Newly installed state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León gave well-funded well-wishers plenty of opportunities to welcome him to legislative leadership this week, and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, who took charge of the lower house in May, is kindly extending the same opportunity: She has a golf and spa fundraiser at the famed Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla today, with tickets going for $4,100.
High-rollers who choose to hang with Atkins may have to miss out on another upscale fundraiser on the links: Some 400 miles up the coast in Pebble Beach, the California Legislative Black Caucus is hosting a big-ticket “leadership symposium” to benefit its policy institute, which provides scholarships and college prep courses for African-American students.
Sponsorships for the three-day event, which includes a Saturday morning economic development roundtable and lots of golf, run up to $50,000.
VIDEO: Despite receiving permission to move ahead with construction, California’s high-speed rail project is still in doubt, Dan Walters says.
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TUITION BLUES: California has been steadily expanding its financial aid options in recent years, creating a scholarship fund for college students from middle-income families and a loan program for undocumented immigrants. Will this be enough as tuition costs continue to rise? The Public Policy Institute of California hosts a briefing on making college accessible for low-income students, noon at the CSAC Conference Center on 11th Street.
HEAD-TO-HADLEY: Though debates remain scarce at the statewide level, more California legislators are squaring off against their opponents as Election Day nears. Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, and his Republican challenger, David Hadley, who led by 557 votes in the primary, are engaged in a series of five debates throughout their coastal Los Angeles district. The fourth takes place today, 11:30 a.m. at the Palos Verdes Golf Club, with a final candidate forum to follow on Monday.
BACK TO THE FUTURE: With Republicans in firm control of the House of Representatives, the big question for national political watchers this November is whether they can win back the U.S. Senate, too. It’s a close battle, featuring toss-up races in half-a-dozen states that could flip the majority and have major policy implications for President Barack Obama’s final two years in office. Political science professors from UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University will discuss their predictions for the election outcome, 4 p.m. at the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.
CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to state Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, who turns 57 today. And early well wishes to Sunday birthday boys Assemblymen Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, who turns 29, and Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, who turns 40.
Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.