California Governor

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CALIFORNIA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and the state’s politically
powerful prison guards’ union turned hot last week as the union announced
plans to launch a recall campaign against him.
In filing the recall petition last Wednesday, the California Correctional Peace
Officers Association (CCPOA) cited “catastrophic leadership failings and inept
management” that it says have left the state in worse fiscal shape than when
Schwarzengger took office five years ago. Union leaders specifically cited the state’s
$17 billion budget gap as a prime reason why the governor should be recalled.
Schwarzenegger’s staff was quick to dismiss the effort as little more than
another salvo in what has been a long-running public relations battle between the
union and the governor, noting that the CCPOA has been wrangling for a new longterm
contract — and a significant pay raise — for the last two years, something
Schwarzenegger and lawmakers have resisted. Nonetheless, Schwarzenegger’s
political team wasted little time in responding to the filing. Staffers sent out a flurry
of press releases, organized conference calls with reporters and encouraged the
governor’s political allies to send out statements of support for him.
Schwarzenegger political adviser and former communications director Adam
Mendelsohn took the lead, saying the recall is the union’s attempt to strong arm
the governor into acquiescing on the pay hike while also derailing a redistricting
initiative he has championed that goes before voters in November. “This is a union
that has a history of throwing a lot of money at political issues,” said Mendelsohn.
“We can’t be so naïve as to think it’s not serious.”

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