Lecher update: The office of Attorney General Kamala Harris will neither confirm nor deny that they’ve opened a “criminal inquiry” into tabloid allegations that ex-governor Arnold Schmucksnegger used state cops to facilitate his deviant behavior – but Calbuzz has learned that there is no inquiry, or investigation, or whatever else you want to call it, at what lawyers love to call “this point in time.”
One reason: no complaint about the matter has lodged with the DOJ. The only allegations have come from the National Enquirer and its web arm, Radar Online, reports that have been vehemently and categorically denied by Schwarzenegger, the CHP and the Hyatt Regency Sacramento, where his state-subsidized debauchery supposedly went down.
The Enquirer has stated that “multiple department sources” have told them a “criminal inquiry” is being conducted by the AG’s office; from all we hear, however, it’s not happening, at least not yet.
Before the scandal, his acting days as a leading man action hero were also largely going to be over because he is aging and was never a great actor to begin with. Now, since the scandal…look, last time I went to a movie theatre about half the people in there were women and I’m not exactly sure how this is going to play out with them.
The thing about Arnold is he likes himself A LOT, A LOT. I am told by people very close to him that he is so far out there that he actually believes that people think he did a good job as Governor.
Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but what a jerk.
How Bowen got beat: L.A. Weekly political writer Gene Maddaus offers his take on how Debra Bowen confounded the experts, finishing out of the money in the jungle primary round of the race to replace Jane Harman in the 36th Assembly District, eked out by Tea Party Republican Craig Huey:
The early expectation on the Republican side was that (Mike) Gin, (Patrick) Bobko and (Mike) Webb would split the Republican vote: Webb would get harder core conservatives, Gin would get moderates, but none of them would go anywhere in the end. Nobody ever heard of Huey before, and nobody expected him to drop $500K of his own money on the race — which is not the act of a rational man, considering his chances in the runoff.
Before the FEC reports came out, he was just one wacko among many. but then he filled up the mailboxes with right-wing red meat, and became the Republican front runner almost by default.
Also: Bowen ran a fairly limp campaign. She didn’t have enough money and didn’t do much with the money she did have. We were waiting for her to attack (Janice) Hahn, but she never did. They issued some press releases and e-blasts about Hahn taking money from downtown lobbyists, but they never put it on a mailer. And then Hahn attacked her with some predictable nonsense about taking oil money, and Bowen’s response was to issue a letter from the Sierra Club.
Obviously (Marcy Winograd) was a big factor as well. Without her in the race, Bowen probably would have finished first. Hahn made sure that Winograd was in the race, with that pledge for Israel. Bowen may have made a mistake by signing the pledge, because that guaranteed that Winograd would run.
It’s too bad, because Bowen vs. Hahn would have been far more interesting than Hahn vs. Huey.
Marta Evry over at Calitics also has an interesting take on the race. While you’re there, don’t miss the Oracle of Cruickshank’s excellent piece on the difference between Republican and Democratic coalitions.
Must reading: Whatever you think about public employee pension reform, check out this recent piece, by Calbuzz favorite Michael Hiltzik, which does more to frame the debate in an honest broker way than anything we’ve read:
Here’s what we know for certain about the public pension crisis facing California: The obligations owed or promised to public workers are growing, and unsustainable.
Almost everything else said about public employees and their retirement packages is open to question, misleadingly simplified, or infected with ideology, partisanship or emotion.
One might ask if that matters, given the overwhelming weight of fact No. 1. The answer is yes, because we’ll never achieve an equitable and effective fix until we dispel the miasma of non-facts enveloping this highly fraught topic…
Unquestionably, state and local political leaders have been profligate with pensions, awarding workers improved benefits and post-employment health coverage — the value of the latter being perhaps the largest single difference between California retirement plans and those of federal and private workers. Some enhancements were awarded retroactively, which is an absolute sin in the pension biz.
Typically they were extracted by public-employee unions from Democratic administrations and legislatures, especially when the dot-com boom made the state budget look flush and the enhancements look free. Everyone pretended that the boom would last forever, including, shockingly, CalPERS actuaries — public bodies even were permitted to forgo contributions to the system during the fat years, which only made things worse when the market crashed. The pols perceived that public employees were a potent voting bloc, but of course one thing that makes them so is that so many other Californians sit on their duffs on election day. If you’re one of the nonvoting masses, you’re to blame for the pension fiasco too…
Finding a path through these brambles isn’t made easier by today’s craze for public-worker bashing, which is partially an artifact of the outrageous trend toward more income inequality in California and the U.S. alike. According to Franchise Tax Board figures, more than 70% of the $300-billion increase in total adjusted gross income of California taxpayers between 1987 and 2008 went to the wealthiest 10% of Californians. The middle 20%, our valiant middle class? They got 3%.
This is connected to such phenomena as the decline of collective bargaining in the private sector, increased job insecurity and the explosion of household debt. Government workers are seen by the average strapped taxpayer as insulated from these pressures (public employees don’t help themselves by engaging in scams like “spiking” their final years’ pay to pump up their pensions), but the resulting resentment is the ultimate class-war victory of the haves over the have-nots. Middle-class taxpayers grouse about the retirement deals of teachers and DMV clerks, while bankers and CEOs, whose compensation and tax breaks really deserve public obloquy, slink away scot-free.
Calbuzz sez check it out.