With the holidays approaching, what better way to get into the spirit of the season than with a free trip to Tel Aviv? Democratic congresswoman Susan Davis embarked on a three-day tour of Israel, from the 13th through the 16th of November, thanks to the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. Transportation was $4580, lodging was $1055, and the food tab was $350, according to her post-trip disclosure report.
After meeting ex–Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, the group spent a day in Ramallah with Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad. A “gala dinner” in Jerusalem featured an “off-the-record conversation” with ex-President Bill Clinton and remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with a “discussion on alternative energy and the environment with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.”
Egyptian-born billionaire Haim Saban, the money behind the Saban Center, got rich producing The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. … The big political news in Los Angeles last week was the election of Democratic assemblyman Paul Krekorian, former head of the Burbank Board of Education, to the Second District seat on the L.A. City Council. His opponent, former Paramount Pictures executive Christine Essel, outspent him two to one. The race was nasty and expensive, with the city’s big labor unions putting almost $1 million behind Essel, who lost by 14 percent. But what does the race to represent Studio City and Tujunga mean to San Diego? Democratic assembly members Lori Saldaña and Marty Block each gave $500 to Krekorian. (Saldaña’s cash came from her now-abandoned state senate campaign account. She’s declared for the seat currently occupied by Ron Roberts on the county board of supervisors.)