Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

October 28, 2011
The Dish: Café 744 at California Department of Social Services

IMG_0743.jpgWhile there's no shortage of coffee and lunch locales around the Capitol, many state buildings are home to additional dining options. This post launches a new weekly series of mini-reviews of some of those spots for downtown denizens looking to try something new.

First up in our new Capitol Alert/State Worker blog series of state building restaurant reviews is Café 744, located on the first floor of the Department of Social Services building.

The spot: As the name suggests, the exact address of this venue is 744 P St., a brisk, nine-minute walk from the intersection of 10th and L streets. While it's a bit off the beaten path for those used to sticking close to the Capitol for lunch, the selection and outdoor seating were worth the trek. It's open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., except on state and federal holidays.

The grub: Cafe 744 is a good spot to go for an array of sandwich and grilled panini options. The panini selection includes several Capitol-themed options, like the "Assembly" (fillet of chicken breast, Cajun sauce and pepper jack cheese) and the "Senate" (turkey, Swiss cheese, tomato and grilled onions). The grill also features daily specials, like fish and chips for $5.49 ("served with cole slaw and a smile" on the day we dined). Picky eaters can opt for build-your-own burgers and sandwiches, which start at $3.79 and $4.49 respectively. Pre-made sandwiches and salads are available for those in a rush, and there's a salad bar for diners seeking healthier fare (though some of the options, such as bacon crumbles, could torpedo a diet-friendly lunch rather quickly). The breakfast menu includes pancakes, omelets, breakfast burritos and other morning eats, all under $5.

IMG_0744.jpg On our plates: My guest and I split two sandwiches and a cup of chili. My pick was the "Capitol" panini, a generous stack of grilled roast beef oozing with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, Monterey Jack cheese, tomatoes and onions on sourdough. My dining companion had the "Turkeycado," featuring turkey, avocado, lettuce, onion and tomatoes on a French roll.

The bill: The total for two sandwiches, a cup of chili and drinks came to $15.18. You can grab a grilled cheese for as low as $2.99 (fries are $1 extra for all sandwiches and burgers). The most expensive item on the menu is $4.99.

The good: In the mood for dining al fresco without Ambrosia's crowds? Cafe 744 features a spacious patio for diners looking to spend their lunch break getting some fresh air. The prices are hard to beat, especially compared to forking over $8 or more for a sandwich at any number of nearby restaurants. Bacon makes a cameo in several of the sandwich and burger combos and can be added to the build-your-own sandwiches at no cost (always a plus in our book).

The bad: The wait for our sandwiches seemed long, even though there wasn't much of a line the day we visited. The walk can be tough if you're in a rush, so we suggest heading here on a day you have time to enjoy a stroll and some sun.

The grade: 4 out of 5 Sporks

Have you been to Café 744? Share your experiences in the comments field below. Jon Ortiz and Torey Van Oot are taking suggestions for state-run restaurants to try. Send your picks to and check back every Friday for a weekly write up.

PHOTO CREDITS: The outdoor seating at Café 744 (top right) and cross-sections of the sandwiches ordered by Torey Van Oot and her dining companion. Photos by Torey Van Oot, Bee Capitol Bureau.

October 28, 2011
Report: Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi arrested for shoplifting

HAYASHI.JPGAssemblywoman Mary Hayashi is facing charges on allegations that she shoplifted more than $2,000 in merchandise from a high-end retailer in San Francisco, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report.

Prosecutors told the Chronicle that the Castro Valley Democrat was caught on camera Tuesday shoplifting at the Union Square Neiman Marcus store. She pleaded not guilty to a felony grand theft charge at a Thursday arraignment hearing.

The Chronicle's Matier and Ross report:

Hayashi, 45, who has served in the Assembly since 2006 -- and is married to Alameda Superior Court Judge Dennis Hayashi -- was arraigned Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court. She had earlier posted $15,000 bail.

Hayashi was stopped by Neiman Marcus' security detail shortly after leaving the store around 12:15 p.m. Tuesday with a shopping bag that included three items worth $2,450 that she hadn't paid for when she checked out at the register, the district attorney's office said.

Prosecutors did not specify what the items were, but a source familiar with the case tells us they included a leather skirt.

Hayashi was questioned by police and eventually charged with one count of felony theft. She pleaded not guilty Thursday before Judge Samuel Feng and is due back in court Nov. 15 to set a preliminary hearing.

Hayashi's spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Click here to read the full Chronicle post.

Photo Credit: Mary Hayashi, 2010. The Sacramento Bee/Paul Kitagaki, Jr.

October 28, 2011
Updated: Finance Director Ana Matosantos arrested on DUI charge

State Finance Director Ana Matosantos was arrested early this morning on suspicion of driving under the influence, after officials said they saw her car swerving near the Capitol and its registration expired.

Matosantos, a top adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown, was booked into the Sacramento County Jail on suspicion of misdemeanor DUI, said Lt. Rick Campbell of the California Highway Patrol's Capitol Protection Section.

"My decision to drive last night was reckless and irresponsible," Matosantos, 36, said in a prepared statement. "I accept full responsibility and there is no excuse for my actions."

Matosantos was driving west on P Street about 12:30 a.m. when officers saw her black, 2004 Acura drift out of its lane, Campbell said. Pulling behind her, they saw her registration had expired, he said.

Officers stopped the car at Sixth Street and P Street, Campbell said. Matosantos took a field sobriety test before being arrested, he said. Results of a breath test taken at the jail were not released.

Neither did the CHP identify a passenger who was not arrested.

Brown spokesman Gil Duran said Matosantos called Brown "to acknowledge that she made a serious lapse in judgment and she takes full responsibility for it."

Duran said, "She offered her resignation. It was not accepted. She reported to work this morning."

Matosantos, a Democrat, is the state's first finance director to be appointed by two governors of different parties, and she is thought to be the youngest. She was 34 when she took the post under Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Editor's note: This post updated at 1:45 p.m. to include details from Campbell.

PHOTO CREDIT: Ana Matosantos, 2010. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

October 28, 2011
AM Alert: California legislators bang the business drum

Yesterday, it was public pensions. Today's theme -- judging by what legislators are talking up -- is business.

Assemblymen Felipe Fuentes, D-Sylmar, and Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, will tell pancake-eating members of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce what folks in Sacramento did and didn't do in the past year. Assemblyman Jeff Miller, R-Corona, is offering his own spin on the same subject to a committee of the Orange County Business Council meeting in Irvine.

Fuentes is also heading to the 23rd annual Business Forecast Conference at the Universal Hilton Hotel in Universal City. Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, and former legislator Paul Krekorian, who's now on the Los Angeles City Council, are also expected to attend. Panel subjects run from high-tech and green jobs to tourism and banking.

Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway of Tulare, meanwhile, visits a career-technical training program at Granite Hills High School in Porterville this morning. And this afternoon, Sen. Michael Rubio, D-East Bakersfield, co-sponsors a Harvest Festival in Bakersfield that offers information on vocational training and other matters.

Back in Sacramento, the California Senior Legislature wraps up its four-day session by unveiling its top 10 proposals for state legislators to consider and another 10 ideas for Congress. The news conference starts at 9:30 a.m. in the state Capitol's Room 1190. Click here to read previous proposals, several of which have been signed into law.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Birthday wishes to Sen. Bill Emmerson, R-Hemet, who turns 66 today, and to Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, who turns 46. And Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, is celebrating his birthday at a fundraiser reception and dinner dance tonight at the Pacific Palms Hotel in the City of Industry. For the record, Huff turned 58 -- back on Sept. 9.


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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