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The Skinny

There’s just no shortage of rumors about the impending shakeup in the
governor’s staff. Everybody from the communications director to the
political team to the chief of staff has been rumored to be leaving, and the
lists of potential candidates to replace these allegedly soon-to-be-vacant
positions gets longer by the day. In grand Sacramento fashion, these lists
are populated by people that political insiders all know. So, perennial
candidate Bob Hertzberg‘s name is circulated. “Hertzy” and the governor do
have a long-running friendship, and he has the trust of Democratic wing of
the administration, but like the other candidates, he’s doing well for
himself in the private sector. That has led other names like Consumer
Affairs Secretary Fred Aguiar to be thrown into the mix, along with PUC
Commissioner Susan Kennedy. While many Republicans downplay the likelihood
of Gray Davis‘s former cabinet secretary joining the current administration,
the governor does seem to like people with the last name Kennedy…Looks like
Gloria Romero has lost Paul Hefner permanently. Hefner, took leave from his
duties in the Senate Majority Leader’s office to help out with the No on 77
campaign. That united Hefner with Sandi Polka, political consultant for
Senate Leader Don Perata. Hefner is going to stay on with Polka through the
2006 election cycle to help out with some legislative races, and whatever
else comes their way…Speaking of political consultants, the GOP firm of
Command Focus is no more. With founding partner Rob Stutzman still, for now
at least, running the governor’s communications shop, the two remaining
partners, Dan Schnur and Mark Bogetich, have decided to dissolve their
professional union. Everyone involved says the split was amicable. Bogetich
will hold on to the office space on the 21st floor of the Esquire, while
Schnur will continue to shuttle between the Capitol and LA. Schnur says
he’ll be doing mostly corporate and non-profit work, while Bogetich will
continue to focus on politics … Rob Reiner comes out against a tobacco tax?
Say it ain’t so! Reiner has criticized a new version of an initiative by the
California Hospitals Association to implement a new $1.50 tax on cigarettes.
Much of the new money would go to fund emergency room care. The new tax
would also likely lead to a reduction in cigarette consumption, and reduce
the money that goes into the First Five fund, which was created by Reiner’s
tobacco tax initiative in 1998…Lambda letters has released their scorecard
for legislators and the governor, and Schwarzenegger received a 60 percent
on gay and lesbian issues. That was much higher than any other Republican
elected in Sacramento. Keith Richman scored a 42 percent, the highest among
Assembly Republicans while Abel Maldonado earned a score of 35, the highest
among Senate Reeps…Finally, a congratulations to Romero staffer Richard
Rios
, who passed the state bar exam this week. Just what the world needs –
another lawyer.


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