Chapter 6
The Swearing In
The swearing in. It was a big day and most of our family and relatives were there as well as many friends and supporters. However, if my memory is correct Michael’s car broke down on his way from Berkley and he missed it. Mom held the Bible and Attorney General Deukmejian performed the ceremony. Mom held the Bible.
The photo at left shows Assemblyman Brown on my left and Mom, Dan, Roger and friends on the right.
First Day. It was easier to fly out of John Wayne in Costa Mesa than LA. When I arrived at the Sacramento airport I bumped into Senator Schmitt from Santa Anna. Schmitt had served in Congress and told me how, on his first day, he had been shown the meeting chamber of the House of Representatives. The person showing it had said, “No doubt you are overwhelmed when you think of all the history and the great men who have occupied this Chamber and you may wonder why you are here. But don’t worry, in just a short time you'll be wondering why the others are here.” He felt I might feel the same way when I was shown our Chamber. Senator Schmitt was a "John Bircher," an ultra conservative and was driven from the Senate in the 1980 redistricting. More on that later.
After checking into the old Senator Hotel I met at at the Capitol with Senator Campbell, the Senate Minority Leader. He had one of his aids show me the small, cramped office that was always left for a new comers and a tour that included an overview of the support system and an introduction to Capitol staff that provided services.
On the second day I met with some Republican Senators who assisted me in determining which committees I’d like to serve on. I don’t remember my selection but the Senate Rules Committee gave me Education, Business and Professions, Vice Chair of Transportation, Health and Welfare, Public Employee" Retirement and later, Senate Liaison to the Vocational Education Advisory Committee and Chair of a Select Committee on Anatomical Gifts.
The challenging part was finding a Chief of Staff. Several were recommended and I finally selected Jack Germaine who had served on Deukmejian’s staff. Considering our limited office space it was a job fitting in the staff and the required furniture.
For a District Office I checked with the Long Beach Water Department and they had two rooms in the Administration Building, (Shown previously). My opponent who was planning to challenge me in the next election tried to make an issue of my not locating in the State building down town. I simply responded that I was nearer the center of my District which made it far easier for voters to reach me than having to drive downtown, face the hassle of finding, and then paying for a place to park.
Restoration of the Capital
The Capitol was in the throes of restoration that had been underway for over two years. Here is a very brief history of why and what was done.
Increased concerns in 1971 over the seismic safety of the Capitol led the State Architect to submit a seismic study of the "‘old Capitol,’" declaring it structurally unsafe for continued occupancy without renovation. In addition to analyzing the structural strength of the building, the report also focused on a major earthquake in 1892 that had inflicted significant damage. A subsequent evaluation of the report by a private engineering firm supported the findings and confirmed that any practical effort to preserve the elegant, historic edifice would require the evacuation of the building for a period of 3 to 5 years.
$42 million had been appropriated in 1973 for the Capitol Improvement Fund. Other moneys, earlier appropriated for restoration and for construction of a new legislative building, were redirected to the sole purpose of restoration and rehabilitation of historic old Capitol. In 1976 it became the object of the most extensive restoration effort I the western hemisphere. After the prime contractor was selected, the dismantling of all decorative elements, both interior and exterior, and the numbering and cataloging of each was immediately commenced.
Gigantic cranes were brought in and positioned to begin the removal of large segments of the interior. As the building slowly became a shell, the outside walls of the Assembly and Senate Chambers were buttressed by huge metal pipes for support during the reinforcement of the original brick walls with reinforced concrete.
When the exterior and interior walls, floors and stairwells were in place, master artisans were brought in to work and to train others in the near-lost crafts of mosaic tiling, ceiling molding, painting and gilding, and the hand carving of wooden balustrades, stair rails and posts. Lighting fixtures were faithfully copied from old photographs, and more than one original artifact, unearthed in the demolition, was refurbished and replaced. Most imposing of these are the brass facings of the elevator areas which had been plastered over during a prior renovation.
During the restoration period, the Legislature maintained offices in Annex and held its meetings in temporary chambers located on each side of the east entrance to the Capitol. The temporary chambers were functional and, by comparison with the permanent chambers, Spartan. In addition to the chambers these structures each contained a members" lounge, a Sergeant at Arms office, a small committee room and offices for the Speaker and President pro Tempore.
In the minds of the planners, function was important but so was the legacy of art and history. While the allocation of space was the principal, practical consideration, great emphasis was given to returning the building to an earlier, more elegant stage. Its history was remembered, not only in its public areas, but also in a number of rooms where the original occupancies were reclaimed and incorporated as museum pieces in an otherwise bustling legislative building. The design feature of the basement is the exposure of the original brick walls and foundation. This is especially outstanding in the dining and cafeteria area. A number of offices were established in the basement along with an exhibit area showing the various stages of the restoration. A small theater, tour office, bookstore, legislative bill room and public telephones are also located on this floor. The main floor contains a number of rooms for committee hearings and all of the historically re-created offices.
The Governor’s office is based upon actual photographs of the 1906 office of Governor George Pardee. The Secretary of State’s office is a re-creation of that of Secretary of State, C. F. Curry, in 1902. The Treasurer’s office is derivative of that era also and contains a seven-ton safe which was retrieved from Sutter’s Fort. The office of the Attorney General reflects the design prevalent during the time of Attorney General, Ulysses Webb. The design of the two remaining museum rooms, the archive exhibit room and the state library exhibit room, are taken from designs of earlier decor. These are all accessible on daily tours.
The second floor contains the Senate and Assembly Chambers. The only offices on this floor are those reserved for the Speaker of the Assembly and the President pro Tempore of the Senate. From this floor, in the rotunda, the magnificent molding and painting of the inner dome may be seen at its best. In the center of the rotunda is a statue of Columbus asking Queen Isabella to finance his voyage to the "‘New World’". The third floor has galleries in each chamber for visitors to view the sessions. In the north wing are two committee hearing rooms and additional office space. The south wing contains the offices of the Senate Majority and Minority leaders. The fourth floor includes the offices of the Senate Rules Committee, Assembly committee hearing rooms, Members" offices, and staff offices.
The Assembly and Senate Chambers are, in a word, opulent. The American and Bear Flags flank the rostrum of the presiding officer. Behind this rostrum are two tiers of pillars which dramatize the height of the chambers. On a projection above the lower pillars are inscribed the mottoes of each house: The Assembly "Legislatorum Est Justas Leges Condere," "It is the duty of Legislators to make just laws." The motto of the Senate, "Senatoris Est Civitatis Libertatem Tueri," "It is the duty of a Senator to guard the liberty of the Commonwealth." (Tour guides may tell you it says, “It is the duty of the Senate to protect the citizens from the Assembly.”)
The Members' Desks are reproductions of the original 1870 desks and were installed and equipped with microphones we raised when we wish to speak. When I was there all bills were contained in the files you see on each desk and up dates were provided daily. Now there are laptop computers which provide instant access to bills, amendment texts, analyses and provide e-mail capabilities to all other desks as well as general e-mail to their offices and outside.
There is a gallery in each chamber. From them the public may observe the proceedings of the Senate or the Assembly. Members" attaché’s and other persons who have been granted special permission may go on the floor of the chamber of either house while it is in session.
Capitol Park is the most beautiful in the United States. The well-kept broad green lawns extend over an area of 30.5 acres—from 10th Street east to 15th Street and from L Street south to N Street in downtown Sacramento. Beautification of Capitol Park began in 1869, at about the time the Capitol was first occupied. The grounds were graded and the soil enriched with loads of river silt and during the winter of 1870–1871, some 800 trees and shrubs from all parts of the world were planted. With more than 800 varieties of flora from every corner of the globe visitors can find some species of plant life native to their homeland.
Throughout the week after it was completed, the "‘Restoration Gala’" festivities included a cake-cutting ceremony, light shows, symphony concerts, parades, tours and theatricals and concluded with a laser light and fireworks display, a formal dinner and grand "Occupancy Ball" similar to the first held in 1869.
California’s Capitol had returned to the grandeur and dignity of the early 1900’s. Completed at a cost of approximately $72 million (Less than $2 per citizen.) it has delighted Californians and provided the state with one of the truly beautiful and outstanding capitols in our country.
Working procedure was simple. There are two desks in each row and my seat mate was a Democrat from Riverside, Senator Rubin Ayala. We got along because we never discussed politics. Across the back edge of each desk was a row of books and ledgers. Each day we had a new ledger containing the Legistrative Analyst’s analysis of bills and their current status that we might be considering.
Since it is difficult to read and completely understand every bill (Approximately 2,500 bills in each two year session.) those endorsing a bill provided a strong clue in determining how I might vote. For example, if I had any doubts about a bill and it was endorsed by unions and trial lawyers and opposed by Common Cause and a "tax payers" association, it would get a "no" vote.
Today there is a computer on every desk that contains all the information with complete e-mail capabilities so I assume each Party’s Whip and Party Leader has their party’s roster on a group address and uses it to communicate with them on issues as they come up.
To speak you raised your microphone and when it’s your turn the Speaker Pro Tem will call you. In addition to Roberts Rules of Order there are also other procedural rules to numerous to mention.
The Speaker of the Senate is the Lieutenant Governor who rarely to never presides and only votes to break ties which never happened in my time. The leader of the Senate Majority is also the Speaker Pro Tempore, all though he/she may delegate it to other Senators. He/she is also the Chair of the Rules Committee.
The five member Rules Committee will have at least three members of the majority party to assure them control. Their duties include the appointment of committee chairs, committee members and assigning newly introduced bills to a committee.
In the left front of the Chamber there is a door to a lounge containing comfortable chairs, coke machine, coffee and a refrigerator, the Sergeant at Arms would also provide a selection of pastries. It has a speaker connected to the Senate Chamber so we could hear business that was being conducted, and if a vote was called we could step out and vote.
A Sketchy View of How a Bill is Introduced and Processed
Bills are authored by a legislator and given to the Secretary of the Senate or Assembly. It receives a number and becomes a public document. Co-authors are any member of either house, who with agreement of the author, may add their name.
Sponsors are: Legislators, private parties and organizations who developed the bill.
Legislative Counsel drafts bills, amendments and prepares a digest (summary) of bills, provide legal opinions, and provides representation in legal proceedings.
Bills affecting the public peace, health, safety or authorize an expenditure of public funds require a 2/3 vote. They become effective immediately upon enactment while other bill have to wait until the beginning of the following year.
Analysis of all Bills is prepared by committee and/or floor analysis staff prior to hearing the bill in committee. It explains how a bill would change current law and sometimes mentions major interest "groups" support or opposition.
Legislative Counsel's Digest is a brief summary of the changes the proposed bill would make to current law. The digest is found on the front of each printed bill.
Amendments must be germane to the subject matter already being considered in a bill. The Legislative Counsel opines germaneness, but the matter is subject to final determination by the full Assembly or Senate.
Daily File is a publication produced by Assembly and Senate respectively for each session. It provides information about the bills to be considered at upcoming committee hearing and bills eligible for consideration during the next scheduled Floor session.
First Reading. Each bill introduced must be read 3 times before final passage. The first occurs when the measure is introduced. The second occurs after a bill has been reported from committee and Third Reading when measure is up for final passage.
Conference Committees are usually composed of three legislators (generally two from the majority party, one from the minority party) from each house who meet in public session to forge one version of similar Senate and Assembly bills. Their version must be approved by both Assembly and Senate.
The Journal is the official chronological record of the proceedings in each house. At the end of session, the journals are certified and bound.
When a bill passes both houses. After receiving a bill the Governor has twelve days in which to sign or veto. If neither is performed the bill becomes law without the Governor’s signature.
If it is vetoed the house may act on it immediately or place it on the “unfinished business file.” The legislature then has 60 calendar day, joint recesses excluded, to act. If they do not take action, the measure is deleted from the file and the veto is effective. There are exceptions but this covers the majority.
Anatomical Gifts: I read an article in the paper about those waiting for body parts and the difficulty doctors had getting permission from relatives to harvest them within the time frame in which they would still be viable. It was possible at the time to get a donor designation on your drivers license however it required a special effort and many relatives still objected. The doctors and others would not risk a law suit.
I pleaded the case to the Rules Committee and they allowed me to create and Chair a "Select Committee on Anatomical Gifts." We hired an attorney, named Kathleen Norris, then living in Newport Beach as the support staff member. To simplify the method of becoming a donor I carried a bill that required the DMV to include an explanation of, "why become a donor," and a little red "sticky" dot that could be applied to their drivers license when they received it. Another bill removed the threat of doctors of being sued by relatives trying to prevent them from following the instructions of the donor.
There was a group of parents of donors as well as recipients who were attempting to change the law. We became involved and formed a group called "Anatomical Transplant Association." One of our members was a beautiful young lady who was one of the first heart transplants and was celebrating her fifth year. The organization no longer exists but it was a beginning. As public awareness and the ability to harvest and transplant has progressed there are now many support groups. As public awareness and the ability to harvest and transplant has progressed and there are now many support groups.
A better method of incarcerating juveniles. My Chief of Staff, Jack Germain, introduced me to an alternate method of handling juveniles convicted of felonies. To learn more we visited one of the CYA, California Youth Authority, (Now known as, the California Division of Juvenile Justice.) facility located at Ione, California. One of their main products seemed to be the creation of gang members in the event they didn’t belong to one before they were locked up. In the beginning Ione had been a facility for wayward, homeless youths and was centered on a farm where they produced most of their needs plus surpluses to sell. However, it had been decided years before by the politicians that children shouldn’t have to work, so they were only schooled. The CYA problems continued to grow until in the late 1990’s when it was replaced by the California Division of Juvenile Justice in an effort to clean up the disgrace.
The alternate was a private enterprise based in Arizona called, Vision Quest. (I just searched for it on the web without success.) Convicted youths were sent to them by the Arizona Courts and Vision Quest was asking for California to do the same. In Vision Quest they built and lived in tepees and those in each tepee had to work together and help each other as if they were a family. After their basic training camp they dismantled their tepees, loaded them on their mule drawn wagons with supplies and started on journeys that lasted months and hundreds of miles.
Every day was a lesson in how, by working together they could achieve a common goal. Each was assigned a mule or some other animal to care for and regular schooling was still conducted while they were on the road. There were no gangs, just teams working together for a common cause.
Their recidivism was substantially lower than that of brick and mortar institutions and the annual cost of was approximately two thirds that of the State’s. My bill didn’t make it out of committee. California law did not recognize programs that were not conducted in a permanent brick and mortar site.
A problem that needed to be corrected was that race tracks did not provide living facilities, other than the stables, for those who tended the horses. A prominent Senator had worked at a race track while in school and loved horses and was a good friend of the track moguls. He carried a bill that would tap State funds currently received from the race track to pay the cost of providing facilities.
The horse owners and race tracks are private enterprises and should pay the cost of housing their help, not the State. It was a "gift of public funds" which is illegal. I was the only one who spoke in opposition and lobbyists and the Senator’s personal power promoted the bill into law. There is no record that the State ever furnished the funds to do likewise for the farms and orchards that use migrant laborer.
You want a State license to do business, too bad! The Governor had ordered all agencies to cut their budgets and the results were that all applicants for real estate and contractor license were waiting months to get licenses which was a financial handicap for many. This was in spite of the fact that the licensing fees paid for all costs and their agencies did not require State funds. My bill required a temporary license to be issued within 60 days. It passed.
Taking aim at a bill for a Los Angeles to San Diego Bullet Train. Going back 30 years, the bond amount at that time for the proposed train was 1.25 billion. The bill didn’t go anywhere and neither did the train. But, as I write, it was back on our November 4, 2008 ballot as a 10 billion dollar bond with a payoff cost of 20 billion over thirty years plus an ongoing estimated one billion a year in maintenance and operation costs.
It bothered me that the office of the Lt. Governor had little to do particularly if the Governor was of an opposing party. There were no significant responsibilities but it had a sizable budget. I proposed giving choices to the voters of: 1. Eliminating the position. 2. Strengthening the position with additional responsibilities and, 3. Have the Governor and Lt. Governors run as a team from the same party and work together.
At the time Democrat Jerry Brown was Governor and Republican Mike Curb was the Lt. Governor. Brown made no attempt to utilize Curb and Curb attempted to achieve something every time Brown left the State but without success. Filling those positions with opposing parties achieved nothing except wasting four years of a Lt. Governor’s time. Needless to say, my bill wasn’t going to get any backing from the other 119 legislators who looked upon the Lt. Governor’s position as the next step in their political careers.
Requiring safety seats for kids under 40 pounds was passed because the bottom line phrase the proponents used was, “Seat belts can’t secure small children and they become projectiles on quick stops.”
There was no required smog check and an out of state company wanted a contract to set up smog check stations around the State. We voted it down in the Transportation Committee in favor of licensing auto mechanics in order to create competition which would be lacking if the State regulated the price for a monopoly.
Another bill was to toughen the smog requirements with regular inspections. There was opposition to it and speaking on the bill I summarized with, “We don’t let citizens dump garbage in our streets why should we let them dump garbage in our air?” It passed but I question that my remark was the cause.
A hijacked bill. I held "Meet the Senator" meetings in various parts of my District. A man complained that he owned a lot and he wanted to put a manufactured home on it but city and county building codes did not allow that method of construction. This was in spite of the fact they were inspected under construction and were legal to install in mobile home parks. So we drafted a bill that said a legally manufactured home that had roof extensions called eves, any conventional roof and exterior wall coverings, was set on a continuous concrete foundation and met set back requirements, could not be prohibited. It was such a good idea that when I appeared at the Committee hearing there was an almost identical bill by a Democrat to be heard just ahead of mine. It passed and mine was skipped because it was considered a duplicate although everyone knew what had taken place. It would prove to be a popular bill and they and the author wanted the credit for it. Just one of the dirty little games that can be played by a majority party.
But the really corrupt game at the time was "Workers" Compensation" and it continued for years until it was "partially" fixed in 2002. Some Senate and Assembly committees, like Insurance, are called "Juice" committees because significant issues, like "Workers" Compensation", can be milked for campaign contributions from the Trial Lawyers, Insurance Companies, Manufacturers Association, Unions and Contractors Association to mention a few. Any bills attempting to eliminate fraud and waste was met by substantial contributions from all who felt their ox would be gored.
The Rules Committee selects the Committee Chair as well as the committee members so you can imagine the legislators" competition for them as well a the Rules Committees influence over the issues they would be voting upon.
The Chair of one of the juice committees went to jail for taking a bribe and his contributor went with him. But, I felt what the FBI did was also a crime. They didn’t reveal the Chair had confessed which had turned him into a felon and felons can’t serve as legislators. However, he continued to serve as the Chair of his Committee. So, for a period of time our Federal Government had a Senator chairing one of the State’s most important committees who would do anything they asked to shorten his sentence. They used him to nailed the lobbyist who paid the bribe but it is frightening to think of the FBI secretly controlling a member of our State Senate.
Minority Party leaders play the game with the Majority Party. An annual budget was very tight and the "Entitlement Programs," "COLAS" (Cost Of Living Adjustments. See explanation below.) were set at a three percent increase but the Legislators "Contingent Fund" was increase by twenty-five percent, over twenty million dollars. How the fund will be used is not disclosed and it is loaded with perks.
I submitted a bill that would have held the "Fund" to the same percent increase as the Entitlement Programs. First, when it was to be read I was told they couldn’t find it but when I wouldn’t accept that excuse they found it. I asked for a "Roll call vote" so that anyone who voted against it would be on record. But, that requires two other Senators to join in the request. Only one stood with me and the other thirteen Republican remained in their seats with the Democrats. The regular voice vote was taken and of course the bill was defeated without public knowledge of who voted against it. Earlier my Party Leader had suggested that I not ask for a "roll call" vote. Draw your own conclusions.
Entitlements Programs are program that provides individuals with personal financial benefits to which an indefinite, but usually rather large number of potential beneficiaries, have a legal rights whenever they meet specified eligibility conditions.
It is difficulty to control the exact size of a budget deficit or surplus through the annual appropriations process. The amount of money that will be required in the coming year to fund an entitlement program is often difficult to predict in advance because the number of people with an entitlement may depend upon the overall condition of the economy at the time. For example, unemployment benefits to be paid out will depend upon the economy at the time and the level of unemployment.
The priorities of too many legislators run in the following order when considering how to vote: How will it be viewed by the organizations that control campaign contributions; how will it affect their relationship with the legislators who are sponsoring the bill; and always last, what would be best for all concerned? Since they are all in safe voting districts (See Redistricting) they have little concerned about their constituency. Their eyes are always on the next advancement in the legislative hierarchy, the next election, or the next step up the political ladder to higher office.
Party time! President pro tem of the Senate, Jim Mills, arranged an Oktoberfest dinner party for us and our spouses at the thirty-room Victorian mansion built in 1877 for local hardware merchant Albert Gallatin.
It was held in the rear area by the carriage house and the swimming pool. The weather was perfect, the dinner was excellent and the entertainment was world class consisting of a champion Swiss band and yodelers.
The State of California purchased the house in 1903 to serve as a governor's mansion and many furnishings remain from former governors. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places it is now used for public and state ceremonies and is open to the public for guided tours. Ronald Reagan was the last to live there briefly before he move to a rented a home. Jerry Brown, who lived there when his father was Governor, also choose other lodgings in an apartment close to the Capital. Having toured it I agree it’s a wonderful piece of our history but I wouldn’t want to live there.
An example of special interests killing a good bill for less than noble intentions was one I carried requiring head gear and more heavily padded gloves and determining the winner by measuring boxing skills in order to reduce the effect of multiple blows to the head. Irreversible memory loss, eye sight loss and cosmetic damage can be the results of repeated hits to the head. If OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) found a situation in a work place where workers were being stuck repeated on the head, sometimes hard enough to knock them out, they would immediately order the situation corrected and fine those responsible.
At the time we had a worthless, corrupt Boxing Commission, which may still exist, funded by the State. It turned out no one wanted the change because it wouldn’t have appeal for those who want to see blood and knockouts. So when the bill reached the committee one of the Latino Senators spoke strongly against it, pointing out how it would deny Latinos the opportunity to make a living. (He went to jail later for accepting bribes.) Nothing was said about the managers, trainers and promoters who fed off of their eventual misery. The committee voted decisively to kill the bill and it became obvious before the meeting was over that a majority of the votes had been predetermined. So much for good government.
Dissatisfaction in the ranks. Some of my fellow Senators and I were unhappy with our Minority Leader who had been elected in my first year. We were short six votes needed to unseat the Democrats and he was not providing the leadership necessary to raise funds and to find and support viable candidates. Also, he would keep the honorariums he received for speaking to business groups as the Minority Leader and not use them for our Senate campaign slush fund. Some of us had complained but no one was doing anything.
Several of us were on the same flight from Los Angeles so I started getting signatures of those who would vote to replace our Minority Leader with a person I’ll leave unnamed. (It wasn’t me.) There was no use calling a meeting if we didn’t have the majority of votes committed. The following day I was only short one vote and the Senator I was talking to said he would if we would promise him the position of Republican Whip. It’s a title that meant nothing but it would look good on his resume. He was the only one that demanded something for his vote so it didn’t surprise me when as a Congressman he was under investigation over his wife’s employment and fund raising relationships with a lobbyist who had been convicted of distributing bribes.
We called the meeting and voted the Minority Leader out and our choice in. I wish I could point out a significant difference that it made but it gave some satisfaction to help dump a big time, smooth talking and political self server.
There is an old, old saying, "There are two things you don’t want to watch being made, one is sausage and the other is law." Nothing is truer and perhaps some of the experiences I’ve described will help you understand, but the world’s greatest demonstration of planned chaos are the few days before the legislative deadlines to get bills out of committee and on the floor or, passed and on their way to the other chamber. The problems begin when bills have been allowed to sit in committee or introduced late. It is exacerbated when Committees fail to have a majority present when bills are presented because, their committee members are presenting their bills to other committees that are also short a majority because they are also out trying to get their bills passed. And, some bills are introduced late or amended in order to take advantage of the chaos and hide unnoticed benefits not included in the original bill.
1980 My second election. My opponent was an elected, Long Beach City official, serving in a secondary level of government. We won again. It was also the year that the Federal Census required all States to balance the population increase in each voting district by, "redistricting."
Redistricting and its affect. The State Constitution gives the drawing of the district lines to as few as 21 of the Senate 40 votes. The Majority Party uses that power to provide their party members safe reelection districts by drawing the lines so they have more of their party’s registered voters than the opposition. They maintain their majority by readjusting the lines every ten years.
Because they have no concern over being reelected they had become nonresponsive to the States" needs. As an example, in 2009 our State deficit has grown to over 40 billion and they can’t agree on a plan.
The 1812 cartoon on the right is a map of the State of Massachusetts voting districts after Governor Gerry finish redistricting so his party would be guaranteed reelection. And, because it looked like a salamander it was labeled, "Gerrymandering" and the name has stuck to all redistricting where the dividing lines protect the party in power. California has districts just as distorted.
My district was Gerrymandered to make it safe for their party and my District number 31 was moved to a new district miles north where an incumbent of my party resided. It left me with two years on my term but without a district to represent.
They had carved out a new 37th District starting at the Orange County line and Seal Beach it ran south along the coast including Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Balboa, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, San Clement, Camp Pendleton, part of Riverside County, the northeast half of San Diego County and all of Imperial County.
Its shape was determined by including all of the Republican voters possible in order to make the surrounding districts safe for Democrat candidates. But the old District in Orange County had been even numbered and by changing it to an odd number they forced the current Republican Senator out of office because his four year term was up and elections for odd numbered districts Senators wouldn’t take place for two years. The new district also covered a much larger area and included many citizens who had been in other districts. They had been disenfranchised and left without Senate representation for two years until the next election.
I appeared before the Democrat dominated Rules Committee and pointed out that since it was a safe Republican District and since I had been left without a district that it seemed reasonable for me to serve as their Senator. They agreed but instead of saying they had granted my request they issued a statement saying I had been, "instructed" to represent the district.
While I had a home and the family in Sacramento I had maintained a condo in Long Beach. I sold it and bought one in Newport Beach locating the District office nearby.
In 2008 redistricting was taken from the legislature and placed in the hands of a citizens commission. It was a big step in cleaning up California politics and prohibits the following that took place in 1982.
The beast that raised its ugly head was the election I was facing in a new district where my political contacts were meager. An important part of it was Marion Bergeson’s old Assembly District encompassing Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach and San Clemente. But, the rest of the area was an entirely different culture and they had little knowledge of her. I would have been representing the other areas for two years and being the incumbent is worth a lot of votes. However my wife, Carolyn, without notice, announced she loved another and sued for divorce.
That, coupled with my extreme distaste of campaigning against a respected Republican, dissolved the required passion. In addition, my integrity level was too high and my frustration level too low so, I endorsed Marion Bergeson and announce I would retire when my term was up. She never thanked me and her Chief of Staff issued a press release saying that I withdrew because I realized I couldn’t win. So much for graciousness.

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© 2011 Oliver W. Speraw