ellensburg, Washington has nada state income tax, but we do pay an 8 percent sales tax.

My adopted state of Oregon has zero sales tax.

Folks in San Diego are paying 8 percent sales tax, Sacramento, 8.50 percent; San Francisco, 8.75 percent; Los Angeles, 9 percent. Can piercing the psychologically important double-digit rate to buy virtually anything be far behind? Don’t be surprised by a 10 percent+ sales tax coming soon in California’s blue counties.

For those living in the Bay Area, it costs $5 to drive across the Bay Bridge, ditto for the San Mateo and Dumbarton. The Golden Gate charges $6 for the privilege. Hey, weren’t the tolls for these bridges supposed to be rescinded once the bonds were paid off? Silly me.

California’s gas taxes (both federal/state combined) are 71.29 cents per gallon, leaving other high taxing states, such as New York, in the rear-view mirror.

The Proposition 13 Blessing/Curse

Looking back at the “Wonder Years” house that was my home for 15 years in suburban Pleasanton with its desultory hour-plus commute one way over the Sunol Grade, my mortgage was around $1,850 and my annual property tax was $5,225. The latter figure is high when one weighs it against my comparable size Eugene, Oregon house with a property tax levy of approximately $3,400.

Today, the very same house in Pleasanton would require a $3,400 mortgage or a $3,500 per month rent or about 2x what I shelled out in mortgage payments just four years ago. The property tax is now $8,600 or more than $700 per month. These figures come from Zillow, which is historically regarded to be low in its estimates.

An über-successful friend of mine pays an annual property tax rate of $75,000 for the privilege of living in his relatively new West Los Angeles house for just one year. He gets to repeat this pocket-digging exercise next year and presumably every year. His next neighbor pays a fraction of that amount because he has not sold his pad, thus triggering reappraisal.

The memories of the Proposition 13 property tax revolt (e.g., Jarvis-Gann) still linger. People were upset with inflation approaching 18 percent and resulting property tax bills of 30 percent higher than two years earlier. Proposition 13 simply kept many in their homes because California’s one-party Legislature failed to act.jarvisgann

And yet the sale-triggers-reappraisal-and-a-new-tax rate, coupled with the escalation of property values, has not only made California unaffordable for new home buyers (e.g., good luck Millennials), it is trapping Baby Boomers and X-Gens in their own homes, residences and in some cases apartments.

A rent controlled studio apartment in San Francisco will stay at a similar monthly stipend unless and until the renter moves. The real question: Can that renter actually afford to move? Is that renter essentially trapped in downtown San Francisco?

Granted there are worse fates in life than being “trapped” in a rent controlled studio apartment in the City by the Bay, but Golden State Handcuffs are just that, Golden State Handcuffs.

California has always enjoyed great weather, the best in the lower 48. The state never looks better than it does from the tailgate parties at Brookside Golf Course on New Year’s Day. Alas, there is a reality of skyrocketing housing and rental prices, every tax imaginable and conceivably more hikes to come, and traffic that saps your soul and Joie de Vivre.

It’s sad, but California is not the state it was when I grew up.

For some, you literally can’t go back home.

For others, you can’t leave home.

http://www.boe.ca.gov/cgi-bin/rates_2013.cgi

http://www.batolls.info/

http://taxfoundation.org/blog/top-state-income-tax-rates-2014

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/taxes/states-with-highest-gasoline-excise-taxes-2.aspx

 

 

 

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

There are no statues of critics.

There is no glory for Monday morning quarterbacks.olbermann

Second guessing is the easy part; making the crucial decision in a matter of seconds under the glare of spotlight is not for cold-and-timid souls, who will neither know victory nor defeat.

For many, the perceived and real shortcomings of hated overachievers provide a warm feeling of Schadenfreude. They are so happy that someone better than them is so sad.

And why is this? Maybe because their own lives are so desultory, so mundane, so unfulfilled.

Never underestimate the power and the extent of jealousy.

Almost DailyBrett must ask the jealous types, instead of hating others, why not generate and celebrate your own victories? Instead of rejoicing the shortcomings of others, why not become an overachiever yourself?

Sure wish it was that easy.

From Genius to Goat

Life can be so cruel.

With only six seconds before halftime and Seattle set up for a relatively easy three points, everyone expected Pete Carroll to send on the field goal team.

His quarterback, Russell Wilson, wanted one more shot at the end zone. It was a risky decision as Wilson could be sacked or he could have thrown a pick. Carroll made the decision to go for it. The result: Touchdown Seahawks.

Pete Carroll was a genius. The Man in the Arena had taken a calculated gamble and won. The game was now tied 14-14.carroll

Another Man in the Arena, overachieving quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, directed two fourth quarter drives under incredible pressure, to put the Pats up by four with time running down.

Seattle had one more chance, and certainly was making the most of the opportunity. First down on the six-yard line became second down on the one. Carroll was more than aware of the comeback capability of Brady et al. and wanted to leave no time on the clock.

As we all know, Seattle threw on second and goal from the 36-inches away. It didn’t work out. In the time it took for Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz to play the Super Bowl half-time show and two quarters, Pete Carroll had been transformed from genius to goat.

Yes, life can be that unfair.

Being a Stand-Up Guy

“I think the criticism they’ve (Carroll et al.) gotten for the game is totally out of line and by a lot of people who I don’t think are anywhere near even qualified to be commenting on it.” – New England Coach Bill Belichick

The credentialed vultures were circling, and yet Pete Carroll was the Man in the Media Arena.

He faced the music. He answered the myriad of questions. He took full responsibility. He was the Stand-Up Guy.carrollsuperbowl

Predictably, those who know at least four-volumes less about football than Carroll were instant pigskin gurus. Keith Olbermann, who has been unceremoniously ejected from more TV networks than you can count on two hands and two feet, was among those leading the charge.

All the past transgressions – real or perceived – by Pete Carroll came rocketing to the surface. There was no balancing the discussion with the undeniable success of Carroll including two national titles at USC and the only Super Bowl win for the Seahawks. Absent from the conversation was Pete’s devotion to helping others and building “A Better LA” and “A Better Seattle.”

What may bother the jealous types more than anything else is that Pete is a winner, Sunday night notwithstanding. He always has a huge smile on his face. He has tremendous energy. He is 63-years-young and looks like he is 33. He is a classic overachiever. He is the Man in the Arena.

For the jealous, the depressed, the unhappy, the underachievers, they now can rejoice for a short period of Schadenfreude. Maybe they can now all take turns in carving a statue to Keith Olbermann.

The author of Almost DailyBrett would be more than happy to serve as the first pigeon.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000468089/article/pete-carroll-continues-to-defend-seahawks-oc-bevell

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Carroll

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000467707/article/seahawks-pete-carroll-explains-illfated-call-in-super-bowl-xlix

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Roosevelt

http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.html

http://espn.go.com/boston/nfl/story/_/id/12277589/criticism-seattle-seahawks-play-call-line-bill-belichick-new-england-patriots-says

 

 

“Just me and him in a room for 10 minutes.” – John Roseboro talking about Juan Marichal shortly after being clobbered in a bat-swinging brawl in 1965

MarichalRoseboro2

“There were no hard feelings on my part, and I thought if that was made public, people would believe that this was really over with. So I saw him at a Dodger old-timers’ game, and we posed for pictures together, and I actually visited him in the Dominican (Republic). The next year, he was in the Hall of Fame. Hey, over the years, you learn to forget things.” – Roseboro talking about forgiving Marichal

“(Roseboro) forgiving (me) was one of the best things that happened in my life.” – Juan Marichal eulogizing John Roseboro in 2002

Fifty years ago was the Year of “Satisfaction.”

NASA’s Project Gemini was paving the way for Neil Armstrong to walk on the Moon just four years later.

1965 was also the year that San Francisco pitcher Juan Marichal frightenly clobbered Los Angeles catcher John Roseboro on the head with a baseball bat.

The author of Almost DailyBrett was only 10 years-young at the time, and still remembers this August 22 brawl as if it was just yesterday.

Contemplating the incident a half-century later, one can easily conclude that Roseboro, who had every reason to hold an eternal grudge against Marichal, was a better human being than the vast majority of us.

Juan Marichal Hitting Catcher John Roseboro

He was not only willing to forgive; he even flew his family to the Dominican Republic to spend time with Marichal and his family. Maybe San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers fans can learn something from this story. Baseball is only a game and sometimes emotions get high, but what is really important in life?

And when Roseboro eventually succumbed to a series of strokes and prostate cancer in 2002, the Roseboro family wanted Marichal, “The “Dominican Dandy” to not only be one of the pallbearers at catcher’s funeral service, but to actually deliver one of the eulogies.

In these days of institutional gridlock and permanent feuding, maybe we should contemplate Roseboro’s remarkable willingness to forgive, although he certainly never forgot. He was hit on the head with a baseball bat, an act that potentially could have been fatal … and yet …he was the bigger man.

Why Are We So Easily Offended?

“Love is patient, love is kind … it keeps no record of wrongs.” — 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

”Johnny, Johnny, I’m so sorry.” – Willie Mays Serving as a Peacemaker immediately following the bat-swinging brawl

Writing Almost DailyBrett in many ways is the equivalent of walking across a mine field.

You know deep down inside that one of these incendiary devices (e.g., blog posts) will go boom and pow now and then. The subject could be relatively benign, such as the choice of gluten free foods or more serious including: graduate teaching fellows going on strike; widowers daring to date again and without forgetting the dearly departed; or even preferring to go to the Rose Bowl over a family gathering.

It seems as if Hatfield’s vs. McCoy’s-style of feuding and pettiness is way too prevalent in our society with perpetual keeping of score of real and perceived transgressions. For Roseboro, he knew what Marichal inflicted on him in the heat of battle, and yet he was not only willing to forgive he developed a lifetime friendship with Marichal and his family.

Remembering a Better Man

“I wish I could have had John Roseboro as my catcher.” – Marichal speaking at Roseboro’s funeral in 2002

You wouldn’t blame Marichal for being humbled, and a little bit sheepish delivering the eulogy at the service commemorating the life of John Roseboro.MarichalRoseboro1

Roseboro had every reason for a lifelong beef against Marichal. And yet he realized the brawl was keeping Marichal out of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He (Roseboro) knew that sending the signal that the brawl was history was the way to ensure that Marichal was enshrined in Cooperstown.

How many of us would do that? How many of us are not on speaking terms with a wide variety of people, and for what reason? Can we even remember?

Maybe Doris Day had it right: “Que Sera, Sera”, (Whatever will be, will be).

Or better yet, Roseboro had it right. Pathos subsides. Time moves on. Life is too short. Make peace. Enjoy our limited time on Earth.

Sounds like good advice to all of us, including the author of Almost DailyBrett.

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24368857/two-amazing-photos-of-famous-juan-marichaljohn-roseboro-brawl

https://miscbaseball.wordpress.com/2009/07/21/the-fight-between-juan-marichal-and-john-roseboro/

http://www.sfgate.com/sports/knapp/article/40-years-later-The-Fight-resonates-in-a-positive-2646178.php#page-2

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/20/sports/john-roseboro-a-dodgers-star-dies-at-69.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/magnanimous-in-victory-gracious-in-defeat/

http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/history/gemini/gemini.htm

 

 

 

”It sounds so California. I can’t imagine Idaho having a task force on self-esteem.” — Dr. Roy Christman, retired San Jose State University political science professor

There is no pocket veto in California.

Even though the president can simply stuff an unwanted and undesirable piece of legislation in her or his pocket and forget about it, the California Constitution does not provide that same luxury to the state’s chief executive.

When a bill emerges from California’s Havana-esque one-party Legislature, the governor must either sign it, allow it to be chaptered into law without signature, or veto it with a mandatory explanation message.

Serving in the press office of California Governor George Deukmejian during bill signing in 1986, I was searching through stacks of legislation for the veto message for Assemblyman John Vasconcellos’ self-esteem bill. The governor had vetoed previous iterations of the bill calling for the state to examine the impact of self-esteem or more precisely, the lack of self-esteem.vasco1

Where the heck was this year’s veto message?

Assuming that something was missing, namely a veto message, the author of Almost DailyBrett picked up the phone and called our Legislature unit asking for the constitutionally obligatory why-this-is-a-bad-bill language.

“Ahh … you better come down and see us.”

Are you serious?

Never Assume; You May Be Wrong

Earlier iterations of the Vasconcellos bill called for the creation of an expensive statutory commission with permanent bureaucracy and oodles of high-priced staffers to study and re-study the linkage between the lack or loss of self-esteem and bad things in society (e.g., crime, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, jaywalking … ).

Governor Deukmejian campaigned repeatedly on controlling the “size and scope” of state government. A brand new expansion of state government, namely an eternal self-esteem commission, was not consistent with the governor’s philosophy or rhetoric.

To his credit, Vasconcellos did not retreat from his notion of studying the promotion of self-esteem, but he did drop the idea of a statutory and permanently enshrined Commission on Self-Esteem. In its place after meeting with Governor Deukmejian, he amended the bill to make it a task force on self-esteem, which would issue a report on the subject and then move on into the sunset.

The 1986 bill the governor actually signed, officially created The California Task Force to Promote Self-esteem and Personal and Social Responsibility. There was no veto message, but there was a ton of media coverage.

Man Bites Dog Story

George Deukmejian signing (the late) John Vasconcellos’ self-esteem task force bill was a consummate man-bites-dog story.deukmejian2

My boss, Governor Deukmejian was the counterculture to the counterculture. His biggest vice was jamoca almond fudge. He was from sleepy Long Beach. In contrast, “Vasco” was Mr. Touchy Feely or Mr. Warm and Fuzzy, if you prefer. He was from liberal Bay Area.

It was not rocket science to predict that our press office land lines would light up (no cell phones or Internet back in the Pleistocene). “Let me get this right, George Deukmejian just signed Vasco’s self-esteem bill … Ahh … the same bill he vetoed at least twice … Has the governor been listening to the Grateful Dead?”

There is little doubt that Vasco was familiar with Jerry Garcia and not just for his line of ties. Yours truly never asked the Duke about “Truckin,” Jerry Garcia and The Dead.

After the bill was signed, the governor’s office received a flood of applications to serve on the task force. Garry Trudeau of Doonesbury fame had a field day in the form of series of cartoons about the state’s seemingly wacky self-esteem task force, particularly reinforcing California’s stereotype for those east of the Hudson.selfesteem

The task force was just one more metaphor to add to the notion that all the fruits, nuts and berries flow toward the left coast. Yep, this is the place where highly educated, rich people from Marin, Sonoma, Alameda and (of course) San Francisco Counties don’t vaccinate their kids, and hippy-style natural childbirth is just so natural until the pain kicks in.

After three years the task force issued its report, which reportedly set a state document record with 60,000 reading its conclusions. The task force examined the linkage between self-esteem crime, violence, academic failure and responsible citizenship.

Looking back nearly three decades to Governor Deukmejian signing Vasco’s Self-Esteem Task Force bill, public relations professionals need to always be on guard against drinking their own bath water (e.g., believing their own rhetoric).

Just as important, we should refrain from automatically predicating and assuming. Circumstances change. Bills are amended. And every once in a while, man actually does take a bite out of Bowser.

http://articles.latimes.com/1991-01-24/news/mn-989_1_task-force

http://www.nytimes.com/1986/10/11/us/now-the-california-task-force-to-promote-self-esteem.html

http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED321170

http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2014/05/30/californias-self-esteem-commission-was-not-a-joke/chronicles/who-we-were/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/01/22/vaccine-deniers-stick-together-and-now-theyre-ruining-things-for-everyone/

 

Believe it or not, college football finally got it right.

Now let’s not screw it up.National Championship - Oregon v Ohio State

Think of it this way, there have been three eras in college football: The Bowl Era; the BCS and for the first time this past season, the College Football Playoff.

Using these three systems, only one would have produced the Ohio State Buckeyes as the national champion even though they would have played Oregon in the terminal bowl under each of the trio of regimes.

The other “champions” would have been Florida State (bowl system) and Alabama (BSC).

The Bowl Era

As a young tadpole, the author of Almost DailyBrett remembers spending virtually all of New Year’s Day watching the bowls.

As a football manager of the USC Trojans in 1976, we lost one damn game, our opener against Missouri at the LA Coliseum. That loss cost us dearly. We were contractually tied into the Rose Bowl. We beat Michigan. We ended up No. 2 in all the land.

Pitt with Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett went to the Sugar Bowl and ended the season, No. 1 and undefeated. We never had a chance to play them.

Using this very same bowl system, Florida State as the ACC champion would have gone to the Orange Bowl. Alabama as the ESECPN champ would been dispatched to the Sugar Bowl. Oregon and Ohio State would have played in “The Granddaddy of Them All,” the Rose Bowl.

If Florida State prevailed in the Orange Bowl, regardless of the opponent, the Seminoles would have been the national champion because of its perfect season and an unbeaten streak of 30-straight. There is zero doubt about this conclusion because everyone else had at least one loss.

Reality check time: This is the same Florida State team that survived a series of close calls against basketball schools only to be literally destroyed by Oregon 59-20 in the Rose Bowl (e.g. first playoff semifinal) as the Ducks feasted on five Florida State turnovers.GTY 460965378 S SPO FBC USA CA

So much for Florida State as the national champion, and its 29-game winning streak.

The BSC Era

In order to solve the automatic bowl tie-in conundrum, the college football gods came up with the Bowl Championship Series (BCS).

Reflecting back on the unfortunate BSC era, the idea was to create a non-subjective human/computer ranking system that would disregard bowl tie-ins and conceivably send the best two teams in all the land to the BCS Championship Game.

Besides triggering coast-to-coast controversy, the flawed subjective system paved the way for sanity to ensue in the form of a four-team playoff.

If the BSC still existed this past season, is there any doubt that Florida State and Alabama (e.g., the two semifinal losers) would have played in the Championship Game? And the winner most likely would have been Alabama, making everyone at ESECPN (e.g., Rece “Alabama” Davis, Jesse “Florida” Palmer, David “Georgia” Pollack, Lee “Florida State” Corso …) real happy.

The two playoff finalists (e.g., the teams that handily beat Alabama and Florida State respectively) would have played in the Rose Bowl. Translated: the result of the Ohio State vs. Oregon Rose Bowl would have been irrelevant in determining the national champion.

Thankfully: The Playoff Era

Ohio State would have been locked into the Rose Bowl under the auspices of the bowl era. Under the BSC, the Buckeyes would have been relegated to the Rose Bowl because the college football Pharisees would have selected undefeated Florida State and ESECPN champ Alabama.

In neither case would Ohio State be able to compete for the national title even though the Buckeyes have now proved they are the best team in the land.

The college football playoff provided the backdrop for Ohio State to play for and win the national title. Baylor and TCU may be upset about being left out of the dance, but doing the Texas two-step … there is no way the Bears or Horned Frogs would have beaten the Buckeyes.

There are some who may clamor for an eight-team playoff or a 16-team playoff, a 32-team playoff, a 64-team playoff, a 128-team playoff (e.g., Oregon State would be playing for the national championship).

Yes, there are five major conferences and increasingly inconsequential Notre Dame and one champion obviously will not make it to the four-team dance. Three wouldn’t have made it to the BSC championship game.buckeye

Let’s leave well enough alone. The College Football Playoff worked. Let’s salute The College Football Playoff for a job well done, and also the Fighting Chestnuts of Ohio State.

http://www.collegefootballplayoff.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowl_Championship_Series

http://www.collegefootballplayoff.com/rose-bowl

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_Bowl_Game

 

 

 

“Not disclosing the DUI on my terms may have been the single costliest political mistake I ever made … I may have just cost myself the presidency.” – President George W. Bush

“We should have brought it (DUI arrest) up at a time and place of our choosing. I should have made a more convincing case for doing so. Instead I helped George W. Bush keep a secret that almost cost him the White House.” – Karl Rove, Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush

How could a Maine drunk-driving arrest in America’s bicentennial year lead to the infamous hanging-chads election debacle in Florida 24 years later?DUI

As virtually all of us know, George W. Bush used to drink. And with the consumption of alcohol, sometimes more than one or two beers too many,  the probability of a drunk driving arrest increases. That’s exactly what happened to Bush in Kennebunkport, Maine on Labor Day weekend in 1976.

Serving as Governor of Texas two decades later, Bush was asked by reporters if he was ever arrested for DUI. He didn’t tell a fib, but he also did not tell the whole truth about his 0.10 blood-alcohol level DUI misdemeanor, paying a fine and having his license suspended for 30 days.

Instead, he confided that he did not have a perfect record; he engaged in foolish activities as a youth; and he urged fellow Texans to not drink and drive. Having the vantage point of history, we know now this response while technically correct was an opportunity lost.

Reflecting back on his evasive answer, Bush realized that he could have held an event with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) – and use this backdrop to disclose his own DUI – putting out the negative news at a time and place of his own choosing … and over time making the 1976 Kennebunkport arrest ancient history.

A specifically timed disclosure was exactly the advice of his aides, Rove and Karen Hughes, and conceivably others on the governor’s staff, but Bush stubbornly would not agree to get the DUI out in the public and on the record. Instead, this DUI magically came into the public consciousness exactly four days before the closest-ever 2000 election.

Rove contended that even if this DUI revelation moved 2 percent of the electorate to shift from Bush to Al Gore or from Bush to not voting that would have cost the then-Texas Governor 2.1 million votes. Translated: Instead of razor-thin wins in New Mexico, Wisconsin, Iowa and Oregon – all four of these states ended up in the Al Gore column – Florida’s electoral votes may not have been necessary and history would have been different.

Tell the Truth, Tell it All, Tell It Fast, Move On

I’ve oftentimes said that years ago I made some mistakes. I drank too much, and I did on that night … I regret that it happened, but it did. I learned my lesson.” – Governor George W. Bush to reporters four days before election-day in 2000bushdui

The mantra in effective crisis communications is first-and-foremost to tell the truth. Tell the complete story, tell it as fast as possible (not four days before a national election). Move on quickly, hopefully preventing the story from having “legs.”

Let’s face reality here. Almost DailyBrett has seen cases where personal pride and human nature cause good people to sweep unwanted remembrances underneath the rug, hoping they will never be heard from again. Darn it, these stories have a habit of slithering out just when you least expect them.

We watched in amused horror as former presidential candidate John Edwards denied repeatedly that he had an affair and a love child (e.g., Frances Quinn) with videographer Rielle Hunter while his wife Elizabeth, was fighting a losing battle against cancer.

After days of kicking and screaming, Edwards came clean about the affair with Hunter, but still denied the love child, but even this revelation was not the whole truth. Eventually, the National Enquirer got a story right, complete with photos of Edwards, Hunter and their lovely offspring.edwards1

Did someone say something about Tell the Truth, Tell it All, Tell it Fast and Move On?

Does anyone give a rat’s derriere about John Edwards anymore?

Manage or Be Managed

“The news of the arrest came out at the worst possible time, with only four days to go in the campaign. Many have suggested that I would have served my candidate better had I insisted he disclose it earlier; maybe so.” – Karen Hughes, Counselor to President George W. Bush

When it comes to the most important public relations and brand/reputation management of all, our own personal PR and our own brand and reputation, we all have a choice: manage or be managed.

The campaign apparatus of George W. Bush conducted opposition research on their own candidate, which is standard practice as one knows the other side of the aisle will be digging into the weeds looking for “good dirt.” The Bush campaign oppo research did not discover the DUI, even though it was buried in the public records in scenic Kennebunkport. The erroneous conclusion: The coast was clear.

Instead, the storm clouds with no coincidence came pouring in at the worst time possible for the Bush campaign and with it a sudden break of momentum and the potential loss of more than 2 million votes

We could have been spared the one-month legal spectacle of hanging chads in Florida.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/06/AR2010110602835.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/05/AR2010030502249.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Hughes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Edwards_extramarital_affair

 

 

 

 

“I’m someone who went to college, had the opportunity in my senior year to go and take a job full-time … and I took it, thinking someday, maybe, I’d go back,” – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walkerwalker

“As people do better, they start voting like Republicans – unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing,” – Republican presidential campaign strategist Karl Rove.

Nearly 70 percent of Americans have never marched up to the podium in a graduation gown, sporting a mortar board and fluttering tassel to receive a bachelor’s degree, let alone an advanced degree.

Does this automatically mean that two-out-of-every-three Americans are automatically disqualified from serving in the Oval Office? That seems to be the implication as the Washington Post weighed the fact Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker went to college, but didn’t finish. Sounds like a familiar story for way too many people.

As the 2014 mid-term elections are growing more distant in the nation’s rear-view mirror, the assembled political proctologists (e.g., talking-head pundits) are starting to probe and analyze the contenders and pretenders for the first open seat for the White House in nearly eight years.

Some have already questioned New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie’s girth and temperament, reflecting on the fact that Howard Taft was the last rotund American president. Taft ran and won (1908) and then lost (1912) in a pre-digital-video era. That was then; this is now as evidenced by Time Magazine’s November 2013 “Elephant in the Room” cover focusing on Christie with a not-so-subtle reminder of his weight.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 35.7 percent of Americans are obese including 78 million adults and 12.5 million children. For men in particular, this trend is heading in the wrong direction with 27.5 percent registering as obese in 2000, escalating to 35.5 percent 10 years later. The number of obese women also increased from 33.4 percent in 2000 to 35.8 percent in 2010.

Translated: The majority of Americans are not obese, albeit far too many are overweight, a distinction with a difference. Weight is clearly a problem for Governor Christie both politically and physically. A presidential debate involving Christie may not be a pretty sight.christie

Harvardheads, Yaleheads, Princetonheads etc.

Not having a college degree may not be a big deal for the folks on Main Street, who probably don’t have the hallowed degree either, but it is a huge deal for the Harvardheads, attending the cocktail parties in Washington, D.C. and in Midtown Manhattan.

For the Harvardheads, Yaleheads, Princetonheads etc., a bachelor’s degree or better from an Ivy League school is a minimum qualification to occupy the Oval Office. Consider the academic pedigree of the last four presidents:

  • Barack Obama received his undergraduate degree from Columbia and his J.D. from the Harvard Law School.
  • George W. Bush received his bachelor’s degree from Yale and his MBA from the Harvard Business School.
  • Bill Clinton received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown, earned a Rhodes Scholarhsip and his law degree from Yale.
  • George H.W. Walker received a bachelor’s degree from Yale.

Ronald Reagan received his bachelor’s degree from Eureka College (Illinois) in economics and sociology in 1932. Tiny Eureka College with its 785 students (Go Red Devils) will never be confused with a Big Ten School, let alone an Ivy League university. And yet, Reagan is regarded as one of our best presidents.

The same applies and more to Harry S. Truman, who never attended college. Despite this “handicap,” history called on Truman to make some of the toughest calls in the nation’s history (e.g., use of the atomic bombs, firing Douglas MacArthur) in the period beginning at the end of World War II and the early years of the Cold War and its first-ever nuclear threat.

Can a Governor Without a Degree Become a President Without a Degree?

“I’ve got a master’s degree in taking on the big-government special interests, and I think that is worth more than anything else that anybody can point to.” – Governor Scott Walker 

There are many during the past four years who wrote off Walker, particularly after he invoked the eternal wrath of Wisconsin’s public employee unions. As it turns out, he survived a recall and was twice elected governor of the Dairy State; his re-election was last November.

Is the fact that Walker not having a degree, game, set and match for any presidential aspirations, particularly for the Washington cocktail circuit? Most likely this crowd will have influence, particularly during the before-the-primaries shadow campaign when it comes to raising the estimated $88 million or so that it will take to win a party nomination.

Major contributors are not looking to make a donation, but an investment in a candidate that has a chance to win. There is no doubt that Walker is both bright and smart, but that will not stop the know-it-all Pharisees from pointing to the governor’s lack of a degree and thus question whether he has the “gravitas” to do the job.Truman1

Our constitution precludes those who were born overseas or just over the border from running for the presidency. There is not a similar stipulation in the same document when it comes to having a college degree (e.g., Truman and Grover Cleveland were degreeless), but for all intents and purposes it could be a game-ender for Governor Walker and presumably any others that aspire to the highest office without a diploma on the wall.

Almost DailyBrett hopes this indeed is not the case, believing in the romantic notion that anyone with fortitude and perseverance — and not just those with diplomas — can aspire for the highest office in the land.

Almost DailyBrett Note: Credit for the clever term, “Harvardheads” or the Ivy League types that populate Washington, D.C. and Wall Street in particular must be directed to former presidential speech writer Peggy Noonan. She references these creatures several times in her book, “What I Saw At The Revolution.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/01/08/scott-walker-has-no-college-degree-thats-normal-for-an-american-but-not-a-president/?wpisrc=nl_politics&wpmm=1

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/life-in-your-years/

http://www.rove.com/articles/564

 

 

 

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