With the Schwarzenegger governorship in its final weeks,
Capitol Weekly takes a look at the highs and lows of
a remarkable seven years.
From John Howard and Anthony York: "Schwarzenegger moved swiftly to clear out some of
partisan underbrush left from the Davis administration.
He won a repeal of a
bill that allowed undocumented workers to receive drivers’ licenses. He worked
with Wesson and John Burton to place a $15 billion package of deficit-reduction
bonds on the March 2004 ballot. He used the threat of an initiative to extract
concessions from Democrats to overhaul the state's
Though the state was racked with multi-billion dollar deficits, it seemed for a
time that there was hope in post-dot-com-bust California. Democrats and
Republicans seemed to be working together to solve
the state's problems, led by
the most unlikely of politicians."
"But those early victories created a false impression
of how easy it would be to
extract victories in the world of Sacramento politics.
And as California
reporters looked behind the show biz curtain, troubles
loomed on the political
Meanwhile, CW's Malcolm Maclachlan examined the governor's lengthy environmental record
and found mixed reviews.
"But Democratic legislators and some environmentalists
tell a more nuanced story, one filled with the kinds
of fights and
disagreements that always come with the legislative
"On the one hand, they praised a governor who stuck
his neck out, publicly
championed environmental causes and did some of his
best work on the
nitty-gritty issues that don’t always get much attention."
"On the other hand, they say the story behind the scenes
was not always what it
seemed — especially when it comes to the policy areas that
claimed as his major accomplishments."
CW wasn't alone assessing the governor's record. The L.A. Times' George Skelton also took a whack at
"Many critics may quibble that 21/2 stars is too generous. But Schwarzenegger deserves
credit for a solid finish on the following sorely needed
Open primary and independent redistricting systems.
Paired together, they should lead to the election of
some pragmatic legislators, who could become a moderating
influence on the currently polarized Capitol..."
"He stumbled over his own sound bites right out of
gate, made some bad missteps and never recovered."
"First mistake: demagoguing the vehicle license fee — the
so-called car tax — during his initial election campaign. "Outrageous,"
he asserted of Davis' raising of the fee back to its
historic level after it
had been temporarily cut in good times."
Cleaning up some odds and ends from the gubernatorial
campaign, we see that Nicandra Diaz Santillan -- remember her? -- is going to get $5,500 in back wages, reports Joe Rodriguez of the Mercury News.
"Ending an ordeal that may have doomed her race for
governor, Meg Whitman on Wednesday agreed to pay her
former maid back wages of
$5,500, an amount dwarfed by the political fallout created
illegal-immigrant housekeeper came out of the shadows to accuse
of cheating her."
"The settlement emerged after lawyers haggled for nearly
three hours at the California Division of Labor Standards
downtown San Jose. Both parties met afterward with
news reporters on the
sidewalk, issuing completely opposite readings of the
Also from the campaign trail: The medical pot industry is closely watching the outcome of the state attorney
"As Steve Cooley and Kamala Harris sweat out the ballot counting to determine California's next attorney general, perhaps no one is more
anxious than advocates for medical marijuana shops."
"Within the state medical marijuana industry, Cooley,
district attorney, is widely perceived as pot persona
non grata. It isn't just Cooley's aggressive prosecutions of alleged
abuses in Los Angeles dispensaries that stir medical
marijuana activists. There
are also his persistent declarations that he considers
medical pot dispensaries
to be illegal retail sales outlets."
The seemingly endless demands for tuition increases
at the University of California and the California
State University are drawing strong opposition from the general public, according to a new survey.
From Carla Rivera at the L.A. Times: "A strong majority of Californians are concerned about
steep tuition hikes at the University of California
and California State
University, according to a report released late Wednesday by the Public
Policy Institute of California."
"In addition, more respondents favored increasing their
own taxes than raising students fees."
"The findings are part of a statewide public survey
also found broad support for increasing state funding
of higher education,
combined with concern that education costs are keeping many
students from attending college."
And finally, we look into our Grand Theft Auto file and find the case of the forgotten police car
that went missing for three weeks -- and the officers didn't even know it.
"Millcreek police officers took five unmarked police
vehicles to Pittsburgh for a week of SWAT training. But in what Millcreek Police Chief Thomas Carlotti
"a perfect storm of mix-ups,'' they only returned with four of them."
"It wasn't until three weeks later, when Pittsburgh
called about the car left in a motel parking lot, that
realized a 2006 unmarked white Ford Crown Victoria had been left behind,
"Carlotti said he took disciplinary action against
officers responsible for the oversight, but citing
personnel reasons, he
declined to identify them or cite the type of discipline.
He did say they kept