Ladies and gentlemen, the former governor of the great state of California:
Ladies and gentlemen, the former governor of the great state of California:
Two years after leaving office, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s climate-change work continues – and continues collecting accolades.
Schwarzenegger will co-executive-produce a Showtime documentary series on the human impact of climate change. The “Years of Living Dangerously” series is a collaboration between Hollywood and journalists, delivering first-person accounts of those affected by, and seeking solutions to, global warming. Six to eight one-hour episodes will air in 2013.
Also, Schwarzenegger will be honored by the United Nations Correspondents Association as a 2012 Advocate of the Year for his work with R20, the non-profit he founded after leaving office to address climate change at the sub-national level. The award will be presented to him by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York on Wednesday, Dec. 19th.
Not too shabby for a guy who also found time to make a new action film, opening next month.
Besides Schwarzenegger, the Showtime project’s other executive producers are Oscar-winning director James Cameron; former United Artists chairman and CEO Jerry Weintraub; 60 Minutes producers Joel Bach and David Gelber; and climate expert Daniel Abbasi. Stars including actors Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and Alec Baldwin will take part as first-person narrators on the ground; Edward Norton and other names are expected to sign on soon.
Among those reporting from the field will be New York Times journalists including three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof, and columnist Mark Bittman, plus MSNBC host and political commentator Chris Hayes, among others.
“The recent devastation on the East Coast is a tragic reminder of the direct link between our daily lives and climate change,” David Nevins, president of entertainment for Showtime Networks Inc., said in a news release today. “This series presents a unique opportunity to combine the large-scale filmmaking styles of James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub and Arnold Schwarzenegger — arguably some of Hollywood’s biggest movie makers — with the hard-hitting, intimate journalism of 60 Minutes veterans Joel Bach and David Gelber. I believe this combination will make for a thought-provoking television event.”
We received a news release this morning announcing that the University of Southern California’s Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy has announced the participants in its first-ever symposium, coming up next Monday, Sept. 24.
Hilarity ensued. One colleague wrote:
The “Schwarzenegger Institute?” Is this a Saturday Night Live skit? I can see the classes now:
- S101: Doubling State Deficits by Cutting Car Registration Fees
- S102: Workshop in Transitioning Your Approval Rating From 65 percent to 30 percent
- S103: Hydrogen Highway: From Hype to Bust
- S104: Extracurricular Activities With Staff
How much did he pay to get his name on that building? What’s next, USC’s Rosanne Barr Charm School?
S105: Ruining Your Legacy By Having a Love Child
S106: Pro Tip: Don’t Mess with the Kennedys
As for me, Schwarzenegger in academia makes me think:
Please share your own suggestions for Schwarzenegger Institute course offerings in the comments; keep it clean.
UPDATE @ 3:40 P.M.: Sharon Cornu, the former Alameda Labor Council executive secretary-treasurer and former Oakland deputy mayor who’s now running Rep. Pete Stark’s re-election campaign, asks “shouldn’t he invite Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards, and that governor from South Carolina to a zipper workshop? I can get the Society of First Wives to sponsor it!”
Anyway, the Sept. 24 event will feature “top elected officials discussing bipartisan cooperation; entertainment industry leaders offering perspectives on the power of people and innovation and its impact on their business, as well as the impact the entertainment industry has on popular culture; and a dialogue on how to explore local solutions while addressing global environmental challenges,” according to the USC news release.
“During my time as governor of California, I learned that the best solutions to the challenges we face come only when all sides are willing to meet in the middle and engage respectfully. That’s why I am so excited about the group of leaders we’ve assembled from across the spectrum,” Schwarzenegger, the institute’s chairman, said in the release. “These are some of the most thoughtful and respected individuals I know, so I’m 100 percent confident that big ideas are going to be born and shared at our inaugural symposium.”
The institute is housed at the USC Price School of Public Policy, where Dean Jack Knott said Schwarzenegger “has the unparalleled ability to bring together this diverse program. While USC is honored to be visited frequently by world leaders and industry experts, this historic symposium will collect a wealth of experience and an exchange of ideas such as this school has never seen before.”
Participants in a two-hour panel on post-partisanship will include Schwarzenegger; former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist; former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.; U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; former U.S. Energy Secretary and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson; and former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, all moderated by ABC News political commentator Cokie Roberts.
An lunch panel on local solutions to global challenges of environment, energy and climate will include Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster and Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, chair of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, moderated by host of NBC “News Conference” Conan Nolan.
And a panel on “The Power of People and Innovation – Perspectives of Media and Hollywood Leaders” will include Schwarzenegger; Academy Award-winning movie director James Cameron; Rob Friedman, co-chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group; Brian Grazer, chairman of Imagine Entertainment; Interscope Geffen A&M Chairman Jimmy Iovine; and Universal Studios and NBCUniversal President and CEO Ron Meyer, moderated by Buzzfeed.com Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith
Arnold Schwarzenegger posted this photo yesterday to his WhoSay page:
“After all the action, stunts & physical abuse shooting The Expendables 2 and The Last Stand, it was time for a little tune up on my shoulder,” he wrote. “Look who was coincidentally waiting in line behind me for his shoulder surgery. Now we’re ready for another round of great times and action when we shoot The Tomb. #greattobeback”
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger touted California’s energy and environmental accomplishments – from solar roofs to tailpipe emission standards – in a speech today at the the United Nations Industrial Development Organization’s Vienna Energy Forum.
“I love that my homeland of Austria and adopted home of California are global action heroes both proving you can protect the environment and improve the economy at the same time,” he said. “Universal energy access isn’t about just lighting a dark room or cookingon a better stove, it is about the freedom that energy and especially renewable energy gives us.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the most prolific political fundraiser ever to serve as California’s governor, got one last contribution in the final few days of his tenure: Blue Shield of California gave $15,000 Thursday to the governor’s officeholder committee.
State law allows officeholder accounts to be used in paying for an officeholder’s political activities – things such as constituent communications or costs associated with carrying out the officeholder’s official duties – during their time in office.
The state Fair Political Practices Commission’s regulations require that Schwarzenegger close his within 90 days of leaving office. Until then he can spend its money only on paying outstanding expenses; repaying contributions to those who gave them; making donations to bona fide charitable, educational, civic, religious, or similar tax-exempt, nonprofit groups so long as it’ll have no material financial effect on him; or paying for professional services for the committee’s administration.
So why did Blue Shield of California ante up again as the governor had one foot out the door?
“I regret to inform you that we are declining to comment at this time,” Blue Shield of California spokeswoman Mary Taing said today, about 90 minutes after saying she was “tracking down the right person to talk to.”
Schwarzenegger came to power in 2003’s gubernatorial recall election in part by portraying then-Gov. Gray Davis as a paragon of “pay to play” politics who let political contributions guide his policy, yet he soon far outstripped Davis in fundraising prowess.
Blue Shield of California has been supportive of Schwarzenegger for years, giving generously to his campaigns and committees. CEO Bruce Bodaken attended the October ceremony in which Schwarzenegger signed into law a pair of bills to create the nation’s first health benefit exchange under the national health reforms enacted last March. “You have demonstrated extraordinary leadership on health reform and again today you’ve shown great vision and courage in signing this legislation,” Bodaken said to the governor that day.
Schwarzenegger’s officeholder account has received more than $900,000 in contributions since the start of 2006. Among the bigger recipients of the committee’s spending in 2009-2010 were famed Republican speechwriter Landon Parvin ($116,900); Intuitive Technology Solutions, a Gilroy-based event design and production company ($82,150); and various staffers’ travel expenses for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, a border governors’ conference and other events.
Arnold Schwarzenegger on his last day as California’s governor has commuted the state prison sentence of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez’ son, who was involved in a fatal stabbing in 2008 near San Diego State University.
Esteban Nunez was serving a 16-year term in connection with the death of Luis Dos Santos.
“Santos’s death is tragic, and I do not discount the gravity of the offense. But given Nunez’s limited role in Santos’s death, and considering that, unlike (Ryan) Jett, Nunez had no criminal record prior to this offense, I believe Nunez’s sentence is excessive,” the governor wrote. “Accordingly, I commute Nunez’s sentence to the lower term for the crimes for which he was convicted: seven years in State prison.”
The commutation cites Nunez’ probation report in noting that he and his friends had been drinking and were turned away from a fraternity party before Jett picked a fight with Santos and Brandon Scheerer. “Not surprisingly, there are different versions of the fight. However, the following key facts are not in dispute: During the fight, Jett stabbed Santos once through the chest, severing his heart,” the commutation says, noting Nunez admitted to stabbing someone else in the stomach; Nunez, Jett and their friends then fled to Sacramento, where they burned their clothes and threw their knives in the Sacramento River.
Nunez, then 19 and with no previous record, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter with the use of a knife, as well as to assaulting and inflicting great bodily injury upon two other people; he was sentenced to a total of 16 years in state prison. Nunez applied for a commutation of his sentence on the ground that his sentence is disproportionate in comparison to the sentence for Jett, who actually inflicted the mortal wound upon Santos.
“Considering Nunez’s limited role in the killing and his clean prior criminal record, I believe his sentence is disproportionate in comparison to Jett’s. The lower terms for voluntary manslaughter (three years) and assault with a deadly weapon (two years each) would be more appropriate in light of these differences,” Schwarzenegger wrote.
UPDATE @ 5:50 P.M. MONDAY: Lots more on this today here.
Like the swallows to San Juan Capistrano, state lawmakers flocked back to Sacramento today, some to be sworn into their new terms, some to introduce bills, some perhaps just to keep their seats warm.
Among the Bay Area delegation’s legislative priorities: sangria, child care, party buses, public utilities, human trafficking, renewable energy and bullying (in no particular order).
State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco – who was announced today as the new chairman of the Senate Budget Committee – introduced a bill that would lift state law’s ban on sale of infused alcohol. Believe it or not, it’s illegal under existing law for a bar to mix up a big jar of sangria, or to infuse a big container of vodka or some other liquor, for later use and sale; such things can only be made to order. As a resurgence of the art of the cocktail has swept the state, many bar owners have ignored this rule – at their peril, it turned out, when the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control started handing out warnings and citations earlier this year. Leno estimates half of the Bay Area bars’s create and serve infusions, including limoncello, sangria, fruit flavored tequilas and many flavors of infused vodka, and his SB 32 is supported by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.
State Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, was named Majority Leader – second in command, responsible for setting the Democratic agenda and the Senate’s floor operations – and introduced a bill to restore the $256 million for Stage 3 child care that Gov. Schwarzenegger line-item vetoed out of the state’s budget. The Stage 3 program provided child care services to more than 81,000 children and some 60,000 working families statewide; a court has put the cut on hold until Dec. 31, and the First 5 Commissions in many counties – including Alameda and Santa Clara – are footing the program’s bills until funding can be restored. “This money is vital for thousands of working parents, their children, and their caregivers who depend on these centers being open,” Corbett said in a news release.
On the Assembly side, Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, co-authored the Assembly version of the bill to restore the vetoed child-care funds, and also introduced his own bill to crack down on operators of “party buses” that allow underage drinking aboard their vehicles. Prompted by the death of a 19-year-old from Burlingame, Hill’s AB 45 would require bus drivers – just as limousine drivers already are required – to make underage passengers sign statements that their consumption of alcohol is illegal, and then end the ride if any underage passengers imbibe. Fines starting at $2,000 for a first offense could be imposed by the Public Utilities Commission against companies that don’t comply, and further violations could result in license suspensions or revocations; party bus operators also could be charged with a misdemeanor.
Hill also introduced a bill, inspired by the Sept. 9 natural gas blast that killed eight people and flattened 27 San Bruno homes, that would prevent utilities from using ratepayer money to pay penalties or fees assessed by the Public Utilities Commission; require utilities that own or operate gas facilities to annually report to the PUC any pipeline problems; require utilities to create public education programs on their emergency response plans; require gas pipeline owners or operators to prioritize pipelines near seismically active areas for increased safety oversight, and by 2020 to create programs to upgrade their facilities for state-of-the-art inspection methods; require the PUC to set minimum standards to install automatic and/or remote shutoff valves; and require the PUC to ensure utility owners actually use rate increases to pay for the projects they propose, with any diversions publicly explained.
Lots more, after the jump…
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Posted on Monday, December 6th, 2010
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly, California State Senate, Ellen Corbett, energy, Jerry Hill, Joe Simitian, Mark Leno, Sandre Swanson, state budget, Tom Ammiano | No Comments »
In an interview to air tonight on ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer,” Sawyer asked Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger about the clean energy policies that he says will be his legacy, and Schwarzenegger talked about how Washington has dealt with this issue.
“We need to go to Washington and say, ‘Look what happened. You, because oil companies have spent money against you, they have threatened you, you backed off the energy policy and the environmental policy in Washington. What wimps. No guts. I mean, here, you idolize and always celebrate the great warriors. Our soldiers, our men and women who go to Iraq and Afghanistan, and they’re risking their lives to defend this country and you’re not even willing to stand up against the oil companies. I said, that’s disgusting. You promised the people you’d represent them. You didn’t promise the people you’d represent the oil companies and the special interests.’ ”