David Quintana is the political director of California Tribal Business Alliance and the host of the annual Back to Session Bash, co-sponsored by the Capitol Weekly, among others.
Tell me about the annual Back to Session Bash.
Well, when I worked in the Capitol I had attended the “End of Session Bash” and it really had lost its way by then. It had become way too over-produced and it really just focused on the legislators and skits and songs they would perform. People still attended, but it was just another event. A bigger problem was that you never really know when the exact time for the “end” of the session will be, and when it does arrive, folks are tired and just want to go home. So, I thought, “Why don’t we have a party at the beginning of the year when everyone is still energetic and optimistic” – and more importantly, everyone is anxious to meet all the new people. Finally, the Bash doesn’t focus on the legislators, the focus of the Bash is on just having a good time for everyone, legislators, staffers and the third house. Look, a cool atmosphere, cocktails and a bumping dance floor are truly a great social equalizer. So, that’s what the Bash has become, one last blast for the whole Capitol community to get their groove on before rolling up their sleeves and getting back to the hard work ahead of all of us. It’s my job to make sure it’s a night that they won’t forget.
Best Bash memory?
Nancy Skinner dancing to Flo-Rida – that’s all I’m saying.
So can everyone attend the Bash?
No, then it would just be any old party. It’s invite-only, and there are a limited number of tickets available. All elected officials get tickets and most staffers (some more than others). Additionally, the sponsors of the event have a good number of tickets to dole out. The only way third house folks can get into the Bash is to score a ticket from sponsors, legislators or staffers – that’s it, and it’s strictly enforced. But legislative staffers can contact us and we’ll do everything we can to get tickets to them while we still have them.
What should people look for at the Bash this year?
Believe it or not, we’ve raised it up another notch as far as entertainment goes. In the words of “Spinal Tap”, we’ve taken this baby to “11.” The kick-off show for the Bash will be much more complex and, if I may, damn funky. I guarantee it will have the crowd dancing when the crew brings it all home. That’s the biggest change. As always, the key to the Bash is the music flow and the cocktails – they drive the Bash vibe – and this year I’ve put dozens of hours in how to take both to a new level, I think the attendees will agree that we’ve done that. Other than that, we can’t mess with success, the cigar stand, tequila bar, scotch tasting, ice sculpture drink luge and multiple music acts will all be back. Hey, the way we look at it is that we have THE hottest night club in Sacramento, it’s by invite-only and only open one night a year.
Tell us about the CTBA and some of the changes you guys have gone through lately.
Absolutely. The reason the CTBA was able to become the most politically influential gaming organization in the state was because of two things: like mindedness and speed. When anything gets in the way of either of those principles, it throws the entire organization off course. What our executive board decided to do in the last year was streamline the alliance to maintain our core principles. Now that the existing members are all back on the same page, we are faster and more politically active than ever. Look, you can have a big bus or a small Ferrari, each has a different purpose – we choose the Ferrari.
Any thoughts on what we’re likely to see in California politics – on gaming or other subjects?
Simple: Compacts and i-gaming. You have dozens of 1999 compacts that were signed by Gov. Davis that are set to expire in 2020. After folks saw the usurious terms that Gov. Schwarzenegger was putting on the table, most decided to sit it out and wait for the next governor. So I think we’ll see tribes beginning to feel out the new administration and what types of terms might be in play. Internet gaming will be in play as the gaming industry tries to position itself for a market that will likely open up in the next few years. However, the defeat of the Sen. Reid bill in D.C. and the Republican takeover of congress has really taken the legs out of the urgency for a state legislative solution. Look for a number of bills and proposals to emerge from all sides of the gaming industry.