Beauty and Absurdity in Sacramento

Observations Peculiar and Neurotic from My Time in the Capitol

Brendan Pinder



Posted by Cal in Sacramento Fellow Brendan Pinder.



If you look for it, the State Capitol is so much more than politics. Amidst the committee hearings and orations on the floor, there is revealed a madcap world as fascinating as the legislation that issues from it. And, true, while my desire to come to Sacramento was propelled by an interest in things political, I must admit I’ve fallen prey in trancelike fascination to this place in its entirety, whether that be the rough and tumble of the chamber floor or the simple peculiarities of the office workplace.

One of my favorite statues at the Capitol.

One of my favorite statues at the Capitol.

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Prosecuting Sexually Violent Predators in Orange County

Brandon Wong


Posted by Matsui Local Government Fellow Brandon Wong.



It is no secret to my close friends and family that I have wanted to be an intern at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office since high school. Beginning the summer of my junior year, I applied for a summer internship with the DA to no avail. Every year, it was always the same—I crossed my T’s and dotted my I’s on my application, yet I never received a response. Having earned the honor of becoming a Matsui Local Government Fellow, I hoped things would be different this time around. Much to my delight, I hoped correctly and was contacted by a Deputy District Attorney to talk about being placed in a unit that typically needs interns: Homicide, Sexual Assault/Sexually Violent Predator, or Fraud. I had hoped to be placed in the Homicide Unit; the Fraud Unit sounded overly legalistic, and I was afraid being placed in the Sexual Assault Unit would cause me to lose faith in my fellow man (and woman). However, I soon learned that Homicide and Fraud were overstaffed, which left only the Sexual Assault Unit. After receiving a cheery welcome email from Deputy District Attorney Nicole Varner, I knew my fears about the Sexual Assault Unit were overblown. Continue reading

Personal Revelations in 100 Degree Weather

Natalie Cha


Posted by Cal in Sacramento Fellow Natalie Cha.


My task at this moment is a simple one: Describe your experience so far as a legislative intern in the state Capitol. However, I hesitate because there are countless angles through which I can illustrate the past four weeks.

I can tell you in great detail about the 100+ degree weather and how I wear two jackets anyways because of my freezing overly air-conditioned office. I can brag about all the “cool political things” I’ve done – recording actions on the budget conference committee, witnessing the state budget pass through the legislature, meeting various celebrity-like legislators who you realize are also just people. Or I can express how quirky and interesting my fellow Cal-in-Sac interns are, and how in Berkeley I would have never had the wonderful chance to befriend them. Continue reading

Journalism & Law in Sacramento

Mia Blog


Posted by Cal in Sacramento Fellow Mia Shaw.



I think I’ve had a much different experience, so far, than most of the other Cal-in-Sacramento fellows. I have two, very different internships. I’m a legal intern at the California Department of Justice’s Public Rights Division and an editorial intern at Capitol Weekly. Continue reading

Law in the Service of the Public

KEnna blog 1


Posted by Matsui Local Government Fellow Kenna Falk.

As the sun beat down on the sea of graduates in Memorial Stadium, I could not help but wonder who thought black polyester robes were a good idea. But that was beside the point; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was giving an inspirational speech regarding the true meaning of our newly donned titles as Berkeley graduates. It meant we were “disruptors,” charged with going forth and creating change. Serving as a Matsui Fellow in the Oakland City Attorney’s Office has been the ideal place to begin that journey.

Kenna Falk (front row center) and the other law clerks for the Oakland City Attorney's Office

Kenna Falk (front row center) and the other law clerks for the Oakland City Attorney’s Office

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Finding My Passion in Sacramento

Maria Selina López-Nuñez


Posted by Cal in Sacramento Fellow Maria Selina López-Nuñez.


I’m midway through week 3 at the Capitol, and my time at the Governor’s Press Office feels like I’ve been there for a while. I attribute this to the fact that both of the staff people I report to have entrusted me to do some tasks that at first felt a tad daunting, but I now feel confident in doing them. For example, the first week I was asked to take media inquiries and interview inquiries. First of all, I didn’t even know there was a specific way of doing this, and most importantly, I didn’t know how to distinguish between the important information we needed and what we could ignore. I felt pretty intimidated. Every time that phone rang I’d stare at it. I’d see how the arrows blinked and then I’d look to see if any one else already had it. My excuse: “oh, look, someone already got it.” I guess I was more nervous on my first week than I expected–but interning at a place like the Governor’s Press Office, I knew I couldn’t let the nerves choke me, so I took it upon me to pick up the next call, and then the next, until I too felt the nerves disappear.

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