Karen Breslau

Stories by Karen Breslau

  • BOOKS: MERIT BADGES FOR LIVING

    Not long before 9/11, Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas posted a motto on her refrigerator door: "Get busy living or get busy dying." The 38-year-old marketing executive, pregnant with her first child, had recently started work on a book encouraging women to pursue their dreams--no matter how outlandish--even as they struggled with the daily demands of children, marriage and career. Grandcolas came up with a set of "merit badges for grown-ups" and even hung her old Girl Scout sash above her desk as inspiration. Before she could finish, Grandcolas was killed aboard United Flight 93. After her death, Lauren's husband and sisters gathered her notes and met with her agent. This week, Chronicle Books will posthumously release "You Can Do It! The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-Up Girls." "She truly, truly wanted women to get out there and taste life," says Vaughn Lohec, Lauren's younger sister. "But it's bittersweet she can't be here to talk about the book herself."Many of the badges are based on...
  • Bawdy First Lady

    Who would have known? First Lady Laura Bush would have made a school librarian blush with her bawdy speech at last weekend's White House Correspondents' Association dinner. Shortly after President Bush began his address--at which tradition dictates that the president make fun of himself and the reporters who cover him--Mrs. Bush staged a mock takeover of the microphone in front of 3,000 unsuspecting guests. After sending the president back to his chair, the First Lady regaled the audience with tales of her visit to a male strip club with Lynne Cheney and Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sandra Day O'Connor--and the time her husband tried to "milk a male horse." (You can read a full transcript here.)The speech, written by former Reagan wordsmith Landon Parvin, was a bold gesture by an administration not always known for self-deprecation--or for its warm relationship with the media. While Parvin declined to speak publicly about his White House clients, he is widely...
  • NOT QUITE A WRAP

    Like millions of California Democrats, Wendy Bokota voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger, even though he is a Republican. "I thought he could make a difference," she says. But her flirtation was short-lived: when Schwarzenegger proposed limiting school spending to help balance the budget, Bokota, a mother of three, became incensed. When the governor appeared recently in Anaheim, not far from her home, she and her children joined the throng of protesters who seem to dog Arnold everywhere he goes these days. "I guess I wasn't as informed as I should have been when I voted for him," she now says.Bokota is not alone in her disenchantment. For the first time since Schwarzenegger swept Gray Davis out of office in the 2003 recall election, less than half of California voters say they approve of his job performance, according to a poll released last week by San Jose State University. Of course, every governor experiences a "sophomore slump." But for one whose popularity ratings started in the...
  • FAST CHAT: GERAGOS: 'I DIDN'T CONVINCE 12 PEOPLE'

    In his first interview since client Scott Peterson was convicted of murder, defense lawyer Mark Geragos talked to NEWSWEEK's Karen Breslau. Some excerpts:You told the jury you'd show Scott was "stone-cold innocent." Where did you go wrong?There's a multitude of things you wish you could do differently. I don't believe anybody can--after 30 years on this earth without hurting anyone--engage in a coldblooded, precalculated murder and not leave one shred of forensic evidence. I truly believe he's innocent. And if I didn't convince 12 people of that, then I didn't do enough.There has been a spate of books out about Scott Peterson, all of them damning.And understandably so. Because that's what sells.Is he going to tell his version of the story?I'm sure at some point.What was it like to represent the most reviled defendant in America?At least O.J. had his constituency. This guy didn't have any.Do you have anything to say to Laci's family?I feel horrible for them. They know that. God, I...
  • The Arnold Sequel

    Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest political road show begins with the requisite great visuals and humble-hero-against-the-forces-of-evil storyline. The opening scene features the California governor, standing in front of a mockup of the state Capitol. He gives a theatrical twist of a giant spigot, and out gushes--what else?--red ink. During the recall campaign two years ago, Schwarzenegger waved a broom from the steps of the Capitol, and vowed "sweep out the special interests." Now, it's time to whip the "spending addicts" in Sacramento into shape. Arnold jumps into his customized Hummer (the license plate bears a presidential-sounding "Reform One") and roars off under an archway of palm trees to a Sacramento restaurant. There, he starts collecting signatures from diners delighted to be cast as extras in his latest production. Those who sign his petitions can help Schwarzenegger force a special election later this year that will put his proposals to overhaul the state's budget, pension...
  • BOOKS: ALL OF THE TELL-ALLS

    It may take years for California courts to decide whether Scott Peterson will be executed for the murder of his wife, Laci, as a jury recommended in December, but one thing is certain: he won't lack for reading material while sitting in his cell. "Witness," the memoir by Peterson's former girlfriend Amber Frey, has been on the New York Times bestseller list for five weeks and is now in its fifth printing. Next week Peterson's estranged half-sister, Anne Bird, releases her tell-all, "Blood Brother: 33 Reasons My Brother, Scott Peterson, Is Guilty," which features insight Bird collected while Scott was hiding at her home in Berkeley, Calif., during the search for Laci. On March 11, Court TV anchor Catherine Crier releases "A Deadly Game," which promises juicy new details about Peterson's adulterous behavior from "several" of his mistresses. These books don't just carry a common theme--they share the same publisher. The fact that all three books are published by Judith Regan is "highly...
  • WELCOME TO GIRLS' STATE

    In 1992, Christine Gregoire, then running for attorney general of Washington, made a pilgrimage to the offices of EMILY's List, the legendary fund-raising network for women candidates. At the end of a daylong campaign course, EMILY's List founder Ellen Malcolm ushered Gregoire into a back room. "Ask me for money," Malcolm said. But Gregoire choked. "I thought, I can't do that," says Gregoire. "After I stumbled around for a bit, Ellen said, 'Let me play the candidate, and I'll show you how'." That conversation was invaluable, says Gregoire, who earlier this month was inaugurated as governor after a contested triple recount gave her a 129-vote lead over her Republican opponent, Dino Rossi. Not being squeamish about raising money--$6 million for her campaign and $2 million more for the recount--"is one way you make yourself credible," says Gregoire.It's a lesson the women of the Evergreen State have learned well. Although Rossi is suing for a new election, Gregoire's victory makes...
  • 'I Feel Pain'

    NEWSWEEK: Your book is out only four weeks after the trial ended. When did you write it?Amber Frey: It was definitely recently. I wasn't working on a book during the trial, nor was I working on the book when I was testifying. I didn't keep a diary. I have an incredible memory and sometimes that's haunting because I remember so much of what has gone on in the last two years of my life.Laci Peterson's family members have said that they are offended that you included a picture of Laci on the cover of your book. How do you justify using their daughter's picture to help sell your story?Gloria Allred: I'll answer this one. There are three individuals on the cover of the book: Scott Peterson, the defendant, and Laci ,the unfortunate murder victim, may she rest in peace, and Amber. All of these individuals appeared together or individually in thousands of pictures in newspapers, magazines and the Internet. They were central to the criminal prosecution; that is why these three individuals...
  • GAY MARRIAGE: WITNESS AT THE WEDDING

    I was skeptical when I headed to San Francisco's city hall on a drizzly Friday afternoon just before Valentine's Day. Mayor Gavin Newsom, then only six weeks on the job, had announced--to the surprise of even the gay community--that same-sex couples would be granted marriage licenses, effective immediately. I figured the decree was little more than a publicity stunt that would soon be shut down by the courts.I walked into the grand rotunda, half expecting to see the pride-parade crowd, maybe some guys in leather or dressed as nuns. Instead, as far as the eye could see, there were couples patiently waiting--middle-aged moms with strollers, dads chasing toddlers, a noticeable number of seniors, many perched on those little canvas folding stools you see at sporting events. This was Main Street, not Castro Street. Many were whispering into cell phones, apparently trying to rustle up friends and family at the last minute: "We're here, yeah, we're doing it. Can you guys come?"After...
  • WHY WE WATCHED

    Jamie Bailey came from Las Vegas. Adrienne Hensen was in from New York. Bill Winnegar drove from across town. "It just felt like the kind of news you wanted to hear with other people," explained the retired accountant, who joined the throngs in front of the courthouse in Redwood City, Calif., last Friday afternoon as word spread that the jury had reached a verdict in the Scott Peterson murder trial. As a clerk solemnly pronounced Peterson guilty of murdering his wife, Laci, and the couple's unborn son, strangers huddled around radios on the courthouse plaza exploded into cheers and tearfully embraced each other as though Boston had won the World Series all over again. "There was this huge release," says Winnegar. "I think people were worried how awful it would be if it was like O.J. and they weren't able to put him away."This national soap opera didn't offer a cast of characters nearly as glamorous as Simpson: a philandering fertilizer salesman, his vivacious, pregnant young wife,...
  • CLINTON: READY FOR HIS CLOSE-UP

    Visitors to the Clinton Presidential Library, which opens Nov. 18 in Little Rock, Ark., won't have to search in some far corner to learn about the 42nd president's impeachment. Instead, it will be dealt with openly in a ground-floor exhibit. "We encouraged him to lay it out exactly as it happened," says chief archivist David Alsobrook, who has spent the past four years organizing the 80 million pages of documents, e-mails and assorted tchotchkes from world leaders that Clinton amassed during his presidency--more than any other chief executive.Scholars won't have access to many of those papers until the archives open in 2006, but the library launch is likely to rekindle discussion of the scandals that shaped much of the Clinton era. Working with aides, historians and noted museum designer Ralph Appelbaum, Clinton wanted to put his impeachment "in the full context of the ' 90s," says Appelbaum, whose works include the U.S. Holocaust Memorial. Appelbaum came up with 16 alcoves covering...
  • A HIKER'S NIGHTMARE

    It started as a gorgeous fall hike in the Sierra Nevada. Under a blazing sun, Jeff Peacock, his father, Tom, and two friends headed into the Ansel Adams wilderness area near Yosemite, expecting to be home last Monday. But on the second night of their trek, the snow began to fall. "We were prepared for a light dusting," says Peacock. Within 24 hours, the hikers found themselves trapped chest-deep in a freak autumn blizzard, the worst to hit California in a century. Luckily, the men--all experienced hikers--had packed plenty of food and warm clothing and filed a permit with U.S. Forest officials, outlining their route in case anyone needed to find them. After four nights huddled in their tents, Peacock and his crew were rescued last Thursday by a California National Guard helicopter. "We figured that between us we had 200 years of experience," says Peacock, 45. He was with a hiker who teaches snow camping for the Sierra Club, "but we had never seen anything like this."The weather was...
  • WORKING TO SAVE THE WEST

    From his ranch outside Helena, Jim McMaster has a sobering view of Montana's future: mile after mile of huge new trophy homes that stop only where his fence begins. For years real-estate developers tried to lure McMaster into selling the property his grandfather homesteaded in 1875, some 5,600 acres of rolling grassland, teeming with elk and antelope, that overlooks a stretch of the Missouri River Valley once traveled by Lewis and Clark. "They wait for you on the road, they call, they hand you fliers to give 'em a call and get rich quick," says McMaster, a burly 79-year-old who works the range in well-worn overalls. "But I wasn't interested in seeing this land parceled off." Without heirs, McMaster was running out of time to find a buyer who would respect his wishes. Then he met an unlikely partner in Gates Watson, a 30-year-old environmentalist with the Conservation Fund, a Virginia-based nonprofit group. Last July McMaster sold the ranch to the fund for a fraction of its $6.2...
  • THE SLEEPING GIANT SLOWLY WAKES

    It was only a "hiccup," said geologist Tom Pierson, but Mount St. Helens showed again why it remains one of the most feared of the 1,000 volcanoes in an ancient chain known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. After scientists at a Washington observatory began measuring thousands of tiny earthquakes signaling that an explosion might be imminent, St. Helens erupted as if on cue at noon last Friday, blowing an immense plume of white steam and ash nearly 16,000 feet into the sky--much to the wonder of tourists who watched the spectacle from a nearby ridge. U.S. Forest Service ranger Peggy Bohan had just finished her "standard eruption talk" when the mountain chimed in. "I saw a big white steam plume rising from the lava dome," says Bohan. "I started jumping up and down and I think I yelled 'There she blows!' " Later, says Bohan, a visitor asked, "What time is the next eruption?"Friday's blast, St. Helens's biggest in 18 years, was a far cry from the cataclysmic explosion in May 1980, which...
  • POLITICS: GREETINGS, COLUMBUS

    There's not much Arnold Schwarzenegger can do to help George W. Bush in California: polls give John Kerry a double-digit lead. But he can have an impact in Ohio, which Bush strategist Karl Rove once called "ground zero" of the 2004 campaign. Schwarzenegger has deep ties to the key battleground state: he's long hosted the "Arnold Classic" body-building tournament in Columbus, and co-owns an upscale shopping mall there. While details are still to be arranged, Schwarzenegger's advisers say he's likely to appear with Bush in Columbus later in October. Schwarzenegger will spend most of his time helping elect Republicans to the California Legislature, but aides say he may also help the GOP in a key Senate race in Colorado. Arnold wants to be a good team player, says one adviser. "In a second Bush administration he wants a very healthy relationship."
  • A Miracle In The Snows Of Montana

    Last Wednesday, Wendy Becker and her family were planning a funeral for her 29-year-old-son Matt. That was after officials in Montana had announced that Matthew Ramige was one of five people who'd perished aboard a small plane that had crashed two days earlier into a mountainside south of Glacier National Park. Then, as grieving family members were being briefed on the accident, came the news every bereaved parent longs for: there had been a terrible mistake. Although badly injured, Matt, along with a fellow Forest Service worker, Jodee Hogg, 23, had just been rescued alive, miles from the crash site. "They told us we had to get to the hospital because he had walked out," said Becker. "We were in disbelief."Rescue workers who'd inspected the charred wreckage, littered with human remains, had pronounced the crash "insurvivable"--and called off the search last Tuesday. But no one thought to tell Ramige and Hogg, who hiked the steep terrain from the crash site for 29 hours, often in...
  • Plea For Clemency

    Since his tearful confession in a federal courtroom in Virginia two years ago, the world has heard nothing from John Walker Lindh, the young Marin County, Calif., man who provoked public outrage when he was captured alongside Taliban forces in November 2001. After Justice Department officials agreed to drop more serious terrorism charges against him, Lindh, now 23, pled guilty in July 2002 to aiding the Taliban, and received 20 years in federal prison.Now, says his lead attorney James Brosnahan, "times have changed," and the man once reviled as the "American Taliban" has asked President George W. Bush to commute his sentence. "There comes a time after the heat of war that people look at things more fairly," said Brosnahan, flanked by Lindh's parents at a San Francisco press conference. "It seems a matter of justice and compassion for the president to reduce his sentence."Lindh's request was prompted in large measure by the government's release this week of Yaser Hamdi, another U.S....
  • IN CALIFORNIA, A COURTROOM THRILLER

    What did Amber know? And when did she know it? After 13 weeks of grinding testimony, jurors in the Scott Peterson double-murder trial were ready last week to hear Peterson attorney Mark Geragos grill his onetime mistress turned police informant, Amber Frey. But moments before the cross-examination was to begin, the judge, citing a "potential development" in the case, abruptly suspended the proceedings until this week. Both prosecutors and Geragos, under a gag order, declined to comment on the delay.The defense team hoped to show that Frey was not a "good Samaritan" who secretly recorded her phone calls with Peterson for police in order to help solve the mystery of his missing wife, Laci, but a vindictive sleuth who may have taped her lover even before Laci disappeared on Christmas Eve, 2002. Sources close to Peterson say the defense team has long believed that Frey knew Peterson was married before Dec. 9, when, she testified, he tearfully told her he had "lost" his wife. Frey's best...
  • SHE GLITTERS, BUT IS SHE REALLY GOLD?

    Scott Peterson may have told Amber Frey he wanted her to play a big role in his future, but certainly not like this. Taking the stand last week in Redwood City, Calif., as the prosecution's star witness in Peterson's murder trial, Frey cut a more respectable figure than she had as the tabloid siren who had an affair with Peterson in the weeks before his wife, Laci, disappeared in December 2002. Demure and composed in court, Frey explained how, as a single mother, she'd unwittingly fallen for a man who teased her with the prospect of caring for her and her child. When she discovered he wasn't the jet-setting bachelor he claimed to be--but rather a philandering fertilizer salesman whose pregnant wife may have been the victim of foul play--Frey secretly began recording their phone conversations at the request of police, and last week jurors got their first listen. "Isn't it a little twisted?" to carry on an affair while all of Modesto searches for Laci, Frey grills Peterson in one...
  • HELPING HAND

    It's 10:30 on a Friday night, and a group of California high-school seniors are having a "rap session" about getting into college. Asked by a counselor to describe what's going on as they prepare applications, they unload. One student's parents are crack addicts. Another has a father in prison. Many care for younger siblings and parents who can't speak English. While they face obstacles that few middle-class students could imagine, the session's director, Derek Canty, tells them not to get distracted from pursuing college. "You guys are too powerful and intelligent to accept options that other people give you," he says.Convincing these teenagers they deserve a higher education is the mission of College Summit, a Washington, D.C. -based nonprofit organization that aims to improve college access for low-income students, nearly all of them minorities. Each summer College Summit hosts workshops nationwide to simulate the "college-going culture" that middle-class kids take for granted,...
  • PETERSON TRIAL: A BOOM GOES BUST

    When a judge, citing unfavorable publicity, moved the trial of Scott Peterson from Modesto, Calif., to the Silicon Valley community of Redwood City last January, local businesses rejoiced. The leader of the San Mateo County Convention and Visitors Bureau called the arrival of the notorious case "wonderful" for the ailing economy, while hotels, restaurants and other local businesses rushed to offer deals to the media horde covering the case. But as the trial gets underway this week, it's clear that Peterson, accused of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, on Christmas Eve 2002, has slipped in the ratings.Although more than 500 reporters are accredited by the court, only a few dozen stuck around for the 11 weeks it took to interview nearly 1,600 potential jurors. Many on the celebrity legal circuit flocked to big cases elsewhere, from Michael Jackson to Kobe Bryant and Martha Stewart. The cable networks will be back this week, but they aren't dropping big bucks. County officials, who at...
  • CALIFORNIA: ARNOLD OUTSHINES BUSH

    It's not often a politician is so popular that people want to buy his spit. But a cough drop purportedly used and then discarded by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger--and retrieved from a trash can--was fetching more than $15,000 late last week on eBay. "I was kind of disappointed," Schwarzenegger joked to NEWSWEEK. "I thought it would go for $100,000."It's not hard to see why many California Republicans regard Schwarzenegger--rather George W. Bush--as the GOP's hottest star of 2004. After presenting a balanced budget, Schwarzenegger's approval rating is 65 percent--and it has soared among independents and Democrats. But rather than putting California "in play," as optimistic Republicans predicted when Schwarzenegger won last year's recall election, many now fret that the nation's most populous state is a lost cause for Bush, or at best what a White House official calls "a tough challenge, still." In an interview with NEWSWEEK, Schwarzenegger sympathized with the toll Iraq has...
  • The Nascar Lifestyle

    What could a couple of Bay Area techies know about NASCAR dads? Enough to realize they represent a huge market--and to launch a magazine, American Thunder, to cater to the nation's estimated 75 million NASCAR fans. PayPal founder Peter Thiel sunk nearly $10 million of his own fortune into the glossy monthly, he says, because no magazine targeted the "NASCAR lifestyle." The plan: articles not only on drivers, but also on country music, the U.S. military and other subjects appealing to a socially conservative, middle-class audience. Thiel recruited as editor an old Stanford friend, Lucas Mast, a telecom analyst (and NASCAR fan) from the Cato Institute in Washington. The pair's decidedly un-Southern pedigree is proof, Mast says, "that NASCAR has moved far beyond its roots."The ad climate for a start-up is obviously tough. American Thunder says it has a paid circulation of 185,000 and has hooked some NASCAR sponsors, including Viagra. But it still needs to attract an automaker, the...
  • A Rising Tide, Rocking Boats

    Most Oregon voters have never heard of Rives Kistler. Unless they are legal junkies, they know little about the impressive resume of the justice who sits on the Oregon Supreme Court, who clerked for the late U.S. Supreme Court justice Lewis Powell and has been endorsed in next Tuesday's Oregon primary by nearly every major newspaper in the state. And unless they've received mail from the Christian Coalition of Oregon, they are unlikely to know another tidbit: Rives Kistler is "the only open homosexual Supreme Court judge in the nation." That message, distributed recently in 75,000 Christian Coalition voter guides, is also being broadcast on Christian radio stations, much to the anguish of Kistler, 54, who has never concealed his sexual orientation, but has zealously--and until now, successfully--guarded his privacy. "I didn't want to be known as the gay judge." Kistler told NEWSWEEK. "I would hope to be known as the good judge."That Justice Kistler should be even faintly worried...
  • Finally, First Lady

    Maria Shriver leads a gaggle of reporters through the California State History Museum in Sacramento, proudly showing off her first official project, a new exhibit celebrating the "Remarkable Women" of the Golden State. She whisks past tributes to Amelia Earhart, astronaut Sally Ride, celebrity chef Alice Waters, Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Julia "Butterfly" Hill, the eco-activist who perched for more than two years in a redwood tree to keep it from being chopped down. "I want you all to notice this," says Shriver, stopping at a display featuring portraits of her perfectly coiffed predecessors. The title, "They Served Too," was inspired by Nancy Reagan, who told Shriver over lunch one day she doubted that people really understood how much governor's wives were expected to contribute--without notice or pay. "When I first came to the Capitol, I couldn't find a single picture of a governor's wife," said Shriver. "I said, "No photos? No portraits? Any remnants of first ladies?...
  • Cloning: Nine Lives + One

    Can't spend enough on your pet? There's a new way to unload a fortune. For $50,000, Genetic Savings & Clone, a Sausalito, Calif., company, will offer cat owners a genetic replica of their pet later this year. (Dog cloning won't be available until 2005 at the earliest.) The company, which claims that five paying customers have signed on to receive cloned kittens in November, caused a stir two years ago. Its first clone, a lab cat named CC (for carbon copy), didn't resemble its DNA donor. That, company officials now say, happened because the donor, a calico, had a genetic quirk blocking duplication. For all noncalico cats, says CEO Lou Hawthorne, owners can expect clones to look like "an identical twin" of their pet. They'll also be "very similar in temperament and intelligence." (And cheaper, eventually: as technology matures, the price should drop to about $10,000 for cats and $12,000 for dogs.) The company says its work is ethical, but critics disagree. Says Stephanie Shain of...
  • GAY MARRIAGE: A 'WILDFIRE' BURNS ON

    New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg admitted at a private dinner that he is in favor, despite state law prohibiting same-sex unions. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told Jay Leno "that's fine" with him if California voters legalize same-sex marriages. In Chicago, a conservative alderman said he, too, favored same-sex marriage--after his daughter, a lesbian, was arrested in a protest at city hall. (And Vice President Dick Cheney, who also has a gay daughter, popped up on TV to support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.) With cities from Portland, Ore., to New Paltz, N.Y., joining San Francisco in issuing licenses to same-sex couples, and more counties saying they will do the same, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist warned of a nationwide "wildfire." To put out the fire, legislatures in Wisconsin and Kansas last week passed amendments banning same-sex marriages; a similar measure in Idaho failed. San Francisco officials told the state's Supreme Court that laws banning same...
  • POLITICS: A NEW ROLE FOR MARIA?

    Maria Shriver insisted during California's recall campaign she would get back to work as an NBC News correspondent "the day this is over." Sure enough, as Arnold Schwarzenegger was sworn in last November, Shriver quietly returned to "Dateline" after agreeing not to cover politics or any issues her husband's policies might influence. But juggling her roles as First Lady, informal policy adviser and journalist may be too tricky, even for the famously adroit Shriver. Uncomfortable over reports that Shriver influences administration decisions from budget cuts to appointees, NBC honchos want Shriver to take an extended leave of absence. Even Tom Brokaw, a source says, raised his concerns with her in "friendly conversations." A network spokeswoman confirms that NBC News president Neal Shapiro and Shriver "are discussing a number of options." Shriver, says an aide, knows "there's no playbook " for a First Lady who is also a journalist, but she wants "to work this out."If Shriver does leave...
  • The Arnold Antidote

    These aren't glory days for Democrats in California--unless your name is Gavin Newsom. The incoming mayor of San Francisco, 36, has already won national notice for his relentless ambition, good looks and pro-business agenda in a famously liberal city. "He's clearly a star in the making," says Democratic Leadership Council president Al From, who helped groom Bill Clinton for the national stage.Newsom, son of a well-connected state judge, became a millionaire in his early 30s by launching wine, food and real-estate ventures backed by oil heir--and family friend--Gordon Getty. In the mayoral race, Newsom's Green Party foe painted him as a privileged scion lacking compassion for the less fortunate. Newsom touted work on the city Board of Supervisors against homelessness--and reminded voters that he'd paid his way through college working as a janitor. Says Newsom, "There's no such thing as immediate success." Maybe not, but with the Dems already short-listing him for bigger things, he's...
  • Fast Chat

    This week San Francisco elects a new mayor to replace Willie Brown, 69. Brown, as famous for his couture as for his sharp tongue and his unabashedly liberal politics, has held public office continuously in California since 1964. From one of his favorite perches, a bar stool at San Francisco's Caffe Roma, Brown contemplated his past and future with NEWSWEEK's Karen Breslau:What next for the former "Ayatollah of the Assembly"?I'll be on CALPERS [the California pension fund], and I'll be running my institute for public service. Radio stations are recruiting me, television stations, law firms, speakers' bureaus--the same one that represents Clinton and Giuliani and Colin Powell. And maybe a book, if I find the guy Hillary did. She got an $8 million advance.How did you feel about Arnold Schwarzenegger's victory?I thought it was an incredible triumph for him and I think it doomed forever the Republican Party's quest to push right-wing candidates. They know they are not going to be...
  • California: From Terminator To Communicator?

    When Arnold Schwarzenegger moves into the California governor's office this week, one of the first things he plans to unpack from home is a giant bust of Ronald Reagan. Shortly after being sworn in in a glamorous capitol ceremony, Schwarzenegger will meet with his new cabinet in--where else?--the Ronald Reagan Room. His aides have been studying the latest volume of Reagan biographer Lou Cannon, about the former president's Sacramento years. And they enlisted a former Reagan speechwriter to help craft an uplifting Inaugural address.If the Terminator doesn't morph into the Great Communicator, it won't be for lack of trying. "They both have a very optimistic, almost idealized view of America," says Landon Parvin, a former Reagan aide recruited to help Schwarzenegger. And Schwarzenegger, say his advisers, shares Reagan's free-market, small-government philosophy. But he is determined to avoid following in Reagan's tax-raising footsteps; instead, he'll try to persuade voters to allow him...