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Special Interests: Judy Sarasohn

Schwarzenegger Muscling Against Base Closings

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, November 11, 2004; Page A35

California's Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is trying to keep his state's military installations out of the Pentagon's sights during next year's round of base closures.

Schwarzenegger this week appointed an 18-member council to advise state and local communities as well as coordinate with the California congressional delegation on base closing and retention issues. And in case the recommended strategies don't work, the council will also recommend ways of mitigating the adverse effects of closing or downsizing bases.

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The council is to be chaired by Leon E. Panetta, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and a former House member from California, and by Donna F. Tuttle, co-owner of Elmore Tuttle Sports Group, which owns minor league sports teams, and a former deputy secretary of commerce and undersecretary for travel and tourism in the Reagan and Bush I administrations.

The group is "a resource to be used" and an advisory council, said Vince Sollitto, a spokesman for the governor. It is not to be a lobbying organization.

Panetta, whose former congressional district lost Fort Ord Army Base in the last Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round, believes the state will eventually need outside lobbyists to help out. "We're going to have to have lobbyists who know how to work the BRAC Commission and the Defense Department," he said in an interview yesterday.

The state did not do a good job last time around of protecting its military bases, accounting for about a third of the 97 installations closed, Panetta said, noting that along with the closed bases were about 100,000 military and civilian jobs.

Panetta praised the new governor's actions to coordinate the state's effort to help stave off more closures or significant downsizing of installations.

The Defense Department is slated to make recommendations in May to close or "redefine the mission" of about 100 installations nationwide. The BRAC Commission makes its recommendations in September, Panetta explained.

Panetta noted that when Fort Ord was closed, California State University at Monterey Bay was established on the site. The Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy, which he and his wife direct, is located at the university.

FreedomWorks Out to Block Specter

Not particularly friendly to Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) to begin with, the conservative activist group FreedomWorks has launched a grass-roots attack to block the Republican senator from taking the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The group has set up NotArlen.com, a Web site to organize grass-roots opposition to Specter holding such a leadership role.

Shortly after the elections, Specter, who generally supports abortion rights, set off an uproar from abortion opponents and conservatives when he was quoted as saying, "When you talk about judges who would change the right of a woman to choose . . . I think that is unlikely." After complaints rushed in, Specter said he would "never apply any litmus test" on abortion, and he expects to support President Bush's judicial nominees.

"FreedomWorks and our 'NotArlen.com' site urge members of the Judiciary Committee to vote against Senator Specter, and to instead support leadership that will enthusiastically back the president's judicial nominees and domestic economic agenda," said Matt Kibbe, president of the group.

FreedomWorks is chaired by former House majority leader Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.); C. Boyden Gray, White House counsel for President George H. W. Bush; and former representative Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.).

Coming to the Rescue

Anne C. Richard, who was chief adviser for budget and planning for then-Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, is the new government relations vice president for the International Rescue Committee. She'll run the D.C. office of the New York City-based group, which operates humanitarian aid programs for refugees in 25 countries and helps resettle refugees in the United States.

After leaving the State Department, Richard spent three years in Paris, consulting for international organizations, think tanks, nonprofits and others, and she was affiliated with the Center for Transatlantic Relations. Earlier, Richard was the deputy chief financial officer of the Peace Corps.

While "refugee funding is a relatively more popular part of foreign aid," Richard said, one of the problems that she faces is that many of the places in which IRC works "are off the radar screen" in Washington. Her job, she said, is "to raise the awareness" of refugee needs in such places as Uganda, West Africa and Chechnya.

At the IRC, Richard succeeds Sandra Mitchell, who left for a position in Cambodia with the East-West Management Institute.

In Other Shop Moves

Furthermore . . . Nick Manetto, most recently a legislative assistant on health care issues for Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.), has joined B&D Sagamore as an assistant vice president, working on -- what else? -- the shop's health and life sciences consulting team. Manetto was Smith's adviser for the Congressional Alzheimer's Task Force, the Coalition for Autism Research and Education and the Congressional Spina Bifida Caucus.

David Frank, a former director of communications at the Department of Education in the Clinton administration and more recently at Widmeyer Communications, has joined Porter Novelli as a senior vice president in the health and social marketing group.

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