Schwarzenegger calls for federal investigation…

Schwarzenegger calls for federal investigation of prison guards

Calif. Gov. Schwarzenegger promised “action” if elected, and indeed that’s what we’re getting. I will say, at least he’s doing something, unlike previous governor Gray Davis, who sat slug-like and venal except to rouse himself for another round of fund-raising.

Not that I agree with everything Schwarzeneeger is doing – not hardly. But he did, in an utterly unprecedented move, just bounce investigation of the grotesque, medieval California prison system up to the Federal level. No doubt some prison guards  didn’t sleep well after hearing this.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked the U.S. attorney here Friday to investigate allegations that officials at Folsom State Prison orchestrated a riot two years ago and then conspired to cover it up.

He also “was reversing an earlier decision to greatly reduce the state’s lone correctional watchdog agency and would instead restore its funding and give it new law enforcement powers, including the authority to issue subpoenas and seek search warrants”

In a third move, administration officials announced plans to phase out the use of steel-mesh cages to confine unruly juveniles in the California Youth Authority. The cages, used only in California, were singled out recently as dehumanizing by experts who studied the juvenile system.

Political analysts called the governor’s decision to summon federal investigators extraordinary and said they could not recall it happening before in California.

Schwarzenegger also parolled several inmates this week, something Gray Davis never did. In fact, Davis always, with maybe one exception, overruled his own parole board, refusing parole for those the board said should be released.

Following recommendations from the state’s Board of Prison Terms, Schwarzenegger has granted parole to eight murderers, all reportedly model prisoners who had been incarcerated for years. Another 15, he decided, should remain behind bars.

Other of his actions are considerably less laudatory, like his upcoming fundraiser in NYC where seats cost from $50,000 to $500,000.

As Steve Lopez, LA Times columnist puts it in one of his witty columns, ‘Brother can you spare $500,000?’

Hmmm, hey… Arnold wants his 15 billion bond issue to pass this March 3. Huge bond issues are invariably handled by Wall Street investment banks. Golly, do you think there could be a relationship between this and his ability to raise huge funds in NYC?

Plus, there’s yet another possible conflict of interest at this same event.

A consumer group Friday called on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to cancel a New York fundraiser where he is asking donors to contribute a half-million dollars to his main political fund.

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights said the event, hosted by pharmaceutical heir Robert Wood Johnson IV, poses a conflict of interest for Schwarzenegger because California is owed more than $1 billion in rebates from drug companies.