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Apr 27, 2005 - 02:00 PM

Deeper Into Hoch...

by Douglas Heller
Help us out here: Didn't Arnold once say that it wouldn't be business as usual in Sacramento? Sources tell us the Gov has cut a deal with Sacramento's Dean of Dirty Deals, Senate Leader Don Perata. In the trade, Arnold's controversial nominee to head the Division of Workers Compensation, Andrea Hoch, will be approved in exchange for releasing state funds to finance the Bay Bridge (a top priority for Perata). Perata has previously objected to Hoch on the grounds that her regulatory proposals unfairly slash injured worker benefits, and Arnold has said that he doesn't want the cost of the new Bay Bridge to be paid by taxpayers across the state. Issues that have nothing to do with each other, right?

But if Perata changes course and the Senate confirms Hoch, it's evidence that Arnold was willing to get down and dirty in the political muck. Sure, it may be illegal to trade votes, but, until someone really sweeps Sacramento clean, that's considered a mere technicality. Always looking for a deal, Perata has been fawning over Arnold since the State of the State speech, at one point declaring: "I'll be a footnote in California history to what [Schwarzenegger] can accomplish." Perata has pushed, according to ArnoldWatch sources, Senate Democrats to take up Arnold's drug industry-driven pharmaceutical costs legislation. Perata decided to join in on the gov's call to cut Prop 98 funding for schools. Now the Hoch nomination could move in exchange for the Bridge money flowing. That's business as usual.

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