SACRAMENTO — Former Gov. Gray Davis said Monday he will headline an event today kicking off a Democratic activists' Web site, whose founders say it will include criticism of party gubernatorial hopeful Phil Angelides.

Davis, replaced by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a historic 2003 recall election, said he also intends to launch his own Web site but is not intending to seek office again.

Despite founders' assurances the activists' Web site is politics as usual, analysts said they view the event's makeup and timing as "odd" — perhaps an attempt to look beyond underdog Angelides and the Nov. 7 general election.

"The Democrat Web site will be a place where people can click on every day and get a quick summary of Democrats' take on things and give people a chance to express commentaries," said Davis. "I'm sure not all will be glowing in their tributes to Democrats."

Angelides spokesman Nick Papas said the treasurer "was invited to attend this event, but unfortunately his schedule did not allow it." Papas could not immediately identify the conflicting event.

Angelides, who is trailing Schwarzenegger in the polls, "supports blogs and citizens making their views known. He has been invited to post his comments on this Web site and he has every intention of doing so."

The kickoff event tonight in downtown Sacramento will be co-hosted by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, and Senate leader DonPerata, D-Oakland.

Davis, who intends to appear with Angelides in coming days, said he is attending the kickoff "as sort of a father figure" and may use the Democrats' Web site and his own, planned for launch by Labor Day, as a pulpit to defend his self-described gains in education.

A "California Majority Report" creator sent an e-mail with some invitations signed, your friends in "political skullduggery, chicanery and tomfoolery." Jason Kinney said he often uses that salutation in a humorous manner.

The founders are Steve Maviglio, Davis' former press secretary and now a Democratic operative, along with Davis administration figures Kinney and Roger Salazar, who also have connections to the Angelides campaign.

Maviglio, who has worked for the Angelides campaign, said one reason for launching the site is to match similar, successful GOP Web sites, which often criticize Republicans.

"The idea is to foster discussion and debate on the Democratic side of the aisle about politics and strategy," Maviglio said. "It may benefit Angelides or maybe not if you look at a couple articles, which are harshly critical."

"We're trying to stimulate all kinds of political debate," he said.

Supporters of Angelides campaign said they also will be contributing to the Web site.

Barbara O'Connor of the Center for the Study of Politics and Media in Sacramento, called the developments "odd and suspicious."

The organizers are "trying to persuade party loyalists that issues are more important than the person, and doing it not associated with Angelides' name," O'Connor said. "Or they've decided he's not going to win and they want to build a group for the future."

In the process, "they're recycling a kinder and gentler and very happy Gray Davis as a gray beard."