Blasting a governor from his own party, Assembly Republican leader Sam Blakeslee questioned the integrity Thursday of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in high-stakes water negotiations.
Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, said the governor's public pronouncements about bipartisanship in crafting a water deal have been contradicted by closed-door threats from Susan Kennedy, his chief of staff.
"In Sacramento, whether you're on the right or the left or the center, people need to know that when you shake their hand, you can rely upon their word," Blakeslee said.
The dispute highlights both the intensity and insecurity of Capitol talks to solve conservation, environmental and water supply problems that have simmered for decades.
Blakeslee said that Schwarzenegger consistently has said that he will support a water deal only if it is comprehensive, containing a bonding mechanism to bankroll above-ground water storage and Delta improvements.
"Now, behind closed doors during negotiations, Susan Kennedy has made explicit threats that that promise is no longer operational," Blakeslee said, adding that Schwarzenegger was in the room at the time.
"I think she was upset, frankly, because we refused to simply capitulate and accept the package as presented to us by Democrats," Blakeslee said.
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