Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

May 31, 2013
Pingpong party helps Gov. Jerry Brown's staff ring in weekend

pongping.JPGAre you enjoying your Friday? Gov. Jerry Brown's staff seems to be, judging by this photo of a little shindig in the enclosed outdoor space adjoining the governor's office.

According to Evan Westrup, a spokesman from the governor's office, the party was celebrating the birthday of an unnamed staff member.

Westrup also confirmed that there were two kinds of cake and multiple table tennis games.

The patio area visible in this photo used to house Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's notorious smoking tent. So it's no stranger to good times, although pingpong seems to be a more innocuous way to relax.

Thanks to the anonymous tipster who pointed Capitol Alert to the party. More on this breaking news as the story develops.

PHOTO CREDIT: The alleged pingpong party, seen from the vantage point of the sixth-floor cafeteria in the state Capitol. May 31, 2013, by Jeremy B. White/The Sacramento Bee.

April 30, 2013
Former California first lady Maria Shriver returning to NBC

shriver.jpgFormer first lady Maria Shriver is returning to NBC News as a special anchor, the network announced today.

Shriver, who left her career at NBC after her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was elected governor in 2003, will report on the "shifting roles, emerging power and evolving needs of women in modern life," the network said in a prepared statement.

Shriver described the career move in a blog post a "move forward into the next phase of my life."

"I'm going forward by doing what I love to do - telling stories that I feel are important to bring to life - and doing it in some new ways," she wrote.

Shriver, niece of President John F. Kennedy, filed for divorce from Schwarzenegger and moved out of the family's Brentwood home in 2011, after Schwarzenegger acknowledged keeping secret for more than a decade an extramarital affair resulting in a child.

Shriver worked on poverty and women's issues while first lady. She will be based in Los Angeles.

PHOTO CREDIT: Maria Shriver speaks at an event in Beverly Hills May 2012. AP Photo / Matt Sayles

March 1, 2013
Schwarzenegger resumes lucrative role as bodybuilding editor

Arnold_Schwarzenegger_1976.JPGArnold Schwarzenegger is a bodybuilding editor once again, resuming a lucrative position he resigned in 2005 when critics pointed out his conflict of interest as governor.

American Media, Inc. today named the former California governor its "group executive editor" for Muscle & Fitness and Flex magazines, coinciding with this weekend's 25th anniversary of the Arnold Classic bodybuilding competition in Columbus, Ohio. He will provide "strategic and creative input" and write monthly columns in the magazines, AMI said.

The publisher previously paid Schwarzenegger at least $1 million annually before he resigned from the post in 2005. Critics pointed out that the governor profited off magazine ads for dietary supplements at the same time he was considering legislation aimed at curbing youth use.

December 13, 2012
Former Calif. Gov. Schwarzenegger: 'I love paying my taxes!'

schwarzeneggerha_medal_valor8885.JPGDon't expect to hear much grumbling from former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger when his post-Proposition 30 tax bill arrives.

"I always tell my accountant, If you're in doubt about taxes, pay more," Schwarzenegger told Esquire magazine. "No Cayman Island offshore investments. No gimmicks. I love paying my taxes!"

In an interview covering everything from sex at 65 to proper tipping rates, the bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-politician-turned-actor also bashed efforts to start a California Blueberry Commission during his time as the state's chief executive.

"I remember when I went into politics, the legislature wanted to create a blueberry commission. Who's gonna say no to a blueberry commission? Well, I said no. I thought they should fix the budget before they do the f***ing blueberry commission."

November 14, 2012
Schwarzenegger reiterates criticism of GOP exclusivity

Five years ago, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger delivered a speech to a state Republican convention, warning party activists that unless they became more inclusive and broadened their appeal, they would become irrelevant.

"In movie terms," the movie star-turned-politician told his fellow Republicans, "we are dying at the box office."

On Wednesday, Schwarzenegger issued a gigantic "I told you so" in the form of a Wall Street Journal interview.

He said that Republicans should not shy away from immigration and other hot button issues, but rather embrace them in positive terms.

"We cannot tolerate these offensive comments about women's rights and ridiculous plans for mass deportations," Schwarzenegger said. "We have always been a party of big ideas to move the country forward, and that is what we must communicate now. Not these petty attacks."

"We need to focus on expanding the tent instead of shrinking it," Schwarzenegger continued in the question-and-answer interview. "We need to find ways to include instead of exclude. The party has tried to move to the right, and now we can see that the action and the votes are more in the center."

September 28, 2012
Condoleezza Rice: No recollection of incident described in Schwarzenegger's book

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has no recollection of an awkward conversation in which former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says political consultant Karl Rove once introduced Rice as a prospect for California governor, her office said this afternoon.

According to the Associated Press, Schwarzenegger says in his forthcoming book that Rove predicted the 2003 gubernatorial recall election would never happen and introduced Rice, who was then national security adviser, to him as his pick for governor in 2006.

Rice's office said this afternoon that Rice does not recall any conversation about her interest in the office.

September 28, 2012
VIDEO: Schwarzenegger calls affair 'stupidest thing I've done in the whole relationship'

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says the affair he had with a member of his household staff, which resulted in a child he kept secret for more than a decade, was "the stupidest thing I've done" in his relationship with Maria Shriver.

"I think it was the stupidest thing I've done in the whole relationship," Schwarzenegger says in an excerpt of a "60 Minutes" interview scheduled to air Sunday. "It was terrible. I inflicted tremendous pain on Maria and unbelievable pain on the kids."

Schwarzenegger, is promoting his new autobiography, "Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story," which comes out Monday.

August 8, 2012
California unions pushing end-of-session workers comp bill

California labor unions and a few employers are pushing for an end-of-session bill that would change the workers compensation system by increasing payments to permanently injured workers and limiting the fees that can be charged in processing claims.

"A group of representatives from labor and management are negotiating a deal to bring better efficiencies and benefit delivery to the workers comp system," said Angie Wei, a lobbyist with the California Labor Federation.

"We're going to find cost savings in the system by establishing fee schedules where they didn't have them before."

The bill is not yet in print, but Wei said she expects one to be introduced shortly. She said her group has been in talks with the chairs of the Senate Labor and Assembly Insurance committees. Unions and employers had been negotiating over the issue for months, Wei said, though just three and a half weeks remain in the legislative session.

California has overhauled its workers compensation system about once a decade for the last 30 years. The last time was in 2004 under then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"Injured workers have suffered under the deep cuts in benefits that were never expected and never intended under the Arnold Schwarzenegger reform," she said. "The time is long overdue to rectify the injustice for these injured workers."

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed several workers comp bills last year, writing messages that wanted to see comprehensive changes to the system, not a piecemeal approach. In vetoing Assembly Bill 947 he wrote:

"Workers compensation reforms ... need to be addressed on a broad and balanced scale -- ensuring workers receive adequate and timely benefits and treatment, while also ensuring that the costs of the system are sustainable."

August 2, 2012
Arnold Schwarzenegger and USC form policy think tank

Up next for former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the bodybuilder turned governor: Think tank.

Schwarzenegger and the University of Southern California this morning announced the formation of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy, which they said will focus on a wide range of policy areas, including education, energy and the environment, financial and economic policy, health and political reform.

Schwarzenegger will chair a board of advisers composed of a number of political heavyweights, including Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico, Henry Cisneros, the former San Antonio mayor and secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton administration and George Shultz, the former U.S. secretary of state.

Schwarzenegger will be the inaugural Governor Downey Professor of State and Global Policy at USC, named after former Gov. John Downey, a co-founder of USC.

"One of the great lessons I learned as governor of California was that the best solutions to common problems could only be found when each side was willing to engage thoughtfully and respectfully with each other," Schwarzenegger said in a prepared statement. "This institute is dedicated to promoting a new era of post-partisanship, where solutions are the result of intelligent and civil discussion between people with deeply held principles who understand the need to work through their disagreements to achieve real solutions. Knowing USC's reputation as one of the nation's leading policy schools, I could think of no better home for this institute."

Editor's note, 11:39 a.m.: This post has been updated to correct the name of the university in the second paragraph.

April 11, 2012
Arnold Schwarzenegger asks Facebook fans for help on memoir

Schwarzenegger Comeback.jpgGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is looking for stories.... about himself.

The bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-politician-turned-actor has turned to Facebook to solicit ideas for his upcoming memoir, "TOTAL RECALL: My Unbelievably True Life Story."

A post on his page asks his nearly 1.5 million Facebook fans to chime in ahead of an upcoming "brainstorming session to talk about themes, stories, and ideas I might have missed."

"A million minds are better than a few, so I'm asking you to let me know: what do you want to hear about? What themes in my life? Are their any stories you really want to hear?" the post reads. "Give me your ideas. You can all consider yourselves my co-writers."

With 1,213 comments and counting on the post, we're guessing the social media contributors won't get to see their names in print with an author credit.

The autobiography, which is co-authored by former Fortune magazine executive editor Peter Petre, is expected to hit the shelves this October.


Schwarzenegger penning autobiography to be released in 2012

PHOTO CREDIT: Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks after being honored by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce at the annual convention of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/ Mark J. Terrill).

March 28, 2012
Hearing portends battle over California workers compensation

A lengthy hearing in the California Assembly on Wednesday indicated that one of the Capitol's longest-running political wars is being reignited.

It's over the rules governing workers compensation, the multibillion-dollar system that provides medical care, rehabilitation and financial support to those with work-related injuries and illnesses, what those in the Capitol call "work comp."

March 2, 2012
Arnold Schwarzenegger statue unveiled in Ohio

ARNOLD_STATUE_BLV_07.jpgAn 8-foot bronze statue of former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was unveiled today in Columbus, Ohio, the site of the annual "Arnold Classic" bodybuilding event.

Here's a link to a video report in the Columbus Dispatch.

PHOTO CREDIT: Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger stands in front of a statue depicting Schwarzenegger in front of the Veterans Memorial in Columbus, Ohio on March 2, 2012. Sculptor Ralph Crawford stands to the far right. Columbus Dispatch/Brooke LaValley

February 27, 2012
Jerry Brown advised not to 'talk too much' about Medi-Cal

WASHINGTON - As he lobbied the Obama administration for four days for authorization to enact further cuts to Medi-Cal to help balance California's budget, Gov. Jerry Brown talked frequently about his frustration, the administration having recently turned down his request to charge co-payments for doctor visits, prescription drugs and other services.

After meetings this afternoon with Obama advisers at the White House and, later, with members of California's Congressional delegation at the U.S. Capitol, Brown aide Nancy McFadden suggested he stop.

"There are possibilities that are being examined that will enable California to more tightly manage its Medi-Cal program, and some of that involves co-payments," the Democratic governor was telling reporters.

"But if you talk too much about it, you might hurt your negotiations," McFadden said.

January 25, 2012
Thanks for the memories, Arnold? Schwarzenegger stuff available for a price

Arnold Schwarzenegger's days as governor are long gone -- but not forgotten by political junkies, apparently.

Nearly two dozen mementoes of Schwarzenegger's two terms in the Capitol were available today on eBay, including a "Women For Arnold For Governor" pin with an asking price of $1.99 but no bids.

The most expensive item was an autographed photo of Schwarzenegger at the White House, priced at $425 or best offer.

A talking toy Schwarzenegger doll was available for $75, a Halloween mask, $19.99; an Austrian stamp bearing his likeness, $3; and a "Governator" button from his 2004 election, $6.99.

Other memorabilia included a traditional playing card featuring Schwarzenegger as a Jack, $4.01, with free shipping; a "Go For It Arnold" T-shirt, $15; and a kitchen magnet of the former governor standing at a microphone, $4.50.

December 29, 2011
Arnold Schwarzenegger back with Maria Shriver? Don't bet on it

BB Maria Shriver 2009 STATE OF THE STATE 0277.JPGBy now word has gotten around -- thanks to celebrity website TMZ and its anonymous "friends" of Maria Shriver -- that she is reconsidering her decision to divorce former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Apparently, TMZ reported, Shriver is having second (maybe even third or fourth) thoughts, partly because -- gasp -- her Catholic beliefs "do not include divorce."

Not to be outdone by its rivals, Us Weekly went the extra mile, quoting its own anonymous sources saying the estranged couple were actually seen in church with the kids on Christmas Eve and "were serious but seemed like one family unit. ... They hugged the pastor at the end of the service and seemed warm and happy."

Well, now we're getting somewhere! Or are we?

Of course, nobody's commenting publicly on anything, but sources in a position to know say the whole story smells like a bunch of hooey -- and it's full steam ahead to divorce court for Shriver, who filed this year after revelations that Schwarzenegger had fathered a child with the couple's housekeeper.

Meanwhile, we're still checking the vast Bee archives to see if there's any record of Catholics getting divorced or of estranged couples spending time together with their children over the holidays.

PHOTO CREDIT: California first lady Maria Shriver listens to her husband, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, give his State of the State address on Jan.15, 2009. Sacramento Bee file photo, 2009 / Brian Baer

December 15, 2011
Arnold Schwarzenegger 'proud' of Jerry Brown on environment

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hours after Gov. Jerry Brown issued a spirited attack on politicians who doubt the significance of climate change, Brown's predecessor -- former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- praised Brown but urged a spirit of inclusiveness.

"To me, it made no difference if a Democrat had a great idea or a Republican had a great idea, or if someone from the outside had a great idea, or if someone from within the office had a great idea," Schwarzenegger said this afternoon at Brown's conference on climate change at the California Academy of Science in San Francisco.

"The more inclusive you are about this, and the less you villainize anybody, the better you're off," he added.

Earlier today, Brown said, "The main thing we have to deal with in climate change is the skepticism, the denial and the cult-like behavior of the political lemmings that would take us over the cliff."

Schwarzenegger, a Republican, said the campaign to combat climate change could be won by talking about health benefits and the jobs that the green energy sector could create, not ice caps and rising sea levels.

"The ordinary person that lives in the middle of the country somewhere doesn't relate to rising sea levels, they don't relate to melting ice caps," Schwarzenegger said. "They want to have a job."

Brown, a Democrat, was a pioneer for environmental causes when he was governor before from 1975 to 1983, and Schwarzenegger's environmental advocacy often frustrated members of his own party.

Schwarzenegger said he was "proud" of Brown, and Brown's press secretary, Gil Duran, said on Twitter while Schwarzenegger was speaking, "If every Republican was as smart as @Schwarzenegger on the subject of climate change, the world would be a much better place."

Schwarzenegger's appearance came while the actor was on a break from filming a movie.

"It's great to be here, and it's also weird, in a way," Schwarzenegger said.

Less than 24 hours before, he said, he was "slamming a guy's head against the rail of a bridge."

December 15, 2011
Jerry Brown criticizes 'political lemmings' of climate change

California Climate Change Jerry Brown.JPGSAN FRANCISCO -- Gov. Jerry Brown railed this morning against politicians who doubt climate change, calling "political lemmings" the chief obstacle in combating global warming.

"The main thing we have to deal with in climate change is the skepticism, the denial and the cult-like behavior of the political lemmings that would take us over the cliff," Brown said at a high-profile conference on climate change at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

The Democratic governor said climate change has lengthened the state's fire season and quickened its snowmelt, affecting agriculture and taxing public infrastructure.

He acknowledged that Californians have been "squeezed" by the flagging economy, but he said investment is necessary to stem the effect of climate change. He is expected next year to propose a peripheral canal or another way to move water through or around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

"It will cost money," he said. "But if we don't do that and the levees collapse in one of these extreme events, we could run out of fresh water."

Brown championed environmental causes when he was governor before, from 1975 to 1983, and he has sought in his return to Sacramento to continue with the work of his Republican predecessor, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Brown signed legislation in April requiring California utilities to obtain one-third of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020, and he has said he will promote the creation of 20,000 new megawatts of renewable energy by that year.

Schwarzenegger, who signed Assembly 32, California's landmark greenhouse gas-reduction law, is scheduled to speak at Brown's conference this afternoon.

Brown's criticism was well-applauded at the invitation-only event.

"Ninety-seven percent of the scientists who research climate change are people who, from their own understanding of the science, are completely convinced that greenhouse gases are associated with climate change and global warming," he said. "But when you go into the political class, then it's a very different thing."

In a panel discussion with Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, Brown was asked if people should be dissuaded from living in areas prone to environmental damage.

Brown said his house in the Oakland hills is near a fault line, in an area susceptible to mudslides and fires.

"But I figured at my age," he added, "I could take the risk."

PHOTO CREDIT: California Gov. Jerry Brown gives opening remarks at the Governor's Conference on Extreme Climate Risks and California's Future at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. The event includes Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

December 14, 2011
Arnold Schwarzenegger to speak at Jerry Brown's climate event

BB LAW SUIT 033.JPGUpdating a previous announcement to include a "new participant," Gov. Jerry Brown's office confirmed this morning that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will be among the speakers at a climate change conference hosted by Brown in San Francisco on Thursday.

The conference, "The Governor's Conference on Extreme Climate Risks and California's Future," also includes Nobel Prize winner Rajendra Pachauri and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson.

Both Brown, a Democrat, and Schwarzenegger, a Republican, are expected to speak.

PHOTO CREDIT: Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and then-Attorney General Jerry Brown walk together to a news conference to announce the filing of California's lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Nov. 8, 2007. The Sacramento Bee/Brian Baer

November 4, 2011
Schwarzenegger's face draws reaction from Gabrielle Giffords

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger can't stay out of the news.

He turned up today with the release of a book about Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' near-fatal gunshot wounds and her recovery.

Here's how the Associated Press starts the story of the book, written by Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly.

PHOENIX -- When President George H.W. Bush came to visit her in the hospital, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords could say only "Wow!" and another word she had been uttering frequently at the time, "chicken."

Months later, when she was shown photos of famous people to see if she recognized faces, Giffords looked at Arnold Schwarzenegger and replied, more or less accurately: "Messin' around. Babies."

Read the full story here.

September 29, 2011
Bike riding with Arnold Schwarzenegger (or is it Bill Clinton?)

California's ongoing state of economic turmoil is getting more ink, with a 10,000-plus word piece set for publication in the November issue of Vanity Fair.

"California and Bust," by Michael Lewis, includes scenes from a morning bike ride with former GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who Lewis says "wears no bike helmet, runs red lights, and rips past do not enter signs without seeming to notice them and up one-way streets the wrong way."

He's got to be one of the world's most recognizable people, but he doesn't appear to worry that anyone will recognize him, and no one does. It may be that people who get out of bed at dawn to jog and Rollerblade and racewalk are too interested in what they are doing to break their trance. Or it may be that he's taking them by surprise. He has no entourage, not even a bodyguard. His former economic adviser, David Crane, and his media adviser, Adam Mendelsohn, who came along for the ride just because it sounded fun, are now somewhere far behind him. Anyone paying attention would think, That guy might look like Arnold, but it can't possibly be Arnold, because Arnold would never be out alone on a bike at seven in the morning, trying to commit suicide. It isn't until he is forced to stop at a red light that he makes meaningful contact with the public. A woman pushing a baby stroller and talking on a cell phone crosses the street right in front of him and does a double take. "Oh . . . my . . . God," she gasps into her phone. "It's Bill Clinton!" She's not 10 feet away, but she keeps talking to the phone, as if the man were unreal. "I'm here with Bill Clinton."

"It's one of those guys who has had a sex scandal," says Arnold, smiling.

"Wait . . . wait," says the woman to her phone. "Maybe it's not Bill Clinton."

Before she can make a positive identification, the light is green, and we're off.

The full piece, which explores the impact of municipal debt and the economic crisis on the state and local level, is posted at this link.

September 22, 2011
Schwarzenegger penning autobiography to be released in 2012

Schwarzenegger Comeback.jpgFormer Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has a new autobiography in the works.

The book, tentatively titled "TOTAL RECALL: My Unbelievably True Life Story," is set to hit the shelves in October 2012.

Publisher Simon & Schuster characterizes what it calls "one of the most anticipated autobiographies of this generation" as a "larger-than-life portrait of his illustrious, controversial and ever-entertaining life in and out of the public eye."

"Chronicling his embodiment of the American Dream, the former California governor discusses the high-stakes journey to the United States, creating the international bodybuilding industry out of the sands of Venice Beach, breathing life into cinema's most iconic characters, and becoming one of the leading political figures of our time combating global warming and partisan bureaucracy," a release announcing the book reads.

Fortune magazine's former executive editor, Peter Petre, who has helped pen several notable autobiographies, has signed on as co-author of the book. It will be published in at least five countries and three languages.

Will you read the book? Let us know in a poll posted on Capitol Alert's Facebook page.

PHOTO CREDIT: Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks after being honored by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce at the annual convention of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/ Mark J. Terrill)

September 20, 2011
Schwarzenegger urges regional action on climate change

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, speaking about climate change at a United Nations forum in New York this morning, said he will "keep pushing regional governments around the world to come off the sidelines" to enact green energy programs such as California did during his tenure.

"We don't have to wait anymore for the national capitols to make it happen," Schwarzenegger said. "Some of the most powerful movements in human history did not start at the top. ... The battle for clean energy is no different."

The Republican was a major advocate of clean energy programs while in office, signing a landmark greenhouse gas reduction law in 2006.

"California didn't wait for Washington because we know that Washington was asleep at the wheel," he said. "You don't have to wait."

August 8, 2011
Schwarzenegger causes stir with 'I survived Maria' shirt

0808-arnold-ex-shirt-wm-2-credit.jpgIs former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger using his workout wear to make a public statement about his split from wife Maria Shriver?

Schwarzenegger was spotted sporting a shirt that reads "I survived Maria" while bike riding in Santa Monica over the weekend.

Gossip website, which posted the photos of Schwarzenegger donning what it questioned could be "the ultimate dis," reports that the T-shirt was "actually designed by Maria's staff, as a joke" as the couple prepared to leave office late last year.

Schwarzenegger and Shriver announced in May that they were separating after 25 years of marriage. Shortly after, Schwarzenegger acknowledged fathering a child with the family's longtime housekeeper more than a decade ago.

Read the full TMZ post at this link.


August 4, 2011
Nunez, Schwarzenegger commutation case to stay in Sacramento

Schwarzenegger Commutation Fabian Nunez.JPGA Sacramento judge today combined and retained the two lawsuits that challenged former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's commutation of the 16-year prison sentence of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez's son.

Superior Court Judge Laurie M. Earl found that the case is "much further along" in Sacramento than in San Diego and ruled that the case stay here.

Núñez's son, Esteban Núñez, was convicted in the fatal stabbing of Luis Santos at a party in San Diego. Schwarzenegger, in one of his last acts as California governor, commuted Esteban Nunez's sentence to seven years.

Lawsuits challenging the action were filed in San Diego by District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and in Sacramento by Luis Santos' parents. Attorneys for the state sought to have the case consolidated and heard in Sacramento.

Fred Santos, the father of the slain victim and a Northern California resident whose attorneys filed suit in Sacramento, said it does not matter to him where the case is heard.

August 4, 2011
Schwarzenegger to deliver keynote address to business group

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at a business group convention in Los Angeles tonight.

Schwarzenegger will address American Chamber of Commerce Executives conference attendees gathered at L.A. Live at 6 p.m. The former Republican governor will also be honored with an award from the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce "recognizing his support of the California business community through economic development and government reform," according to a release.

The appearance, part of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives' annual convention and trade show, marks one of his first public appearances since his public split from wife Maria Shriver.

August 1, 2011
Schwarzenegger exhibit opens in ex-governor's hometown

Arnold Schwarzenegger.JPGFormer Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's childhood home in Austria has been converted into a museum "focusing on his life in bodybuilding, acting and politics," according to local media reports.

The exhibit, titled "Arnie's World," opened over the weekend in the Thal, Austria home where Schwarzenegger was born. Saturday's "soft" opening was timed to mark the 64th birthday of the Hollywood star and Republican politician.

The Austrian Times reports:

"Managers plan to charge five Euros for a visit to the exhibition which will feature Schwarzenegger's first set of dumbbells and a replica of his gubernatorial desk. The 200-square-metre museum will also include the "Terminator" star's favourite pair of cowboy boots and many old photographs documenting the different stages of the famous Austrian's life."

Organizers told the Times they hope to invite Schwarzenegger to attend an "official ceremony" marking the exhibit's launch at a later date. Read the full Austrian Times story at this link.

Hat tip: CNN.

Photo Credit: Bee file photo.

July 22, 2011
KABC: Schwarzenegger's son seriously injured in surfing mishap

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's 13-year-old son, Christopher, was seriously injured in a surfing accident and has been in intensive care since last weekend, Southern California media reported Friday.

This posting from television station KABC has the sketchy details.

July 11, 2011
Judge won't block suit on Núñez sentence commutation

A Sacramento judge refused today to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the family of a slain San Diego college student that challenged former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's commutation of the prison term handed down to the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez.

Superior Court Judge Shellyanne W.L. Chang's decision means that the lawsuit filed by the parents of Luis Santos to enjoin the commutation and prevent the earlier release of the speaker's son, Esteban Núñez, will be allowed to go forward on its merits.

Deputy Attorney General Ward Campbell said today his office has not yet made a decision whether to appeal Chang's ruling.

Esteban Nunez was convicted of manslaughter in the October 2008 stabbing death of Santos. Schwarzenegger, on his last day in office in January, reduced Núñez's term handed down by a San Diego judge from 16 years to seven years.

June 7, 2011
Former Schwarzenegger aide opens consulting firm

Another former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger aide is setting up a Sacramento-based strategic communications and consulting shop.

Jon Berrier, who worked on Schwarzenegger's 2006 re-election campaign, is announcing this week the launch of The Berrier Group, a strategic communications firm. Berrier, who worked at Mercury Public Affairs until last summer and counts former President George W. Bush's 2004 campaign, the White House office of former Vice President Dick Cheney and the Republican National Committee as past employers, said in a statement that his firm "will provide high-level strategic counsel and integrated project management services to clients who need to move public opinion, influence public policy or motivate specific decision-makers to achieve their objectives."

Berrier isn't the first Schwarzenegger administration alumnus to open up shop this spring. Former spokesman Aaron McLear and political director Josh Ginsberg, announced the creation of the Ginsberg McLear Group in May. As we've noted, several other high-profile Schwarzenegger staffers have signed on with possible 2012 presidential candidates.

May 23, 2011
Susan Kennedy hired by law firm to give policy advice

Susan Kennedy, former chief of staff to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and cabinet secretary to Gov. Gray Davis, has been hired by an Atlanta-based law firm to provide advice on public policy matters in California, the firm said.

As senior policy adviser for California, Kennedy is to help Alston & Bird LLP and its clients "successfully conduct business in California," the firm said in a release today. Kennedy is dividing her time between the firm's Los Angeles and Northern California offices, the firm said.

Kennedy said in a prepared statement that the law firm "understands the importance of the intersections between public policy and business, and I will draw on my experience to help the firm and its clients in this and other areas."

Also in the prepared statement, Richard R. Hays, managing partner of Alston & Bird, said Kennedy's "extraordinary ability in crafting successful, strategic approaches to complex business issues that involve governments at the state and federal level is unmatched."

May 20, 2011
Irony in Schwarzenegger signing of who-fathered-the-child law?

SCHWARZENEGGER_SHRIVER_SPLIT_6.JPGFormer Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who kept secret for more than a decade his fathering of a child with a married member of his household staff, signed legislation years ago that could apply in similar but not identical cases.

The measure created a process for challenging paternity when a man accepts or is designated by a court as a child's parent and then learns much later that he is not the biological father.

Schwarzenegger's case apparently could not be affected because his out-of-wedlock child was born in 1997, seven years before Assembly Bill 252 was enacted and far outside its time limit for challenges.

Nonetheless, there is irony in the signing of a groundbreaking law to clear up paternity confusion by a Republican governor who did not publicly acknowledge his own out-of-wedlock child for many years.

May 19, 2011
Schwarzenegger puts hold on return to film

People Arnold Schwarzenegge.jpgEmbattled former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is delaying his return to the movies, stopping any negotiations or planning on projects to focus on "personal matters," according to a statement.

Patrick Knapp, entertainment counsel to Schwarzenegger, issued a statement today:

"At the request of Arnold Schwarzenegger we asked Creative Artists Agency to inform all his motion picture projects currently underway or being negotiated to stop planning until further notice. Governor Schwarzenegger is focusing on personal matters and is not willing to commit to any production schedules or timelines. This includes Cry Macho, The Terminator franchise and other projects under consideration. We will resume discussions when Governor Schwarzenegger decides."

Schwarzenegger this week acknowledged fathering a child with a member of his household staff more than a decade ago. He and wife Maria Shriver have separated.

May 18, 2011
Arnold Schwarzenegger reading guide, revised edition

The Web is still buzzing with the revelation that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child with an ex-employee more than a decade ago. As the Google Trends chart below shows, searches for Schwarzenegger have spiked:

Google Trends- Arnold Schwarzenegger_1305748447973.jpeg

Here's a roundup of some of the clips and commentary from around the Web (and world):

The news has been picked up by media in Schwarzenegger's homeland, with "I'm sorry" gracing the cover of one Austrian rag.

As the New York Times reports, focus back in the states has quickly shifted to Mildred Patricia Baena, the former family housekeeper who is the mother of the child.

Gossip site TMZ has been busy posting photos of Baena from over the years and other details.

Members of the media are setting up camp in the Bakersfield cul de sac where the women and her son are believed to live, according to the Bakersfield Californian.

Maria Shriver, meanwhile, appeared at the taping of longtime friend Oprah Winfrey's farewell show, cryptically thanking her longtime friend for the gift of the "truth."

Funnyman Stephen Colbert had a hard time staying away from the topic in his nightly satirical news show.

A former Los Angeles Times reporter recalls the paper's 2003 investigation into allegations of Schwarzenegger's bad behavior.

The jury's still out on whether the revelation will hurt Schwarzenegger's future endeavors. While some say politics is likely out, others believe he will emerge relatively unscathed.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd's verdict: Schwarzenegger is "guilty of the raw assertion of male power."

A U.S. News & World Reports columnist wonders why men like Schwarzenegger don't consider birth control when conducting their affairs.

May 18, 2011
Rex Babin: Schwarzenegger's (not-so) secret child?


Rex Babin is a political cartoonist for The Bee. You can see a collection of his work at here. Colleagues David Siders and Sam Stanton have a full story on the fallout at

May 17, 2011
Arnold Schwarzenegger reading guide

The story of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fathering a child with his household employee is making its way across the globe. The European press has not quite caught up, but check out the stateside offerings so far:

Here's the original Los Angeles Times story, updated with Maria Shriver's comments.

The Times also captured a snippet of opinion from the former governor's neighborhood.

The Christian Science Monitor provided another point of view.

Of course, gossip websites TMZ and Gawker have their own unique takes.

May 11, 2011
San Diego DA suit targets Núñez prison commutation

The San Diego District Attorney's Office is filing a lawsuit to undo the prison sentence commutation former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger granted to the son of a political ally shortly before leaving office.

The Associated Press reports:

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis told reporters Wednesday that the lawsuit is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.

A day before his gubernatorial term ended, Schwarzenegger reduced from 16 years to seven the sentence given to Esteban Núñez, son of former California Assembly speaker Fabian Núñez.

The younger Núñezhad pleaded guilty in the 2008 stabbing death of a San Diego college student, 22-year-old Luis Santos.

In the lawsuit, Dumanis alleges Schwarzenegger violated the rights of victims and their families because he did not notify them or the district attorney's office and allow them to have input before commuting the sentence as required under California's Marsy's Law.

Dumanis made clear that her office is not challenging the power of governors to grant pardons or commutations that is meant to insure against miscarriages of justice.

"Instead, this last-minute commutation made without all the facts or input from the parties only fueled the public's mistrust of government and greatly diminished justice," she said.

The lawsuit seeks to reinstate the 16-year sentence. It names current Gov. Jerry Brown, the director of the state Department of Corrections, a state prison warden and Esteban Nunez and asks the court to issue an order preventing them from allowing Esteban Nunez from being released under the reduced sentence.

April 19, 2011
Schwarzenegger on Núñez commutation, Whitman and his body

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sat down with Newsweek recently for one of the most extensive interviews since his January exit from office.

Schwarzenegger addresses everything from criticisms of one of his final acts as the state's chief executive to his own body image in his post-bodybuilding days, saying the effect of aging on his 63-year-old physique makes him "feel sh--y when I look at myself in the mirror."

Below are some excerpts from the more than 2,500-word piece. Read the full article at this link.

On controversy surrounding his 11th hour decision to reduce the prison sentence for the son of former Speaker Fabian Núñez who had pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in a case involving the 2008 slaying of 22-year-old Luis Dos Santos.

"I understand people's disappointments. I understand the parents' anger. I would probably feel the same way," Schwarzenegger tells me in his first public comment on the commutation, which he granted hours before leaving office, arguing that his friend's son didn't inflict the fatal wound. "My office definitely made a mistake in not notifying the parents beforehand ... and I'm ultimately responsible." But, Schwarzenegger adds, "I feel good about the decision ... I happen to know the kid really well. I don't apologize about it ... There's criticism out there. I think it's just because of our working relationship and all that. It maybe was kind of saying, 'That's why he did it.' Well, hello! I mean, of course you help a friend."

On Republican Meg Whitman's failed gubernatorial campaign:

"She kind of took herself out of the game," Schwarzenegger says. "What she did was play to the right, and she couldn't come back for the general election to grab the center ... Brown was very smart to do exactly the opposite of what she did--which was to say, 'I'm not a rich guy, all I have is my knowledge and experience, and I don't need to cater to anyone, I will do what is right for California.' She was not as effective as a communicator, and her ideas were too extreme."

On what's next for the bodybuilder/actor/businessman/politician:

At one point during the meeting, the [British] prime minister jokes, "We need to change the constitution and then you can run [for president]. That's what we're going to do."

If it were constitutionally permissible, Schwarzenegger probably would be running for president--an option not available to an Austrian policeman's son who grew up without indoor plumbing in the village of Thal-Linak outside of Graz. Instead, he's reading film scripts and looking for a ghostwriter to help him with his memoirs. A multimillion-dollar publishing deal will soon be announced. His speaking fees are on a par with "a former president--and sometimes more," he brags. He's already fabulously wealthy, having prospered from canny investments such as a Columbus, Ohio, shopping mall he bought in partnership with Limited Brands mogul Les Wexner--though he declines to confirm published reports of net worth around $400 million. "Let's put it this way: I'm very happy," he says.

April 4, 2011
It's true: Arnold Schwarzenegger goes animated

APTOPIX France Cannes MIPTV.jpg

If it's an April Fool's joke, as some have suggested, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is going to great lengths to pull off the gag.

As we reported last week, the former guv announced today in Cannes that his new adventure will be as the voice of an animated crime fighter in "The Governator."

Schwarzenegger made the announcement as he was inducted into France's Legion of Honor and had his hand prints cast in the star walk at Cannes.

"When you are a governor, you deal with keeping the beaches clean, making sure there's enough funding for the after-school programs and the lunch programs for the kids, and all of those kinds of things," he said at the presentation, according to the Associated Press. "As an action hero, you just have to save the world -- that's it."

The AP reported that the new television show character will include special powers that could have served him well as governor:

Producers of the show, which is to debut next year at locations still being determined, have cobbled together a comic-strip action extravaganza with laser-beam eyes, remote-controlled motorcycles and magic chewing-gum bubbles that change faces for incognito sleuthing. It also has what Schwarzenegger called "speaker spray," which temporarily allows its recipient to converse in foreign languages -- among much more gee-whiz gadgetry and imagination.

In short: "It's a superheroic guy" with powers that a real-world governor could only dream of.

"It's kind of like, when you see that you could have fought certain crimes but the system didn't allow you, or there were too many people that had to be asked for permission, by that time, the criminals were gone or the disaster that could have been prevented from happening," Schwarzenegger said. "With this, it's a fantasy world where the governor has extra powers."

Read the full AP story here.

Click here to watch the trailer of "The Governator" on Youtube. Click here for the Facebook page.

UPDATED 3:06 p.m. to add link to trailer of "The Governator."

PHOTO: Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger poses with the animated character he will portray in a new international television series "The Governator." (Associated Press/ Lionel Cironneau)

March 30, 2011
Schwarzenegger's next big acting role?

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's.... Arnold Schwarzenegger?

The 63-year-old bodybuilder/movie star/former California governor has unveiled that he will return to acting in a new role that appears to draw from his experiences in both action flicks and politics.

Schwarzenegger will star as a cartoon superhero -- dubbed "The Governator" -- in a new comic series under development by comic book mogul Stan Lee.

Entertainment Weekly reports in advance of upcoming cover story breaking the news:

"When I ran for governor back in 2003 and I started hearing people talking about 'the Governator,' I thought the word was so cool," Schwarzenegger, 63, tells EW in his first press interview since leaving office last January. "The word Governator combined two worlds: the world of politics and the movie world. And [this cartoon] brings everything together. It combines the governor, the Terminator, the bodybuilding world, the True Lies..." ...

Along with the Arnold Cave, the Governator will have a fleet of super vehicles at his disposal, a closet full of "Super Suits" that allow him to fly and perform other super stunts, and a team of colorful sidekicks, such as Zeke Muckerberg, the precocious 13-year-old computer whiz who acts as the Governator's cybersecurity expert. Naturally, there will also be recurring supervillains -- including an evil organization called Gangsters Imposters Racketeers Liars & Irredeemable Ex-cons (or G.I.R.L.I.E. Men, for short). For Schwarzenegger, the cartoon is obviously the next best thing to being President. "I love the idea of a control center below my house with a path so that boats and submarines can go right into the ocean," he tells EW. "In the cartoon, my house is much closer to the beach than where we live, but, you know, it's a cartoon."

Read the full scoop at this link.

March 11, 2011
Investor group asks court to force state building sale

MAJ EAST END PROJECT.JPGGov. Jerry Brown pulled the plug last month on selling 11 state office properties to raise $1.2 billion in cash, but the investor group in line to buy the buildings has fired back this week with a lawsuit asking for the deal to proceed.

California First LP announced today that it filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court asserting that the state failed to meet its contractual obligations when Brown halted the building sale. The group said that California, under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, had committed to sell the buildings and was required to follow through. It is asking for the sale to proceed and for the state to pay damages.

"Like any other person or entity, the State of California has to live up to the contracts it enters," said Stuart Liner, an attorney with Liner, Grode, Stein, which is representing California First, in a statement. "The State negotiated and signed a contract with California First and has no right to back out of the deal. California First met its obligations every step of the way and we intend to compel the State to live up to their end of the contract."

Eric Lamoureux, spokesman for the state Department of General Services, responded, "This suit is frivolous and wholly without merit. We are confident we will prevail when the facts surrounding California First's actions under the Purchase and Sale Agreement are brought out in court."

March 8, 2011
Former HHS Secretary Kim Belshé joining PPIC

BB MEDICATION ACTION 1.JPGFormer Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Kim Belshé has taken a new job as senior policy adviser with the Public Policy Institute of California, the nonpartisan think tank and polling outfit announced today.

The former Schwarzenegger administration official had previously served as deputy secretary of the Health and Welfare Agency and director of the Department of Health Services under Republican Gov. Pete Wilson. Belshé is also a member of the new Health Benefit Exchange Board, which will create an insurance market to be used under the federal health care overhaul. She was appointed to that post by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The organization also announced that PPIC board member and retired Edison International Chairman and CEO John Bryson has been elected chair of its board of directors and that Northern Illinois University Center for Governmental Studies Director Robert Gleeson has been hired to as vice president of research.

"We are excited that these three dynamic and experienced leaders are taking on key roles at PPIC," says PPIC President and CEO Mark Baldassare said in a statement. "Their talents will be invaluable in our efforts to improve public policy and shape a better future for California."

PHOTO CREDIT: Then-Health and Human Services Secretary Kim Belshé speaks at a Capitol press conference on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2006. Brian Baer / Sacramento Bee file photo.

March 8, 2011
Former Schwarzenegger aide switches to restaurant world

One alumnus of the Schwarzenegger administration has moved on to somewhat sweeter pastures.

Trey Luzzi, a former director at the Department of Corrections and deputy cabinet secretary, is entering the restaurant world with the opening of Trey B Cakes Gourmet Bakery and Eatery.

The Bee's Blair Anthony Robertson has the scoop on the new joint, which is just blocks from Luzzi's old Capitol offices:

In addition to sweets, there will be a range of savory items, including something owner Trey Luzzi is calling the "Stud Muffin" -- meatloaf wrapped in phyllo and topped with mashed potatoes and parmesan.

"It's a whole meal on the go," he told me. ...

All of the baked goods will be made from scratch on site, including a special red cake (not red velvet, Luzzi says) that is based on a recipe passed down by his grandmother. It's topped with rich butter cream and sugar frosting.

"I think people will just love that cake," he said.

Other lunch items include salads and several kinds of sandwiches, including steak, chicken and meatball.

Read more on the restaurant, which is located on L Street between 18th and 19th streets, on The Sacramento Bee's Appetizers blog.

February 25, 2011
Imperial County clerk files motion to join Prop. 8 case

The elected clerk of Imperial County, Chuck Storey, filed a motion today to intervene in ongoing proceedings over Proposition 8, the 2008 voter-approved ballot measure that prohibited same-sex marriage.

The filing follows the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' rejection of a similar request for standing in the case made by the county's board of supervisors and unelected deputy clerk. The three-judge panel had found last month that "the board plays no role with regard to marriage, which is 'a matter of statewide concern' rather than a 'municipal affair.' "

The 9th Circuit panel had also criticized attorney Robert Tyler, who represented the deputy clerk and the board of supervisors, for listing a deputy clerk, and not the elected clerk, as an official seeking standing in the case.

The standing issue has taken a central role in the case because former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Attorney General Jerry Brown refused to defend Proposition 8. Now governor, Brown has not changed his stance.

The ballot's proponents,, are arguing that they should have standing to defend the law since state officials have refused to do so.

February 17, 2011
Where's Arnold?

The Associated Press reports that California's former governor was in Idaho on Wednesday, asking for revisions to a 9-foot-tall statue of himself.

Here's the report:

A 9-foot-tall statue depicting Arnold Schwarzenegger at the height of his bodybuilding career has received a final critique by the former Mr. Universe before it's sent for bronzing.

The former California governor who recently announced his return to acting visited northern Idaho on Wednesday to suggest a few modifications to the clay sculpture. It's destined to stand in a rippling, full-flex pose outside his childhood home that is now a museum in Thal, Austria.

Schwarzenegger tells the Lewiston Tribune that he chose Lewiston artist Ralph Crawford to create the statue because of Crawford's passion and ability to produce a dramatic sculpture.

Crawford says he has already started work on a new sculpture of Schwarzenegger showing him during his time as governor.

February 15, 2011
Jerry Brown drops Schwarzenegger minimum-wage lawsuit

Gov. Jerry Brown has dropped a lawsuit filed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that asserted his right to impose a minimum wage order on state workers during a budget stalemate.

Brown's Department of Personnel Administration filed the stipulation for the suit's dismissal on Monday in Sacramento Superior Court. Schwarzenegger sued Controller John Chiang, a Democrat, in August 2008 when Chiang resisted the former Republican governor's efforts to chop state worker pay to the federal minimum of $6.55 an hour.

Chiang argued that the state had enough cash to pay workers and argued that a 2003 state Supreme Court decision did not require pay cuts when there is no state budget. The controller also argued that the state's outdated payroll system -- designed in 1951 -- couldn't comply with the order to cut wages and avoid violating various labor laws.

"I am pleased and thankful that Governor Brown saw this litigation as a frivolous waste of hard-earned tax dollars that should be dedicated to fixing our schools, protecting our communities and rebuilding our infrastructure," Chiang said in a statement.

Chiang contended that the 2008 pay cut order "would not have saved the state one penny" and would have "exposed" the state to lawsuits while imposing financial hardship on families.

Schwarzenegger's order, widely viewed as a pressure tactic to obtain concessions during tough budget talks, had exempted about 37,000 state workers in six bargaining units that had struck tentative deals with the administration.

Workers in six other unions still negotiating over pension and pay deals were not exempted from the minimum-wage order. Schwarzenegger argued that a 2003 state Supreme Court decision gave the administration legal grounds -- during a budget impasse -- to cut pay to the federal hourly minimum and restore pay after a budget's passage.

February 14, 2011
Here's what you won't see on Roy Ashburn's state biography

ha_roy_ashburn18331.JPGHere's something you won't find on Roy Ashburn's biography posted on a state website: Before landing a lucrative board post last month, the former GOP state senator served briefly as an assistant to then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The monthlong gig kept Ashburn from ever skipping a paycheck last year, serving as a bridge between the day he left the Legislature and his appointment to a $128,109-a-year job on the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.

Payroll records show that Ashburn served Schwarzenegger briefly as an "assistant to the governor" in the Office of Planning and Research at an annual salary of $99,996, an increase of $4,705 over his senatorial salary. He earned $8,333 for one month of work.

When Schwarzenegger later named Ashburn to a six-figure post on the appeals board - an action taken on the governor's last day in office - critics questioned whether the move was reward for Ashburn bucking much of the Senate GOP caucus in supporting about $12 billion in temporary tax increases in 2009.

Ashburn said he worked daily during his stint at the Office of Planning and Research, providing recommendations on how best to coordinate volunteer efforts of charitable organizations and faith-based groups in serving the homeless or unemployed in the Central Valley and elsewhere.

February 14, 2011
Candy hearts for California politics

What would Gov. Jerry Brown's Valentine's Day missive to the state of California be?

The Citizen Hotel, the swanky spot situated just blocks from the Capitol, suggests a tough-love message in its latest window display, which is filled with cheeky replicas of candy hearts.


Alert readers and downtown denizens might recall that the Citizen also incorporates state politics into its holiday displays. After the jump see other political valentines in the display, including those to the state workforce from Brown and one for former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger .

February 11, 2011
What will Arnold Schwarzenegger's next role be on the big screen?

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger took to Twitter yesterday to suggest he could soon be back on the big screen.

Exciting news. My friends at CAA have been asking me for 7 years when they can take offers seriously. Gave them the green light today.less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

He was talking about his friends at the Creative Artists Agency.

What roles do you think the 63-year-old body builder/actor/38th California governor should play next? Submit your suggestions in the comments field.

January 26, 2011
Will Schwarzenegger's next job be in the Obama administration?

010311_HA_brown_inaug_03 schwarzenegger.JPGA story published by POLITICO today notes speculation that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, pictured at left listening to Gov. Jerry Brown's inauguration speech, could be considered to fill a soon-to-be vacant senior energy and climate adviser post in the Obama administration.


If Obama is looking to send a message, he could go with Arnold Schwarzenegger, expected by some on the left to fill the vacancy. The former California governor is a Republican who supported the Golden State's climate change law and has no trouble commanding attention.

"The governor has consistently supported President Obama on this issue and is committed to working with him," former Schwarzenegger adviser Adam Mendelsohn said Tuesday.

But that idea didn't excite lawmakers.

"He was courageous as a Republican governor, but I don't see him in a staff job at the White House," said House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).

The White House confirmed this week that Obama's current energy czar, Carol Browner, will soon step down. Read the full story here.

PHOTO CREDIT: Former Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gray Davis listen to Gov. Jerry Brown's inaugural address Jan. 3, 2011, at Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento. Hector Amezcua /

January 25, 2011
Schwarzenegger still governor on one state website

Is Arnold Schwarzenegger still governor in the eyes of one state initiative created during his time in office?

The website for the Homeless Youth Project invites visitors to click through to the website of "Governor Schwarzenegger," whose head shot is displayed in the left-hand rail of the page.

The link to the governor's website, pictured in a screenshot below, routes viewers to, which has since been updated as Gov. Jerry Brown's homepage.

Program Director Ginny Puddefoot said California Research Bureau-tied initiative, which as a state agency is required to have a picture of the governor on its site, has been so focused on content and putting out a new report on youth homelessness that updating the picture slipped through the cracks.

Puddefoot said while the Schwarzenegger slip-up was a "mild embarrassment," it felt even milder "compared to overall embarrassment of 200,000 homeless youth on the streets in California."

Welcome - Homeless Youth Project (HYP)_1295972881804.jpeg

Hat tip to Capitol Alert reader Daniel J.B. Mitchell

Update: This post was updated at 3:40 p.m. to add a statement from Puddefoot.

January 20, 2011
Suit filed to stop Schwarzenegger's commutation of Núñez sentence

Kicking off a potentially sweeping legal battle, a lawsuit filed today says former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had the right to commute the prison sentence of a political friend's son -- but violated crime victims' rights guaranteed under a 2008 law adopted by California voters.

The lawsuit filed in Sacramento by the family of Luis Santos, who was killed in an assault involving former Speaker Fabian Núñez's son, invokes the "Marsy's Law" constitutional right of crime victims to be notified before a reduction in sentencing is considered.

Fred Santos, Luis' father, spoke outside Sacramento County Superior Court, where the lawsuit was filed.

"By commuting the sentence of one our son's killers, Arnold Schwarzenegger committed a gross injustice against Luis and my family," Santos said, "against the families of the other victims of the crime, against the people of California and against the constitution of this state."

A spokesman for Schwarzenegger said the former governor would have no comment on the lawsuit.

January 19, 2011
Family to sue Schwarzenegger for cutting prison sentence

Schwarzenegger Clemency Nunez.JPGThe family of a young man killed in an altercation with former Speaker Fabian Núñez's son plans to file a lawsuit Thursday against former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger because of a prison sentence commutation.

The family of Luis Dos Santos, a student stabbed to death in San Diego in 2008, plan to file a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court accusing Schwarzenegger of violating their constitutional rights under "Marsy's Law," according to the family's attorneys.

Marsy's Law, a voter-approved 2008 constitutional amendment, requires victims of crimes, including family, be notified of parole hearings in advance so they have a chance to be heard at a hearing.

On Jan. 2, his last day in office, Schwarzenegger used his executive power to reduce the sentence of Esteban Núñez, the former speaker's son, from 16 to seven years in prison.

The younger Núñez, Schwarzenegger said in a message, had not wielded the knife that killed Santos and had no prior criminal record. It was excessive to give him the same sentence as the attacker who used the knife, Schwarzenegger said.

Prosecutors said Esteban Núñez did stab another man. He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for Santos' killing and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with his attack on another man.

Fred and Kathy Santos, Luis' parents, will attend a press conference in Sacramento on Thursday, said Kelli Reid, spokeswoman for the family's attorneys, Nina Salarno Ashford and Laura Strasser.

San Diego Deputy District Attorney Jill DiCarlo, who prosecuted Santos' attackers, will attend the 11 a.m. press conference at the Sacramento County Courthouse with representatives of Parents of Murdered Children and others, Reid said.

PHOTO CREDIT: In this Wednesday, March 18, 2009, file photo, former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, right, and his son Esteban Núñez, left, leave a hearing in Superior Court in San Diego. (AP Photo/ Denis Poroy, File)

January 18, 2011
Schwarzenegger: Sargent Shriver inspired 'power of the heart'

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement calling the life of his late father-in-law Sargent Shriver "a blueprint for those of us who aspire to place the needs of others above our own."

The former vice-presidential candidate and director of the Peace Corps died today at age 95.

Schwarzenegger said in the statement:

"As someone who has always believed very strongly in the power of the body and the power of the mind and the power of will, Sargent taught me a new power: the power of the heart. He said, 'Tear down the mirror in front of you -- the one that makes you look at yourself. Tear down the mirror and you will see the millions of people that need your help.' In his 95 years, he touched more lives than can ever be counted, and I'm grateful for the example and inspiration he provided me. He was not only a fantastic public servant who constantly found new ways to help and serve, he was also a wonderful and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and father-in-law.

"As we honor Sargent's memory, I hope that each of us can accept his challenge - to tear down the mirror and live as selflessly and as well as Sargent did."

Click here to submit your own thoughts on Shriver's life.

January 18, 2011
Share your remembrances of Sargent Shriver

Thumbnail image for shriver.JPGSargent Shriver, father-in-law of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and father of Maria Shriver, died today at the age of 95. The former vice-presidential candidate had Alzheimer's and was hospitalized Sunday in Bethesda, Md.

Please use the COMMENTS field below to share your memories and impressions of Sargent Shriver.

Read the obituary here.

The Shriver family issued the following statement Tuesday:

January 18, 2011
Eddie Wright hopes Jerry Brown shines

RP SHOE SHINE BUFF Eddie Wright.JPGGov. Jerry Brown hasn't stopped by for a shoeshine since taking office, so Eddie Wright, the longtime shiner of shoes at the Capitol, walked over from his stand this morning to introduce himself.

"I just wanted to invite him down for his first free shine on me," Wright, 63, told Brown's receptionist.

The last governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, never sat for a shine, Wright said. But he did send aides out with his shoes.

Schwarzenegger and his staffers were sharply dressed, even on Fridays, Wright said. It was good for business.

Brown is a more casual dresser. Still, it's early in the administration, and Wright is holding out hope.

"I hope he keeps the dress code up," he said.

PHOTO CREDIT: Shoe shine man Eddie Wright buffs a customer's shoe at his new stand inside the south entrance to the state Capitol on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2001. Randy Pench / Sacramento Bee file photo

January 17, 2011
Schwarzenegger father-in-law, Sargent Shriver, in critical condition

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's father-in-law, Sargent Shriver, is in critical condition at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md., after being admitted Sunday, according to Special Olympics spokeswoman Kirsten Seckler.

Seckler added in an e-mail to The Bee that the 95-year-old Shriver has Alzheimer's. Shriver's wife, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founded the Special Olympics in the 1960s and died in 2009.

Marrying into the Kennedy family, Sargent Shriver was the running mate for Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern in 1972 and helped build the Peace Corps, Head Start and other influential government programs.

Schwarzenegger's wife, former first lady Maria Shriver, had not released a statement about her father's condition as of Monday morning.

January 14, 2011
Núñez commutation sparks bill to limit power

Schwarzenegger Clemency Nunez.JPGFormer Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's controversial decision to reduce the voluntary manslaughter sentence of a political ally's son has sparked a proposed constitutional amendment targeting the governor's commutation powers.

The proposed amendment, authored by Assemblyman Allan Mansoor, R-Costa Mesa, would require that the governor's office give interested parties 30 days' notice before granting a pardon, reprieve or sentence commutation.

As one of his final acts as governor, Schwarzenegger commuted the prison sentence of Esteban Núñez, the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, from 16 to seven years. Núñez had pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon for his involvement in a 2008 fight that led to the fatal stabbing of college student Luis Dos Santos.

Santos' father, Fred Santos, expressed outrage this week that the governor had not notified the family of his plans, adding that they are exploring options to challenge the decision in court.

January 12, 2011
Father of slain man says Schwarzenegger apologized

The father of Luis Dos Santos, the college student who was killed in a fight that involved the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, has told a Los Angeles radio station that he received a letter of apology from former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

On Jan. 2, his last day in office, Schwarzenegger reduced the prison sentence of Esteban Núñez from 16 years to seven. Esteban Nunez pleaded to manslaughter in the killing of Dos Santos and assault with a deadly weapon for stabbing another man during a drunken fight at San Deigo State University in 2008.

Fred Santos, the father of the slain man, told radio station KNX 1070 this morning that Schwarzenegger sent him a letter apologizing for not notifying the Santos family that Nunez's sentence was being commuted.

"We received a letter last Saturday from our former governor saying that he acknowledges that he did not give us any notice of what he was planning to do," Santos said in the radio interview.

"We do not believe the sincerity of the apology. We do thank him for writing the letter but if there were not any outrage over his actions we do not think we would have received this letter."

Santos also told the station that his family is talking to lawyers and considering a lawsuit.

"We think our constitutional rights as victims have been violated because we were not notified of the actions prior to this, as we were supposed to," Santos said.

Listen to the whole interview here. The letter, obtained by KNX, is posted below.

Santos Letter

January 7, 2011
Angry father protests Esteban Núñez's shortened sentence

The father of Evan Henderson, a young man who was stabbed, but not fatally, by Esteban Núñez, son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, is angered that outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger shortened the young Núñez's prison sentence.

Esteban Núñez agreed to a 16-year prison term as part of a negotiated plea to manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon charges stemming from an three-man attack on San Diego college students in 2008. One of the students, Luis Dos Santos, died.

Schwarzenegger commuted Núñez's sentence to seven years, citing the fact that another youth struck the fatal knife blow. But Bruce Henderson, in a response to a column by The Sacramento Bee's Dan Walters, says Schwarzenegger's rationale doesn't hold water. It follows:

Dan, I read your editorial ('Núñez pardon leaves foul stench,' 1/4) with a personal interest.

You say that young Núñez did not wield the knife that killed Luis Dos Santos. True enough. But Esteban Núñez did wield a knife, and with it, as he was passing a group of unaware SD State boys on campus, he stabbed my son, Evan, in the back.

Not yet realizing he was stabbed and thinking that someone had pushed him from behind, Evan turned around. At that point, Núñez stuck the blade in Evan's stomach. When I got off the plane in SD hours later and rushed to the hospital, the doctors were just finishing with emergency surgery to stop Evan's internal bleeding. They told me if the blade had gone an inch in either direction -- with either the front or back stab wound -- that one or more major organs would have been hit, and my son could well have died.

Núñez did not kill someone that night only due to luck -- Evan's, first and foremost, and also, I suppose, Núñez's. Núñez did nothing different than the other defendant, Ryan Jett, whose blade did kill a young man. Also, there was testimony at the pretrial hearing that Núñez orchestrated the destruction of evidence -- i.e. throwing the knives, including the murder weapon, into the Sacramento River -- and repeatedly assured his cohorts that if the cops came down on them, his powerful daddy, Fabian Núñez, would clean things up for them.

As it turned out, young Núñez alone was the one who got the break -- thanks to his daddy and the governor. As you say, a 'foul stench' indeed.

Bruce Henderson

Menlo Park CA

January 5, 2011
Arnold Schwarzenegger heading north for speaking tour

ha_CA_HFAME13072 Schwarzenegger Shriver.JPGLess than a month after leaving office, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is heading to Canada and Buffalo, N.Y., for a speaking tour.

Schwarzenegger is due to appear in Calgary and Winnipeg on Jan. 25, followed by Toronto on Jan. 26 and Buffalo on Jan. 27. He's expected to discuss "politics, business, energy and the environment, and Canadian-American relations," according to the Calgary Herald.

Canadians will pay significantly more to hear Schwarzenegger, according to prices on Ticketmaster. The cheapest ticket at the Canadian stops is around $270 in U.S. dollars, while Buffalo tickets start at $42.25.

PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and first lady Maria Shriver clap for the inductees of the annual California Hall of Fame, on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010, in Sacramento. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee

January 5, 2011
Jerry Brown announces press office staff

The former communications director for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Gil Duran, has been appointed press secretary for Gov. Jerry Brown, according to a news release.

Duran was previously press secretary to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Brown, when he was mayor of Oakland.

Brown also appointed two deputy press secretaries - Evan Westrup, who was deputy press secretary for Brown's campaign, and Elizabeth Ashford, who was chief deputy communications director for former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Ashford most recently worked in the United Kingdom, for the communications firm the Brunswick Group and for the Office of the Chairman of the Conservative Party.

All three appointees are Democrats. The Brown campaign's main spokesman, Sterling Clifford, is not joining the administration.

January 5, 2011
Jerry Brown appointees shake up California Board of Education

HONIG APPEAL.JPGThe state Senate will not confirm five people former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed to the State Board of Education, leaving room for Gov. Jerry Brown to appoint seven new people to the board today.

The result is a shake-up on the board that sets policy for the state's public schools, with the loss of members who supported reforms -- such as the "parent trigger" law that allows parents to overhaul low-performing schools -- and the addition of a member from the California Teachers Association, which opposes such changes.

The Senate never confirmed Ted Mitchell, David Lopez , Alan Arkatov , Benjamin Austin and James Fang. The Senate wanted to allow Brown to form his own education team, said Nathan Barankin, spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.

"From our perspective we have a new governor and it's up to the governor to establish his own administration," Barankin said. "That includes selecting the leaders of key policy areas, and that certainly includes education."

Two other board of education members -- Ruth Bloom and Johnathan Williams -- have terms that expire next week.

Brown's appointments include two people who served on the board of education during his first stint as governor as well as a lobbyist for the California Teachers Association.

The appointments, all Democrats, include:

  • Louis "Bill" Honig of Marin (shown above), the president of the Consortium on Reading Excellence. He was the Superintendent of Public Instruction until he was forced to resign in 1993 after being convicted of felony conflict-of-interest charges. Honig was found guilty of authorizing $337,509 in state funds to pay local schools to hire his wife's nonprofit foundation, Quality Education Project, to set up parent involvement programs. The charges were later reduced to misdemeanors. Honig previously served on the state Board of Education under Gov. Brown from 1975 to 1983.
  • Michael Kirst of Palo Alto, a Professor Emeritus at Stanford University and member of the the state Board of Education under Gov. Brown from 1975 to 1982.
  • Aida Molina of Bakersfield, the executive director on academic improvement and accountability for the Bakersfield City School District and a former commissioner with the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Molina has been a principal in Bakersfield and the Sacramento Unified School District and an assistant principal with the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District.
  • Carl Anthony Cohn of Palm Springs, a professor and the co-director of the Urban Leadership Program at Claremont Graduate University. Cohn previously served as the superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District and the Long Beach Unified School District.
  • James Ramos of San Bernardino, Chairman for the San Manuel Band of Indians and a member of the San Bernardino Community College Board of Trustees.
  • Patricia Ann Rucker of Elk Grove, the legislative advocate for the California Teachers Association. Previously, she was a teacher in the Del Paso Heights School District.
  • Trish Boyd Williams of San Jose, the executive director of EdSource. Previously, Williams worked for the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Appointments to the state Board of Education require Senate confirmation and are compensated $100 per diem.

PHOTO: Bill Honig in 1996. Rich Pedroncelli/The Associated Press

Editor's note: This post has been changed from earlier versions to reflect that the Senate failed to confirm five board members. Updated at 4:53 p.m., Jan. 5, 2011.

January 4, 2011
Could gubernatorial bear migrate from Capitol to animal shelter?

ha_BEAR20403.JPGCould former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's 800-pound bronze grizzly bear land in a shelter for homeless animals?

Yes, if Sacramento's SPCA has its way.

The facility on Florin-Perkins Road contacted the office of new Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday to offer "permanent sanctuary" to the metallic grizzly that stood silent guard over Schwarzenegger's Capitol office.

"We understand that there is a bear in need of a home, and we're an SPCA in need of a bear to draw drive-by visitors to our shelter," SPCA Executive Director Rick Johnson said in a prepared statement.

Johnson said the Sacramento SPCA expects to care for more than 12,500 homeless animals this year -- but a bronze bear can squeeze in, too.

"We have just the place for this particular bear at the SPCA, and we are ready to accept responsibility for caring for the bear for life," Johnson said.

The waist-high metallic bear was left behind Sunday by the termed-out Schwarzenegger, who purchased it from an Aspen art gallery during a Colorado fundraising swing in 2009.

The grizzly has been a favorite of school children and tourists who have taken endless photos outside Schwarzenegger's office.

Reporters who rested their microphones on the bear's back during news conferences dubbed the grizzly "Mic," while California Highway Patrol officers called it "Bacteria Bear" because of all the people who stroked its metallic fur.

Ownership of the bear was not immediately clear Tuesday, since Schwarzenegger bought the bronze statue with his own money but it remains in the Capitol, perhaps on loan to the public.

The SPCA received no immediate response from Brown's office, and if the sanctuary offer needs to be extended to Schwarzenegger, the shelter is willing to do that as well, spokeswoman Lesley Kirrene said Tuesday.

PHOTO CREDIT: David Bienick, a reporter for Sacramento's KCRA, pauses for a moment on Dec. 27, 2010, as he prepares a report on the bronze bear in front of the governor's office. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee

January 4, 2011
Six more years for chairman who led push to cut legislative pay

Happy new year, lawmakers.

The commission chairman who helped lead a successful push to cut legislative salaries and benefits by 18 percent in 2009 was reappointed for a new six-year term as head of the California Citizens Compensation Commission by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in his final days at the Capitol.

Charles Murray's reappointment does not require Senate confirmation. The 68-year-old San Marino Republican, president of CMI Insurance Services, has led the seven-member commission of gubernatorial appointees since 2007. He receives no salary for his state service.

Created by voter passage of Proposition 112 in 1990, the state compensation commission is charged with setting salaries and medical, dental and similar benefits for lawmakers and state constitutional officers ranging from governor to Board of Equalization members.

For Assembly and Senate members, the commission's 2009 action reduced pay from $116,208 to $95,291 and cut benefits by 18 percent as well. Statewide elected officials also were affected.

Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, filed a recent challenge to the panel's 2009 compensation cuts. The California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board has not acted on Cedillo's claim.

Cedillo contends the salary-setting commission overstepped its authority by, among other things, cutting salaries before legislators' terms expired and targeting automobile allowances and living-expense per diem for reductions.

January 4, 2011
Schwarzenegger's post office plans? Hitting slopes with Medvedev

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's departure from office sparked much buzz about what the bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-politician would do next.

One thing on his post-office plate? Carving out time to hit the slopes with the Russian president.

Schwarzenegger, an avid skier who is often spotted on the slopes in Sun Valley, Idaho, floated the possible plans in a tweet to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. "We agreed - I remember. We'll definitely find the time," Medvedev tweeted back.

Thank you! @MedvedevRussiaE. I hope you're having a great new year and can't wait to see you again - maybe skiing?less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

January 3, 2011
Schwarzenegger shoots final scene as governor

Thumbnail image for 110103 Schwarzenegger video.JPGGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has shot his final scene as California's chief executive.

The actor-turned-politician posted on Twitter this morning a video of his final exit from his governor's office, showing him shutting off the lights, stogie in mouth. He tweeted well wishes to Gov. Jerry Brown, who is scheduled to be sworn in later this morning.

December 30, 2010
Schwarzenegger appoints three to High-Speed Rail Authority

With his time to make appointments coming to a close, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this afternoon announced the reappointment of former Assemblyman Curt Pringle to the High-Speed Rail Authority.

Pringle, 47, was mayor of Anaheim until earlier this month.

Schwarzenegger also appointed Thomas Richards of Fresno and Matthew Toledo of Malibu to the authority. Compensation is $100 per diem, and the positions do not require Senate confirmation.

Richards is president and chief executive officer of Penstar Group, a Fresno-based developer. Toledo is publisher of the Los Angeles Business Journal.

December 30, 2010
Schwarzenegger appoints key economic aide as UC regent

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named one of his top economic advisers Thursday to the governing board of the University of California, which has been rocked in recent years by California's budget crisis.

David Crane, 57, was named to fill the UC regents seat vacated by Joanne Kozberg. Crane, who will not receive a salary, must be confirmed by the Senate for a term to expire in March 2022.

Crane, a Democrat, has served as special adviser to the Republican governor on jobs and economic growth since 2004. He also has been a board member of the California High-Speed Rail Authority and the Commission on Economic Development.

"David's contributions during his time in my administration have shown his commitment to doing everything he can to make California great," Schwarzenegger said in a written statement.

"Serving as a member of the Board of Regents, I know that David will devote the energy, tenacity and creativity needed to keep the University of California the finest public university system in the world," the governor added.

Crane is a former partner in the global investment firm Babcock & Brown. He earned a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He also holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan.

Crane, in a prepared statement, said he was honored by Schwarzenegger's appointment.

"I look forward to working with the Regents to ensure access to a high-quality and affordable education for California's students," he said.

December 28, 2010
Supreme Court won't help Schwarzenegger in building sale bid

The California Supreme Court today rejected Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's request to lift a stay blocking the sale of state office properties until after he leaves office next week, likely sinking the deal.

Gov.-elect Jerry Brown has been critical of the transaction and, as the state attorney general, declined to defend it in court.

Schwarzenegger and the Legislature last year approved selling 24 buildings on 11 properties to private investors for immediate cash, while promising to lease back the properties for 20 years.

Though the deal was criticized by many observers -- the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office called it the equivalent of borrowing at more than 10 percent interest over 35 years -- even Brown acknowledged that the transaction, if nixed, would add some $1.3 billion to the state budget deficit.

Brown's transition team has said he will review the deal once he takes office.

Three former state building officials sued to block the sale, claiming it an illegal gift of taxpayer funds. Proponents said the sale was adequately reviewed and that the state is in need of immediate cash.

The case is in the 6th District Court of Appeal in San Jose, where oral arguments are scheduled for late January.

The Supreme Court is housed in one of the buildings involved in the proposed sale, and all seven justices have recused themselves from the case. Seven appellate court judges were assigned to act in their place.

December 28, 2010
Word Cloud: Schwarzenegger's legacy in one word

Last week, we asked readers to sum up outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's legacy in one word.

The results? More than 1,200 entries suggesting readers have very strong feelings about Schwarzenegger's time of office. While we appreciate readers getting creative -- "Arnoldsuckinegger" being a prime example -- submissions that fell into the categories of profanity, vulgarity and general bathroom humor didn't make the cut.

Here's a snapshot of the results as of this morning:

Visualization made using ManyEyes. You can see the entire list by clicking the data link above. Data set edited for profanity, vulgarity and outliers.

December 24, 2010
Describe Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's legacy in one word


Think you can sum up the 86 months Arnold Schwarzenegger served as California's 38th governor in one word?

The Bee has taken a look back at the highs and lows of Schwarzenegger's seven years in office, but we want to know what readers think the Golden State's body-building, celebrity governor's legacy will be.

Use the form below to submit the one word you think best describes Schwarzenegger's legacy. We'll post a visualization of the results on Monday, marking the start of the final week before Gov.-elect Jerry Brown takes office.

PHOTO: Outgoing Gov. Gray Davis watches as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger takes the oath of office during his swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol on Monday, Nov. 17, 2003. At the left of Davis is his wife, Sharon. (Sacramento Bee file photo / John Decker).

Hat tip: Thanks to the team of political bloggers at the Washington Post's The Fix for giving us the idea with this post about Nancy Pelosi.

December 21, 2010
Lawmakers sing of gifts Schwarzenegger gave

Legislative heavyweights wearing "I'm Not a Girlie Man" T-shirts sang a budget-themed version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at his wrap party last week.

Taking the stage in front of Schwarzenegger and hundreds of supporters and staffers were Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, former Assembly Republican leader Mike Villines, former Senate Republican leaders Jim Brulte and Dick Ackerman, and former Assembly Speakers Bob Hertzberg and Fabian Núñez.

The Republicans wore red. The Democrats wore blue.

Among the gifts they said Schwarzenegger gave in their "Big Five" negotiations were "eight accounting gimmicks," "five bucks for schools," "three furlough Fridays," and "two vetoed bills."

The party, at Sacramento Convention Center, was paid for by private sponsors and included appearances by various stars. Among them was Vanessa Williams, who also sang.

December 17, 2010
Stars come out to fete Schwarzenegger, thank aides

With two weeks to go until the curtain officially closes on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's time in office, hundreds of the governor's staff members and supporters gathered last night for a star-studded "Wrap Party" at the Sacramento Convention Center.

The fete, planned and paid for by private sponsors, included appearances by Sylvester Stallone, Danny DeVito, Tom Arnold and Jay Leno, whose late-night show served as the stage for Schwarzenegger to announce his run in the 2003 recall. Vanessa Williams took the stage to sing the German-language version of "Silent Night" as well as a rendition of "The Sound of Music" classic song "So Long, Farewell," with Schwarzenegger-inspired lyrics.

Chief of Staff Susan Kennedy and first lady Maria Shriver also delivered speeches, the latter thanking staff members for their commitment over the years.

Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said the governor attended the event to show his and Shriver's "appreciation for all the people who helped them the last seven years."

Donations for the private party were sought by groups long supportive of Schwarzenegger, including the California Chamber of Commerce and the nonprofit California State Protocol Foundation.

Editor's note: This post was updated to clarify that Schwarzenegger was at the event.

December 16, 2010
Schwarzenegger asks Jerry Brown to investigate Compton school charges

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked Attorney General Jerry Brown today to investigate allegations of threats and intimidation against a group of Compton parents who are trying to use a new state law to turn their troubled public school into a charter operation.

The case is controversial, with allegations of improprieties on both sides.

Schwarzenegger, siding with proponents who say they have secured the signatures of a majority of parents, said in a letter to Brown, "Instead of being supported in their effort to ensure that their children get the quality education that is a constitutional right, these parents have been subjected to threats and a misinformation campaign. These intimidation tactics are being used in an effort to persuade them to take back their signatures."

Brown has become busier since becoming governor-elect.

Nevertheless, Christine Gasparac, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mail that he is "concerned about these charges and will look into them."

December 16, 2010
Schwarzenegger declares 'Larry King Day' in honor of last show

schwarzeneggerking.jpegGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared today "Larry King Day" in honor of the iconic television interviewer's last night on the air as host of "Larry King Live."

Schwarzenegger issued a proclamation praising King's 25-year run as host of the show:

Larry King has done much more than provide fantastic interviews, profiles and news coverage over the last fifty-three years. He has used his fame and influence to raise money and awareness for many worthwhile causes and charitable organizations. His departure from "Larry King Live" is an important milestone and turning point in the history of broadcast television. His legacy lives on and serves as inspiration for future generations of journalists and reporters.

Schwarzenegger, who is set to appear in a live interview on tonight's show, called King a "valuable friend, dependable supporter and well-wisher of the state of California" in the proclamation.

"What an honor, Mr. Governor. Thank you," King's Twitter account posted in response to the news.

Photo Credit: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Larry King at the studio in 2004. Via Schwarzenegger's Flickr Stream.

December 14, 2010
End of Schwarzenegger era draws new media interest

When movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger became governor of California seven years ago, the world's media descended on Sacramento to chronicle what they saw as a startling, only-in-California event.

Dozens of television crews and newspaper reporters covered Schwarzenegger's election and inauguration - including those from Austria, his native country, and from as far away as Indonesia.

By and by, global media interest in Schwarzenegger waned but as he enters the last days of his governorship, it's picking up again. A CBS News producer was in Sacramento last week, working on a story about his governorship, and a crew from Austrian TV will visit next week.

December 8, 2010
Videos from the 79th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and first lady Maria Shriver were on hand for the lighting of the Capitol Christmas tree last night. Here are videos of the event from Bee colleague Hector Amezcua:

December 7, 2010
Schwarzenegger taps Adams, Villines for state panels

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today appointed two former GOP lawmakers to paid positions on state boards.

Schwarzenegger appointed former Assemblyman Anthony Adams to a $111,845-a-year post on the state Board of Parole Hearings.

Schwarzenegger has also tapped termed-out former Assemblyman Mike Villines, R-Clovis, to the Central Valley Flood Protection Board. Villines, who lost a bid for insurance commissioner, will earn $40,699 a year as a member of the board.

Both lawmakers supported temporary tax increases in the February 2009 budget deal -- votes that dealt blows to their respective political careers. Villines, ousted as GOP leader after the deal, was nearly upset in the insurance commissioner primary by a political unknown who spent just a few thousand dollars on the statewide campaign. Adams, who decided not to run for a third and final term in the Assembly, had been targeted by a recall attempt in the wake of the vote.

Both positions require Senate confirmation.

December 6, 2010
Schwarzenegger hosts his final Capitol tree lighting Tuesday

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will host his final Christmas tree lighting at the state
Capitol Tuesday, with guests that include American Idol contestant David Archuleta.

Also appearing with Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver will be Broadway star Frenchie Davis and the St. Paul Baptist Church Choir.

The 79th annual tree lighting begins at 5 p.m. on the west lawn of the Capitol. Schwarzenegger is leaving office next month.

December 1, 2010
Californians agree on their disapproval of Schwarzenegger

California is a very diverse state, but members of every demographic, geographic and ideological subgroup in the state agree on one thing: They don't approve of outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's performance.

That's one of the results of an extensive post-election survey of voters by the Public Policy Institute of California.

The PPIC survey found that overall, Schwarzenegger leaves office with a 32 percent approval rating among November's voters, and results were remarkably consistent among all subgroups. For instance, 68 percent of Democrats disapproved of Schwarzenegger's performance, along with 55 percent of the governor's fellow Republicans and 55 percent of independents. His approval didn't hit 40 percent in any subgroup.

Among other results of PPIC's survey, which involved 2,003 voters:

--Proposition 19, which would have legalized marijuana, drew the most voter interest. The measure lost narrowly and PPIC found that Republicans, Latinos, whites, women and older voters were most opposed.

--The second most-important ballot measure to voters was Proposition 23, which would have suspended the state's anti-greenhouse gas program - a major Schwarzenegger initiative - until unemployment dropped sharply and lost by a landslide vote. PPIC found a sharp partisan divide with more than half of Republicans supporting the measure but huge majorities of Democrats and independents opposing it.

--The nine measures on the November ballot continued a decades-long trend of placing major issues before voters and while past surveys have indicated voters like having that power, the new PPIC poll found that two-thirds of them say the 2010 initiatives were too confusing. And for the first time in the history of the organization's polling, fewer than half of those polled said they had confidence in the ability of voters to make public policy decisions on the ballot.

--Schwarzenegger is not the only political figure to get low marks from voters. Just 13 percent of those polled approve of how he and the Legislature have dealt with issues and just 12 percent approve of the Legislature. Even President Barack Obama, who won by a large margin in California two years ago, is feeling the heat with just a 53 percent approval rating. Congress, like the Legislature, is less popular at 21 percent. And despite the state's Democratic bent, 43 percent of California voters say it's a good thing that Republicans have recaptured control of the House.

--Strong margins among independent voters helped Democrat Jerry Brown win the governorship and Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer win re-election against well-financed Republican rivals, along with big margins among Latinos and women.

The full PPIC poll results can be found here.

November 29, 2010
Reconsider plastic bag ban, Schwarzenegger says

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called on lawmakers today to reconsider a defeated bill to ban plastic bags.

The bill to ban plastic grocery bags faced fierce opposition from the Virginia-based interest group American Chemistry Council and died in the Senate this year. Schwarzenegger said the measure might fare better in the current, post-election political climate.

"Of course we fell short a few votes, but we said, 'We'll be back,' and we are back again," Schwarzenegger said at a Capitol press conference. "And if we don't get it done in December, we'll get it done next year."

Focus on the Legislature next week will largely be on its handling of an estimated $25.4 billion budget deficit.

Asked if he expects lawmakers to act on the budget in the special session or to wait for Gov.-elect Jerry Brown to take office in January, Schwarzenegger said, "I'm going to answer that question later, because I want to make sure that we stay on message and only talk about plastic bags."

The American Chemistry Council's Tim Shestek was in the crowd for the occasion. While supporters of the ban cheered their prospects for a second round, he said, "This is a bill that's dead."

November 16, 2010
Schwarzenegger: We'll take other states' high-speed rail funds

If other states don't want their share of federal money for high-speed rail, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told the federal government today, California would happily take it off their hands.

"It is with a certain sense of astonishment that we note recent announcements from some of our gubernatorial colleagues that they are uninterested in federal contributions to their high-speed rail systems," Schwarzenegger said in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Raymond LaHood. "You are more than welcome to redirect that money to California - where we know how to use it to generate hundreds of thousands of jobs and provide a clean, fast and low-cost way to travel."

Incoming Republican governors in Ohio and Wisconsin oppose high-speed rail projects in those states, leaving earmarks uncertain.

In California, Democratic Gov.-elect Jerry Brown, like Schwarzenegger, is a supporter of the state's high speed rail project.

November 12, 2010
Schwarzenegger: Brown agrees with new pursuit of budget cuts

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a challenge Friday to legislators to chop billions more from the state budget in a special session in December, adding that Democratic Gov.-elect Jerry Brown has told him he backs that effort.

"I talked to Gov.-elect Brown, and he's all for it," Schwarzenegger told reporters after examining hybrid cars at the Sacramento International Auto Show at the Cal Expo complex.

"I don't buy into that lame-duck thing, you know," the Republican governor added, explaining his decision to call legislators together on Dec. 6, the day new lawmakers are sworn in but before Brown takes office in January.

The purpose is to tackle an estimated $6.1 billion shortfall in this year's budget, which was passed this summer. The Legislative Analyst's office attributed the new deficit estimate to overly optimistic projections and losses of revenue that were not anticipated.

As voters chose Brown, they also approved Proposition 22, which instantly whacked about $800 million out of the state budget. The measure forbids some transfers of local revenues to the state coffers.

"Eventually, those legislators are going to find out that there is no choice but to make these cuts," said Schwarzenegger, who has stated that his proposal for the special session will not include any tax increase ideas.

November 9, 2010
Jerry Brown vacationing in Arizona, taking applications

Gov.-elect Jerry Brown, who an aide said is vacationing in Arizona, has posted on his campaign website a link to apply for any of hundreds of appointments within his administration.

Meanwhile, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the lame-duck Republican, this afternoon announced 15 minor appointments and re-appointments.

Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said earlier today that Schwarzenegger will keep up with his gubernatorial duties until Brown assumes office in January but will coordinate with Brown's transition team.

"Anything we're going to do with appointments or otherwise, it's going to be in concert with the governor-elect," McLear said. "We're not going to do anything to jam him up at all. We want to work closely with him."

November 9, 2010
They still love Schwarzenegger in Fresno

SCHWARZENEGGERFRESNKO.JPGFewer than a quarter of California's voters approve of outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, recent polls indicate, but the one-time bodybuilder and movie star appears to remain popular in the San Joaquin Valley, which he adopted as his most-favored region.

Schwarzenegger, who first visited the area as a young émigré from Austria (some old photos show him waterskiing on a lake near Fresno 40 years ago), has made dozens of campaign and gubernatorial appearances, created a "San Joaquin Valley Partnership" to promote regional cooperation and earmarked a billion dollars in a transportation bond issue to upgrade Highway 99.

On Tuesday San Joaquin Valley political and civic leaders reciprocated by honoring Schwarzenegger at a special event.

Jim Boren, the Fresno Bee's editorial page editor, blogged that "the two-plus-hour event thanked Schwarzenegger for his commitment to making the valley a full partner with other, more populous parts of California. Schwarzenegger, the onetime bodybuilder, has called the valley the 'abs' of California. To be strong, he said, you must have solid abs."

The tribute included a special song, written and sung by Kings County Supervisor Tony Oliveira, called "Warrior of the San Joaquin."

Boren's report and a link to the song can be found here.

A link to photos of a young Schwarzenegger waterskiing on Millerton Lake is available here.

PHOTO CREDIT: Alitta McWilliams, 10, from Monroe Elementary, smiles up at California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as he signs autographs for the students from Monroe and Pacific Union Elementary Schools Friday, Oct. 28, 2005, in Fresno, Calif. (AP Photo/The Fresno Bee, Diana Baldrica)

November 8, 2010
Despite Twitter tease, Schwarzenegger still mum on vote

Despite teasing on Twitter that he had a "major announcement" to make, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declined again tonight to say how he voted in last week's gubernatorial election.

Nor was any other major announcement forthcoming.

In appearance on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno, Schwarzenegger, who said he would reveal his choice to succeed him after Election Day, said, "I think that's private of the way I vote, and it's between myself and the person Maria (first lady Maria Shriver) tells me to vote for," according to a transcript.

Schwarzenegger did comment on negative advertising - "I think the sad story is that the people respond better to negative ads" - and whether reducing simple marijuana possession to an infraction contributed to the failure of Proposition 19, which sought to permit marijuana for recreational use:

"I think it hurt, absolutely, but, I mean, I think the laws that we passed, they were good," Schwarzenegger said, according to a transcript. "It takes it from a misdemeanor to an infraction which is kind of like a speeding ticket, and no one cares if you smoke a joint or not. But, I mean, this Proposition 19 went a little bit too far, I think, and it was written badly."

Schwarzenegger also revealed that rules at his house include not answering the telephone during dinner, turning off lights when leaving a room and limiting showers to five minutes or less.

November 8, 2010
Schwarzenegger to appear tonight on Leno

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, still mum about his choice to succeed him, is scheduled to appear this evening on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno.

The outgoing governor announced his candidacy to Leno in 2003 and said on the show last year that then-Sen. Abel Maldonado was his pick for lieutenant governor.

Not all of his appearances, however, have been so revelatory: In 2007, Schwarzenegger promoted global warming and health care initiatives.

Schwarzenegger said before Election Day that he would say who he voted for once the election was over. He mostly stayed out of the race between Democrat Jerry Brown, the winner, and Republican Meg Whitman.

November 4, 2010
Jerry Brown meets up with Arnold Schwarzenegger

Schwarzenegger and Brown.jpgGov.-elect Jerry Brown met with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at a police officer funeral in San Diego today, and then the two men flew to Sacramento together, according to the Brown campaign and Schwarzenegger's Twitter account.

Brown's campaign said the two men were discussing details of future meetings between the two men. Brown will also meet with finance and legislative leaders today in Sacramento.

Schwarzenegger tweeted the picture above, with the message "Governor-elect Brown is riding to Sacramento with me today."

November 2, 2010
Schwarzenegger congratulates Brown on governor race win

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has released a statement congratulating his projected successor Democrat Jerry Brown on tonight's victory.

"Jerry has demonstrated his commitment to the people of California throughout a lifetime of public service as Governor, Mayor of Oakland and Attorney General, and I pledge to work with his incoming administration to provide the most efficient and smooth transition of power possible for the people of California," Schwarzenegger said.

The governor tweeted that he has called Brown to congratulate him on the win, adding that he looks forward to him and first lady Maria Shriver getting together with Brown and Brown's wife, Anne Gust Brown, to discuss the transition.

Schwarzenegger, who did not endorse in the gubernatorial race, still hasn't said whether Brown or Republican Meg Whitman got his vote. But he tweeted his vote on the nine propositions on the ballot:

I promised I would tell you how I voted today. Prop 19: no. 20: yes. 21: no. 22: no. 23: no. 24: no. 25: no. 26: no. 27: no. That's it!less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

November 2, 2010
Schwarzenegger won't reveal governor pick until tonight

SchwarzeneggerVotes.JPGGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger cast his ballot this morning, but he's not ready to tell the public who he chose as his successor.

Schwarzenegger, who voted at a West Los Angeles elementary school this morning, "told reporters he won't reveal until nighttime whether he chose Democrat Jerry Brown or fellow Republican Meg Whitman," according to the Associated Press.

The Republican governor has refrained from endorsing either candidate vying for his job, saying he thinks it's important to focus on getting "both of the parties to come together to create... reforms."

"I'm going to stay out, like I said," he repeated at an event yesterday. "To me what is important is I ran for office to move the state of California forward, to bring everyone together, to bring both of the parties together, Democrats and Republicans."

Schwarzenegger hasn't been shy about his opposition to Proposition 23, the measure to suspend the greenhouse gas emissions law he signed into law in 2006. He's also campaigned against Proposition 27, a push to eliminate the Citizens Redistricting Commission.

PHOTO CREDIT: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger deposits his ballot as poll worker Dhun May watches after voting at an elementary school near his home in the Brentwood district of Los Angeles, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/ Reed Saxon)

October 30, 2010
Meg Whitman: "Our internal polls look great."

While the polls are pointing to a win by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown Tuesday and The New York Times just published its front-page postmortem, Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and her supporters were fired up for victory during a loud, raucous rally held at the American River Packaging company's warehouse in Sacramento this afternoon.

A live band rocked a few hundred supporters with a cover of AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" before Whitman took the stage in a blue coat and black pants, joined by her husband Griffith R. Harsh IV, insurance commissioner candidate Mike Villines, U.S. Rep. Dan Lungren, controller candidate Tony Strickland and others.

Whitman was in go-for-broke mode as she hollered applause lines and bobbed and weaved her tall frame like a boxer as opposed to the measured, afternoon-talk-show tone she usually adopts on the stump.

The message from Whitman, Villines and Lungren: Don't call it a comeback.

"I've seen the energy like this all over California," Whitman told The Bee after her speech. "You know, just a couple more days, I'm psyched. We're going to win this."

She added, "Our internal polls look great, and you can feel the electricity."

Villines also felt ballot box glory coming on.

"We're going to win this thing because they're so tight," Villines said about the polls. "We're going to surge."

At the very least, some members of the crowd were taking a hint from Whitman and going for broke.

One man wore an Elvis wig, jump suit and fake leis while holding up a sign reading "Don't be cruel. Vote for Meg." Another man was the height of tea party chic as he wore an American flag shirt while waving a rifle with a 13-state American flag and a "Don't Tread on Me" flag attached to it.

The smell of barbecue cooking in the other room filled the space, as did waving Meg 2010 signs.

"We're thinking really positive," said Londi Medrano, of Sacramento, who has volunteered for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina. "I think the actual voting will make the difference, despite what the polls say."

October 27, 2010
Schwarzenegger meeting with philanthropists, past leaders

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spent Tuesday afternoon with his gubernatorial successor at the Women's Conference in Long Beach. Now he's spending today with his predecessor, Gray Davis.

Schwarzenegger, Davis and other political leaders are meeting with billionaire philanthropists today at Google headquarters in Mountain View to discuss ways to reform California, their spokesmen confirmed.

The Los Angeles Times reported today that billionaire Nicolas Berggruen has committed $20 million toward a new organization with eyes on overhauling California government, called the Think Long Committee. Besides Davis, the group reportedly includes former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and George Shultz, former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, Google CEO Eric Schmidt and philanthropist Eli Broad.

It's not clear whether Schwarzenegger will remain on board. But he is appearing today to discuss the budget reform measure that he and lawmakers placed on the 2012 ballot, as well as other efforts he has made at changing the governance system, said spokesman Adam Mendelsohn.

"The governor has gotten to know Mr. Berggruen over the last couple months because he's been a supporter of the No on 23 campaign," Mendelsohn said, referring to a ballot initiative that would roll back a Schwarzenegger-signed climate change law. "The governor believes Californians still need significant reform, and the governor has a budget reform measure on the 2012 ballot. When they asked him to come by, he agreed to talk to them."

After the meeting, Schwarzenegger will join "Terminator" director James Cameron for a live 3 p.m. webcast at tech firm Applied Materials in Santa Clara to discuss their opposition to Proposition 23. The webcast can be seen here.

October 26, 2010
Matt Lauer promises 'freewheeling conversation' with Schwarzenegger, Whitman and Brown

"Today" show host Matt Lauer, who will moderate an afternoon meeting of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and candidates Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown, this morning promised viewers an "open and freewheeling conversation."

He said the discussion will be civil, too.

If it isn't, NBC's Al Roker said, "we do have a steel cage."

Lauer, Roker and the candidates are in Long Beach for first lady Maria Shriver's annual women's conference.

October 26, 2010
Shriver mum on her choice in governor's race

First lady Maria Shriver said this morning that organizing today's much-anticipated meeting of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and candidates Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman was no easy task.

Like every other political observer in California, she said she is "interested to see how that threesome works."

Schwarzenegger has declined to endorse either candidate in the race to succeed him. Asked who she'd prefer, Shriver said, "I wouldn't say that because I just invited both of them to lunch, so I think that would be the height of bad manners."

Schwarzenegger, Whitman and Brown are scheduled today to share a stage in Long Beach to talk about government.

Of organizing the event, Shriver said, "I would say it was not easy." While not being specific, she said you "have to assure people over and over again that they're going to be treated safely and with respect."

October 21, 2010
Schwarzenegger foresees writing autobiography once he leaves office

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told Twitter followers this afternoon that book publishers have for decades "been after me to write an autobiography" and that he likely will write one after he leaves office.

The Republican governor said in a Tweetcast that he has "never had the patience" to look back on his life but that, "I've got to get the discipline together to do that."

He said, "I'm sure I'll write a book or two."

The film star, responding to questions via Twitter, said whether he acts again in movies would hinge on how interested he is in any particular script, among other things.

He also said he has sometimes played chess until 2 a.m. with friends.

October 20, 2010
Schwarzenegger endorses Prop. 20, opposes Prop. 27

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has officially weighed in on the redistricting battle on the ballot, pledging to fight an initiative to eliminate the voter-approved Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Schwarzenegger urged voters to reject Proposition 27 after a Sacramento screening Tuesday night of "Gerrymandering," a 2010 documentary on the redistricting process. He was a major supporter of Proposition 11, the 2008 initiative that shifted the job of redrawing state legislative and Board of Equalization district to a 14-member citizen panel.

"We are very excited about (Proposition 11), and we are very excited also that we have open primaries and won that after years and years and years of trying. But of course whenever you do something big like that and create change, there's a lot of people out there that want to go and roll it back again because they are very unhappy about this change. And this is why there's people out there now trying to undo the great progress that was made," he said, according to a transcript on the remarks.

Schwarzenegger also endorsed Proposition 20, a dueling measure to expand the commission's duties to include redrawing congressional district lines.

Schwarzenegger said he believes Democratic lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are funding Proposition 27 because they "have an interest in keeping the status quo and keeping the old system."

"They love that, because this is how they divide up their turf and their territory. And they, as you have heard, they want to choose the people, the voters, rather than the voters choosing them," he said in response to a reporter's question.

October 19, 2010
Schwarzenegger leaves criticism of GOP lawmakers behind, praises compromise on budget

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger took his post-budget victory lap to San Francisco this morning, touting pension reform and other budget provisions over breakfast at The Willie L. Brown Jr. Institute on Politics & Public Service.

"I'm very proud of that, that we got those reforms," the governor said of pension reform and the placement on the November 2012 ballot of a measure to create a "rainy day fund."

The budget signed Oct. 8 rolls back retirement benefits for new employees to pre-1999 levels.

Schwarzenegger, who used his weekly radio address Saturday to fire on fellow Republicans who opposed the pension bill, struck a friendlier tone today. He said he was pleased that Democrats and Republicans worked together to reach a compromise.

"That's the art of politics," he said.

Schwarzenegger said he is only troubled that the budget was so late, saying there are no consequences for lawmakers. He said their pay should be permanently withheld when the budget is late.

The lame duck governor allowed the budget deal did not include all the provisions he had sought, such as tax reform.

"You can't win everything," he said.

October 14, 2010
Schwarzenegger, from London, tweets on gov race dust-up

Being more than 5,000 miles away from the Golden State hasn't stopped Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger from weighing in on a recent slip of the tongue creating a stir in the gubernatorial contest.

The governor, who is in London to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron, was asked by a Twitter user "what do you think about eMeg selling her vote to the police union?"

"It's appalling when anyone sells out," Schwarzenegger tweeted back.

The tweet, of course, is referring to the recently released voice mail recording that captured an associate of Democratic candidate Jerry Brown calling Republican Meg Whitman a "whore," the implication being that Whitman had traded a position on pensions for an endorsement from a law enforcement group.

But what does he personally think of the use of the slur, asked another member of the Twitterverse.

"That word is unacceptable," he tweeted.

Schwarzenegger has largely stayed out of the fray in the race to replace him -- he has not endorsed either candidate. But he's no stranger to engaging fans and followers -- he and staff occasionally offer to answer questions posed on Twitter via his own feed and live "tweetcast" sessions streamed on the Web.

It's appalling when anyone sells out "@jashsf: @Schwarzenegger what do you think about eMeg selling her vote to the police union?"less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

That word is unacceptable "@Val: @Schwarzenegger What do you personally think about the "WHORE" comment made by Jerry Brown's campaign?"less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

October 13, 2010
And today's California governor is ...

Who's your governor today?

If you guessed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, you'd be wrong. If you guessed Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, you'd also be wrong.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is now in charge.

Maldonado is now in Miami, where he and his father are shooting a documentary of his life for the Spanish-language network Telemundo, according to spokeswoman Amanda Fulkerson. And Schwarzenegger is in London, taking some time off today before meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron and British troops tomorrow.

That means California's third-in-line, the Senate pro tem, is in charge.

We don't know what footage Telemundo will use as part of the documentary, but surely it has to include Maldonado's appearance at the 2008 Republican National Convention. We hope he removed the gum from his mouth before speaking into the camera this time.

Fulkerson says Maldonado is due back in California later today.

October 13, 2010
Steinberg calls governor's budget vetoes 'gratuitous'

Democrats believed that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would line-item veto about $500 million in spending items, but they were never told which particulars he would cut, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said Wednesday.

The Sacramento Democrat said he never thought the Republican governor would veto as much as $962.5 million.

"We presented the governor a list of items that we believed were worthy of protection and these items were on the list," Steinberg said, referring to child care for low-income parents, child welfare services and mental health services for special education students.

"The governor did not make any iron clad deal promises on the list, but that's sort of beside the point," Steinberg added. "We negotiated an agreement, and he ultimately has the constitutional authority to blue pencil. But he also has the responsibility to make sure he uses that blue pencil in a way that is judicious and in a way that is compassionate. And this is gratuitous."

Under the $256 million child care cut, former welfare-to-work participants now employed in low-income jobs would lose subsidized care for their children starting Nov. 1. Steinberg held a press conference Wednesday at a Discovery Tree School in downtown Sacramento to protest the vetoes.

October 12, 2010
Schwarzenegger endorses U.S. Senate hopeful ... in Florida

Charlie-Crist-Arnold-Schw-006.jpgGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced today that he is backing Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's independent bid for the U.S. Senate.

"Great leader, works with both parties, and our country needs someone like him in DC right now," Schwarzenegger, who is traveling in London today, posted on his Twitter feed.

Schwarzenegger has yet to endorse in California's gubernatorial or senate races, where Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina are running as the Republican nominees.

Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear declined to comment on why the governor was weighing in on a Florida contest while staying out of battles at the top of the ticket in his home state, except to say that Schwarzenegger and Crist had an existing relationship.

October 12, 2010
After visiting Moscow, Schwarzenegger off to London

176443900.jpgAfter three days in Moscow, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger flew earlier today to London, where he will meet later this week with Prime Minister David Cameron and British troops.

Schwarzenegger has had quite a trip so far. He spent time with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. He rode a packed subway train. He dined with former Soviet Union Leader Mikhail Gorbachev. He met German President Christian Wulff.

And he had a high-level summit with a pair of statues.

After signing the budget Friday night, Schwarzenegger dashed off to Moscow on Saturday to promote California's high-tech industry. He left Moscow earlier today for London.

He will have some down time tomorrow, followed by meetings with Cameron and British troops on Thursday. He is expected to return to California by Friday.

Until then, Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado remains in charge at home.

Photo credit: Schwarzenegger via Twitter

October 8, 2010
Schwarzenegger to visit Russia

After signing the state's long-overdue budget - perhaps tonight - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will travel this weekend to Russia to visit President Dmitry Medvedev at the site of a high-tech hub that Russian officials plan to build outside of Moscow.

Medvedev met with Schwarzenegger in June, when the Russian leader was in California to tour the Silicon Valley.

Schwarzenegger jetted to Asia for a six-day trade mission last month, saying it was necessary to promote California products and trade with China, Japan and South Korea. The trip's timing was criticized by some observers because the governor and Legislative leaders had yet to reach a budget agreement.

Schwarzenegger said at a press conference this morning that he plans to fly to Russia.

October 7, 2010
Schwarzenegger honors good Samaritan in Fresno

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was in Fresno this morning to honor a good Samaritan who saw a kidnapping suspect Tuesday and cut him off in traffic, helping rescue an 8-year-old Fresno girl.

It was lucky, Schwarzenegger said, that Victor Perez was unemployed and at home to see the truck.

"This guy is a true action hero," Schwarzenegger said.

Gregorio Gonzalez, 24, of Fresno, was arrested Tuesday and faces charges of kidnapping, sexual assault and false imprisonment.

Perez has said he saw the suspect's pickup truck in front of his home, followed it and cut the driver off. The suspect allegedly pushed the girl out of the truck and sped off.

October 4, 2010
Schwarzenegger gets laughs with crack about Curtis' 'private parts'

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger shared some private memories of Tony Curtis at the late actor's Las Vegas memorial service today.

The Las Vegas Sun's John Katsilometes reports:

Schwarzenegger drew one of the loudest laughs of the 90-minute service when he remembered Curtis' zeal for staying young, driving sports cars and favoring younger women -- "Marrying an extraordinary younger woman, Jill," -- and even posing nude for Vanity Fair. "He had a picture of himself at age 80 standing at the swimming pool, naked. Who has the guts to have a naked photo taken at age 80? Normally men have a fig leaf to cover their private parts, but Tony's private parts were so big he had two dogs covering them!"

Curtis died last week at age 85. Schwarzenegger, who met Curtis in 1976, also talked about the movie star's advice for his own budding acting career. Read more on the event and the governor's remarks here.

October 1, 2010
Schwarzenegger touts health care reform bills

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, at a ceremonial signing of legislation making California the first state to establish its own health insurance exchange, said this morning that the state is delivering on its promise of affordable and accessible health care.

The measure is part of the federal health care overhaul authorized this year.

Schwarzenegger said of criticism the reform is not perfect, "But what is?"

He said, "You have to compromise."

Schwarzenegger said health care is a "must" for everyone. He said the legislation moves California "one giant step" closer to that ideal.

Schwarzenegger signed the bills Thursday. He was in Los Angeles this morning to tout the measure.

September 28, 2010
Schwarzenegger vetoes bill to force FPPC to post gifts online

Among the 37 bills vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday was a measure to require that the Fair Political Practices Commission post online gifts that interest groups report giving to lawmakers and staff.

Assembly Bill 2007, by Assemblyman Anthony Adams, R-Hesperia, was introduced after dozens of lawmakers incurred fines for failing to report gifts interest groups claimed to have given them. Some legislators said they did not report the items because they had never been notified of the gift value.

Gift reports from lobbyist employers are already posted on the secretary of state's website. The FPPC opposed the measure, arguing that requiring that staff collect and post the information would cost the agency an additional $90,000 a year.

Schwarzenegger wrote in a veto message that the measure was unnecessary.

"Requiring the Fair Political Practices Commission to extrapolate this information and host it on their website is duplicative and costly," he wrote.

Click here for a full list of bills signed and vetoed last night. Schwarzenegger has until Thursday to act on more than 500 more bills approved by the Legislature.

September 28, 2010
Schwarzenegger awards state's highest honor for police valor

Ten California peace officers today were awarded the Medal of Valor, their profession's highest award for heroism, for acts last year that ranged from pulling motorists out of burning vehicles to rescuing a judge who had been stabbed.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown presented the awards in a 45-minute Capitol ceremony.

Honorees included two Sacramento-area officers - Deputy Ken Skogen of the Placer County Sheriff's Department and Detective Eric Bradley of the Lodi Police Department.

Bradley was recognized for shooting to death David Paradiso who, while testifying on suspicion of murdering his girlfriend, grabbed a shank from his leg brace and injured a judge by stabbing her in the neck and arm.

Skogen was honored for pulling an elderly woman from her burning home moments before it burned to the ground near Rock Creed Road and Highway 49 in Placer County.

Other honorees were:

• California Highway Patrol Officers Rodney Richards and Jason Smith, Redding area, who rescued the driver of a burning tractor trailer rig and help extinguish the victim's burning clothes.

• Sheriff Tom Allman, Mendocino County, who helped to free the occupant of a wrecked vehicle from fire that was leaping about 20 feet into the air on Highway 101 in Redwood Valley.

• Officer Kelley Merritt, Susanville Police Department, who helped to save a colleague wounded after a gunfight broke out in a suspected marijuana garden in a remote area of Lassen County.

• San Mateo Police Capt. Kevin Raffaelli and Officers Rick Apecechea, Jeff Dellinges and Roberto Gonzalez, who responded to reports of shots fired at Hillsdale High School and helped subdue a male juvenile wearing a vest containing 10 live bombs.

Honorees were nominated by Brown from recommendations by a panel of law enforcement officials.

September 27, 2010
Schwarzenegger says budget vote near; campaigns against Prop. 23

Schwarzenegger Climate Law.JPGGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said this afternoon that the Legislature may vote on a state budget within the next week or so, suggesting the governor and legislative leaders are close to a deal.

The remark came during a panel discussion at the Commonwealth Club of California, in Santa Clara, where Schwarzenegger came to campaign against Proposition 23, the measure to suspend California's landmark greenhouse gas reduction law.

Today is the fourth anniversary of Schwarzenegger's signing of Assembly Bill 32, in which California in 2006 became the first state in the nation to adopt such comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction measures. If the legislation survives the November ballot, it will be a significant part of Schwarzenegger's legacy.

"We have only five weeks to go now to Election Day," Schwarzenegger said. "And we are going to not rest until the last vote is cast."

Asked about Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's announcement last week that she, too, opposes Proposition 23, Schwarzenegger suggested the billionaire candidate back up her position with a campaign contribution. Whitman, however, has said she would suspend AB 32 for one year.

With five weeks to go before Election Day, Proposition 23 has failed to gain widespread support, trailing by a 45 percent to 34 percent margin, according to a Field Poll released this week.

The proposition would suspend the greenhouse gas reduction law until the state unemployment rate drops below 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters.

PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks at the Commonwealth Club in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Sept. 27, 2010. Schwarzenegger is blasting the oil companies that are trying to undermine California's global warming law, saying they are motivated purely by greed. (AP Photo/ Paul Sakuma)

September 24, 2010
Schwarzenegger approves horse racing bill, kills ski helmet restrictions

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed 76 bills, including legislation making major changes to the horse racing industry, this evening.

Senate Bill 1072, by Sen. Charles Calderon, D-Montebello, will increase the prize pool for race winners and allow consumers wagering on the races to bet on horses to lose under an Internet-based system known as "exchange wagering."

The governor also vetoed 43 bills late Friday. Among the bills killed by the governor were measures to exempt some state workers from furloughs, ban dormancy fees for gift cards and set new safety reporting requirements for ski resorts.

Schwarzenegger signed a bill that would require that youth wear helmets while skiing or snowboarding, but it will not take effect because it was tied to the vetoed the ski resort bill.

More than 600 bills are still sitting on the governor's desk. The deadline or acting on legislation is Sept. 30.

Click here for a full list of bills acted on by the governor tonight.

This post was updated to reflect that the final version of the gift card bill banned dormancy fees.

September 24, 2010
Schwarzenegger asks legislators to ban more felons from in-home care

Schwarzenegger BUDGET GOV.JPGGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked legislative leaders today to add rape, grand theft and other serious crimes to the list of felony convictions that disqualify someone from providing government-subsidized in-home care.

"It is ridiculous to exclude a caregiver for elder abuse, but not for lewd and lascivious acts with a dependent adult," the governor wrote in a letter. He noted that newly required background checks of In-Home Supportive Services providers have detected murder and grand theft convictions.

Last year, with the governor pressing them, the Legislature approved requiring criminal background checks for caregivers and increased efforts to disqualify caregivers convicted of defrauding government programs or specific types of elder and child abuse.

Schwarzenegger, who has tried to reduce the in-home program's size by various means, wanted to include all felonies as disqualifying crimes. But disabled rights groups and unionized workers won a federal court order to stop the governor's plan.

September 23, 2010
Schwarzenegger back in campaign action

First it was announced yesterday that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will share a Long Beach stage next month with gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown for a conversation about governing - this after taking painstaking measures to stay out of the race.

Then, today came the e-mail from Schwarzenegger's California Dream Team, inviting you to join the governor and "a wide coalition of supporters who are fighting to protect California's voter-approved election reforms by joining the No on Proposition 27 campaign!"

The governor, cold or not, low approval rating or not, looks to be engaging in the campaign.

The Nov. 2 ballot includes two propositions about redistricting. Proposition 20 would put congressional redistricting into the hands of an independent commission already formed to draw state legislative lines. Proposition 27 -- the measure Schwarzenegger doesn't like -- would abolish that commission and return redistricting to the Legislature.

September 22, 2010
Leaders to meet at governor's private Santa Monica office

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger won one budget battle this week - the location of today's meeting with legislative leaders in Southern California.

The governor will host leaders at his private Oak Productions office in Santa Monica today at 1 p.m., according to Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear. Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, initially wanted to have the meeting at the Ronald Reagan State Building in downtown Los Angeles.

For those unfamiliar with the governor's Santa Monica office, Washington Monthly described it in 2005 as follows:

It is quite unlike any governor's office anywhere in the country, that much is certain. The walls are lined with movie posters and photographs of Schwarzenegger in all manner of political and commercial poses. Outside the door to his inner office stands a life-size mock up of Schwarzenegger as the Terminator, his face half gone and a red laser eye gleaming. Inside the office, amid a jumble of movie memorabilia, rests a stuffed crocodile. Overall, the effect is interior design by a very rich, very extravagant 16 year-old.

Legislative leaders are having an unusual budget road meeting in Santa Monica because the governor came down with a cold and was unable to fly to Sacramento this week. Today marks the 84th day of the budget impasse. On Friday, leaders will break the record for budget tardiness that was set in 2008.

September 21, 2010
Schwarzenegger will miss Clinton summit of world leaders

Whitman Schwarzenegger.JPGStuck at home with an illness and a budget stalemate, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will miss his scheduled appearance today at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York.

Schwarzenegger had planned to speak about California's 2006 climate change law, Assembly Bill 32, in the midst of an intense campaign over the law's future. Oil companies and business groups are backing Proposition 23 to suspend the law until California's unemployment rate drops significantly. They say AB 32 would hurt the state's economy by forcing increased costs on businesses.

The governor and environmental groups fighting Proposition 23 scored an editorial today in the New York Times that criticized the initiative and the people funding the measure.

That might have dovetailed nicely with Schwarzenegger's appearance, but the governor had to cancel, according to his political adviser, Adam Mendelsohn.

"The governor was very disappointed that he couldn't go to the Clinton Global Initiative," Mendelsohn said. "But unfortunately because of how he's feeling and his focus on the budget, he was unable to attend."

Schwarzenegger has scheduled no budget meetings in Sacramento today, according to his office.

After a six-day trade mission in Asia that finished last Wednesday, the governor and legislative leaders held budget meetings on Thursday and Friday. But they haven't met since then, and Schwarzenegger's office said he was sick yesterday.

The Clinton event marks the second out-of-state event the governor has had to cancel this week. Schwarzenegger chose not to attend the Border Governors' Conference in New Mexico because of the budget impasse, according his spokesman, Aaron McLear. California stands to break its Sept. 23 record for budget lateness.

PHOTO CAPTION: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger discusses the legislature's failure to pass a state budget plan, during a news conference in Sacramento on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010. (AP Photo/ Rich Pedroncelli)

September 18, 2010
Just back from Asia, Schwarzenegger cancels trip to New Mexico

New Mexico isn't Asia, and a meeting of governors, apparently, isn't a high-speed rail-touting, California product-promoting trade mission.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has canceled his trip to New Mexico for the Border Governors Conference. His office said in an e-mail this afternoon that he will remain in Sacramento to attend budget talks with Legislative leaders Monday.

Schwarzenegger returned this week from a six-day trade mission to China, Japan and South Korea. The countries are significant trading partners, but the trip's timing was criticized by some observers because the state budget is more than two months overdue.

Upon returning from Asia, Schwarzenegger and lawmakers on Thursday and Friday held meetings of the Big Five, a group composed of the governor and legislative leaders. Republicans and Democrats dispute how to resolve a $19 billion budget deficit.

Governors of U.S. and Mexican border states are scheduled to meet Sunday and Monday in Santa Fe to discuss border security, the economy and other matters.

Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado is to represent California at the conference, Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said in an e-mail.

September 16, 2010
Schwarzenegger drops idea to borrow from CalPERS to balance budget

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic and Republican legislative leaders huddled for about three hours today to hammer out a long-delayed budget deal and bridge a $19 billion deficit.

The only concrete result appeared to be the governor taking off the table a proposal to borrow money from the California Public Employees' Retirement System to balance the budget.

The Big Five will meet again at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow.

"The governor told the leaders that we're not going to do that," said Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear about the CalPERS idea. "It's just not the responsible thing to do."

Senate President Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, expressed some optimism that legislators could reach a deal by as early as tomorrow.

"We're hopeful to be done tomorrow or the weekend," Steinberg said.

Republican legislative leaders did not speak to press after the meeting.

McLear, however, said Democrat and Republican leaders hadn't made substantial process and blamed legislators for "not doing their job." Schwarzenegger returned yesterday from a six-day trip to Asia 77 days after the legal deadline for passing a budget had passed.

"No major breakthroughs at all," McLear said. "Just kind of working through all the issues."

McLear and Steinberg agreed that the impasse revolved around how much in cuts to make. Steinberg added that the governor needed to first finish collective bargaining agreements with state employee unions.

September 15, 2010
At Yelp, Whitman gets mixed reviews

WhitmanYelpr.jpgRepublican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman spoke this afternoon to a young crowd of Yelp employees in their San Francisco offices. It wasn't Folsom, and the employees weren't pitching softballs.

First, a woman in the audience called a lie Whitman's ad featuring a clip of President Bill Clinton criticizing Democratic nominee Jerry Brown in a 1992 presidential debate. In the clip, Clinton relies on a discredited CNN report about the tax burden in California when Brown was governor, from 1975 to 1983, and the employee asked Whitman why she wouldn't pull it.

Whitman said "the facts in the ad are accurate," saying an alternative calculation of the tax burden supported her claim.

Whitman said Clinton, who endorsed Brown on Tuesday, did so because he is a "loyal Democrat," not because he was wrong.

Later, a man asked if it wasn't "cynical and disingenuous" for Whitman to spend so much money on her campaign and to not engage in unscripted debate.

Whitman, who is scheduled to debate Brown three times, plunked another $15 million of her own money into her campaign on Tuesday, raising her total self-contribution to just more than $119 million, a record for a non-presidential race.

September 9, 2010
Schwarzenegger signs Chelsea's Law

Chelseas Law.jpgGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this morning signed Chelsea's Law, imposing tougher penalties on sex offenders through legislation named for a San Diego County teenager murdered by a convicted sex offender.

"Because of Chelsea, this never has to happen again," Schwarzenegger said before signing the bill in San Diego. "California's children will be better protected from this moment on."

Chelsea's Law is named for Chelsea King, a 17-year-old murdered by convicted sex offender John Gardner this year. It calls for life sentences without parole for sex offenders who attack children under age 14.

John Gardner, King's killer, also confessed to killing 14-year-old Amber Dubois.

In San Diego this morning, King's parents, Brent and Kelly King, praised Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, R-San Diego, who proposed the bill.

"Nathan, quite simply, you're my hero," Kelly King said.

Schwarzenegger is scheduled to leave the country later today for a six-day trade mission to China, South Korea and Japan.

PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, center, signs Chelsea's Law as he is joined by Chelsea King's parents, Brent and Kelly King, right, Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, R-San Diego, second from left, and Chelsea's friend, Jenna Belknap, left, in San Diego, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Jae C. Hong/Associated Press.

September 7, 2010
Schwarzenegger upbeat about budget negotiation, eggs

After meeting with legislative leaders this morning, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said this afternoon that the mood is "pretty good" in negotiations to resolve the state's budget impasse.

Without being specific, the governor said, "I think that we've broken through some barriers that were really hard to get through."

Schwarzenegger addressed reporters inside a Save Mart store in Sacramento. He had stopped in, with a table full of eggs in front of him, to say eggs produced in California are safe, despite a massive recall of eggs produced in some other states.

"Go out and buy as many eggs as possible," he said, "but make sure that they're California eggs."

September 7, 2010
Democrats take softer approach to Schwarzenegger's Asia trip

BB SCHWARZENEGGER HONG KONG THROW.JPGGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's forthcoming trade mission in Asia seemed like an obvious opportunity for Democrats to attack the GOP governor, given that he will be on a six-day overseas trip while the state lacks a budget and IOUs loom in the horizon.

And given the references to Schwarzenegger's "vacation" coming out of Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's office last month and today, it seemed like attacks were inevitable.

But Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez softened their approach Tuesday following a 90-minute meeting with Schwarzenegger and GOP legislative leaders. Pérez even offered an economic argument for why the governor should go.

The change in tone seemed to be a budget peace offering.

"We live in the modern times, and if the governor is there or here, we can engage in important conversations," Pérez said. "Our objective is to try to get to resolution as quickly as possible. One of the things we've said is, we want to make sure we have budgetary solutions that make sense for the economic prosperity of the state. So the last thing we want to do is be an impediment to securing the trade relations and the benefit of those relations at the same time."

Steinberg acknowledged that it would be easier to solve the budget in face-to-face talks, but he added, "Look, we'll make anything work. As John said, with technology, we can get the job done either way."

Democrats have floated a new version of their tax swap to raise as much as $1 billion in the current fiscal year.

Assembly Republican Leader Martin Garrick, R-Solana Beach, said Republicans still have to examine the new proposal. But he added that any change would not take effect until 2011, in which case the plan would raise significantly less money than Democrats had hoped for. If the plan does not take effect until 2011, it would raise $250 million in the current fiscal year, according to Steinberg's office.

PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger throws shirts into the crowd at a California Grown event in Hong Kong on Nov. 19. 2005, the last day of his six-day trade mission to China. Sacramento Bee file photo/ Brian Baer

September 1, 2010
Schwarzenegger targets pensions in budget press conference

Schwarzeneggerbudgetphoto.JPGGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger left little doubt today that cutting state employee pensions remains one of his top priorities in budget negotiations. He is demanding that lawmakers roll back pension guarantees for future state hires as a condition to signing the budget.

The state is scheduled to pay $2.1 billion in general fund dollars (and $3.8 billion overall) for state pensions in 2010-11, while the general fund deficit is $19 billion. Any pension reductions would have minimal impact on the current budget deficit, since most savings would come in future years. But it has become a signature issue for Schwarzenegger, who believes pension costs will crowd out other state expenditures in the future.

"The question we have to ask ourselves is, is it pensions or is it parks?" he said today in a budget press conference. "Is it pensions or higher education? Is it pensions or child care? And the list goes on and on, because that's where the money comes from. Those are the areas where we are taking this money because of the pensions."

When asked about a separate issue, his proposed elimination of welfare-to-work, Schwarzenegger responded with an answer about pensions.

August 30, 2010
Schwarzenegger: Politicians, parties not interested in political reform

Arnold Schwarzenegger.JPGGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said this afternoon that many politicians and the state's political parties have little interest in political reform, though the Republican governor said he does.

In a brief address to a Fair Political Practices Commission task force, Schwarzenegger said he was lobbied not to appoint a commission chairman when the seat became vacant this year.

"The interesting thing about it is, is that as soon as Ross Johnson left, the amount of politicians that got in touch with me, and parties that got in touch with me, that said, 'Don't fill that spot. Let's just wait until Nov. 2,'" Schwarzenegger told a task force meeting in Sacramento to consider revisions and updates to the state's complex campaign laws. "It just shows you that really, in the end, they have very little interest in reform."

Schwarzenegger appointed Dan Schnur chairman of the agency in June to fill the remainder of a term started by Johnson.

The governor today praised Schnur and said he is "hungry" for reform.

August 27, 2010
Schwarzenegger to go to Asia with or without budget

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will leave the state for a six-day, mid-September trade mission to Asia even if the state has no budget in place, spokesman Aaron McLear said this morning.

The governor's office made the decision this week, he said.

"The Legislature's failure to do its job is not going to keep us from doing ours," McLear said.

He said the trip, to China, Japan and South Korea from Sept. 9 to Sept. 15, is important to "grow our economy and create jobs."

Schwarzenegger and lawmakers are tangling over how to resolve a $19 billion budget deficit. The state budget is almost two months late.

August 26, 2010
Schwarzenegger hearts Fabian Nunez ... and weightlifters

Having finished the first "Big Five" budget meeting with legislative leaders since June 14, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger went this evening to Lucca Restaurant & Bar on J Street to raise money for a high school weightlifting program.

In the crowd was former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez.

Schwarzenegger, a Republican, introduced the former Democratic lawmaker as a "rarity ... someone I could work with."

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson also was on hand.

Schwarzenegger arranged the fundraiser after visiting weightlifters at Sacramento High School this month. Sac High lifters, who have won national championships and competed internationally, could not afford to attend a championship tournament in France. This evening's event to pay for that trip was expected to raise $50,000 or more.

Schwarzenegger said he and other young weightlifters in Austria relied on a local politician to help pay for trophies and trips to meets.

"I never forget that," he said.

August 26, 2010
Schwarzenegger touts parole sweep

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was in Los Angeles this morning for a press conference and some back-slapping about what officials said may be the largest parole sweep in state history.

Law enforcement officials started knocking on doors before dawn, targeting about 300 parolees and arresting 77, Schwarzenegger said. More than 1,000 state, local and federal officers were involved in the sweep.

"That was kind of a rude awakening for a lot of those parole violators," Schwarzenegger said.

August 24, 2010
Schwarzenegger shoots from hip in talk with business leaders

103116508JS002_GOV_SCHWARZE.JPGThe closer Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gets to leaving office and the longer the budget stalemate drags out, the more frank he seems to become.

Speaking today at the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Republican governor had no qualms about attacking public employee unions, whom he blamed for high costs everywhere in government.

In a perfect Schwarzenegger world, courtroom cameras would replace court reporters, courthouses would use private security guards and schools would hire local gardeners rather than union employees to mow the lawn.

August 24, 2010
Schwarzenegger not ruling out trip to Asia

BB HONG KONG ORANGE.JPGGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn't ruled out a mid-September trip to Asia, even if the state has no budget in place.

"Right now we plan to go," Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said this morning. "We hope to have a budget before then."

The trip, a trade mission to China, Japan and South Korea, is scheduled Sept. 9 to Sept. 15.

That's more than two weeks away -- an eternity in budget-negotiating time -- and the state could have a budget by then.

It's questionable whether Schwarzenegger would really leave without one. He has made budget reform a hallmark of his final year in office.

McLear said there is no deadline by which the governor must decide whether or not to go.

PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger samples a California grown orange at the Welcome Star store on Great George St. in the Causeway Bay area of Hong Kong on Nov. 19. 2005, the last day of his six-day trade mission to China. Sacramento Bee file photo/ Brian Baer

August 24, 2010
Schwarzenegger denounces majority vote budget measure

ha_gov48083.JPGGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today denounced Proposition 25, which would lower the legislative vote margin for state budgets from two-thirds to a simple majority, and declared that it's a back-door attempt to make it easier to raise taxes.

Schwarzenegger,speaking to a business group in Goleta, responded "absolutely no" when asked about his position on the measure, placed on the ballot by Democrats and unions.

He then added, "I believe this is also ... a majority vote for tax increases."

With that comment, Schwarzenegger echoed arguments of Proposition 25 opponents in the business community that the measure's wording could allow tax increase measures that implement a budget to also be passed with a simple-majority vote.

However, opponents lost when an appeals court recently declared that a ballot summary statement declaring that Proposition 25 "retains two-thirds vote requirement for taxes" is accurate and would remain.

The two-thirds vote on budgets has been in the state constitution for decades but the two-thirds vote on tax increases was adopted by voters in 1978 as part of Proposition 13. A few years ago, voters rejected a measure that would have repealed both two-thirds votes.

PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger leaves Senate Republican leader Dennis Hollingsworth's office at the state Capitol on July 9 after a meeting to discuss the state budget. Hector Amezcua/ Sacramento Bee

August 20, 2010
Once scorned, 'MoJo' rising to state parks commission

RP SENATE TAX MO JO.JPGIn a housecleaning mood after the state's historic gubernatorial recall, Arnold Schwarzenegger wasted little time in 2003 booting Maurice Johannessen from his job as state veterans affairs secretary.

Some Republicans had targeted Johannessen because they felt he'd been a little too friendly with Democrats during his time in the state Senate. Former Democratic Gov. Gray Davis appointed the termed-out Johannessen to the veterans affairs post in 2002, a promotion widely seen as a reward for breaking with Republicans to vote for two previous budgets.

But Schwarzenegger seems to have had a change of heart. The Republican governor has appointed Johannessen -- often called "MoJo" in the Capitol -- to the State Parks and Recreation Commission, Schwarzenegger's office announced Friday.

What's changed? It's unclear why Schwarzenegger has tapped Johannessen at this time, but perhaps the governor recognizes the necessity of having a few MoJos in office after having to dole out his own rewards to Republicans who provided budget votes last year.

Update (5:08 p.m.):
Interestingly enough, the governor's press release refers to Johannessen's departure as veterans affairs secretary as "his retirement in 2003." Johannessen told The Bee in 2003 that he got a call from a "low-level staffer" to vacate his office immediately, despite offering to stay for 60 days to help with the transition.

PHOTO CREDIT: Then Sen. Maurice Johannessen, R-Redding, listens to fellow lawmakers on June 25, 2002. Sacramento Bee file photo/ Randy Pench

August 18, 2010
Schwarzenegger visits border troops, says they're working

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said today that the first of 224 California National Guard troops he ordered to the Mexican border are now working with border patrol agents on security operations.

Schwarzenegger was at the border this morning visiting troops.

The deployment, which Schwarzenegger ordered as part of President Barack Obama's proposed deployment of 1,200 National Guard troops across the Southwest, is expected to be fully operational Sept. 1, the governor's office said in a written statement. He ordered the troops deployed last month.

"Today, our National Guard has been called to help secure the border and protect the safety of the American people, and I am proud that we are the first state to have our troops trained and operational for this mission," Schwarzenegger said.

August 18, 2010
Matthew Dowd becomes political columnist

Matthew Dowd, who ran Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's re-election campaign in 2006, has a new part-time job -- political journalist.

The National Journal announced today that Dowd, a partner in ViaNovo, an "international communications and brand positioning firm," will write a biweekly column on politics in National Journal magazine.

"Matthew understands more than anybody in Washington that politics isn't about the beltway," said Ron Fournier, the magazine's editor. "He understands that it's about the people between the coasts and how vastly and rapidly our lives are changing -- where we live, how we make our livings, and how we connect with one another. The forces buffeting Americans' lives are transforming politics unlike any time since the beginning of the 20th century. Matthew gets that. He is a powerful thinker and soon to be a common-sense columnist without peer."

Dowd has often appeared as a political analyst on national television programs and written articles for magazines, newspapers and on-line outlets such as the Huffington Post.

August 17, 2010
Have Republicans backed off elimination of welfare?

One of the defining cuts of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed May budget was the elimination of welfare-to-work.

The proposal would make California the only state without a welfare program and cost the state more than $3.7 billion in federal funds to save $1.2 billion in state expenditures. For those reasons, many people considered the elimination a negotiating ploy.

Schwarzenegger and Republican lawmakers still say publicly that the state can't afford CalWORKs, which is heavily subsidized by the federal government but not required. Democrats have used the elimination as a prime example of why they think Schwarzenegger's May budget isn't very realistic.

But in an interview last week, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg suggested that Republicans have backed away from the CalWORKs elimination in private talks. He noted that Republicans are now asking for $500 million in CalWORKs cuts - short of the $1.2 billion CalWORKs elimination.

August 13, 2010
Schwarzenegger chides Legislature on opening pension books

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger chided the Legislature today for rushing to make city finances more transparent in the reaction to a scandal in Bell, but refusing to open up state pension and school district finances.

Schwarzenegger said the state should be willing to let the public examine pension records to see who's getting what. He has been demanding that pension reform be part of any state budget deal, saying that the system is too generous in benefits and places too great a burden on a deficit-riddled budget.

Coincidentally, an Orange County Register article today delved into the pension that Attorney General Jerry Brown has earned over decades of on-again, off-again public office, noting that the precise amount of his pension is confidential.

While legislators require cities to be more open, Schwarzenegger said, "Let's put that kind of information (pension detail) at the same time on the website."

He also complained that school finances are often opaque, citing the rapidly escalating costs of building the Robert F. Kennedy Learning Center on the site of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, where Kennedy was assassinated in 1968. Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria, is part of the Kennedy family.

Schwarzenegger's remarks came during a wide-ranging appearance before the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, meeting in Los Angeles.

He told the audience that while the state budget stalemate continues, describing it as "basic philosophical differences," he believes it could be resolved "within the month of August..." But he also renewed his vow not to sign a budget that includes new taxes, which Democratic leaders have proposed,

Finally, Schwarzenegger took another shot at state employees who complain about furloughs (which are now tied up in the courts), referring to a chart purporting to prove that public workers have fared much better than those in the private economy during the recession.

"They're not in touch with reality," Schwarzenegger said of the state workers.

August 6, 2010
Read Schwarzenegger's, Brown's arguments in Prop 8 case

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown both asked U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker to let same-sex marriages immediately resume in the wake of his decision overturning Proposition 8.

Kevin Yamamura and Susan Ferriss has more on the filings and and Proposition 8 supporters' request for a stay of the decision.

You can read the full motion filed by Brown here.

Click here to read the motion filed by Schwarzenegger.

Update: Read the motion opposing the stay filed by plaintiffs opposing Proposition 8 here.

August 6, 2010
Schwarzenegger goes around Senate to keep appointee

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger maneuvered today to keep Brian J. Stiger in charge of the Department of Consumer Affairs, bypassing the Senate's refusal to hold a confirmation hearing for him.

In response to the Senate's year-old unwillingness to take a vote on Stiger's appointment, the lame-duck governor said in a statement today that he is reappointing Stiger the department's senior chief deputy director and designating him acting director.

It is a position for which no Senate blessing is required.

Stiger's salary, $142,965 a year, is to remain the same.

August 3, 2010
Schwarzenegger talks about state-worker furloughs

ha_schwarzenegger48105.JPGWhen Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke this morning to the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Fresno, he was asked, "Why did the state workers have to bear the brunt of fiscal mismanagement? When do we get our money back? When will the furloughs end?"

Bee colleague Kevin Yamamura was listening to the event live and caught the governor's answer, perhaps his most lengthy public statement on his furlough policy to date.

Check out his partial transcript, posted by Jon Ortiz over at our sister blog, The State Worker, plus a link to the audio of Schwarzenegger's remarks.

PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger leaves the state Capitol on Friday, July 9, 2010. Sacramento Bee/ Hector Amezcua

August 3, 2010
Schwarzenegger loves Fresno

P1010022_fresno_downtown.JPGArnold Schwarzenegger's favorite city may be Fresno, at least judging by the number of times he's visited.

Schwarzenegger, whose governorship will end in five months, was in Fresno again today to talk to a Latino business group about the state budget stalemate. The Fresno Bee has calculated that he's visited the city at least 70 times.

Why? Schwarzenegger puts it in terms of one of his former professions, bodybuilding, likening Fresno to the abdominal muscles -- the "abs" -- that are critical to muscular development.

Calling himself a "big believer in the Central Valley," the governor today called the region "the abs of California" and added, "You can't win without the abs."

PHOTO: The pedestrian-only Fulton Mall in downtown Fresno. Sacramento Bee file photo

August 3, 2010
Schwarzenegger's office: Democrats' latest budget plan is D.O.A.

The Schwarzenegger administration today declared a new Democratic plan to close the state budget deficit to be dead-on-arrival even before it was officially unveiled.

"It's a tax increase," Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger's press secretary, Aaron McLear, told reporters, adding, "Tax increases are dead-on-arrival."

The plan, to be unveiled later today by legislative leaders, centers on delaying or canceling $2 billion in business tax breaks enacted last year and an elaborate tax swap under which income taxes would rise and sales taxes would be cut, with the increased income taxes partially offset by their being deductible on federal tax returns.

The 2010-11 state budget has a projected $19-plus billion deficit but negotiations have stalled because Democratic legislative leaders were at odds on a unified approach. The state constitution says the budget was to have been enacted by June 17, seven weeks ago. The fiscal year began July 1 without a budget in place. Controller John Chiang says he may have to begin using IOUs to pay state bills in a few weeks if the budget is not finalized soon.

"At least Dems are on the same page," McLear said, adding, "Now we can start negotiating."

July 30, 2010
Schwarzenegger names NRDC staffer to Delta panel

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has appointed Natural Resources Defense Council western director Felicia Marcus to the Delta Stewardship Council.

The seven-member panel, created as part of the 2009 water policy package, is tasked with crafting and implementing a plan for the future management of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Marcus, a former EPA administrator and Los Angeles Board of Public Works commissioner, replaces another Schwarzenegger pick, Richard Roos-Collins. Roos-Collins, an attorney for the Natural Heritage Institute, resigned earlier this month after his nomination was opposed by environmental groups.

Marcus, a Democrat from Emeryville, must be confirmed by the Senate. Salary for the position is roughly $40,000. Her full bio, as released by the governor's office, is posted after the jump.

July 30, 2010
Federal government blocks EdFund sale, terminates operation

The U.S. Department of Education has blocked California's attempt to sell its student-loan guarantor, EdFund, and plans to sever ties with the Rancho Cordova-based operation by October, according to letters obtained by The Bee.

The federal government has expressed concerns related to ongoing mismanagement of EdFund, as well as the state's process for trying to sell EdFund's guarantor status through a bidding process.

State leaders three years ago believed they could sell EdFund to raise $1 billion in upfront cash to help plug the state deficit. But that value dropped substantially in the wake of a recession and a move to cut private lenders out of the federal student-loan business. The state Department of Finance never disclosed how much it hoped to raise this year from the sale, but lawmakers were counting on some money as part of this year's solution to bridge a $19 billion deficit.

The federal government's decision not only ends California's hope of raising immediate cash for the state budget through the sale of EdFund, but threatens an annual source of millions of dollars that have gone toward grants for low-income students in recent years. The Legislature was counting on EdFund profits to pay for $100 million in Cal Grants this year. Much of that money is in reserves and does not appear to be at risk, though the state would not be able to rely on EdFund for future revenues.

July 30, 2010
AM Alert: Budget birthday wish

137479548-a48ee487e1aff9e18776218963397ecf.4c521d08-scaled.jpgGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger turns 63 today.

The governor and his staff celebrated with cake outside his smoking tent yesterday, candles and all. He has no planned public events today.

Will lawmakers give Schwarzenegger the gift of a completed budget deal?

He shouldn't hold his breath (or waste that wish when he blows out the candles).

It's Day 30 of the fiscal year, and there's still no deal to close the $19.1 billion shortfall. Leaders have continued to meet in negotiations this week. The Legislature, on unofficial summer "recess," reconvenes Monday.

Meanwhile, ballot measures will be all the buzz in San Francisco this weekend, with the launch of the 2010 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy. The five-day conference on direct democracy will feature speakers from all spots on the ideological spectrum.

The Citizens in Charge Foundation will also release a report on fraud in the initiative system during the conference, held at the University of California's Hastings College of Law.

Also in San Francisco this weekend: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown and GOP Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, who is running for a full term as lieutenant governor, are scheduled to participate in a Faith Forum at the San Francisco Christian Center.

Don't expect the two to go head-to-head, as the event is being billed as a "conversation" with both candidates serving as guest speakers.

The free forum, sponsored by the California Foundation, is at 11:30 a.m.

PHOTO CREDIT: Schwarzenegger's Twitter feed.

July 29, 2010
AM Alert: Now or later

Public Policy Institute of California's new statewide poll is adding fuel to the fire in the fight over Proposition 23.

The poll results, released last night, found that roughly two-thirds of Californians ( and 61 percent of likely voters) support AB 32, the 2006 law mandating that California drop its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. That figure remains consistent with support in past years.

That law would be suspended until the unemployment rate hits 5.5 percent or lower for four consecutive calendar quarters by Proposition 23, considered by many the battle royal among the November initiatives. Supporters of the initiative say that move is needed to ease the regulatory burden on businesses until the economy rebounds.

Despite the strong support for the law, Californians were divided when asked whether the government should act right away to reduce emissions or wait until the economy recovers as the initiative proponents suggest.

A slim majority of Californians (53 percent) said the government should still immediately take action, with 42 percent of respondents saying they think the state should wait. Likely voters were split, with 48 percent of respondents on either side of the issue.

Prop 23 opponents seized on the results as a sign that ""Californians know that we can have both a strong economy and clean air."

But the Yes on Prop 23 campaign dismissed the findings, saying the questions were unfairly centered on global warming, not the economic impacts of AB 32.

"Folks instinctively will say we should reduce emissions related to global warming," Jack Stewart, president of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, said in a statement. "Poll after poll shows that jobs and the economy are voters' top priority. At the end of the day, Californians will be unwilling to spend billions and risk over a million jobs for a global warming law that will do nothing to reduce global warming."

The poll also showed narrow leads for Democrats Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer, with nearly a quarter of voters in both races still undecided. Dan Walters has more on those numbers on Capitol Alert.

Click here for the full poll, which includes voter opinions on offshore oil drilling, the direction of the state and job approval ratings of elected officials.

PRESSER: Plaintiffs in a lawsuit to block the implementation of the "top-two" primary system approved under Proposition 14 are holding an 11 a.m. news conference in San Jose to announce their plans. Read more about the suit, which will be filed today in San Francisco Superior Court, here.

BALLOT WATCH: Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced yesterday that an initiative to change the state's legislative term-limit laws has qualified for the ballot, just not for the one in November. The measure will be on the ballot for the next statewide election after the Nov. 2 general election, likely the February 2012 primary. The initiative would lower the current 14-year cap (six years in the Assembly and eight years in the Senate) to 12 years, but allow officials to serve their time consecutively in one house or split between the Assembly and the Senate. The measure didn't make the deadline for the November ballot.

BIRTHDAY: Sen. Jeff Denham, R-Merced, turns 43 today.