So I asked my baby, “How can this be?”
She looked me over and said to me:
If you wanna hang around with me.”
Rather than threatening to veto their genius legislation, Gov. Schwarzenegger might have instead asked California’s lawmakers to tithe some of the loot from their prodigious fundraisers to state coffers and erase some of the debt.
Not that vetoing their bills isn’t positive but a lot more of their concentration seems to be squandered on raising campaign cash, energy that might be better spent on passing a budget, the most important public policy utterance California’s state elected officials are called on to make each year.
A budget was supposed to be signed and in place on July 1. State employees have had their salaries sharply reduced. Some have lost their jobs.
No worries, lawmakers plan to solve the pesky budget mess in due course. But right now, its time to vacuum up campaign contributions.
Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, fresh from flexing her muscle and booting Assemblywoman Nicole Parra’s office from the state Capitol, has a two hour reception August 19 at the Three Fires Lounge at the Marriott Residence Inn on 15th Street, conveniently near the state Capitol.
It’s one of 17 events scheduled for August 19. A paltry 10 are slated for August 20.
A “host” at Speaker Bass’ event needs to fork over $25,000. Far cheaper to be a “co-host” at $10,000. A “sponsor” pays $5,000 and a plain old ticket to simply bask in the speaker’s aura is $2,000. The invitation has a martini glass and a shaker on it but that doesn’t mean anything.
It’s unclear from the invitation whether being a “sponsor” means Speaker Bass will don an article of clothing emblazoned with the sponsor’s name.
Checks can be made payable to the California Democratic Party or Karen Bass for Assembly or Strengthening CA Through Leadership which, presumably, would be the inevitable result.
Speaker Bass also apparently intends to attend the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Well, she has scheduled a fundraiser there anyway at the Sheraton Hotel, 1550 Court Place or Tuesday August 26 from 10 pm to Midnight.
The late night shindig has the same contribution categories of givers as Speaker Bass’ Sacramento event although in addition to a martini glass this invitation has a highball glass with some booze and ice in it, an olive with a toothpick through it, another yet-to-be-used toothpick and what appears to be a billfold with a toothpick sticking from it.
This event is so exclusive that the exact location isn’t divulged without RSVPing first.
Brewing It Up! With Wes Chesbro is scheduled for Monday August 25 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the aptly named Brew It Up! at the corner of 14th and H Streets, only a few blocks away from the Capitol to which Chesbro wishes to return.
Chesbro is a former state senator from Arcata who is now getting himself elected to the Assembly to either 1) Do more good stuff for the vox populi or 2) Avoid the sting of real work.
His invitation is super clever. Riffing on the suds theme, a $3,600 contribution constitutes a “Brew Master Sponsorship.” A chintzy $1,000 contribution is a “Pint Sponsorship.”
What well-heeled special interest could live with the shame of a mere “Pint Sponsorship?”
Chesbro assures attendees that “in addition to hand-crafted beer, a wide array of California wines and other beverages will also be featured.”
(As they weigh the candidates, voters in Assembly District 1, the folks who Mr. Chesbro wants to represent, should be aware that the phrase “wide array” is brutally redundant. On a par with, say, “closed fist.” Definition 2 of “array” from the Online Dictionary: “An impressively large number, as of persons or objects.”)
Special Interests Take Note: Sen. Bob Dutton has rescheduled his Sunset Luau for Tuesday, August 26 at the Hyatt Regency from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. The almanac says sunset is actually at 7:44 pm.
That’s the kind of false promise that gives politics a bad name.
Like Brew Meister Chesbro, Dutton flogs the luau theme: A “Hula Ticket” is $1,000. A “Haku Hale Host” kicks down $1,800 and, a $3,600 contribution earns the right to be a “Mai Tai Sponsor.”
Another round of poi for everyone, bartender!
Thursday August 21, Jeff Miller, a candidate for Assembly District 71, has a Seventh Inning Stretch “Retire the Debt!” Lunch Reception and Bonus Feature with “hearty appetizers and beverages.”
Candidate Miller is already learning – or he has the same fundraiser as Bob Dutton – because he shamelessly milks the baseball motif. A $1,000 contribution is a “single.” An $1,800 contribution is a “double.” A check for $3,600 is a “Home Run Max Out.”
But wait, there’s more: Candidate Miller’s Bonus Feature – just $7,200 – allows entry to the Sacramento event AND one ticket to the Angels vs. the A’s at Angel Stadium on August 25 at which the lucky contributor can ”join Jeff Miller in a private field level dugout suite – next to the player’s dugout.” (The candidate’s misplaced apostrophe.)
Call collect or call it direct. But better call today because there are only seven tickets left, the invitation informs in all capital letters followed by an exclamation mark.
“Come start your morning with” GOP Assemblyman George Plescia. He has moved his fundraiser breakfast from August 14 to August 20. A sponsor pays $6,000. An individual pays $1,500. The termed out Assemblyman believes he can better serve California as lieutenant governor and claims to be running in 2010 for that vaunted position.
The Honorable Elaine Alquist offers quite the bargain at a breakfast reception celebrating her 64th birthday. The birthday tip-off is a cake with three lit candles on the invitation.
First, the August 21 breakfast is at the Sutter Club, a pretty swanky joint. Second, an individual ticket costs $1,000 but bring a friend and two tickets are just $1,500.
Cameron Smyth, the S-Man, elected to hold his birthday breakfast bash at Gallaghers on Wednesday August 20. His actual birthday is the 19th. He turned 37.
Smyth isn’t quite as charitable as Alquist, though. An individual ticket is $1,500 and a sponsor has to fork out $3,600. As with Speaker Bass, no clarification is offered by Smyth as to whether he will wear articles of clothing bearing the sponsor’s name.
Being defeated doesn’t stop the fund-raising. Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally, who lost his primary bid to move to the Senate, is having a debt retirement fund-raiser August 20.
Assemblyman Van Tran requests “the honor of your attendance” at a cocktail reception at Chops Steakhouse, conveniently just across the street from the state Capitol where Tran and other lawmakers vote on hundreds of bills affecting the very people they are soliciting contributions from. A bargain at $1,500 a throw.
Next week, Gov. Schwarzenegger is inviting people to a “special event” in support of “The Redistricting Initiative,” Proposition 11 on the November ballot for those keeping score.
Space is limited so please respond early, the invitation warns. The event is a dinner reception and cigar smoker at Mason’s Restaurant, also conveniently close to the Capitol. It starts at 6 pm, Monday August 25.
Here’s what a dinner co-host gets for $25,000: 12 tickets to the Dinner Reception, 12 photos with the governor and “printed name recognition on the invitation.”
As if there would be any other kind of name recognition on the invitation other than printed.
The better deal is to be a “sponsor” at $10,000. For a Chase note, a contributor gets only six tickets to the event and six photos with the governor but the giver still gets the printed name recognition.
(Actually $10,000 bills haven’t been printed since 1946. When they were in circulation they bore the shining visage of Salmon P. Chase, Treasury secretary under President Abraham Lincoln. Chase, as every sitting lawmaker and state constitutional officer well knows, is one of only three non-presidents to grace America’s paper currency. The others being Alexander Hamilton and Ben Franklin.)
A single attending the governor’s event would need to pay $2,500 and only gets one photo with the governor.
Just because the legislative session ends August 31, doesn’t mean the fund-raising stops.
The Honorable Leland Yee, Senator, 8th District, is holding a lunch Tuesday September 9 at the Pyramid Alehouse — just a couple blocks from the Capitol. The Honorable Sen. Yee wants $3,600 in order to be a “sponsor” otherwise its $1,000 a head.
(Not to repeat what every state politician knows already but the $1,000 bill bears the face of Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th president of the Great E Pluribus Unum.)
That same week in September Speaker Bass is the draw at a “special dinner” benefiting Joan Buchanan. The event is being held at the aptly named Patrick David’s Event Center in San Ramon, which is not conveniently located near the Capitol.
Individual tickets are a steal at $150. A host at this event only has to pay $500 but sponsors still would need to pony up $3,600.
(So that would be a Franklin and a Grant for one ticket. A William McKinley to be a host and three Grovers, one McKinley and one Franklin to become one of Candidate Buchanan’s sponsors. Two Clevelands, two McKinleys and six Franklins would also work.)
“Please join the Honorable John Laird, chair, Assembly Budget Committee at an evening reception at the historic Darling House featuring a spectacular Monterey Bay view. That’s Thursday September 11 in Santa Cruz. Four tickets for a Cleveland. Two for a McKinley.
Mark the calendar, September 15th and 16th is the Third Annual Republican Leadership Invitational. “Limited Availability. Reserve Your Spot Today,” the invitation says.
On the 15th “enjoy a Lakeside Lobster BBQ & Overnight Stay” at the sumptuous Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, Resort, Spa & Casino in scenic Income Village.
Then arise with the damen on the 16th for a 9 am shotgun start at the Incline Village Champion Course, voted “one of the top ten Nevada golf courses!”
A foursome is the better deal. At $15,000 it’s three James Madisons to one Madison for an individual golfer. Five Clevelands would work too.
Not to be outdone, Assemblymember Jose Solorio and the New Democrats host the 2nd Annual New Democrats Cup at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay. Proceeds benefit “Californians for Jobs and a Strong Economy, an Independent Expenditure Committee devoted to electing pro-jobs and pro-business Democratic candidates.
As opposed to all the pro pink slip and pro weak economy Democrats in office now.
These guys make the Republican Leadership duffers seem like pikers. For $40,000 a “Hole In One” sponsor gets lunch, golf and dinner for four plus four rooms for two night at the Ritz-Carlton and a second round of golf for four on Saturday September 20.
An “Eagle” sponsor gets lunch and dinner for four plus four rooms at the Ritz-Carlton. Only one night though. Four Madisons.
Two Madisons is a “birdie” sponsor. That’s lunch, golf and dinner for two plus two rooms at the Ritz-Carlton. Lunch, golf and dinner for one is “par” and one Madison.
Almost overlooked is an exceptionally rare FREE lunch to meet GOP candidate Gary Jeandron,who seeks election to the 80th Assembly seat. Attendees will also hear the Republican campaign strategy for winning the district, according to Assembly GOP Leader Mike Villines of Fresno who sent the invitation.
Jeandron is going to need plenty of McKinleys, Madisons and Clevelands to ultimately win the seat, which has been targeted by Democrats, so while this lunch is free futures ones won’t be.
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