Copyright 2004, Los Angeles Times
Saying he has no secrets, Schwarzenegger reveals appointment records. Corporate executives and union leaders have been frequent visitors.
(Los Angeles Times 12/23/04) — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger released 350 edited pages of private calendar and appointment records Wednesday, showing that he met frequently with corporate executives and union leaders in his first year in office, took part in dozens of fundraisers and spoke to various special interests whose fortunes could depend on state action.
Until now, the governor has made public the barest information about his daily schedule, typically through terse press releases that stated he spent the day in private meetings.
But saying he has nothing to hide, Schwarzenegger chose to comply with a request submitted by the California First Amendment Coalition under the Public Records Act.
After combing through the records, the coalition’s executive director, Peter Scheer, said he was pleased that Schwarzenegger chose to make public appointment logs that previous governors have fought to keep secret. But he also said that the governor withheld relevant information that should be publicized.
None of the governor’s outside political advisors, including chief strategist Mike Murphy, is listed by name as having met with him. Some of the advisors represent private companies with an interest in pending legislation and administration policy.
The coalition has not ruled out filing suit to compel the governor to disclose still more material, Scheer said.
“It’s fair to say that a door that had been double-locked shut for 13 or 14 years now in California has been pried open at least a crack,” Scheer said. “It’s a very important step. There is lots of information here. It would also appear however that a lot of information is not here.
“There seems to be lots of meetings that are marked as private, when in fact they may well have involved discussions of government policies and government actions.”
Schwarzenegger told reporters on a trip to Tokyo last month that he was happy to make public his calendars because he has no “secrets.”
An exception is where he’s spending the holidays; Schwarzenegger left California on Wednesday for an 11-day vacation, leaving Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante in charge. Aides would not reveal where Schwarzenegger went. Last year, he spent the holiday season at his home in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Schwarzenegger’s aides are known to schedule his activities down to the minute. The documents show little of that specificity. But they portray a governor whose day is busy — meeting with prime ministers and ambassadors, talking policy with aides, vetting job candidates, lunching with Cabinet secretaries and giving interviews to TV shows including “60 Minutes” and “Access Hollywood.” Three separate appointments were devoted to posing for a Vanity Fair photo shoot.
The reports depict a governor engaged in some of the most volatile political fights of the day. On Aug. 23, he met with his legal secretary, Peter Siggins, about the “CalPine contract,” records show. At the time, CalPine Corp. of San Jose, the state’s largest independent electricity generator, was leading a fight to persuade the governor to veto AB 2006, a bill that would have allowed investor-owned utilities like Southern California Edison Co. to build their own power plants.
CalPine hired Schwarzenegger’s lead political consultant, Murphy, to run that campaign. Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill in September.
Business leaders have gotten considerable access. Schwarzenegger met three times with Yazaburo Mogi, chairman and chief executive officer of the soy sauce company Kikkoman, including once in Tokyo. The company has two plants in the U.S.: one in Wisconsin, the other near Sacramento.
The governor also met frequently with telecommunications companies that are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. His schedule showed that he held a private meeting with Verizon chief Ivan Seidenberg on Oct. 19; with SBC Chairman Ed Whitacre on Feb. 4 and again the next day; and with officials from Cingular Wireless and other industry officials April 22.
SBC and Verizon are both campaign contributors to the governor.
There are few meetings listed with consumer, public interest or healthcare advocacy groups. Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, said that she has been unable to get in to see the governor’s aides, much less the governor.
“The people’s governor is not the people’s governor,” Shahan said. “The big business guys get face time and we get the back of the hand.”
Schwarzenegger has made time for unions. On June 30, he invited in a bargaining unit of the state firefighters union.
On Feb. 6, he and his chief of staff, Patricia Clarey, met with the Teamsters Union. Four days later he and Clarey met with Doug McCarren, president of the National Carpenters Union.
The calendars also show that in the span of nine days last December, Schwarzenegger held four fundraising events. The following month, he attended fundraisers for President Bush, U.S. Senate candidate Bill Jones and U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach).
By Peter Nicholas and Marc Lifsher