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The Loneliness Of Governor Schwarzenegger

Publication Date: 
July 09, 2010
The New York Times
Jennifer Steinhauer

Professor Joan Petersilia is quoted in The New York Times on Gov Schwarzenegger’s non-partisan stance on California’s prison reform:

If the mark of a real independent is lack of friends, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is the quintessential nonpartisan in American politics right now.

His approval rating has not risen above 30 percent since May 2009. California remains in deep fiscal distress. He is despised by the state’s workers (whose pay he cut), Democrats (who loathe his aversion to new taxes and his desire to cut entitlements) and Republicans (who wish those respective aversions and desires were stronger), as well as college students, public school parents and people who hate the smell of cigars.

As Governor Schwarzenegger prepares to leave office in January, the lesson from his seven-year effort may be this: Being an independent can win you a lot of things: an election, even re-election, and new policies. But that’s not the same as having people like you.


“For the left, he was able to keep juveniles and nonviolent offenders out of prisons,” said Joan Petersilia, a law professor at Stanford who chaired several panels on prisons, “and what went to the right was he never wavered on three strikes or releasing sex offenders or violent offenders.”