Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

ha_dem_convent25170.JPGYou might have already gathered this from a certain buzz in the air around the Sacramento Convention Center and the Sheraton Grand Hotel, but delegates are arriving in Sacramento today from across the state for the California Democratic Party's annual convention.

The list of speakers for the weekend confab runs long. It includes Controller John Chiang, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Attorney General Kamala Harris, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.

Also on the agenda are Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Treasurer Bill Lockyer, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, Democratic National Committee Vice-Chair Maria Elena Durazo, the California Labor Federation's Art Pulaski, California Teachers Association President Dean Vogel, Secretary of State Debra Bowen and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

The schedule doesn't portend much drama, but it will include an election to determine the party's next secretary. The man now holding the post, first-term Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer of Los Angeles, is not seeking re-election.

Things kick off with a couple of shindigs tonight. The Pro Active Democrats are hosting a party, featuring DJ Quik, in the Sheraton's magnolia ballroom. Rep. Tony Cardenas, state Sen. Alex Padilla, and Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra are expected to attend. There will also be a "live from the blue carpet" party (get it?) honoring Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, at the Assembly Night Club on K Street, with DJ Spinderella of Salt-n-Pepa.

VIDEO: Dan Walters takes a look at the single largest chunk of California's economy -- a sector that he expects to keep growing.

On to some non-convention news. A $64 billion pension shortfall is looming over the California State Teachers' Retirement System, shadowing California's sunnier fiscal situation. CalSTRS is hearing from its investment people today, including a report from its chief investment officer, during a meeting in West Sacramento.

The LGBT advocacy organization Equality California is presenting the findings of a report examining access to mental health care for LGBT Californians. 1 p.m. at Sacramento State University.

Happy birthday to recently elected California Republican Party chairman Jim Brulte, who turns 57 on Saturday. Odds are he won't be celebrating at the Sheraton.

PHOTO CREDIT: Secretary of State Debra Bowen speaks at the California Democratic Party convention in April 2010. She's also on the long list of Democratic powerbrokers who will take to the microphone this weekend at this year's convention. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee file, 2010



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