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    By Courier Staff Writer

          Moving partisanship to a more extreme level, Assemblyman Paul Koretz of West Hollywood used a city council study session Friday to denounce Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on a broad range of issues from the governor’s plan for merit pay for good teachers to his elimination of dozens of state commissions.
          “Now, Schwarzenegger has taken a complete right turn. He has come in with a right-wing agenda and with one terrible proposal after another. He removed 88 popular commissions, like the medical board, for example,” Koretz said.
          State commissions have long been used by incumbent governors to reward partisan campaign contributors, a practice the centrist Republican governor opposed during the recall election in which he replaced former Gov. Gray Davis.
          Koretz strongly defended public employees and their pension benefits, one of Schwarzenegger’s top targets, and the latter’s plan to replace legislative redistricting with a non-partisan panel of retired judges as was used in the redistricting of 1990. After that redistricting, Republicans briefly controlled the state Assembly but never the Senate. Then they promptly lost control of the Assembly as Democrats swept every state office except one. The current districts were drawn by the Democrat-controlled legislature and approved by Democrat Gov. Davis.
          Opponents of the current districts, including non-partisan public interest groups, have denounced the gerrymandered districts which saw every single incumbent reelected in 2004.
          Under current boundaries, most districts heavily favor one party or the other making contested elections, and thus voter control, rare.
          The local Assemblyman reported on bills he has introduced, which include: requiring prisons to provide condoms to inmates to engage in sex which is prohibited by law; requiring cigarettes to be made fire safe; making state beaches cigarette-free (including fire-safe cigarettes); prohibiting veterinarians from cropping the ears of dogs, a customary practice for such breeds as Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers; increasing income taxes on top wage earners from 9% to 11%; adding a five cent tax on alcoholic beverages sold in bars; adding a 10 cent tax on every bullet sold in the state; banning 50-calibre rifles; banning the declawing of exotic animals like jaguars and cheetahs; banning motor boats from pulling people off the rear of the boat, a practice which can result in carbon monoxide poisoning; and another bill granting further incentives to retain movie and film production in the state.
          He also gave the council and listeners a very poignant update on the medical condition of his young daughter.
          Koretz will complete his term in 2006 and may not seek reelection to the Assembly because of term limits.

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