CNPA/CSNE 11th Annual Governmental Day in Sacramento

By Ras H. Siddiqui
Members of the afternoon panel
Debra Bowen and John Chiang
Hal Fuson

The California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA) and the California Society of Newspaper Editors (CSNE) jointly held their 11th Annual Governmental Day in Sacramento, California on January 31, 2007 headlined by an event at the downtown Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel. On hand to interact with close to 200 people working in the print media (including a handful from NAM) were assembly members, constitutional officials and members of the State Senate who have recently been kicking off the New Year, either energized by their victories during last November’s elections or by the important debates that have already begun to shake California’s capital.
The CNPA is a nonprofit trade association representing the daily and weekly newspapers of California . It consists of CNPA Services Inc. (established 1992) to help accommodate entrepreneurial ventures. It also includes the CNPA Foundation (established 1993) which raises funds for journalism internships and associated educational activities. The CSNE, founded in 1983, was created to promote professional journalism in California and Nevada. Top-level editors from daily or weekly newspapers populate its ranks along with journalism educators.
The gathering commenced with welcoming remarks by Harold W. Fuson Jr. on behalf of the CNPA and CSNE President Mike Jenner along with Thomas W. Newton, Jim Ewert and John O’Malley. They were followed by a Greg Lucas (S.F Chronicle) moderated bipartisan panel of California State Capitol’s recently elected “Rookie” Assembly members, (from provided list) Kevin de León (D), Ted Gaines (R), Mike Duvall (R), Fiona Ma (D), Jean Fuller (R) and Curren D. Price (D).
A Constitutional Officer Panel followed which discussed a number of issues with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen and State Controller John Chiang. Both panelists stressed the need to look towards changing current trends in news and views.
Debra pointed out some of the new avenues through which young people are getting their news today and the new issues that are coming to light from the use of the Internet. “The world is changing dramatically,” she said. John pointed to the various social phenomenon that need attention and shed light on why only 24% of people elected are trusted by the public to do the right thing. Debra came out in support of the printing of multi-lingual voter information and ballots for California ’s ethnic communities. Moderator Harold W. Fuson Jr. certainly kept the humor alive through this segment.
The post-lunch Legislative Leadership Panel covered some hot issues of the day, including prison reform, term limits, the budget, redistricting and the latest hot button of health care pressed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger amongst others. Senate President pro Tempore, Don Perata could not make it but Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D), Senate Republican Leader Dick Ackerman, Assistant Assembly Leader Rick Keene and State Senator Gloria Romero held an active session. Dan Weintraub (Sacramento Bee) moderated this segment.
The day ended with a CNPA Executive Committee Meeting, Legislative Appointments, a CSNE Meeting for members and friends and was capped by a legislative reception sponsored by the McClatchy Company at the State Capitol Rotunda.
The print media through the CNPA/CSNE here remains an essential element in the politics of California and our nation. Just sharing a lunch table with a diverse group of print media professionals from The Black Voice News, the Westside Story Newspaper, the Annenberg School for Communication at USC amongst others yielded interesting insights. From “Medical Apartheid” to Senator’s Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to the relevance of the Rev. Jesse Jackson today and as to who did or did not openly endorse Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger during his last campaign, it was certainly an interesting sharing of a meal. We know that the mixture of media and politics is not a new cocktail and each needs the other in partnership. This event provided more evidence of where we are headed in California and if health care of the “Universal” kind will ever touch our horizons here.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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