Doug Willis, who for decades covered California politics for the Associated Press from his perch in Sacramento, was an amazing man – funny, balanced, sane, profoundly accurate, detail savvy and unflappable. He died Dec. 15 at the age of 77. He was my political mentor, friend and boss, hiring me in 1980 to come to Sacramento as news editor. I saw the move as a chance to report on state politics and learn from a master. I did both for 21 years.