We often report items here about Gov. Jerry Brown appointing Bay Area people to posts within state government, but this is the first time I can remember reporting the good news about one of our own. From the governor’s office today:
Mike Taugher, 49, of Benicia, has been appointed assistant deputy director of communications, education and outreach at the California Department of Fish and Game. Taugher has been a reporter for the Bay Area News Group and Contra Costa Times since 2000. He was an environmental reporter for the Albuquerque Journal from 1995 to 2000, a reporter for Greeley Tribune from 1992 to 1995 and a reporter for the Tahoe Daily Tribune and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza from 1989 to 1992. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $90,000. Taugher is registered decline-to-state.
But there’s a lot more to it than that. As our East Bay Metro Editor Kat Rowlands reminded our staff today, Mike was the Times’ lead reporter on the state’s energy crisis, eventually helping the paper win an award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for coverage of PG&E’s bankruptcy. In 2004, he covered the Kinder Morgan pipeline explosion in Walnut Creek, followed by great work on safety flaws in the underground pipeline networks.
In 2005 he began reporting on findings that showed an unprecedented environmental collapse in the Delta, an important habitat for numerous fish species including the endangered Delta smelt, as well as a key hub in California’s water delivery system; his six-part series won him first-place awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Association for both environmental reporting and investigative reporting. In fact, his stories on the Delta ecosystem, climate change, water supplies, salmon hatcheries and many other topics have won him a slew of other local, state and regional awards over the years.
Our loss is the state’s gain; best of luck, Mike, and don’t be a stranger.