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California Senate plans to kill two Schwarzenegger appointments

January 5, 2011 | 11:21 am

Two people appointed to the state Board of Education by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will not be confirmed, ending their tenure on the board and giving new Gov. Jerry Brown an opportunity to fill the vacancies.

Board President Ted Mitchell and member David Lopez were appointed by Schwarzenegger last year. Both must be confirmed by the state Senate by Jan. 15 or vacate their posts on the board.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said Wednesday he would not hold confirmation hearings for Mitchell or Lopez before their confirmation deadlines.

“We have a new governor and it should be up to a new governor to establish his own administration and who his education leaders are going to be,” said Steinberg spokesman Nathan Barankin.

Barankin said Steinberg consulted with Brown about the decision. “He’s been in contact with the governor,” he said. “We are working with the administration on many of the pending appointments.”

Including Mitchell and Lopez, there are a total of 23 Schwarzenegger appointees that must be confirmed by the Senate this month or they will have to leave their posts. Among them is Nancy Ryan, a commissioner on the state’s Public Utilities Commission.

Education has been an early focus of Brown’s. Public-school spending accounts for roughly 40% of the state’s spending. Last month, Brown held a policy forum on the education budget in Los Angeles promising deep cuts to schools.

Brown will also make cuts in the state’s education bureaucracy. Brown said he intended to close the education secretary’s office, which has 11 employees, and eliminate the post. The job was created by Gov. Pete Wilson during his clashes with the elected state superintendent, Bill Honig.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento