John Vasconcellos era fades at CA DMV

April 26, 2013

By Chris Reed

In 2008, when I renewed my vehicle registration online at, I ended up laughing raucously.

Why? Because when I finished the 90-second process, the DMV website had this message:


“Your online registration renewal was successful!”

vasconcellosHuh? As I wrote back then on my old blog, the DMV evidently thought that Californians are so starved for praise that successfully completing a short, simple transaction deserved a “CONGRATULATIONS!”

That made me think of former Silicon Valley state lawmaker John Vasconcellos, who saw raising self-esteem as the key to societal bliss and in 1986 got the state government to create a task force promoting self-esteem. (In 2010, K. Lloyd Billingsley had a funny piece on CalWatchdog about it.)

So what was up? Had Vasconcellos quietly taken over the leadership of DMV? Was he serving as a senior adviser?

A second home in Maui? That would help one’s self-esteem

Nope. Googling showed that Vasconcellos was still pursuing his New Agey agenda, and, according to a 2005 Mercury-News story, splitting his time between Santa Clara and Maui. When on Maui, he told the SJMN, he snorkeled and swam every day. As I noted in 2008, it would do wonders for most people’s self-esteem if they could have a second home on Maui.

Anyways, last night, I did my vehicle renewal at, and to my vast disappointment, I didn’t receive the old note when I was done. No all-caps congratulations. No exclamation points saluting my savvy. Just a “Thank you for doing business with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.”

I cried myself to sleep.

OK, not really.

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