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The X Files
Xavier Hermosillo is the President of, a national Crisis Communications, Marketing, and Management firm he founded 23 years ago. He is a former political chief of staff, an award-winning reporter and photographer, and a former radio talk show host and TV commentator in Los Angeles. He has co-founded two publicly-traded companies where he served as a member of the Board of Directors and as the Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications. He has also served as a Hearing Examiner for the Los Angeles Police Commission on police officer discipline cases, and holds degrees in Administration of Justice and Business and Communications. He can be reached at

California’s popular governor is under attack and it could sink his quest for another term.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected by the middle class who were feeling squeezed, ignored, and/or abused by the state government under Gray Davis.

They saw ARNOLD as the bigger-than-life Terminator who would terminate those ugly and insensitive government aggressors who ignore the little guy and engage in double talk as they run roughshod through Sacramento. He promised he would look out for the little guy and ignore “the special interests.”

As we have learned for the umpteenth time in our lives, the devil is in the details, not only in what Arnold considers “special interests”, but in how he can raise millions of dollars at out-of-state dinners when he told voters he was “independent” and didn’t need campaign contributions.

The media has become enthralled with the actor-turned-politician, probably because his charm is so disarming. And he won’t hesitate to blow off a reporter if the questioning gets uncomfortable or threatens the success of the carefully-staged event.

Well, it is becoming more and more apparent that Arnold, in the view of many, has become one of those ugly and insensitive government aggressors who ignores the little guy, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera (as Yule Brynner said in “The King and I”).

The Governator appears to have lost sight of his campaign promises to the common man and while the media covers the growing number of protesters who are showing up at virtually all of Schwarzenegger’s events, it has failed to analyze and report in-depth the beginning of the end of the tough guy actor/Governor named Arnold.

Here is the key to the unraveling of what many insiders have called an “instant political legend.” The growing legions of Arnold-haters aren’t just ideologues protesting for or against the war, guns, or abortion. Instead, they are MIDDLE CLASS teachers, nurses, and government workers who say Arnold is a liar, a hypocrite, and/or an ogre. The dictionary defines ogre as “A person who is felt to be particularly cruel, brutish, or hideous” and Arnold had better take a look in the mirror. These days, his actions more than fit the meaning of the word.

It began with Schwarzenegger trying to charm the pants off the leadership of the California State Legislature. Some of that schmoozing was relatively easy, especially with buffoons like Senator Leader Jim Burton, whom people tolerated. Schwarzenegger and Burton found they were made for each other with egos that had virtually no peer, and a desperate need to succeed in a queasy and untested political quagmire.

The charade worked for a while until the governor tried to strong-arm Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez. THAT was a mistake. It appears Arnold mistook Nunez’ smaller physical stature as a sign of weakness and he has learned the hard way that Nunez is a tough guy, a brawler when he has to be. And unlike some actors, Nunez doesn’t use stunt doubles to stand in for him during tough fights.

Schwarzenegger promised to reform the state and streamline government and voters liked that – until Arnold tried to shutter the state watchdog agencies who oversee auto repair, consumer affairs, water quality, handicapped services, and other key areas where consumers DO NOT trust the private business sector and prefer the comfort of a government agency with clout.

But Schwarzenegger has crossed perhaps the most difficult Rubicon in taking on the already embattled middle class workers and issues. Most people think California’s education system is in shambles and many of those same folks think teacher unions are part of the problem. Californians have always been willing to make education a funding priority and will often pay a little extra to help fix the system.

However, having seen Schwarzenegger take on the Indian gaming tribes and deride them as “special interests” while catering to the White Anglo business community and the lavish fundraising successes it has heaped on the Governator has angered many of the common people who elected him.

You can’t watch television in California right now without seeing dueling ads from the governor and his opponents. Schwarzenegger claims he wants about half of the state’s budget, or about $50 billion, to go directly into the classroom and to teachers. His commercials portray people acting as teachers (they may, in fact, be teachers but you never know these days who’s who in commercials) claim that Arnold has actually INCREASED the state’s education budget by $3-billion this year and wants to “pay high quality teachers more” base tenure on performance and not seniority.

This is in stark contrast to what his detractors say in their commercials. They claim Schwarzenegger is shortchanging education by $25,000 per classroom and the teachers appear to be relentless in their zeal to nail Arnold in ways that will ensure that at least as governor, he can never again say, “I’ll be back”.

His proposed cuts of both government agencies and jobs is another flank where Schwarzenegger is taking flack and after a while, no matter how committed he is to the task, people just aren’t buying the pitch. Cutting services to the sick, aged, and disabled just doesn’t fly in most people’s minds.

The final battleground that is gaining momentum involves the sharing of power in Sacramento, but on a more personal level. Historically, when the governor is out of the state, the Lieutenant Governor takes charge. That has usually worked well, except in the early 1970’s when Jerry Brown was the Democratic governor and Mike Curb was the Republican Lieutenant Governor. On one out-of-state trip, Brown found his political adversary was making key state appointments. A quick return trip stopped that move in its tracks.

All was relatively peaceful until Gray Davis angered the ever-growing and voter-increasing Latino community by refusing to give up control of the state reigns when he left the state. That attitude left Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante in a tizzy with no official gubernatorial power. Latinos viewed that as an insult to Bustamante and to all Latinos. Davis’ snub had come on the heels of taking Bustamante’s key Capitol parking spot away from him in revenge for some petty squabble between the two. Latino voters never forgot and paid Davis back big-time in the recall election.

There is one inescapable fact in the current battle over who’s in charge when the governor is out of state. Since he was elected in November of 2003, Schwarzenegger has been gone from the state more than 100 days, primarily for fundraising events or some of his other interests, including body-building contests where he is idolized.

Now a Northern California state senator wants to change the law to essentially negate the need for a Lieutenant Governor. That’ won’t fly in a Democrat-controlled state and Latinos won’t buy off either.

Either way, Schwarzenegger is moving further away from his promised populist roots and angering the people who put him in office. This sure sounds a lot like some of the things Gray Davis did to anger voters, notwithstanding other issues like the power crisis and the massive state deficit.

With all the commercials highlighting Schwarzenegger’s battles with middle class workers, the public has a right to know where the truth really lies. That means the media has to start doing some analysis and maybe even some investigative reporting to keep the public properly informed. It’s our job and the public expects us to do it right.