Governor Cuts Check in Carole Migden Case

Reckless driving case could cause ripples throughout California party politics

California taxpayers may be getting IOUs in the mail, but at least one Californian was quick to receive an actual check from the state -- the victim of former State Senator Carole Migden's wild ride in May of 2007.

Migden was reportedly spotted driving erratically and at high speeds on I-80 before hitting another car. She was reportedly chatting on her cell phone, heavily medicated due to a medical condition, and generated numerous 911 calls by concerned drivers during the 30 mile trip.

State lawyers agreed to settle with the other driver for $335,000, with taxpayers picking up the tab because Migden reported that she was on official business.

Even as Attorney General Jerry Brown was looking into allegations that Migden was not on state business as she had claimed, the Department of General Services overseen by Governor Arnold Schwarzengger was quick to settle the issue from state coffers.

But Schwarzenegger, who recently appointed Migden the California Integrated Waste Management Board, might not be the only state official happy to overlook the details of the incident and its outcome.

A report from the San Diego Union-Tribune suggests that Migden might have been generously given the benefit of the doubt by California Highway Patrol officers who arrived on the scene.

Of course, all of this will be catnip to Republican legislators once Migden's confirmation for her appointment is considered.

And Brown's slow-footed response could also lend a few talking points to his gubernatorial primary opponent, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

As for Schwarzenegger, at least now we know why he loves his Hummers -- he clearly has less to fear from the sharp elbows in the Capitol than he does from sideswipes on I-80.

Jackson West could use some help from Schwarzenegger in getting some invoices turned around quickly.

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