John & Ken: Radio's 'Flame-Fanning Populists' Frighten Politicians

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Is that you Tom Harman?
The San Francisco Chronicle supplied excellent news this weekend.

There is hope after all that this state's inept or corrupt (or, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, a combination of both) politicians and bureaucrats aren't entirely immune from accountability.

And what's the cause of this new-found accountability? 

John and Ken, the talk show hosts on KFI-AM 640 radio in Los Angeles and Orange County.

According to the Chronicle, the duo is doing what nobody could do before: 

Actually make our politicians dread public exposure of their tricks, half-truths and lies that have helped drive California's public institutions--everything from city councils to transportation authorities to police and redevelopment agencies--into cesspools of incompetence and sleaze.

"Their ability to keep their outrage meters on overdrive while Angelenos are crawling in rush-hour traffic could be chalked up to harmless hyperbole if not for one indisputable reality in Sacramento: John and Ken are sources of mortal fear for Republicans who know what holy hell these flame-fanning populists and their million listeners can inflict," wrote the Chronicle's John Diaz.

Diaz, the paper's editorial page editor, went on to quote state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat: "It's amazing how many conversations about the budge process with my Republican colleagues start with a mention of John and Ken."

The line prompted Diaz to conclude, "Politicians ignore them at their peril."

Given that the Democrats in Sacramento are largely in denial about the state's dire debt woes, John and Ken are determined to expose Republican officials who aid Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to seek $12 billion in tax extensions through a June ballot initiative.

If a politician pisses them off, the radio duo figuratively puts the offender's "head on a stick," an on-air stunt complete with the juicy sounds of a spear penetrating human flesh and then, underscoring the appropriateness of the act, enthusiastic cheers from a crowd.

Some people have complained that John and Ken are helping to ruin decent political discourse. Other listeners, like me, believe that while the stunt is amusing theater, it's also forcing politicians to do what doesn't come naturally to them: Keep their promises.

Read the Chronicle story HERE.

--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly 


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