The Broken Bone and the Big Bucks

No doubt Governor Schwarzenegger was really looking forward to all this week's inaugural celebrations. Then came the accident on the ski slopes of Idaho. So out went his participation in the public celebration.

Kevin Yamamura of the Sacramento Bee reports:

Sidelined with a broken leg requiring more rest than previously thought, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger backed out Wednesday from his only scheduled public inaugural appearance despite earlier assurances he would attend all events to kick off his second term.

A shame. Still, the governor won't miss out on all the fun this week.

Schwarzenegger still plans to be sworn in Friday at Memorial Auditorium in an invitation-only ceremony open to elected officials, donors and campaign supporters. He plans to attend two more private events that day, a "Legislative Lunch" with lawmakers and donors at the Capitol and a $500-a-ticket evening ball at the Sacramento Convention Center.

The inaugural committee has raised at least $1.35 million for the two days' worth of events starting today. Much of that money has come from corporate donors, including health care organizations and construction firms that stand to gain or lose billions of dollars in the Capitol this year.

Those donors received tickets to the swearing-in ceremony, the private reception at Mason's, a Capitol lunch with elected officials and the evening ball.

Few free tickets were given out for the formal evening event; staff and lawmakers had to pay $100 per person to attend ball, which has sold out.

None of Friday's events is open, so the public will not get an opportunity to see the governor except via a large-screen television outside Memorial Auditorium. Inaugural planners announced Wednesday that they would provide the television and rotate entertainers outside the auditorium so the public could enjoy the swearing-in ceremony.

Money, it seems, isn't just "the mother's milk of politics" (as Big Daddy Unruh said), it also eases the pain of a broken femur.


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