Schwarzenegger nixes Hollywood entrance

Monday, November 17, 2003

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- In stark contrast to his Hollywood image and the usual inauguration festivities, Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger planned to take office Monday with a quick, low-key ceremony and then get to work.

Mindful of the bitterness that still surrounds California's first gubernatorial recall election, not to mention the state's fiscal troubles, the Republican has shied away from black-tie celebrations that normally enliven the beginning of new administrations.

Schwarzenegger was expected to deliver a brief speech, attend three ceremonial receptions and return to the Capitol by mid-afternoon for his first hours of work as governor.

He was also expected to call a special session of the legislature to consider campaign objectives, including curing budget woes. That goal became more daunting during the weekend with a projection from his chief financial deputy that the state budget deficit stands at $25 billion -- far more than other recent estimates.

California Supreme Court Justice Ronald George was scheduled to administer the oath of office, and Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria Shriver, was expected to hold the Bible.

The ceremony was supposed to take only about an hour. After that, the governor and his wife then were to be hosts at a luncheon in the Capitol rotunda for state and federal officials, hold a private family gathering across the street, and later attend an invitation-only reception sponsored by the state Chamber of Commerce at the convention center.

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