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Ronald Reagan to be honored with special day [Updated]

July 19, 2010 |  3:14 pm

What do Cesar Chavez, Harvey Milk and Ronald Reagan have in common? With a stroke of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pen Monday, they each get a day named in their honor under California law.

Schwarzenegger is expected to sign two bills honoring the conservative icon, one declaring Feb. 6 as Ronald Reagan day, the other establishing a state commission to plan celebrations for the 100th anniversary of Reagan’s birth in 1911.

A B-list actor who played opposite a trained chimpanzee in “Bedtime for Bonzo,” Reagan quit the movie business to become a politician. He spent two terms as California's governor before beating incumbent Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election.

[Updated 5:45 p.m.: Schwarzenegger also signed a bill naming Jan. 23 in honor of Ed Roberts, a quadriplegic who became the first severely handicapped student admitted to UC Berkeley and went on to become an activist for the disabled.  Then-Gov. Jerry Brown named Roberts director of the state Department of Rehabilitation in 1975.]

Reagan will stand out as the most conservative among other Californians honored with official days. The list already includes farm labor leader Cesar Chavez, gay rights crusader Harvey Milk and environmental icon John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club.

Only Chavez is recognized with an official state holiday; the others get days of “special significance” on which the governor issues a proclamation about their greatness.

-- Jack Dolan in Sacramento

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