Capitol Weekly’s Top 100

Another year, another Top 100 list, but there’s a big difference in this go-round: This is the first time we’ve put the list into a dedicated booklet and we think that’s pretty snazzy. The list, like Capitol Weekly itself, is now being published by the public benefit corporation Open California — and that’s cool, too.


But back to the list: What this subjective ranking of unelected political players lacks in scientific rigor and methodology, it makes up for in passion, fun and a certain insight into the institutional wisdom of the Capitol and its environs. That’s exactly what we’re after.


One skeptical friend, a veteran lobbyist who has more clients than Capitol Weekly has typos, scanned the list carefully and pronounced judgment: “It’s within the margin of error.” We’re content.


There are newbies this year – new to the list, but definitely not new to the world of state politics — and, as usual, there were people we overlooked.


But this is a work in progress, and we’ll make up for it next year, and the year after that. Two people who should have been on the list – their last names begin with “M” – will pop up in 2014. There will be others.


And there are the usual suspects, perhaps ranked differently than before, who are back this year. We try to keep them off, but they keep getting on, and for all the right reasons. It is a continuing source of amazement to us that many people take this list far more seriously than we do, but we are happy to accept their view. And since putting it together this year was harder than it’s ever been, we’re taking the Top 100 a lot more seriously, too. When you devote 12 hours a day to a project, the hard work starts trumping the fun, although not the satisfaction. There’s a lot more than a list of names here, there’s the graphics, the presentation, the printing and the distribution. Whew.


And there’s a need for full disclosure. Four of those on the Top 100 are members of our 13-member governing board of directors, although it should be noted that all were on the list before we even had a board. Capitol Weekly has personal ties to the California Professional Firefighters – my daughter is their legislative director. One of our board members on the list represents TASIN, a longtime supporter of Capitol Weekly and, before that, the California Journal. And the president and CEO of the California Endowment is on the list, as is the Endowment’s senior vice president in Sacramento. The Endowment is a financial supporter of Open California.


Finally, the ranking this year is heavier with lobbyists, a bit lighter with strategists and definitely lighter with fund-raisers.


There were some quantum leaps, too: AT&T’s Bill Devine moved into No. 6, Tom Steyer zoomed in from the stratosphere to No. 20, while former Finance Director Ana Matosantos and her successor disappeared entirely. Gale Kaufman is up at No. 15, and if you beat back Proposition 32 you could be there, too. Meanwhile, Catherine Reheis-Boyd of the Western States Petroleum Association came in at 25.


Well, that’s it – until next year.  (To see the Part I of the list, click here. We’ve put it in five sections, starting with 100-81.)


–John Howard

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