- Political career of Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzeneggerwas first elected as Governor of Californiain the 2003 recall elections and won re-election in 2006. It is the first elected office he has held, but was appointed by President George H.W. Bushto the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, in which he served from 1990to 1993and was Chairman of California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under Governor Pete Wilson.
Schwarzenegger is a registered Republican, not common among the strongly democratic Hollywood left . He describes himself as fiscally conservative and socially moderate (i.e., he is
pro-choiceand supports taxpayer-funded embryonic stem cellresearch). Schwarzenegger backed Republican President Ronald Reaganwhile Reagan was in office, and campaigned for George H.W. Bushin 1988. However, he chastised fellow Republicans during the impeachment of Bill Clintonin 1998. Sensing an opportunity to affect the outcome of the 2004 Presidential race, Schwarzenegger campaigned in Ohio for Republican George W. Bushin the closing days of the campaign. Schwarzenegger has offered praise for 2008 presidential candidate John McCain. He has called McCain a "great senator" and "very good friend" who shared his views on critical issues. He officially endorsed McCain for the Republican presidential nomination on January 31, 2008[cite web| url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22930218/| date=January 31, 2008 | title=Schwarzenegger Endorses John McCain| publisher=MSNBC.com| accessdate=2008-01-31]
Schwarzenegger's first political appointment has been to the
President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, on which he served from 1990 to 1993. He was nominated by George H. W. Bush, who called him "Conan the Republican."
In an interview on
October 29, 2002, with MSNBC's Chris Matthewsat Chapman University, Schwarzenegger explained why he is a Republican:
:"Well, I think because a lot of people don't know why I'm a Republican, I came first of all from a socialistic country which is Austria and when I came over here in 1968 with the presidential elections coming up in November, I came over in October, I heard a lot of the press conferences from both of the candidates Humphrey and Nixon, and Humphrey was talking about more government is the solution, protectionism, and everything he said about government involvement sounded to me more like Social Democratic Party of Austrian
Schwarzenegger continues::"Then when I heard Nixon talk about it, he said open up the borders, the consumers should be represented there ultimately and strengthen the military and get the government off our backs. I said to myself, what is this guy's party affiliation? I didn't know anything at that point. So I asked my friend, what is Nixon? He's a Republican. And I said, I am a Republican. That's how I became a Republican." [ [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3080688/ Arnold Schwarzenegger - MSNBC TV: Battle for the White House - MSNBC.com ] ]
Regarding a run for public office, in
1999, he told "Talk" magazine that "I think about it many times." He also said, "The possibility is there because I feel it inside. I feel there are a lot of people standing still and not doing enough. And there's a vacuum."
Venturing into politics
Schwarzenegger was appointed Chairman of the
President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sportsin the administration of George H. W. Bushfrom 1990 to 1993. During that time, Schwarzenegger traveled across the U.S. promoting physical fitness to kids and lobbying all 50 governors in support of school fitness programs. "He would hit sometimes two or three governors in a day in his own airplane, at his own expense, somewhere around $4,000 an hour," said George Otott, his chief of staff at the time. "When he walked in, it wasn't about the governor, it was about Arnold," said Otott, a retired Marine. "He has what we in the military call a "command presence". He becomes the number one attention-getter." He later served as Chairman for the California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under Governor Pete Wilson. Schwarzenegger scored his first real political success on November 5, 2002, when Californians approved his personally crafted and sponsored Proposition 49, the "After School Education and Safety Program Act of 2002," an initiative to make state grants available for after-school programs.
2003 California Recall Election
For years, Schwarzenegger had discussed with friends, potential donors, advisors and political allies a possible run for high political office. On
April 10, 2003at the Los Angeles Peninsula Hotel, for example, he met with Republican political operative Karl Roveto discuss a future campaign. Seized emails from Enronshow that Schwarzenegger also met with Ken Layon May 17 2001at the Peninsula Hotel where Lay lobbied business leaders and future gubernatorial candidates such as Richard Riordanand Bill Simonto support a solution to the California energy crisisthat included an end to "countless investigations into allegations that suppliers manipulated power prices." [ [http://fercic.aspensys.com/members/manager.asp Welcome to iCONECT247 ] ] [ [http://www.enronemail.com/ Enron Emails ] ]
In March 2001, Schwarzenegger was asked to run for governor by the California Republican Party. [ [http://www.harpers.org/ArnoldSchwarzenegger.html Schwarzenegger, Arnold (Harper's Magazine) ] ] In the months leading to the recall election, Schwarzenegger was widely rumored to be considering a run at becoming
Governor of California. In the July 2003 issue of " Esquire Magazine", he said, "Yes, I would love to be governor of California ... If the state needs me, and if there's no one I think is better, then I will run." When a petition to recall Democratic governor Gray Davisqualified for the ballot on July 24, Schwarzenegger left many wondering whether he would jump into the contest. Schwarzenegger was just wrapping up a promotional tour for "Terminator 3" and said he would announce his decision on whether to run on August 6on " The Tonight Show with Jay Leno".
In the days and even hours leading up to the show's taping, political experts and insiders concluded that Schwarzenegger was leaning against running in California's
October 7recall election. Even his closest advisors said he was probably not going to run. Rumors leading up to the announcement said that his wife, Maria Shriver, a Kennedy family Democrat, was against his running, and he wanted her approval in order to run.
When announcing his candidacy on the Tonight Show, he joked, "It's the most difficult [decision] I've made in my entire life, except the one I made in 1978 when I decided to get a bikini wax". Ultimately, Shriver said she would support Schwarzenegger no matter what he chose, so he decided to run. Schwarzenegger told Leno, "The politicians are fiddling, fumbling and failing. The man that is failing the people more than anyone is
Gray Davis. He is failing them terribly, and this is why he needs to be recalled and this is why I am going to run for governor of the state of California."
As a candidate in the recall election, Schwarzenegger had the most name recognition in a crowded field of candidates, but he had never held public office and his political views were unknown to most Californians. His candidacy was immediate national and international news, with media outlets dubbing him the "Governator" (referring to "
The Terminator" movies, see above) and "The Running Man", and calling the recall election "Total Recall" (both names of his movies) and "Terminator 4: Rise of the Candidate" (referring to his movie "").
Schwarzenegger was quick to make use of his well-known one-liners, promising to "pump up
Sacramento, California" (the state capital) and tell Gray Davis" hasta la vista". At the end of his first press conference, he told the audience "I'll be back." Schwarzenegger looked to follow in the footsteps of former California governor and one-time movie star Ronald Reaganand also made references to following in the footsteps of progressive California governor Hiram Johnson.
However, due to his status as a naturalized citizen, he would not be eligible to seek the Presidency unless the
Constitutionwere to be amended (as proposed in 2000 by Congressman Barney Frank(Democratic - Massachusetts), and in July 2003 (the Equal Opportunity to Govern Amendment) by Senator Orrin Hatch(Republican-Utah). Amongst his campaign team were actor Rob Lowe(a Hollywood Democrat, but a moderate), billionaire moderate Democrat Warren Buffett, and moderate Republican George Shultz, a former Nixon and Reagan aide.
October 7, 2003, the recall election resulted in Governor Gray Davisbeing removed from office with 55.4% of the "Yes" vote in favor of a recall. Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California under the second question on the ballot with 48.6% of the vote to choose a successor to Davis. Schwarzenegger defeated Democrat Cruz Bustamante, fellow Republican Tom McClintock, and others. In total, Schwarzenegger won the election by about 1.3 million votes. Under the regulations of the California Constitution, no runoff election was required.
Schwarzenegger was sworn into office on
November 17, 2003. Schwarzenegger's inauguration was opened by Vanessa L. Williams, his co-star from "Eraser", singing the National Anthem. Hollywood attendees included Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Dennis Miller, Tom Arnold, his wife Shelby, and Rob Lowe(only Miller was a Republican).
The Schwarzenegger children joined others in reciting the
Pledge of Allegiance, then Maria Shriverspoke and held the Bible while Schwarzenegger was sworn into the office of Governor. He spoke briefly: "Today is a new day in California. I did not seek this office to do things the way they've always been done. What I care about is restoring your confidence in your government... This election was not about replacing one man. It was not replacing one party. It was about changing the entire political climate of our state."
First years: 2003-2004
Despite expectations that Schwarzenegger would be vulnerable to opposition critics once taking office, his early governorship showed some successes. He has dealt successfully with California politicians as diverse as
John Burtonon the left to Tom McClintockon the right. At the end of May, 2004, the Field poll put his popularity at 65%, the highest for a California governor in 45 years, including 41% of Democrats, party adherents of his opposition. By comparison, former United States President Ronald Reagan, known as "the Great Communicator," never hit 60% approval while serving as California governor. [ [http://www.latimes.com/news/local/politics/cal/la-me-lopez28may28,1,2650515.column?coll=la-news-politics-california LA Times article] ]
In his first few hours in office Schwarzenegger fulfilled his campaign promise to repeal an unpopular 200% increase in vehicle license fees undertaken to fund the state's budget. The increase was a restoration to 1998 levels. On his first full day in office, Schwarzenegger proposed a three-point plan to address the budget woes. First, Schwarzenegger proposed floating $15 billion (USD) in bonds.
Second, he urged voters to pass a
constitutional amendmentto limit state spending. Third, he sought an overhaul of workers' compensation. Schwarzenegger also called the state legislature into a special session and said that spending cuts would also be necessary. He initiated the cuts by agreeing to serve as governor with no salary, a saving of $175,000 (USD) per year.
Propositions 57 and 58
To fulfill the first two points, he urged California voters to pass Proposition 57 and Proposition 58 in the
March 2, 2004, election, which authorized the sale of $15 billion in bonds and mandated balanced budgets, respectively. Despite initially tepid support from the public, the combination of heavy campaigning by Schwarzenegger, endorsements from a number of leading Democrats, and warnings about the dire consequences should the propositions fail to pass, led to majority votes in favor of the two propositions. Prop. 57 passed with 63.3% of the votes in favor and Prop. 58 passed with 71.0% in favor. He accomplished the third point when he signed a workers' compensation reform bill on April 19, 2004.
Schwarzenegger convinced the Democratic-controlled state legislature to approve the package by threatening to take the issue directly to state voters in a November ballot initiative if the legislature did not act. The economic moves had the effect of up-grading the International Bond Market's projections for the California market at least three points. Before, during the
Gray DavisAdministration, the State of California had the bond-grading of Bulgariaor Lithuania.Fact|date=February 2007 After Governor Schwarzenegger addressed the finances, the bond-rating went up three points and saved the State of California over $20 billion in bond-rated interest over ten years.
Schwarzenegger was later criticized for reneging on his campaign pledges not to take money from special interests and for failing to answer directly the sexual harassment allegations raised by the "
Los Angeles Times" immediately preceding the recall election. However, Schwarzenegger made a point shortly after becoming governor of voluntarily attending a training course conducted by the state Attorney General's office on preventing sexual harassment (along with several members of his senior staff). Schwarzenegger continues to collect campaign contributions from private interests [ [http://arnoldwatch.org/special_interests/index.html Special Interest Contributions: Top Contributors To Arnold By Industry ] "Arnoldwatch.org"; retrieved December 1, 2006. ] at a greater rate than any politician in California history, including Gray Davis, whom he criticized on that very issue. [ [http://www.nbc4.tv/politics/2385057/detail.html NBC interview] ]
In February 2004 when
San FranciscoMayor Gavin Newsom, ordered a change in the certificate application documents to allow for same-sex marriages, Governor Schwarzenegger opposed the move as being beyond the powers of the mayor but also said that he supports gay rights and has expressed support for a law to grant civil unionsto gay couples.
In 2005 when he vetoed a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriages he defended his actions by saying that California voters had passed an initiative banning such recognition and that he supports that state's domestic partnership law that gives same-sex couples many of the same rights as a heterosexual married couple. As of May 15th, 2008 he supports California's recent legalization of same sex marriage effective June 14th, 2008.
Still, critics have observed that there is no federal requirement that other states recognize a state-granted domestic partnership, as is the case with marriages under the
Full Faith and Credit Clauseof the United States Constitution.
Also in February 2004, he chose not to pardon convicted murderer Kevin Cooper who had asked him for clemency in his
death penaltysentence. Cooper's planned execution was stayed by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appealspending a revisiting of evidence. The first execution under his administration was that of Donald Beardslee.
Austrian Green Partyspokesman, Peter Pilz, later called for Schwarzenegger to be stripped of his Austrian citizenship. Pilz claimed that Austrian law forbids any Austrian citizen from taking part in or ordering executions, although there is little chance of Schwarzenegger losing his Austrian citizenship.
The governor has granted
clemencyto a number of convicted felons – more than Democratic predecessor Gray Davis, who presided over numerous executions. The power of clemency is often controversial. After a longer period of consideration than is usual, on December 12, 2005, Schwarzenegger denied clemency to quadruple murderer Stanley Tookie Williams, who was executed on December 13.
In a statement Schwarzenegger argued not on the grounds that Williams' actions were beyond atonement: instead he appeared to acknowledge that atonement was possible, but Williams had not done so, Schwarzenegger stating that "the one thing (apologizing for the four murders he committed) that would be the clearest indication of complete remorse and full redemption is the one thing Williams will not do." [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4523352.stm BBC interview] ]
Taxation and economic issues
In March 2004, libertarian policy research foundation,
The Cato Institute, rated him 1st in their 2004 fiscal policy report card of the tax and spending policies of the nation's governors. [ Moore, Stephen and Stephen Slivinski. [http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3691 Policy Analysis: Fiscal Policy Report Card on America's Governors: 2004] "Cato Institute" March 1, 2005; retrieved December 1, 2006. ] In July 2004, however, Schwarzenegger and the state legislature deadlocked, failing to approve the state budget on time. Trying to rouse public support for his position, he compared lawmakers to kindergarteners who need a "timeout," and in a rally of supporters called his budget opponents " girlie men" (a reference to a long-running " Saturday Night Live" skit parodying Schwarzenegger).
The "girlie-men" flap
He said about the legislators: "They are part of a bureaucracy that is out of shape, that is out of date, that is out of touch and that is definitely out of control in Sacramento. They cannot have the guts to come out there in front of you and say, 'I don't want to represent you. I want to represent those special interests: the unions, the trial lawyers.' ...if they don’t have the guts, I call them girlie-men. They should get back to the table and they should finish the budget".
The remark became national news and was not received well by his opponents, including gay advocacy, feminist groups, and effeminate men in general, labeling it homophobic and sexist, in spite of his earlier support for gay rights (see the Gavin Newsom incident above), not to mention the legislators themselves. Others however, were quick to claim that the critics were expressing a sentiment of latent
homophobiathemselves because they automatically connected the phrase "girlie-men" with homosexuals, though the term was first used on Saturday Night Live to parody his political career. The term "girlie-man" was arguably the Governor taking a bit of a pot-shot at himself, as the phrase is derived from the popular Saturday Night Live sketch "Pumping Up With Hanz and Franz" where two Austrian bodybuilders chastise those not sufficiently bulked up as "girlie men."
His supporters made "girly men" T-shirts and the Governor continued to use the term, including when he addressed the
Republican National Conventionin NYC, calling critics of the current U.S. economic situation "economic girlie men".
Despite what some viewed as political snags during the summer, the Field polls released in August and October 2004 showed that Schwarzenegger's approval rating remained at 65%. Additionally, in October, for the first time in four years a plurality of Californians felt the state was "on the right track".
However, when asked if they would support Schwarzenegger if he could run for president, 50% said they would oppose, while only 26% said they would support the governor in a presidential bid. [ [http://field.com/fieldpollonline/subscribers/RLS2137.pdf field.com (pdf file)] ]
In the spring of 2005, polls began showing Schwarzenegger's approval ratings had dropped to between 40-49%. [ [http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-cap7apr07,1,63188.column?coll=la-headlines-california&ctrack=3&cset=true LA Times article] , see also [http://www.woai.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=A367E183-FC31-4616-8669-4FD5D36181D4 woai.com] , [http://www.surveyusa.com/50governorsrated051005.htm surveyusa.com] , and [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000103&sid=ac98Wx3eNeSw&refer=us bloomberg.com] ]
June 13, 2005, Schwarzenegger called a statewide special election for November 8, 2005, to vote on a series of reform measures he initially proposed in his 2005 State of the State address. A non-partisan Field Poll poll released a week later showed his support had dropped to 37%, one of the lowest approval ratings for any California governor and barely above the support of recalled former Governor, Gray Davis. [ [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2005/06/21/state/n060039D76.DTL sfgate.com] ]
Schwarzenegger's spokesman responded that Schwarzenegger had not yet had enough time to explain his proposals to voters. The Legislature also shared low approval ratings, with just 24% of voters saying they approve of the job lawmakers have been doing. That represents a drop of 10% since February. The governor has responded that the poll sends a "very clear message to us. They are saying they want us to work together." He has also responded "I know popularity goes up and down... as soon as you start making decisions and strong decisions, sometimes they're not popular decisions". [ [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,159854,00.html Fox News article.] ]
Republicans have claimed that the drop in popularity was due to a multi-million dollar ad campaign by various groups such as unions for nurses, police and firefighters, who opposed his plans for the state pension and his administration's lawsuit to delay implementation of a nurse-to-patient staffing ratio plan. In late June 2005, another non-partisan Field Poll had similar numbers as the earlier one, finding that 57% of California voters are not inclined to elect Schwarzenegger to a second term as Governor in 2006. [ [http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20050629/pl_nm/politics_fieldpoll_dc_3 yahoo.com] , see also [http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20050621/ts_alt_afp/uspolitics_050621195840 yahoo.com] ]
When asked about the lessons of the poll, Schwarzenegger has responded "People make mistakes sometimes, and I think that we learn. [...] These are very clear messages that we must work together, and so I am looking forward to that."
To some degree, Governor Schwarzenegger's unpopularity has had to do with his confrontations with three popular labor groups: nurses, teachers, and firefighters. Some unions and activists reacted with anger. [ [http://www.sfist.com/archives/2005/04/05/fk_arnold_nurses_firefighters_and_teachers_protest_the_governator.php sfist.com] . See also [http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/politics/12112103.htm mercurynews.com] , [http://cbs5.com/topstories/local_story_192212252.html CBS article] , [http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/states/california/northern_california/11964407.htm mercurynews.com] ), and others with humor ( [http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7445648/site/newsweek/ MSNBC] , [http://arnoldwatch.org/assets/governator_rap.mp3 arnoldwatch.org] , and [http://talent.pratt.edu/user/114/114_-711700702-main.jpgtalent.pratt.edu] )]
Accusation of conflict of interest
While governor, Schwarzenegger continued to hold a position of executive editor of two American Media magazines. He announced in March 2004 that his $250,000 a year salary would be donated to charity. Schwarzenegger has an extensive history with the magazines and was frequently their star in his body-building days. As executive editor, he produces monthly columns based on his body-building history.
Schwarzenegger drew fire when a second contract, a consulting position, was subsequently discovered in
SEC filings, by the "L.A. Times". This second contract would net him an estimated $8,000,000 (USD) over the next five years. [ [http://www.latimes.com/features/health/nutrition/la-me-bill15jul15,1,6217015.story?coll=la-health-nutrition-news LA Times article] ] His consulting duties are not clear, except that the job allegedly "takes up little time".
The New York Times" further reported (on July 15) that under the five-year November 2003 contract, signed two days before his inauguration as Governor, Oak Productions, Mr. Schwarzenegger's company, is to receive 1% of the net print advertising revenues of Weider Publications. But the payment must be at least $1,000,000 (USD) per year. Mr. Schwarzenegger has also been granted phantom equity, a way of sharing in the growth of the value of the company. The equity could become worth 1% of the company's value, which was stated at the time of the contract as $520,000,000 (USD)". [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/15/national/15calif.html?ex=1279080000&en=d59de5489ea19d3b&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss NY Time 15 July 2005] ]
This contract was seen as a conflict of interest by critics, who note that the magazines receive much of their revenue from advertisements for dietary supplements, a government-regulated industry affected by Schwarzenegger's veto (September 2004) of a bill that would ban schools from accepting sponsorships from firms that make performance-enhancing dietary supplements. In Schwarzenegger's reason for his veto, he drew a distinction between performance-enhancing dietary supplements and steroid usage, which he says is what needs to be prevented in high school students. [ [http://www.townhall.com/news/politics/200507/POL20050718a.shtml townhall.com] ]
Supporters point out that he didn't sign into law a bill that prohibited companies from selling the supplements to minors. Following the accusation, Schwarzenegger responded he would end the contracts with the magazines.
In August 2005, the
Washington Postreported that American Media had paid former TV actress Gigi Goyette, $20,000 (USD) to keep silent about a seven-year affair Schwarzenegger had with her beginning in 1975, when Goyette was 16 years old. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/12/AR2005081201651_pf.html Washington Post 12 August 2005.] ]
age of consentin California is 18 years, Schwarzenegger may have committed statutory rape. In addition, American Media's knowledge of the Goyette affair put it in a position of being able to blackmailSchwarzenegger, providing further reason for Schwarzenegger to align his interests with theirs.
Also in August, the "
Los Angeles Times" reported that five non-profit organizations had collected $3,000,000 (USD), chiefly from large businesses, in order to help defray Schwarzenegger's personal and political expenses, including the rent on the $6,000-a-month hotel suite that Schwarzenegger uses when in Sacramento. [ [http://ktla.trb.com/news/local/la-me-nonprofits24aug24,0,3132004.story?coll=ktla-news-1 Local news interview] ]
The governor's spokesman subsequently reported that Schwarzenegger had directed the disclosure of the contributors to the "residence fund". [ [http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-ed-funds29aug29,0,213871.story?coll=la-home-oped LA Times oped piece.] ]
September 29, 2005, Schwarzenegger vetoed the California gay marriage bill after it had passed both houses of the legislature. [ [http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=46212 worldnetdaily.com] . See also [http://www.southernvoice.com/thelatest/thelatest.cfm?blog_id=2680 southernvoice.com] ]
He stated that he vetoed the bill because he felt that it was in opposition to the will of the voters as expressed by
Proposition 22, which had passed in 2000 with 61.4% of the vote. Proposition 22 stated that only marriages between a man and a woman would be recognized in the state of California.
September 16, 2005, Schwarzenegger announced that he would seek a second term as governor. Despite his initially high approval ratings, a Field Poll conducted the week before indicated that only 36% of California voters were inclined to reelect him.
Schwarzenegger vetoed SB 469 (Bowen) on
October 7, 2005. It would have required people circulating petitions to say whether the signature gatherers are volunteers or are being paid to collect signatures.
Running up to the November special election, Schwarzenegger campaigned heavily throughout the state for his slate of propositions. Through an organization called "Join Arnold," tens of millions of dollars were funneled into the state, mostly from corporate interests, to fund the campaign. Schwarzenegger even reportedly spent 7,000,000 (USD) of his own money. Schwarzenegger characterized the four propositions as being key to his reform agenda.
State unions and other groups opposed to the measures spent large sums of money opposing Schwarzenegger. Total spending by both sides leading up to the election was estimated at $300,000,000 (USD).
November 8, 2005special election, California voters dealt a devastating blow to Schwarzenegger by soundly rejecting all four ballot initiatives that Schwarzenegger had proposed to reform the state government. All propositions were defeated by a margin of at least 7 percentage points. The two propositions most key to Schwarzenegger's agenda, propositions 76 and 77, were defeated by 24 and 19 points respectively.
The defeat left Schwarzenegger significantly weakened politically, depriving him of the one source of leverage he had against the Democratic legislature. Some opponents took to calling him "the One-terminator," a play on his popular role as "the Terminator" in films, implying that his chances of winning re-election had been diminished.
In the aftermath of the election, Schwarzenegger has moved back to the center. He has hired a former aide of
Gray Davisas his chief of staff, and is working with California State Senate Majority Leader, Don Perata, for development of a bond, estimated in the billions of dollars, to accelerate construction of infrastructuresuch as freeways and waterworks.
However, Governor Schwarzenegger's attempts to redeem his political career via the bond measures fell apart in March 2006, largely due to his inability to gain Republican support for the negotiated bond plan. Democratic legislators had pressed Schwarzenegger to emphasize in the bond offering those areas that broadly benefitted the population of the state, while the Republican minority in the legislature pushed for the interests of business and agriculture. The Governor found himself in an impossible situation, as he needed the support of both the Republicans and Democrats to achieve the two-thirds vote to establish the June bond measure.
He chose to endorse the Democratic initiatives in the bond measure, but lost the support of the Republicans in the Legislature. Despite a week of tense, last-minute attempts to compromise, the Republican and Democratic legislators held fast, leading to gridlock.
Both the Governor and Legislature have stated their desire to put some bond measure on the November 2006 ballot, and those bond measures are Propositions 1A through 1E on the ballot.
May 2006 - September 2006
May 2 2006, Schwarzenegger continued his quest to bring two National Football Leaguefranchises to the Los Angelesarea. [ [http://www.tsn.ca/nfl/news_story.asp?ID=164628 TSN article] ] July 19 2006, Schwarzenegger proposed forming the Climate Action Board, a new, centralized authority under his direct control that would be responsible for implementing one of the nation's most far-reaching initiatives to curb global warming. [ [http://www.cutco2.org/2006/07/governator-gets-greener.html CutCO2.org] ]
July 21, Schwarzenegger allocated a further $150 million to stem cell research in the wake of on a bill that would allow for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. [ [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/07/21/BAGGDK2TEN1.DTL San Fransicco Chronicle] ]
In August 2006, Schwarzenegger and legislators agreed to an increase of California's minimum wage from $6.75 per hour to $8.50 per hour in two years. This angered many conservatives.
August 30, Democratic legislators and Schwarzeneggeragreed on a bill to reduce the state's greenhouse gasemissions by twenty five percent over the next twenty years, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.
September 7, he made some controversial comments about Latina Republican Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, reportedly calling her "very hot". He went on to say "I mean, they [Cubans and Puerto Ricans] are all very hot... they have the, you know, part of the black blood in them and part of the Latino blood in them and together that makes it." [ [http://ktla.trb.com/news/ktla-tapedmtgs,0,4398594.story?coll=ktla-news-1 KTLA: Gov. Apologizes for Calling Latina Lawmaker "Hot] ] It should be noted that Garcia found the comments harmless, and even flattering to an extent. On her official site, she responded, "If the Governor’s comments were meant in a discriminatory or disrespectful way, I would have been the first to stand up and fight against them. However, this was not the case. Not only were the brief remarks taken completely out of context from a much longer conversation, but they center around me and a former friend and competitor of the Governor’s, Sergio Oliva." [ [http://www.bonniegarcia.com/tabid/56/ctl/ArticleView/mid/375/articleId/12/Default.aspx http://www.bonniegarcia.com] ]
His campaign has also accused opponent
Phil Angelides' campaign of breaching security protocols in obtaining the file and illegally accessing the Governor's internal computer network, then leaking it to the " Los Angeles Times". Katie Levinson, a spokeswoman for the Schwarzenegger campaign wanted Angelides to "denounce the unethical actions taken on his behalf," and claimed that he was trying to personally smear Schwarzenegger. Angelides' campaign claimed that the allegations were "politically motivated" and stated that the website was publicly accessible. An investigation by the California Highway Patrolexonerated the Angelides camp of any wrongdoing.
September 12 2006, Schwarzenegger wrote a "Los Angeles Times" editorial piece where he called on Mexican immigrants to learn English and obey U.S. laws. He also advocated for increased security on the U.S.–Mexico border. [ [http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-schwarzenegger12sep12,0,6261999.story?coll=la-home-commentary Keep the Immigration Debate Civil - Los Angeles Times ] ]
Real estate tax law was affected in California by Assembly Bill AB 2962, which was approved and signed into law by Schwarzenegger on
September 22 2006. In past law, sales of secondary residence under California law may pay up to 3 1/3% estimated tax of the gross sales price. The tax is collected through escrow and it can be up to 14 months before filing tax returns to get the over-payment back. The law allows taxpayers to choose a withholding amount. This amount will be based on the maximum income tax rate for individuals (9.3%) or corporations (8.84%) applicable to the actual capital gain on the sale of their real property. Taxpayers will also be required to complete a certification under penalty of perjury to the buyer to elect this withholding method. [http://www.mammothrealtycenter.com/articles/Changes_in_CA_Real_Estate_Law2.pdf]
September 27 2006, Schwarzenegger signed into law the most far-reaching state legislation yet enacted to reduce harmful pollutant emissions that cause global warming. At the bill signing ceremony, Schwarzenegger declared, "We simply must do everything we can in our power to slow down global warming before it is too late... The science is clear. The global warming debate is over." [ [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15029070/ Schwarzenegger signs landmark warming law - Environment - MSNBC.com ] ]
Improvement of relations with the State Legislature has enabled the production of a budget within the constitutional time limits (a rare event in California) and the Governor has stated that the failure of his 2006 initiatives was received by himself as a clear message that the electorate expects that the Legislature and Governor are to cooperate and to do their jobs in making law and "... not come running to the people...." [Interview on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno,
11 October 2006] .
Phil Angelides' campaign for governor was given a much needed boost by presidential candidate Barack Obama, Schwarzenegger was in San Franciscoon October 27 2006for a low-key, nonpartisan appearance at a medical conference. Surrounded by high-tech executives, he signed an executive order to boost broadbanduse in California, designate the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency as the coordinator for broadband policy and establish a broadband task force -- a development he said would reap rewards in medicine and business. He said he wanted to "steer clear of the nasty, back-and-forth attacks that characterize most political contests. Concerning broadband, such matters are "a hundred times" more important to voters than the give and take of a campaign. People don't want to hear him say Angelides is wrong on this. The crowd don't want to hear it. It wants to hear that he's building California -- they ask him what he is going to do."
*Schwarzenegger was scheduled to speak to the NAACP convention afternoon
October 28 2006. [ [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2006/10/28/BAG9IM1K3I1.DTL&type=politics CAMPAIGN 2006 / Obama gives lift to Angelides' underdog race / He stumps in L.A. for fellow Dem - governor visits S.F ] ]
*At 8:01 PM, just one minute after polling in California was closed, Schwarzenegger was declared by many news organizations as the victor.
* Shortly thereafter the Governor's office announced the formation of [http://www.governors2007inaugural.com/site/c.gdJIKONpFiG/b.2292745/k.D841/Governors_2007_Inaugural_Committee_Home.htm/ the Governor's 2007 Inaugural Committee] which would raise funds from private donors to host the festivities. According to the [http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-party30dec30,1,5537178.story?ctrack=1&cset=true/ Los Angeles Times] the 2-day gala will cost at least $1.4 million dollars and no public funds will be used. Highlights of the gala are one of Broadway's original
Dreamgirls, Jennifer Holliday, disco diva Donna Summerand Paul Anka.
In 2007, Schwarzenegger experienced an increase in his approval rating [ [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/04/06/BAGO6P3UDN1.DTL Governor's approval ratings leap in poll ] ] but in 2008 the ratings growth began to decelerate and has been statistically flat but stable above 50% through June [ [http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/?p=762 San Francisco Sentinel » Blog Archives » California Governor Schwarzenegger approval ratings rise significantly ] ] .
36. August of 2008 and Schwarzeneggers budget challenges http://jconners.newsvine.com
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