Delegates to the California Democratic Party cast a contentious key vote Friday in favor of all six of the ballot propositions on the May 19 ballot – but the hottest action on opening night of the Sacramento convention came at the A-list party hosted by Calbuzz staff psychiatrist Dr. P.J. Hackenflack.
Following heated debate, the vote by the party’s Resolutions Committee was a victory for the Democratic establishment, and came over the objections of grass and netroots delegates who fiercely oppose the half-dozen budget measures put on the ballot by Governor Schwarzenegger and Democratic legislative leaders; the volatile debate is expected to resurface Sunday, when resolutions are to be voted on on the convention floor.
The atmosphere was far friendlier a few hours later at Lucca, the fashionable J-Street restaurant where the esteemed Dr. H welcomed political and media luminaries for the First Annual Meeting of the Dr. Hackenflack Senior Advisory Board. After consuming 13 or 14 cocktails in the bar, members of the group adjourned to a private back room for their choice of penne pasta, chicken risotto, grilled salmon and braised short ribs. The event was graciously underwritten in part by a bipartisan coalition led by Alpha consultants Gale Kaufman and Donna Lucas, who picked up the tab for a number of deadbeats who ate and ran. (We know where you live, weasels.) Also kicking in was top drawer Sacto consultant Jason Kinney.
Guests included Attorney General and gubernatorial front-runner Jerry Brown (pictured here earlier in the day expressing his appreciation for the premise of a piece by Carla Marinucci of the S.F. Chronicle); the redoubtable Garry South, chief strategist for Brown rival SF Mayor Gavin Newsom; Capitol power couple, Ms. Lucas escorted by blogger/consort Greg; Capitol Alert’s Shane Goldmacher , the hardest working man in show business; Dave Lesher, communications guru for the Public Policy Institute of California; Beth Willon, communications director for Lite Gov John Garamendi; Democratic consultants for LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Ace Smith and Dan Newman; also consultants Steve Maviglio and Roger Salazar, pollster Ben Tulchin and longtime Democratic linebacker Ed Emerson; and political writers Michael Finnegan of the LA Times, Marinucci and John Wildermuth of the Chronicle, Peter Hecht of the SacBee and Bill Bradley of New West Notes.
Best story of the night: Garry South on former Ohio Gov. Dick Celeste’s wife and her anatomically correct Christmas cookies. Weirdest moment: Lady from another party hands cell phone to Jerry Brown to take a call from famed SF attorney William Coblentz, special counsel to California Gov. Edmund G. “Pat” Brown (1959 to 1961).
Attendees all received much-coveted “I’m a Calbuzzer” pins, suitable for shameless promotion.