Is it impossible to hire a PR firm that isn't staffed by former Schwarzenegger aids?

After taking a beating for handing a $9 million public relations contract to Mercury Public Affairs, whose partners include several former members of Schwarzenegger's inner circle, the Californa High Speed Rail Authority is expected to give the gig to Ogilvy Public Relations — whose executives include a former Deputy Chief of Staff and Deputy Campaign Manager for the governor.

Mindy Fletcher served Schwarzenegger for several years before assuming her current position at Ogilvy, which has offices in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Diego. As Senior Adviser to Ogilvy's West Coast Operations, it's a fair bet

that Fletcher will be involved with the bullet train that will run up and down the state — and whose planners are being criticized for neglecting community concerns about the train's impact and ignoring ideas for alternate routes.

The decision to hire Ogilvy isn't finalized, but the firm has received a letter of intent from the rail authority staff, according to Capitol Weekly. The rail authority board is expected to approve the selection in the next few days.

Besides being an ex-Schwarzenegger mouthpiece, Fletcher is known in the PR world as “one of the Bush administration's most coveted PR veterans.”

Perhaps she can help Ogilvy do a better job at selling the high speed rail than she did at helping Bush sell his Iraq war.

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