SACRAMENTO — California has often been tagged as the "nanny state" for passing laws that some people say interfere with citizens' lives. But now it has earned the label for a whole different reason, thanks to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Republican governor announced this week that he had appointed a nanny -- his own children's nanny, in fact -- as a part-time state regulator on the Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Lindsay Ann Schnaidt, 32, a Democrat from Hermosa Beach who has worked for the Schwarzenegger family for seven years, will be paid $100 a day when the board meets, several times a year.
"She expressed an interest in serving the people of California like many other Californians do," said Schwarzenegger's spokesman, Aaron McLear. "The governor wants those interested in serving to have that opportunity."
Ironically, the guide-dog board is one Schwarzenegger proposed eliminating four years ago in his aborted plan to "blow up the boxes" of state government.
In any case, it isn't the first time he has pressed a personal connection into state service. He named his former chiropractor, along with a bodybuilder buddy who was the best man at his wedding, to the state chiropractic board. He also appointed his brother-in-law to the state parks commission, and later dropped him from the panel.
The governor's office's news release announcing Schnaidt's appointment Tuesday did not identify her as a Schwarzenegger household employee. It said she worked as a nanny for Oak Productions, his film production company in Santa Monica. That was an error, according to the governor's office. She is paid by Schwarzenegger personally.
"We don't need a nanny out here," said Paul Wachter, who manages Schwarzenegger's business at Oak Productions. "There's a whole separate world of the house people and the office people, and the house people are in the house and the office people are in the office. . . . We're, like, beyond meticulous on this stuff."