Friday, April 11, 2014

Andy David

Israeli Consul General


Friday, April 18, 2014

John Rahaim

Planning Director,

City and County of

San Francisco


Friday, April 25, 2014

Larry Gumbiner

Deputy Permanent

United States Representative,

Organization of

American States


Friday, May 2, 2014

Audrey Cooper

Managing Editor,

San Francisco Chronicle


Friday, May 9, 2014

Dan Schnur

Candidate, Secretary

Of State (NPP)


Friday, May 16, 2014

Adam Nagorney

Los Angeles Bureau Chief.

New York Times


Friday, May 23, 2014

Tony Seton

Communications Consultant

And Political Commentator


Friday May 30, 2014

Sonoma Road Trip

Lunch with Paul Priolo


Darius Anderson

President, Santa Rosa



Friday, June 6, 2014

Ross Mirkarimi

Sheriff, City and County

Of San Francisco


Friday, June 20, 2014

Philip F. Mangano

President and CEO,

American Round Table to

Abolish Homelessness


Friday, July 11, 2014

Point Richmond Road Trip

Lunch with Jack Knox


Nancy Skinner

Member, California

State Assembly, District 15


Friday, July 25, 2014

Jose Cisneros

Treasurer/Tax Collector,

City and County of

San Francisco

Sacramento Seminar is a San Francisco group of politically interested people who get together weekly over pasta and wine to discuss politics. It began in 1983 and gets its name from the three founders who served together for years in Sacramento in the California Legislature: Assembly Minority Leader Paul Priolo, Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore John T. Knox, and State Senator John Francis Foran. Priolo evolved as chairman and remains so to this day. The only qualification for membership is to be an interesting participant in the discussions and be sponsored by a member. The rules are quite simple: no attendance requirement and split the luncheon check evenly. The permanent location is North Beach Restaurant, 1512 Stockton St., San Francisco.

Membership slowly grew, then leveled off  for a few years. To stimulate interest, it was decided in 1987 to invite speakers once a month. Given the informality of the group, an interesting format evolved. The speaker may remain seated or stand at the head at a large rectangular table which accommodates 38 and commences his/her remarks prior to food service. After 15 or 20 minutes when the entree is on the table, there is an intermission. When the speaker is finished eating, there is a round table discussion  with the chairman acting as moderator. This format has been highly successful and the most popular with speakers.

There are both partisan and non-partisan speakers, local, state, and federal personalities, elected and non-elected. A luncheon was hosted for the American Association of Political Consultants when they were in SF for their convention.

Attendance at speaker events is between 25 and 40, very manageable for retaining the intimacy which is so effective. Guests of members are welcome. At luncheons when there is no speaker, attendance is 20 to 25. These are particularly stimulating affairs and often provide real surprises when a member brings a guest who is an out of town celebrity. This happens often during election years.

Sacramento Seminar Group Trips

Each year, a group of 20 to 25 members takes a trip to observe an election campaign and/or meet with political figures.. In Spring 2000, it was the Clinton / Giuliani Senate race in New York. In May 2001, we went to Rome to observe the Italian election and also get briefings on Vatican foreign relations. In March 2002, we went again to New York and met with members of the New York Legislature and the United Nations Ambassador from Israel. In September 2002, we went to London to meet with members of Parliament, the Foreign Office, the press, and were received at #10 Downing Street for a discussion on the Iraq question. In October 2003, 23 of us visited Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland and had numerous meetings with political party officials, local officials, including Lord Mayor of Dublin, and Parliament members. In September 2004, 14 members took a similar trip to Berlin. In 2005, 20 members and their spouses spent three weeks in Turkey, meeting with government officials, journalists, political scientists and diplomats, learning about this fascinating intersection of western and Muslim cultures and touring both ancient and modern sites.In October of 2006 we made a trip to Japan. In 2008, it was Thailand, Cambodia and Viet Nam. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose district office is in San Francisco regularly assists us with arranging meetings with local political figures and U.S. State Department figures. In 2009, with the help of the Consul General of Egypt in San Francisco we had a group of 22 go to Egypt for a memorable tour and meetings. Thanks to US Senator Barbara Boxer, the highlight was a meeting and reception hosted by the U.S. Ambassador.

In 2010 members of Sacramento Seminar traveled north to CANADA to gain an understanding of the Canadian federal government’s issues and politics as well as developments in the Province of Quebec. Thanks to the generous assistance of Canadian Consul General and Sacramento Seminar member Stewart Beck we met with a series of top level political and financial sector leaders who provided what was in essence a one-week graduate school class on all things Canadian. In Ottawa due to the kind assistance of Senator Barbara Boxer we were briefed by U.S. Ambassador David Jacobsen. In Quebec City our delegation was hosted at a U.S. Consulate reception by Council General David Fetter. Thanks to the generosity of the Canadian and Quebec governments, Sacramento Seminar members were escorted to all events by foreign office staff members. In Ottawa we were expertly taken care of by Diane Zandbeerg of the Consulate General of Canada in San Francisco. In Quebec City we were delighted to be escorted to all events by Adiadne Moisan of the Government of Quebec’s Ministere des Relations Internationales.

Click here to view the Sacramento Seminar photo gallery.

Currently there are 102 members that include not only Bay Area residents, but also Sacramento lobbyists and Southern California political consultants. Dues are $125 per year.

For more information e-mail Dick Spotswood at