Desperately seeking Arnold

Big as he is, it’s not easy to find Calif. gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you dial 411, his campaign office is not listed. Use the Google search bar on your computer and you can’t find his office address.

While in Los Angeles I wanted to ask him, or at least his spokesperson, the questions our readers are asking: Why did he scoff at unions as a “special interest group”? Why did he support anti-immigrant Prop 187? What does he have to say about the actions of his campaign chair, Pete Wilson, in cutting California workers’ overtime pay?

The Republican Party in Burbank finally spilled the beans and I took off down the Santa Monica freeway. I found his headquarters nested on the upper floors of a small office complex attached to a flower-decked garden restaurant.

A guard armed with a cordless phone barred the elevator. “Sorry ma’am, you can’t go up without an appointment.”

“An appointment to get campaign literature?” I asked.

“You can call and see if they’ll come down,” he said sympathetically, offering the phone.

I made the call, but no, “they” wouldn’t come down, said a man who refused to identify himself, but gave me a press office phone number. At that number “Karen,” who declined to reveal her last name, also could not say where the office was located. She had some questions for me though: “What kind of paper are you from? Who do you target? Is it union households?” she asked before letting me know there were no press releases, no literature, and that none of the candidate’s scheduled appearances would be announced in advance.

Determined not to come away completely empty-handed, I snapped a photo of the building entrance. “They don’t want you to take pictures of the lobby ma’am,” the guard admonished, a bit sharper than before.

I drove off thinking the only tangible trace of this candidate is the slightly rotten smell of whatever it is he has to hide.

The author can be reached at rwood@pww.org