Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

October 14, 2011
Punch line contest: Everybody's a comedian

ha_jchiang48550.JPGCapitol Alert has had its share of photo caption contests in which readers submit humorous or biting caption ideas for provocative photos of public officials.

What about a punch line contest?

Here's the set-up. The California Democratic Party is promoting membership in its DEM 2012 (Donate Every Month) group, in which donors commit to writing a check for as little as $10 to the party every month. The party is now running a contest through Nov. 15 to see which DEM 2012 member can sign up the most new members. The first place prize? Two hours with state Controller John Chiang "for lunch, dinner, or on a project for an organization of the winner's choice." Keep in mind, an exciting day for Chiang might be commenting on the state's cash-flow situation or issuing an audit on a school district in San Benito County.

Our punch line: What's second place, four hours with John Chiang?

We're sure you can do better than that.

Here are the rules: Read the set-up. Write a punch line. Email it to us. Feel free to request anonymity, but only those willing to have their real names published can win the grand prize: a $25 gift certificate to a capital coffee shop. (Entrants outside Sacramento can request any coffee chain.)

Entries are due by 11:59 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17. Send them to

PHOTO CREDIT: The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

October 14, 2011
Sen. Sharon Runner breaks elbow, fractures tailbone in fall

Republican Sen. Sharon Runner will undergo surgery Monday to mend a broken elbow.

The Lancaster Republican's office said the injury was sustained "during a friendly sports competition with family." She also fractured her tailbone in the the fall.

"I want to thank all those who have already sent their kind wishes and thoughts," Runner said in a statement. "While this will change my office schedule, I will continue to work from home to serve my constituents."

Runner's recent injury isn't her first health scare while serving in the Legislature. During her time in the state Assembly, she was diagnosed with a rare lung disease and told she needed a lung transplant. She said during her campaign for the Senate seat vacated by her husband George Runner's election to the state Board of Equalization that her treatment has been successful and she no longer needs a transplant.

October 14, 2011
AM Alert: Democrats train for 2012

Want to spend the weekend learning how to clinch the deal in a fundraising call? Organize your neighbors for precinct-walking? Spread the word about your campaign on Facebook and Twitter?

The California Democratic Party is teaming up with Democracy for America, a group that says it was "born from the ashes" of Howard Dean's presidential campaign, to train candidates and campaign workers for next year's elections.

Training will be held at Folsom Lake College on Saturday and Sunday, starting at 8:30 a.m. It's the first of four such schooling sessions the party is holding this year.

Cost? $40, or $20 for members of DEM 2012 (DEM stands for donate every month.)

David Siders writes today about Gov. Jerry Brown's trip to the Milken Institute. Find his story here.

HEALTH INSURANCE: Need to know more about how health insurance exchanges might affect small businesses? Businesses interested in how health reform rolls out will hold a forum today aimed at influencing policymakers developing California's small business health insurance exchange.

Shawn Nowicki, director of health policy for HealthPass New York, will be be one of the speakers at the event, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the CSAC Conference Center on 11th Street.

CAKE & CANDLES: Best wishes to Assemblyman Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, who celebrates his 59th birthday today.


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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