Dear Sacramento political fundraisers

A memo from the ‘greater Sacramento chamber of commerce’

Greg Lucas’ state-politics column Capitol Lowdown appears every other week in SN&R. He also blogs at

First, congratulations on another banner year. It appears from the list we’ve been provided that there are at least 96—and counting!—legislative-fundraising events during the final weeks of the Legislature’s 2013 session.

Very impressive, particularly for a nonelection year.

We don’t know what percentage of the proceeds pays for your services, but with a minimum campaign contribution of $1,000 and a maximum of $4,100 to nibble hors d’oeuvres and sip wine or a watery cocktail with a legislator or wannabe legislator, profit potential seems high.

We trust this level of success allows all of you, as you have in the past, to renew your annual membership.

It has been mentioned by some of our other members, however, that the economic stimulus of these fundraising events is too localized.

Obviously, the broader in scope the economic benefit, the greater the number of happy chamber members—including you.

For example, more than 70 of the events during August and the first two weeks of September are concentrated within a few blocks of the state Capitol.

That’s terrific for Mayahuel, one of our newer members, or Esquire Grill or Magnolia Grill along K Street on the way to 12th Street.

Chops Steak Seafood & Bar and Chicory Coffee & Tea at 11th and L—both members in good standing—seem to get most of the overall business, presumably because they’re the shortest distance from the Capitol.

Not to be blunt, but couldn’t some of the wealth be shared?

Maybe GOP Sen. Joel Anderson could switch his August 28 breakfast reception at Chicory to Pancake Circus on Broadway. There are any number of intriguing culinary possibilities all along Broadway, including Iron Steaks and New Canton Restaurant for dim sum.

Yes, it’s probably going to require a car ride from the Capitol to Broadway, but Democratic Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra is already hosting an “intimate” dinner at $2,000-a-head at The Kitchen all the way out on Hurley Way.

Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, who is running for the Senate seat Darrell Steinberg vacates at the end of next year, is charging $1,000 to attend a Sacramento River Cats game this Monday, August 26. Only $1,000 because it’s half as “intimate” as Assemblyman Bocanegra’s dinner? (Just joking.)

Not to hit this too hard, but there are scads of other eateries—some near the Capitol, others not—who could use an economic shot in the arm.

One possibility is a menudo crawl, in which participants visit each of the half-dozen or so Mexican restaurants on Fruitridge Road between Interstate 5 and Highway 99. Six businesses would cash in from one event.

Also, other members ask:

Why are all these events held at restaurants? Is it forbidden to have a fundraiser at The California Museum at 10th and O streets?

It also seems somewhat narrow to have these entire events center on eating. We’re in the midst of an obesity crisis, the media routinely tells us. Perhaps a 5k run or other fundraiser celebrating physical fitness?

Our most popular administrative assistant here is participating in an exercise program based on pole dancing.

Taking a page out of Dickinson’s playbook, how about other sports-related fundraisers? Bowling, for instance. Sacramento’s lanes are eager for business. Bocce ball. Badminton. Knitting. Macramé. Toss a few clay pots. Jewelry design. Origami.

Any number of local business owners would be very happy to help expose your clientele and their supporters to these and other fascinating pursuits.

If drinking is crucial to each fundraiser, perhaps a microbrewery sampling. That way, three or four struggling small-business owners get a chance to sell their suds and garner some free publicity among opinion leaders.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation—and assistance—in broadening the economic impact of your future events.

Looking forward to receiving your membership-renewal checks.