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Sacramento Bee (California)
Dec 30, 2006 - 01:00 AM

by Judy Lin & Kevin Yamamura, Bee Capitol Bureau

Inaugural to keep governor busy;

Stars and donors with state business ponied up $1.35 million so far.
Arnold Schwarzenegger had better rest up. California's injured governor faces a busy but star-studded schedule for his inaugural celebration next week, which includes Paul Anka and Donna Summer serenading guests during a private gala, the inaugural committee announced Friday.

The committee said it had raised at least $1.35 million in contributions from a mix of Hollywood friends, as well as construction and oil firms trotting business agendas to the Capitol.

The money is being used to pay for a two-day celebration Thursday and Friday of the Republican governor's second term. Schwarzenegger will be sworn in at an invitation-only ceremony at Memorial Auditorium on Friday.

The governor's inaugural committee announced that the public portion of the festivities will be held at Capitol Park on Thursday from 1 to 4 p.m. Schwarzenegger and first lady Maria Shriver are expected to attend, along with basketball star Vlade Divac.

The "Governor's 2007 Inaugural Kick-Off At Capitol Park: Leading the Green Dream," carries an environmentally friendly theme. The event will include a tree planting, solar and alternative power demonstrations, and a 22-foot-long aquarium filled with fish.

Live music will be performed by local groups, and children will be invited to express their visions for a greener California on a mural.

"Maria and I invite every Californian and their family to join us for this event as we kick off the start of my second term as your governor and celebrate our state's environmental heritage," Schwarzenegger said in a statement."

The committee also announced Friday that a number of other musicians and performers, including Jose Feliciano, David Foster and Jennifer Holliday, are scheduled to entertain the governor's guests during the swearing-in ceremony and black-tie gala.

The events are being financed by donors, some of whom have business at the Capitol.

On Friday, four more "Gold Sponsors," or those who have given at least $50,000, were added to the list of top contributors. That number is now at nine.

The California Grocers Association; E.&J. Gallo Winery; highway builders Martin and Stephen Matich; and the family of the late Harold Zinkin, a Schwarzenegger family friend and pioneer of modern bodybuilding, all chipped in more than $50,000.

"It's just a who's who of corporate interests that will be looking for help from the governor over the course of the next year," said Doug Heller, executive director of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.

Matich Corp., based in San Bernardino, is a private firm that has built highways and streets throughout the West.

Matich and other construction companies will soon be able to vie for state projects now that California voters have passed a $20 billion transportation bond to pay for new roads and to improve public transit systems.

Schwarzenegger considered Zinkin a close confidant, and the two traced their friendship back to lifting weights at Muscle Beach. Zinkin, who won the first Mr. California bodybuilding title in 1941, died at age 82 two years ago.

The governor's inaugural committee has managed to double its "Silver Sponsors," or those who contributed $15,000 or more, in the past two weeks.

Actor Rob Lowe, who was scheduled to appear at the governor's public event Thursday but pulled out because of a work obligation, made the donor list by giving at least $15,000.

Local developer Gerry N. Kamilos and Rick Caruso, a Los Angeles police commissioner and developer of The Grove shopping mall, also whipped out their pocketbooks for the bash.

Julie Soderlund, interim Schwarzenegger press secretary, said, "Those who contribute do so because they believe in his vision for the future of the state."
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The Bee's Judy Lin can be reached at (916) 321-1115 or jlin@sacbee.com




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