Davis in media power struggle

SACRAMENTO, CA: As the California energy crisis rolls on, the

"masters of disaster" helping Gov. Gray Davis (D-CA) may not be able to

stop the blackouts after all - because their fees are too high.

State controller Kathleen Connell said she won't sign any checks to pay

the dollars 30,000 monthly fee to communications aides Chris Lehane and

Mark Fabiani, the former PR consultants to Bill Clinton.

The fee has been criticized by the GOP, the media and some in Davis' own

party, including Connell. An article in the Los Angeles Times reported

that a suit has also been filed by an anti-tax advocate seeking to block

payment of the fee.

"This is just politics," said Hilary McLean, the governor's chief deputy

press secretary. "Connell is a soon-to-be turned out politician

desperately trying to get headlines."

Connell did not return calls for comment before press time.

"(Davis) thinks they're doing a great job," McLean said. "We'll get

Chris and Mark paid."

- See Profile, p. 17; PR Technique, p. 32.

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