Even More Inauguration Observations

From Justin Knighten of Lucas Public Affairs: 

The re-occurring nightmare of blood-chilling weather, coat-check lines and traffic was worth the 10 minuets we stood 15 feet from President Obama and our nation’s First Lady at the Western Region Inaugural Ball. I had the opportunity to experience every moment of this grand trip, from gala to inauguration day, with a good friend – a state Capitol staffer. 

It also seemed this experience was shared with Assembly member Dave Jones of Sacramento and Secretary of State Debra Bowen since both updated their FaceBook status at least once an hour during the inaugural festivities. Here is the adventure: 

Sunday, January 18, 2009 

The California Gala at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum featured a breathtaking ambiance and included some of Sacramento and California’s noted public figures. 

Confirmed sightings included: Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi; Assembly member Dave Jones; Senator Barbara Boxer in floor length fur coat – faux fur one hoped; West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, Assembly member Hector De La Torre and California Democratic Party Chair Art Torres. 

Following the Gala, we ventured to the “Declare Yourself” party at the Renaissance Hotel. After checking our coats, we met Spike from Season 4 of Bravo’s Top Chef who was sitting outside the event wearing a press badge. This unusual encounter still baffles us. The live performance of Maroon 5 filled the hotel ballroom as we ventured in. Jessica Alba hosted this event. While in the VIP lounge we ran into artist, Will-i-am. 

The “Artists Making an IMPACT” party at Fur Nightclub was the last stop on our Sunday night itinerary. My friend, celebrity crazed state Capitol staffer, turned paparazzi at the sighting of Jessica Alba and Cash Warren exiting this nightclub. With the flash of her camera, three feet from Alba and Warren, we had our best bad example of grace under pressure to remember our inaugural experience. 

Putting our “gift at the gab” talents to the test, we managed to get into the club through the celebrity exit. Enjoying the comedy of Sarah Silverman and performances by Nelly and Ludacris, we ran into State Senator Alex Padilla

The night ended with Ludacris leading the crowd in the chant “Move Bush, get out da way!” 

Monday, January 19, 2009 

The “Manifest Hope: DC Gallery” in Georgetown was the day’s highlight. The gallery focused on artists that use their talent to inspire and motivate political activism. This gallery was originally featured in Denver, Colorado during the 2008 Democratic National Convention and served as the venue for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s event at the convention. 

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made a cameo at the DC Gallery during our visit. His quick appearance was greeted with the reactions: “It’s California’s Governator! I want a picture with him! I’m taller then Arnold!” 

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 

During Aretha Franklin’s performance on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building — and throughout the rest of the inaugural ceremony — crowds of people anxiously tried to use their tickets to step foot on the mall. If the crowd on the mall was impressive, then the people surrounding the ticketed sections of the mall would have been overwhelming. 

Stuck in an idle security line at the start of the ceremony, running back to our hotel was the only logical solution to prevent missing the entire event. We still felt the contagious excitement from the crowds that crisp morning. 

After the Inaugural ceremony and parade, tuxedos and ball gowns soon flooded the streets of DC. It seemed like every cab in Washington was headed towards one of the evenings’ Inaugural balls. We attended the Western Region Ball and located prime territory to wait in anticipation of the Obamas arrival. We had an amazing view that made all the hassles worth it. 


Filed under: Governor


  1. I watched the swearing-in with a group of other standing ticket holders on the Capitol grounds. While incredibly cold, it was indeed an incredibly historic event. It was also fun bumping into CA politicos at the ball that night.

    Comment by Alva — 1.23.2009 @ 12:01 pm

  2. We boarded the Metro train around 5:45am and waited 4 hours in line in the freezing cold to get into the ticketed area. It was so packed that had anyone become ill and fallen, they wouldn’t have had the room to hit the ground. Everyone was simply elated to be part of this extraordinary event, myself included.

    Comment by Rachel Richman — 1.25.2009 @ 6:15 pm

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