Stop the foxes from guarding the henhouse

UPDATE, Sept. 1: Cindy Tuck, the oil and chemical industry lobbyist that Gov. Schwarzenegger tried to put in charge of the state’s clean air program was soundly rejected by the Senate, a victory for environmental advocates and all state residents who care about the quality of the air we breathe.
Speak Out California played a role in that victory by sending more than 3,000 petition letters to decision-makers on the Senate Rules Committee and 37 Senators from throughout California. Sen. Debra Bowen’s office said the grass-roots activism made a difference in the outcome. We thank all of you for taking the time to be a part of this important fight, and for continuing to be active members of the California progressive community.


The Senate Rules Committee is set to vote Wednesday on whether to confirm Cindy Tuck, Gov. Schwarzenegger’s choice for California Air Resources Board chair. Tuck is a longtime oil and chemical industry lobbyist who has spent her entire career fighting against the kinds of air quality protections that it would be her new responsibilty to oversee.
Take action now and tell the members of the Senate Rules Committee that when it comes to top environmental positions, Californians demand leaders whose interests are in protecting public health, not corporate wealth.


Two weeks?! That’s ancient history!

We had to laugh at the latest spin coming out of Team Arnold. For those of you not lucky enough to be on his email list, we share the information below. The Public Policy Institute of California poll that Todd Harris references can be found here. Among other things, it notes that about 1/3 of Californians approve of the job Schwarzenegger is doing. No wonder “Team Arnold” had to come up with something to say! Oh boy is it funny:

Continue reading

More moonlighting in the Schwarzenegger administration

The San Jose Mercury News makes a fine point this morning, as Kate Folmar and Andrew LaMar take a look at the outside incomes of three top Schwarzenegger staffers.
This does seem like the sort of thing Republicans do all the time and Democrats stay away from because they just have more principles. But in this case, on the heels of a scandal that forced Schwarzenegger to duck out of his second job as a bodybuilding magazine consultant, it’s a little more interesting!

The importance of down-ticket

Today’s news focuses on just how we got to where we are today, with the once seemingly untouchable Schwarzenegger in free-fall, his ill-conceived special election right along with it.
Both the L.A. Times and the San Jose Mercury take a look at the role State Attorney General Bill Lockyer has played, which has been quite significant. Experts say Lockyer has not even come close to stepping outside the bounds of his elected office. But that doesn’t mean Republicans aren’t trying to stymie him.

Lockyer – who under state law is required to review voter initiatives – has prompted complaints about what Republicans see as a liberal bias in his actions on four initiative efforts this year.
In the most recent case, a judge ordered a Schwarzenegger-backed redistricting measure off the ballot after Lockyer sued over a procedural flaw. His actions also have prompted the governor to delay his planned overhaul of the pension system for public employees and spurred the threat of another lawsuit by backers of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.
In accusing him of bias, Republicans say Lockyer all but conceded the point last week by agreeing to rewrite a legal summary of the governor’s budget spending cap initiative. GOP lawyers had complained that Lockyer’s original summary of Proposition 76 contained errors and misrepresentations.
Lockyer said he is just doing his job: giving factual information to voters, enforcing the law and removing “propaganda” from the initiative process.

But while the mainstream press is focusing on how this fits in with Lockyer’s recently announced plans to drop his bid for Governor in ’06, progressives should take it as a lesson in the importance of all of our statewide officers, who don’t always get the attention they deserve around election time. We should have learned this lesson as we watched in horror at what happened in Ohio during the 2004 presidential election, or in Florida during 2000. But still, statistics show a sizable drop-off in statewide elections between the votes cast for Governor and votes cast for what are called “down-ticket” races.
While Lockyer really is just doing his job, one can honestly question whether someone who didn’t share our values would be taking these issues so seriously or pursuing justice so aggressively.