Sure, there's plenty of movers and shakers in California's political scene. But who are the Groundbreakers aiming to break the mold, move the needle, and establish a better connection between elections, the campaigning process and social change?
We're starting a series of events called "Policy and a Pint" -- moderated panels and Q&As revolving around policy and politics on a local, regional and statewide level. In short: what's coming out of the Capitol, and how it's going to affect you as a voter, a taxpayer and a California resident. We're going to hold these events at breweries and other venues where a good pint of beer can be served (and eventually, good glasses of wine and good cocktails, both shaken and stirred).
To kick off our first Policy and a Pint event, we're having a talk with some California Groundbreakers in the political field. They're spearheading programs, both in California and nationwide, aimed at changing the way elections work, and how politicians structure their campaigns, how voters get approached and marketed to, and ultimately, how decisions will be made at the voting booth. On the panel:
* Caitlin Maple, research analyst for California Forward, who' s leading that organization's new political reform project, the 50 State Solution (http://cafwd.org/50state/entry/california-forward-launches-50-state-solution-political-reform-project)
* Paul Mitchell, owner of Redistricting Partners, which helps local governments navigate the quagmire of redistricting, and also vice-president of Political Data, Inc., a major provider of voter information to political campaigns, consultants and pollsters (www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/article2601216.html)
* James Schwab, chief of legislative affairs for California's Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who will talk about the brand-new program his office just created to partner with colleges to get students more involved in the political process and turn out at the polls.
Ruhstaller Beer will be our host for many of the Policy and a Pint panels we'll have over the next 6 weeks -- we're going to look at the "For" and "Against" stances of some county and state ballot initiatives we'll be voting on, and what we should know from both sides to ultimately make an informed decision on November 8.
The timeline for this event:
* 6 to 6:30 pm - Doors open: Grab a beer and some great food from the Little Dinner Party Project, find a seat and get settled.
6:30 to 8 pm - Panel discussion starts: One hour of moderated chat with the panel, followed by 30 minutes of you coming up to the mic and asking your questions.
8 pm: Mix and mingle with panelists and fellow audience members. Stay for Ruhstaller's Trivia Night.