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Donation Follows Contract OK

September 17, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

The California Assn. of Highway Patrolmen donated at least $50,000 to Gov. Gray Davis on Tuesday, four days after the Legislature approved a new contract negotiated by his administration for the union's members. The deal substantially enhances health insurance benefits for CHP officers, and gives them one extra day per month of vacation or personal leave in lieu of a planned 5% pay raise.

The legislation, which is en route to Davis' desk for his signature, was described by the governor as a "give-back" that would save the state $19 million this year. But it will cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in the contract's later years.

Union members voted overwhelmingly to ratify the new pact, which the administration negotiated as part of its effort to trim the state payroll and balance California's budget.

A Davis spokeswoman denied any connection between Tuesday's contribution and the administration's negotiations with the union over pay and benefits.

"Gov. Davis does not make decisions based on politics," said spokeswoman Hilary McLean. "There is no connection. Absolutely no connection.

"Gov. Davis has a long history of being tough on crime," McLean said. "I'm sure they agree with his point of view."

The union had already given Davis and one of his anti-recall committees $49,544 in donations since mid-May.

Union officials directed calls to Chief Executive Jon Hamm, who could not be reached for comment.


McClintock Staffers on Simon's Old Phones

Bill Simon Jr. has played coy since abruptly quitting the recall election last month, refusing to endorse any candidate in the effort to replace Davis. But state Sen. Tom McClintock has Simon's number -- literally.

Telephone calls to Simon's old gubernatorial campaign headquarters are now being answered by staffers at McClintock's campaign headquarters. Coincidence? Not entirely. After Simon's exit, the Thousand Oaks lawmaker assumed the office space in the Wells Fargo building in Sacramento, as well as the working phone lines.

"It was purely a commercial transaction," said K.B. Forbes, a Simon spokesman, and not a subtle way of steering support to Arnold Schwarzenegger's archrival.

Which may be a good thing, now that Simon is thinking of reentering the race in the wake of the 9th Circuit Court decision that may delay the vote until March.


Firefighter Groups Differ on Endorsements

Which firefighters are you with?

Once again, two organizations of California firefighters are at odds over an election. On Sunday, the California State Firefighters Assn. hosted a speech by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Costa Mesa and issued an endorsement of the actor-turned-candidate.

On Monday, the California Professional Firefighters issued a statement to let the world know that the state's bravest oppose the recall of Davis.

The dispute is not the first. The California State Firefighters Assn. is a fraternal organization which claims a membership of 28,000 paid, volunteer, military, industrial, and state government firefighters. It endorsed Pete Wilson during his 1994 campaign for governor and millionaire Al Checchi in 1998.

The California Professional Firefighters is an umbrella union that has been one of Davis' staunchest backers.

It represents more than 30,000 full-time local, state and federal firefighters.

Carroll Wills, the communications director for CPF, put out a statement late Monday to "clear up any confusion."

An Associated Press story had mixed up the two groups Sunday. Wills said the union had received calls from its members Monday, complaining about the competing endorsements.

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