Capitol Alert

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RP JOHN BURTON HAND.JPGVIDEO: Dan Walters says that the Bay Bridge project might be a cautionary tale for California's high-speed rail.

It's not every day that former Senate President Pro Tem John Burton turns 80 -- that would be on Saturday.

To help the California Democratic Party chairman celebrate, Capitol Alert conducted some historical research into his swearing in as Senate president pro tem way back in 1998.

Bill Lockyer, now the state treasurer, was then the Senate leader passing the gavel to Burton.

"He has taught me all I know about calm and serenity," Lockyer said dryly, "which has been a blessing."

Sen. Patrick Johnston, the Stockton Democrat who'd gone up against Burton and lost, noted Burton's prowess at basketball during his college years.

"Running against him for the Senate pro tempore job felt like the Kings trying to keep up with the Bulls," said Johnston, who later tossed a basketball at Burton.

Thanks to Greg Lucas and the California's Capitol website, you can view the historical record yourself. Click here and scroll down to find the video. The actual swearing-in starts at about the 18-minute mark.

Current members of the Legislature might note that two former Senate Republican leaders -- Ken Maddy, a political moderate who died in 2000, and Jim Brulte, who's being recruited to help California Republicans stage a comeback -- were among the legislators escorting Burton to the rostrum for his swearing-in.

ELECTION RESULTS: Today is the day that Secretary of State Debra Bowen will issue California's official Statement of Vote -- the official results of the Nov. 6 state and federal races. County officials had until last Friday to report their final results to Bowen's office, which has until today to certify them. Look for numbers in statewide contests as well as legislative and congressional races.

SERVICES: Friends and colleagues gather at 11 a.m. at Capital Christian Center, 9470 Micron Ave., in Sacramento for a celebration of Barbara Alby's life. The former Republican assemblywoman died Sunday at the age of 66. Click here to read her obituary.

NEW GIG: Former Assemblyman Juan Arambula, a Fresno Democrat who later re-registered as an independent, has been elected board chairman at Fresno State's Kenneth L. Maddy Institute. Arambula, whose term starts Jan. 1, replaces former Senate Republican leader Dave Cogdill.

HOLIDAY MUSIC: Listen to live music at the state Capitol rotunda now through Christmas. Today at noon, it's the Capital Valley Harp Circle. Saturday at 11 a.m., the Camellia City Flute Choir performs, followed by the River Bells bell ringers at 1 p.m. Sunday, look for the Sacramento Youth Symphony Symphonic Band at noon, then the Renaissance Choir of Sacramento at 1 p.m. For a full list, visit the Capitol Museum website.

MORE CAKE AND CANDLES: Two current legislators also mark their birthdays this weekend. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, turns 71 on Saturday, and Sen. Curren Price, D-Inglewood, turns 62 on Sunday. Natal wishes to both.

PHOTO CREDIT: Former Senate President Pro Tem John Burton attends a news conference at the state Capitol on Monday, March 9, 2009. Randy Pench / Sacramento Bee file



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