"Assembly Democrats said they may need to subpoena two of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's aides
, who are expected to rebuff an invitation to testify at an oversight hearing today on why two officials were forced from the state's air resources board," reports Steven Harmon in the Contra Costa Times.
Berkeley Assemblywoman Loni Hancock
sent letters to Schwarzenegger's chief of staff, Susan Kennedy
, and Cabinet Secretary Dan Dunmoyer
, asking them to testify at the Natural Resources hearing she heads. Her committee is looking into accusations that the administration interfered with the board's implementation of AB 32, the landmark law to curb greenhouse gases by 25 percent by 2020.
"'If we don't get the answers we hope and expect, the committee will explore the option of a subpoena,' said Steve Maviglio, deputy chief of staff for Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez
, D-Los Angeles.
somewhat similar, with critics alleging that Kennedy had interceded with a state agency for political reasons.
"Today's hearing is still scheduled, and Sawyer and Witherspoon are likely to expand on their allegations of political interference, perhaps with e-mails or other documentary evidence. Núñez aides indicate that the speaker will wait until after the hearing to decide whether to take the next step, which would be to issue subpoenas to Kennedy and Dunmoyer, which would be rare but not unprecedented.
That said, it's entirely possible that the whole thing is a bit of scripted kabuki theater, allowing Schwarzenegger to stroke his business buddies and Núñez to placate his environmentalist friends without damaging each other."
But the New York Times is picking up on the narrative
, which suggests this is already damaging Schwarzenegger's carefully crafted image.
"In the last year or so, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — he of the incredible orange perma-tan — has had a remarkably green tint," writes reporter Jesse McKinley. "But the Governator’s eco-friendly reputation may have taken a dent over the last week in a messy battle over the leadership of the California Air Resources Board, a science-geared agency that has traditionally operated with considerable autonomy, even though its 11 members are political appointees. Its most visible mandate is the nuts and bolts of putting the emissions law, known as AB 32, into effect.
"The conflict, which resulted in the top two officials leaving the board, raised some environmental eyebrows, especially among those who have admired Mr. Schwarzenegger’s strong-willed approach
"'We have schizophrenia here,' said James Marston, a lobbyist for Environmental Defense who worked on passing the emissions law. 'Even while we were doing AB 32, the Schwarzenegger administration was a little schizophrenic.'"
"Spanish-language newscaster Mirthala Salinas has been placed on leave
while her employer, Telemundo, investigates whether her romantic relationship with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
breached journalistic ethics, her TV station said yesterday," reports Gary Gentile for the AP.
"Telemundo affiliate KVEA Channel 52 announced the probe two days after it was revealed that Villaraigosa, whose wife has filed for divorce, had been in an extramarital affair with Salinas for about a year.
"'As we have stated, we are committed to journalistic excellence,' Manuel Abud
, KVEA general manager, said in a statement. 'Given the seriousness of the allegations that have been made, we have decided to conduct an internal review of the decisions and events that led us to where we are today. We will conduct this investigation with the utmost respect to personal privacy and journalistic standards.'"
The LAT's Maria La Ganga and Sam Quinones look at whether the revelations of Antonio Villaraigosa's affair will hurt him among Latino voters
"In recent weeks, though, pride has turned to disappointment and wariness among some Latino voters as two promising political stars landed in the headlines at the same time for all the wrong reasons — Villaraigosa for his infidelity and [Rocky] Delgadillo
for a widening scandal that included his wife's banging up a city car, driving with a suspended license and ignoring a warrant for her arrest.
"It is too early to tell whether their troubles will cost the two men allegiance among Latinos, who voted en masse for Villaraigosa in 2005, helping to hand him a landslide victory over Mayor James K. Hahn
. Some voters, however, worried Thursday that the City Hall scandals could harm future Latino candidates and other Democrats.
"Their misdeeds taken together 'are giving more power to Republicans,' said Doris Barrillas
, owner of Time 4 You women's clothing in Boyle Heights, who said she voted for Villaraigosa in his mayoral race but won't the next time. 'Believe me, it'll have a big effect. It does disillusion you a little.'
, a member of the executive board of the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council, said the mayor and the city attorney should have known better: 'They are not setting a good example for other Latinos to climb up the ladder.
, author of the book 'Ask a Mexican' and a contributor to the Times Opinion section, said he is angry that the mayor is perpetuating the stereotype of the womanizing Latino.
"'He is the most high-profile Latino politician in the United States and this is what he does? Jeesh
,' Arellano said. 'For somebody who has so carefully crafted his image as this golden boy of Latino politics, I find it astounding that Antonio could be so reckless in his personal life, especially when he campaigns as a family man.
"Democrats in an Assembly committee advanced a bill Thursday that would revive oversight of California's career-oriented schools
despite the Schwarzenegger administration's continued criticism that it's too heavy-handed.
"The Assembly Higher Education Committee approved Senate Bill 823 by Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata
on a partisan vote of 5-2. Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, who chairs the committee, stressed the urgent need to restore oversight after a state law requiring review of 1,500 for-profit postsecondary and vocational schools expired Saturday.
"'If we don't let this bill out, we're in an even more precarious situation,' said the Democrat from La Cañada Flintridge.
"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers have been unable to agree on how best to reform the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education. The bureau had been criticized for being ineffective at protecting students from so-called diploma mills and for being choked with red tape that made it difficult for schools to comply with state regulations.
"State leaders had tried to push through a stopgap measure to prevent the bureau from being dismantled, but that bill didn't make it to the governor's desk in time."
"Calling it 'unconscionable' that California offers no college tuition help to its National Guard members, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will push to include funding in the next state budget
," writes Nancy Vogel in the times.
"In the prepared text of a speech he is set to deliver today at the groundbreaking for a veterans home on the VA's West Los Angeles campus, the governor says California must be prepared to assist the 27,000 active-duty soldiers and National Guard members returning from overseas. He includes a call to help them pay for college.
"'This means planning for their return and making sure they have the services they need, including medical and mental health care, education, jobs and housing,' states the speech, which was obtained by The Times."
"The two employees of California's lone remaining international trade office are breathing easier
after an Assembly committee voted this week to keep their lonely outpost open for another two years," reports the Chron's Greg Lucas.
"After the state, which boasts the world's eighth-largest economy, closed its trade offices in London, Shanghai, Tokyo, Mexico City, Seoul, Hong Kong and Frankfurt, Germany, in 2003, it chose to maintain a permanent presence in Yerevan, the capital of landlocked Armenia
, the 128th-largest economy in the world, according to the CIA's World Factbook.
Is there a future Schwarzenegger junket in there somewhere?
If a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged, as the saying goes, is it possible that a liberal is a conservative who's been locked up? The Times' Jennifer Warren takes a look at the case of Pat Nolan
, who spent his time in the pokey for his role in "one of the Capitol's most notorious political corruption cases, federal authorities convicted him of racketeering and 13 others of various charges in an FBI sting known as Shrimpscam. Suddenly, the lock-'em-up Republican legislator was on the wrong side of the bars..
"Nolan's 26 months in prison ended a red-hot political career but spawned a fascinating personal odyssey. Once a fiercely ambitious Assembly minority leader, considered a promising candidate for governor, he morphed into a humble, Bible-quoting ex-con who travels the country denouncing the American penal system as a failure.
"Today, Nolan says most prisons are human warehouses that squander billions of tax dollars by doing nothing to guide inmates toward a productive future.
The sad result — in California, 70% of inmates are re-arrested within three years of release — means more crime victims and fewer state dollars for schools, healthcare and other priorities, he says.
"'If hospitals were failing to heal two out of three patients, would we continue to pour money into them?' Nolan asks. 'Of course not. So shame on those who defend the status quo.'"
And finally, after 14 failed attempts to gain entry into the United Nations, Taiwan has finally turned to ... Ozzy Ozbourne?
"After 14 failed attempts at joining the United Nations using media campaigns and presidential appeals, Taiwan is turning to a local goth-style rock band backed by Ozzy Osbourne in its quest for membership to the world body.
"The band, named ChthoniC, will travel to at least 80 cities in four countries by the end of the year, supported in part by the Taiwan government, which is providing pro-U.N. literature and a slogan-painted truck.
"The band will visit Canada, Germany, Britain and the United States.
"ChthoniC has also recorded a song urging the United Nations to let Taiwan join, even though its bid for membership keeps getting knocked down because of objections from Beijing."
Anyone taking bets on this one?