As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Loyalty Is Thicker Than Blood

At Calitics we've amply covered the long and winding road that led to the rejection of the 241 Toll Road through San Onofre State Park. Members of the state parks commission showed a lot of courage in siding against big business and powerful interests in Sacramento to come out against the plan. In 2005 they passed a resolution opposing it, and they signed on to a lawsuit attempting to stop construction, before the California Coastal Commission eventually voted it down. Here is how the Governor rewarded a couple of them, including a movie pal and his own brother-in-law:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has dropped his brother-in-law, Bobby Shriver, and fellow action hero Clint Eastwood from the state parks commission after their vigorous opposition helped derail a plan for a toll road through San Onofre State Beach in San Diego County.

The decision not to renew the commissioners' terms, which expired last week, surprised observers and sent a strong signal that the governor expects loyalty from political appointees.

"This is a warning shot from the governor's office to all of his appointees: Do what I say, no matter how stupid it is," said Joel Reynolds, a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council in Los Angeles. "And I know of no project more destructive to the California coast than this toll road project."

Shriver is one of my city councilmen here in Santa Monica (and as a measure of Santa Monica, he's considered one of the more conservative ones). Shriver and Eastwood weren't just two members of the board - they were the chairman and vice-chairman, and both of them wished to stay on for another term.

By the way, these aren't the only appointees who have been "terminated" by Schwarzenegger after they crossed him.

Shriver and Eastwood join a list of other spurned appointees.

Bilenda Harris-Ritter, a former member of the state Board of Parole Hearings, said she received a call from a member of the governor's office a little more than a year ago asking her to resign, six months after she had been appointed. No explanation was given, she said.

The call coincided with an Internet campaign from a crime victims group asking the governor's office to remove her for granting parole to too many prisoners [...]

In June, the chairman of the state's Air Resources Board, Robert F. Sawyer, was fired by Schwarzenegger for pushing for antipollution measures beyond what the governor's office wanted, Sawyer said. The executive director, Catherine Witherspoon, quit in the aftermath.

In September, R. Judd Hanna quit the Fish and Game Commission at the request of an aide to the governor, after Republican lawmakers urged his ouster because he had sought to ban lead bullets in condor territory.

This is a pattern of arrogance and of demanding loyalty. It's pretty obvious and sloppy.

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