Capitol community celebrates Skelton’s 50 years of California coverage


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The Capitol community gathered in Sacramento on Thursday night as the Sacramento Press Club paid tribute to Times columnist George Skelton, marking his 50 years of covering California politics. When Skelton began covering Sacramento, the Legislature met only part time, Pat Brown was governor and Jesse Unruh was on the verge of becoming speaker of the Assembly. In the half-century since, Skelton has become a trusted voice in state politics, educating readers in his twice-weekly column about what’s really going on in California’s Capitol.

Some of the luminaries Skelton has covered throughout his career -- from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to all five living former governors, including current Gov. Jerry Brown -- paid homage in a video tribute. “His common sense, honest, no B.S., call-’em-as-you-see-’em columns used to give me a little pause certainly on more than one occasion … before making a decision,” said former Gov. Pete Wilson.


In his remarks to the hundreds gathered to honor him, Skelton waxed eloquent on everything from comb-overs (bad idea) to term limits (also a bad idea) and reflect on five decades of California politics. But he didn’t seem to have much patience for the fanfare. “I think this is nuts,” he told the crowd. “... I haven’t had this much fun since my vasectomy.”


California’s Capitol: The long view

Brown Polishing His Tax Plan

Video Tribute for George Skelton

-- Anthony York in Sacramento