Angelides shares perspective on showbiz issues


State treasurer Phil Angelides, the Democratic candidate for governor of California, is seeking to oust Republican incumbent -- and Hollywood icon -- Arnold Schwarzenegger. A Sacramento native whose public service in the state's capital dates back to 1975, Angelides moved to the private sector in 1984 to work in real estate development. But by 1991, he was back in the political spotlight as chair of the California Democratic Party.
On Friday, the candidate talked with The Hollywood Reporter labor and legal editor Carl DiOrio and shared his perspective on the entertainment business and how it fits into the California economy.

The Hollywood Reporter: AB 777, a bill aimed at providing meaningful tax incentives to California film productions, died in the latest legislative session. Do you support such incentives?
Phil Angelides: What I think is notable here is that Gov. Schwarzenegger was unable to forge a consensus. As governor, I recognize the importance of this industry (and) I'm very open to supporting a measure like AB 777.

THR: In budgetary terms, we're talking a relatively modest cost to the state of $100 million for enacting AB 777. What was the problem last session?
Angelides: Lack of leadership by the governor. The fact is that this is an industry that the governor knows well, but he didn't provide the leadership to the state in the role of curbing runaway production. Gov. Schwarzenegger has done nothing. But as governor, I'll roll up my sleeves and bring in industry leaders, people who work in the industry to find ways in which we can provide incentives to keep production here in California.

THR: How has your Hollywood fundraising gone?
Angelides: Fine. I have been able to raise funds from a record number of contributors from every segment.

THR: How does it feel running against someone with literal movie-star appeal?
Angelides: I knew what I was getting into when I got into this race (but) I got into this race because I have a different vision for California. I've been called the anti-Arnold. We are very different and have a different set of values. ... By the way, I'm going to win this race.

THR: What are your own moviegoing habits?
Angelides: Eclectic. I'm someone who takes great joy in most everything I do. But the last movie I saw was "Little Miss Sunshine," which was made by a friend of mine from Sacramento, Marc Turtletaub (a producer on the film). I also saw Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth" recently.

THR: Do you have any other favorite forms of personal entertainment?
Angelides: Reading, but most of all, the way I relax is I spend time with my wife Julie and three daughters. (And) I've played tennis since I was a kid.

THR: Do you consider yourself a techie?
Angelides: I consider myself a 53-year-old who has the willingness to learn from people who are experts. I believe that one of my real strengths is the ability to draw on people of diverse talents, and I have spent a significant time with technology leaders in California, in Silicon Valley and across the state. And it's clear to me that the most important role state government can play in building the economy of the 21st century is insuring that California remains the leader in entertainment, in technology, in bioscience. The most important thing state government can do is educate a work force for the 21st century (and) this is a big distinction between the governor and me.

THR: Can you mention anything specific that the state can do to help Silicon Valley and Hollywood collaborate for maximum economic benefit?
Angelides: I have great faith that entrepreneurs will find each other. I think the state government's role is to educate a work force. The state government's role is also to fund research at our universities -- which Gov. Schwarzenegger tried to cut -- so that we're always grabbing the next wave of innovation in California. And I believe our universities can be a real hub for sharing knowledge and information and bringing different industries together. And as governor, I'm going to do everything I can to create synergy between industrial sectors like entertainment, like technology, that are fueling the future of California.

THR: Four years from now, what might Hollywood see as the hallmark of an Angelides first term?
Angelides: I hope what everybody in California including the entertainment industry will see is a governor who first and foremost kept his commitment to the people of California, who balanced the budget, who helped hard-working, middle-class families by cutting their taxes and lowering college tuition fees so their kids can go to college, a governor who renewed our historic commitment to education so that we had the best teachers, the smallest class sizes -- everything that the hungry young minds of the next generation need. And a governor who truly forged the economy of the future by partnering with leaders in entertainment -- and bioscience and renewable energy and the industries of the 21st century -- to keep California a global economic leader.