Although one might be hard-pressed to believe otherwise from the Davis administration's foibles, holding the state's premier elected office presents more than just a wealth of fund-raising opportunities. Power-mongering from the big chair in Sacramento also means making appointments -- lots of 'em. As California's jiggiest playa, the governor has the ability to flex his political muscle by naming his cronies to dozens of agencies, commissions, and boards. The privilege of patronage is perhaps the most obvious way a new governor can tailor his administration to his own personal tastes and idiosyncrasies.
Candidate Coleman has not yet commented publicly on the people who make up his shortlist for office, and is known to steer clear of Hollywood circles in his private life. But political circles are abuzz with tales of furious behind-the-scenes lobbying campaigns waged by many of Gary's former contemporaries from within the ranks of Hollywood's child stars. Whether or not Coleman is actually considering any of these former peers is unknown at press time, but several would-be officeholders are said to be more serious than a Fred Sanford heart attack about joining the Coleman administration.
Here's the inside dope on who's jockeying for a seat at Gary's table:
Ron Howard , one of the most venerable child stars of our time, looks like a lock for a seat on the UC Regents board, where he'll try earnestly to reclaim the nickname of "Opie" from its current holder, Ward Connerly.
Elizabeth Berkley, who starred in the classroom comedy Saved by the Bell, reportedly seeks a seat on the State Athletic Commission as a way to justify her pole-dancing gymnastics in the film Showgirls.
Eve Plumb, who portrayed bookish Jan Brady on The Brady Bunch, is said to be lobbying hard for a slot on the Library of California Board. If appointed, she reportedly plans to don pince-nez glasses and wear her hair in a bun.
Sarah Jessica Parker, once the nerdy chick on Square Pegs before being born again as hottie Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City, reportedly desires Coleman's appointment to the Commission on the Status of Women, although there are questions about whether she actually lives in California.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Rick Schroeder, child stars of Saved by the Bell and Silver Spoons and NYPD Blue alums, are reportedly competing with one another for a single slot on the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.
Mayim Bialik is being touted as a potential appointee to the Napa State Hospital Advisory Board for the Mentally Disordered; TV's Blossom is well-qualified for the position by virtue of her experience dealing with pathological TV executives.
Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played the irritatingly cute Rudy Huxtable on TV's The Cosby Show, hopes to be tapped for the Child Development Policy Advisory Committee after triumphing over several other former child stars on the quiz show The Weakest Link.
Neil Patrick Harris. Supporters say Harris' appointment to the Medical Board of California is a no-brainer, due to his previous experience as the gifted title character in Doogie Howser, MD.
Haywood Nelson, better known as Dwayne Wayne, the kid with the gigantic Afro on What's Happening, is being talked up as Coleman's main man to head up the Racial Profiling Panel, which might finally give the oft-marginalized group some real clout.
Jaleel White. Supporters are lobbying hard for Coleman to kick-start the political career of brainy Steve Erkel from Family Matters by appointing him to the Speech Language Pathology and Audiology Board, where he'll have ample chances to prove he's more than just an annoying voice.
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