By Zach Arnold | March 11, 2015
Two rather intriguing appointments made by Governor Jerry Brown on Wednesday. The athletic commission body members currently:
- John Carvelli (Chairman – Liberty Dental HMO, shares same lobbying firm as UFC, money man from Southern California)
- Mary Lehman (former boxer, currently an appellate lawyer, Southern California)
- Martha Shen-Urquidez (lawyer, consigliere for Andy Foster & Big John McCarthy, Southern California)
- John Frierson (decades-old friend of Jerry Brown, Southern California)
- Dr. Christopher Giza (long-time UCLA doctor, Southern California)
Dr. VanBuren Ross Lemons, a Sacramento doctor, was termed out from the board. Appointed today:
Van Gordon Sauter, 79, of Los Angeles, has been appointed to the California State Athletic Commission. Sauter is former president of CBS News and Fox News. He began his career producing television commercials for a large advertising agency in New York City and later entered journalism. He worked as a newspaper reporter in New Bedford, Detroit and Chicago, Illinois, reporting on Vietnam, civil rights and urban violence. Sauter was also a television anchorman in Chicago, Illinois and CBS News bureau chief in Paris, France. He is the author of three non-fiction books, including the recently published coffee table book, “The Sun Valley Story,” an anecdotal history of the nation’s premiere heritage ski resort. Sauter is a former chairman of the California State Athletic Commission. He earned a Master of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Sauter is registered without party preference.
Vernon B. Williams, 47, of Los Angeles, has been appointed to the California State Athletic Commission. Williams has been chief medical officer at the Sports Concussion Institute since 2007, where he was director of the pain management clinic from 2005 to 2007, and has been director of pain management at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic since 1997. He was medical director at HealthSouth Physical Therapy from 1999 to 2005 and an investigator and staff clinician at Innovative Medical Research Inc. from 1994 to 1997. Williams was director of medical student core neurology curriculum at the University of Maryland Medical Center Department of Neurology from 1995 to 1996. He is chair of the American Academy of Neurology’s Sport Neurology Section and is a founding director of the Center for Sports Neurology and Pain Medicine’s Sports Neurology Fellowship at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic, where he is a founding director of the Center for Sports Neurology and chief compliance officer of the Compliance Committee. Williams earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Michigan. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Williams is a Democrat.
Van Gordon Sauter used to be Chairman of the Athletic Commission over a decade ago. Bill Plaschke in The LA Times (April of 2003) ripped into Van Gordon Sauter for pushing approval to let Mike Tyson fight at Staples Center.
“It’s not like we’re licensing a wicket-keeper in a cricket match,” Sauter said. “This is not a tidy business.”
“Well, once you get past the social issues, there’s the obvious huge boost that the fight will bring to the city’s economy,” said Sauter.
The Los Angeles Times points out that Governor Brown’s press release on Sauter’s appointment did not mention the family tie-in.
Remember when I said how politicized California’s athletic commission is and how all the big boys in Sacramento, for one reason or another, obsess with getting their hands involved in Athletic Commission decision making despite the fact that the agency has a miniscule budget?
To fill up the final two slots on the Athletic Commission, we now have two more Southern California individuals. Nobody from Northern California. To not see anyone from Northern California on the athletic commission board is politically remarkable. The one guy on the board who has juice in Sacramento is Carvelli due to his monied connections.
What this likely cements is that the Athletic Commission meetings will continue to stay away from Sacramento. I understand the ulterior motive of wanting to try to keep as many people from Consumer Affairs away as possible from the meetings. However, having zero representation from Northern California on the board and having one meeting a year in Sacramento is a complete disadvantage for anyone not in Southern California who wants to actually participate.