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The Bear Flag

[2/28/06 Tuesday]

[Bill Leonard, contributor, Member CA Board of Equalization] 12:03 am [permalink]
Convention Observations: Conservatives prevailed in San Jose at the state’s Republican Party convention this weekend, re-asserting that we are a party of conservative principles. And Governor Schwarzenegger won by showing to independents that he is not a tool of the Republican Party, although he is closer to the Republicans than any other candidate running for Governor. I do not know when it dawned on the Governor’s friends that they could win the public relations battle while losing on the policy issues, but when they did figure this out, it permitted a good outcome for all.

My media rule still is in force. If you want to get on television or be quoted prominently, then be available to say something negative about fellow Republicans. Those like Senator McClintock, who said while he does disagree with Schwarzenegger at times he still wholeheartedly supports the Governor, received almost no press coverage. His thoughtful comments and clear statement of Republican principles should have been the lead in every convention news story, but he refused to play the negative game. [Leonard Blog]

[2/27/06 Monday]

[Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 12:01 am [permalink]
The "New" Republican Party
Sacto Dan reports...

Resolution # 9 came up for debate. Chairman Duff Sundheim recognized three speakers in favor, and three against. Each speaker made their pitch:

  • The supporters are saying the resolution represents core Republican values.
  • The opponents are saying the resolution is about spanking the Governor and if it passes, the Governor cannot win re-election.

Then the vote:

  • The nays have it, the resolution is defeated.
  • The Republican party is following Governor Schwarzenegger and Tom McClintock to the left.

Is this the end of the Republican party that can't win because it abandoned its principles as red-meat conservatives say, or is this a new Republican party that recognizes the realities of politics in California, and wants to run to win with more mainstream support as the moderates say?

My response...

This is the "new" Republican Party, the one that understands you have to win elections before you can drive, create and lead with legislation.

The best chance for a McClintock Gubernatorial race is for Arnold to win...with Tom...and then McClintock can run as the elected Lt. Governor. Lose Arnold, lose Tom and lose the state, simple as that.

The future for the GOP is "center-right", say it with me: "center-right" is 80% of the core of the GOP. Get 80% and then we can move toward the 90%. I doubt we'll ever see 100% of the conservative ideology in California's future - too far gone, especially when it comes to issues like abortion.

Ask State Senator Tom McClintock, "Let us also remember Reagan's wise words that 'anyone who is with you 80 percent of the time is your 80 percent friend, not your 20 percent enemy,'" McClintock said. "I don't agree with my wife on absolutely everything, but I still love her, and I don't agree with the governor on everything, but I still support him."

For example, we have a State Constitutional Right for abortion in this state (because of a weak Democrat Gray Davis victory over a very conservative candidate, Bill Simon). Even if the US Supreme's revoke Roe v. Wade (and they should), they will leave it up to the individual state(s). At that, abortion is still legal in California.

Best placed to deal with abortion in California - the church.

Rather than Evangelicals running stupid "Global Warming" ads and agenda, they should be meeting people on life/cultural and eternal issues like abortion, marriage and moral issues.

For the "party", it is "center-right"...for the church is it "conservative core and cultural war for righteousness" is a vote, the other a moral righteousness.

I have no faith in politics, just a faith rests in God and His message and instruction. All of the religious, cultural and ultra-conservative, single issue "knuckle draggers" need to embrace the difference, and the new direction of the party.

I'm NOT saying that religious ideals are outside of the GOP, actually I'm stating the opposite!

We can can still have our core, moral and cultural (Constitutional) beliefs, but the "single issue", "knuckle dragging", all or nothing "100-percenters" need to get on the bus for statewide victories. It's is their ideology and agenda that keeps voters home on election day, and solidifies the leftward direction of this state. "Brick by brick I say".

Yes, the majority of the GOP "big tent" still represents 'God and Country', but the problem is that state's registered voters do not. Win elections, legislate from a position of morality...and we can get the job done. Any questions, see State Senator Tom McClintock [Hogue Blog - email:]

[2/24/06 Friday]

[Bill Leonard, contributor, Member CA Board of Equalization] 12:03 am [permalink]
Hypocrisy or Hippocrates The California Medical Association has weighed in on the execution of convicted murderer Michael Morales. Apparently the CMA regards as unethical the practice of a physician making sure that Morales is unconscious before the heart-stopping drugs are administered. The issue is whether or not Morales will ever feel any pain. His victim, by the way, felt a lot of pain as she was beaten, strangled, raped, and stabbed. Yet this same Assocation argues that it is ethical and pain-free to starve to death a person to who is in a coma or to kill a late-term baby shortly before it is ready to be born. Maybe the California Medical Association needs a mind-numbing drug so they can handle this hypocrisy. [Leonard Blog]

[2/23/06 Thursday]

[Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 12:01 am [permalink]
Patrick Dorinson, Former Dem, Now GOP Voice I had Patrick Dorinson as my guest in-studio yesterday at KTKZ. Patrick is the 'new' Communications Director for the California Republican Party. The best part, he is a former Al Gore and Bill Clinton campaign handler, as well as a Clinton Administration member.

A former Democrat offering the communication for the California GOP? That's right, he changed his voter registration three years back during the recall, and now he states that he is fully committed in getting Republicans elected to statewide seats in the Golden State.

Look for portions of the "audio interview" to be posted here soon. You can hear for yourself the new Party Voice (formerly Stutzman/Hanretty) of the GOP Machine.

I've received numerous emails expressing some polarizing opinions. People either like the guy, or they hate the guy. He knew it would go this way, so he's not surprised.

Here's an example from a listener (and Sacto Dan Blog comment box) today:

Ex Gore, Clinton, Davis supporter AND a former DEMO?? Please...get real. This guy is sellout. Why, did he suddenly FIND HIMSELF and go with being a Repub?? Cause of our views and morals? Or, cause he jumped to the bandwagon?

IF, he was a staunch anything, he'd kept to his own party, and fought to purge it from the lefty whackjobs that currently infest the Demo's. Jumping ship to the R side means squat. Given what I've seen written on Aarons blog site, this guys nothing more than a Political hack, RINO, trying to buffalo the voters into believing he's " pure Repub " at heart, and he's PAID to sell the R message. Crap. All this done by Ahnold to boot.
Since last year, I've said loud and proud: LAME DUCK GOV.

You're now watching a silent civil war within the Repub party in California. How those so called, LEADERS want to proceed, is one thing, but GIVING us this garbage dressed like a Conservative, is crap. You might be making NICE NICE within your " elite " ranks, but you're only pissing us off at the VOTER ranks.

Repubs this year in Cali, are going to take a huge ' bite in their collective Arse ' by this blatant/secretive move to appease the Demo's.

Come election time, we'll see: Either you'll be correct and voters will turn out, or I'll be right, and you'll see voter backlash. I don't buy this guy nor his answers for anything.

I guess the person commenting would have told Ronald Reagan to stay in the Democrat Party too. More evidence of the 'stupid party' at work in this mega-state.

If you ask my opinion after meeting Patrick this morning for the first time officially, He is 'not' a staunch conservative. He is a 'center-right' Republican at best. But he is serious about his political journey, a journey that has him now facing the heat, fielded the calls and answered every one honestly and clearly.

At this point, I don't know how well he will do over the long haul - he's in a very, very precarious spot - especially heading into this weekend's contentious convention.

Yet, what if he is really serious and sincere (one can't tell after one meeting, and he told me such in the studio this morning). I love his attitude, "listen to me, watch me work to get these GOP members elected and judge me for the work that I do." Who can complain about those standards?

Should we refuse someone's talents and contribution because they 'used to be a high ranking' Democrat? I thought Republicans were in the business of debate and dialogue to convince more and more Democrats to return to the love of the country and our liberty, independence and the common cause keeping this great land healthy for the generations to come.

Now we refuse members because "they used to be Democrats"? With this narrow minded thinking, state Republican leaders should rush legislation for new a political health care package that provides heavy doses of Viagra for GOP Senior males so we can have 'hope' of challenge the liberal majority in this state by generational dominance.

What ever happened to winning hearts and minds?

Patrick is a 'growing' Republican. He left the Clinton Administration when Clinton left the reservation once he got inside of the White House. Dorinson worked at the ISO during the energy crisis, and experienced Gray Davis during the state's crisis. That's where he learned that the GOP members were the only individuals willing to problem solve.

He then tunred his efforts to work on the recall, this is where he rubbed elbows with GOP members in 'common battle' for the first time - he like what he saw and what he learned. He changed his votre registration, decided to vote for Bush, Arnold and for the GOP ballot over the past three years.

He is happy to be welcomed into the "big tent", and ready to roll up his sleeves to get statewide GOP members elected.

I may be wrong, but I thought the recipe to winning elections was (1) registering more party voters, (2) getting them out to vote on election day, (3) and getting them to support and work to elect Republican candidates and ideals. (75% with me, not against me!)

Maybe I was wrong...maybe we like being the "loser party" in California.

My conclusion: "give Patrick a chance", he has the attitude that he wants to prove himself by producing, not spinning rhetoric. I welcome a disgruntled former Democrat to the effort. I still remember my personal phone call from my 92 year-old, life long Democrat of a wonderful grandfather..."Eric, your party has convinced me that Bush is the guy for the times. My party has discouraged me, so much so, that all of my years of effort and contributions I see as a waist of time.

Grandpa is still kicking, and voting to this I say. [Hogue Blog - email:]

[2/22/06 Wednesday]

[Bill Morrow - State Senator, columnist] 12:05 am [permalink]
The Terri Winchell Murder and the "Save Morales" cabal: Terri Winchell was a vivacious 17-year-old young woman in 1981 when she was brutally murdered. Her murderer is due to be executed later this month and in my opinion it cannot happen a moment too soon. But as usual when an evil person is about to face man’s punishment for his crime, there are people clamoring about his redemption and remorse and pleading for his life.

To those people, I ask you to pause and consider Terri.

No amount of remorse and no variety of his excuses can change what he did to Terri. And lest you feel pity for him or question his guilt, please recall these facts: Morales tried to choke Terri with a belt, but it broke so he hit her in the head with a hammer. Her skull had more than 23 hammer indentations. He dragged her body face-down across a street, raped her, and stabbed her four times in the chest, leaving her in a vineyard, naked from the waist down and her shirt pulled up over her chest. Terri’s blood was found in Morales’s car. The murder weapons were found at his home. He had blood on his person. Yet, the media coverage is focusing on the lack of credibility of one witness who was in jail with Morales. Instead, let's focus on the overwhelming body of evidence of his guilt and on the victim of his evil, Terri.

[2/21/06 Tuesday]

[Bill Leonard, contributor, Member CA Board of Equalization] 12:03 am [permalink]
Wanted: Heath Care Directive Guidance I was given an advanced health care directive by my new doctor. As I read the form it does not lend itself to a sanctity of life perspective. The form can be found by looking at California Probate Code 4701

For example it lumps under agent authority that my agent can make all care decisions including nutrition and hydration unless I specify in advance what not to do. Since I am unable to anticipate all of the possibilities it gives an impossible either-or situation. I looked on-line and found a Catholic site in North Dakota which offers much better language which I assume would work legally in California but I am not certain. This can be found here:

I am looking for on-line advice for Californians who respect life and see the difference between extraordinary means to prolong life and so-called health care steps to hasten death. If you have a suggestion, please email me at [Leonard Blog]

[2/20/06 Monday]

[Bill Leonard, contributor, Member CA Board of Equalization] 12:03 am [permalink]
Bureaucracy Run Wild A recent edition of State Taxes Notes provides a clear insight into the mindset of the California Franchise Tax Board. Even though a District Court of Appeal ruled against them and even though the Board itself decided not to appeal the adverse ruling, the staff of the FTB continue to state that the Court misunderstood the law. What arrogance! According to this story, the FTB auditors are still auditing taxpayers the old way, but in a nod to fairness, they are to notify taxpayers of their rights to appeal to the Board of Equalization. So, the California government is going to charge some taxpayers with more taxes than a high court says that they owe and is going to force them to undergo a lengthy appeals process to ask for what the court has said is already theirs. When is the FTB going to recognize that they are not above the law? [Leonard Blog]

[2/17/06 Friday]

[John Eastman Prof Law/Chapman & Claremont Institute] 5:09 am [permalink]
Ninth Circuit hears Boy Scouts Appeal The Ninth Circuit heard oral argument in Boy Scouts v. Barnes-Wallace yesterday, a case involving a suit by the ACLU against the City of San Diego for leasing land to the Boy Scouts to run a summer camp. Judge Napolean Jones found that the lease violated the Establishment Clause because the Boy Scouts requires its members to acknowledge a duty to God--despite the fact that the Boy Scouts have spent a lot more in improvements to the land than the value of the lease, and despite the fact that the land is actually open to the public on a first-come basis, and despite the fact that the City has more than a hundred other similar leases with every imaginable kind of organiztion, including the Jewish Community Center and the Girl Scouts, and despite the fact that the Preamble of the California Constitution also acknowledges a duty to God.

The Ninth Circuit panel was chaird by Judge Kleinfeld, who honed in on the fact that the City was not providing a benefit to the Boy Scouts, but that the Boy Scouts was instead providing a benefit to the City--so no Establishment Clause violation even if the Boy Scouts is a church! Senior Judge Canby, who was appointed by President Carter, was troubled by the fact that the ACLU plaintiffs had never even sought to use the facilities--so did not have standing even to bring the suit. The ACLU's lawyer contended that they were offended by having to see Boy Scouts in uniform on public land!! Finally, even Clinton appointee Marsha Berzon seemed to be having trouble with the lower court's decision, as she recognized that it would invalidate the lease with the Jewish Community Center as well.

We filed an amicus brief in the case, in support of the Boy Scouts (of course). And I participated in a post-argument press conference, which is available via streaming video.

Let's hope the Ninth Circuit rejects the ACLU's radical attack on one of the premier, good-citizen-forming organizations in the land. If not, we'll be prepared to help push the matter to the Supreme Court when the time comes.

[2/15/06 Wednesday]

[Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 12:01 am [permalink]
More Move America Forward Concern Got an email Monday night from my previous posting...


I have been on MAF's e-mail list for a long time. When Howard announced he was running for Congress, I suddenly started receiving e-mails and updates from his campaign, even though I never signed up for them. They continue to this day. So it appears that MAF either gave or sold their e-mail list to Howard.

Nice racket...campaign donations going to MAF for non-profit, fund stunts and chairman endorsements, or...MAF "donated" the email list to Kaloogian, which means non-profits collecting cash (material) and using it to support a former founder in a congressional race.

Isn't this the race to replace "Duke" Cunningham? Hmm.

From another political campaign and contender for the 50th Congressional...

"This is typical Kaloogian sleaze. If he did not pay fair market value to MAF for the list, then they are breaking the law."

Not my words here, but members of the Republican Party. [Hogue Blog - email:]

[2/14/06 Tuesday]

[Bill Leonard, contributor, Member CA Board of Equalization] 12:03 am [permalink]
LAO: $68 Billion Infrastructure Bonds to Cost $144 Billion I am grateful to Assemblyman Bill Maze for submitting a letter to Elizabeth Hill, the Legislative Analyst. The letter requested the Analyst to provide General Fund revenue and expenditure growth over the next ten years, and the cost of financing the Governor’s proposed infrastructure bonds. I have posted the Analyst’s response here:

The Analyst puts the total cost of the Governor’s proposed infrastructure bonds ($68 billion worth) -- assuming an average 5.75 percent interest rate repaid over thirty years -- at about $144 billion. The Analyst pegs the annual debt service under this plan at a whopping $4.8 billion dollars per year.

As I have written elsewhere, it makes much more sense to devote the money we would pay in debt service and simply apply that money every year for infrastructure, thus gaining $78 billion over ten years ($144 minus $68) in investments in highways, hospitals, and high priority projects. An even more conservative proposal would be Assemblyman McCarthy’s bill that would set aside one percent of the General Fund for infrastructure spending on an ongoing basis. This would get over $1 billion the first year, and grow as expenditures grow.

I applaud the Governor for boldly addressing our state’s infrastructure needs. He has also indicated he is willing to consider other approaches.
Governor, I say let’s start now, and let’s pay for it now as well.
[Leonard Blog]

[2/13/06 Monday]

Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 12:01 am [permalink]
California Republican Convention War
Some days I feel like a lone voice crying in the wilderness, then you read a 'common mind' with 'common reasoning' for the California Republican Party.

Friend, and blogger,  John Fleischman has penned a column that relates the sediments that I've tried to convey in the blog for the past two years.

Like many FR (Flash Report Blog) readers, I endorsed and supported Arnold Schwarzenegger for Governor.  I can tell you that as a very conservative person, I struggled with the decision when I made it, as a strong social conservative.  Still, at the end of the day, watching Gray Davis preside over a pay-to-play economic death spiral for California, and hearing the fervor and emphatic pledges from Schwarzenegger to be a fiscal conservative, I was sold.  A lot of us who worked hard to qualify the recall felt that the "Terminator" embodied the spirit of our recall.

Read the  entire column, especially if you are a delegate to the GOP Convention later this month. [Hogue Blog - email:]

[2/10/06 Friday]

[Bill Leonard, contributor, Member CA Board of Equalization] 12:03 am [permalink]
Partisan Games and Bad Laws For the past few years, both parties in Sacramento have been wrangling over how to deal with each other’s hot button issues. Each side tries to position itself to blame the other as soft on crime or for higher taxes. What all of these machinations made me think of was a significant historical event that occurred last week: the ratification of the 16th amendment to the U.S. constitution that established the federal income tax.

Income and other direct taxes had been rejected by the Constitution’s authors, but an income tax was instituted during the Civil War. That tax was abandoned in 1872, but when Democrats took power in 1892, they instituted another income tax. Two Supreme Court cases in 1895 determined that the latest version of the income tax was unconstitutional. Historian W. Cleon Skousen explains that in the following decade, “There was great social unrest and the idea of a tax to soak the rich”‚ began to take root among liberals in both major parties. Several times the Democrats introduced bills to provide a tax on higher incomes but each time the conservative branch of the Republican party killed it in the Senate. The Democrats used this as evidence that the Republicans were the “party of the rich‚…”

Texas Democrat Senator Joseph Bailey introduced an income tax bill with the intention of embarrassing Republicans by putting them on record as opposing it. His trick backfired when the liberal wing of the Republican party supported his bill. President William Howard Taft and conservative Republican leaders scrambled for a strategy in light of the split within the GOP. They, too, devised a tricky tactic: come out in support of an income tax, but only in the form of an amendment to the Constitution and only if the Democrats supported reducing unpopular tariffs, which drove up the price of goods. Thus, the income tax amendment got out of Congress and was sent to the states. State legislatures were pressed to approve it to lower the pesky tariffs, which affected most people whereas the proposed income tax was only going to a small percentage of the wealthiest Americans. Of course, those wealthiest Americans anticipated the burden that would be theirs alone and lobbied for the creation of tax-exemption charitable foundations, where they put their wealth (e.g., Andrew Carnegie).

Thus, the income tax was foisted upon us a result of the parties seeking to embarrass each other, the use of catchy slogans to sway the public, and the public’s belief that new taxes were acceptable as long as they were applied to other people. Those dynamics are still in play today and they can lead to laws that do not accomplish their intended goals, effect people they were not intended to, and make both parties look foolish. [Leonard Blog]

[2/9/06 Thursday]

[Carol Platt Liebau - editorial director] 12:03 am [permalink]
Dressing for "Success" Government employees in California are disgruntled because a dress code has been put in place.

Imagine the outrage: Employees of San Bernadino County are no longer being permitted to wear sweatpants to work! And come-hither heels are being banned. The outrage! The persecution!

More examples of the oppression include banning overalls, sports team gear and shirts that bare bellybuttons. According to the piece, "Tattoos that can't be covered by clothing must be covered by other means. Pierced ears and earrings for both sexes are allowed."

Who in their right mind could object to this? When at work, dress professionally. What people want to do on their own time is their own business; what they do on taxpayer time is the taxpayers' business -- and there's nothing wrong with expecting people to dress (and behave) appropriately.
[Liebau Blog]

[2/8/06 Wednesday]

[Bill Leonard, contributor, Member CA Board of Equalization] 12:03 am [permalink]
The Victim was Terri Winchell: Terri Winchell was a vivacious 17-year-old young woman in 1981. She was brutally murdered. Her murderer is due to be executed later this month and it cannot happen a moment too soon. But as usual when an evil person is about to face man‚s punishment for his crime, there are people clamoring about his redemption and remorse and pleading for his life. To those people, I ask you to pause and consider Terri. No amount of remorse and no variety of his excuses can change what he did to Terri. And lest you feel pity for him or question his guilt, please recall these facts: Morales tried to choke Terri with a belt, but it broke so he hit her in the head with a hammer. Her skull had more than 23 hammer indentations. He dragged her body face-down across a street, raped her, and stabbed her four times in the chest, leaving her in a vineyard, naked from the waist down and her shirt pulled up over her breasts. Terri‚s blood was found in Morales‚s car. The murder weapons were found at his home. He had blood on his person. Yet, the media coverage is focusing on the lack of credibility of one witness who was in jail with Morales. Instead, let's focus on the overwhelming body of evidence of his guilt and on the victim of his evil, Terri.
[Leonard Blog]

[Found in the ebag-from reader Elliot Schroeder] 12:01 am [permalink]
A New Court Not Judges: The judiciary is the best example of social politics gone awry. Bush hurt California in this respect. We had a fairly conservative state supreme court here which is why liberals would always go to the liberal federal 9th circuit to overturn California laws. BUT, now Bush took one of our conservative supreme court justices and there is no way Arnold can get a conservative back on there.

But this brings up another point. The GOP was all excited to get an opening on the bench and opposing "activist judges." They are merely putting activist conservative judges, just going for the machine's switches and not smashing the machine. A long time ago, especially when Rehnquist was there, they could of passed legislation limiting Judicial Review to only 'review' and not interpret. And that review should be based on the 10th Amendment: is it legal for the federal govt to do it or is it a state issue?

[2/7/06 Tuesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau - editorial director] 12:03 am [permalink]
LA Times Spinning the Economic News Brent Bozell points out that both ABC and CBS ignored the fact that the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since July of 2001. Even more egregious was the LA Times' coverage: "Falling Jobless Rate Boosts Wages but Fuels Concern on Prices and Profits." There's always a "concern" when it comes to the Bush economy, isn't there? And the jump headline eliminated the positive reference to wage increases . . .

Interestingly, the Times piece begins as follows:

A strong job report Friday helped revive a troubling theme prominent during the economic boom of the late 1990s: What's good for workers may not necessarily be good for investors and monetary policymakers.

Yes, I remember hearing so much about that "troubling theme" from the LA Times during the heyday of the late '90's boom.
[Liebau Blog]

[2/6/06 Monday]

[Carol Platt Liebau - editorial director] 12:03 am [permalink]
Insulting Underlying Assumption Gregory Rodriguez has some very interesting -- and well-aimed -- criticism of the DNC for having Mayor Villaraigosa deliver a response to the State of the Union Address in Spanish.

He's right: The decision reflects some insulting underlying assumptions.
[Liebau Blog]

[2/3/06 Thursday]

[Tim Leslie - State Assemblyman, columnist] 12:03 am [permalink]
It is no secret that the local media does not like Congressman John Doolittle. As a result, the Jack Abramoff scandal has been a godsend. Because Abramoff and Doolittle were friends, Abramoff's troubles have given the Sacramento Bee, the Auburn Journal, KCRA and others a perfect opportunity to deal in "guilt by association."

Without evidence of a single miss-step, the Congressman has been negatively portrayed on a regular basis. They detail his comings and goings, but have yet to reveal any inappropriate actions.

What is the media after? It appears the primary effort is to smear the Congressman in time for his re-election campaign. While they can't find anything wrong, they can at least cover him with miss-trust and innuendo. After all, it is well know that the answers never catch up with the allegations. In this case it is even more insidious, as there are not even any allegations to refute.

John Doolittle has done a wonderful job representing our area. He has been known for his honesty and integrity. He is even better known for his commitment to conservative principles. Unfortunately, he is not known for a warm and fuzzy personality. This makes it easier for his detractors to attack him, and they take full advantage of it.

At some point it might be worth noting that the Congressman's growing seniority in the House of Representatives, and his leadership responsibilities are of great benefit to our region. His voice and position have brought substantial additional resources to Placer, Sacramento and El Dorado Counties.

I know John on a personal basis and have full confidence in him. Until someone can show that he has actually done anything wrong, I am proud to stand by his side in the face of these unfair attacks.

It is time for us to say "Thank You" to John Doolittle. I certainly anticipate his representation for many years to come.

[2/1/06 Wednesday]

[Thomas Del Beccaro columnist] 12:02 am [permalink]
The State of Intrigue Arnold, Perata, Nunez and Villaraigosa - In this upside down world we call California politics, few things are what they seem, but always full of intrigue.

The Protagonists.

Arnold. Our maverick Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has charted a new course politically. He has proposed an ambitious infrastructure program paid for by bonds. There are few precedents in history for such a high stakes proposal during an election year and so 2006 promises to be interesting if not nail-biting - but that is not the half of it.

Don Perata & Fabian Nunez. On the Democrats' side, Senate Majority Leader Don Perata (East Bay/9th District) and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (46th Dist/Los Angeles) are having the time of their life.
Each are majority leaders presiding over caucuses with wide margins over their Republican counter-parts. But even that is not the half of it.

To the contrary, both Perata and Nunez enjoy perhaps an unprecedented relationship with the Governor of the opposing Party.

Indeed, in numerous and important instances, Perata and Nunez have negotiated directly with the Governor without the presence of their Republican counterparts. Such access and influence is rare and appreciated by both men.

Perhaps even more significant than their relationship with Arnold is their lack of fondness for Steve Westly and Phil Angelides – the Democrat front-runners for governor. In fact, it is no secret that neither candidate is a favorite of the other Dems in Sacramento.

Antonio R. Villaraigosa. The new Mayor of Los Angeles is young and has an enormous opportunity to reshape California politics. Beyond being the Mayor of the 2nd largest city in the United States, and the potential for success that that brings, Villaraigosa is young, attractive and Latino. You do the math.

If Villaraigosa succeeds, then there is but no question that he would be the leading Democrat candidate in the future for Governor.

Something his good friend Fabian Nunez would love to see.

The Intrigue.

Therein lies all the elements. Perata and Nunez like working with Arnold – some would even say they are getting what they want as a matter of policy already. They are not fond of Westly or Angelides and – and this is important – if either is elected over Arnold – then the power of Perata and Nunez is diminished significantly. Instead of being the face of the Party and the media draws that they are, they would have to take a back seat to either of two men with whom they do not have a close relationship.

On the other hand, if Arnold is reelected, they maintain power for four more years – and in 2010 – their good friend Villaraigosa would be the front-runner for Governor. Oh, and by the way, did I mention that Arnold has spoken well of Villaraigosa?

Oliver Stone movie or California politics? You decide..

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