Gov. Arnold: Scene II

Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger takes a question from a reporter during a post-election press conference at a Los Angeles hotel, Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2003.
AP
As he continued to prepare for his new role as governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger learned that someone will soon be preparing for a role as him.

Moving to keep a promise that was one of the pillars of his campaign, Schwarzenegger named an independent auditor to investigate the size and scope of California's budget deficit.

"One of the first things we have to do is audit. Open up the books and let the people look inside. Let the sun shine in," Schwarzenegger said at a Thursday news conference.

Donna Arduin, who is on loan from Gov. Jeb Bush's administration in Florida where she is budget director, has pledged to complete her work by January when Schwarzenegger is required to submit a spending plan.

Meanwhile, A&E Network said it's writing a script for "See Arnold Run," a TV movie that will focus on the action star's campaign for California governor and his 1973 quest to become Mr. Olympia.

Production will begin in the spring, and A&E hopes to have it on the air about the time of the national conventions late next summer. So far, no one has been cast in the starring role, network spokesman Michael Feeney said Thursday.

A&E's writers may be kept busy: Barely two days after he won a stunningly large share of the votes in a crowded field to replace recalled Gov. Gray Davis, the plot was already changing on Schwarzenegger.

The governor-elect said California's budget shortfall for next fiscal year may have risen to at least $10 billion — up from the $8 billion predicted earlier.

Schwarzenegger, who will take office when the results of Tuesday's recall election are certified, emphasized Thursday that his first order of business is simply determining the state of California's finances.

He has not specified how he might close the looming budget gap. The most definite policy proposals he has made — repealing the recent tripling of the state's car tax and preserving educational programs as he trims state spending — will actually put more pressure on the budget.

Schwarzenegger on Thursday also introduced key members of his transition team, including Rep. David Dreier, R-San Dimas, who is heading the effort. The two said they hoped to select a broad range of people, including Democrats and Republicans.

"When you look at this list…you will see a very diversified team of people on this list. You will see people that are to the left, people that are to the right, and people that are to the center," he said.

After Schwarzenegger finished his press conference, a reporter asked him whether he would address sexual harassment allegations made by 16 women in the days leading up to the election.

Prior to the vote, Schwarzenegger had apologized for "bad behavior," but said some of the claims against him were not true. He never elaborated on which charges were accurate and which were false, saying he would address those questions after the election.

However, on Thursday Schwarzenegger responded to the question about the allegations by saying: "Old news."

Schwarzenegger on Thursday also called on Davis not to make any more appointments or sign legislation in the waning days of his administration, although Schwarzenegger acknowledged it is Davis' right to do so.

"I would like it really if he doesn't sign any more bills, as far as that goes," Schwarzenegger said. "But we will be working on that, and I'm absolutely convinced that when the governor says that he wants to have a smooth transition, that we will in fact have a smooth transition. And I am looking forward to that and the process has already begun."

Davis met Thursday with his cabinet, congratulating each member and asking that they "extend the hand of cooperation" to Schwarzenegger and his team.

"They may need our help and if they ask, I want you to provide it," said Davis.

Davis spokesman Steven Maviglio said Davis will continue to make appointments and act on legislation. He added, "The governor-elect might be interested in learning that bills that Gov. Davis does not act on before October 13th automatically become law."

Even after becoming only the second governor to be recalled in U.S. history, Davis still has a sense of humor. On Friday, he was to read the Top 10 list on David Letterman's "Late Show."

Fifty-five percent of voters wanted Davis recalled to 44.6 who opposed his ouster. Schwarzenegger won 48.6 percent of the vote in the race to replace Davis. His nearest rival, the Democratic Lt. Gov Cruz Bustamante, has 31.7 percent.

According to two independent studies, more than 380,000 ballots cast in the recall election did not have a valid vote on whether to recall Davis, and most of them were made on punch card systems.

In Los Angeles County, nearly 9 percent of people who cast ballots on punch card voting machines — more than 175,000 ballots — did not register a vote on whether to recall Davis, researchers said.

The margin of victory for the recall and for Schwarzenegger appears to have been larger than the number of votes that were missed. The recall prevailed by a margin of 851,095 and Schwarzenegger beat Bustamante by 1.3 million votes.