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Perata to governor: Help!

Senate Democratic leader Don Perata Thursday pressed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to get involved in budget talks to keep the situation under control.

Perata, who said he's not apologizing for calling Republicans terrorists, noted that he had not spoken to the governor in four or five days. The governor called Perata down to his office Thursday morning.

"It's really got to stop right here," he said before meeting the governor and after holding off on what could have been an ugly floor fight. "I mean the governor's the guy that I'm looking to now for the leadership - to get everybody to calm down now."

Perata said he and Republican leader Dick Ackerman agreed to continue negotiations off the floor after Perata accused Republicans of being budget terrorists. Perata said the hang-up is between the GOP governor and Republican senators.

"The reason that we're not going to the floor right now is that Dick Ackerman and I have been talking about ways we can find some kind of compromise," Perata said. "I don't think anybody wants to end up discrediting the institution and that's what we're getting close to doing if we continue to go in this direction. So we're trying to decelerate the rhetoric, get the governor actively engaged with the leadership of Dick and I, and then hopefully with the governor and the Republican caucus to try to resolve this."

The governor, meanwhile, scheduled a 3 p.m. press conference to discuss the budget.