Capitol Alert

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Fresh off his triumphant inauguration this morning, Gov. Jerry Brown let down a few of his supporters in the afternoon when he made a quick visit to a "People's Inauguration Party" held by the Orange County Employees Association without stepping up to the podium and speaking.

Several hundred people waited in a tent set up on the north side of the Capitol building, some waiting in a long line for a hot dog or two.

Brown emerged around 1:20 p.m. but avoided the stage, where a podium and microphone awaited. Instead, he found his way to the hot dog tent, walked around it in search of a hot dog and was finally served his hot dog, which he ate with mustard.

After taking a bite or two, Brown returned to the Capitol building. The crowd, including many state workers, booed and dispersed after Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, made it clear Brown wasn't coming out again.

"That's a joke," said Chari Hug, a state mental health case manager, as her friends nodded in agreement. "He may not get my endorsement the next time."

The union's general manager Nick Berardino said Brown eating a hot dog proved he was "the people's governor."

He also denied Brown was avoiding being seen speaking at the union-organized event. He said Brown was scheduled to appear at another union event at the Citizen Hotel this afternoon.

"He came out and had a hot dog, him and his wife, right where the people were standing and right where the people were eating," Berardino said. "That's a hallmark of a true leader through these difficult times. We would have liked him to have said hello to the crowd, but I think it's more inspiring that he came out to the cheap seats and talked to the people."

Among Brown's more memorable comments at the event: "The mustard is the trick, not to get it on your face." He added, continuing the frugality theme of the day, "That's about all we're going to be able to afford."

"Mmmmmm, hmmm good job, guys!" Brown's wife Anne Gust said with a thumb's up.

The Bee asked the famously healthy Brown and his wife when they last ate a hot dog.

Gust laughed.

"Every day!" she answered. "Yeah!"


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