Long before Californians elected a movie star to their highest office, the Golden State was already its own political breed. Take Gov. Culbert Levy Olson, who served from 1939 to 1943. A devout atheist who refused to be sworn in on the Bible, he promoted a universal health insurance policy called “Olsoncare” and a ham-and-eggs breakfast supplement to Social Security.
Olson is the subject of a new digital exhibition by the California State Library and California State Archives, which launches today with a presentation by his granddaughter, Debra Olson, 2 p.m. at the Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building on Capitol Mall. Debra will share photos, political memorabilia and stories from Olson’s term in office.
“He was a character,” said Olson, who remembers visiting her grandfather on Sundays as a child and sitting in his lap as he smoked cigars. Though she was always proud of Olson growing up, Olson’s granddaughter said she developed a new appreciation for his radical policy proposals as she compiled materials for the archive.
“He was ahead of his time,” she said. “This story speaks to the larger issues that we’re dealing with today.”
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VIDEO: There is growing criticism of the June 2014 law that caps local school districts’ budget reserves, Dan Walters says.
BUDGET REVIEW: The Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee will get an overview of Gov. Jerry Brown’s $113.3 billion general fund budget proposal, the second of two sessions examining the broad outlines of the spending plan unveiled Jan. 9. Today’s hearing follows a similar session last week by the Assembly Budget Committee. Scheduled witnesses are Deputy Finance Director Keely Bosler and Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor. The hearing begins at 9:30 a.m. in Room 4203, following floor session.
UNION NO: The long-running saga of union representation at Gerawan Farming comes to the state Capitol this morning. Dozens of workers opposed to United Farm Workers representation will rally at the Capitol with Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, following a hearing of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board. 10:30 a.m. on the Capitol’s west steps.
NOTIFICATION FIGHT: Supporters of laws requiring that parents be notified before a teenager can receive an abortion will gather at the Capitol for an advocacy day. The group, Californians for Life, said its “California legislative focus this year will be to pass” a parental notification law. 9:30 a.m. registration, Room 447 of the state Capitol.
IMMIGRATION TALK: While President Barack Obama devoted little of his State of the Union address to the topic, the great debate over immigration continues. Over the next two days, scholars from far and wide will gather at the University of California, Davis, to analyze the economic, demographic, political and social consequences of migrations. Among those scheduled to participate in the international conference at the ARC Ballroom are: Giovanni Peri, director of the UC Davis Temporary Migration Cluster; Erika Lee, director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota and David McKenzie, lead economist in the Development Research Group at the World Bank. The talks are today and Friday, and last all day.
NORTH-STATE ECONOMICS: Ever wondered about the economic future of California’s northern parts? Wonder no longer. The Center for Economic Development at Chico State University is hosting a conference of its own to examine the direction of the regional, state, and national economies. Dr. Jaana Remes, of the McKinnsey Global Institute, is scheduled to host a breakout session. That will be followed by a panel on global commerce in a rural region, moderated by Leah Goold-Haws, deputy sector navigator for Global Trade and Logistics. Among the questions being posed: “What opportunities for growth exist for the north state in terms of global trade, and how can we capitalize on them regionally?” The conference is at the Gold Country Event Center, 4020 Olive Hwy in Oroville. The breakout session goes from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Call Jim Miller, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5521. Follow him on Twitter @jimmiller2.