• MARIA SHRIVER ERASED FROM SCHWARZENEGGER PORTRAIT: SACRAMENTO (AP) — An endearing gesture by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to include an image of his wife Maria Shriver in his official portrait has been covered with a splotch of blue paint.
Former Schwarzenegger aide Clay Russell said Friday that the official portrait of the two-term governor once featured a lapel button showing Shriver’s face.
However, the painting unveiled Monday in the state Capitol has a noticeable patch over the lapel of his blue jacket.
“It was actually a cute gesture when he had it done,” Russell told the Los Angeles Times about the image of Shriver in the painting.
The realist-style painting by Austrian Gottfried Helnwein was finished during Schwarzenegger’s first term in office then sat on an easel in Schwarzenegger’s Oak Productions office in Santa Monica. He paid for the portrait himself at an undisclosed cost.
After Schwarzenegger left office, embarrassing revelations emerged about an affair he had with his maid that produced a son. Schwarzenegger and Shriver later separated.
• PROFESSOR PLEADS GUILTY IN 1995 KILLING CASE: SANTA ANA (AP) — A psychology professor on Friday pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in a deal with prosecutors for the 1995 killing of a man she says raped her.
Norma Patricia Esparza, 40, entered the plea in Orange County Superior Court in exchange for a six-year prison sentence and agreement to testify in the trial of two other suspects in the killing, said defense attorney Jack Earley.
Esparza last year rejected a plea offer from prosecutors that could have landed her a three-year sentence and sustained her innocence in an unusual press conference about the case. She changed her mind about the plea out of concern for her 4-year-old daughter and fear jurors might have a hard time relating her current life as a psychologist and professor who lives in France to her situation as a young rape victim who didn’t go to police, Earley said.
• INMATES USED TO HARVEST WINE GRAPES: REDWOOD VALLEY (AP) — Jail inmates in Northern California are getting paid to harvest wine grapes as part of a new program that seeks to connect them with private companies seeking workers.
Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman says he launched the program after hearing local employers complain that the county’s illegal marijuana business was snatching up most available labor.
Sheriff’s officials tell the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa it helps the inmates make some money before they get out, and gives employers a much needed labor supply.
Inmates generally work inside the jail and perform public service outside, but not for money.
There are currently nine inmates in the program — all of them considered low risk. They are monitored using GPS tracking devices.