Former Assemblyman Dick Floyd, D-Hawthorne, the savvy, flamboyant lawmaker
who savored profanity almost as much as a good cigar and indulged in both,
is happily ensconced in Harbor City. The Philadelphia-born, 74-year-old
Floyd tends to his chores as “a consultant to a few clients,” and keeps a
suspicious eye turned on California’s political landscape. He shuns
computers and follows news the old-fashioned way–on paper or TV–and works
the phones to stay in touch with friends and former colleagues.
The beefy, balding Floyd learned the Capitol ropes by working for more than
a decade as a staff aide to the late Sen. Ralph Dills of Gardena. Floyd was
a powerful personality when he served in Sacramento, and he was hard to
classify then–tough guy? blue-collar champion? bear with a heart of gold?
wheeler-dealer? aficionado of the common vices? It was a little bit of them
all perhaps during two stints in the Legislature, from 1980-92, and from
If he was in the Capitol now, he probably would be even more difficult to
nail down, because Floyd never quite fit the mold. A Korean War veteran,
Floyd relished his image of blunt-spoken, bare-knuckles advocate for the
working man, and that image–unlike those of many politicians–actually
reflected the inner man. He also was a fierce proponent of gambling–as a
lobbyist he once represented the card room industry–and hated attempts to
curb it. “I’m an advocate for any industry that provides 20,000-plus jobs to
this state,” he once told TV’s Frontline.
He was one of the few members of the Legislature to aggressively fight
against anti-smoking bills, at least in part because he hated anybody trying
to impinge on his personal habits, and in part because he railed against
what he felt was the moralistic posturing of his colleague. But he also led
the charge to force motorcyclists to wear helmets–a move that put him at the
top of the bikers’ most-hated lawmaker list. Former Gov. Pete Wilson later
signed the bill.
And then he angered gun-owners advocates by demanding gun control, in part
because of the horrific Columbine High School in Colorado.
“For over 20 years around here, I never spoke one time on any issue relating
to guns,” he once said. “(But) I am willing to not only vote for
everything, I’ll co-author every gun bill that comes along.”
But Floyd’s abrasive side remains: He called Capitol Weekly’s office after
reading our recent profile on Irwin Nowick, who noted that he–Nowick–was
still flourishing in the Capitol, while Floyd was long gone.
“That’s the guy who was always picking his nose. Well, I’m still here. I’m
right here in Harbor City. If Nowick gets within arm’s reach of me, I’ll
kick his ass.”