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Rob Reiner takes leave from Calif. panel

Feb. 25, 2006 at 9:01 PM

SACRAMENTO, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Filmmaker Rob Reiner is taking a leave as chair of the First 5 California Children and Families Commission to campaign for a tax hike for a preschool program.

The commission has spent $23 million on ads favoring education of young children, the Los Angeles Times reported. That raised questions about conflicts of interest while Reiner was pushing for a proposal, now on the ballot as Proposition 82, that would raise income taxes for the richest state residents to fund universal preschool.

Reiner's leave of absence begins immediately and lasts until the day after the June 7 election.

Reiner was appointed by former Gov. Gray Davis to head the commission when it was established in 1999. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not suggested replacing Reiner.

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