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JerryBrownConvention.jpgIt was a busy weekend of conventioning for Democrats in Sacramento.

Much of the intrigue surrounded the propositions on the May 19 special election ballot.

Delegates at the convention on Sunday failed to endorse Proposition 1A, the measure Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature have sold as the lynchpin of the budget package.

The delegates voted 58 percent in favor of endorsing the measure, which would extend tax hikes and constrain future state spending. But it fell short of the 60 percent needed for passage, after the party's resolutions committee had recommended support for the measure on Friday.

The party's position on the rest of the measures:

1B: Endorsed (Visual vote)
1C: Endorsed (67 percent support)
1D: Neutral (52 percent support)
1E: Neutral (50.1 percent support)
1F: Endorsed (Visual vote)

Irony alert: It should be noted that at a convention where delegates (particularly those who disliked the budget package) railed against the supermajority vote budget requirement in the Legislature, opponents of the May 19 ballot measures used the party's own supermajority endorsement requirement to their advantage.

GavinNewsomConvention.jpgThere was also all the jockeying in the governor's race, from the speeches to Jerry Brown's "Recession Reception" (complete with the famous old Blue Plymouth) to Gavin Newsom's blowout block party with Wyclef Jean.

Newsom, trailed by an entourage of campaign staff, certainly had the largest presence inside the the convention center. It wasn't really even close, as Brown remains officially mum on actually saying out loud that he's running for governor. But along the way the Newsom camp also, almost certainly, spent a decent-sized wad of campaign cash.

The down-ticket candidates also worked the crowd, particularly in the attorney general's race, where the campaigns of Kamala Harris, Rocky Delgadillo, Ted Leiu, Pedro Nava and Alberto Torrico all made their presence known.

Insurance commissioner candidates Dave Jones and Hector De La Torre schmoozed, as well. As did lieutenant governor hopeful Sen. Dean Florez, whose campaign operated a booth all weekend, and Sen. Alan Lowenthal, whose campaign did not.

Of course, there was the swag.

It was Art Torres' last convention after more than a dozen years at the helm of the California Democratic Party.

He was replaced by former Senate leader John Burton, known both for his sharp wit and sharp tongue.

"I'm quite certain our next bleeping party chairman will be a bleeping standard-bearer for our bleeping party," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell egged on the delegates.

Burton named changing the two-thirds vote requirement for budgets -- a popular topic among the rank-and-file delegates -- and beating back the open primary initiative on the 2010 ballot as early priorities.

Burton said he sees his and Democrats' job as "fighting for the poor" and "making sure they don't get screwed every year."

Does that mean he endorses a two-year budget?

Photo: Attorney General Jerry Brown addresses the Democratic convention on Saturday. Credit: Autumn Cruz/Sacramento Bee

Photo: Kelsey Skaggs, the director of the Students for Gavin Newsom at U.C. Davis screams her support on Saturday. Credit: Autumn Cruz/Sacramento Bee


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