Arnold’s bad exit

One-time ‘reformer’ leaves in a cloud of cronyism

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tenure as governor was a mixed bag, with his several accomplishments, including a landmark global-warming bill, marred by his failure to solve the state’s budget problems. His exit from office, unfortunately, was a total disaster.

The governor who promoted himself as a reformer out to cut waste left office in a flurry of cronyism, appointing a number of political pals to lucrative sinecures on various state boards and commissions that he’d once said should be eliminated.

But his most egregious act was his commutation of the 16-year prison sentence, for manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon, of the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez. In cutting it to seven years, Schwarzenegger cited the fact that another man had wielded the fatal knife and the younger Núñez had no prior record.

What he failed to say was that on that same night Núñez himself twice stabbed and almost killed another youth, apparently at random, and also orchestrated the destruction of evidence and repeatedly assured his thuggish cohorts that, if the cops came down on them, his powerful father would take care of things.

There are some 3,000 people in prison on manslaughter charges. Núñez was the only one to whom Schwarzenegger gave a hearing, much less a commutation. That’s simply outrageous.