If an actor can make it big in government, what's to stop a government guy from taking a stab at acting?
The state controller, Steve Westly, is ordinarily a staid fellow, but in his invitation to reporters last week to show up for an event, he played scriptwriter, casting director and snack-meister.
The announcement in the Capitol Morning Report promised that he would discuss his "new screenplay, 'The Road to Reform,' " and challenged the governor-elect, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to "accept the starring role." It ended with the catering announcement: "Popcorn will be served."
They're serving at the Balboa Bay Club and Resort in Newport Beach -- Austrian libations in honor of Schwarzenegger. The club, which has an Austrian chef, is pouring Austria's Gosser Lager and a white wine called Sattlerhof Weissburgunder, the latter described in wine-speak as having a tropical fruity aroma and, um, nutty overtones. The club's president, Henry Schielein, nattered enthusiastically, "We want to be the first to support Arnold, and we think this is a natural, especially in Orange County."
But seriously folks....
President Bush said he wouldn't arm-wrestle Schwarzenegger, but departing Gov. Gray Davis may have to, if the showdown on the bridge comes to pass.
The governor of California will make the keynote speech at the ribbon-cutting for the New Carquinez Bridge between Contra Costa and Solano counties near Vallejo -- but which governor? The Contra Costa Times says the ribbon-cutting has been advanced from Nov. 15 -- the date by which the recall results must be certified and Schwarzenegger could conceivably take over as governor -- to Nov. 8, when Davis almost certainly will still be governor.
The paper quotes Concord labor leader and Davis friend James Kellogg as saying it's "appropriate" that the pro-labor Davis speak at the opening of a bridge memorializing an ironworker, the late Alfred P. Zampa. But the head of the bridge celebration committee, Gene Pedrotti, says it's pure politicking that pushes a tight schedule and means, among other things, recasting a commemorative coin. Anyway, Pedrotti had already invited Schwarzenegger. A Caltrans spokeswoman told the paper that the bridge had been finished early -- annus mirabilis -- and officials decided not to delay opening it to traffic.
An A-List in the Gun Control Debate
It's got a little list -- all right, a longish list.
A new anti-gun violence organization that is working to renew the assault weapons ban, which expires next year, has been e-mailing out links to what it calls the National Rifle Assn.'s "blacklist," a 19-page list on the NRA's Web site listing people, organizations and companies that are anti-gun.
Californians take up the lion's share of celebs on the list, more than 300 names including real couples (Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones), fictional TV couples (Martin Sheen and Stockard Channing, Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke), brothers (Alec and William Baldwin), and Barbra Streisand and her past and present spouses (Elliott Gould and James Brolin).
Entire groups -- Boys II Men, the Temptations -- are on the list, as are athletes like Doug Flutie, Tara Lipinski, John McEnroe, Keyshawn Johnson and Vinny Testaverde, along with Coretta Scott King (misspelled), security-consultant-to-the-stars Gavin de Becker and chef Julia Child, perhaps because she belongs to a handgun control group, or perhaps because she uses knives and not guns in her craft.
Among the organizations on the list: the YWCA of the USA, the National PTA, the Gray Panthers, the League of Women Voters and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.
Want to join the blacklist? The protest group's Web site www.stopthenra.com allows you to add your own name to the list, along with Drew Barrymore, Bruce Springsteen, Uma Thurman, Spike Lee, Mel Brooks, Michael Eisner and the late cartoonist Herblock.
By next year, perhaps California's new pro-gun control governor will find his own name there.
Hahn's Budget Director Is Latest to Jump Ship
Bye-bye, budgeter: L.A. Mayor Jim Hahn's longtime budget director has reportedly quit. With an office reorganization in the works that would have had her reporting to a deputy mayor rather than directly to the mayor's chief of staff, Crista Binder's would be the latest of a half-dozen departures of key Hahn aides in recent months.
Binder, who presented the mayor's budget at the City Council hearings, declined to comment on her departure. City Council members had whomped Binder over Hahn's proposal to add 320 cops to the LAPD. They were frustrated with her after even their intense grilling refused to persuade her to answer their concerns about budget problems that the new officers could create.
"It's kind of shocking that all these people are jumping ship," said one high-level council official.