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Aug 22, 2005 - 03:30 AM

BeTrayed Associations

by Douglas Heller
About a hundred Californians showed up to protest Arnold at his Restaurant Association fundraiser in Downtown Los Angeles today. This event may mark the bottom of the barrel for the once reform-minded Gov. First, as the SacBee reports, Arnold has broken his pledge not to accept money from single industry trade associations -- the California Restaurant Association, California Hospital Association and the American Council of Life Insurers all have contributed recently. The premise of Arnold's ban was that these organizations only exist to promote the particular (special) interest of the trade, so campaign contributions are made with the sole purpose of promoting or influencing specific public policy. Arnold went as far as mentioning the ban in his fundraising letters and it's still on his website. Guess Arnold's ethics change faster than the Internet.

But Arnold's ethical collapse was allowing the Restaurant Association to sponsor today's fundraiser at all. The association is a chief opponent of legislation to raise the state's minimum wage (AB 48). That proposal is likely to be on the Governor's desk by Labor Day and his decision will be tainted by the thousands of dollars he accepted from opponents of the increase. Last year, Arnold refused to fundraise during the final days of the legislative session because of the obvious potential for conflicts such as this.

To get into today's event (at a $500 minimum donation) would have required a minimum wage worker (at $6.75 an hour) to work 74 hours. It would still take about 69 hours of minimum wage work under the AB 48 proposed 50 increase to afford access to Arnold, but with the Trade Association serving up big time dough to the Gov, it looks like the minimum wage hike could be toast.

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