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Want To Start A Cable Channel? First, Become Vice President …

While diligently plugging away at our day job, we came across this great 2004 article from SF Weekly about Al Gore’s new cable channel, INdTV. You may already be an investor!

“… a big chunk of the funding for INdTV is being supplied, at least indirectly, by ordinary Californians who probably have no idea that they are invested in the former vice president’s next career move. That’s because two of the six “beneficial owners” listed in documents filed with the SEC are private equity funds controlled by the Burkle and Blum firms, respectively. And each of those funds is slated to receive huge investments from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, a $160 billion public pension fund controlled by Democratic officials whose party and campaigns have been supported by huge contributions from Burkle and Blum.”

It is, perhaps, the largest unemployment insurance payout in California history.

Better yet, Yucaipa shouldn’t have been anywhere near INdTV:

“Yucaipa was chosen as a CalPERS investment vehicle as part of a competition among private equity funds to be included in … a CalPERS effort to foster economic development in “underserved areas” of the state. Of the $475 million doled out … as part of the program, the $200 million awarded to Yucaipa was by far the largest sum. CalPERS promotional materials describe the Yucaipa fund’s objective as “[seeking] corporate partnerships to relocate or expand their operations in underserved areas.”

Asked how an investment in a San Francisco-based cable channel headed by the former vice president fit that criterion, CalPERS spokesman Brad Pacheco told SF Weekly that he would need to research the matter “and get back with you.” He never did.”

In their defense — most cable channels in California are headquartered in LA, so perhaps the Bay area is underserved.


(Update: the new channel will be called Current and is scheduled to launch August 1, 2005)

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4 Responses to “Want To Start A Cable Channel? First, Become Vice President …”

  1. 1
    Burn, Burkle, Burn? By Mickey Kaus Says:

    [...] investments’ poor performance) he’s not as rich as everyone thinks. How rich could you get investing in Al Gore’s cable chan [...]

  2. 2
    Daily Dose of Optimism Says:

    One of the few significant minority-owned busi nesses that [Yucaipa] has invested in is Sean John, the clothing enterprise run by that struggling representative of the “lower-income urban community,” rap mogul Sean “Puffy” Combs.Independent Sources notes Current TV’s choice of San Francisco as headquarters, and notes: “In [Current TV's] defense — most cable channels in California are headquartered in LA, so perhaps the Bay area is under-served.”

  3. 3
    Townhall.com - Gabrielle Cusumano Says:

    Other articles in regards to your search Hillary Clinton: Unintentionally Ironic before about L.A.-based Yucaipa Companies, the investment group run by Democratic mega-contributor Ron Burkle. Some Yucaipa funds appear to receive their funding from CalPERS and other public pension funds based on party affiliation, not performance.

  4. 4
    California Conservative » “Current” Bias: Getting Ready for GoreTV Says:

    [...] 212; not cable channels in San Francisco. We have a link to that article and some comments here. Comment by A Senior A [...]