Stogies left with Arnold; now it's pingpong season
It's time to report another change at the California Governor's Office since Jerry Brown took over from Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In addition to housing a Democrat instead of a Republican, the chief executive's workspace has also swapped cigars for table tennis.
One of the more notorious quirks of Schwarzenegger's administration was the private cigar-smoking tent erected in an enclosed courtyard adjoining the Governor's Office. It became a favorite meeting spot for members of the governor's inner circle.
The tent disappeared after Schwarzenegger left office (although a metal stake left behind injured one of Brown's senior advisers), and the space now hosts a new, and healthier, form of entertainment.
Employees in Brown's office were spotted last Friday afternoon playing pingpong in the sun-kissed courtyard, celebrating what turned out to be a staff member's birthday.
The table has been there for about a year and a half now, according to Brown spokesman Evan Westrup. He said it isn't used all that frequently.
Now that last week's bill bonanza has ended, lawmakers turn to finding fiscal common ground. The conference committee on the budget, chaired by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, is convening this week to reconcile the frameworks advanced by each house and the governor. Today's meeting starts around 12:30 p.m. in the Capitol's room 4203.
"It is our responsibility as your elected officials to stand up for the well-being of Californians even knowing that the end product is far from perfect."
SEN. MIMI WALTERS, R-Irvine, explaining on the Fox & Hounds blog why she joined some other legislative Republicans last week in voting for Senate Bill 11, which would extend certain fees to help companies retrofit equipment to comply with the state's law on greenhouse gas emissions