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Schwarzenegger visits Pleasant Hill, advocates reform

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pushed his budget reform proposals this morning in Pleasant Hill at one of his trademark townhall-style meetings.

Click here to watch a video of the town hall meeting posted by the governor’s office.

He wants the Legislature to pass a spending cap tied to annual revenue growth and create a rainy day fund as a hedge against bad fiscal times. But he faces a major political maelstrom in Sacramento. The Legislature is heavily divided over whether to impose only cuts or find new money to cope with an estimated $8 billion deficit next year.

The audience of about 50 people convened by the Contra Costa Council, a business membership organization, was by and large friendly to Schwarzenegger’s reform ideas. It was the governor’s third such townhall meeting in California, where he is trying to elicit public support for his reforms and put pressure on state lawmakers.

But there were a few prominent Democrats seated in the front row who aren’t too happy with the some of the governor’s proposals. Outside, about 40 or so protesters carrying signs chanted, “Save Our Schools!”, in response to the governor’s proposal to reduce the budget next year for education.

Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier of Concord, who is running unopposed in the primary for state Senate, didn’t speak during the event but talked to the press later.

“The governor is very good at what he does in these meetings,” DeSaulnier said. “But to cap growth of the budget and say that it won’t impact the lives of Californians is disingenuous. We still have needs. Our education system is failing our kids. Our healthcare system has problems. How does the governor intend to address the needs of our residents?”

Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioia told the governor that he objects to proposed cuts in Medical provider rates, which he said would further erode participation in healthcare programs for the working poor.

Here are a few more photos from the event by Times photographer Susan Pollard. In the photo on the left, DeSaulnier and Gioia sit in the front row.

Also, the governor’s office sent out a photo:

Posted on Wednesday, March 19th, 2008
Under: California Legislature, Schwarzenegger | No Comments »

Governor to endorse Houston for supervisor

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will endorse later today GOP Assemblyman Guy Houston for Contra Costa County supervisor in his race against incumbent Mary Nejedly Piepho of Discovery Bay.

“I’ve been hearing that Republicans don’t support me because I’m running against a Republican but I have lots of Republicans supporting me, including the governor,” Houston said by phone a few minutes ago.

Schwarzenegger and Houston, who lives in San Ramon, know each other through their work in Sacramento, offering Houston a definite advantage over Piepho when it comes to securing this particular endorsement.

“The governor likes and respects me,” Houston said. “He thinks I’m going a good job in Sacramento and he thinks I will do a good job as a county supervisor. I’m very pleased. Who wouldn’t want the governor’s endorsement?”

Addition: Commenter points out that Piepho has a long list of endorsements of her own at www.marynejedlypiepho.com/endorsements.html )

It’s difficult to say whether a such high-profile endorsement will translate into votes for Houston but it probably won’t hurt.

Schwarzenegger is wildly popular in California among members of both major parties and independents, although some conservatives view him as too moderate on environmental and social issues.

Houston is the first candidate to challenge Piepho, who once worked as his aide. The two, plus others who may join the race, will run in the June 3 primary. If one candidate receives 50 percent plus one vote, he or she will win outright. If not, the top two voter-getters will face a run-off in the Nov. 4 general election.

UPDATE AS OF 4:51 P.M. WITH HOUSTON’S PRESS RELEASE

San Ramon – Governor Schwarzenegger has announced his endorsement of
Assemblyman Guy Houston for Contra Costa County Supervisor, District 3.

“The Governor rarely endorses in non partisan races” said campaign consultant, Don
Parsons. “Governor Schwarzenegger’s endorsement of Guy is a testament to their strong working relationship in Sacramento. I am sure the Governor is confident that Guy will do a great job in bring productive change to Martinez.”

“I look forward to working with Governor Schwarzenegger as a County Supervisor,” said Houston. “My contacts and relationships that I have developed over the years as an assemblyman will be useful in solving the many problems that face Contra Costa County today.”

In addition to the endorsement of the Governor, Houston has also garnered key county endorsements from Treasurer Bill Pollacek, Assessor Gus Kramer and Sheriff Warren Rupf and is in an excellent position for election to the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors on June 3.

Those wishing to join the Guy Houston for Supervisor campaign may call the headquarters at (925) 242-1489, e-mail at info@guyhouston.com or visit www.guyhouston.com.

Guy is currently seeking office of Contra Costa County Supervisor for District 3, which includes he communities of Alamo, Blackhawk, Brentwood, Byron, Danville, Diablo, Discovery Bay, Dougherty Valley, Knightsen, San Ramon, Tassajara, and Walnut Creek.

Born in Walnut Creek, Guy grew up in the San Ramon and Tri-Valley’s where he
attended San Ramon Valley High School and St. Mary’s College. Guy and his wife Inge, live in an Ramon, where they are raising their three children; Bartlett (15), Sumner (13) and Glynnis Rose (9).

Posted on Thursday, February 14th, 2008
Under: Contra Costa politics, Schwarzenegger | No Comments »