Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Reiner Takes a Leave From Panel on Children - Los Angeles Times

Reiner Takes a Leave From Panel on Children - Los Angeles Times: "By Dan Morain, Times Staff Writer
February 25 2006

SACRAMENTO — Facing pressure from legislators and others, producer Rob Reiner said Friday he is taking a leave as chairman of a state commission that spent $23 million for ads touting the value of early education while he is promoting a statewide preschool initiative.

Reiner took the action in a letter addressed to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The leave takes effect immediately and will last until June 7, the day after voters decide the fate of Proposition 82, a Reiner-backed initiative to raise taxes on wealthy Californians to pay for preschool for all 4-year-olds.

Reiner has said that he and the First 5 California Children and Families Commission he has chaired since its inception in 1999 have done nothing improper but that he will step aside for the good of the commission.

His disclosure, however, came on a day when state Senate Republican Leader Dick Ackerman of Irvine and Assemblyman Dario Frommer (D-Glendale), a candidate for state controller, urged Controller Steve Westly to audit the commission, citing concerns that the panel had used tax money to aid the preschool initiative. Tony Strickland, a Republican also running for controller, called for an audit earlier this week."

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