Free Clinton summit a day of wine and mushrooms

The chosen few invited to see former President Bill Clinton at the Oct. 21 “Blueprint for Healthy Communities Summit” in Richmond will have a gastronomically delightful day, according to the two-page invitation. (See below.)

For lunch, attendees will have a choice of braised beef short ribs and spicy pistachio porcini parsnip puree with orange zest; breast of chicken with shitake and shallots; or roasted portabello mushroom and spinach polenta.

And after Clinton describes the “challenge of globalization, emphasizes our growing interdependence, and points the way toward a common future based on shared goals and values,” folks may enjoy jazz music and hosted refreshments including beer, wine and snacks sponsored by the law firm of Farella Braun and Martel.

One might expect to see a price tag of hundreds of dollars a plate on such a high-brow event but for the 500 people who make the “invite” list, it’s all free, courtesy of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the sponsors.

How does one obtain an invitation? You could hit up a local representative on the Air Board.  Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond was approached with a half-dozen requests at the last  Contra Costa Mayors Conference. Martinez Councilman Mark Ross sits on the air board, too.

But your attendance may not endear you to everyone.

The use of public dollars, Clinton’s $150,000 speaking fee, the exclusive nature of the summit and the involvement of sponsors who have direct involvement with the public agencies has inspired considerable editorial outrage. The Contra Costa Times and the San Jose Mercury News have opined here.

View the invite below.



Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • jeff friedman

    I work as a chef at the Bay Area Rescue Mission in Richmond, and this would be an opportunity of a lifetime for me, as politics is my greatest interest and joy. To work for Bill Clinton in any capacity would be heaven on earth.

  • Nicolas

    what a crock – that 150k could pay for 2 teachers instead of lining Bill Clinton’s already fat pocket; sure raise taxes, the gov’t does a great job of spending our money, what a joke – if it weren’t so maddening, it’d be funny….

  • Rick K.

    This entire event absolutely disgusts me. It’s obvious that the BAAQMD and MTC are overfunded because they seem to plenty of “spare change” to put on such an event. Maybe it’s time to cut their budgets. Maybe bridge tolls should be lowered, for example, because the people’s money seems to be burning a hole in that agency’s pocket. Bill Clinton never ceases to amaze me, especially his capacity to sell himself and others out for his own personal enrichment and aggrandizement.