Marc Sandalow, former Washington bureau chief for the San Francisco Chronicle and currently the editor-in-chief of the California News Service and associate academic director of the UC Washington Center, drew nearly 100 people to his Downtown Martinez Speakers Series talk at the Shell Clubhouse on Monday night, June 6.

Marc addressed major myths of both politics and journalism, touching on topics as wide-ranging as the current controversy over the current Twitter antics of Rep. Anthony Weiner and the history of politics in the U.S., back to the historic duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. Tim Farley, a former Martinez councilman and longtime friend of Marc’s, provided an introduction of the event, and Contra Costa Times political editor Lisa Vorderbrueggen (whose husband, Joe, has worked for Shell Martinez for decades) was the moderator. A number of audience members asked a wide variety of questions, from Marc’s thoughts on former House speaker Nancy Pelosi to redistricting and his thoughts on the state of journalism and the Internet. It was a lively and thoughtful exchange.

I’ve known Marc from his earliest days at the Martinez News-Gazette in the 1980s, when I was a reporter for the Contra Costa Times, and I was later proud to be a coworker of his at the San Francisco Chronicle. I knew he would be an entertaining and informative speaker, and it was clear that the audience enjoyed his talk.

The Downtown Martinez Speakers Series is a great new program. Marc was the second speaker; the first was Shell Wind Energy president Dick Williams in early April. The next event will be in the fall, so be sure to check back for more information about the upcoming speaker, and don’t miss out on this great new program in Martinez, which Shell is proud to sponsor.

– Erin Hallissy