Empty gallery, empty suit

Lt. Gov. Abel Maldanado is in the midst of a inaugural ceremony and open house at his office. There were so many empty seats at the inaugural, on the east steps of the Capitol, that organizers were pulling people off the sidewalk — inviting people to come and sit down and watch this historic event! One organizer even said, “Quick, quick, I need to fill seats.” California Conservation Corps volunteers then filled additional seats. Imagine — people not being interested in watching this powerless position get filled. More when I get back.

UPDATE: Learning How To Compromise

The rest of the Maldonado inaugural ceremony was a tribute to Abel – by Abel. He is a fan club of one.

Of course, he casually mentioned (as did everyone before him), how far he has come, from he and his father picking strawberries, to Abel being voted Lieutenant Governor.

While Maldonado was giving his speech, most of the crowd was looking around to see who was watching them… as if it was a who’s who event… or, maybe they were hoping that no one they knew saw them sitting in the gallery.

At one point he yelled, “I’ve been confirmed! California finally has a Lieutenant Governor.” Unfortunately, his statement had all of the impact of a middle school student body president talking before a bored student body.

Declaring that now that he’s been confirmed, “California renewal begins,” and “jobs, jobs and more jobs” are the answer. Of course, green energy and a green economy is on Maldonado’s list of solutions. Maybe he should talk to Assembly member Dan Logue, R-Chico about persuing that issue.

Maldonado enumerated California’s many alluring qualities including the opportunity for anyone to become Lieutenant Governor.

Stressing the need for compromise, Maldonado insisted that more compromise at the capitol is what’s needed, and promised to teach others in the legislature how to make compromises. “Forget about ruling our little kingdoms,” said Maldonado. “It works,” he said of compromise.

And again, Maldonado mentioned how amazing it is, that “only in California can a young man go from the fields to become an astronaut…” Huh? With an awkward segue, Maldonado told about NASA astronaut Jose Fernandez, also from California, and also from “the fields.”

Maldonado’s speech was underwhelming, full of self-congratulations, and over-seasoned with an abundance of ethnicity references that would make even the Latino Legislative Caucus roll their eyes.

However, the office of the Lieutenant Governor is primarily a formality. Ballotpedia describes the office as “basically ceremonial roles, serving as acting governor in the absence of the governor, and as President of the California State Senate, the lieutenant governor either sits on, or appoints representatives to, many of California’s regulatory commissions and executive agencies.”

I’m not sure what I expected at the Lieutenant Governor’s Inaugural Cerenmony, but what I didn’t expect was an elected official so socially and professionally awkward. As I hurried away from the ceremony with most of the crowd, I found myself wondering how far California has to sink before citizen representation will take place again. Abel Maldonado’s father obviously worked very hard all of his life; Abel, our new Lieutenant Governor is a big government politician who never met a government program he didn’t like.

–Katy Grimes

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