The base is coming to California. Self-described as "this country's largest progressive gathering," Netroots Nation -- which has been bolder than other Democratic allies in assailing President Barack Obama for perceived shortcomings -- is in San Jose through the weekend for a conference featuring a constellation of Democratic luminaries.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, is delivering a keynote on Saturday afternoon. Other speakers hailing from the Golden State include U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, Rep. Henry Waxman of Los Angeles, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento -- who will be on a panel today discussing gun violence -- and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez of Los Angeles, who spoke Thursday night.
Someone worth watching outside of the California delegation: Sen. Mark Udall, the Colorado Democrat who has warned for years about how U.S. government surveillance has infringed on civil liberties. Udall will no doubt get some pointed questions about it this weekend. (Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who has had a close-up look as chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, isn't expected to attend.)
VIDEO: The back-and-forth in Sacramento this week over the state's open records law has Dan Walters thinking of Laurel and Hardy.
TRANSPORTATION FINANCE: Also in the Bay Area (San Francisco, to be exact), is a transportation finance event featuring several transit gurus. Among them are Caltrans director Malcolm Dougherty; Kathryn Thomson, acting general counsel for the U.S. Dept. of Transportation; and former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta. At the SF Club Office on Market Street starting at 9 a.m.
ARNE DUNCAN DISHES: As long as we're on an out-of-Sacramento kick (hey, it's a Friday): U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is going to be in San Francisco today for an event hosted by the Public Policy Institute of California. As Obama's schools chief, Duncan has pushed policies -- such as test score-related teacher evaluations and expanded charter schools -- that have infuriated unions, so it will be interesting to see how he's received in a state where the teachers unions remain formidable. Starting at 6 p.m. at 500 Washington St.
BIOTECH BUSINESS: Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, is chairing a hearing of the Select Committee on Emerging Technology to look at fuel technology and green jobs in Livermore today. The witness list includes scientists from research heavies like Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories, as well as former Cal-EPA Secretary Linda Adams. At Los Positas College, starting at 10 a.m.
CELEBRATIONS: We've got a few on Saturday. Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, turns 60 on Sunday. Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, turns 53 on the same day; and finally, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein turns 80.
PHOTO: Netroots Nation attendees listen to a taped statement from President Barack Obama at their conference in Las Vegas on July 24, 2010. McClatchy Tribune/Isaac Brekken