Anthony York and Paul Mitchell join Capitol Weekly’s John Howard and Tim Foster to remember Nooner publisher Scott Lay, who died suddenly in September.
Scott was a fascinating person with a unique backstory: He never finished high school, but later graduated from college and law school at UC Davis. His experience outside the regular high-school-to-university pipeline gave him a particular appreciation for the role of junior colleges, and he went to work for the Community College League of California, ultimately serving as their President and Chief Executive Officer from 2006 – 2014.
While at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, Scott – along with his soon-to-be best friend Paul Mitchell – became involved in politics. He volunteered with other young Democrats and created an innovative politics newsletter, The Donkey’s Mouth, where he got his first taste of acclaim for his political insights.
Scott was a technology whiz who created websites and other online tools dedicated to California elections and State Capitol information, among them, AroundTheCapitol.com and ElectionTrack.com. In 2004, he, along with Anthony York, co-founded The Roundup, one of the earliest political news aggregation online newsletters. A few years later, he launched The Nooner, an essential daily politics newsletter with 9000 subscribers.
Scott served on the Board of Open California (the publisher of Capitol Weekly) and was our Board Vice President at the time of his death. His guidance and advice on all things politics have been absolutely essential. His understanding of the inner workings of Sacramento was unparalleled, and when we wanted to confirm or dispel any Capitol rumor – Scott was the first call.
It is no exaggeration to say that without Scott, there probably would not be an Open California today. As we transitioned ownership of the Capitol Weekly publications from the former publisher to Open California, The Roundup’s ad revenue was our most consistent income stream. Scott gifted his ownership portion of The Roundup to Open California – without that gift, Open California would likely never have come to be.
We discuss Scott’s very public battle with alcoholism and mental health issues. It was a struggle that Scott continued until his death.
A memorial for Scott will be held on October 11, from 4-6PM at the Sterling Hotel, 1300 H St, Sacramento, CA 95814.
A scholarship in memory of Scott Lay has been established by the Orange Coast College Foundation where he was a student in the early 1990s. Online gifts can be made at: http://weblink.donorperfect.com/scottlaymemorial
Donations by check to the Scott Lay Memorial Scholarship should be directed to:
Orange Coast College Foundation
Attn: Doug Bennett
2701 Fairview Road
Costa Mesa, CA 92626