“It’s All-Star Week in Major League Baseball, so it’s appropriate now to ask you to pick your favorite All-Star lawmaker, current or former.”
John Burton is an All-Star…he knows how to put together a deal that doesn’t violate his values. Too little of that happening around here since he’s been gone.
Joe Simitian. The last of the great ones. He works hard on big issues, he understands what’s in his bills and he can throw a political elbow when needed.
Tom Hayden. The Republican and Democratic leadership both hated him. But he told it like it was.
Willie Brown, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Former Senator Frank Hill would be the Pete Rose of the Capitol. He played great but had that one huge problem that prevents him form getting the recognition he deserves.
Former Assemblywoman Diane Martinez would be Mark Fidrych. That woman was crazy. She probably talks to herself, too.
The Albert Pujols of the building is now Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. He hit with power and for average from the moment he walked in the building.
Assemblyman Joe Nation would be Bobby Crosby. Crosby won the AL Rookie of the Year and then was never heard of again. All that potential never realized.
Former Speaker Fabian Nunez is Barry Zito. All name ..no performance.
Former Assemblyman Dick Floyd is the John Kruk of the Capitol. Talks too much but you want to have a beer with him.
Favorite lawmaker? Since the third house makes as much law (or more) as the first two, one of the best and brightest in California history was certainly former lobbyist Clayton R. Jackson. Jackson is now a high-tech executive.
Bill Lockyer. At the time, Capitol insiders took his prolific effectiveness for granted. These days, he seems like the only adult left in Sacramento.
The Hall of Fame picks are too obvious, so I’m playing the Rookie of the Year and future All-Star card…Nancy Skinner. This is no stereotypical Berkeley-based lawmaker. She has a multinational business consultant background; she is a policy wonk; she works her inside game with Members of both parties; she is tough, yet warm and friendly. Check out the business community support for some of her bills. She has “All-Star written all over her.
That is a hard question. There have actually been quite a few over 35 years so I will punt and say how I pick them and then add a few names. I rate them on “Do they have a consistent ethical base that they operate from and are they basically people of good will?” Good will means respect for other’s positions and good interpersonal skills. That included the ability to listen openly. Given that is my standard, there are a number of people who come to mind in both parties. Currently, I would put Steinberg and Niello in that category There are others, but those two stand out. Formers are harder. I like many, but the standard eliminates a few of my friends. I would put Art Agnos, Bill Bagley, Ross Johnson, Byron Sher, Dave Roberti and Gary Hart in that category. There are others but those come to mind. Many of my best friends don’t meet the criteria. They are more polar in positions and don’t listen very well. What does that say about me?
Andrew Acosta, A.G. Block, Mark Bogetich, Barry Brokaw, Morgan Crinklaw, J Dale Debber, Peter DeMarco, Jim Evans, Kathy Fairbanks, Jeff Fuller, Rex Frazier, Ken Gibson, Evan Goldberg, Deborah Gonzalez, Sandy Harrison, Bob Hertzberg, Jason Kinney, Greg Lucas, Mike Madrid, Nicole Mahrt, Steve Maviglio, Adam Mendelsohn, Barbara O’Connor, Bill Packer, Kassy Perry, Jack Pitney, Adam Probolsky, Tony Quinn, Matt Rexroad, Matt Ross, Roger Salazar, Dan Schnur, Will Shuck, Ralph Simoni, Sam Sorich, Ray Sotero, Garry South, Kevin Spillane, Robin Swanson, Angie Wei, Rich Zeiger.