Oh, Acting Governor…
TO: Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi
As you know, you are the acting governor while Governor Schwarzenegger is out of the state. Out of the country, actually. He’s in Germany – the Hannover Fair Grounds today to be exact. Or so his schedule says. He will be there at least through Tuesday.
This offers you a brief window of opportunity.
You’ll recall that Governor Schwarzenegger reduced the budget of your office from $2,778,000 to $1,044,000. That’s $1,734,000 – a 62 percent reduction, you said in a press release.
“Let me assure the people of California, that even though the Governor has cut my office by 62 percent, I will continue to do the work they elected me to do.”
Your plucky determination is admirable.
The governor said in his veto message, “In these tough times, we cannot continue to fund the Office of the Lieutenant Governor at the level provided in recent years.”
Why not? Just undo the veto. Put the money back. You’re the acting governor. You can do this. Geez, it’s budget dust anyway. A couple million out of a $94 billion general fund this year and a $92 billion general fund next year. Nobody may even notice.
There is precedent for acting governors actually acting in the governor’s absence. After the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, acting governor Leo McCarthy – Governor George Deukmejian was on a trade trip in Europe – coordinated relief efforts until Deukmejian’s return.
During Jerry Brown’s governship, his GOP Lieutenant Governor Mike Curb appointed a Republican jurist to the appellate court in Los Angeles. Armand Arabian was the judge’s name.
Curb, like yourself, was running for governor. Although a court ruled that the lieutenant governor did not possess the power to make such appointments, there was lots of free publicity. The publicity may even have boosted Arabian’s profile and helped him land a spot on the state Supreme Court under Deukmejian.
A simple executive order restoring the money should do the trick.
Of course, you could go the John Burton route. When Burton was acting governor – the Senate president pro tempore is third in line, right? – he declared it to be Keely Smith Day, a tribute the famed singer no doubt cherished as much as California’s citizens appreciated the gesture.
That’s the two cents of California’s Capitol. And worth every penny.
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