On Friday, Governor-elect John Kasich and Mary Taylor kick off four days of inauguration ceremonies (which is about as long as President Obama’s inauguration ceremonies… and that included a train tour starting in Philadelphia and a live HBO special) at the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On Saturday, Kasich has a private fund-raising in honor of his wife (proceeds go to charity) at the Columbus Museum of Art at a whopping $500 a person and a Young Leaders’ event at the Ohio Union along with “Family Day” at the Ohio Statehouse.
On Sunday, Kasich throws himself another inaugural reception, this time at the Franklin Park Conservatory (which will then been drilled for oil and gas), but that event is closed to the public and open only to a select number of close supporters.
On Monday, John Kasich finally has his inauguration, but in the private Ohio Theater that seats less than 2,800. Tickets are still available. He then is throwing an inauguration ball at the Columbus Convention Center. Tickets for the ball are $150 a person or $250 per couple (or lobbyist and his “escort” or whatever.)
Ecumenical Prayer Service: Trinity Episcopal Church, 125 E Broad St., at 7 a.m.
Tribute to the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King: The Palace Theatre, 34 W. Broad St., at 9:30 a.m.
Swearing-In of Ted Strickland as governor and Lee Fisher as lieutenant governor: West Lawn of the Ohio Statehouse at 11:30 a.m.
Beautiful Ohio! A Public Reception: The Palace Theatre at 2 p.m.
The Ohio Inaugural Ball: Tickets $75 each; black-tie optional, The Lausche and Rhodes Buildings (Ohio State Fairgrounds), at 8 p.m.
To celebrate the inauguration, the Columbus Museum of Art, the Franklin Park Conservatory and the Riffe Gallery in Columbus will be open to the public at no cost.
Strickland-Fisher also encouraged all attendees to come and make a canned food donation to the Second Harvest Foodbank, the official charity of the Inauguration. The evening before, Strickland held a dinner with the State legislators in the Statehouse to build relationships with a co-equal branch of government. Kasich? Not so much. Despite serving in Congress and the General Assembly, Kasich has already demonstrated an attitude that the legislature simply exists to enact his policies, not to set some on its own.
Another key difference is that the press had virtual free reign to cover any Strickland event they wanted. We’re told that press access to the Kasich inaugural events is being tightly controlled.
As this Associated Press story notes, Governors in other States are grossly cutting back on having lavish inauguration lovefests in a nod to the times.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is ditching his black-tie affair and holding a free barbecue, while Minnesota Gov.-elect Mark Dayton is encouraging blue jeans at his inaugural ball. In California, where Gov.-elect Jerry Brown is walking into a projected $28 billion deficit, expect a B-movie production compared to the glitzy 2007 inaugural of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. And rockers Bon Jovi won’t be making an appearance this year for Pennsylvania Gov.-elect Tom Corbett.
Kasich, the self-professed dean of Republican fiscal conservatism, is nowhere to be found in this article. He’s charging twice as much to attend his ball (which you’d presume means it’ll cost twice as much to host since these are not profit makers) and he’s taking nearly a full work week to celebrate his plurality victory in which a minority of Ohio’s registered voters voted.
The New York Times reports that Florida Governor-elect Rick Scott (of one the largest settlements for Medicare fraud fame) is getting flak for his lavish, multi-day inaugural ceremony. However, it’s cheaper to get into Scott’s inaugural ball on dine on “grilled Key West shrimp with a Florida avocado dipping sauce” than it is to get into Kasich’s inaugural ball. ($95 versus $150.) In a few weeks, Kasich will have to publicly report his transition spending. Maybe then, we’ll see how much this lovefest has cost in taxpayer and special interest money.
Where’s the scrutiny, Ohio media?