For those who didn’t already know it, Monday's “inauguration” proved Jerry Brown to be a very different political figure. There was no shortage of evidence.
On three different occasions, both before and after the inauguration, Brown was offered a podium to speak. At the “Delta King” hotel on the river in Old Sacramento on Sunday there was a reunion of his staff from the first administration. Brown arrived, talked to some old friends, but left before addressing the crowd.
He did the same Monday night at the “official” inaugural reception at the California Railroad Museum. A podium was set up for him to address the hundreds who came to celebrate his return, but he deferred.
The sponsors of both events didn’t mind. Jerry always seemed careful on where he would speak and when.
But at the “un-official” inaugural celebration outside the state capitol there were a few hurt feelings.
Thousands showed up for a free hot dog fest sponsored by the Orange County Employees Association. Rumor was the Governor would attend. A podium was set up, on a riser, with a sound system and a mariachi band. The crowd grew, ate, and waited.
Finally, after about an hour, Jerry arrived. A path was cleared to the podium. The horn section belted a triumphant salutation and the new Governor pushed forward... to the hot dog tent.
This was not an effort at partaking in the cuisine of the common man. Edmund G. Brown Jr. was hungry. Moments earlier he had arrived at his new office where high ranking members of Congress (Sen. Dianne Feinstein) and former Governor’s (Davis and Schwarzenegger) among other lawmakers and officials had gathered to congratulate him on the new post.
Remarkably, the suite of offices were barren. Boxes were piled on tables and worst of all there was no food. His predecessor, who will forever be known for providing a first class spread, must have been stunned.
Pizza was ordered but Brown needed sustenance. So he grabbed wife Anne and headed out for a hot dog. Security scrambled to keep up.
Once outside Brown took a serpentine route shaking hands with well wishers and those patiently waiting their turn for a free dog. He then consumed one himself (“Very good” he reported to Anne). Once it was finished he returned to the capitol.
He may not have heard it, but the crowd booed. Many had worked on his campaign and were expecting. something. Union leaders went to the microphone to placate the disappointed, no doubt fearing that the snub was an omen of things to come from ‘the People’s Governor”.
Not sure how many of the dignitaries stuck around the pizza but it is doubtful Arnold and Maria were among them. When asked about the spartan spread, Davis, his former Chief of Staff, only smiled “Jerry is a man of his word, he practices what he preaches.”