Sacramento officials and police are gearing up for crowds today in downtown Sacramento, with participants of one rally expected to lobby California legislators and organizers of another urging participants to "Occupy the Capitol!"
Thousands of college and university students and others are expected to march at 10 a.m. from Southside Park to rally at 11 a.m. on the west steps to demand that lawmakers increase funding for higher education.
Listed speakers at the morning rally include several elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, as well as the presidents of the Student Senate of California Community Colleges, the California State Student Association and the University of California Student Association.
Joining the march and that rally are ReFund California, which is backing the so-called "millionaires tax" ballot measure pushed by the California Federation of Teachers, and UAW Local 2865, which represents UC student workers. They're headed to Sacramento "to occupy the Capitol," an event flyer says.
The ReFund California coalition is also planning a "General Assembly and Nonviolent Direct Action Training to Occupy the Capitol!" at 3:30 p.m., followed by its own rally at 5:30 p.m. on the north steps, the flyer says, adding, "How long we stay will be up to you."
We'll post coverage of the events at SacBee.com as they happen. Students, teachers and Occupy activists held protests last Thursday across the state in advance of today's rally, as the Associated Press reported last week.
Inside the Capitol, meanwhile, the Assembly is set to convene at noon, and the Senate at 12:30 p.m. Two Assembly committees are also meeting today.
STATE PARKS: So much was happening late last week that we're only now catching up to the Legislative Analyst's Office's report, "Strategies to Maintain California's Park System," which recommends transferring ownership of some parks to local governments, allowing private companies to run some parks, increasing user fees and charging entrance fees rather than parking fees. Read the full report at this link.