Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in Washington, D.C., for the National Governors Association conference, visited President Bush at the White House today along with other Western governors, and delivered a letter describing his disappointment at Bush’s proposed budget cuts for California’s education, labor, Medicare and Medicaid, children’s health insurance, state and local emergency workers and incarceration of illegal immigrant criminals.
Schwarzenegger also spoke today at the National Press Club, making a plea for extending his “post-partisanship” philiosophy to the nation’s capital. In doing so, he ate some crow for 2005’s disastrous special election…
Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t claim to be Gandhi. In 2005, I contributed to the polarization. I tried to push through some initiatives the wrong way — us versus them. I’m not a person to get all introspective about my failures, but I do know when something doesn’t work. Dividing people does not work.
Someone must start rebuilding trust and relationships in this town. There are very simple ways to begin. To the Democrats, I say stop running down the President, and just tell the people what you would do. To the Republicans, I say stop questioning the motives of the Democrats on the war and accept their right to believe what they want. To the president, I say get yourself a smoking tent. And to all, I would say remember that the majority of people in this country are in the center.
Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, stood today with local workers who say they’ve faced retaliation from employers for trying to unionize their workplaces. An event at the Oakland Public Library’s Dimond branch highlighted the Employee Free Choice Act of 2007, introduced by Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez, to reform the union election process and prevent workers’ intimidation or harassment. Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton; Assembly members Sandre Swanson, D-Oakland, and Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley; and Oakland City Council member Jean Quan also attended.
The governor flew to Washington, D.C., today for the National Governors Association’s annual meeting. In his pre-taped weekly radio address which aired this morning, he said he’ll “be talking with the President, my fellow Governors and California’s elected leaders in Congress about solutions to our health care crisis, immigration, global climate change and help for those hurt by the recent freeze in California.”
And that talking will be sharp when it comes to President Bush’s budget plan, he indicated: “The President’s proposal to cut Medicare and Medicaid funding would hurt our efforts to fix California’s broken health care system.”
Schwarzenegger also noted Bush has proposed scrapping SCAAP — the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program — which helps states pay for jailing illegal immigrants who commit crimes. Congress funded the program at about $661 million this year, and California usually gets about 40 percent of the total funding.
U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., tells Politico he has no immediate plans to switch parties — thus handing control of the Senate to the GOP — but suggested that Democratic opposition to funding the war in Iraq might change his mind. And he tells Time magazine he might vote Republican for President in 2008, “a not-so-veiled hint that he would prefer John McCain, his fellow true believer in the Iraq war, to most, perhaps all, Democratic alternatives.”
That’s gotta hurt for senators Tom Carper, D-Del.; Mary Landrieu, D-La.; Ben Nelson, D-Neb.; Mark Pryor, D-Ark.; and Ken Salazar, D-Colo., all of whom continued to endorse Lieberman last year after he’d lost the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont and declared himself an independent candidate in November’s general election. At least U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. — who took heat from the Bay Area and beyond for endorsing someone so hawkish on the Iraq war — switched her support to Lamont in the general election after having gone to Connecticut to stump for Lieberman in the primary.
As for the Democratic presidential contenders, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.; U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.; U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.; U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.; 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee and former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.; New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson; and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack all did as Boxer did, supporting Lieberman in the primary, but then supporting Lamont as the Democratic nominee in November. So on a personal level, you can see why he’s not in a rush to endorse any of them, but from a party standpoint, he’s not exactly burnishing his Democratic bona fides.
This news release just in from the office of Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo:
This week, Chairman of the Strategic Forces Committee of the Armed Forces Committee Rep. Ellen Tauscher received the Satellite Leadership in Government Award from the Satellite Industry Association.
The award recognizes those in government who have done the most to modernize our nation’s export control laws to recognize the dynamic role that satellite technologies play in the nation’s economy, video distribution, and national and homeland security.
“I am deeply concerned that the current export control system is broken; harming both our national security and our economy,” said Rep. Tauscher. “We need a thorough scrub of the munitions list that attempts to control all dual-use items and remove dated, non-sensitive and foreign available items. We need one agency to handle licensing and we need to facilitate defense trade and technological cooperation with our allies — not hamstring it. It is time for Congress to begin a serious debate on how we can improve our current regime.”
Also receiving the award this year is Maj. Gen. James B. Armor (director of the National Security Space Office). Previous recipients of the Satellite Leadership in Government Award include Senator Ted Stevens (2006) and Admiral James O. Ellis Jr., former Commander of US Strategic Command (2005).
Yesterday’s editions carried a story about how the governor has moved the longtime director of the state Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs over into the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to take over the state prisons’ substance-abuse treatment programs, which a new report from the state Inspector General calls an utter disaster.
A highlight from the executive summary of this week’s report:
This litany of problems adds up to a $1 billion failure — failure to provide an environment that would allow the programs to work; failure to provide an effective treatment model; failure to ensure that the best contractors are chosen to do the job at the lowest possible price; failure to oversee the contractors to make sure they provide the services they agree to provide; failure to exert the fiscal controls necessary to protect public funds; failure to
learn from and correct mistakes — and most tragically, failure to help California inmates change their lives and, in so doing, make our streets safer.