David Roberti, the former leader of the state Senate and once one of California’s most prominent lawmakers, is still busy advocating for his favorite causes.
Roberti, a Los Angeles Democrat, was the youngest member of the California Legislature at the age of 26 when he won his first seat in the Assembly. After the Assembly he went to the Senate, where he spent 23 years in an array of positions, including Senate leader, one of the most powerful positions in California government.
In addition to environmental issues, he is also remembered for his efforts to ban assault weapons.
As a senator, Roberti fought to pass AB 939, California’s landmark waste management legislation. The bill required a reduction of waste by establishing an integrated program for solid waste planning.
David also pushed the Hazardous Waste Reduction Act of 1989. This act requires the State Department of Health Services to establish a program to reduce the production of hazardous waste, requires hazardous waste generators to accomplish source reduction and report on hazardous waste management practices, and establishes a set of procedures to monitor generator performance.
He served as Senate leader from 1980-1994. As leader, he chaired the Senate Rules Committee and shaped statewide policy in areas such as the state budget, economic development, health care cost containment and anticrime legislation.
In 1994 after Roberti sought the passage of the Roberti-Roos Weapons Control Act of 1989, the National Rifle Association launched a recall against Roberti.
The battle drained $1.5 million of his campaign funds at the time he was running for state treasurer.
His scarcity of funds allowed his opponent, Phil Angelides, to run attack ads against Roberti, a pro-life Democrat. Angelides’ tactics at the time still are remembered angrily by many Democrats in California.
Roberti lost the race for treasurer and began working for the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, where he stayed until 1998. Then, he went to the California Integrated Waste Management Board. There, Roberti was instrumental in crafting compromise proposals to the Legislature, which allowed the conversion of waste to energy and appropriated funds for its development.
This piece of legislation cut waste by 54 percent.
In 2002, Roberti opened his own law firm – Roberti Jensen LLP – giving him the freedom to choose the cases most pleasing to him.
His practice included government and business transactions, negotiations, and processes.
In 2005, Roberti took on a chore dear to his heart – lobbying for BioEnergy Producers Association.
Roberti no longer works at Roberti Jensen LLP, and instead serves as a lobbyist for BioEnergy.
Just this year, for example, he pushed hard for the passage of AB 222, a measure that faced fierce opposition from recyclers.
It seems as though perseverance pays off after all.