The Governator Fires Clint Eastwood And His Own Brother In Law Over Toll Road Vote

Arnold Don’t Surf!Transworld SURF

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger either felt the need for “fresh legs” on the state Park & Recreation Commission or was in the mood for political payback.

Whatever his true sentiments, his staff notified his brother-in-law Bobby Shriver and actor Clint Eastwood on Monday that they were no longer needed as state park commissioners.

Shriver, 53, a Democrat and brother of First Lady Maria Shriver, and Eastwood, 77, a Republican and former mayor of Carmel, were first appointed to the advisory commission by Gov. Gray Davis in 2001.

Three years later, Schwarzenegger reappointed both of them to four-year terms.

On Tuesday, Shriver said he and Eastwood had submitted requests to serve another four-year term. Eastwood couldn’t be reached for comment.

As commissioners, the two men voted to oppose a 16-mile extension of state Route 241 that would connect southern Orange County to Interstate 5 at San Onofre. The toll road would cut across a nature reserve in Orange County and the San Onofre State Beach, a site considered sacred by American Indians and cherished by surfers and campers.

Shriver and Eastwood also supported a lawsuit against the road project that was filed on behalf of the park commission by the state attorney general.

Schwarzenegger publicly endorsed the toll road extension, saying it would reduce traffic congestion. The governor also said the project would allow the financially beleaguered state park department to take advantage of a $100 million grant offered by the Transportation Corridor Agencies in exchange for approval of the road.

The toll road proposal hit a major roadblock in February, when the state Coastal Commission voted 8-2 against it during a hearing at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The Transportation Corridor Agencies has appealed that decision to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

Shriver, a city councilman for Santa Monica, felt so strongly about the toll road that he testified against it at the Coastal Commission meeting.

“Whatever the reason was I wasn’t reappointed, I’m glad I voted the way I did,” Shriver said Tuesday. “I still think it’s a bad idea to put a freeway through a park.”

State park commissioner Caryl Hart of Sebastopol, who last year was appointed to a third term on the panel, said she has little doubt that Schwarzenegger was displeased with his two most high-profile park commissioners.