Monday, February 28, 2005

Taking a page out of Rove's playbook

Come on, Ah-nuld. Come up with your own methods of deception:

Calif. Gov. Meal-Break Video Sickens Labor

By STEVE LAWRENCE, Associated Press Writer

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A Schwarzenegger administration video packaged like a TV news story is promoting regulations that give workers the choice of taking a meal break or going home early — and has labor leaders and one lawmaker outraged.

Democratic Assemblyman Paul Koretz suggested Monday the video violated a ban on spending tax money to produce propaganda — and said he would ask the attorney general's office to investigate.

Koretz claimed at least five TV stations ran the video verbatim.

"If a television station is lazy enough just to take this video (and run it), it completely manipulates and skews the story," Assemblyman Paul Koretz said.

A spokesman for the Schwarzenegger administration, Rick Rice, said the video was "just a news release."

"We don't think this is political ... nor is it propaganda," he added. "It's just a news release on an issue the labor unions are completely opposed to."

The proposed regulations are an interpretation of a law mandating an employer must provide at least a 30-minute meal break in the first five hours of an employee's shift.

The video includes a suggested introduction by the news anchor and interviews with a restaurant manager, grower, forklift supervisor and an administration official. There's no comment in the video from anyone opposed to the regulations.

Koretz and labor representatives said the wording of the regulations could lead to "a lot of opportunity for mischief" by employers.

"If the employer says, 'Nobody around here really takes their meal period; we all just kind of like to work through lunch,' the worker who wants to take their meal period is going to feel intimidated," said Barry Broad, a lobbyist for several labor unions.