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  ChevronTexaco's Long Arm Censors Jesse Ventura
February 6, 2005

When the Contra Costa Council invited Jesse Ventura to entertain 450 Contra Costa high rollers last week, they specifically asked him to avoid mentioning Indian gaming in order to avoid offending the king of high rollers, ChevronTexaco, which is a little sensitive about the subject right now due to its experience in Richmond. I assume you have seen those cheesy TV ads by Ventura on Indian gaming that have been running for months.


Apparently, Ventura avoided the dreaded G word but managed to offend everyone anyway.


The story from the Contra Costa Times follows:




Contra Costa Times, January 30, 2005


One Contra Costa politico failed to see the humor in celebrity ex-Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura's outrageous spewfest last week at the Contra Costa Council's annual dinner.


During Ventura's rant, er, speech, Walnut Creek Councilwoman Sue Rainey, who helped raise cash for the event, repeatedly gasped and covered her face with her hands. At one point, she held a water glass over her head and threatened to pour it.


She mouthed to her table companions her distress, and tried in vain to convince them to drag the ex-wrestler and Navy Seal off the stage. (Her husband, ex-Contra Costa County sheriff and state Sen. Dick Rainey, looked as though he wanted to crawl under the table.)


By the time Ventura relinquished the microphone -- after his rendition of famed boxer Mohammed Ali's 1960s tune "I Am the Greatest" -- Rainey had become part of the show.


What set her off?


To start, he insulted, by job or party affiliation, most of the business leaders and elected leaders in the room. Some of the 450 people in attendance contributed big checks as sponsors and paid, in part, Ventura's speaking fee.


And Ventura told the room that he would defy the organizers' order to refrain from talking about his Hollywood castmate Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Isn't that like inviting Billy Graham and telling him he can't mention The Big Guy? (That's God, folks, not Arnold.)


It was false advertising, Rainey insists.


"Mr. Ventura's (handler) told us, 'You're going to love him. He's very entertaining,'" Rainey said. "I just get very sensitive when I have sold people and the sponsors on a particular show and that's not how it turns out."


The council asked Ventura to refrain from mentioning Indian gaming or his TV ads criticizing Schwarzenegger's stance on the matter because one of the sponsors, ChevronTexaco, is embroiled in a casino dispute in Richmond.


"If we had had someone to balance Mr. Ventura, it might not have been so bad," Sue Rainey says. "If we ever invited him again, we'd do a point-counterpoint."


Meanwhile, Rainey promises to retire her performance.


Lisa Vorderbrueggen writes on politics each Sunday. Reach her at 925-945-4773 or lvorderb@cctimes.com. You can also reach her through her online forum at ContraCostaTimes.com. Click on "Talk to the Times."