The Weekly Roundup

Thursday, Feb. 9
Arnold Schwarzenegger may be losing naming rights at the Graz soccer
stadium, but at least he has a species of genetic freak named after him. The
Schwarzenegger mice “are large rodents created by Lee Sweeney, a doctor at
the University of Pennsylvania, with the introduction of a gene that
stimulates muscle growth. Similar mice have been engineered at the Salk
Institute in California, where there is a mouse called Lance (as in
Armstrong), whose genetic make-up was altered to produce high levels of
endurance muscle. Lance can run for twice as long on a treadmill as normal

Reports out of the institute say the mice recently filed for divorce from
Sheryl Crow.

Friday, Feb. 10
Susan Kennedy continues to make more news than her boss. Robert Salladay
reports for the Times “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s new chief of staff, who
is spearheading a $9-billion plan to improve California’s water system, was
paid $120,000 last year by a Los Angeles developer seeking to build a
massive water storage project under the Mojave Desert.”

“According to interviews and her financial disclosure statement, Susan P.
Kennedy earned $10,000 per month in 2005 as a consultant to Cadiz Real
Estate, operated by her longtime friend Keith Brackpool.”

The Steve Westly gubernatorial campaign picqued our interest when he promised
the backing of a “major” labor union, to be announced at Sacramento’s Cesar
Chavez Park. Given the location, we thought maybe the controller had picked
off the UFW endorsement.

So, imagine our surprise when we got the news that Westly had received the
coveted backing of the California Association of Professional Scientists. No
offense. We’re sure these guys are plenty smart, but calling it a major
labor endorsement is like calling Fairfield a major American city.

Saturday, Feb. 11
The California Republican Assembly backed off its ultimatum to Arnold
Schwarzenegger that he either dump Susan Kennedy or face the threat of
losing his endorsement at the GOP convention next week.

Mike Schroeder, the conservative activist who wrote the resolution to
withdraw the pre-primary endorsement of the governor unless he fired
Kennedy, said he agreed to table his resolution in a committee so there
would be an open debate about the governor’s recent policies.

“‘I think it was a good spirit of compromise and allows policy issues that
have been concerning Republicans in the state to be considered and aired,”
reported the Mercury News.

The official Roundup decoder ring translates that to “We clearly didn’t have
enough votes.”

Sunday, Feb. 12
From our How Not to Treat Your Political Donors Files, Dick Cheney wins our
special lifetime achievement award for accidentally shooting Austin attorney
Harry Whittington, then waiting 18 hours to tell the media.

Monday, Feb. 13
The volatile relationship between Barry Munitz and the Getty Trust has
finally come to an end. “A month before he resigned as chief executive of
the J. Paul Getty Trust, Barry Munitz angered some board members by
promising his controversial chief of staff a severance payment in excess of
$350,000 without first informing the board, trustees said Monday,” write
Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino in the Times.

“Munitz promised Jill Murphy severance worth twice her annual salary at a
time when he was under investigation by both the state attorney general and
the Getty board, and despite a clear warning from the board that he should
seek prior approval for any controversial moves, several trustees said.”
Funny, even though his background is at CSU, Munitz was acting just like a
UC official.

Tuesday, Feb. 14
You thought you were having a bad Valentine’s Day? How’d you like to be on
death row and have your lawyers withdraw materials supporting their motion
for clemency? “Attorneys for death row inmate Michael Morales on Monday
withdrew affidavits from jurors urging Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to stop
the defendant’s execution amid allegations that the defense documents were

Wednesday, Feb 15
Looks like bad news for more than 100 cats at Avenal State Prison who are
facing the ultimate punishment for being in the wrong place at the wrong
time. “Administrators at Avenal State Prison said they will have to kill
more than 100 cats that have sneaked in and reproduced inside the facility.
The felines have become a health nuisance for the prison. The state has
cited the prison for unsafe working conditions because of cat urine and

Sounds like a job for Robert Sillen, the Santa Clara County health chief who
was named as the overlord of California prison health care. Sillen “will
have extraordinary powers to tackle a problem state officials have been
unable to solve: the overhaul of a system that has been described as so
abysmal that prisoners are dying for lack of care,” reports the Mercury

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