Easy, tigers. That was the message from Assembly Speaker Karen Bass last week when members of her caucus gathered for their weekly meeting. Bass was speaking about the apparent rush by some members to replace the sitting speaker. According to caucus sources, Bass simply wanted to stop  members from prematurely cobbling together votes to succeed Bass as Assembly leader. Some members had complained that the politicking had become a distraction. Bass said she wants speakership discussions tabled until January. Next year, she told the caucus, members can begin talking about a process of succession, and work out a time line for an orderly transition of power. That doesn’t mean Bass, who will be forced from the Assembly by term limits in 2010, will step aside in January – far from it. It just means January is the time that Bass is willing to begin having the discussion about the chronological inevitable. Kevin DeLeon, who has been aggressively courting members to his cause, has reportedly been telling members that he is closing in on his goal of securing a majority of the caucus, and is urging members to sign up with him or be left behind. Others in the speakership mix include Fiona Ma, Anthony Portantino, Mike Feuer and Isadore Hall.

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