Capitol Alert

AM Alert: El Soldado memorial finally gets a face lift

Workers remove El Soldado from his perch at the corner of 10th Street and Capitol Mall in Sacramento for rehabilitation work on Sept. 1, 2016.
Workers remove El Soldado from his perch at the corner of 10th Street and Capitol Mall in Sacramento for rehabilitation work on Sept. 1, 2016. Courtesy of the California Department of Veterans Affairs

El Soldado is currently missing in action – though don’t worry, he’s just “at the spa,” as the California Department of Veterans Affairs put it.

The deteriorating statute, also known as the Mexican American Veterans Memorial, was removed from his perch at the corner of 10th Street and Capitol Mall on Sept. 1 to begin the first phase of a long-awaited rehabilitation project. He is now at Ruhkala Monument in Rocklin, where experts are fixing his broken rifle, cleaning off his mold and placing him on a red marble base engraved with the names of the Latino Medal of Honor recipients.

This week, weather permitting, the Department of General Services is also set to begin construction on an expansion of the memorial’s plaza, including pathways connecting it to the sidewalk. CalVet is hoping the projects will be done in time to rededicate El Soldado in early January.

Financed by Mexican-American wives and mothers in the Sacramento area who held raffles and sold homemade tamales to raise money, the statute was originally completed in 1951 to honor their husbands and sons who fought in World War II. Funding for the renovation has been slow to come by, and supporters are still well short of the more than $1 million they will ultimately need for a project that includes extensive landscaping and walls lining the pathways.

WORTH REPEATING: “Hard to see how any good can come from that.” - John Podesta, responding to an email sent by Sacramento native Eleni Kounalakis, who had told the Clinton adviser about meeting with a Politico reporter

UP, UP AND AWAY: Outrage over the exploding cost of prescription drugs is so hot right now. Pharma bro Martin Shkreli is a national villain, the maker of EpiPens is being dragged into congressional hearings, and California voters face an initiative this election that would limit how much the state can pay for pharmaceuticals. The fight over the measure has attracted the support of former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and more than $100 million from drug companies to fight it. But what is causing these steep increases in price? The Assembly Health Committee holds a hearing at 10 a.m. in Room 4202 of the Capitol.

BY THE NUMBERS: Entering the final few weeks of campaigning, legislative candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot had almost $33.4 million in the bank, according to recently filed campaign-disclosure statements. Democratic candidates had $26.2 million cash on hand as of Oct. 22 and Republican candidates had almost $7.2 million. Candidates also listed more than $5 million in outstanding debt – a total of almost $3.5 million for Democratic candidates and $1.6 million for Republicans.

BOO! CAN I COUNT ON YOUR SUPPORT?: It’s Halloween, a great opportunity for politicians to hand out items with their names on them to constituents. Last year, state Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, made “Bob’s Bars,” while the communication director for Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Burbank, gave trick-or-treaters pens with his boss’ name on them. (Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, however, kept a low-profile as a very convincing witch.) Can anyone top them this year? Send us the best political promotions and legislator costumes you come across tonight. Here’s hoping Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang, R-Diamond Bar, is already prepping some sort of elaborate Pokémon costume.

T MINUS 8 DAYS: Election Day is just over a week away, which means you’re running out of time to figure out how to vote on school bonds, marijuana legalization and 15 other state ballot measures this year. Check out The Bee Capitol Bureau’s in-depth coverage for everything you need to know about the propositions.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff. Jim Miller of The Bee Capitol Bureau contributed to this report.