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Assembly Speaker Pérez to hit Pebble Beach as Gov. Schwarzenegger releases budget

Pérez will host the state Democratic Party's biggest fundraiser of the year as Schwarzenegger unveils a spending plan expected to cut deeply into services for the poor.

May 14, 2010|By Shane Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Sacramento — On Friday, the day Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will release what his own staff concedes will be a devastating budget proposal — one expected to cut deeply into state services for the poor — state Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez is scheduled to be hobnobbing with lobbyists and campaign contributors in the wealthy California enclave of Pebble Beach.

Pérez (D-Los Angeles) will be hosting the annual Speaker's Cup, the state Democratic Party's biggest fundraiser of the year. Well-heeled interest groups have been asked to contribute $60,000 for two days of golf, four hotel rooms, two evenings of dinner and access to one of the most powerful people in the state Legislature.

Roger Salazar, a Pérez spokesman, defended the speaker's plans.

"The last time I checked, the budget wasn't a one-day proposal," Salazar said. "The last I checked, the speaker was the only one bringing the public into the budget process with his budget forums of the last few weeks," citing a series of hearings that Assembly Democrats have held throughout the state.

Salazar noted that it wasn't Pérez who scheduled the fundraiser; invitations were sent months ago, before Pérez was elected speaker. The overlap with the governor's budget unveiling was "clearly not intentional," Salazar said.

He could not say whether Pérez would spend any time in Sacramento on Friday to respond to the governor's proposal.

Schwarzenegger, who in years past has called for a fundraising ban during the budget season, is hosting his biggest donors — those willing to give $50,000 or more — at his Brentwood mansion on Tuesday.

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