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Daniel Weintraub

California Insider

A Weblog by
Sacramento Bee Columnist Daniel Weintraub

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« September 11, 2006 | | September 13, 2006 »
September 12, 2006

Auditor slaps governor on homeland security

The state auditor finds that the Schwarzenegger Administration has been a sloppy manager of its Homeland Security programs.

An excerpt:

Our review of the State's administration of 10 federal grants for homeland security and bioterrorism preparedness revealed several concerns. First, we question whether California's two major statewide, full-scale exercises have sufficiently tested the ability of the State's medical and health systems to respond to emergencies. Without adequate testing California cannot be certain that its medical and health systems can respond to all emergencies. Second, California has been slow in spending federal funds awarded to improve homeland security in the State. As of June 30, 2006, the State had spent only 42 percent of the $954 million in homeland security funds awarded to it from 2001 through 2005. Impediments to quicker spending include the length of time to award allocations to local entities. In one instance nearly 10.5 months passed between the start of the award period and the awarding of the allocations by the Governor's Office of Homeland Security (State Homeland Security). Further, reasons offered by local jurisdictions to explain the slow spending include the State's slow process for reimbursing local jurisdictions for their homeland security expenses and the short time allowed for developing budgets coupled with a time consuming budget revision process.

Another concern regarding the administration of funds for emergency preparedness is that the Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Emergency Services) is behind schedule in its receipt and review of the emergency operations plans for 35 of California's 58 counties and those of 17 of 19 state entities that are key responders during emergencies. Therefore, California has less assurance that these plans will effectively guide the entities in their responses to emergencies.

Posted by dweintraub at 4:21 PM

Angelides manager: we were the source

Angelides campaign manager Cathy Calfo admitted a few minutes ago that the Angelides campaign was the source of the Los Angeles Times story revealing a privately recorded conversation involving Gov. Schwarzenegger and his top aides. But Calfo says the audio file was downloaded from a link in a Schwarzenegger press release, and no one on her staff “hacked” the governor’s Web site or accessed a password protected area.

Still, Calfo told reporters this afternoon that she was “not happy” when she learned Monday that her staff was the source for the Times story because that was a decision that “should have been made at the highest levels of the campaign.” Had she been consulted, she said, she might have suggested that reporters be directed to the Web site where the audio file was stored rather than given a copy of the file itself.

Calfo said the campaign is in possession of more than four hours of recordings downloaded from the site. Only six minutes have so far been released.

Although Calfo said she believes the staff members who told her they had not entered a password-protected site, she said the campaign is “doing an internal investigation” of exactly what transpired. Calfo also had some harsh words for Schwarzenegger’s office, which has implied that the recording was downloaded after a breach of the office’s security system.

“Their comments are outrageous,” she said. “They made a mistake and they are now they are trying to cover it up.”

Calfo said the staff members, a press aide and a researcher, followed a link in an Aug. 29 press release that included a recording of the governor’s comments at CSU Long Beach regarding the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

This is the link – now dead – that was provided in that release:

Calfo said the staff “backed up” on that link to see the entire directory of files available (also not possible today) and downloaded more than four hours of material. She wouldn’t release those recordings Tuesday nor say what they contained.

Posted by dweintraub at 12:46 PM

Governor signs minimum wage bill

Schwarzenegger has signed AB 1835, which will increase California's minimum wage to $8 an hour by Jan. 1, 2008. The minimum is currently $6.75.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:51 AM

Online voter guide

The California Voter Foundation has posted its guide to the November election here.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:24 AM

'Keep the debate civil'

Schwarzenegger on immigration:

To the immigrant rights activists I say: Change your message. When I came to America, I wrapped myself in the flag because I wanted to be a part of the American dream. I worked hard, learned English and followed the laws. I learned the customs and culture of my new country. I spent time with English-speakers just so I could hear them talk and learn the language from them.

Being an immigrant is like being a guest in someone's house. Your hosts go about their daily routine. You can sit on the couch and do your own thing, or you can ask, "What can I do to help? How can I be a part of this household?"

What people see today when immigrant rights activists march in the streets carrying Mexican flags and angry signs is that you do not want to join America's house. The message that sends is that you do not want to learn our language or our culture. Unlike the message sent by the masses of Irish, Italian, German and Asian immigrants, whom Americans now proudly call our "melting pot," these images suggest that Mexican immigrants do not want to make that effort.

I do not believe that this is the message most Mexican immigrants — legal or illegal — wish to send. I believe that most Mexican immigrants are as proud to be part of America as I was. They are some of the hardest working and strongest believers in the American dream. So my message to you is: Carry your home country in your heart, but carry the American flag in our streets.

He also has some advice for the anti-immigration crowd. You can read the whole thing here.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:59 AM

An 'affectionate memoir'

Speaking of secrets, Carla Marinucci reviews "Arnold and Me," a book by Barbara Outland Baker, who was Schwarzenegger's girlfriend for six years when he was in his early 20s and at the peak of his bodybuilding career. Marinucci describes the book as a "detailed and most affectionate memoir," and Schwarzenegger wrote a forward, in which he cautions that some of the author's recollections of events differ from his own. In the book, Outland Baker writes about many of Schwarzenegger's personality traits -- his desire for control, his ability to read people "as if they're naked," and his manipulative personality -- that have also been evident in his political career. And of course there's lots on sex and drugs. Interesting stuff.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:55 AM

Hacks and flaks

This Bee story makes it clear that the Angelides campaign accessed the governor's private audio tape before the recording was made public in the LA Times last week. Now the question is whether they got the recording by hacking into a protected system or if Schwarzenegger's office left it in an open part of its Web site. If it turns out that someone in the Angelides camp hacked the governor's computer system, that's going to be a serious blow to the challenger. If, on the other hand, the governor's staff left private recordings in a public place, they will end up looking stupid.

Bill Bradley has more here, including speculation that the Angelides camp was able to use an unguarded back door entrance to troll through a directory of audio recordings on the governor's site that were not meant to be public. Bill might be onto something here. I know that when reporters interview the governor one-on-one, the office will transcribe the conversation and then give the journalist an Internet link to the private site that allows access to the transcription. It's possible that the Democrats found a way to get into a directory for that site without a password.

Curiously, The Times does not seem to have a story or even a blog item this morning on the Angelides camp admission that they downloaded the file before the original story was published. This story simply reports that the CHP is investigating the matter.

More: Donald Lathbury at California Majority Report seems to have pretty intimate knowledge of how the governor's Web site worked, and how the recording could have been downloaded without actually hacking the site.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:57 AM



At Crossroads, a panel of experts and the public debate the future of health care in California. We'd like you to join the conversation.

Daniel Weintraub


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