Sacramento, CA -- The California Nurses Association (CNA) and Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) announced the new "Air Arnold" campaign that will alert the public to the governor's special interest fundraisers for his special election this November and the governor's broken campaign promises to voters. An airplane, dubbed "Air Arnold," hired by CNA and FTCR, buzzed the Capitol during the governor's Sacramento fundraiser today and into the evening pulling a banner reading: "Don't Be Big Business's Bully - Arnoldwatch.org / Calnurses.org"
Schwarzenegger recently announced he would raise $50 million to support his ballot initiatives that largely help his big industry donors in a special election this year. The governor has said he will raise much of the money from out of state donors, which presumably includes raising money from Wall Street for an initiative to privatize public pension funds that will put hundreds of millions of dollars in the hands of Wall Street financers.
After their press conference, nurses, teachers, seniors and consumer advocates followed Schwarzenegger into a scheduled fundraiser at the Sheraton Grand at lunchtime, but he eluded them as they chanted, "Hey, Arnold you cannot hide, we can see your greedy side." Schwarzenegger was forced to enter through a back door.
"Air Arnold will follow Schwarzenegger from fundraiser to fundraiser until the governor gets the message that real reformers don't have to raise $50 million to support their pet ballot initiatives," said Jerry Flanagan of FTCR. "The governor should apologize for calling nurses and students special interests simply because they can't afford to give campaign contributions or take care of the sick for a living. As the governor fundraises this week across the state, he will have a lot of people looking up. Air Arnold flies for real people."
At the press conference, registered nurses representing CNA -- which recently launched a national television ad criticizing Schwarzenegger's rollback of patient safety laws -- said that Schwarzenegger's donors are the real special interests, not nurses and patients. (The ad, now airing, can be viewed at http://www.arnoldwatch.net or http://www.calnurses.org ).
In the California Nurses Association television ad, veteran registered nurse Melita Dionosio-Temple warns: "The one thing the public should know, is that one day you will be in that bed and realize that because of the number of patients one nurse has to take care of, you may be calling, and there's nobody there."
On Sunday, Air Arnold pulled the first banner that read, "It's No Party for Nurses, Patients and Students -- Arnoldwatch.net," above Schwarzenegger's Brentwood estate prior to the governor's Super Bowl Sunday party for some of the nation's political and Hollywood elite. Air Arnold will follow the governor to San Diego for another fundraiser this Thursday.
According to FTCR, the governor's control of a fundraising committee called Citizens to Save California, formed to push Schwarzenegger-backed ballot initiatives in a special election this year, is an attempt to circumvent new rules that cap the amount of money an elected official can raise from individual donors. Schwarzenegger allies including Chamber of Commerce President Allan Zaremberg and Joel Fox, who worked for the governor during the recall campaign, run the ballot committee. The committee is co-hosting fundraisers around the state featuring Schwarzenegger, including the lunchtime event today at the Sacramento Sheraton Hotel.
FTCR said that the public has a right to know that the governor has violated promises he made to protect the public from special interests. For example, Governor Schwarzenegger:
- Used his emergency powers to repeal hospital safety rules requiring that there be enough nurses on duty in hospitals to take care of patients (for more information visit http://www.calnurses.org );
- Announced plans to raise college student fees instead of blocking an $80 million taxpayer-funded giveaway to some of the state's largest corporations who did not pay taxes last year (click here for more information);
- Announced plans to forced the disabled to join HMOs who'll be allowed to limit access to health care (for more information visit http://www.arnoldwatch.org/blogs/blogs_000564.php3);
- Supported overturning the "Consumer Bill of Rights" it had approved last year to protect consumers against cell phone overcharges, unfair practices, poor connections and other abuses (click here for information);
- Proposed to dissolve dozens of public oversight boards that protect the public from consumer rip-offs, dangerous doctors, and other special interest attacks (for more information visit http://www.arnoldwatch.org/blogs/blogs_000562.php3 ).
For a web log chronicling Governor Schwarzenegger's betrayal of the public trust visit http://www.Arnoldwatch.org (run by FTCR). Consumer advocates said that Schwarzenegger has violated campaign promises by raising $40 million in his first year in office -- an average of $80,000 per day -- after claiming in his campaign for office that such campaign contributions corrupted policy decisions.
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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is the state's leading nonprofit and nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization. For more information visit us on the web at http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org