With the holiday season over, politicians across Orange County geared up this week to get back to work. In Sacramento, new legislators spent Monday mingling with each other as they prepared to hear Gov. Jerry Brown offer his inaugural address.

Just outside the capitol, the Orange County Employees Association put the county in center slot serving up more than 4,000 hot dogs to just about every legislative worker in the state capitol and hosting every top politician in the building throughout the day.

A host of legislative aides, lobbyists and government workers sped through the hot dog line served by OCEA. While the last inaugural featured long lines for hot dogs at the “People’s Inaugural,” this year more hot dogs were actually served with less lines with OCEA board members greeting workers and preparing hot dogs.DSC_0276Throughout all the hot dogs, OCEA General Manager Nick Berardino pressed a host of elected officials, like Assemblyman Tom Daly, on the county’s legislative goals: getting more property tax dollars back to Orange County.

DSC_0268Berardino also pressed both Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin DeLeon.DSC_0341


Jennifer Muir, assistant general manager for OCEA, plots strategy with Art Pulaski, Executive Secretary Treasurer of the California Labor Federation, which represents over two million workers across California.


Gov. Brown said he expects OC legislative leaders will be pressing their case for more property taxes throughout the year.

Newly-elected Assemblyman Matt Harper, from Huntington Beach, was giddy on his first day in the legislature proudly announcing that having a fat campaign account doesn’t always translate into electoral success. Harper, who had less funding that Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry, soundly dominated the polls on election day.DSC_0228Assemblyman Don Wagner was on hand even though he is gearing up for a run on the open seat vacated by outgoing Sen. Mimi Walters, who was just elected to Congress. Wagner will take on County Supervisor John Moorlach, who has announced he is also seeking the seat.

Don Wagner

Gov. Brown celebrated his long family history in the state by acknowledging his family in the visitors gallery above.DSC_0202State Senator Janet Nguyen, who was elected by soundly beating former Democratic Assemblyman Jose Solorio, seems ready to make herself a presence in the senate.DSC_0149Former Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, now on the State Board of Equalization, stood talking with former State Treasurer Bill Lockyear. Harkey has been mentioned by several legislators as one of the most effective advocates on property tax for OC.DSC_0107State Senator Pat Bates went from a panel where she and Nguyen almost made up half the legislators to a new reality where women are at a historic low in terms of being represented in the state legislature.

DSC_0139Meanwhile, in Orange County, former Board of Equalization Vice Chair Michelle Park Steel was sworn in as second district supervisor at a ceremony at the Old Orange County Courthouse.

Standing room only: the crowd for Steel’s ceremony spilled out the courtroom and into the hallway.

DSC_1182Political consultant Jon Fleischman, who publishes the Flash Report and is a friend of the Steels’, played emcee for the afternoon.DSC_1174Steel thanks the crowd after her swearing in.DSC_1257

Since you've made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *