Both Sides Go Trolling for Voters
Trailed by television crews, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger browsed the display cases at a Koreatown eyewear shop Saturday until he spotted a pair of black sunglasses to his liking.
Trying them on, he mugged for the cameras, looking every bit the title character of his “Terminator” movies. He bought the glasses but declined to take them home in the shop’s chic white bag, saying, “Carrying little bags is not for me.”
The nod to his Hollywood past captured the essence of Schwarzenegger’s day of campaigning across Southern California. With the election on his latest ballot measures 10 days away, he sought to maximize the media coverage his fame could rouse for campaign stops in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
At stop after stop, the Republican governor invoked his “Terminator” films. “Nov. 8 is judgment day,” he told Iranian American business leaders at a Mid-Wilshire gathering, using the subtitle of “Terminator 2.”
Walking from the eyewear shop to a noodle stand at the Koreatown Galleria, Schwarzenegger shook hands with Joseph Park, 16, and touched his hair. “The ‘Terminator’ haircut,” Schwarzenegger joked.
And at the Los Angeles Convention Center, where African American entrepreneurs were displaying their wares at Black Business Expo, Schwarzenegger reprised his signature “Terminator” line as he concluded a live radio interview.
“I’ll be back,” he told host Greg Johnson of KJLH-FM (102.3) as “Love Train” started up.
Schwarzenegger’s pitch at every stop echoed the populist message of his television ads. “I just want to say to the Korean people: Help me fix California,” he told a swarm of Asian American media crews at the Koreatown mall.
As the governor denounced “union bosses” for trying to thwart his initiatives, labor leaders and Democratic lawmakers took shots at him during a downtown Los Angeles rally. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) compared labor’s battle with Schwarzenegger to the clash of David and Goliath.
“The Davids of the world are coming together in California to send a clear message to this governor on Nov. 8,” he told about 200 volunteers.
Rep. Hilda Solis (D-El Monte) told them Schwarzenegger had “misled and done misdeeds against working people, families, people who have struggled for many years, our valiant firefighters, police officers, nurses, teachers and, of course, people like yourself.”
At cubicles in a nearby room at the county Federation of Labor headquarters, volunteers wearing headsets called union members to drum up support against three of Schwarzenegger’s ballot measures, Propositions 74, 75 and 76. Hundreds also walked neighborhoods and appealed to voters.
Proposition 74 would extend from two years to five the time it takes teachers to get tenure; Proposition 75 would require public-employee unions to get written consent from members each year before spending dues money on politics; and Proposition 76 would reshape state spending limits. Schwarzenegger is also promoting Proposition 77, which would put retired judges in charge of drawing districts for state and federal lawmakers.
Schwarzenegger described his agenda Saturday as “the sequel of the original recall” election that put him in office and ousted his predecessor, Gov. Gray Davis.
“The special interests are trying to do everything that they can in order to defeat us, to defeat reform and to keep the broken system and to keep the status quo,” he said. “So this is why I’m going directly to the people, because the powerful government-employee union bosses want to defeat our proposals, and they control the Legislature.”
He wrapped up his day courting Vietnamese Americans at a Little Saigon mall in Westminster, where a boy stood in the front row holding a marker and “The Terminator” DVD.
Kimberly Nguyen, 18, of Garden Grove was impressed by the former bodybuilding champion’s physique.
“Wow, look at how big his chest is,” she said. “He still looks good.”
Times staff writer Mai Tran contributed to this report.