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Preview: L.A. Times - Cal Politics Blog

L.A. Times - Cal Politics Blog

Blogging the governor and Capitol politics written by Robert Salladay.

Last Build Date: Thu, 31 May 2007 12:21:50 -0700


Goodbye to all that

Thu, 31 May 2007 12:21:50 -0700

This is my last posting on Political Muscle. After a decade of covering California governors, lawmakers, the gubernatorial recall, the Florida recount, dozens of propositions and endless campaigns, I've decided to take the buyout offer from the L.A. Times. It's time to travel in a different direction. It will be difficult to leave such a remarkable news operation with such talented reporters and editors. The Political Muscle blog has been fantastic real estate for the Sacramento bureau. It has allowed us to spotlight the floating opera of California politics in playful, occasionally serious and sometimes outrageous ways. And we poked...(image)

Admit one: 'Sicko' to Sacramento

Thu, 31 May 2007 00:01:00 -0700

Get out your designer Gucci hospital gowns and your diamond-studded radiation safety goggles: The red carpet's coming to the Capitol. "Sicko," Michael Moore's latest Mooramentry about America's health-care system, is debuting in Sacramento (as well as lesser metropoli: New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.) on June 12. The big man will be here--and just in time for the state budget conference committee to be finishing up. It'll be just like Cannes! Moore's choice of venue isn't hard to grasp, as the Capitol here and in D.C. are enmeshed in debate about cost and availability of health care. (NYC...(image)

Dear Leader

Wed, 30 May 2007 06:49:22 -0700

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger brought to Canada his vision of an independent, new world, desired by all people, that will appear as brilliant features of Schwarzenegger's century and remain forever under the rays of the great sun. The august name of Schwarzenegger represents glory and happiness of humankind and hope and future of the world and it would shine forever. (Photos: Duncan McIntosh, Office of Governor Schwarzenegger; Text: DPKR)(image)

Dept. of Borrowed Charisma

Wed, 30 May 2007 05:45:00 -0700

"Democratic Presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton will announce the endorsement of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Wednesday, a prize that could help the New York senator expand her reach among Latino and union voters, sources confirmed today. "The announcement, scheduled to take place at UCLA, follows months of political courtship on both coasts. Clinton has met with Villaraigosa several times in Los Angeles and Washington, wooing him more than any other top Democratic candidate." L.A. Times In a statement today, Clinton campaign advisors Mark Penn and Sergio Bendixen immediately shoved Villaraigosa into the "Latino" aisle. They said his endorsement "is...(image)

Acting out

Tue, 29 May 2007 08:22:01 -0700

California's Williamson Act, which was designed to protect farmland from development, is under threat in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's state budget plan, according to the S.F. Chronicle and The Ethicurean and The Sacramento Bee and Grist and a local Assemblywoman and the Tulare Chamber of Commerce. Environmentalists are closely watching the budget-cutting proposal from the pro-growth "green" governor, who simultaneously wants to curb global-warming emissions while spending billions on new or refurbishing freeways. He's so complicated! The Williamson Act, says the Ethicurean, "helps preserve farms and ranches by allowing those who enroll in the program to have their land taxed at...(image)

Puck it

Tue, 29 May 2007 07:33:23 -0700

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger does the ceremonial puck-drop before Game One of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals hockey game between the Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators in Anaheim on Monday. Schwarzenegger and the premier of Canada's Ontario province have a wager hanging on the outcome of the Stanley Cup Finals. Schwarzenegger, who is traveling in Canada this week, said he bet Premier Dalton McGuinty a custom-made jacket by designer Tony Nowak (who has done clothing for Schwarzenegger's bodybuilding and political careers) and a collection of California products, including various fruits and wines, that the Anaheim Ducks will best the Ottawa...(image)

'That's Senator Migden to you'

Tue, 29 May 2007 07:12:53 -0700

The Carole Migden Media Cycle came full circle this weekend, about 10 days after her car accident(s) in the Bay Area. The state Senator from San Francisco revealed she may have been disoriented from treatment for leukemia, a condition she had kept secret for a decade from her colleagues and the media. Now: the profiles. You know you have a kinetic, fiery personality when you drop the C Bomb into the conversation and it still doesn't stop people from assuming it was more than just the cancer drugs that caused the car to swerve around the freeway and rear-end another...(image)

Jimmy Camp's new job

Tue, 29 May 2007 06:28:03 -0700

Jimmy Camp sent an email out over the weekend: He's found himself a job. The punk rock Republican, a regular fixture in Orange County politics, has been appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as the new deputy director of communications for the Dept. of Fish and Game. Pay is $91,128 a year, which should supplement his music career nicely. Camp, 42, was the political director for Bill Simon for governor and the California Republican Party, and a consultant for newly elected O.C. supervisor Janet Nguyen. And he recently released a new CD recorded solely on an iPod. Camp's folk-rock album includes...(image)

Malibu Schwarzenegger

Fri, 25 May 2007 08:01:29 -0700

Let's stop for a moment look at one case of special interest lobbying involving Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The governor recently turned down a request by Australia's BHP Billiton Ltd. to build an $800 million liquefied natural facility off the coast of Oxnard and Malibu. Schwarzenegger rejected the project after the California Coastal Commission and State Lands Commission both turned down the proposal last month, and after fierce objections from environmentalists. Throughout the battle, BHP and other natural gas producers engaged almost every political player closely connected to the Schwarzenegger administration. In fact, no other lobbying campaign since the 2003 recall...(image)

Clinton fundraiser with partyboy Brett Ratner

Fri, 25 May 2007 06:45:57 -0700

Playboy politics: "In location scenes for his cameo on last Sunday's 'Entourage,' music blared by the pool at Brett Ratner’s Benedict Canyon home. Women were clad in lingerie. Women wandered in bikinis. In fact, at this party, women were everywhere. That should give a sense of how unlikely a place Ratner’s pad will be for a Hillary Clinton fund-raiser next Wednesday. Event is aimed at young Hollywood, and although organizers say the vibe will be quite a bit more staid with Clinton's visit, it reflects the new efforts presidential campaigns are making as they search for new dollars." Variety. Other...(image)

Plummeting to earth

Thu, 24 May 2007 10:14:15 -0700

Marian Bergeson--the first Republican woman elected to the Assembly and the Senate, and a former education secretary for Gov. Pete Wilson--is celebrating her 83rd birthday Friday by skydiving with Caltrans Director Will Kempton at the Lodi Airport. Bergeson and Kempton will jump from about 13,000 feet and reach speeds up to 120 mph "while plummeting to Earth," Caltrans says. Bergeson is a member of the California Transportation Commission.(image)

Six feet under

Thu, 24 May 2007 09:52:39 -0700

The campaign to replace Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald has attracted more than a dozen candidates, including the late congresswoman's daughter. Valerie McDonald's insistence on entering the race has split the African American community in Long Beach, where some black leaders believe Assemblywoman Laura Richardson may have a better chance of taking the Democratic seat against Sen. Jenny Oropeza, a Latina. Now, the African American vote is split. But McDonald is pressing on. In an e-mail to potential supporters this morning, she pleads for campaign donations and blames the late start on making funeral arrangements for her mother. At least I think...(image)


Thu, 24 May 2007 09:03:36 -0700

Damage to the front end of the state-issued 2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid sport utility vehicle driven by State Sen. Carole Migden, shown parked in the Capitol garage. Migden was driving eastbound on Interstate 80 in Fairfield on Friday when her vehicle bounced off the concrete median and nearly ran other motorists off the road, before slamming into the back of another vehicle. The rear-end collision injured a woman, who was traveling with her 3-year-old daughter. Migden says disorientation caused by her cancer treatment may have contributed to the accident. (Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP)(image)

The highest level of biblical nutrition

Thu, 24 May 2007 08:06:49 -0700

I'm sorry I missed the spring convention of the United Republicans of California at the Embassy Suites in Arcadia. The $45 registration fee and a complete ignorance that the United Republicans of California even existed kept me away, unfortunately. My bad. A featured convention speaker Saturday was Dr. Stanley Monteith, who is currently selling water filtration systems, home-schooling CDs, Miracle II soap and "Bible Bars" on his Radio Liberty website. "The Bible Bar is a complete, wholesome food jam packed with nutritional and spiritual goodness. It is based on the seven foods from the Book of Deuteronomy 8:8 'A land...(image)

Pressure point

Thu, 24 May 2007 07:40:56 -0700

A group of ExxonMobil shareholders--including the California State Teachers Retirement System and the New York City Employees Retirement System--said they planned to increase pressure on oil giant ExxonMobil to change its climate change policies. "ExxonMobil's go-slow approach on renewables, its resistance to a strong national climate policy, and its campaign to muddy the waters on climate science is troubling to investors," said California state controller and CalSTRS board member John Chiang. IndustryWeek.(image)

Blue Cross goes there

Thu, 24 May 2007 07:13:05 -0700

Blue Cross of California wades into the health-care debate today with a new advertising campaign pushing the Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on health-care reform--while casually dropping a little bomb by raising the specter of the energy crisis that sunk the previous administration. "Unintended consequences do happen," the new ad says. "Other states have tried healthcare reforms like 'guaranteed issue' that sounded good. They now have the highest premiums in the country while California has the lowest. Sound familiar? Remember how the rash deregulation of the energy market in California spawned power outages and soaring rates? Let's not go there...(image)

Mr. Hollywood

Thu, 24 May 2007 06:30:14 -0700

"So this is without any doubt the most important award that I have ever received." Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger--winner of five Mr. Universe titles, seven Mr. Olympia wins and the Golden Globe--upon accepting an award yesterday from California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance at a Sacramento hotel. He shared the award with Senate leader Don Perata and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez.(image)

Migden says leukemia treatment may have caused crashes

Wed, 23 May 2007 16:12:01 -0700

State Sen. Carole Migden was first described by the CHP as "disoriented" when she rear-ended another car on her way to an appointment in the Bay Area. Then her office issued a statement saying she was reaching for her cell phone when the accident occurred last Friday morning. Then a Bay Area TV station said multiple people called 911 before the accident saying a driver was acting "crazy." Migden may have, in fact, been involved in three nonserious accidents that day along her route. (One driver suffered minor injuries in a fender-bender near Fairfield.) Now, Migden has "revealed publicly for...(image)

Perata 'living large'

Wed, 23 May 2007 13:55:19 -0700

The East Bay Express pored over hundreds of pages of expense reports for Senate leader Don Perata, and discovered the Oakland Democrat's campaigns have spent more than $1 million on parties and "high-end lifestyle expenditures." The spending includes frequent visits to posh restaurants - at least $119,000 over ten years on meals - and stays at luxury hotels worth $68,503. His campaign hosted a December 2000 fundraising party in a luxury box at the Oakland Coliseum that cost $43,600 and featured a Dungeness crab feast, the newspaper said. He has used his campaign money to "shower gifts on his donor...(image)

California's savior

Wed, 23 May 2007 11:19:58 -0700

You may not know this, but Kenneth Matsumura saved California. I know this because I have just read a new nonfiction book written by Kenneth Matsumura M.D., inventor of an artificial liver. In his self-published book, "Arnold Remade: How the Fear of His Own Recall Transformed Him & Reshaped California," Matsumura chronicles his efforts to recall the Republican governor from office. His narcissistic journey, written in the third person, claims Schwarzenegger "acceded to virtually all of the demands of the recallers." There was a recall? I doubt Schwarzenegger could name Matsumura, who lives in Berkeley, or even remember that somebody...(image)

New Clinton staff for California

Wed, 23 May 2007 10:27:51 -0700

Attention deep-deep political insiders with no lives: U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton has a new senior staff to run her California presidential operation. Ace Smith, political advisor to Jerry Brown and Antonio Villaraigosa, is the campaign director. The new political director is Chris Lavery, who has worked for the DNC, Joe Lieberman and Al Gore; the communications director is Luis Vizcaino from the Human Rights Campaign and Kerry-Edwards. Clinton's field director, Michael Trujillo, worked for Villaraigosa from 2001 to 2006, as field director for his city council race and adviser for his mayoral race. Let's see: Former President Bill Clinton has...(image)

Primary snapshot

Wed, 23 May 2007 08:43:54 -0700

May polling by the American Research Group shows former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani remains the favorite among Republican primary voters in California, although his position has slipped and John McCain has jumped to within the margin of error. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has lost his luster, but Sen. Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney jumped. California Likely Republican Primary Voters Jan 2007 May 2007 Brownback - 1% Gilmore - 1% Giuliani 33% 27% Gingrich 19% 5% Hagel 5% 1% Huckabee - 1% Hunter 1% 1% McCain 18% 24% Pataki - - Paul ni - Romney 3% 11% Tancredo ni...(image)

Socially revolting

Wed, 23 May 2007 07:17:54 -0700

Billionaire Warren Buffett, who is often admiringly praised for his "homespun wisdom," informed a recent Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting that casino gambling was a "tax on ignorance" and "socially revolting." This marks the third time Buffett has gone separate ways from his friend Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. During the 2003 recall, Buffett suggested California's vaunted Proposition 13 property tax limit might need to be restructured, prompting Schwarzenegger to condescendingly rebuke Buffett, a campaign advisor, by demanding the elderly man perform 500 situps as penance. (He was joking!) Now, as Schwarzenegger is seeking to expand casino gambling for certain California Indian tribes,...(image)

Republican chairman skips fundraiser

Wed, 23 May 2007 06:41:22 -0700

The "gala" fundraiser for the California Republican Party last night in Beverly Hills was absent one important guest: the chairman of the California Republican Party. The event featuring Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was organized to help the GOP retire some of its $4.5 million in debt from the 2006 election. The Republican governor agreed to host two fundraisers for the financially struggling party, but the first one in Sacramento was canceled two weeks ago for lack of interest. The Beverly Hilton event, according to one Republican source, was pared down as well. The new state chairman, Ron Nehring, was in Germany...(image)

Schwarzenegger: Not interested in 'Terminator 4'

Tue, 22 May 2007 13:59:55 -0700

Today at a breakfast organized by the California Chamber of Commerce, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger went out of his way to say he wasn't really interested in the new Terminator movie. Lately, there has been a lot of speculation that he would have a small part in the next installment. "Terminator 4" is starting preproduction without him, after the rights to the science fiction epic were purchased by The Halcyon Company. No other film has been more closely associated with Schwarzenegger than the Terminator character - his movie career went into overdrive after the first film in 1984. "And people ask...(image)

Campaign finance battle ends with a whimper

Tue, 22 May 2007 09:34:29 -0700

The state Fair Political Practices Commission has given up trying to limit donations to candidate-controlled ballot committees, such as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's California Recovery Team. Chairman Ross Johnson says he's disappointed with recent court rulings, and now is looking to the Legislature for reforms. Good luck! The courts have said that Proposition 34, which restricts donations to candidates, allows politicians to operate separate committees that can raise unlimited amounts of money. The donations can only be used for legislative "advocacy" or ballot-measure business - descriptions that permit all sorts of campaign-like activity that promote the individual candidate. The California Recovery...(image)

Trash talk

Tue, 22 May 2007 09:14:43 -0700, the celebrity gossip site, is taking up politics - namely, legislation by Assemblywoman Julie Brownley that would impose criminal penalties for law enforcement officers who sell details or tips to the media. But TMZ editors are a bit upset that Brownley would imply they paid for information about Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic rant. They write: "Brownley seems to think TMZ may have actually bribed someone to get the critical pages of the arrest report detailing Gibson's anti-Semitic tirade. Well, Brownley is an idiot." The bill, by the way, was suggested by the L.A. County sheriff's department, after the name and...(image)

Migden crash investigated, station reports

Tue, 22 May 2007 08:06:54 -0700

Rita Williams with KTVU in the Bay Area reports that the California Highway Patrol has expanded its investigation into a car crash involving state Sen. Carole Migden. The San Francisco senator passed a Breathalyzer test and was not cited after the Friday accident, but "several motorists phoned the CHP warning them to stop an erratic and dangerous driver just before Migden crashed her car." At least a half-dozen people called 911 on Friday, including one man who said: "Please get out here, she's scary." And after the accident, Migden reportedly screamed at the driver of the car she hit, saying:...(image)

Who is Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Tue, 22 May 2007 07:41:46 -0700

Daily Kos, the progressive blog run by Markos Moulitsas, posted an item yesterday about how Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was looking like a Democrat. "So it's pretty funny seeing California's neanderthal Republican Party reduced to an irrelevant sideshow as Arnold and the state's Democrats work to enact a surprisingly progressive agenda," Kos wrote. This Arnold-is-a-Democrat analysis is about a year old, and it's the sort of lazy, primitive meme on which Schwarzenegger's political career has thrived. (I'm guilty as well of writing it, joking about it, perpetuating it, and occasionally believing it.) Saying that Schwarzenegger (pictured with Republican Utah Gov. Jon...(image)

Adventures in government

Tue, 22 May 2007 07:11:51 -0700

Angelina Jolie has been careless. While she was touring the world collecting children, the actress left $21,633 in paychecks uncashed. The money from the Walt Disney Co. and other entertainment groups sat around so long, it has been turned over to the state of California and now is listed in the state's unclaimed property database under Angelina Jolie, Angelina Jolie-Thornton, and Angelina Jolie-Voight. It would seem like the Walt Disney Co. and the government could easily find Jolie. Just open Us Weekly. But she has become the poster child in a dispute over California's $5 billion unclaimed property database. The...(image)

Schwarzenegger rips into Bush administration

Mon, 21 May 2007 12:21:13 -0700

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell, both Republicans, have authored a scathing opinion piece accusing the Bush administration of inaction and denial that "borders on malfeasance" for blocking tailpipe emission regulations in several states. In the Washington Post today, the duo write: "By continuing to stonewall California's request, the federal government is blocking the will of tens of millions of people in California, Connecticut and other states who want their government to take real action on global warming. "The EPA is finally holding the first of two hearings on the waiver request tomorrow, and we welcome the...(image)

Richardson picks L.A. for announcement

Mon, 21 May 2007 09:24:27 -0700

New Mexico Gov. Bill "Give Me a Break, I'm Only at 8%" Richardson formally announces his presidential campaign at 10 a.m. today in Los Angeles at the Millennium Biltmore. Expect a Latino-themed event. You can watch the announcement, along with Richardson's odd but compelling "Job Interview" ad, on his website here.(image)

What the governor is doing

Mon, 21 May 2007 08:58:07 -0700

Actor Burt Reynolds, left, accepts the action movie star lifetime achievement award from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger during the 7th Annual Taurus World Stunt Awards yesterday in Los Angeles. Schwarzenegger called Reynolds "the greatest of the great." Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger is in Salt Lake City today for a ceremony that will add Utah to the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative. So far, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia have agreed to join the registry, which would track carbon emissions and establish a trading scheme among the states. Schwarzenegger is signing the agreement with Jon Huntsman Jr., the California-born Republican...(image)

The right immigrants

Mon, 21 May 2007 08:26:01 -0700

The caricature of a California immigrant is often someone stooped over in a lettuce field or trudging across the Tijuana border checkpoint to work construction in SanDiegoOrange- LosAngelesurbia. But the new immigration reform package being debated this week by the U.S. Senate could help transform California's labor market by feeding more skilled workers into high-tech jobs. The changes also allow policy makers to sell the politically divisive overhaul by dividing immigrants into classes - the wanted and the rejected. Under the legislation, the number of permanent visas would increase from 140,000 to 380,000 - and favor certain people based on...(image)

Rudy's (alleged) dilemma

Mon, 21 May 2007 07:40:11 -0700

Rudy Giuliani's California problem: criticize the U.S. Senate's recent immigration overhaul and risk losing the endorsement of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Stay silent, and risk losing conservatives. So says Mark Levin at the National Review Online. (I don't see Schwarzenegger endorsing any Republican before Feb. 5.)(image)