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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/27/14

Guests: Ryan Boyko, Robert Rogers

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thanks to you at home for staying with us this hour. We`ve got a big show coming up. In just a couple of minutes, we`re going to be talking live with someone who has been living under a forcible Ebola quarantine for the past 12 days. This is not anybody you have heard from before. They have never spoken publicly before tonight. And where this person is quarantined may really surprise you. So, that`s coming up in just a few minutes. That`s an exclusive that we`ve got tonight, which is a big deal. I hope you will stay tuned for that. But we begin with Major General Daryl A. Williams. Major General Williams served in the United States military for more than three decades. He`s a two-star general, winner of the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star. Major General Williams is also the commander of U.S. Army Africa. He`s the head of U.S. Army operations on the entire continent of Africa. That means if the U.S. Army is dispatched to any of the nations on the continent of Africa, it`s Major General Williams` job to make sure they have support and security that they need to achieve their mission. So, General Williams is a very busy man right now. The U.S. military has a lot going on in Africa right now. You might remember that U.S. troops were dispatched to Uganda to help root out the brutal, murderous rebel leader named Joseph Kony there. They`ve also been sent to the Central African Republic to look for elements of Joseph Kony`s rebel group. The American military has sent around 80 troops to the nation of Chad to help in the search for the missing Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram. The United States has a longstanding counterterrorism campaign in the eastern African nation of Somalia and also in Yemen right across the gulf from Somalia. A contingent of U.S. troops was sent to Mali to support that country`s fight against Islamic militants there. On top of all of that, of course, now is this big new effort in the Western African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, which is going to be an ongoing effort. It`s going to be a long time deal, because that effort is for the U.S. military to essentially build up the public health infrastructure of those entire countries, build up the public health infrastructure in those countries for those countries so that the out-of- control epidemic those countries are battling there doesn`t continue to threaten the rest of the world. So being the head of U.S. Army Africa right now means you`re busy. It means you are in charge of a lot. It means being a very complicatedly engaged person, right, with a lot of life and death demands on your time. A lot of travel demands on your time. You`ve got a huge territory that`s under your purview. There`s a lot of different things going on all over that huge continent and you`re the top guy in charge of all of it. You are a guy who is constantly on the road and who is very engaged, right? And that was the case for Major General Williams, head of U.S. Army Africa. It was. Now, though, change in plans, because General Williams and roughly a dozen other troops just completed a month-long trip to Liberia where they were part of setting up the first phase of the U.S. military`s response to the Ebola epidemic in that country. They just finished that. And now that they have left Liberia and they are headed back, the Army has made the decision to hold them under a three-week quarantine. According to the Pentagon, they`ve not liked to be quoted calling it a quarantine, but it is a quarantine. This U.S. military team traveling back from Liberia, including the two-star who is head of U.S. Army Africa are being held in an area not accessible by the public. They aren`t allowed to leave this location, to go home. They are not allowed visitors. Of course, while they are being held, they are being monitored daily for symptoms of Ebola. I mean, to be clear: none of the members of that military mission has exhibited any symptoms of Ebola. They were not working directly with Ebola patients, but they are being quarantined anyway. And this is new. Under previous public health guidelines in the U.S., people who had either contact with Ebola patients while wearing proper protective gear or people who had been in areas where Ebola is epidemic but didn`t necessarily have direct contact with patients. Anybody who was conceivably at risk but who themselves showed no signs of having the disease, before now, they were basically told to be aware of their risk and monitor themselves and make sure they do not have symptoms. They are supposed to take their temperature twice a day, be in immediate touch with public health authorities if they spike a fever or have any other symptoms with the disease. Essentially, people are supposed to self-monitor for symptoms and get themselves to qualified health professionals at the first sign that anything might be wrong. That`s how it had been. But in the last few days, including now in the U.S. Army, but not in the rest of the U.S. military, now we have a little bit of chaos in terms of what the rules are. We now have new public health rules for specific jurisdictions being announced every few hours on a state by state and agency by agency basis across the country when it comes to Ebola. And, frankly, none of the new rules match. Just in the last 72 hours, we`ve had new announcements from Maryland and Virginia and Illinois and Georgia and Pennsylvania and New York and New Jersey, and more are expected, probably more will come in tonight over the course of this show and into the evening. And none of the things these states have announced are exactly like the other things other states have announced. The highest profile policy roll-out from New York and New Jersey was announced at this press conference on Friday by the press conscience, ambitious governors of New York and New Jersey. They rolled out their policy on Friday. That policy roll-out has been a bit of a debacle. The first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in New York was diagnosed on Thursday. That`s when Governor Cuomo had a long press conference with the mayor of New York City and other health officials to assure the state and the country that America`s largest city, that New York was well-prepared for this eventuality. Everybody should remain calm. This is all under control and everybody knows what they are doing. So, that was Andrew Cuomo on Thursday. One day later, the same Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie decided to hold another big press conference together. And at that big press conference they announced that, actually, no, everybody doesn`t know what they are doing. Specifically, the federal government`s guidelines, the CDC guidelines for how to manage Ebola risk -- they said those guidelines were not enough. They were not tough enough for New York and New Jersey and so, these tough governors were not going to follow CDC guidelines anymore. They had a better idea. They decided it was a better idea to impose mandatory 21-day quarantines on all medical professionals returning from West Africa. Ebola does not spread from people who are asymptomatic or from people who don`t have the disease at all. But New York and New Jersey announced they were going to quarantine asymptomatic people anyway whether or not they had the virus. Why? Because it seemed safer to them. And as Governor Christie explained at the press conference, they had a chance that very day to prove that their way was better, health officials be damned. The reason they had a chance to prove their politician-derived plans were better than the public health derived plans we were following before is because a health care worker that very day had traveled from Sierra Leone to Newark, New Jersey. And so, the governor said she would be the test case for their new policy. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: We`ve agreed that quarantine is the right way to go in this regard, and we will work out the particulars of where this particular individual will be quarantined, whether it will be in New Jersey or New York. But it`s the first application of this new set of standards that we have developed over the last 24 hours and now have had the opportunity to implement. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Now that we`ve had the opportunity to implement it, we`ve developed this new application of standards over the course of the last day. That`s how long we`ve been working on it. It turns out, though, that the person who had to endure this first application of this new set of standards developed over the course of the day turns out she was not going to go along with this happily. She was having none of it. And so, the story of this weekend was that Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey fought the nurse and the nurse won. Her name is Kaci Hickox. Kaci Hickox 1, Chris Christie, zero. The New Jersey response to that nurse arriving at Newark Airport seems to have been one made up in a complete panic up to and including not even putting her in a normal isolation facility as if she were a normal symptomatic patient with an infectious disease. Maybe that might make sense, even though she is not. They didn`t even do that. Instead, New Jersey decided to build her, her own kind of weird tent city. She was confined in her own tent with no running water with an invented porta-potty where you go number two in what looks look a suitcase and that was their plan apparently, camping for her outside the hospital because the isolation wards don`t work? Remember, this is a medical professional who was not symptomatic. She had not tested positive for Ebola. She has no Ebola symptoms. She is just a person who had the misfortune of getting off a plane in the great state of New Jersey. And this is what they decided to do with her. They made it up over the course of the last 24 hours. And nurse did not take it lying down, when these made-up, unscientific bizarre policies were imposed by force on her. She wrote a piece about her treatment for the "Dallas Morning News", while she was still in her weird New Jersey invented isolated tent city. She wrote that she was basically being treated like a criminal and a prisoner. She wrote that nobody seemed to be in charge of what was happening to her. She said it was chaotic. Nobody would tell her what was going on, and what was going to happen to her. She wrote that the United States must treat returning health care workers with dignity and humanity. She did interviews on other media outlet. She hired lawyers to represent her. So, that was all over the weekend, right, on Saturday and into Sunday morning. And that apparently caused another freak out from New York and New Jersey, in this case, sort of a freak out in reverse. After that nurse took her complaints public and the Obama administration took notice that what New York and New Jersey had announced and started to implement made no sense from a public health perspective and they made that assessment public to -- publicly to New York and New Jersey, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo then decided to change his tune. So, on Thursday, don`t worry, we know what we`re doing. On Friday, everybody freak out, nobody knows what they`re doing. Saturday, oh, my God, the nurse is complaining. On Sunday, Andrew Cuomo gets a new idea. He holds another press conference to say New York will not be doing what New Jersey is doing all along. He said people can be quarantined and monitored after they return from West Africa but they can be quarantined and monitored at home. We don`t have to build them tent cities. Then after Governor Cuomo changed his mind, then New Jersey Governor Chris Christie decided that he would climb down as well, and he announced his big test case for how New Jersey was going to lock everybody up coming from Western Africa instead was basically a policy in which, if you didn`t have a place to stay in New Jersey and you landed at the Newark airport, they would lock you up in a tent for a while. A couple of days but then give you a ride to wherever. And so, now, Kaci Hickox has been allowed to go home to the state of Maine, even though Christie said he was going to forcibly hold her if hear 21 days. Governor Christie after caving on this weird climb off and climb down on policy this weekend, Governor Christie is now insisting this really was his policy all along. Nothing has changed at all, which is plainly ridiculous. But that`s what happens when we look to every jurisdiction in the country for leadership on something that ought to be guided by science. Late this afternoon today, the CDC put out their new guidelines essentially to guide state policy making on this stuff. The new CDC policies say that people should be evaluated not according to magical thinking about where people have been or what kind of people they are, but rather people should be evaluated according to the real risks that they have been exposed to and the real risks they might pose to others. But it should be noted that the CDC guidelines can`t be binding federally. Our regulatory structure doesn`t work that way. So, these CDC guidelines are set up to be vague enough to leave states room to do it on their own with the best scientific advice. And as such, these new guidelines leave states enough wiggle room to create a wide enough range of policy that there`s probably going to be quite a bit of policy gibber jabber and uncertainty, even now, even over the next few days, even after this new CDC advice was released. But what is interesting and what I think has been lost in all of this is that even though Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo have a way of gaining attention for everything they say and even though it seems like states across the country are rolling out their new individual quarantine policies because of the New York City case last week and New York and New Jersey decided to invent bad public health policies in response the day after that first diagnosis, actually, New York and New Jersey are not leading the way here. Whether or not you think this is leadership for good or leadership for bad, they`re not first. There is another state that has the most stringent or depending on how you look at it, the most draconian mandatory quarantine policy in the country. And it is not New York or New Jersey. It`s not a state really being talked about in the national debate at all. That state is actually Connecticut. Democratic Governor of Connecticut Dan Malloy on October 7th, so, almost three weeks ago with very little national attention, Dan Malloy three weeks ago declared it to be a public health emergency and empowered Connecticut`s public health department to institute mandatory quarantine orders for people returning from West Africa. And the order that Dan Malloy issued really leaves it up with commissioner of public health in Connecticut to decide to impose a mandatory quarantine on anyone deemed by the commissioner to potentially have been exposed to Ebola and to potentially expose a risk to others. The number of people affected so far is not totally clear. Our count as best we can tell shows that eight people have been held under that mandatory quarantine in Connecticut so far. This is not just people self- monitoring. This is people who are being held. This is an ordered status. One of those individuals who is being held in this ordered quarantine has tested negative for Ebola and yet he is still confined to a quarantine under order from his state government. He`s never spoken to the media before about the conditions of his quarantine. His identity has never been before been publicly revealed. But he now been under quarantine in Connecticut for the past 12 days and he is ready to talk for the first time. And that is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRISTIE: We`ve agreed that quarantine is the right way to go in this regard and we will work out the particulars of where this particular individual will be quarantined, whether it will be in New Jersey or New York. But it`s the first application of this new set of standards that we have developed over the last 24 hours. And now have had the opportunity to implement. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: We`ve been working on it for a whole day. Seeing what`s going to be good. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Friday announcing New Jersey`s new and controversial Ebola quarantine policy. The governor announced a mandatory quarantine for people who had been to West Africa, even if they had no symptoms of Ebola, a 21-day quarantine. But then he changed his mind. His first test case for his new policy was sent home to Maine after only three days. And, in part, because Chris Christie is a high-profile governor and in part because he announced his new standards in bombastic political terms, that quarantine announcement and then that cave over implementing it got a ton of attention over the past few days. But New Jersey was not the first state to do something like this. It`s been a much lower profile thing, but the first mandatory Ebola quarantine was actually put in place by the state of Connecticut under a policy announced just under three weeks ago. Connecticut, as best as we can tell, has approximately eight people under mandatory quarantine orders tonight. Yale University PhD student Ryan Boyko is one of them. He travelled to Liberia to help the Liberian ministry of health set up a computer database to help them in their fight against Ebola. Since returning to Connecticut, Mr. Boyko has tested negative for Ebola, but under state orders, orders of the state government of Connecticut, he`s been quarantined at home for the past 12 days and counting, with an armed police officer standing guard outside his door. He`s decided now to talk publicly about his quarantine for the first time. Joining us via Skype from his mandatory quarantine inside his apartment is Ryan Boyko, in Connecticut. Mr. Boyko, thanks very much for being with us tonight. I appreciate your decision to talk with us. RYAN BOYKO, YALE UNIVERSITY PHD STUDENT: Hi. Well, thanks for having me on. MADDOW: So, first of al, what were you doing in Liberia? How long were you there? And what were you working on? BOYKO: I was there for three weeks. I was helping them build their contact tracing system. So, contact tracing is essentially just identifying and following up with everyone who has been in contact with somebody who later tested positive for Ebola. And in every other epidemic, contact tracing and then immediately isolating those contacts that become sick is what ended the epidemic. And so, just the same thing should apply to this epidemic. It`s just larger and requires more effort now. MADDOW: When you were there working on those database solutions, trying to help them in that side, the administrative side of their response, were you in direct contact with people who were sick or were you around dead bodies at all? Were you in sort of a front line setting at all? BOYKO: No. It was remarkably mundane for what you might imagine. But basically just going from a hotel to the ministry of health where I worked in an IT office most of the time and back to the hotel to eat and go to bed basically every day. MADDOW: So, as I understand it, you left Liberia on October 10th, so 2 1/2 weeks ago. When you came back to Connecticut, when you came back to the United States, as far as I understand it, you weren`t immediately put into quarantine. You were put into quarantine several days after you got back. What happened there? Why did the state decide to quarantine you? BOYKO: So, yes, I arrived back on a Saturday. And on that Wednesday, I had a low grade fever that eventually wound up getting to 100.2. And so, I was in contact with physicians at Yale Health per their protocol. And they made the decision to send me to the hospital for testing for Ebola. And that made the news, and the governor actually had a press conference for Ebola already planned the next afternoon. And so, it was just serendipity, I suppose, the timing was such that the governor felt like he could make a political point, I think, by instituting the quarantines then. MADDOW: Once you were symptomatic, having, you know, been where you were and having been working on what you`d been working on, were you worried that you might have contracted Ebola? When you got that low grade fever, were you worried? BOYKO: I mean, it`s -- the thought occurs to you, but I really wasn`t very concerned. I knew that I had no contacts that should have given me Ebola, and it really is spread by -- direct contact with bodily fluid with very sick and dead individuals. So, I wasn`t very concerned, but the thought, you know, crossed my mind and it was a great relief for my mom especially when the negative test result came back. MADDOW: So, you got a negative test result while you went through that process. The state of Connecticut issued you a mandatory quarantine order which was not specific to you being symptomatic, not specific to the results of your blood test. It was -- what was the order, and what did it tell you to do? BOYKO: Yes, no, it wasn`t. And it applied to a colleague of mine who went with me and was never exhibited any symptoms. At the time, the governor may have that press conference, he released a statement that said that everyone coming to Connecticut from those three countries would be quarantined. And it seems like he`s been following through on that policy ever since then. MADDOW: What is the circumstance of your quarantine? Obviously, you`re in your own apartment. I`ve been told that there`s a police officer standing outside your door to make you think otherwise if you decide to leave or if anybody decides to visit you. But what are the circumstances? What can you do and what can`t you do and what`s it been like for the past two weeks? BOYKO: Yes. So, I can`t have visitors. I can`t leave. It`s very isolate, as you might imagine. And you can`t do most of your exercise. You can`t go to work, you can`t visit friends, family, anything like that. And, yes, it`s just been hard and just like what happened in New Jersey, it wasn`t clear right away what was happening or there was a miscommunication, I think, between the state and the local officials and the police and everyone. And just like what happened with New Jersey. So I was actually kept in the hospital for a whole extra day after the hospital wanted to release me. And during that time doctors would come shake my hand. All of the medical staff there had no concerns about getting Ebola. In fact, they were joking I`m the only person in new haven they could say for sure didn`t have Ebola. MADDOW: Right. BOYKO: But the state, of course, had different ideas. MADDOW: As lots of other states are rolling out policies like this, it`s been very low profile that Connecticut has pursued this policy. Very few people knew before tonight that you were in quarantine or that your league was in quarantine, or that indeed a handful of other people in other states are in these mandatory quarantines. Lots of states are rolling out new policies like this. I guess I just have to ask you bottom line, as somebody who is experiencing this, as somebody who is concerned about the spread of this disease and the public health implications here, is there any reason to think that people are more safe in Connecticut because you`re locked in your apartment right now than if you were self-monitoring and ready to call authorities if you showed symptoms at some point? Showed symptoms again or if your colleague showed symptoms? BOYKO: No. There`s no scientific evidence to suggest that people are more safe. In fact, they are less safe because this policy makes it harder for health care workers and others to go to West Africa. People, as you pointed out in the start of your show, it`s a patchwork of regulations that are constantly shifting and people don`t know what to expect when they come back. And most of these health care workers go for about four weeks. So, when you tack on a three-week quarantine, you`re nearly doubling the amount of time that they have to take off work, that they have to avoid their families and avoid the rest of their life. And for many people they just can`t do that. And so, it`s going to result in fewer volunteers going and more spread of the disease in West Africa, which is going to result in more cases here. MADDOW: Yale University PhD student Ryan Boyko quarantined for 12 days now under state orders in Connecticut despite testing negative for Ebola, as he mentioned. He is probably the only person in Connecticut with a sure-fire blood test guarantee that he`s negative because he`s got that test. But nevertheless in quarantine. Mr. Boyko, thanks for joining us tonight. I know it`s not an easy decision to go public about these things, but I appreciate you by here. BOYKO: Thank you. MADDOW: Thank you. We should note, I should tell you, that we asked the Connecticut governor`s office for a statement about Mr. Boyko tonight. And they told us this. They told us, quote, "The protocols are not a punishment. We`re operating out of an abundance of caution to limit any potential public health risks." The question is whether or not it makes public health sense. All right. Lots more ahead from here in San Francisco tonight. Just how much local government can one of the richest corporations on earth buy for itself? A test case coming up in just a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: If I look like I`m full of delicious Mexican food, it`s because we`re doing the show live tonight from San Francisco. Just a short drive from here, you will find this very nondescript-looking office park. This building may not seem like a whole lot to look at from the outside, but this office park, one of the suites inside this office building, is at the center of a campaign mystery this year that is kind of amazing and that definitely is very, very brazen. And that story is coming up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Welcome back. Coming to you tonight from San Francisco. I love this story so much. All right. San Francisco is here. It`s at the top of a peninsula surrounded by water. If you head east, right across the bridge from San Francisco toward the city of Oakland, the thing that divides the two cities is why they people call the whole Oakland/San Francisco region the Bay Area. There`s the bay in between the East Bay and San Francisco. But there`s another less famous city across the bay from San Francisco, not too far from Oakland but further up. It`s called Richmond. And when you are in Richmond, here`s the view from Richmond back to San Francisco. You can even see the lovely Bay Bridge off in the distance between the hills. But here`s what happens if you turn the camera around the other way from that vantage point. That`s a giant Chevron oil refinery. Takes up nearly 3,000 acres in Richmond. Processes nearly a quarter million barrels of crude oil a day. That refinery has been in Richmond for over a century. If you were looking in this direction about two years ago, this is what you would have seen. The Chevron refinery on fire. In August 2012, a corroded pipe ignited. It caused an explosion that sent a huge cloud of black smoke across the city of Richmond. The fire stretched on for five hours and caused ultimately more than 15,000 Richmond area residents to seek medical treatment. That fire in 2012 caused the city council in Richmond to sue Chevron for damages to the city and to its residents. Since that explosion in 2012 and the suit, the city council of Richmond and Chevron have essentially been at war with each other. But conveniently for Chevron, there is an election one week from tomorrow where a whole bunch of seats on the Richmond City Council are up as is the seat for Richmond`s mayor. And Chevron has shown an extreme interest in those races to say the least. We started reporting on this earlier this month. Chevron is now dumping millions of dollars into those local races in little old Richmond to try to handpick a favorable slate for the city council and their favorite candidate for mayor. When you drive around Richmond as we did while we were here, you can see the evidence of Chevron`s big spending. These are the big billboards you see around town. Pretty much everywhere you look, affixed to every available surface. All supporting the Chevron-backed slate of candidates for the city council. And here`s the guy Chevron wants to be the next mayor. That`s a giant billboard for Nat Bates. As you can see right on the billboard in teeny tiny font, that billboard is not paid for by the Nat Bates campaign. It is paid for by -- oh, major funding by Chevron. And it`s not just billboards. Chevron, over the last few months, has also been overwhelming Richmond residents with all sorts of glossy mailers promoting their favorite candidates. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) EDITH PASTRANO, RICHMOND, CA RESIDENT: So this is a bunch of junk mail that we`ve been receiving on a daily basis about the election that`s coming up. TRMS PRODUCER: How many would you say you get at, like, on a daily basis? PASTRAMO: I want to say, like, at least five to six, maybe? This isn`t even all of it. Like there was a good chunk that we threw away because it was getting so ridiculous. TRMS PRODUCER: And does it say who those are paid for? PASTRAMO: Oh, yes, it does. They all do. It says here, paid for my Moving Forward, major funding by Chevron, an energy provider. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So, Chevron is spending tens of thousands of dollars filling mail boxes all over the city of Richmond, with leaflets for their candidates, and they`re putting up those billboards. They`re going after the candidates they see not aligned with their interest. That young woman you saw there going through the mailers that have come to her home. She`s part of a coalition called Richmond Working Families. It`s a relatively new group that formed within the last few weeks to try to counter this huge flood of money that Chevron is pumping into the local races in this ton. Again, the name of the group just formed locally to try to counteract Chevron`s influence, they decided to call themselves Richmond Working Families. Not hard to remember but remember that, Richmond Working Families. Right around the same time that organization was formed to combat Chevron`s influence in the race, Chevron formed another group to counter Richmond Working Families, and they`ve decided to call their group Richmond Working Families for Jobs 2014. Tada! That`s like if the Republicans decided to run a presidential candidate against Barack Obama, and they found a guy named Banack Obama to run against him. The Chevron-backed group even bought the URL before the anti-Chevron group was able to do so. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PASTRANO: It`s funny because they use a name really similar to Richmond Working Families and it makes me think they are trying to steal our thunder. TRMS PRODUCER: And what effect you think it has that they chose a name basically what you guys were using? PASTRANO: I`m pretty sure they`re trying to trick -- trick everyone. (END VIDEO CLP) MADDOW: The Chevron-funded PAC, which is giving loads of money to that group that`s trying to confuse people with their name and putting up billboards all across Richmond, that PAC I should say is not actually located in Richmond. This is it. You`re looking at it. They are located in a nondescript office park about 30 minutes outside of Richmond. Again, Chevron`s favorite candidate for mayor is this guy Nat Bates. It`s his smiling face that`s on all their billboards all across the city. The guy he`s running against is this gentleman who has been on the Richmond City Council for 19 years. He`s now trying to run for mayor against this whole huge wave of Chevron money. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TOM BUTT, RICHMOND, CA MAYORAL CANDIDATE: They like to be in complete control of their destiny, and it doesn`t sit well with them that they have to deal with regulators, whether it`s the city of Richmond or the state of California or the United States of America. They really want to be above all that. And so, investing a few million dollars in a local race is a pretty good investment for them. I mean, I`m not sure they can invest anymore. I`m not sure what they -- if they put $10 million into this race, I don`t know what they would -- there probably aren`t -- they probably couldn`t buy any more TV ads. I know they bought all the billboards in Richmond. So, they`ve probably maxed out on their spending here. TRMS PRODUCER: What do they think they`ll get from your opponent that they can`t get with you? BUTT: They`ll get undying loyalty. They`ll get whatever they ask for. They always have. TRMS PRODUCER: How much money have you raised for your campaign personally? BUTT: I`ve raised about $40,000. TRMS PRODUCER: So that`s a little bit less than what your opponent has being spent on his behalf. BUTT: Well, it`s a lot more than a little bit less. It`s a whole different world less. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That is an understatement. A candidate Chevron is trying to defeat for mayor has raised $40,000 for his campaign so far. His opponent, Nat Bates, has had more than $1.4 million Chevron dollars spent on his behalf. Here`s what he told us about that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NAT BATES, RICHMOND, CA MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Chevron being the largest corporation and taxpayer in the city of Richmond have engaged in protecting their interests, I suspect. And they have selected candidates, not just me, but others who they feel they can work with. TRMS PRODUCER: What do you think they see in you? What do you think they want from you in -- if you were to be elected? BATES: I think the primary thing that any company wants from their elected official and especially from the mayor is an opportunity to open the door and sit down and discuss with them their concerns. And I`m committed to that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Chevron`s favorite candidate for mayor, Nat Bates, has promised the first thing he will do when he is elected, what he will do on his first day in office is sit down with the CEO of Chevron to hear what Chevron wants for and from Richmond. But despite all that money being spent on his behalf by Chevron, Nat Bates says he`ll remain completely independent from that corporation that is funding so much of the support for his campaign. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BATES: Chevron do not vote. They provide finances to campaign but they do not vote. I am 83 years of old age. I am nobody`s boy. And I will never be anybody`s boy as long as I live. I know one thing, Chevron may be with you today and they can very well be against you tomorrow. So, my commitment continues to be with the people who put me in office. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: I should tell you, we reached out to Chevron while we were out here. We weren`t able to interview anybody when we were there, but tonight, they provided us a statement that reads in part, "Chevron supports city leaders who share our commitment to policies that foster an economic environment where businesses can thrive and create jobs." We also received a statement from the Chevron-funded PAC tonight which is bankrolling all those fancy billboards. It reads in part, "This is an important election for Richmond`s future. We believe voters deserve to have enough information about the candidates so they can make an informed decision about who is best able to lead Richmond." We`re going to post both of those statements in full on our blog tonight. We also hope to speak with a representative from the Chevron itself on the air, on this show, in the coming days. But joining us now is Robert Rogers. He is a reporter for the "Contra Costa Times". He`s an instructor at the UC-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and he is a resident of Richmond, California. Mr. Rogers, thanks for being here. ROBERT ROGERS, UC BERKELEY GRADUATE SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM: Thank you. Thank you for having me, Rachel. MADDOW: So, you`ve covered Richmond for a lot of time. You live there. Is this a normal Richmond election? ROGERS: Absolutely not. What we have this time in Richmond is an escalation of campaign spending that had already been on the way up in previous election cycles. But this time, we have an amount that`s unprecedented. And then we see a demonstration of what $3 million plus dollars can do in a relatively small socioeconomically disadvantaged city. It can stuff every mailbox with mailers, line every billboard -- line every boulevard with billboards, I should say -- and it can also create a variety of Web sites. It can be in your free streaming music when you`re in Richmond. It`s a very sophisticated campaign that ultimately advances Chevron`s interests. MADDOW: So, the candidate who is not the Chevron favorite candidate for mayor who has the amazing name of Tom Butt, the guy with the memorable name, you think people are going to remember his name when they get there. That`s some sort of advantage. When he says essentially they`ve bought every billboard in Richmond, like there`s -- even if I had more money to spend, I don`t know what I`d spend it on because they`ve essentially closed out anybody else from participating in political communication here. They`ve eaten up all the space available. Is there an element of truth to that, or is that hyperbole? ROGERS: There`s an element of truth to that certainly. Chevron has been able to dominate the conversation and particularly dominate with low information voters, folks who live in Richmond`s more socioeconomically disadvantaged communities that perhaps are not abreast of all of the political issues that are at work in Richmond. They are going to see Chevron`s billboards, Chevron`s fliers and Chevron`s favored candidates and they`re going to see them every day. MADDOW: Yes. ROGERS: That has value. MADDOW: There`s some speculation and I`m really looking forward to talking to Chevron about this. I hope we get to do that. But there`s some speculation that it may not be just that they want the best economic environment for all business in Richmond, that this may specifically be about this pending lawsuit against them. That they may want the city council to settle and a friendlier city council might do that. Is there any reportable truth to that? Is there any -- obviously, that`s the suspicion -- is there any way to get at that? ROGERS: There is the speculation. It is plausible. The truth is that Chevron has a lawsuit pending against it by the city of Richmond for the first time in its history. The city sued Chevron in the aftermath of the 2012 fire and they retained a formidable law firm, one that sued PG&E in the past over a gas line. (CROSSTALK) ROGERS: Yes. And so they picked up some real take dog attorneys and that is a very real possibility of potentially a settlement in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. So, if that lawsuit were to be stopped in its tracks, it could conceivably save the corporation a tremendous amount of money. MADDOW: Which makes a few million spent on these municipal elections in Richmond seem like a real bargain if that`s what you get for the price. Robert Rogers, reporter for "The Contra Costa Times", instructor at UC-Berkeley Grad School of Journalism, thanks for being here. I appreciate it. ROGERS: Good to be with you. Thank you. MADDOW: Nice to see you. All right. Still ahead -- a much-needed best new thing in the world. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Programming note. In just a few minutes I`m going to be racing out of our studio in San Francisco and going to the airport for a flight to Denver, Colorado. Tomorrow marks one week exactly until Election Day. And Colorado has one of the premier Senate races and a governor`s race that`s been absolutely off the hook. So, if you are going to be in Denver, Colorado, tomorrow night, there are details at about where we`re going to be. That`s tomorrow night live from Denver. Programming note over: best new thing in the world, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: OK. Best new thing in the world. I`m out of my hometown San Francisco tonight, which is gripped with World Series fever. But consider the ceremonial first pitch. Officially, it`s an honor to be asked to throw out the first pitch at a Major League game. Presidents, movie stars, musicians. It`s a real honor to be asked. And for those who get asked, it`s a chance to live out the fantasy of feeling like a real live ball player. But they`re not real live ball players and usually it shows. A Major League pitching mound is more than 60 feet from home plate. It`s a really long way to throw. The pitcher`s mound is also higher than it looks, almost a foot off the ground. So, when the Major League player throws down off that mountain it`s like flinging yourself down a hill toward the batter while you were simultaneously throwing as hard as you can. Regular people just don`t come across anything like that in normal life. So, ceremonial first pitches by normal people are almost always a disaster, right? There`s the crowd, the adrenaline, the distance, the height of the mound, the pressure (INAUDIBLE) embarrassing. It almost always adds up to embarrassing. Even if you are like a big strong rapper named 50 Cent, right? He threw the ball directly sideways earlier this year. A young singer named Carly Ray Jepson, she forgot to let go of though ball and had it land approximately three feet in front of her feet. Even President Obama who`s a pretty athletic guy, as presidents go, President Obama flung one way high and way wide at a Nationals game and he -- oh, God. "Washington Post" put together a chart showing the location of some of these famous first pitches. President Clinton and President Bush do OK actually as does Snoop Dogg and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. But look at this one. Nolan Ryan, one of the greatest pitchers of all time. What`s going on there? Look at this one, Michael Jordan -- Michael Jordan, really? If you have a choice against playing basketball or baseball against him, you know what to do, right? So that`s the disappointing world of mortals. Even famous and talented mortals when it comes to ceremonial first pitches. And then there`s what happened this weekend. So, it`s Saturday night. I`m at my parent`s house. Mom`s making dinner. Dad`s got his Giants gear on. Game is on. Game four ceremonial first pitch. We all think, God, this is going to be horrible. Sort of half listening, not really paying attention. Apparently, they`ve got some 13-year-old kid who is going to do the first pitch. Oh, this is going to be terrible. Should have listened closer to who it was. (VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) MADDOW: Pressure? What pressure? No big deal. Didn`t stand in front of the mound on the grass like everybody else. Took the actual mound. Fired away from full pro-distance. Took in the full capacity roaring World Series crowd. Threw an effortless hard strike right over the plate. Fist bump. Done. Nonchalant. Flawless. Should have paid attention to who it was and I would have known it was coming. Mo`ne Davis. The girl pitcher for the Philadelphia boys` team who became a nationwide sensation after her performance at the Little League World Series this year, striking out batter after batter after batter. I should have known she`d be the only mortal alive to nail a ceremonial first pitch like that at the World Series. Nerves of steel. She will not even be allowed to drive for three more years. Come on. Best new thing in the world today, by 60 1/2 feet, right for the plate. Best new thing in the world. That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you tomorrow from Colorado where we have a big show lined up. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL". Good evening, Lawrence. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END Content and programming copyright 2014 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.