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CHP Used As Taxi For State Official

Governor Gray Davis´ secretary of business, transportation and housing has had the CHP shuttle her on more than 200 trips around the state in the past two years.

The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that Maria Contreras-Sweet calls the CHP when she wants a ride to the airport or has business in Fresno, Orange County and Santa Barbara. No other non-elected member of the Davis Cabinet has made such extensive use of the Highway Patrol.

Contreras-Sweet says she needs a CHP escort because she has to speak confidentially to the CHP commissioner on the phone and she doesn´t want to risk an accident. But the practice is raising eyebrows, especially when the state is trying to close its almost $24 billion dollar budget deficit.

A Davis spokesman says her use of the CHP is normal for someone running such a high caliber agency.