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California Chamber Backs Schwarzenegger

September 06, 2003|From Times Staff Reports

Arnold Schwarzenegger picked up the endorsement of the California Chamber of Commerce on Friday after a speech promising to make reform of workers' compensation his first item of business if he became governor.

In a brief question-and-answer session with reporters, Schwarzenegger argued against Senate Bill 2, which would require employers to provide health insurance to workers.

Schwarzenegger said he would like to give more people health insurance, but said he didn't think the business community had the money to support such a measure now.

He began his address to the chamber by telling a joke about his 9-year-old son. "He started his own business, selling milk and cookies to the local construction companies around our house. And he's doing a great job," Schwarzenegger said. "I'm worried about him because every day I'm prepared to come home and find his workers' compensation is going to close him down. It costs too much to hire

In recent days, Schwarzenegger has added more references to his family in his speeches, a trend that began after the publicity surrounding an interview he gave in 1977 to a men's magazine in which he talked about group sex and using drugs.

Garamendi Critical of Bustamante's Donations

California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, a Democrat who seriously contemplated entering the recall race, on Friday criticized Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante for accepting campaign donations far in excess of newly imposed contribution caps.

"It will be a political problem for him -- one that is more serious than the value of the money contributed," Garamendi said in an interview. His criticism went a step beyond comments by Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres, who said Friday that Bustamante's fund-raising was legal but "invited vulnerability."

"That is not the way I would have done it because it invites criticism, and he doesn't need that right now," Torres said. He added that Bustamante should not return the money. Rather, "at this point he has to move on" with his campaign, he said.

Current law limits contributions to candidates to no more than $21,200. But Bustamante has avoided that by funneling donations that have ranged from $100,000 to $1.5 million into a campaign account that he established years ago before the current contribution limits existed.

Republicans have challenged the legality of Bustamante's fund-raising, but his campaign says it complies with the law.

Members of the state Fair Political Practices Commission, which oversees the fund-raising law, said this week that the agency was unlikely to rule on Bustamante's actions before the election.

Gubernatorial Hopefuls to Be on TV Game Show

A gubernatorial race that repeatedly has been compared to reality TV will actually become reality TV on Oct. 1, when the Game Show Network airs the first episode of "Who Wants to Be Governor of California?"

Six candidates -- porn star Mary Carey, actor Gary Coleman, performance artist Trek Thunder Kelly, retiree Carl A. Mehr and students Bryan Quinn and Nathan Whitecloud Walton -- will be pitted against each other in a series of game show-style "debates." The participants will be asked questions on topics ranging from trivia about the state and pop culture to some serious campaign issues, according to show representatives.

The two candidates with the most points will take part in a special "Onus Round," in which they can make direct speeches to viewers, who will be able to cast votes through an online poll. The winner will be announced on Oct. 7 after the last episode airs and the real polls close. The winner will receive a $21,200 prize -- a sum equal to the maximum limit on campaign contributions.

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