Skip to comments.CA: Arnold's Top Associates Deeply Involved With Reiner Commission - Meathead's Mob
Posted on 03/23/2006 9:19:57 AM PST by NormsRevenge
As dismay grows in his own party and among many observers over Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzeneggers seemingly surprising embrace and defense of left-liberal Democrat Rob Reiner and his tenure as chairman of the California Children and Families Commission, it is becoming evident that some of Schwarzeneggers highest ranking appointees and advisors have long been involved with the controversial commission and the movie director/initiative promoter himself and have played key roles in the direction the program has taken.
The First 5 Commission, says one Schwarzenegger friend using the Reiner commissions nickname, and Reiner himself have been much closer to the governor than people think.
Former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg, a close Arnold friend and top political advisor who pushed the appointment of controversial Schwarzenegger chief of staff Susan Kennedy, former Schwarzenegger Secretary of Education Richard Riordan and his wife, Nancy Daly Riordan, both longtime friends of the First Couple, and Schwarzeneggers Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kimberly Belshe, have all been deeply involved with the Reiner commission and its drive for universal preschool.
Reiner had wanted the highly funded First 5 LA Commission, which operates under the umbrella of his state commission and is funded by the tobacco tax enacted by his 1998 Proposition 10 initiative, and over which he is said by sources to be very influential, to establish a universal preschool program. To that end, an advisory council chaired by Hertzberg (who was Arnold's first choice to serve as his chief of staff, prior to Hertzberg running for mayor of L.A.) and Nancy Daly Riordan was established in 2002 to work on developing a 10-year Master Plan, as documents call it, for First 5 LAs Universal Preschool initiative. (Prior to becoming involved with Riordan, L.A.s very wealthy former mayor, Nancy Daly Riordan was long married to Warner Brothers chairman Bob Daly, in which context she first met Schwarzenegger.)
THE PLAN WAS TO USE THE PROP 10 MONEY to institute in Los Angeles County what Reiner is trying to do now statewide with his Proposition 82 universal preschool on Californias June ballot. On February 12, 2004, First 5 LA formally adopted the master plan developed with guidance from Schwarzeneggers associates, Hertzberg and Riordan.
But there was a problem. The program was very expensive. It was taking a lot of time to get up and running. More funds would be needed. In what Reiner would probably describe as a coincidence if he acknowledged knowing about it at all, which last week he did not, the state commission on June 28, 2004 signed a $67.5 million contract for advertising, largely to stimulate public demand for preschool programs. $23 million of that was used to promote Preschool For All after Reiner launched his universal preschool initiative last year and sent operatives into the field to gather signatures so it would qualify for this years primary election.
Nancy Daly Riordan, meanwhile, resigned later in 2004 from the Los Angeles Universal Preschool Board, citing, according to First 5 officials, concern about having to file economic conflict of interest forms.
Her husband, former Education Secretary and LA Mayor Dick Riordan, has long been associated with Reiner and the state and LA commissions. He was an early endorser of Prop 10 in 1998, and campaigned for its passage with Reiner. When criticism of the Reiner Commission - centering on slowness to act and flaky projects - emerged in the year following the passage of Prop 10, Riordan appeared publicly with Reiner to praise the commission and its work and was very supportive of Reiners less than successful plan to implement universal preschool in L.A. He is one of the drafters of Reiner's latest initiative, Proposition 82 for universal preschool.
Arnold introduced Riordan at the former mayors campaign kick-off event when he ran for governor in 2002. When the recall came around, the two men agreed to support each other should either run for governor to replace Gray Davis. Arnold and wife Maria Shriver huddled at length with the Riordans in Malibu a few days before the former action superstars stunning Tonight Show announcement of his candidacy. Riordan held the education portfolio in Arnolds campaign, dominating the candidates highly touted Education Summit. After the election, when Schwarzenegger made him secretary of education, Riordan served as an ex officio commissioner of First 5, during which the commissions fateful advertising plans to stimulate public demand for preschool were drawn up.
Also there as an ex officio commissioner was another member of Arnolds Cabinet, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kimberly Belshe. Neither she nor Riordan raised any alarms about the commission.
Former Pete Wilson official Kimberly Belshe was a founding commissioner when it was formed in 1998 following the passage of Reiners Proposition 10 tobacco tax initiative. She had been director of the state Department of Health Services. Asked what appointment she wanted from departing Governor Wilson, she picked the new Reiner-created commission. She served as vice chair of the commission. While she was there, Reiners media consultants developed their initial plans, revealed in a 2002 memorandum, to use state funding to promote Reiners Preschool For All theme of stimulating public demand for state preschool services.
Then in the fall of 2003, Belshe became a member of the Schwarzenegger Cabinet as secretary of the Health and Human Services Agency. After joining the Arnold Administration, she became an ex officio member of the Reiner Commission.
WHILE SERVING AS REINER'S VICE CHAIR on the commission, Belshe approved an earlier use of state funds for an arguable political purpose. That was the spending of $14 million on advertising touting the commissions then very thin activities while Reiner political opponents attempted to have the commission abolished in the March 2000 primary. The measure, Proposition 28, was defeated. Ill have more about that another time.
Belshe opposed the reorganization recommendations of Arnolds highly touted California Performance Review (CPR). One of those recommendations would have placed the lone wolf Reiner agency under a state agency framework, bringing a new level of scrutiny and oversight to its operations. Schwarzenegger shelved most of the recommendations, including this one.
Top associates of Schwarzeneggers have been intimately involved with the Reiner operation for years. The two men have supported one another's causes, Reiner's Prop 10 in 1998 and Schwarzenegger's Prop 49 after school programs initiative in 2002. Reiner, behind the scenes, was a special guest at the Arnold Inaugural. Knowing this, it is not so surprising that the governor would take the seemingly curious stance he has.
'Top of the moderate morning to ya all' Ping
But he's a Reeeeepuuuuuuublicannnnnnnn!
OK I have to go take a shower now.
But he's a Reeeeepuuuuuuublicannnnnnnn!
Yup, which speaks to the dilemna many voters are left with.
There's dem and dem lite.
Most of the political experts seem to take it is virtually a given that Arnold is going to be defeated by whoever ends up running against him. What do you think?
Westly is gaining strength, aRnold will have a hard time debating with sound bites and hype, no matter how much money he raises. Both of them are wealthy to begin with anyway.
Altho the overall collective intelligence of Ca. voters is at an all time low, so ya never know.
There are no good choices on the November ballot, that is the way the 2 party system has essentially screwed this state in perpetuity.
Unfortunately it's virtually impossible to defeat an incumbent governor in California. He's going to have a lot of money and a lot of glitz.
Gail: I have a question about Preschool. Rob Reiner has taken a leave of absence from the First5 Commission after reports of some questionable spending under his tenure. Do you have any intention of removing him as chairman of the California Children and Families Commission in light of that controversy?
Schwarzenegger: Well, again, um, it gave the appearance that, uhhh, there was something done wrong, but he wasn't convicted of anything. So, I think that, you know, when people say well 'Why don't you get rid of him?' and, uhhh, 'What are you waiting for?' and all of this - you know - Why would you get rid of someone when, when, they have not been convicted of anything? It's just that people say there was something wrong but let's now look into it. There's no [word unintelligible]. Let them do the audit, let them go and investigate. Let them check it out and if someone comes forward and says yeah, I think it's very clear - originally Perata said 'This was wrong.' You know that - it was - Then we can address the issue. But I think, before that, I don't want to jump to conclusions on that. Plus, Rob is a, uh, Rob is a friend of ours and so I wouldn't do that to him - for no reason - when maybe in the end it comes out that he didn't do anything wrong. So, I think we have to just make sure you give someone a chance here. Innocent until proven guilty.
There's Dem and TrojanHorse (R)
No way!!! Stay and watch the Cauleeforneeah Cronyism in the Crapitol!!! (Staring the Meathead & Fathead!!!)
Oh! And I forgot the two deadheads... Nunez & Pistol Packin Perata!!!
Oh! I just woke up to what you REALLY said!!!
Now I'm beginning to question my longtime respect and affection for Carl Reiner...that's what Meathead has done to me.
Yup, it's just the Meathead and the Fathead!!! Tryina govern CA though TV, Movies and "IT's FOR THE CHILRUN!!!" (WRETCH!)
BS ALERT: LA Weekly source is the most radical lefty pub in the city. Owned by the Village Voice. Proceed with caution!
BS stands for BunnySlippers, right? ;-)
A few of us here are well aware of the LA weekly and it's tendencies and track record..
The author of this particular piece has been tracking pretty well when it comes to recent events in California politics.
If you would like to refute assertions and statements contained within, have at it.
Yup, the LA Weekly is the most radically lefty paper in the city. Yet, you prefer to lob ad hominems. Deal with it. You hate Arnold and always have. Why resort to the enemy to prove your point?
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