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More office changes: Freshmen lose in latest moves

Last week, we reported on the office space assignments among legislators in the Capitol. Looks like we wrote too soon. Last Thursday and Friday saw numerous moves that reshuffled the Capitol pecking order.

As was widely expected, freshman Assemblyman Danny Gilmore, R-Hanford, got moved to the Doghouse. This is the nickname of the Capitol smallest legislative office, a 391-square-foot space that is only two-thirds the size of the next smallest office.

Gilmore’s “crime” was being the only Republican to pick up what had been a Democratic seat. He beat Democratic nominee Fran Florez by 1,310 votes. The race featured him being endorsed by the women who beat him for the same seat in 2006, moderate Democrat Nicole Parra. Parra later got moved all the way out of the Capitol and across the street for her disloyalty on a budget vote—though her support for Gilmore certainly didn’t help.

Gilmore had been in a 763 square foot space—a lot by the standards of a GOP freshman—but he took the move in stride, noting the nice view he gets by being on the outside edge of the firth floor. He also said that he’s seen a lot worse.

“I’m an ex-Marine,” Gilmore said. He added: “At least I’m still in the building.”

The Doghouse’s previous occupant, freshman Jeff Miller, R-Orange, moved to only slightly larger digs—526 feet on the third floor. In other moves, Republican sophomore Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, got a slight upgrade with his move out of what is considered the Capitol’s second-worst office. This in an inconveniently-designed 542 square feet on the second floor known as “The Elevator Shaft.” Predictably, it was a freshman Republican who got “shafted,” Dan Logue, R-Chico.

Several Democratic freshman moved to smaller offices as well: Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco; Bob Blumenfield, D-Van Nuys; Paul Fong, D-Mountain View; Isadore Hall, D-Compton; Nancy Skinner, D-El Cerrito. Assemblyman Tom Torlakson, D-Martinez, a former state Senator, had the dubious distinction as a veteran of moving from a 809 square foot office to a 783 foot one—one of the smallest among Democrats.

Some of you also contacted us to say that some offices that are generally dedicated to committees should be eliminated from the breakdown by party, because these big spaces must also accommodate big staff. For instance, Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, noted that the huge Assembly office he occupied last year—2,114 square feet—also had to fit his huge Assembly Appropriations Committee staff. New Approps chair Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles, now holds that space.

Leno is now a Senator, where he was just announced as the chair of the Public Safety Committee. But he now resides in a space about half the size.

“It’s true,” Leno said, “the square footage doesn’t reflect my success.”


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