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California Briefing / Sacramento

Vote on rail pact delayed

September 04, 2009|Shane Goldmacher

California's high-speed rail commission Thursday postponed a vote on a $9-million public relations contract that had appeared headed to a company led by the governor's top political advisor and his former campaign manager.

A panel of three commission staff members recommended that the rail board give the business to Mercury Public Affairs, of which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's political strategist Adam Mendelsohn is a partner. Another partner is Steve Schmidt, who managed the governor's 2006 reelection effort. Two members of the panel are former Mendelsohn colleagues.

Several rail board members demanded more information about the selection process and the winning bid, calling the staff panel's report inadequate and saying they might want to hear presentations from the runners-up. "The staff report and recommendation here wouldn't be adequate in kindergarten," said Richard Katz, a board member. A vote was postponed until the rail board's October meeting.

-- Shane Goldmacher

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