Central Voice Correspondent “Zaps” Gov. Schwarzenegger

Poll Shows CA Anti-gay Prop. 8 Losing Ground

Activist strikes a nerve with governor’s office

By Cynthia Laird, Bay Area Reporter

October 23, 2008


San Francisco activist Michael Petrelis has gotten under the skin of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s spokespeople, and now a representative for one of them wants him to call off his “phone zap” in which he asked people to call and demand that the governor take a more public role in the effort to defeat Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative.

Petrelis issued his call earlier this week, and provided phone numbers to Schwarzenegger spokespeople Julie Soderlund and Adam Mendelsohn. “When you call those numbers, you’ll get a live receptionist,” Petrelis wrote. “Please be polite and to the point. Tell them you want to reach Soderlund and Mendelsohn to have them convey to the governor that his muscle and voice are needed to defeat Prop 8.”

Soderlund works for the governor. Mendelsohn works for Mercury Public Affairs, which advises the governor. It was Mendelsohn who earlier this week announced that Schwarzenegger would be attending a rally in Columbus, Ohio to stump for Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Halloween.

Schwarzenegger has said publicly that he opposes Prop 8, but has not made any comments about the initiative in recent weeks. A poll released today shows Prop 8 losing, but the gap narrowing (see the B.A.R.’s coverage on the Web site).

On Thursday, October 23, Petrelis told the Bay Area Reporter that a man in Mendelsohn’s office who identified himself as Chris asked him to stop the phone calls.

“He said the phone calls were interfering to much with his work,” Petrelis said.

Reached Thursday, Chris, who declined to provide his last name, told the B.A.R. that he has been “getting calls” as a result of Petrelis’s action. He declined to say how many calls he has received, but said that some of them have come at “inconvenient times”

“This is a busy office,” he said.

“I was trying to direct him to a number in the governor’s office,” Chris said, asking that people call the governor’s office of constituent affairs. However, that number, (916) 445-2841, is largely an automated line. Petrelis said the point of his phone zap was to have callers talk to an actual person.

Chris said that Mendelsohn “is aware” of the calls being made to his office.

Central Voice Correspondent Michael Petrelis has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, CNN, ABC News, and National Public Radio. He has been quoted by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Raw Story, The Chicago Tribune, The New Republic, and Stars & Stripes.


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