It has been quite a first week for California legislators. Leadership doubled down on the anti-President Elect Donald Trump rhetoric and on legislation to shield immigrants in the state illegally, partisans are already feuding over how a new voter-approved transparency law will affect legislating, and a new senator showed up with a bear suit.
Readjusting to the chaos can be overwhelming. Luckily, an annual concert series in the Capitol rotunda provides some auditory distraction from now through Christmas. The bad news is you missed the accordions. The good news is the banjos are yet to come.
Today’s performers are the Los Banos Junior High School Choir (11 a.m.) and the Cantare Chorale of the Sierras (noon). On Saturday we get the Crocker Riverside Singing Cubs Choir (11 a.m.) , the West Campus Wind Ensemble (11:30 a.m.) and Choir and the Camellia Flute Choir (1 p.m.).
Sunday’s agenda includes the Girl Scouts of Sierra Creek (11:30) and, as promised, a banjo ensemble by the name of Girls Girls Girls (noon). The Camellia Symphony Juniors and Cadets (1 p.m.), and West Valley Chorus barbershop harmony group (2 p.m.) also perform.
VIDEO OF THE DAY: Accordions fill state Capitol with holiday music
BY THE NUMBERS: $2.5 trillion was California’s GDP in 2015, edging France for 6th largest in the world. You can glean many more such nuggets in this year’s CalFacts, the terrific annual Legislative Analyst’s Office publication.
EDUCATIONAL: A pair of talks today explore the status of California schooling. Public Policy Institute of California researcher Lunna Lopes will delve into research about perceptions of the state’s three higher education systems and how to pay for them, from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at 1020 11th Street. While that’s going on, USC education specialist Morgan Polikoff will be talking textbooks as he examines rules about curricula and how they tie into California’s transition to the Common Core. The Policy Analysis for California Education event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1130 K Street.
COLLECTIBLE: Calling all political nerds and hobbyists (I know some of you are reading this). The latest American Political Items Collectors show will be displaying campaign buttons, posters and other artifacts at Sierra 2 Center for the Arts and Community on Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can also get your collection appraised, so now might be the time to determine if that Whip Inflation Now pin is worth anything. You probably want the value of that Make America Great hat to appreciate a little more.
CELEBRATIONS: Some preemptive birthday wishes: on Saturday Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, celebrates the big 50; Rep. Mark Takano, D-Riverside, turns 56; and Rep-elect Isadore Hall, D-Compton, will be 45.
MOVING ON: Finally, some personal news: after nearly four years and hundreds of these AM Alerts, today is my last day at the Bee. I’m moving to Phnom Penh, Cambodia to get some foreign reporting experience. I have loved covering California politics – from FBI investigations to kangaroo politics to the great vaccination saga of 2015, it has been endlessly fascinating – and I want to thank all of you who have read what I’ve churned out, given me tips and patiently answered my endless policy questions. Capitol Alert should remain your leading source for #CApolitics news, with my estimable colleague Chris Cadelago taking over the Twitter account, @CapitolAlert. I’ll be tweeting from here if you want to keep up.