California hopes garage sale will put funds into state coffer
Bargains galore, even a surfboard
SACRAMENTO - Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is hoping that the “Great California Garage Sale’’ will turn government clutter like surplus prison uniforms and office furniture into cash to bulk up the state’s depleted finances.
On offer in the sale are nearly 600 state-owned vehicles and thousands of pieces of office furniture, computers, electronics, jewelry, pianos, and even a surfboard, a food saver, and an Xbox 360 gaming system.
State officials estimate that the giant two-day sale being held at a warehouse will bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition to clearing out office products, the state is also selling unclaimed property from its parks and items confiscated by law enforcement, said California Department of General Services spokesman Eric Lamoureux.
The prison department contributed dental chairs and surplus prison shirts and jeans.
“Welcome to our garage sale,’’ Schwarzenegger told reporters during a warehouse tour yesterday morning. “As you know we’re trying to raise some extra money here, getting rid of the old stuff we don’t use anymore.’’
A selection of the items was sold on
California sure could use the cash: The state had to hand out IOUs earlier this year, government workers are on the brink of revolt over a 14 percent pay cut, and the state remains in a financial morass.
Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel recently spoofed the upcoming garage sale, saying the governor was so desperate he was selling everything from a set of burned dumbbells for $10 to a pair of leg warmers for $8 that had been used by his wife, Maria Shriver.
Schwarzenegger has even been going online to promote the sale.
The idea for a garage sale came from state employees and was put into motion by the governor through an executive order earlier this year. At the time, the state was struggling with a projected $26 billion deficit.
After signing the order to reduce the state’s 40,000 government vehicles by 15 percent, Schwarzenegger posted a video message thanking his Twitter followers for their budget-balancing ideas, including one follower’s suggestion to autograph state-owned vehicles being put up for auction.
“You come up with the great ideas. ‘Why not just sign the cars since you’re a celebrity governor? Sign the cars and sell it for more money?’ ’’ the governor said in the video, sitting at his desk in the state Capitol. “That’s exactly what we’re going to do.’’
On Wednesday he returned to the Web, telling viewers in an online conversation with the founders of Twitter at the company’s San Francisco headquarters that he believes autographing items would drive up prices because a signed leather jacket with the governor’s seal once fetched $30,000.
According to the Department of General Services, all the cars are in working condition but generally have over 100,000 miles. They include pickup trucks, sedans, and former California Highway Patrol motorcycles and patrol cars.
State officials expect the sale, slated to shut down at noon today, will draw more than 5,000 shoppers.
Bargain hunters lined up as early as 5 a.m. yesterday, hoping for the best selection when the state opened its Costco-like warehouse at 8 a.m. A “Terminator’’ mannequin greeted shoppers as they walked in. Inside, hundreds of people walked up and down aisles, shopping for computers, cameras, and more.
A live auction was being held in the parking lot behind the warehouse with vehicles being sold by the minute.
And of course, all sales are final.