Christmas Cheer

December 22, 2004

San Francisco Chronicle

Quite a party the other night down at the L.A. home of Ameriquest Corp. honcho Roland Arnall — with the ghosts of political Christmas past and present mixing freely.

And well they should, considering the number of times Arnall has played Santa to their various campaigns.

Guests — who were greeted by carolers clad in Dickens-era attire — included Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and wife Maria Shriver, former Gov. Gray Davis and wife Sharon, Assembly GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, GOP state Chair Duft Sundheim and new state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata.

As usual with holiday gatherings, there was a bit of coal in the mix — such as when ex-Davis campaign manager Garry South wished former state Senate President Pro Tem John Burton a happy holiday.

“Yeah, and same to you,” Burton replied, then added, “Too bad about Prop. 62” — a reference to the defeat of the open primary measure that South and the governor worked for and Burton opposed.

South took the dig with a smile and later joked about it in the smoking tent with Arnold.

“You know,” Arnold chuckled, “he said the same thing to me two days after the election. And I said right back to him, ‘Too bad about Prop. 72′”- the Burton-backed health insurance measure that went down to defeat.

So much for “ho, ho, ho.”