default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

How Republicans see their rather diminished role, and other notes from the capitol

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013 12:00 am

Each year, the state's main press group, the California Newspaper Publishers Association, holds a session in Sacramento where political and media types offer updates and insights.

Here's an assortment of quotes and notes from that sesssion:

Rookie invasion: Master of Ceremonies Hal Fuson, retired news exec and lawyer: "There are 39 new legislators up here, so if you see them wandering around, you might show them where the restrooms are."

Republicans like journalists?: Republicans in Sacramento have dwindled to the point, some say, of irrelevance. But Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, from Visalia, preferred to cast the GOP role in a positive light: "We are the conscience up here. Sort of like journalists, we question things, we point things out."

Small but super: Conway got a giggle by referring to her party as the "Super Minority." That's a play on words because the Democrats are the now the "Super Majority." They have two-thirds or more of the votes in both houses of the California Legislature. That's enough to override a veto by Gov. Jerry Brown, but he's a Democrat, too.

And thanks to the election of 2010, Democrats don't even need their super majority to pass a budget. Tired of late budgets, the voters that year changed the rules and now budgets just need a majority vote.

Shining a light: State Senate Republican leader Bob Huff, admitting that Republicans aren't even included in some key meetings anymore, also invoked the journalistic comparison: "We try to shine a flashlight into those smoke-filled rooms we aren't in anymore."

Watch what you say: Also from Conway, her rule of thumb for legislators speaking out: "If you are OK with something on Page 1 of your local newspaper, above the fold, go ahead and say it. If not, don't say it."

On guns and guns control: "Somehow it seems bad guys always get the equipment to do bad things," said Conway.

Education reform: Huff cited a Stanford study showing that replacing the bottom 5-7 percent of teachers with teachers of merely average competence would put U.S. student achievement on par with Finland and Canada, which boast much higher achievement marks.

"It isn't a matter of firing teachers. It is a matter of making them better," he said. Huff favors making it tougher to achieve tenure and suggests giving higher pay to higher-performing teachers. "We shouldn't treat teachers like widgets. They are not all alike," he said.

How to lobby a legislator: Leland Yee, a state senator from San Francisco, had some humorous advice for lobbying a member of the legislature: "Ignore the legislator. Go straight to their staff. The staff do all the real work anyway."

In the center: Conway got another laugh pointing out that the fight over water is like gangs in California: "It's the Sureños against the Norteños. I'm from Visalia, which is in the middle of the Central Valley. That makes me a Centreño."

Newsroom value?: Finally, the group heard from Darius Anderson, a lobbyist, developer and, most recently, the owner of newspapers in Sonoma County, including the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat. Asked if he is going to exert political pressure in the newsroom, he said he would not.

"Screwing around with the newsroom would reduce its value. I am a value guy. I don't want to see the value of the newspaper reduced," he said.

Anderson said some friends have wondered rather loudly why he invested in newspapers, which aren't exactly gushing profits these days.

"They say it is sort of like trying to catch a falling knife," he said.


Also in Sacramento this week, we had an eye-opening meeting with State Sen. Cathleen Galgiani.

She made it clear during the campaign that she's actively involved in getting "Speed Freak Killer" Wesley Shermantine to help investigators dig up more of his victims' bodies.

What we didn't know is that she's visited him in prison several times and exchanges letters with this madman about once a week. She said she helped bring the FBI into the case and has helped persuade Shermantine to correspond directly with several police departments.

With the help of his sister, Galgiani said Shermantine spends much of his prison time trying to clear his memory of the fog of methamphetamine and remember details of dozens of killings.

Nice lady.

Nasty pen pal.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

Recent Comments

Posted 14 hours ago by Thomas Heuer.

article: Steve Hansen: Climate change is real, b…

As I thought Brian has nothing but words. Hit and run. Typical conservative of the fox sort who are presented with words all day with out s…


Posted 14 hours ago by Steve Schmidt.

article: Steve Hansen: Climate change is real, b…

Hmmm.... noticed a typo. The second to last sentence of my post from 7:33 pm on Sun, Oct 19, 2014 should read "This year Dr Powell…


Posted 15 hours ago by Holly Stuetze.

article: Daryl Talken, Jennifer Wise vie for emp…

Thanks Ann. That was negative. Not sure about the title stuff but I worked with her at Lincoln Tech when we opened that school and she cert…


Posted 16 hours ago by Angie McDaniel.

article: Steve Hansen: Climate change is real, b…

Jimmy P. said, "I searched the Web of Science for peer-reviewed scientific articles published between 1 January 1991 and 9 November 20…


Posted 18 hours ago by Christina Welch.

article: Feisty Tony Amador taking on moderate J…

Wow. Thanks for sharing your story, Mr. Ojeda, and I am truly sorry for what you have gone through. As such a vocal advocate for veteran…



Popular Stories



Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Featured Events

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists