ARNOLD’S FIRST MOVE A GOOD ONE
CNN reports an encouraging beginning:
Trying to send a message of inclusiveness after a rancorous recall campaign, California Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger announced the appointment of a transition team Thursday that includes political luminaries from both the left and right.
Schwarzenegger, a Republican, also launched a comprehensive audit to “let the sunshine in” on the state’s troubled finances, a task that will be overseen by a woman who has done similar work for three other GOP governors, including Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
The 65-member transition team includes the state’s last previous Republican governor, Pete Wilson; the former GOP mayor of Los Angeles, Richard Riordan; George Schultz, who was Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state; and Bill Simon, a Republican who dropped out of the recall race.
It also includes Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown — both Democrats who campaigned alongside Gov. Gray Davis in his efforts to beat the recall — and Susan Estrich, a law professor who ran the losing presidential campaign of Democrat Michael Dukakis in 1988.
“As I said in my campaign all along, I want to reach out. I want to be the people’s governor,” Schwarzenegger said at a news conference.
“You will see a very diversified team of people on that list. You will see people that are to the left, people that are to the right and people that are to the center.”
While it’s obvious that no consensus will come from such a group, it is brilliant political imagery. Willie Brown and Dick Riordan are two of the most savvy politicians in the state, and the other names I recognize do send a message of inclusiveness to a very broad constituency.
This also sounds promising:
Schwarzenegger said he had asked Donna Arduin, budget director for Florida Gov. Bush, to oversee a comprehensive audit of state finances. She also has worked for former Michigan Gov. John Engler and New York Gov. George Pataki.
Arduin, on leave from her Florida post, said she would begin the audit Thursday afternoon. It will be completed in time for Schwarzenegger to submit a budget to the Legislature in January, she said.
“We’re ready to go,” she said.
During the campaign, Schwarzenegger pledged to deal with the state’s budget deficits without raising taxes. He said he wanted to audit the books to find waste that could be cut to balance the books.
“We will know very soon what is in there that we don’t know. Every day there are new surprises that we find,” he said.
“And so we want to really open up the books and not have any surprises, because the only way that you can make good decisions is if you have all the information available. And so this is what I’m looking for.”
She’s not going to find $8 billion, but it’s a smart opening play.