Finding Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Where Are You?
Saving California One Governor at a Time
I had this great idea, well two, that would reverse the economic trend in California and get us back on our feet in style. The ideas were good. So good, in fact, that I couldn't risk getting the ball dropped by handing them over to an underling, I had to whisper them into the ear of the Governator himself. I mean consider his latest budget battle:
Schwarzenegger blames California's woes on a flawed budget and taxation system, one he has been unable to fix over the past six years.
"If you compare it to an intersection, it's like seeing people crashing into each other and never building a stop sign and never building a traffic light and see them over and over hurting themselves and killing themselves."
Robert Huckfeldt, a UC Davis, political science professor, said Schwarzenegger has long pursued ideas that ignored the political realities of the moment. This budget is no different, he said.
"He's kind of a whimsical guy," Huckfeldt said. "I don't mean he's being irresponsible. He's caught in a corner, and there's nothing he can figure out to do. The problems are bigger than Arnold Schwarzenegger, and there are no ready remedies."
"Whimsical!" That's a little like Winsome. This guy is like me, I thought to myself, he will love what I have in mind. Filled with joy that I had singlehandedly solved the state's and by resonance even the country's economic woes, I picked up the phone and dialed the big man's office. I told the receptionist I had two ideas which would jumpstart our state's economy and she said "just a minute." This was early on, my first attempt, in fact, and so I hummed to myself alternately "California Here I Come" and "Happy Days are Here Again" contentedly while the receptionist summoned Arnold from a boring meeting with the Premier of China or India or something, to come to the phone. I could see him smiling to them saying "I'll be back." as he turned to his meeting with destiny. Imagine my surprise when a sleepy voice came on the line asking "Now who did you want to speak to? "The Governor," I said. The voice yawned and asked "And what was this in reference to?" so I repeated, not quite as enthusiastically, my spiel...budget saving ideas....for his ears only...."Just a moment please."
I thought to myself, maybe an email will get his attention more quickly since his staff is not picking up on the obvious importance of my phone call. I went to the email site and was instructed to identify myself, whether I had a comment or a need, and pick from a list of subjects. Great, I thought, the economy is his number one problem, it will be first on the list. Let's see, animal issues, child support, consumer affairs, education, environment, energy, immigration, insurance, parole, agriculture, veterans, water and the first lady. The closest thing was the budget, but it clearly was about what not to cut. Nowhere was there anything about the economy, how we could create more business, how we could stimulate spending to raise more revenue, or how we could get the public to voluntarily begin pouring more money into the state. The economy in California is Arnold's greatest crisis and there isn't any hint of it on the list. You can ask for Arnold to make an appearance, you can ask for a pardon, you can talk about gas prices, but you can't talk about the economy. I decided to do something I learned in my How to be Funny 101 hub----exaggerate a little. Notice I did not say lie. So I submitted the following:
Heading: Jump Starting the Economy
I am writing a magazine article for one of the largest online news and social networks. I have two sure fire solutions to the sagging economy. Within one week of implementing either of these ideas, which are taken from and based upon my business, legal and marketing experience, there should be extensive indicators of rapid economic growth. While the ideas are genuine, the subject of the magazine is not about them, but about how long it takes for the author, myself , to share them with the governor. I have already spent days on the telephone with no success, even though I have been completely frank about the validity of these ideas. Since there is not even a choice of economy growth on your subject list, even though it is clearly the most important issue or concern of the California voter, I am wondering if the Governor is sincere in his public concern to bring the state out of its budget woes. Since there would be no way to verify the chain of origination if I handed the ideas over to an assistant or even detailed them here, there is a policy of "His ears only" until the Governor agrees to meet me in person or talk to me himself on the phone. Since the budget will be set soon, time is of the essence if the economy is to be set in motion before then.
It has been several days and no reply, not even an automatic acknowledgment of receipt. I am sure it is because they are elated that there is an answer out there and they are moving his schedule around to accommodate a large body of time to consider them.
Summer, 2003: "They keep spending and spending and spending, and then, when they realize they made a mistake and spent money they don't even have... they go tax, tax, tax. You guys have an addiction problem." he said during a September 2003 debate in the recall campaign against Gray Davis.
April, 2009: When they plugged California's $42 billion budget hole in February, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders said everyone had to give up something to repair the state's finances.
July, 2009: Schwarzenegger said the budget - which puts an end, for now, to the state's $26.3 billion budget hole - includes "the good, the bad and the ugly." The budget package signed by Schwarzenegger earlier this year raised taxes by $12.8 billion and cut $15 billion from state programs.
January, 2010: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled Friday a proposed $83 billion budget for 2010-11 that includes cuts to health and human services, state worker pay and prisons - The governor's plan chops $8.5 billion in the next fiscal year, leaving an austere $82.9 billion budget that takes California back to 2004 spending levels.http://www.sacbee.com/budget/story/2449343-a2449586-t46.html
Schwarzenegger searched high and low for cash that can't be called
taxes. He wants to install overhead enforcement cameras at
intersections around the state to raise $338 million from speeding
Well Arnold, that's ONE way, but..........
Arnold's Phone: 916-445-2841
Arnold's Fax: 916-558-3160
I'm going to try faxing tomorrow.
Before I faxed, I thought I would let the new Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, with her success at ebay in her portfolio, in on the progress of trying to reach the current office holder. Here is the email I sent today:
Thank you for a fresh approach to California government. I am a writer for Hubpages, one of the larger social networks on the web. As an exercise in communication between our leaders and their constituency, I am chronicling my journey in trying to get two powerful economy boosting ideas across to Arnold Schwazenegger before the budget is finalized. I think it would be enlightening to follow this hubpage (I have included the url) to see what exists and how you might respond differently if you were governor. Based on your experience with the web, I am sure you can see the advantage to tapping in to the brain power and creativity of Californians (and others) who often share brilliant solutions that your paid or elected staff in most cases miss.
Hope to hear from you soon.
(Writing as Winsome on Hubpages)
I will keep you posted on any communication from her office which I am sure will be timely and professional since, well who wouldn't want to know about the fate of two economy-changing ideas. I expect Arnold to be calling any minute as well.
Economy Jumpstarters Think Tank
Motto: Make Income not Taxes
Well, Arnold and Meg must really, really like these ideas, because they both are taking more time than usual to clear a large section of their schedule to discuss them when they get back to me. Just in case the other methods slipped past them, I faxed Arnold today. I decided that a fax might carry more weight if it were from an organization and not just one individual so I, together with my staff, created the nation's first Economy Jumpstarters Think Tank. This will be the largest think tank on the planet because I am enlisting the creative resources of everyone on, you guessed it, the planet. Every single person is encouraged to submit ideas, either as a comment here or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Since my staff is rather small at the moment and limited to the English language, please translate before submitting. Let me thank each and every one of you in advance on behalf of Arnold, who I know will be doing it himself once he gets out from under the pile of staffers who jumped on top of him when he impetuously tried to answer my first phone call.
Day 10: Having never tweeted before, I had one of my many staffers bring me up to speed. As CaliforniaEJTT I am now following Arnold, Obama, Meg, and Jerry. I left a comment on Arnold's twitter report of his meeting with the press. I'm eagerly anticipating that my first tweet will be from the big man himself.
Day 15: Well it has certainly been a treat but no tweet to follow our Governor. I caught up with his Nuclear Tipping Point conference and left a comment. You can see it at: http://twitpic.com/1038bx
Day 16: Good News! Received a reply from Arnold's computer:
Thank you for your email to Governor Schwarzenegger.
Due to the high volume of emails the Governor receives, it is the protocol of the Governor's Scheduling Office to have a scheduling request sent via U.S. mail. If you wish to contact the Scheduling Office, you should mail your request, 30 days prior to the event, with your contact information to the following address:
Office of Governor Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Once again, thank you for your email.
March 3rd Meeting with Arnold Tentatively Scheduled
I knew it! I know some of you were wavering in your confidence that our Governor was on board with the jumpstart ideas, but here it is---proof that Arnold has cleared his calendar thirty days from now to really give them precedence. He has asked the Scheduling Office to invite my formal request, which I will send by certified mail today. Everyone clear your calendars for March 3rd as I am certain the mailed request will be enthusiastically accepted by Arnold.