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End of era for Schwarzenegger?

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by BAK, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Sep 10, 2008
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    Schwarzenegger team sees recall effort as serious

    AP foreign, Wednesday September 10 2008

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The union representing state prison guards filed a formal notice Tuesday that it will seek to recall Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, an effort his advisers say they are taking seriously.

    The California Correctional Peace Officers Association criticized Schwarzenegger for what it called ``catastrophic leadership failings and inept management'' since he took office in 2003 - after the recall of then-Gov. Gray Davis.

    When the union announced its plans on Monday, Schwarzenegger said it was a ploy designed to pressure the administration into granting a large pay raise to prison guards. He said he won't be intimidated.

    Schwarzenegger's political adviser, Adam Mendelsohn, described the recall threat as a political stunt that had nothing to do with policy issues.

    He noted that the union issued its threat after it failed to persuade state lawmakers to bypass contract negotiations with the governor's staff.

    Mendelsohn also said the recall is caught up in the internal politics of the 30,000-member union. Rank-and-file prison guards are upset that they have not had a new contract in two years, and the union's president, Mike Jimenez, faces an internal challenge to his re-election at a meeting next week in Las Vegas.

    Nevertheless, the governor's campaign team is taking the threat seriously, Mendelsohn said.

    ``This is a union that has a history of throwing a lot of money at political issues,'' he said during a conference call with reporters. ``You can't be naive to think it's not serious.''

    The prison guards are among the most well-funded and influential lobbying groups in the capital.

    Before he was recalled, Davis was widely criticized for accepting $2.6 million in campaign donations from the union and then giving its members a 37 percent pay raise. Schwarzenegger has not taken campaign money from the union.

    Contract negotiations between the union and administration broke off last year. Under the old contract, veteran prison guards with an associate's degree make $80,000 a year, according to the Department of Personnel Administration. They can make significantly more in overtime.

    Once the notice is certified by the secretary of state, the union has 160 days to collect slightly more than 1 million signatures to place the question before voters during a special election next year.