Open California is a nonprofit organization formed in 2012 to continue – and expand on – the important public policy work done by Capitol Weekly.
Our Mission is to inform, enlighten and educate Californians about public policy and state governance, and to provide a platform for engagement with public officials, advocates and political interests. To meet this goal, Open California publishes continuing, in-depth, nonpartisan coverage of current policy and political issues, and hosts regular forums for public discussion of policy and California politics.
We believe that this model of a non-profit, multi-media platform will be a major part of public policy journalism in the future. We have seen the Sacramento press corp decline sharply, and the amount of coverage dedicated to state news is now minimal. Meanwhile, Sacramento decisions about infrastructure and regulations, education, health care, public safety and the environment are critical to the future of the world’s eighth largest economy – and to a Democracy that relies on informed voters to make important ballot choices.
Our projects and publications include:
Capitol Weekly: For 25 years, this publication has been required reading for Sacramento insiders and government workers.
The Roundup: A daily e-newsletter that follows the latest developments in Sacramento for more than 8,000 subscribers around the state.
California Conferences: A quarterly series examining critical issues such as health care, climate change and elections. Each event includes bipartisan panels, a keynote luncheon speaker and is filmed for broadcast by the California Channel.
The Top 100: Capitol Weekly’s Top 100 is a highly anticipated annual publication profiling the biggest, non-elected names in Sacramento.
Politics on Tap: A bi-weekly political talk show exploring timely Capitol issues and personalities. The program, broadcast statewide on the California Channel and posted online, is hosted by well known public affairs journalist John Myers.
Internships: In partnership with the University of California graduate school of journalism and with the help of Sacramento State University’s journalism department, Capitol Weekly nurtures the next generation of public policy voices with more than a half dozen internships annually. Interns are mentored by Capitol Weekly editors and gain experience covering the major issues and personalities in Sacramento.
Political Pulse: A compendium of California political news mailed to subscribers throughout the state for more than 30 years.
News Service: Open California has established partnerships with outside media to provide regular and sometimes specialized coverage about Sacramento.
None of these programs would be possible without the support of people who believe in the value of civic education and public policy journalism. In 2013, our first full year of operation as a nonprofit, Open California had a total annual budget of just under $300,000. We operate a lean but expanding office with several full-time staff and about a dozen contributors, including:
John Howard, editor in chief: John is the former news editor for the Associated Press in Sacramento, senior editor of the California Journal and bureau chief of the Orange County Register. He has been covering California politics since 1980.
Tim Foster, Executive Director: Tim has worked in publishing for over 20 years with a focus on politics since starting at California Journal in 1996. He has been with Capitol Weekly since 2005 and also published and edited the Midtown Monthly from 2007-2012.
Samantha Gallegos, reporter: Merced native and graduate of California State University Sacramento; our first new hire since formalizing our nonprofit status.
Ed Mendel, contributor: More than 30 years as a Sacramento-based journalist including 18 with the San Diego Union Tribune. Currently editor of Calpensions.com.
Daniel Weintraub, contributor: More than 25 years as a Sacramento reporter for the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register and the Sacramento Bee. Currently editor of HealthyCal.org.
Chris Austin, contributor: Creator of the water policy site Aquafornia.com and currently the editor of Mavensnotebook.com.
Open California Board of Directors
David Lesher, President
Director of Government Affairs, Public Policy Institute of California
Scott Lay, Vice President
President/CEO, California Community College League
Tom Gede, Secretary
Of Counsel, Bingham McCutchen LLP
Sheri Sadler, Treasurer
President, Sadler Strategic Media
Legislative Advocate, California Advocates
Associate Director, University of California Center Sacramento
President, Sacramento Advocates, Inc.
CEO and President, Lucas Public Affairs
Partner, Redwood Pacific
Executive Director, TASIN
Founder, ID Media Partners
President, Miller Public Affairs Group
Legislative Director, California Labor Federation