Arnold: Just a regular guy

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has officially proclaimed January 2007 as “California Dried Plum Digestive Health Month,” and wants all Californians to incorporate the fruits into their daily diet. Dried plums, as you might recall, used to be called “prunes” until growers decided they needed a name that doesn’t evoke jokes like those we’re making here.

A press release from the California Dried Plum Board — representing 1,000 dried-plum growers and 21 dried-plum packers under the authority of the California Secretary of Food and Agriculture, and certainly not to be confused with the California Plum Marketing Program — says the governor knows that by “combining dried plums’ health benefits with a conscientious diet, Californians will be protecting their health, as well as strengthening the state’s flourishing agricultural economy.”

Board executive director Rich Peterson notes California proudly produces 99 percent of the United States’ dried-plum supply, and 60 percent of the world’s. The fruits are chock full of nutrients and anti-oxidants, the board notes, and also help clear up digestive problems because they have fiber.

Lots and lots of fiber.

So, let no one say the governor has been lax in his duties this holiday season. And let’s hope many of our public servants in Sacramento will ring in the new year with a tall glass of prune juice, for they so often seem to be full of… something.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.