CA Officials Exchange Charges On Prison Guard Union


The debate over California’s prison crisis turned hostile yesterday. A federal court monitor called a top aide to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a liar and said he would order the aide to testify under oath about the administration’s relationship with the politically powerful guards union, the Los Angeles Times reports. Special Master John Hagar asserted that the governor had abandoned reforms to appease the guards. He intends to force Cabinet Secretary Fred Aguiar and Chief of Staff Susan Kennedy to testify as part of his probe of the union’s influence in the prison system. Hagar said Kennedy appeared to be “in the pocket” of the union, had traded favors with the group, and had allowed its leaders unusual access to the governor’s office. “People have quit because they felt their ethics were compromised,” Hagar said. “The place is crumbling.”

The governor’s top lawyer, Andrea Hoch, vigorously denied that the governor is either backpedaling or granting the California Correctional Peace Officers Association undue influence over prison management. She said, Schwarzenegger, who is running for reelection, is reaching out to the union because he believes an “inclusive style” can best help him complete reforms that he began after taking office in 2003. “Progress will continue,” Hoch assured Hagar during a tense three-hour hearing. “The governor is committed to that.”


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