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Press Release
Dec 03, 2004 - 01:00 AM

CONTACT: Harvey Rosenfield - 310-392-0522 x303

Remarks of Harvey Rosenfield to California Nurses

California State Capitol - December 1, 2004
It's become painfully clear that the "super-hero Action Figure" we elected to clean up Sacramento -- the guy who said "I will clean house" -- was just acting all along.

The Action Figure told us, "Any of those powerful special interests, if you take money from them, you owe them something….." "I don't have to take money from anybody. I have plenty of money," went on to raise more than $30 million from the special interests, a hoard of loot funneled through a convoluted, secret and loophole-ridden realm of campaign committees and non-profit organizations.

He took in $72,000 a day. That's more than twice what his predecessor collected, and that guy was cashiered by the voters for his cash register politics.

If you're a big corporation, once you've got the Action Figure in your pocket, look what you get in return:

For its $1.6 million, the health care industry gets to subvert state law and avoid putting enough nurses in emergency rooms and operating rooms…. The drug companies alone gave the Action Figure $337,000 -- that's more than they've given any other public official in the United States, with the exception of the President of the United States. Then the Action Figure vetoed four bills that would have made it cheaper to buy prescription drugs.

The insurance industry pumped $1.1 million into the Action Figure, and they escaped state regulation of out-of-control workers compensation premiums that are killing small business in this state. (The insurers got to lower benefits to injured workers and keep the difference for themselves).

The auto industry puts in $1 million, the Action Figure vetoes a car buyers' "bill of rights."

This can only be described as a "sell-out performance" by the Action Figure.

We elected a comic book character who instead of fighting the bad guys has become one of the bad guys.

We shouldn't be surprised that he turned out this way: by his own admission, our governor isn't a leader. He's a celebrity promoter. He's doing what he's always done: following a prepared script, this one scribed by a crew of political hacks who used to pimp for such illustrious politicians as Pete "electricity deregulation" Wilson and Commissioner of the Insurance Industry Chuck Quackenbush, promoting policies that benefit only the corporate interests that are paying him. In the last election, these greedy business conglomerates spent $86 million advertising the endorsement of the Action Figure on behalf of their anti-California agenda.

The Action Figure is all about box office. Just when he was having trouble filling theatres at $8 a seat, he found an audience he could entertain who would pay $21,100 a seat in the executives suites on Wall Street and last night in Houston.

California needs leadership. But what we've got is the chucklehead politics of the celebrity Action Figure, where everything is "fantastic." But saying everything's fantastic doesn't make it so, in real life.

Ask the person in a hospital emergency room who's waiting for hours to get someone to examine her little girl; just ask the person trying to pay the utility bill, buy food and cover the cost of health care. Ask them and they'll tell you things aren't "fantastic."

Californians want someone who will restore the gleam and promise of the Golden State, not use special effects and Hollywood-style hocus pocus to make California's budget and infrastructure problems disappear.

Anyhow, the Action Figure's not worried about that, or anything that's less than "fantastic." In fact, he's flying around the country auditioning for his next role. He's forgotten that the last two governors who behaved like they were presidential material didn't come close to getting the part.

Now, over the years, I've had the pleasure of working with the California Nurses Association and your incredible, hard-charging, take-no-prisoners leadership in the fight to protect the health and safety of patients in California. Together, we've toilet trained the insurance companies and HMOs, making California the leader in the nation in patient safety and HMO accountability.

These victories have been because of you -- you nurses. You've led these battles at the ballot box, in Sacramento and in hospitals up and down the state. You're overworked, underpaid and understaffed, and you battle every day on behalf of your patients. You're there long after the doctors go home for the night. You are the superheroes in this real-life drama, where lives are at stake and the Governor's decision to slash the number of nurses in the Operating Room and the Emergency Room mean the termination of real human beings.

You are the superheroes. I've seen you in action. And I don't mean, "lights, cameras, action," I mean in the OR, the ER, here at the Capitol, later today at the Sutter Hospital. You are the superheroes.

Let's be clear. This is an action figure [holding up Schwarzenegger doll]. As we know, if you have enough money, you can buy him. But you are the superheroes.

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