May 18, 2011

The revelation that Arnold Schwarzenegger sired a child by a member of his household staff while he was married to Maria Shriver likely will have little impact on his entertainment career, and actually might even help it. Politically, it's too early too tell. At least, that's our view. Others see it differently, howevever, and here's a sampling.


From the Bee's David Siders and Sam Stanton: "Battered for years by California's financial problems, Schwarzenegger's public approval rating had dipped to 23 percent before, on his final day in office, he shortened the manslaughter sentence of political friend Fabian Núñez's son, angering his shrunken pool of supporters."


"If that act had not already ruled out any political future, observers said, his most recent acknowledgment almost surely did."


"This layered on top of the Núñez thing pretty much means his political future is done at this point," said Jeff Randle, a Republican strategist and former adviser to Schwarzenegger."


"Schwarzenegger and his wife of 25 years announced last week that they were separating but gave no reason, and Shriver moved out of the family's Brentwood home. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reported that Schwarzenegger acknowledged having a child with a household employee."


From the Times' Maeve Reston and Seema Mehta: "Yet despite the international headlines, few strategists believed the disclosures would permanently derail Schwarzenegger's political or entertainment pursuits."

"Timing was key, several experts said, noting that if the details had emerged during Schwarzenegger's campaigns for office or during his seven-year tenure, they could have had a far more devastating impact on his career."

"If it had come out during the recall campaign, it would have kept him from being elected governor. Had this come out while he was governor, it would have been a very big deal," said Dan Schnur, director of USC's Unruh Institute of Politics. But since Schwarzenegger is no longer an elected official, "a month or two from now, it's hard to see that much of an impact," he said."


"The coming weeks, however, are likely to be rocky. News organizations swarmed for the identity of the woman and her child, throwing out different names. To protect their privacy, The Times did not publish their names."


From the Times' Steve Lopez: "In January, as one of his final acts as governor, Schwarzenegger further sullied himself — in addition to outraging the family of a homicide victim — by commuting the murder sentence of the son of former Assembly SpeakerFabian Nuñez, a Schwarzenegger friend."

"Given this backdrop, I can't say I was surprised by Tuesday's news that Schwarzenegger had fathered a child with a longtime member of his household staff. Yeah, the details were sensational, but the whole mess fits the narrative of a man who has always seemed to live in his own celebrity world by his own twisted rules of privilege and entitlement, his life an orgy of self-glory."

"After leaving the governor's office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago," Schwarzenegger said in a statement."

"This "event"?"


Democrat Janice Hahn and Republican Craig Huey are headed for a runoff in the election to replace Rep. Jane Harman in the 36th Congressional District. The results came as a surprise, because Secretary of State Debra Bowen got edged out. The Times' Jean Merl tells the tale.


"In a seemingly major upset in the race to replace former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), Republican Craig Huey appears to have captured one of the spots in a July 12 runoff."


"With all of the election night ballots counted late Tuesday, Huey squeaked past California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, a Democrat, by 206 votes."


"If the outcome stands after outstanding ballots are counted, Huey will face Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, a Democrat. Antiwar activist and teacher Marcy Winograd, who challenged Harman twice in Democratic primaries, finished fourth."


"Huey, a conservative businessman who pumped $500,000 of his own money into the race, faces long odds in the runoff, given the district’s strong Democratic tilt. Democrats (45%) hold an edge over Republicans (28%) in the 36th Congressional District, which runs mostly along the coast, from Venice to San Pedro. More than 22% of voters are unaffiliated with any state-recognized political party."


Gov. Brown's official web site offers vivid images of California's natural beauties, including some of its state parks. Ironically, those include many of the sites that Brown himself has targeted for closure to balance the budget. The Mercury News' Paul Rogers tells the tale.


"Visitors to Gov. Jerry Brown's official website are dazzled with a rotating display of photos highlighting the natural beauty of California."


"One problem: If the state follows through with Brown's budget-cutting plans, one-third of the places featured will be padlocked and off-limits to the public."


"The top of the governor's site -- -- and California's official state website feature jaw-dropping images of the Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Diablo, Santa Monica Pier, Yosemite Valley, Garrapata State Park on the Big Sur coast and Gray Whale Cove, a beach in San Mateo County just south of Devils Slide."


"But on Friday, Brown included Garrapata and Gray Whale Cove on his list of 70 parks slated for closure as part of his budget plan. The irony that the governor plans to put up "no trespassing" signs on the parks his administration chose to represent the best of California hasn't been lost."


The treasure trove for news stories in the latest census figures seems endless, and here's one from the Bee's Dan Walters: The movement to a two-tier state is clear.


"The research council's study, backed by foundation grants, developed a 1 to 10 index of well-being and applied it to communities and to ethnic, gender and geographic subgroups. It concluded that there are five distinct strata."


"At the top, 1 percent of Californians live in "Shangri-Las" in and around Silicon Valley and portions of Southern California with an index of 9.35. They're followed by 18 percent in a "metro-coastal enclave" (7.82), 38 percent in "Main Street California" (5.91), another 38 percent in "struggling California" (4.17), and finally, "the forsaken 5 percent" in central Los Angeles and rural areas (2.59)."


"The analysis reveals that some Californians are enjoying the highest levels of well-being and access to opportunity in the nation today, while others are experiencing levels of well-being that characterized the nation decades ago," the report declares."


From our "Circus, Circus"  file comes the story of the legal battle over the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. It all started in a federal courtroom when a lawyer used the term "Mrs." when address one of the litigants.


""We can't have a boxing match here," Huvelle interjected, one of the several times she tried to curb the fighting and move the case along during its seventh day of testimony."


"Karen Feld is suing her brother for $110 million because she says his security guards assaulted and injured her when they forcibly removed her from their aunt's shiva, or Jewish memorial service, in September 2007. Kenneth Feld is countersuing for trespass. He says she tried to sneak into an off-limits room and launched into an obscenity-filled tirade when guards barred her way and then escorted her out."


"Karen Feld has said her brother has long been hostile toward her because he was afraid she would reveal unflattering details about their family that would hurt the wholesome reputation of their entertainment business empire. But Kenneth Feld denied that he was concerned she'd reveal their family secrets, which he testified were covered long ago in news articles and were being revived in news coverage of the court case."


"I think everything unflattering is out there, and it's obviously coming out this week," he said during a brief appearance on the witness stand Tuesday."


We can hardly wait...

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