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John_Vasconcellos.JPGFriends and former colleagues of John Vasconcellos will gather in the Senate chambers at 3 p.m. to honor the Sacramento stalwart, who died last month at the age of 82 after struggling with kidney problems.

During nearly 40 years representing Silicon Valley in the California Assembly and Senate from 1966 to 2004, Vasconcellos was respected around the Capitol for his mastery of state fiscal details and widely known for his interest in human development. A committed liberal, his championing of outside-the-box policy areas like self-esteem and medical marijuana earned him national attention and sometimes ridicule.

A long list of prominent former lawmakers is expected to pay tribute to Vasconcellos, including Willie Brown, John Burton, Dede Alpert and Debra Bowen. The memorial will also be broadcast live on The California Channel, and a separate service is planned for June 21 in Santa Clara.

VIDEO: A court decision on California's teacher tenure system puts pressure on the governor and Legislature to resolve an issue they've long avoided, Dan Walters says.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST: Texas Gov. Rick Perry has made a favorite game out of needling California about its business climate. Yesterday he rolled down L Street in a Tesla, a reference to the electric carmaker's consideration of building a new battery factory outside the state, and he continues his latest tour of taunts in San Francisco with a speech before the Commonwealth Club, 7 p.m. at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, in which he sells his state as leading the way for energy independence in the U.S.

A NIGHT AT THE LIBRARY: When former reporter Greg Lucas was appointed state librarian in March, it drew some criticism from librarians who felt he was unqualified for the job. Will they feel differently after tonight? Lucas gives his first public talk as head of the California State Library, 5:30 p.m. at the Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building on Capitol Mall, to discuss the issues facing the institution and public libraries in California.

GRADUATION GIFTS: Cable giant Comcast awards $210,000 in college scholarships to 191 high school seniors in recognition of their leadership skills and community service, noon on the north steps on the Capitol. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is slated to speak at the event, as are Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway, state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, and Assembly members Cheryl Brown, D-San Bernardino, Frank Bigelow, R-O'Neals, Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, and Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo.

ANIMAL HOUSE: As part of its annual lobby day, the Humane Society holds an informational fair on programs to prevent animal cruelty, including "puppy mills" and abuse of farm animals, 11 a.m. on the south lawn of the Capitol.

PHOTO: Sen. John Vasconcellos, D-Santa Clara, chats with Sen. Dede Alpert, D-Coronado, during a session of the state Senate on Aug. 10, 2004. The Sacramento Bee/John Decker


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