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Schwarzenegger opines on the governor's race, Hurricane Katrina and John Perez

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger repeated his call for pension and budget reform Tuesday, while taking a couple of swipes at Speaker John Perez and the Republican candidates for governor.

Speaking before a friendly audience at the California Chamber of Commerce in Sacramento,  Schwarzenegger compared the state's budget crisis with Hurricane Katrina and criticized the mentality of lawmakers in the Capitol. "The problem with Sacramento is they don't understand business very well," he said. "They think that when Sacramento makes a mistake that the private sector should fix it."

"We have done exactly the same here in Sacramento as they have done in New Orleans with the levees," said Schwarzenegger. "They knew for years that those levees were vulnerable ... but they sat there and  hoped for the best. And then what happened was finally Katrina came and wiped out the city."

Making a pitch for June's Proposition 14, which would allow voters to select candidates in a primary regardless of political party, Schwarzenegger pointed to the current Republican race for governor as a sign of the state's flawed election system.

Without mentioning Meg Whitman or Steve Poizner by name, Schwarzenegger said, "They're outdoing each other [to see] who is more to the right," but at the expense of the interests of state as a whole.

Schwarzenegger also called out Assembly Speaker John Perez, the latest in a rhetorical back-and-forth between the two leaders. Schwarzenegger noted Perez's stated disdain for closed-door meetings of legislative leaders and the governor and added some thoughts of his own.

"They don't blow up my skirt either, let me tell you," Schwarzenegger said.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

 
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