Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Naming Susan Kennedy By Schwarzenegger Puts A Real Business Shill In His Office

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he was going to be independent of the special interests when he ran for office in the Recall election, but as it has turned out, he has been as bad a business shill as Sacramento has ever had. In the Special election this month, the voters soundly rejected his real position.

So, now, according to the weak political writing which is coming to mark the L.A. Times, Schwarzenegger is contemplating "an overhaul of his administration" by appointing "a former Democratic Party activist," Susan Kennedy, as his chief of staff. (The formal announcement of the appointment was made later in the day).

The story was couched in terms that was baloney and spoiled baloney at that. Susan Kennedy represented the worst business interests in the state when she was a member of the crooked Gray Davis Administration, and on the Public Utilities Commission, to which she was appointed by Davis, she consistently did the bidding of the utility industry.

The front page story in the L.A. Times today by Robert Salladay and Peter Nicholas mentioned in passing her pro-business positions, but it failed to make clear this doesn't represent a change in Schwarzenegger's most salient policy -- his catering to business interests -- at all.

As early as her work for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Kennedy made her ideological positions clear. On the Public Utilities Commission, she just recently supported exempting SBC from having to pay consumer rebates which supposedly were mandated by law.

Salladay and Nicholas quote Kennedy as telling the Times she is "Democrat to the core," but they did have the good grace to also quote Democratic state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland) as saying that despite her early years as a Democratic partisan and abortion rights activist, she is "no flaming liberal."

Neither, of course, is Perata. In fact, the Democratic leadership in the Legislature has often catered to business interests and sided against consumers, and it is no secret that the Democrats in Sacramento can often be just as under the business wing as the Republicans when it comes to supporting business interests.

Both sides in Sacramento have often sold California liberals down the tube in taking business contributions. That was one reason why the voters so solidly rejected Davis in the end, and why they rejected Schwarzenegger in the Special election.

Unfortunately, the new Los Angeles Times, under Chicago Tribune ownership, is falling in bed with the same interests. What Salladay and Nicholas characterized as an "overhaul" hardly is one.

The Times' state political columnist, George Skelton, is savvy about these things, and so was Bill Stall, the editorial writer just so foolishly laid off. But some of the weakness on the editorial pages is beginning to seep into some of the other Sacramento correspondents. I still hope that Virginia Ellis, the bureau chief, and Dan Morain are exceptions.

An appointment of Susan Kennedy as chief of staff really puts the fox in the chicken coop. She, as Perata admits, is no liberal. And not even very reputable either.

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