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California to Cancel Oracle Deal

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the golden-parachute dept.

News 202

ShaunC writes "Back in mid-April, the state of California bought $95M worth of Oracle software, which turned out to include more licenses than the state has employees, at a taxpayer cost of $41M more than necessary. Now, CNet is reporting that the contract is being cancelled. Oracle apparently made a $25K donation to governor Gray Davis' campaign fund after the sale was made, several state officials have been suspended, and a criminal investigation into the deal is already underway."

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Join the Navy! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476336)

Your mother and I have had it up to here with your lying around the house. You must take responsibility for your life. Son, you need to get up off your backside and join the freakin' Navy!

The word "monkey" is of uncertain origin; its first known usage was in 1498 when it was used in the literary work Reynard the Fox as the name of the son of Martin the Ape. "Monkey" has numerous nautical meanings, such as a small coastal trading vessel, single masted with a square sail of the 16th and 17th centuries; a small wooden cask in which grog was carried after issue from a grog-tub to the seamen's messes in the Royal Navy; a type of marine steam reciprocating engine where two engines were used together in tandem on the same propeller shaft; and a sailor whose job involved climbing and moving swiftly (usage dating to 1858). A "monkey boat" was a narrow vessel used on canals (usage dating to 1858); a "monkey gaff" is a small gaff on large merchant vessels; a "monkey jacket" is a close fitting jacket worn by sailors; "monkey spars" are small masts and yards on vessels used for the "instruction and exercise of boys;" and a "monkey pump" is a straw used to suck the liquid from a small hole in a cask; a "monkey block" was used in the rigging of sailing ships; "monkey island" is a ship's upper bridge; "monkey drill" was calisthenics by naval personnel (usage dating to 1895); and "monkey march" is close order march by US Marine Corps personnel (usage dating to 1952). [Sources: Cassidy, Frederick G. and Joan Houston Hall eds. Dictionary of American Regional English. vol.3 (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1996): 642; Wilfred Granville. A Dictionary of Sailors' Slang (London: Andre Deutch, 1962): 77; Peter Kemp ed. Oxford Companion to Ships & the Sea. (New York: Oxford University; Press, 1976): 556; The Oxford English Dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press, 1933; J.E. Lighter ed. Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang. (New York: Random House, 1994): 580.; and Eric Partridge A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English. 8th ed. (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company): 917.] "Monkey" has also been used within an ordnance context. A "monkey" was a kind of gun or cannon (usage dating to 1650). "Monkey tail" was a short hand spike, a lever for aiming a carronade [short-sight iron cannon]. A "powder monkey" was a boy who carried gun powder from the magazine to cannons and performed other ordnance duties on a warship (usage dating to 1682). [Source: The Oxford English Dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press, 1933.] The first recorded use of the term "brass monkey" appears to dates to 1857 when it was used in an apparently vulgar context by C.A. Abbey in his book Before the Mast, where on page 108 it says "It would freeze the tail off a brass monkey." [Source: Lighter, J.E. ed. Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang. (New York: Random House, 1994): 262.]

It has often been claimed that the "brass monkey" was a holder or storage rack in which cannon balls (or shot) were stacked on a ship. Supposedly when the "monkey" with its stack of cannon ball became cold, the contraction of iron cannon balls led to the balls falling through or off of the "monkey." This explanation appears to be a legend of the sea without historical justification. In actuality, ready service shot was kept on the gun or spar decks in shot racks (also known as shot garlands in the Royal Navy) which consisted of longitudinal wooden planks with holes bored into them, into which round shot (cannon balls) were inserted for ready use by the gun crew. These shot racks or garlands are discussed in: Longridge, C. Nepean. The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships. (Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 1981): 64. A top view of shot garlands on the upper deck of a ship-of-the-line is depicted in The Visual Dictionary of Ships and Sailing. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1991): 17.

"Brass monkey" is also the nickname for the Cunard Line's house flag which depicts a gold lion rampant on a red field. [Source: Rogers, John. Origins of Sea Terms. (Mystic CT: Mystic Seaport Museum, 1984): 23.

Re:Join the Navy! (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476395)

What about the origins of cyborg type monkeys?

ha ha ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476343)

what a surprise, big corporations patting big corporations.. ooops I'm sorry.. the government on the back. same thing. XburnX

Open Campagn finances. (2, Funny)

Forge (2456) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476653)

"Oracle apparently made a $25K donation to governor Gray Davis' campaign fund after the sale was made".

Just like that the Governor is screwd. Voters in that state KNOW he not only fucked up but was paid to do. That's when you cross the line from being a bumbling morun to being a crook.

In Jamaica by on the other hand (where I live) We had a series of contracts go sour at taxpayers expense to a very small grupe of contractors. There is rampant speculation that these contractors contribute a sizeble portion of these overpayments to the ruling party but there is no actual proff.

You see around here campaign financing is done in secret.

Who pays ? (1, Insightful)

linatux (63153) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476345)

Heads are rolling and arses being kicked, but I bet the tax payer has to dig yet deeper to pay for bailing out of the contract.

Re:Who pays ? (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476393)

Can't be worse than Enron, of course we still don't know all the details on how CA got screwed by them.

Re:Who pays ? (3, Insightful)

Kamel Jockey (409856) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476452)

but I bet the tax payer has to dig yet deeper to pay for bailing out of the contract

You are most definitly correct. Oracle will most definitly sue CA for breach of contract. This will most likely lead to a multi-million dollar settlement which CA's taxpayers will have to pay. In the end, Oracle will make out like a bandit because they would have made the settlement money for doing nearly nothing, since breaking the contract no longer obliges Oracle to provide any goods/services.

This kind of BS has happened before, it will happen again. A few years back, Pennsylvania entered into a $200 million+ contract with an emissions testing company to inspect peoples' cars. When the administration changed, the commonwealth terminated the contract and ended up paying $80 million or so in breach of contract costs.

Investigation (4, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476503)

If the investigation leads to a finding that the contract was part of a bribe, the contract could be nullified due to being based on a criminal act. The taxpayers will most definitely pay for any multi-million dollar trials, but Oracle may not be able to sue for breach of contract if a court finds the contract was signed for a bribe.

Re:Who pays ? (5, Informative)

Ioldanach (88584) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476546)

Oracle will most definitly sue CA for breach of contract.

And just how will they do that, when they made an offer to dissolve the contract if the State wished to do so?

powering those oracle boxes (1, Funny)

mark_lybarger (199098) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476354)

i wonder if the deal included solar panels to keep those oracle boxes crash-proof?

CSM, please remod (2)

tps12 (105590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476552)

That was not a troll. He was making the point that CA debating database (or any other) technology is premature when they lack the infrastructure to provide utilities that most of the first world takes for granted.

Just in case it's slashdotted (-1, Redundant)

Klerck (213193) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476357)

California agrees to cancel Oracle contract

By Alorie Gilbert
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
May 7, 2002, 4:40 AM PT

update California state officials will meet this week with Oracle to cancel a $95 million software contract with the software company and its partner, Logicon, a spokesman for Gov. Gray Davis said Monday.
Logicon, the Oracle reseller that negotiated the contract, agreed over the weekend to cancel its portion of the deal, clearing the way for the state to end the six-year contract for database management software, according to Davis spokesman Steve Maviglio. Oracle and Logicon executives are meeting this week with Tim Gage, the state's finance director, to cancel the contract and work out the financial details, Maviglio said.

"It's a complicated legal and financial undertaking," Maviglio said, adding that the talks to completely undo the contract could take several weeks. "There are some parts that have already moved forward. We're trying to unwind the whole thing."

Spokesmen at Oracle and Logicon said on Monday that they were unaware that the state had accepted their offers to end the contract. A fourth-party to the deal, Arizona-based Koch Financial Services, which arranged the financing, said Monday it had no comment.

Maviglio said Monday that the state was unaware of any official offer from Oracle last week.

"They said that, but they must have been talking to themselves because we didn't know about it," Maviglio said Monday.

Maviglio said the ongoing talks revolve around money that has already changed hands and sales tax issues. According to a Logicon attorney, Koch has already paid $52.7 million to Logicon, which passed $35.5 million on to Oracle. Logicon also paid $3 million in sales tax.

Maviglio said the state, which signed the agreement last May, has not begun to use the software.

The contract became a political hot potato when it was reported that under the deal, which was not put out for competitive bidding, the state was buying more Oracle licenses than it had employees to use them. Critics accused the state of buying far more in Oracle resources than was needed. Since then three state officials have resigned or been suspended, state legislators have started hearings into the matter, and there are allegations of suspiciously timed campaign donations and calls for a federal investigation.

On Monday two state officials told a legislative panel that they sought to warn superiors about the contract with the software giant but were overruled.

Cynthia Curry, senior staff counsel at the Department of General Services, said she was pressured to approve the deal last May in a last-minute bid to get the contract signed before Oracle's deadline for reporting its fiscal year profits.

Chief Deputy Finance Director Betty Yee testified she also tried to warn her superiors about the Oracle agreement. "We as a staff group continued to raise those concerns," she said. "I was among the staff group that did express continued concern."

While the impact in Sacramento is being measured in polls of the governor's chances this November against challenger Bill Simon, the fallout in Silicon Valley is focused on Oracle and what the deal says about the company.

"While we do not view questions regarding the deal itself as material (i.e., what happens to the revenue booked if the deal is rescinded), we do view the deal as emblematic of a broader issue involving Oracle's perception as a trusted business partner and its relationships with its customers," SoundView Technology analyst Jim Mendelson wrote in a research note Monday.

Oracle has long been known for its aggressive competitive stance, even in the high-stakes, high-pressure world of corporate software sales, which includes such industry giants IBM, SAP and Siebel Systems.

The state's negotiators were no match for the professionals at Oracle, according to a state auditor's report, which highlighted several aspects of the contract that it found objectionable. For example, the report noted that the six-year term was unusually long in an industry with rapidly changing technology, that the state wasn't protected in the event Oracle lowered its prices and that the purchase price didn't include software upgrades.

"General Services' negotiating team was inexperienced and unprepared, with no expertise in software contracts and no in-depth knowledge of Oracle's business and contracting practices," the audit report found. "In short, the state had never before negotiated (a licensing agreement) and let Oracle and its reseller, Logicon, use common vendor negotiating tactics to push through a largely one-sided contract."

There is still disagreement between the parties over the value of the original deal, focused mainly on the cost-savings projections. The state auditor's report found that the contract would cost taxpayers $41 million more than needed, while some state officials and Oracle maintained it would save the state $16 million.

In the last week, an aide to Davis who helped negotiate the Oracle deal resigned after it was reported that he accepted a $25,000 Oracle donation for Davis' re-election campaign shortly after the deal closed. In addition, the state's general services director resigned and the state's chief information officer was suspended because of the deal.

In addition, the Highway Patrol officers were called to the Department of Information Technology to make sure records were not destroyed. Some Republican lawmakers, looking to unseat Davis, a Democrat, demanded a federal probe. The state attorney general's office already has begun a criminal investigation.

News.com's Noel Wilson and Reuters contributed to this report.

Re:Just in case it's slashdotted (0, Offtopic)

Migrant Programmer (19727) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476410)

Oh right, just in case CNET NEWS.COM is slashdotted. Gimme a break, mod down this whore!

Re:Just in case it's slashdotted (-1)

Klerck (213193) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476461)

Shut the fuck up, you fucking foreigner. Why don't you get the fuck up my country? I bet you smell.

Re:Just in case it's slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476483)

I agree with this post.

Prince George sayeth (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476360)

A few observations:
1) fortran77 is a shitty language.
2) slashdot also sucks.

What? (4, Interesting)

delta407 (518868) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476361)

How does one, exactly, "undo" a contract for millions of dollars worth of software licenses? Seems like a very sticky legal situtation. Especially since "There are some parts that have already moved forward."

And how is CA doing this, when Oracle says "they must have been talking to themselves because we didn't know about it"?

Re:What? (2)

hij (552932) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476397)

That was my first question. Also, it seemed to me that they would end up spending more money when they have to convert things over and hire new consultants to sort things out. Fortunately the article included this bit:

Maviglio said the state, which signed the agreement last May, has not begun to use the software.

It seems that at least they won't be paying to undo stuff already in place.

Re:What? (5, Funny)

arkanes (521690) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476416)

They just need to click the "I do not a agree" button on all the installers, thus entitling them to a refund as per the EULA.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476501)

Seams like a nice job for the now unemployed governor gray who bought these licences in the first place, reading 270,000 [theregister.co.uk] eula`s and clicking on 270,000 OK buttons ;-)

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476398)

That is the most expensive $25,000 I have ever seen.

People need to spend some time thinking about how serious this expense really costs.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476400)

You're quoting the state, not Oracle.

Re:What? (2)

CodeMonky (10675) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476413)

The article made it sound like Oracle/legicon (or whoever) made and offer to cancel the deal.

Spokesmen at Oracle and Logicon said on Monday that they were unaware that the state had accepted their offers to end the contract. A fourth-party to the deal, Arizona-based Koch Financial Services, which arranged the financing, said Monday it had no comment. Maviglio said Monday that the state was unaware of any official offer from Oracle last week. "They said that, but they must have been talking to themselves because we didn't know about it," Maviglio said Monday.

Re:What? (2, Informative)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476433)

"How does one, exactly, "undo" a contract for millions of dollars worth of software licenses?"

RTFA:

"Logicon, the Oracle reseller that negotiated the contract, agreed over the weekend to cancel its portion of the deal, clearing the way for the state to end the six-year contract for database management software, according to Davis spokesman Steve Maviglio."

Re:What? (2)

Ioldanach (88584) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476506)

And how is CA doing this, when Oracle says "they must have been talking to themselves because we didn't know about it"?

Umm... they didn't say that, the representative for the state said that.

(from the article>

Maviglio said Monday that the state was unaware of any official offer from Oracle last week.

"They said that, but they must have been talking to themselves because we didn't know about it," Maviglio said Monday.

Which is to say that even thought it was all over the internet and probably the CA newspapers, Oracle must not have actually called them up and made the offer. Either that or Maviglio doesn't read newspapers.

Yum! (0, Offtopic)

TheNecromancer (179644) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476367)

The contract became a political hot potato when...

Mmmm, pass the butter please!

Re:Yum! (0, Offtopic)

motherfuckin_spork (446610) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476458)

I think this is more of a sour cream & chives situation, personally...

the donation is not a smoking gun (5, Insightful)

jonbrewer (11894) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476382)

"Oracle apparently made a $25K donation to governor Gray Davis' campaign fund after the sale was made, several state officials have been suspended, and a criminal investigation into the deal is already underway."

If anyone really thinks that a $25k donation would have anything to do with a $95,000,000.00 deal for software, they need to get reacquainted with reality. $25k is nothing unusual. It's a Red Herring, and doesn't belong in an informed discussion on the Oracle/California mess.

Re:the donation is not a smoking gun (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476412)

Maybe it was only the first installment?

Re:the donation is not a smoking gun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476415)

Umm. Why would companies bother with political contributions for the past 100 or so years if they weren't getting returns on their investments? Philantropical pursuits? Oracle just got a free 44mil. Are saying that was an accident?

Re:the donation is not a smoking gun (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476419)

bull hock!!!!

25K is not much to raise at a singe fund raiser, but to get it from one company at the state level, that is a lot of dough.

Re:the donation is not a smoking gun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476455)

It's a pretty sorry comment on American "democracy" that this person seriously thinks $25k is no big deal. Exactly how big does a "donation" have to be before it becomes a "bribe"?

Re:the donation is not a smoking gun (5, Insightful)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476468)

$25K may be but a drop in the bucket, but it's money regardless. According to the article, the contribution was made just after the Oracle deal closed, and the official who accepted the contribution resigned. I'd say there's certainly a tie-in somewhere. If not, something stinks even worse.

I wrote the submission text. For the record, I'm a democrat. I have nothing against Gray Davis and I wasn't trying to make a subliminal political statement by mentioning the contribution. Payola is payola, no matter which party and no matter who the contributor.

Shaun

Re:the donation is not a smoking gun (2)

Ioldanach (88584) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476524)

I wrote the submission text. ... I wasn't trying to make a subliminal political statement by mentioning the contribution
The $25K has also been mentioned in nearly every article I've read on the subject. Thus, I think it was appropriate to include it in the submission.

Re:the donation is not a smoking gun (3, Interesting)

aengblom (123492) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476528)

Let's Play The "Get into Oracle's Head Game"!!

(Announcer) Mr. Ellison! You've just tricked Gray Davis into paying YOU $50 million taxpayer dollars he didn't have to. What are you going to do?

(Ellison) I'm going to Disney World! But first, I'm making sure this idiot gets re-elected.

$25K IS a drop in the bucket and $50 million is worth more to Davis politically than a 25K campaign contribution.

Re:the donation is not a smoking gun (1, Insightful)

skyhawker (234308) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476502)

If anyone really thinks that a $25k donation would have anything to do with a $95,000,000.00 deal for software, they need to get reacquainted with reality. $25k is nothing unusual. It's a Red Herring, and doesn't belong in an informed discussion on the Oracle/California mess.

Hmmmm. I wonder if you'd voice the same opinion if the recipient were a Republican instead of a Democrat. Methinks you need to get reacquainted with political reality.

Re:the donation is not a smoking gun (2, Flamebait)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476532)

  • If anyone really thinks that a $25k donation would have anything to do with a $95,000,000.00 deal for software, they need to get reacquainted with reality [...]It's a Red Herring, and doesn't belong in an informed discussion on the Oracle/California mess

Nice to hear from someone informed. Inform us then, how much did Oracle donate the the Republican candidate in California? And to every candidate in every other state? $25K each?

What's that you say? You don't know? Or are you just saying that it's not only right but expected for companies to give small "thank you" kickbacks after being given a lot of business?

I hope you're just uninformed and not actually idiotic enough to be saying the latter. Because $25K for $95M might not sound like a lot, but how many billions are in the Californian budget? How quickly could a bunch of $25K kickbacks add up? Go inform yourself, and let us know, will you?

Re:the donation is not a smoking gun (2)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476536)

Not really. I was watching a sting operation on corrupt CA government officials.

Need a law created that greatly favors your company? Write it out, meet your representative and for a few thousand dollars, you've got a deal!

Re:the donation is not a smoking gun (3, Insightful)

garver (30881) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476554)

But that's the beauty of lobbying the government! You make "donations" in the $1000s to influence purchases in the millions. Talk about a return on investment!

Its naive to think this doesn't or wouldn't happen. One, the temptation is just too big (spend a thousand, get a million). Two, who's going to prove it? Even if there are strings attached to the money, which would be illegal, its very easy to say publicly that there weren't. Three, read the papers lately? There is allegation after allegation of this stuff happening. From this mess, to Enron and the Bush administration, to Clinton and pardons, and to every congressional member and their pork projects.

Bottom line: Elected officials carry an enormous amount of power and responsibility when compared to how much they are paid legally. That's a recipe for bribery and for attracting those willing to be bribed.

This is what campaign finance reform is supposed to fix. But I don't support it; I don't think any amount of campaign finance reform will fix the situation. You need to motivate officials to be honest. I don't know how to do that, but I'm certain adding more rules won't. Until someone comes up with something better, I would rather keep my "freedom of speech".

Re:the donation is not a smoking gun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476640)

Thanks for your viewpoint, Gray.

Where's the money going now? (3, Interesting)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476383)

I live in CA and I'm curious about where that money will now go. Back to the treasury? It's already been budgeted... maybe we could invest in some Savings and Loans project?

Well, this should all be quite humorous.

Re:Where's the money going now? (2)

Graspee_Leemoor (302316) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476409)

You could buy a genuine supercomputer for that kind of money.

(And then run a Doom 3 server on it).

Ha- couldn't resist.

graspee

Re:Where's the money going now? (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476426)

What and give up the Beowulf Cluster? For a 'genuine' super computer... ;-p

Re:it actually hasn't been paid yet (1)

jeffn7 (574648) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476496)

Most large enterprise license deals are financed... even if you can afford to pay it upfront. Time value of money, yada yada. But more to this issue, there hasn't been any money change hands yet, at least between the state and Oracle. The contract was partially paid for by a finance company to Oracle, and the first payment (from CA) was due sometime this year. Regardless, the taxpayer is going to get stuck with some bill to get out of this deal.

Re:Where's the money going now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476514)

In other words yes, I mean no, I mean yes.... nevermind.

That sig annoys the crap out of me.


Re:Where's the money going now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476719)

Nope. Oracle will get the money, but CA won't get any databases.

Ahhh..... I love it when..... (1, Funny)

tcm614ce (570300) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476387)

a plan comes together. Politicians getting caught red handed by the media and the citizens. This is how it's supposed to work folks! :)

Re:Ahhh..... I love it when..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476470)

Yeah, just like all the politicians at national level getting caught red handed over the Enron deal have gotten in trouble huh. No, CA just wasn't smart enough to cover their tracks is all.

Re:Ahhh..... I love it when..... (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476648)

And we would've gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for you darn kids!

Re:Ahhh..... I love it when..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476710)

It's "meddling kids".

Im not saying that there was a quid pro quo but... (1, Insightful)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476407)

$25,000 is A LOT to give any politician from a single company, ESPECIALY at the state level.

I mean govonerships are won with less that 5 million dollors, and most of the time I bet it is less that 2 million.

Re:Im not saying that there was a quid pro quo but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476444)

$25k is chump change in a california governor race. Remember, the amount of money coming into a state race is proprtional to the wealth of the state (california wealthies) and the importance of the state to the political parties (california pretty desirable nationally). I'd be surprised if there weren't many companies giving $25k or more.

Re:Im not saying that there was a quid pro quo but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476488)

how many give it after they get a sweet deal from the state?

I've said it before and I'll say it again (1)

Chardish (529780) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476418)

Our politicians are crooked because all of them are funded by corporations who do their bidding.
And our corporations are crooked because all of them are backed by politicians who do their bidding.

Sounds like we need some fundamental changes in our financial policy.

-Evan

Re:I've said it before and I'll say it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476448)

yeesh... the only fundamental changes in financial policy is for the government to back off. The market will fix itself. Money!=evil you know...

fundamental changes (1)

bubbha (61990) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476505)

...this is why many people advocate public funding of political campaigns. There is the free speach argument...but I hear they are making weapons out of high-enegry sound waves...like anything...where do you draw the line.

No, it's not the corporation's fault (2, Insightful)

RangerBob (30028) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476509)

It's _OUR_ faults. We're the ones that keep reelecting these crooks. The general public is apathetic and doesn't care to spend any time researching candidates. Instead, they'll get all the information they need from commercials. Heck, we elected a president that in no way, shape, or form has hidden his ownership by corporate America at any time in the past or present. If we want to change our country for the better, _WE_ have to do something about it instead of sitting back and blaming someone else.

Re:I've said it before and I'll say it again (1)

jeffn7 (574648) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476512)

..uh, I think you meant to say we need changes in our "political fundraising policy". A change in our 'financial policy' would be interest rate or money supply driven.

Re:I've said it before and I'll say it again (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476563)

Really going out on a limb there. "I've said it before and I'll say it again"? Hell, EVERYONE'S been saying that for the past 200 years, you really think you're fighting the power?

Re:I've said it before and I'll say it again (2)

tps12 (105590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476586)

Depends on what you call a "corporation." Citizens' groups like the NRA also make campaign contributions. It's actually a nice part of democracy.

Waiting for the shoe to drop.... (1)

LittleGuy (267282) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476434)

Back in mid-April, the state of California bought $95M worth of Oracle software, which turned out to include more licenses than the state has employees, at a taxpayer cost of $41M more than necessary.

I'm just waiting for the inevitable SPA Audit [spa.org] .

hmm (1)

Graspee_Leemoor (302316) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476435)

To quote Typing of the Dead:

"How could anyone do this?"

graspee

Exact license data available - OSS replacement? (1)

jukal (523582) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476436)

It would be interesting to know what exactly were they supposed to license and if there are competetitive OSS replacement available. $95 million is a lot of money. And if you could save this by taking a collection of opensource solution instead, maybe paying just $20 million for product support (which might have be included in the Oracle deal licenses)...

I mean, sincerely they must also have some real need for the licenses, some company should recognise this great change to make big money using OSS derivates and support. With all the fuss in the air, the climate could be perfect to hit using OSS artillery and reasoning.

licenses and employees? (2, Interesting)

southpolesammy (150094) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476463)

What does the number of employees have to do with the number of licenses? The last time I checked, Oracle was licensed on a per server basis, not on who uses it...

Also, I'm going to assume that there are far fewer servers in the CA gov't than there are employees, and if so, then someone made a made a REALLY big error in budgeting. Of course, we are the country that paid $43,000 for a screwdriver and that sort of thing, so who knows?

Re:licenses and employees? (1)

jeffn7 (574648) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476533)

Oracle Applications

News article carries Oracle advert (1)

CProgrammer98 (240351) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476466)

I thought it was highly amusing that when I went to the news story, the article was carrying an Oracle advert. Refresh the page a few times if you don't see it first time.

Controlling the world (1)

bjb (3050) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476471)

Well, I guess if Oracle had plans to construct the "Big Brother" database for the USA, then this'll certainly hurt. Hmm.. wonder what would happen if the database was open source? Running the nation's biggest information repository on MySQL.. would that be a good thing or a bad thing?

ok, ok.. offtopic

Re:Controlling the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476756)

It would be a good thing.

MySQL couldn't handle a database that big (not bashing OSS, MySQL wasn't designed to). It would crash and burn the Big Brother database, which would be fine by me.

Glad I held off on Oracle stock (1)

Windcatcher (566458) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476478)

Yikes. Every time I get a call from my father suggesting Oracle stock, I procrastinate, and they take another hit. It's getting like Qwest with these people. It's a tempting buy, but...where's the bottom, already?

Re:Glad I held off on Oracle stock (2, Funny)

00_NOP (559413) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476561)

Every time I get a call from my father suggesting Oracle stock, I procrastinate, and they take another hit.

Hmmm... can you tell us when your Dad phones so we can play the options market?

the worst part is (2, Insightful)

Richthofen80 (412488) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476515)

Gray Davis, or whomever is really behind this, will get off. The little guy who accepted the contribution might take a fall. Inevitably, there will be a smoke/mirrors show, until the media has determined its no longer viable as a story, then Davis will get re-elected, etc.

Hell, anyone remember Chandra Levy? You can get away with murder (no pun intended) in this country as long as you keep quiet when the Sh*t hits the fan, lay low, then quietly pretend it didn't happen.

Re:the worst part is (2)

tps12 (105590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476615)

In a just world, Davis would be impeached for helping to run his state's already faltering industry into the hot dry California ground.

Re:the worst part is (1)

matastas (547484) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476690)

Yeah, I remember Chandra Levy. I also remember Gary Condit's campaign falling apart and him not getting re-elected in California as a result.

Bad analogy. Sometimes, the public has a better memory than folks (including myself) give them credit for.

Re:the worst part is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476781)

Well cry me a river. Only not geting re-elected because you had someone murdered is a slap on the wrist, to say the least.

His analogy held up very well.

Let me get this straight... (2)

bribecka (176328) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476525)

So:

Huge corporate donation after state gives same corporation business is a crime.

Huge corporate donation before state gives same corporation business is okay.

Makes sense to me.

Re:Let me get this straight... (2, Troll)

Enry (630) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476580)

It depends...

If you're a yooge company about to go bankrupt, you can donate all you want to a republican presidential candidate.

If you're a fairly large software company that's still solvent, you can't donate any money at all to democrats. Or if you do, you're suddenly under investigation.

Re:Let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476612)

Yes I think that whould be a lot beter, imagene the governer asking around about prices ibm, microsoft, sap, sybase and oracle. Which then make huge contributions (and becouse those contributions are supposed to be puplic record they might even start bidding already) and the governer then heads over to www. [freshmeat.net] and picks postgresql ;-)

Oracle arrogance (2, Interesting)

totallygeek (263191) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476526)

I side with Oracle on the contribution. All companies make contributions to political fundraisings. This is nothing new or unethical. What I find striking is the statement made by Oracle that $95 million won't affect anything because it is less than one percent of their money for this year. What ass for a company says, "$95 mil, no problem", or something to the similar?


That is just Ellison arrogance that has trickled down to people under him.

Re:Oracle arrogance (2)

garver (30881) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476569)

No that's Oracle trying not to panic its stock holders.

Re:Oracle arrogance (1)

elvum (9344) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476619)

Hello? It's not new, but please explain why it's not unethical! Are you really telling me that companies expect nothing in return for their donations? That extra campaign money cannot influence the outcome of elections? Just because "everybody does it" doesn't mean it's ethical.

Re:Oracle arrogance (2)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476718)

I agree completely. Our psuedo-democracy was founded on the idea that all landowning males should have a voice in the government, such that the government does what the people see fit for it to do. Later, voting rights were extended for the government to get a better idea of what it is the people want it to do. The thought of anything, person or organization or business, _buying_ government policy was never intended. Surely, the framers would be rolling in their graves.

Even if it is not unethical, surely it undermines the whole government process as it was intended. Monetary contributions to government has greatly reduced the value of the people's voice, and has made a mockery of the US government.

And she didnt have time to read the contract... (1, Funny)

rahlquist (558509) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476527)

Yes, the blonde who was responsible for reviewing the contract did not read it. She admitted yesterday she was pressured and did not have time to read it.

Umm lets see, hey boss man I dont have time to turn the cooling on for reactor 9 the guys are pressuring me to go play poker!

Perhaps their prices are catching up with them (1)

hendridm (302246) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476540)

Ellison gets bad press for being big brother [slashdot.org] , IBM pulling ahead of Oracle [com.com] , and now this. It's good to see some other players get ahead in the market. I never much cared for Oracle software. Ok, Microsoft is evil blah blah, but I think SQL Server's management tools are pretty swell. Alas, SQL Server only comes on Windows.

Then again, SQL*Plus is pretty cool ;)

Re:Perhaps their prices are catching up with them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476730)

If you read the article about IBM pulling ahead of Oracle you would see that it was not do to DB2's sales growing or Oracle's declining, but because IBM bought Informix, giving them an additional 3% market share through one aquisition. Next time read the article before you mouth off.

Sales Tax - OUCH! (5, Interesting)

phoenix26x (245359) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476541)

$3 million in sales tax? Ouch! Wait a minute... a $95 million dollar deal, and only $3 million in sales tax? Since when did California's sales tax drop from 7.25% to ~3%?

To be on topic: this deal was fishy on many fronts:
  • More Oracle licenses than state workers
  • Not just a third party (Logicon), but a fourth party (Koch Financial Services) was involved
  • The contract was signed last May, but the software is still not in use. You spent $95 million to sit on software licenses?
  • Finally, the sales tax issue already mentioned
We can only hope that $95 million dollars worth of state officials are ousted.

Re:Sales Tax - OUCH! (2)

joe52 (74496) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476571)

and why is sales tax being paid on something that is being sold to the State of California? Do most states charges themselves sales tax (or allow municipal sales taxes to apply to their purchases)?

I seem to recall most governmental agencies I've dealt with not paying it, but I'm not from California.

about those licenses (2, Funny)

infonography (566403) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476550)

Since the state bought them, they are theirs. I wonder if Oracles EULA would permit resale of the excess. I would be willing to pay Cali 10 cents on the dollar or less for a Oracle license. They could put them up on Ebay....

This SHOULD be easy... (5, Funny)

preed-man (1796) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476551)


"It's a complicated legal and financial undertaking," Maviglio said, adding that the talks to completely undo the contract could take several weeks. "There are some parts that have already moved forward. We're trying to unwind the whole thing."

You mean, they can't just issue a ROLLBACK?

What the hell were they paying Oracle for, then?!

Funny - mod up (1)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476738)

Unfortunately I never seem to get moderation points myself any more...

Re:This SHOULD be easy... (2)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476740)

Oracle doesn't allow rollback on statements such as:

alter contract ... add clause ...;

or

DROP CONTRACT ...;

In order to ensure support for structural changes, you best be using Postgresql.

Re:This SHOULD be easy... (2)

BoyPlankton (93817) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476758)

You mean, they can't just issue a ROLLBACK?

It's too late. They already commited.

Fleeced ! (1)

curtisk (191737) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476562)

>>The state's negotiators were no match for the professionals at Oracle, according to a state auditor's report, which highlighted several aspects of the contract that it found objectionable. For example, the report noted that the six-year term was unusually long in an industry with rapidly changing technology, that the state wasn't protected in the event Oracle lowered its prices and that the purchase price didn't include software upgrades.

Wow, I know that government agencies can get stooped over on large contracts with technology vendors, but god, I'm honestly shocked that that deal got pushed through, normally theres multiple "sign offs".....nobody, NOBODY saw that this was a shaky deal?? LOL Especially for the price tag involved

Yet more proof of needed revision (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476597)

I'm not much of a political activist but sometimes I feel that way more and more. Is it a sign of age?

Corporations in many respects are legally a 'person.' (Maybe that's the best argument against the splitting of Microsoft... but then again, maybe Bill Gates should be drawn and quartered...) But the similarities end when accountability is the issue. Everyone starts pointing fingers in a system where you're innocent until proven guilty (but only when you have an effective attorney) a lot of the time, the real guilty people go free.

(Corporations == identity shelters?)

But the problem is that these entities are giving money to politicians to support their interests. That just seems inherently wrong. What point of view (seriously, I ask) could spin this situation in a positive way? The leaders of our country should be focused on the good of the whole nation without particular parties attempting to muscle their influence at the cost of others in various ways. Okay, I speak in ideals here and I guess that's not very reasonable, but there was a time when our leaders weren't paid and acted for the priviledge of leading our people to success and freedom. Now they're paid...voting themselves raises, converting their campaign funds into cash when they retire.

It's out of control.

ca gov (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3476694)

Knowing how goverment entities work, most like they bail out of the $41M deal, pay $25M for what they need and then pay $30M penalty for backing out.

It's time (1)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476703)

For the fine burgers of California to switch to a real database [sybase.com] .

An Opportunity for Free Software? (1)

Yacob (27419) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476707)

Is CA now looking for an alternative to Oracle? Looks like this might be an opportunity for free software to come to the rescue.

Misc. News Clippings on this Story (2, Informative)

ulysses38 (309331) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476709)

Could Oracle Deal Put Simon Back On The Map?
San Francisco Chronicle's Marinucci reports, Davis has run into "what Republicans hope will become the 'perfect storm' of campaign issues" for Simon. At issue is a $95M no-bid deal Oracle Corp. signed with the state that "could cost taxpayers $41 million" in "unnecessary charges." Making matters worse: a $25K campaign contribution from Oracle to Davis "handed over" to a Davis adviser "in a bar while the contract was being negotiated last spring." Making matters even worse: Reports of shredding of documents related to the contract by "state bureaucrats." The news found Simon "seizing the offensive for the first time," charging in a presser that "the scent of scandal surrounding this administration is growing." Although AG Bill Lockyer (D) is investigating, Simon said "more needed to be done." Simon: The dots are starting to be connected, and they paint a very troubling picture. Californians have a right and a need to know ... if their tax dollars are being wasted through gross incompetence -- or worse, being used to facilitate corruption."
Davis denied "allegations of impropriety, saying he did not know of the Oracle deal or the company's campaign contribution." And the "top three" Davis admin. officials "in charge of the contract have resigned, been fired or placed on suspension" (5/5).

About That Donation
The Davis camp "reported receiving a $25,000 donation from Oracle" 6/5/01, "Days after the contract was finalized. But Arun Baheti, the governor's director of e-government, told top Davis aides that he accepted the $25,000 check from an Oracle lobbyists before the negotiations were complete and mailed it to the campaign. The check had a March date." An Oracle spokesperson said the donation came from an April tech event "hosted by Davis that was attended by roughly 30 companies." Oracle said delivery of the check was "apparently delayed" and was "unrelated to the state contract" (Bustillo/Tamaki, Los Angeles Times, 5/6).

Just The Beginning? Or Going Nowhere?
Observers say the Oracle deal "could reinforce reservations that voters have expressed about Davis' fund-raising practices." GOP strategist Dan Schnur: "This Oracle mess is taking place in the middle of a budget crisis. It's easy to see how tens of millions in wasted money could have been spent on programs that Davis is cutting." And Simon -- to GOPers "glee -- made exactly that point when he lambasted the governor." Simon: "The money wasted on this Oracle contract could have paid for thousands of teachers, textbooks or lunches for needy children."
Berkeley prof. Bruce Cain said the Oracle story "shifts the media's attention from Simon's recent gaffes on such issues as whether he paid state taxes to the growing Oracle scandal." Cain: "[It] allowed him to go on the offense ... and takes Gray Davis off message. At a minimum, this is a godsend [to Simon]."
Simon's aggressive stance "coincides with a decision to reach out to some seasoned political operatives with track records on aggressive campaigns." Simon has hired ex-Gov. Pete Wilson (R) spokesperson Sean Walsh; ex-spokesperson for Sec/State Bill Jones (R), Rob Lapsley; and researcher Mark Bogetich -- "a team that with little money, landed the toughest punches on Davis through the primary."
Walsh: "Every time that reporters and other people are turning over rocks, there are a lot of cockroaches running -- and they're all running for the center of the Capitol. And I see Bill Simon holding a big can of Raid" (Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/5).
Said Schnur "after highway patrol officers descended on state offices" 5/2 to "prevent document destruction, no politician likes to see his name in the same headline as the word 'shredder'" (Chance, Sacramento Bee, 5/5).
NRCC Chair Rep. Tom Davis: "Gray Davis is in bad shape in terms of his personal popularity and voters wanting a change. But whether Simon's the guy to do it or not, we'll have to see" ("Capital Gang," CNN, 5/4).

Simon Dying To Get To This Guy ...
Simon said he "wants to see" Davis manager Garry South "on the witness stand regarding the timing of the $25,000 contribution," an idea Joint Legislative Audit Cmte chair Dean Florez (D) "quickly dismissed as ridiculous and politically motivated" (Bustillo/Tamaki, Los Angeles Times, 5/6).

Davis Offers His Take
Davis said his admin "has opened talks to scrap" the $95M deal with Oracle, "which he insisted was approved without his knowledge. He also took credit for removing three state officials who promoted or signed off on the much-criticized deal." Davis: "I had no idea this contract was being negotiated. I think most of you know I'm barely on the information on-ramp, much less proficient in technology. So this is not a matter that would normally come to my attention, nor did it." Davis "acknowledged his reputation for keeping a tight reign on his" admin., but "said he only micro-manages 'what's on my plate'" (Sweeney, Copley News Service, 5/4).

What Will The Leg. Do?
Capitol Dems were placed in a "precarious position" by the news of the Oracle deal, "requiring them to react forcefully or face" GOP "criticisms that they are protecting their governor." GOPers have "already asked the federal government to conduct its own Oracle investigation, arguing that" Lockyer, "whom Davis asked to investigate the matter, cannot be impartial because he accepted $50,000 from the software maker in recent months." State Sen. Ray Haynes (R): "If they pursue this with the same vigor they pursued [former Insurance Commissioner Chuck] Quackenbush [R], I think we could compliment them and say they did good work, If they don't, then we go through a partisan drill that is nothing more than window dressing. That's going to be the test" (Bustillo/Tamaki, Los Angeles Times, 5/6).
The cmte today will take testimony from "key administration witnesses" (Chance, Sacramento Bee, 5/5).

No Surprise, Oracle Very Influential
San Francisco Chronicle's Salladay reports, Oracle has worked had to channel "its major campaign contributions to a select few" CA pols "wielding the most power over its livelihood." Almost "every elected official" who has received money from Oracle "has some measure of control over Oracle government business, or held influence over the $95 million software contract that has embarrassed the company" and Davis. Davis and Oracle are now working together to "cancel the contract" (5/6).
State Cabinet Sec. Susan Kennedy: "If somebody comes to you and says, 'I need something and it has to be right now,' the answer is 'No.'" Kennedy said she broke that "cardinal rule" when she put her signature on a "governor's action request" (GAR) that "gave the green light for the apparently overpriced software contract with Oracle Corp." Kennedy was presented with the GAR 5/31, the "three-page memo concluded" with a sense of "urgency, emphasizing 'the short window of opportunity.'" The "state fell for it and immediately signed" the deal. Kennedy said she "assumed all the advertised benefits had been checked out -- or would be -- by the other GAR signatories. They weren't" (Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 5/6).

Anybody wanna trade? (0, Troll)

Ghengis (73865) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476772)

I'll Trade you $25,000 for $95,000,000!! What a DEAL!!!

Applying Gartner Group's 8% rule (1)

nalfeshnee (263742) | more than 12 years ago | (#3476798)

if the gartner group is correct, and licensing is only 8% of the total cost of using software, then california would have had a slightly larger bill to pay in the end. not $95M but $1,187 M:)

perhaps they read the recent letter [theregister.co.uk] from Nunez to Microsoft, wherein this 8% rule is writ large..?

nalfy.
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