Here is LA Times reporter Bob Salladay's "pool report" on Schwarzenegger's visit to a nurses' conference with John McCain after their joint appearance in Burbank this morning. For the uninitiated, a pool report is a memo from one reporter allowed in to an event where either the host or the politician does not want a gang of media traipsing through, for whatever reason. The selected reporter is obligated to share everything he/she sees or hears with colleagues, who usually use it without attribution to the pool member.
After the Sen. John McCain press conference at the Burbank Airport Hilton, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger moved to the Festival Room next door, where about 100 nurses were having lunch.
It was the annual convention of GSG Associates Inc., a Pasadena company. GSG Associates is a statewide group of registered nurses who review workers' compensation claims looking for cost containment for businesses. Website:
www.gsga.net has more on this subject.
When Schwarzenegger entered the crowded room, the nurses applauded and cheered. The governor then looked around and asked where McCain was. The senator walked in amid more cheers and applause.
Schwarzenegger told the utilization review nurses that he "just wanted to drop by" their luncheon. "What they did with the recall is change the governor, but they did not change the system, the broken system," Schwarzenegger said.
"You all are doing a great job. I just think the world of what nurses do," Schwarzenegger said. He said in the past 10 years he has had a heart operation, a hip "replacement" and work on his shoulder.
"This is what happens when you are the Terminator," he said. "They switch body parts on you." He added to more applause: "Let me tell you, after the heart surgery, the doctors went home but the nurses stayed."
"I know they will make you think all the nurses hate me. It's obviously not true. ... But I feel very comfortable here."
McCain then spoke, saying "Americans are not happy today" and want reforms made to the political system. Approving Schwarzenegger's agenda would "send a message around America that reform is on the way." He said America has an urgent shortage of nurses.
After finishing to more applause, Schwarzenegger made his way through the crowd shaking hands with the nurses.
Schwarzenegger was confronted toward the end of the line by Paul Krekorian, the president of the Burbank Board of Education, who had slipped into the room. Krekorian asked the governor why he "broke his promise" to protect education funding under Proposition 98.
Schwarzenegger, looking intensely at Krekorian, responded that Proposition 76 would create a payment schedule to return the money to schools but that there is "no money in the budget" now. Krekorian said there was plenty of money but it is given away in corporate tax loopholes.
Schwarzenegger said he had asked Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez to find money in the budget to return the $2 billion "owed" to schools. "He couldn't find it. We can't spend what we don't have," Schwarzenegger said, before walking away. ###
Posted by dweintraub at 2:14 PM
A sworn declaration in a lawsuit over the CTA's recent members' dues surcharge says the union already has spent the entire amount it expected to generate over three years from the $60 fee to fight the governor's initiatives and is negotiating for a $40 million line of credit. You can read the affidavit here.
Posted by dweintraub at 11:55 AM
Did anybody else notice that Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez endorsed Rob Reiner's nascent initiative to raise taxes to subsidize statewide pre-school for four-year olds? Not a big surprise, of course. Except that the Reiner initiative would use the same tax source (higher rates on the wealthy) that Núñez has already said he wants to use to increase spending on K-12 education. And then there is the little matter that even the current level of spending on education and everything else is still $6 billion more than the state expects to collect from taxes this year. Since Democrats want to close that gap with taxes, too, and they only want to tax the rich, you could say that the speaker has now reserved this particular tax source to be spent in at least three different ways. Two directly and one by implication. The Reiner initiative does have a clause allowing its implementation to be delayed if the tax-the-affluent scheme is enacted by the Legislature first and dedicated to a different cause. Maybe that' what Núñez has in mind. But that approach has two problems. One, it gets the schools dependent on a revenue source that would soon disappear. And two, it does nothing to help the state afford the level of services it is already providing without sufficient taxes to pay for them.
Posted by dweintraub at 6:56 AM
Here is my column on the San Diego mayor's election, scheduled for Nov. 8. I'm guessing that San Diego, because of this race, is going to have the highest turnout of any major city in the special election. The electorate there already was the core of Schwarzenegger's reform-oriented base. Now they're confronted with near-bankruptcy brought on by a corrupt local government accused (by Democrats) of conspiring with the leaders of the public employee unions to pass an illegal increase in pension benefits. Think that city (and region) might provide a few votes for the governor's agenda?
Posted by dweintraub at 6:44 AM
Here is a Bee story on Prop. 74 taking up the issue most often used against the measure: that it would make it harder to recruit good teachers. I'm not a huge fan of 74 because I think it only tinkers around the edges when we need much more radical reform. But like the teacher featured in the story's lead, I doubt this rap is accurate. It's been my experience that talented people don't shy away from a job out of fear that they will be unjustly fired. They just assume they'll do fine. In fact, the opposite might even be true. Teachers with great potential might be repelled from the field if they think colleagues who aren't pulling their weight are overly protected by our current laws. Teachers who go to work in private schools and most public charter schools have little or no job guarantees, no matter how long they have worked there. And these schools don't seem to have much problem recruiting.
Posted by dweintraub at 6:17 AM
Sen. John McCain is scheduled to campaign with Gov. Schwarzenegger today in Burbank and Oakland, endorsing his reform agenda.
Posted by dweintraub at 6:08 AM