Where there’s smoke, there’s secret babies

“Who knew? And when did they know it?” That’s the question veteran lobbyist and political consultant Doug Elmets put to me. We were talking about what lessons, if any, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s baby bombshell holds for California’s political press.

Lesson one: “It’s clear that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s acting lessons paid off,” Elmets quipped.

Lesson two: When your governor is routinely referred to as the “Gropinator,” you should keep digging. “It’s clear that people were aware of this and just didn’t say anything.”

It’s not like the political press didn’t have some hint of Arnold’s sleaziness. Stories of sexual harassment dogged candidate Schwarzenegger from the start, but were all eventually shrugged as being somehow irrelevant.

“I think the media were so focused on the groping allegations, the stuff that was kind of easy to prove, they didn’t focus on the more serious allegations,” Elmets said.

Any political reporter occasionally hears rumors or even comes across evidence of certain indiscretions by politicians. Much of it goes unreported, unless it’s so blatant and so seedy as to raise questions about said politician’s “moral compass.”

Then there’s the politician who crushes the moral compass beneath his big ol’ cyborg heel and gets away with it. At least, gets away with it without paying much of a political price.

Compiled from Snog.

Fresno kicks Sacto’s ass in public transit?

Huh? The Brookings Institution just came out with a ranking of metro public-transit systems. Without looking, I figured I knew who’d be in the top 10: New York; maybe the Bay Area; maybe Portland, Oregon; Seattle; or Boston?

Ha! Try Modesto (10th), Fresno (fifth), Las Vegas (eighth) and Salt Lake City (third—holy cow!).

The index, which took two years (!) to put together looks at the “share of working-age residents near a transit stop,” “service frequency,” and the “share of all jobs reachable via transit in 90 minutes.”

That leaves aside a lot of other ways of measuring the goodness of your transit system—like cost, share of overall travel, etc. But this is The Brookings Institution, what do I know?

One thing I was not at all surprised about is Sacramento’s ranking: 54 out of 100. Perfectly mediocre. Coming in at 50 would have seemed somehow less average.

Our middling rank is a product of our higher-than-average transit coverage (80 percent of working-age residents are near a transit stop) and our lackluster job access (just 22 percent of jobs are reachable via transit within 90 minutes).

Whatever, when are we going to build that arena?

Compiled from Snog.