Governor Schwarzenegger has decided on former Gray Davis
top aide Susan Kennedy to be his next chief of staff
, writes John Howard for Capitol Weekly.
"The decision was made following two days of intense, closed-door meetings that included negotiating sessions across the street from the Capitol in the Hyatt Regency Hotel, where Schwarzenegger stays while in Sacramento. Kennedy's hiring was the culmination of a five-hour meeting, sources said, at which Kennedy demanded--and got--sole authority over hiring and firing the executive staff.
That provision spread anger among Republican insiders, who said they feared a major purge of GOP staffers among the governor's inner circle."
Gary Delsohn writes in the Bee
"As word spread Tuesday about Kennedy, Republican blogger Jon Fleischman
published a plea on his Web site
asking the administration or Kennedy to 'help me understand why this appointment should not be interpreted as the big kiss-off to the GOP base
, spokeswoman for the state Republican Party, cautioned Republicans 'to hold their fire and give Gov. Schwarzenegger the benefit of the doubt,'" reports Carla Marinucci
in the Chron.
"'Susan Kennedy's job is not to set policy; her job is to guide the governor's agenda,' she said."
Robert Salladay and Peter Nicholas report for the LAT
"'She embodies everything I have spent my life opposing. It obviously raises more problems and concerns about where he is headed next year,' said Mike Spence
, president of the California Republican Assembly. 'There is a list of things now where it appears we would have been better off if Gray Davis were governor.
"Former Senate Republican leader Jim Brulte
, now a consultant, said: 'If every member of Gov. Davis' staff were as talented as Susan Kennedy, there wouldn't be a Gov. Schwarzenegger in office today."
"'Very few people know what it takes to run a governor's office,' Brulte said. If Schwarzenegger chooses Kennedy, 'Republicans who may be concerned about her will over time find her to be an incredibly capable manager
,' he said."
Tony Perry writes in the LAT that, while many were suspicious of Randy "Duke" Cunningham, "[The scale of Cunningham's admitted crimes
— $2.4 million in bribes and more than $1 million in evaded taxes — caught nearly everyone off guard. The dollar figures make Cunningham's the biggest bribery case involving a federal official in more than two decades." Some of the material items Cunningham took include:A Rolls-Royce and $17,889.96 for its repairsA cut-rate deal on a GMC SuburbanA $1,500 gift certificate for a set of earringsUse of a corporate jet, valued at $8,166Resort vacations worth $10,000Silver candelabra, antique armoires, Persian carpets and custom oak and leaded-glass doors worth more than $50,000A leather sofa and a sleigh-style bed for $6,632Two Laser Shot shooting simulators worth $9,200A 19th-century French commode, valued at $7,200A graduation party at a Washington, D.C., hotel for his daughter worth $2,081.30
"'It was entirely predictable [that Cunningham would be charged] after the house deal became public," said San Diego lawyer Stanley Zubel, leader of Californians for a Cleaner Congress. 'But nobody had a clue that the bribery was as big as it was, and as systematic over years. It evokes outrage.'"
The U-T's Onell Soto breaks down the choice the former Congressman was faced with:"Plead guilty now and serve, at most, 10 years in prison, or fight the charges and risk spending the rest of his life behind bars. It's the kind of choice most everyone targeted by federal prosecutors must make. The vast majority plead guilty."
Laura Kurtzman says the fate of Stanley "Tookie" Williams may be sealed by political pressures. "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has called a private hearing next week to consider granting Williams clemency. But most political observers say that despite the governor's show of concern, he has little to gain and much to lose by preventing the Dec. 13 execution."
And we thought we were cynical.
Gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides picked up the nod of former Los Angeles Lakers star and businessman Magic Johnson yesterday, writes Michael Finnegean in the LAT.
"Johnson's endorsement has become one of the most coveted in California politics, especially in Los Angeles. Candidates in the recent mayoral race — including the ultimate winner, Antonio Villaraigosa — competed fiercely for his support earlier this year. Johnson endorsed Villaraigosa, who featured the athlete-turned-entrepreneur in cable television advertising."
"'I love him as an actor and I love him as my friend, but I don't love him as the governor,' Johnson said. 'We need a man that is qualified. We need a man that can balance the budget.'"
State Controller candidate Abel Maldonado has called on the Senate Education Committee to begin hearings into the University of California's compensation practices, "including the use of administrative stipends, severance payments, bonuses and other hidden cash compensation."
George and Sharon Runner are calling out Phil Angelides over his "debt clock," which Angelides says tracks the state's growing deficit. Assemblywoman Sharon Runner is not convinced. "I think it is all hype by someone who wants to make light of the fact that this governor has made a difference in the economy in the state of California and he is someone who wants to take the governor out as a Democratic nominee for governor,'" she said.
From our Calling Greg Lucas Files: Attention all eBay shoppers. Jerry Garcia's bidet will soon be available on the online auction site. There will also be three toilets and a jacuzzi for sale from the person who bought the late Grateful Dead singer's Marin County mansion.
"Each toilet comes with a certificate of authenticity. That artfully crafted document, however, states only that the toilet came from Garcia's house. 'I can't represent that Jerry Garcia actually used the toilets,'" said the seller. "But he lived in the house. He was human. I'm not clairvoyant, but you can make reasonable assumptions."