Governor brings in McCain

first_imgWith his popularity at an all-time low, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger turned on Monday to another political star, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, to help sell his November ballot proposals to a skeptical public. During joint appearances in Burbank and Oakland, the governor and the Republican senator, a former presidential candidate, urged California voters to support the four initiatives backed by Schwarzenegger on the special-election ballot. They depicted the measures as important steps to make government more accountable. “I have campaigned for reform efforts all over the country,” McCain said at the Burbank Hilton. “What happens in California has significant effect in states like mine that are nearby. It’s just a reality.” Schwarzenegger is pushing a quartet of proposals that he has described as medicine for a sickly government. They would strip political clout from public-employee unions, give the governor a tighter grip on state spending, toughen tenure requirements for teachers and deny legislators the power to draw their own district boundaries. “The ones that are fighting us the most are the politicians,” Schwarzenegger told the Oakland audience about the redistricting measure. “They’re trying to scare the people, saying it’s a right-wing plot or a left-wing plot. It’s not a plot at all. It’s a plot for the people.” McCain’s visit came at a crucial time for Schwarzenegger. With the election less than a month away, three of the four initiatives he supports are trailing in polls, and many Californians have turned cold about his leadership. Once a politician without peer in the state, Schwarzenegger lost popularity after months of squabbling with firefighters, nurses and teachers who oppose his policies and ballot initiatives. Recent polls have found approval of Schwarzenegger’s performance from only one voter in three, and he is broadly unpopular within some key voter groups, including independents and Hispanics. McCain defended Schwarzenegger enthusiastically, calling him a “marvelous governor.” In Burbank, about two dozen union members and other activists protested outside the hotel. About 100 protesters stood outside the Oakland gathering. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week The election has created a showdown between the Republican governor and the unions, with both sides raising millions of dollars for the campaign. McCain was particularly critical of officeholders having a hand in how districts are created, saying the current system has given “permanent incumbency status” to members of Congress and state legislators. The proposal backed by the governor would designate a panel of retired judges to carve out districts, a change that supporters say would create a more moderate, less gridlock-prone California Legislature. “We need more competitive races,” McCain said in Burbank. “We need the voice of moderation.” Known nationally for his efforts to retool the campaign-finance system, McCain again emphasized his support for Proposition 77, the redistricting initiative, in Oakland later in the day. He and Schwarzenegger, speaking at a hotel near Oakland International Airport, fielded questions about the initiatives, illegal immigration and other issues. last_img

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