Lawmakers return to Sacramento August 6 for a final 20 days to weigh the fate of hundreds of bills.
That’s the policy part. There’s also the politics.
On August 6, four legislative fundraisers are scheduled with a total tab of $4,300. On August 7, there are nine fundraisers scheduled in downtown at a cost of $10,800. The following day, there are10 at $12,500 scheduled. And, on August 9, another six totaling $5,900.
A total of 34 fundraisers are being held on August 14 and August 15 alone. Attending all 34 would cost $41,100.
So far – more could be added – there are a total of 121 fundraisers scheduled between August 6 and August 31 when the Legislature adjourns for the year.
Attending all would cost $120,900.
There have been complaints by others that the rash of fundraisers during the final weeks of the session, at a minimum, creates the appearance of a link between action on legislation and the writing of a checkbook.
No such linkage exists, lawmakers insist, and continue to shoehorn as many events into the final 20 days of session as possible.
The 121 receptions, lunches and breakfasts are an economic stimulus package for local eateries of all stripes. Mikuni, Frank Fat’s Chops, Mayahuel, Ella’s, Chicory, Spataro, Ambrosia and the Esquire Grill are just a few of the downtown restaurants where events are scheduled.
There are some out-of-town events as well. For $3,900, Sen. Jean Fuller, a Bakersfield Republican, will fly someone to Tahoe for lunch at Brooks Bar & Deck.
A number of the events are hosted by wannabe legislators like Adam Gra,y a Democratic candidate for the Central Valley’s 21st Assembly District. He hosts cocktails at The Grange for $1,300 per person.
Or Frank Bigelow, a Madera County Supervisor who is one of the two Republicans vying for the vacated 5th Assembly District. Bigelow hosts cocktails at Frank Fat’s for $1,000 a head.
One year, on a particularly crowded day of fundraisers, one female lobbyist donned athletic wear, jogging from event to event to, as she said, “at least get something out of attending.”