The Nunez-Schwarzenegger Legacy

Katy Grimes:

Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger might finally have a legacy, but it isn’t what he had hoped for and forever links him with nefarious, notorious politicians.

Esteban Nunez, the privileged son of  former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, may have received a commutation on his prison term, but he still has two-strikes on his criminal record.

Less than a three months ago, a judge agreed with the San Diego prosecutors in the case that Nunez’s sentence should not be reduced. Despite that decision, the commutation of Nunez’s criminal conviction for Nunez’s role in the stabbing death of college student Luis Santos in 2008 reduced the sentence from 16 to seven years.

Schwarzenegger is said to be personal friends with Fabian Nunez, who now works as a political consultant with Schwarzenegger’s former communications director. Nunez and Schwarzenegger worked very closely in 2006 to pass AB 32, California’s global warming law.

“The commutation has nothing to do with the conviction,” said Paul Levikow, Communications Director for the San Diego District Attorney. “It was mainly about the time he will serve, and does not erase or overturn the conviction.”

Levikow also confirmed that the two strikes Nunez received with the murder conviction will remain on his record.

Bonnie Dumanis, the District Attorney who handled the case, said on Monday that her office was never consulted by Schwarzenegger before making the Nunez commutation. Nunez had already reached a deal with the DA when he agreed — the night before the trial — to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter instead of standing trial on murder charges, which could have led to a life sentence.

Schwarzenegger said he believed the 16-year prison sentence that Esteban Nunez was serving was “excessive.” But many in and around the Capitol are calling Schwarzenegger’s commutation of Nunez’s son something worthy of a politician like former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Some even believe that the Nunez commutation will haunt Schwarzenegger the way the pardon of Marc Rich will forever be tied to former President Bill Clinton. He was indicted on federal charges of illegally making oil deals with Iran during the Iran hostage crisis, as well as tax evasion, but fled the U.S. during his prosecution. That pardon sparked a massive investigation into whether it was actually “bought” through the hefty political donations made by Rich and his ex-wife, Denise, to the Clintons and other Washington Democrats.

The result of all this is that, once again, Schwarzenegger has made a laughing stock out of the state. He’s also stained his legacy, becoming just another elitist, craven politician — exactly what he had promised to fight when he first took office seven years ago.

JAN. 4, 2011

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  1. John Seiler
    John Seiler 4 January, 2011, 23:58

    At least Arnold is gone — finally. Remember how he charged into office saying he was not party to the “special interests”? He left office the stooge of the special interests, beginning with Nunez.

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  2. June Iljana
    June Iljana 5 January, 2011, 08:49

    Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho and Texas have stripped their governor of the power to pardon and established clemency boards, whose members are appointed by the governor. In Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas the governor can only consider clemency recommendations issued by a clemency board. California should be next.

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  3. Anthony
    Anthony 5 January, 2011, 10:23

    This Governor has to go down in CA history as one of the biggest dissappointments, especially by those who elected him. Did he do anything of which he said he would? Possibly around the fringes if your being uber kind. On critical issues, he FAILED to deliver. He never solved the budget crisis. Even if you were to look at this with rose-colored lenses, considering a faultering economy, you would consider him a useless failure. Did he blow up a box or a couple of boxes? Did he reform government or even at least clean-up government?

    He was too busy wanting to be liked, too busy listening to his wife and other liberal “do gooders” that wanted to talk about health care, soda in schools, CO2 emmissions, and other items that distracted him and at the end of the day are not part of the overall problem most Californians and businesses are faced with that are causing our demise.

    His only credits are Workers Comp and the ability to sell California’s future in debt for Infrastructure Bonds. Had he pushed for real spending reductions and set asides for infrastructure maybe that copuled with smaller bonds and a reformed Caltrans and DWR he might have had done something fantastic for the state.

    He was a “meathead” not a chess player. Someone who wanted the crowd around to cheer him on and make him FEEL right. His special interest was his ego that he had to feed with yes men/women and the positive feel good stories. He is simply a “girly man.”

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  4. Pat
    Pat 6 January, 2011, 10:34

    Besides the absolute repulsive feeling people have for Schwarzenegger and his blatant disregard for the victim’s family, (neither Esteban Nunez or Nunez family epressed any remorse), there is the frustration that Schwarzenegger is too cowardly to face the public and respond to this travesty of justice.

    Hopefully, this will follow him and he will feel the disgust the people of CA and beyond have for him.
    What a big ZERO he is — Cronyism and in your face disrespect for Californians.

    The appointments made to his “friends” — payoffs at the our expense — seals the legacy of corruption.

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