Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Oh, Christmas tree! California Capitol lights up

Kirk Malan places lights on the Capitol Christmas tree on Nov. 6, 2014.
Kirk Malan places lights on the Capitol Christmas tree on Nov. 6, 2014.

Gov. Jerry Brown rings in the holidays with a California tradition that’s been around the Capitol even longer than he has. The annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, now in its 83rd year, takes place at 5:00 p.m. in the Capitol rotunda, due to inclement weather.

Brown will light the tree with his wife, Anne Gust Brown, and 9-year-old Kimie Metcalf of Chino, a leukemia survivor who has cerebral palsy. The 53-foot white fir that has been decorated with approximately 10,000 LED lights and 900 ornaments made by children and adults with developmental disabilities.

The ceremony includes performances by students from the Oakland Military Institute and Oakland School of the Arts, charters schools started by Brown when he was mayor of Oakland, as well as the California National Guard’s Det 1, 40th Infantry Division Band brass quintet, local teen poet Jibril Kyser and the St. Paul’s Baptist Church Choir.

(Speaking of Brown’s long tenure in Sacramento, a recent Univesity of Minnesota study found that he is one of just 11 U.S. governors ever elected four times. Should he finish his fourth term in 2018, he will be the fourth-longest serving governor in U.S. history.)

VIDEO: Serving with a new crop of legislators young enough to be his children, Brown is now the “grand old man” of California politics, Dan says.

STATE OF THE STATE: What do Californians think of the future of their state? The latest survey from the Public Policy Institute of California examines opinions on tax extensions, higher education, the state budget and water policy, among other issues. After PPIC presents its findings, California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte, Democratic strategist Garry South and New York Times national correspondent Jennifer Medina will discuss the results, noon at the CSAC Conference Center on 11th Street.

HAPPINESS IS A CUSTOM LICENSE PLATE: Back in February, California launched a new Snoopy license plate to benefit state museums. Assemply Speaker Toni Atkins will be joined by Assemblyman Ian Calderon, D-Whittier and representatives from the California Cultural and Historical Endowment and the California Association of Museums to provide an update on the progress of the program, 1 p.m. at the Crocker Art Museum on O Street.

WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE: The Association of California Water Agencies, which represents 430 public agencies responsible for 90 percent of state water delivery, begins its four-day fall conference in San Diego today. Former state Sen. Darrell Steinberg will deliver a keynote address on Wednesday about securing this year’s water bond, while Treasurer Bill Lockyer, Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin, California Water Commission Chair Joseph Byrne and Delta Stewardship Council Chair Randy Fiorini are scheduled to participate in panels throughout the week.

THE CHRONICLES OF OBAMACARE: Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, participates in a forum on patient protections under the Affordable Care Act hosted by the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, 8:30 a.m. at the Sacramento Convention Center.

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.