The Weekly Roundup

Snake eyes for Barstow, Schwarzenegger gets fined, Sunne moves on

Thursday, June 29
While the $131 billion state spending plan sailed through the Legislature, a
bill to allow two more tribal casinos in Barstow didn’t fare so well. “The
governor and the city of Barstow were slapped in the face Wednesday by an
Assembly committee, which denied agreements to develop casinos in Barstow
along the heavily traveled I-15–the road to Las Vegas,” reports the San
Bernardino Sun.

“I wish I could help Barstow but I have to face my Maker at the end of the
day,” said Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy, R-Monrovia.

Apparently, helping Barstow is not big on the Maker’s list.

Friday, June 30
Gov. Schwarzenegger embraced Democratic and Republican legislative leaders
in his triumphant signing of the on-time state budget.
The budget “will use a surge of unanticipated revenue that filled
California’s coffers this year to pay back billions the state borrowed from
schools in recent years as well as to accelerate repayment of other state
debt,” reports the LAT’s Evan Halper.

Saturday, July 1
From our Insult to Injury files, Gov. Schwarzenegger’s campaign has agreed
to pay a $202,200 penalty for failing to report more than $25 million in
campaign donations during the last year’s special election.

“This settlement resolves an honest dispute over compliance with a very
complicated campaign finance law,” said Tom Hiltachk, the governor’s
attorney, in an interview with the LA Times. “I hope the commission will
work toward simplification of these rules so the public benefits from
better, faster and more frequent campaign disclosure.”

Sunday, July 2
Maybe it was the crippling cigarette taxes, or maybe it was the booze, but
Xiku, the smoking chimpanzee, apparently has cut down on his habit.
Of course, it may take a couple of pops to wean the poor little simian. “We
sometimes gave him some sunflower seeds or a bottle of beer to help him
shake off the addiction and visitors are no longer allowed to throw him
cigarettes,” said one of his keepers.

Monday, July 3
Sunne Wright McPeak has opted to declare her independence from Gov.
Schwarzenegger, announcing that she will be leaving the governor’s cabinet
as secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing.

McPeak will be the first president and chief executive of the California
Emerging Technology Fund, a San Francisco-based organization created with
$60 million from the state-approved merger of four telecommunications firms,
according to the Merc’s Edwin Garcia.

“She’ll stay on as a $131,000-a-year Cabinet secretary under Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger until shortly after the November election. Her new job comes
with a $200,000 salary.”

Tuesday, July 4
State Sen. Deborah Ortiz has started accepting her daily per diem from the
Senate for the first time, to help her pay down her campaign debt, reports
Kevin Yamamura.

“Ortiz began collecting per diem on June 5, one day before the primary. For
years, she made a point of not accepting the payments because she lives in
Sacramento, while colleagues justify taking the money to pay for travel.
Ortiz said she had run up a debt in her campaign account during her losing
bid for secretary of state. ‘After I exhausted those funds from the campaign
… I made a judgment call to do it,’ Ortiz said.”

Wednesday, July 5
“Democratic Treasurer Phil Angelides has begun to tap labor unions for
campaign contributions as he tries to bounce back from a costly primary and
raise the money he’ll need to compete with GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in
what could be the most expensive campaign for governor in the state’s

“In the past month, Angelides has received the maximum $22,300 contributions
from the laborers union, United Teachers of Los Angeles, the prison guards
union, the iron workers union, the electrical workers union and public
employee unions.

“Schwarzenegger, too, has seen money come in from some of his core business
supporters, including PepsiCo, Oracle USA, Pfizer, Cingular Wireless,
T-Mobile, Applied Materials, the California Farm Bureau Federation, the
California Business Properties Association, Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. and
a host of individuals, including Reed Hastings of Netflix and John Chambers
of Cisco Systems.”

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