That's too many fingers, Governor.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is colorful, to say the least. But he seldom leaves people wondering what he was thinking after his actions.
Take his latest veto. Conan the Legislator often leaves messages on the bills he signs or vetoes, and California legislative finance bill AB 1176 is no different. He struck it down and left a brief message on his feeling on the issue. But you have to read between the lines to see what he's really thinking this time.
Specifically, the first letter of each line. The governor flips the legislature a figurative finger, spelling out an F-bomb if you read down the first letters. See for yourself:
"My goodness. What a coincidence," said Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear. "I suppose when you do so many vetoes, something like this is bound to happen."
Schwarzenegger's veto messages are sent to the lawmakers who authored the bills, and posted on the governor's Web site. McLear noted that the left-hand margin of past veto messages has spelled out words such as "poet" and "soap."
The target was San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, who had sponsored AB1176. The bill, which passed unanimously in the Assembly and Senate, would have granted the Port of San Francisco expanded financing power to redevelop a former shipyard into a new neighborhood known as Pier 70.
"Kudos to the governor for his creative use of coincidence," said Ammiano's spokesman, Quintin Mecke. "You certainly have to have a sense of humor in politics. Unfortunately, this humor came at the cost of the Port of San Francisco."
Whether coincidence or smackdown, the phrase contained in Schwarzenegger's Oct. 12 veto message could be seen as retaliation for Ammiano's behavior during a local Democratic Party fundraiser earlier this month in San Francisco.
Schwarzenegger, a Republican, had been invited to the event by former San Francisco mayor and Assembly speaker Willie Brown, a Democrat.
His appearance at the Fairmont Hotel caught many of the attendees by surprise and came after a summer of contentious budget negotiations that forced lawmakers to cut billions of dollars from core state services, including education and health care programs.
On a video clip of the governor's appearance, Ammiano can be heard shouting "you lie" and other derogatory phrases as other attendees booed and heckled Schwarzenegger's brief speech.
After the governor left, Ammiano took the stage and gave a rambling diatribe in which he criticized Schwarzenegger for a wide variety of perceived offenses. In part, the freshman lawmaker was upset that Schwarzenegger had vetoed bills in 2005 and 2007 that would have legalized gay marriage.