By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
WITH ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGERjust back from Hawaii, his new life in the chilly Capitol is heating up faster than a balmy day in the islands. For starters, his friendship with Democratic Attorney General Bill Lockyer may not be a buddy picture after all. And his new administration is shaping up so far to be less bipartisan than advertised, even though it will be more liberal than many expected. His new campaign opponent is already off and running for 2006. And his new residence is, well, a hotel.
For all the bipartisan talk of the Schwarzenegger transition team, the appointments to the administration are nearly all Republicans. In the governor’s office itself, there is only Bonnie Reiss, a Hollywood Democrat and environmentalist and friend of Arnold’s for more than 20 years who ran his afterschool program. She’s signed on as a senior adviser, a key role, for she will be practically the only one there who knew Schwarzenegger before he ran for governor.
It might have looked very different. According to sources, a very prominent Democrat, former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg of L.A., was strongly considered for the post of chief of staff to the new governor. As reported last month, Hertzberg, now an attorney in private practice, has been a very active member of the transition team. The moderate liberal is smart, knowledgeable and enthusiastic, all traits that appeal to the action superstar.
Also considered was a tandem arrangement in which Hertzberg would work with Republican Patricia Clarey. In the end, though, the choice was Clarey, an HMO executive and protĂ©gĂ© of former Pete Wilson chief of staff Bob White, the gentlemanly ĂĽber-adviser of Schwarzenegger. Clarey, a moderate Republican, served as deputy chief of staff under White during the Wilson administration and was the very efficient deputy campaign manager during Schwarzenegger’s late-breaking and sometimes chaotic run.
Though there aren’t many Democrats as of yet, some of the early appointments have pleased liberals. Environmentalist Terry Tamminen, head of the Santa Monica–based Environment Now, will be secretary for environmental protection. As such, he will head an agency that some mistakenly reported during the campaign that Schwarzenegger wanted to abolish. Some within the transition team opposed Tamminen, a friend of Maria Shriver’s cousin, environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
There was talk of a pro-business environmental secretary, even talk of retaining Davis environmental secretary Winston Hickox on the theory that he is a player who might better placate business interests. In the end, Schwarzenegger, who told the Weeklybefore he ever ran that he has an “expansive vision” on the environment and renewable energy, went with Tamminen, the architect of the new governor’s advance policy paper that prompted The New York Times to dub Schwarzenegger “Conan the Green.” “So far,” says top environmental lobbyist V. John White, “Arnold looks as good as Gray on the environment.”
Also drawing praise, more surprisingly, is Schwarzenegger’s pick as secretary of food and agriculture. A.G. Kawamura, a Japanese-American, is a ponytailed strawberry farmer from Orange County. During a recent appearance on Warren Olney’s Which Way, L.A.? radio show, Natural Resources Defense Council advocate Ann Notthoff was enthusiastic about Kawamura, calling him “an advocate of sustainable agriculture and integrated pest management,” a technique which eschews the usual pesticide carpet-bombing of fields.
Even on some labor matters, Schwarzenegger is a pleasant surprise to many. Though labor campaigned heavily for Davis and against him, Schwarzenegger agreed to allow the outgoing governor two more appointments to the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, which will be a big help to the United Farm Workers.
IT’S NOT ALL PLEASANT, OF COURSE. Dick Riordan, the sometimes mercurial former L.A. mayor, prompted the resignation of the only labor rep on the Schwarzenegger transition team with his appointment as secretary of education. Though a champion of education, the moderate Republican repeatedly crossed swords with the teachers union while mayor.
Then there is the decidedly unpleasant — the incredible budget mess — which looks headed toward a debt-laden resolution, and very different conflicts emerging between the two Democrats who had been viewed as the party’s front-runners for governor in 2006, Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Treasurer Phil Angelides.
Lockyer may well be moving out of frame, either on account of his shock announcement last month that he actually voted for Schwarzenegger or on account of how he is handling his relationship with the governor-elect.
Lockyer stunned the political world and the media last month when he announced at the usual election postmortem at UC Berkeley that he had voted for Schwarzenegger. It came at the end of a very long and tediously thoughtful luncheon speech. A skilled partisan who was first elected to the Legislature three decades ago, Lockyer has always been a bit of a wild card given to unusual statements. During the power crisis, he mused gleefully about what fun it would be to escort Enron chief Ken Lay to his new home in a prison cell with a rape-happy convict named “Spike.”
Since remarrying and fathering a child at age 61, Lockyer seems to have mellowed, and increasingly questions the hardball political game he has mastered in the past. After praising critics of the attack-dog faction of the Democratic Party during the run-up to the recall election, Lockyer himself entered the fray by decrying what he called Davis’ “puke politics,” a phrase that stuck. So it did not surprise me Lockyer voted for Schwarzenegger; the two have known each other for years. His announcement was the surprise.