Chapter Three

              Transition to Sophmore With Sideburns
         During the first year at Sacramento there was a continual
   social swirl of nighttime entertainment--mostly dinners at
   expensive restaurants--with great food, gourmet style, all the
   liquor and fine wine you'd want and more than you should have. 
   In the 1st few weeks alone there were dozens of parties
   for legislators and their wives. Although they grew tiring
   Janet and I went to most of them, if only because we didn't
   know which ones not to attend.

        As time went by, parties subsided and lobbyist
   largesse settled down to a free lunch schedule for
   legislators. There was at least one choice available on 
   Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesdays. Then on Thursday
   came the big tent. A lot of the lobbyists* got together and
   threw a joint bash at the top of the Cosmo Hotel just south of
   the Capitol. It was a nice big room with an open full bar and
   waitresses to get you drinks if you found it embarrassing to
   sidle up for yourself. Tables were set in white linen. You
   could sit wherever you wanted. Large plate glass windows looked
   to the north over the Capitol grounds, with its hundred-foot
   tall evergreens, and down to the east on (tree-lined) 13th
   street. I think we were just about as high as a church steeple
   which rose on the other side of the street. . .Nectar and Am-
   *"Lobbyists": persons found in the lobbies of the great
   buildings, who are hired to haunt these hallways by: big
   business entities such as Bank of America, small limited
   purpose organizations like Calif. Society for Prevention of
   Cruelty to Animals, labor organizations, etc. In the '70's
   there were some 500 registered "Legislative Advocates" in Sac.,
   seeking to influence the decisions of 120 legislators.

   brosia in a setting for the Gods, so to speak. 
   There was an array of the choicest food from which to
   choose--shrimp, crab, lobster, whole peeled avocadoes, hot
   roasts with uniformed attendants ready to slice you any piece
   you wanted thick or thin, and of course desserts, from ordinary
   pies and cakes, to Chef's specialties smothered in whipped

        This weekly feast was called "Moose Milk". When I first
   heard the name, I was reminded of a story: Three hunters out in
   the wilds took turns doing the cooking, and established the
   rule that one would continue to cook until one of the others
   complained, at which time the complainer would have to take
   over. The first hunter had done so well he decided he should
   provoke complaint to get rid of the job, so he made a casserole
   from moose excrement. As they all leaned over their dishes to
   eat that night, one of his companions got a whiff of what he
   was about to eat and said, "Moose shit!...But Good." 

         This casserole obviously was missing from the menu at the top 
   of the Cosmo. I have no historically authentic information as to the
   reason for the Thursday lunch being named "Moose Milk", and no
   insightful or particularly imaginative guesses as to the real
   meaning of the name...maybe the lawmakers were to be seen as
   big moose, lubricating their lips in the richest milk, or
   maybe the lobbyists were the big people feeding milk to the
   suckling legislators. Anyway, more important to me than Moose-
   milk was its derivative diminutive counterpart, "Micemilk",
   organized by Assemblyman John Burton.

        "Micemilk", held in any available small conference
   room in the Capitol building on on Tuesdays at noon,
   was open to all Assembly Democrats and was
   usually attended by eager beavers desirous of trying out new
   ideas, swapping stories, and learning about hard questions of
   policy. Usual regular attendees amongst the freshmen were
   Vasconcellos, Sieroty, and myself. Older members in regular
   attendance were Burton, Brown, and Crown. "Micemilk" was
   somewhere in between a social event and a strategy session. 
   The chow consisted of bread, mayonnaise, mustard, cold
   cuts, peanut butter, velveeta or plain squares of american
   cheese, milk, soft drinks, and coffee.* Anyone attending paid 
   *At this very moment there sits in Janet's and my garage a
   plugged-in small "executive refrigerator" which is a survivor
   of Micemilk. John Burton bought it new in 1967 (33 years ago),
   when M.M. started, his purpose being to keep our lunch supplies
   cold from week to week between Micemilks. In 1974 John was
   elected to Congress in a special election and Micemilk
   officially ended. It had lost its zap a year or so before as
   most of its regular attendees got too busy to go every week.
   Anyway John gave the refrigerator to me when he left. I used it
   for the rest of my legislative career and gave it to my
   daughter Jill when I left Sacramento. She was an attorney for
   the State Water Board, and so it took up residence in a corner
   of her office. Finally, when she became the lawyer member of
   the Water Board, she gave the refrigerator back to me and I
   used it in San Francisco at my job on the Worker's Compensation
   Appeals Board sharing it with Bob Burton, John's younger
   brother, who was also a board member. I told Bob at some point
   I thought maybe it was trying to find its way back to John.
   "What goes around comes around" was his comment. When I left
   the job, Bob was leaving too, or it would've come around to
   him. So, I took it home to Napa and have been using it ever
   since as an extra overflow refrigerator.
   1$ for lunch. I went regularly and at times was amused or dis-
   appointed by its occasional deterioration into male chauvenism,
   but as a beginner I learned a lot there about the mechanics of
   pushing bills, and it was also a great place to bring forth a
   brainchild. Fully developed ideas seldom appeared at
   "Micemilk", but a lot of eventually successful ones received
   their baptismal certificates there and grew.

        The social whirl was a spinoff from the legislative merry-
   go-round, financed and inspired mostly by the lobbyists, who
   wanted to make friends with us, figuring if we were on a social
   basis it'd be harder for us to turn them down when they wanted
   our vote on an issue dear to their company. Jess Unruh is
   credited with a saying regarding lobbyists: "If you can't eat
   their food, drink their booze, sleep with their women, and vote
   against them, you don't belong here."* Anyway lobbyist parties
   continued on and off throughout the first year and after that
   they tapered off. Self-preservation told us to say no some of
   the time. Also as the lobbyists got to know us they were more
   selective in their invitations--the oil companies didn't want
   to put money into 'dry hole legislators', and agri-business
   interests preferred to provide nutrients for those who
   delivered paydirt. 

        One time during my first term I was invited to a lunch at
   the Senator Hotel, given by Monroe Butler, lobbyist for Super-
   *"Politics is the art of Taking Credit"--another Unruhism.

   ior Oil Company. As I walked into the upstairs private dining 
   room, the Host Lobbyist was there, along with a couple of
   Republican Assemblyman colleagues in my 'freshman class'. I
   joined them in a drink, probably either a gin or a bourbon on
   the rocks, either of them being my usual pleasure. As time went
   by other Freshman Assemblymen trickled in. I began to feel
   uncomfortable, looking around for one of my Democratic
   colleagues to show up--the Republicans were telling stories and
   talking about parties which I hadn't been to--and they were all
   very friendly with our host, whom I barely knew. By the time
   the room was filled, I still hadn't spotted any of my goodguy
   friendly Democrats, and I wondered if I'd been invited by
   mistake. I wished I wasn't there but didn't know how to leave
   without being obvious about it so I stuck it out. 
   When we sat down to lunch, there were sixteen of us, all
   Freshman Assemblymen and all except one, Republican. 

       The main course was an exotic shellfish casserole--I detest all
   shellfsh. I ate as little of it as I could get away with and
   still be polite. I had a lot of bread and several glasses of
   wine. I wondered if I was inhibiting the conversation, and half
   expected to be suddenly challenged from across the table,
   "Dunlap! What are YOU doing here??!" When a couple of the
   guests excused themselves on account of early committee
   hearings, I followed suit. I hadn't wanted to be the very first
   to leave. I had been very uncomfortable--a little like a bad 
        Later that afternoon my secretary got a call from Monroe
   Butler apologizing for his mistake and promising he'd make it
   up to me someday with an invitation to a real party. Apparently
   the lunch had been given for all the freshman Republican
   Assemblymen and I was mistakenly included, maybe because Monroe
   Butler had known my uncle, Republican Senator Coombs (of whom
   he spoke when we initially said hello), and associated me with
   him. It was a lousy stupid experience which I carried off as
   gracefully as anybody could have. As I think about it now I
   feel a mild pleasure thinking that my presence probably
   dampened the Republican fun. If so, that was the only good
   thing about it.

        By the day we first arrived at the Capitol, the
   'leadership' had, as I mentioned before, assigned us our seats
   on the floor of the Assembly. My assigned seatmate, Ernie
   Mobley, was a Republican niceguy legislator from Sanger, a
   small city in Fresno County. I don't know why we were put
   together; was I supposed to influence him or he me? --maybe
   they just figured one cow county deserves another. The big
   bosses also assigned us our Capitol offices, and when I chose
   my secretary I chose her from a pool hired and supervised by
   the leadership. Dorothy Loviach had been a secretary for
   another Assemblyman who'd gone on to the senate, and hadn't
   taken her with him. During the 'second week of classes', when 
   Speaker Unruh's chief flunky came in to interview me for
   permanent office selection, I said I didn't care which one I
   got, but said I wanted a window with an outside view--some
   offices had windows which looked across an interior light well
   into the windows of other offices. He looked at me and made a
   mark on the papers he carried and in a curt, pompous way said,
   "Request for view noted." I ignored his authoritarian manner. A
   couple of months later I was to receive a far more acid comment
   from his boss, Jess Unruh.

        Following the interview, Jess's CAO (Chief Administrative
   Officer) took his papers upstairs and I didn't think any more
   about it until the following Friday when I was in my Napa
   district office and I received a frantic phonecall from
   Dorothy, "Mr. Dunlap," she said, "we've been assigned and are
   being moved to a sixth floor office in between the men's
   restroom and the cafeteria and it'll smell of soup every day at
   noon and what're you going to do about it?" "I don't know what
   I can do about it," I said at first.

        She was adamant that I call the CAO. Her dignity and
   status were threatened. I didn't want to call him but was
   afraid she might think I didn't have any guts if I didn't. So I
   thought about it for a minute and realized it was something I
   had to do to obtain and/or maintain her respect. I had to also
   consider that she very likely had a better awareness than I did
   of the importance of office location and amenities to the image 
   and success of a legislator, particularly a freshman. I didn't
   want to get stuck with an office known to all for its
   undesirability, like as if some of it would rub off on me.

        In any event, I called him, saying that I guessed I'd
   been too accomodating, and that the sixth floor soup kitchen
   annex wouldn't do for the fifth assembly district, and that I
   didn't demand the Taj Mahal, but would he please check into
   finding me another spot. Later that day Dorothy called back to
   advise me of our 'victory'. The new office was located in what
   for her was a prestigous position--on the second floor between
   two of the Speaker's chief henchmen. It gave her a chance to be
   close to the secretarial staff of two big shots. The office
   turned out to be too damn small, but it was still bigger than
   any of my law offices had been. However, when the Solano County
   Board of Supervisors visited me we had to borrow the fifth
   visitor's chair.
        When interviewed by the Sacramento Bee as a freshman
   legislator, I described my office as a 'small house on King's


        Dorothy Loviach was an excellent capitol secretary for a
   beginner like me. She knew the ropes and bolstered my self-
   confidence. In April of '67 I got a challenging phonecall from
   a superior court judge (who later happened to become president
   of the Sierra Club and as such nationally known). Ray was
   calling because he and the Sierra Club opposed a bill which
   would've facilitated development of the Mineral King area (near
   Sequoia National Park in Tulare County) by Disney Enterprises. 
   Disney wasn't going to put in a 'Mountain World' with rubber
   rock climbing--just an ordinary ski resort with all the
   appurtenant extravagances. 

        The judge wanted personal interviews with everybody on the
   committee that was going to hear the bill. Superior Court
   Judges were Jesus Christ to lawyers and I was a lawyer and also
   in this case Ray and I agreed 100 percent on protection of the
   High Sierras from the unnecessary incursion of auto traffic. So
   I wanted to help him, and when I told Dorothy about it she took
   the bull by the horns and had all the interviews set up for him
   at his convenience within the next two days. I wouldn't have
   had the nerve or the knowhow to accomplish this myself then,
   and she just took it as a matter of course. Ray called me on
   the phone a little later to say "thanks for setting up the
   appointments, I think I put a dent in it." 

       Soon after this, we killed the bill in committee. It was a major coup
   for a beginner like me. Dorothy, by her approach to the problem had
   given me some understanding of the power of my office. Later, I
   got to feeling more confident of myself and had less need for a
   guardian, and Dorothy got a better paying job as a committee

        In the first few weeks of my first term in 1967, the
   leadership did a perfunctory job of telling the freshmen
   legislators about the tools of the trade. (When I say
   'leadership', I mean the Assembly power structure, which 
   centers around the Speaker). Even to me it was obvious that
   they were more interested in telling us about our perqs
   (priviledges of office) than in telling us how to do our job.
   The leadership had a lot of power and wanted to keep it, so
   they tried to busy our heads with what kind of keen cars we got
   and all the other goodies spread out on the table. There were
   34 new members, as I said, out of a total of 80. I guess those
   in charge felt threatened. Not only had the Democratic
   majority been decreased, but also, a lot of the new Democrats
   owed nothing to the Speaker. In my case, he backed one of my
   opponents in the primary.


        The glamour and mechanics of the legislature are like the
   glitter and mechanism of a merry-go-round--to some extent I was
   dazzled, as they intended me to be, by the perqs, by the
   trappings, by the music and the flashing lights--but I got to
   know how things worked and how to work some of them myself
   after a while.
        You wise up to the fact that you're on a merry-go-round,
   but you don't do it right away. And some of the changes you set
   out to make are best begun blindly anyway (while others seem to
   require that you become All-Seeing).

        I didn't work great changes in society in the time I was
   in office. In a relatively short time I abandoned the horse
   that went in all directions and traded it in on a treadmill
   (i.e. one-man merry-go-round) which I learned to operate. It 
   didn't (seem to) take great skill, just constant activity. The
   more active I got, the more the treadmill responded and kept me
   moving. I was trying to hook it up to State Government--it was
   possible to move it--a little. Sometimes I was just spinning

        Some of the time when you're off the treadmill you look
   back and think things you thought were vitally important really
   weren't--and some of the time when you thought you were getting
   something done you might as well have been providing power for
   the 'Capitol Carousel': as if a belt linked your treadmill to a
   big merry-go-round whirring around the hub of the Capitol Dome,
   with legislators hopping on and off, riding marble statues
   instead of horses, and looking and acting as pleased with
   themselves as seven year old children, smiling, sucking
   lollipops, grabbing for gold rings. And in the center of the
   Dome (cathedral-like, four stories high) playing a discordant
   duet on the Capitol Carousel Calliope, are 'Big Daddy' Jess
   Unruh, and a tall slender man named Ronald Reagan.

        Jess Unruh had been Speaker of the Assembly since 1962,
   Ways and Means Chairman before that, and was still going strong
   when I arrived at Sacramento. Because California Democrats
   never have been well organized in the sense of following a
   party line, he wasn't 'Boss' of the party in California. But he
   was as near to it as anyone at the State Capitol could have
   been. His rival for power on the Democratic side had been 
   Governor Pat Brown, who then was defeated by Ronald Reagan,
   (soon to become Unruh's current rival for power.) 

        Being in the state legislature isn't like being President
   or a U.S. Senator, but I was one of 120 policy makers in the
   largest (population-wise that is) state of the United States
   and I had a vote and in time developed a voice which carried
   some weight, and important things did happen in my years in
   Sacramento. Our combined treadmills did effect some changes.
   Progressive legislators (90% Democrats) had ideas and ideals
   and they surfaced in legal changes.

        We started to protect the earth from human exploitation
   and women from laws developed by a male dominated society. We
   provided better educational opportunities for those who didn't
   fit stereotype molds including those raised in non-English
   speaking homes and the physically handicapped. We put the word
   "joy" in the education code. I did this one myself, authoring
   an "alternative education" bill, which passed the legislature
   two years in a row but was vetoed both years by Governor
   Reagan. Finally, when it passed a third time, it was signed by
   Governor Jerry Brown (in 1975). Just using the word joy in the
   education code doesn't create joy in education, of course. Its
   presence in the code merely created opportunity for innovative



        The bill was originally prepared by a student intern I
   had, a smart kid from Davis named Jonathan...Something. His 
   original version was more flambuoyant than it ended up being,
   still, the bill started with a preface about how students
   marched into class to the click of a clock, and sat in rows,
   and learned formulae by rote, and generally did things in a way
   which tended to stifle personal initiative, imagination, and
   curiosity. The key language in the Alternative Schools Bill
   stressed providing opportunity for students to develop
   responsibility and assume initiative, and to experience joy in
   the process of education. The word "joy" was intended to be a
   shocker in the bill--it's not normally the kind of thing that
   goes into an education bill--normally in the educational
   curriculum you have reading, writing, math, history, and the
   wildest thing might be ...literature. A lot of members of the
   board of education didn't like our bill and considered it
   treading on their territory. They were tradition-bound, and
   though traditional subject-matter might incidentally help
   students develop initiative, curiosity, etc, the primary
   objective was to drill factual information and skills into
   students--they didn't necessarily want them feeling joy or
   developing too much curiosity--that might be threatening to
   them. Recognizing that there is room for "Joy" in the
   educational experience, and that the best learning take place
   when the student learns solely because he/she wants to learn,
   was our objective.

        More on "Progressive Legislation in the 1970's":

     We also improved laws preventing unfair discrimination. 
   Blacks, Chicanos, women, physically handicapped and other people
   discriminated against now have better legal rights when it
   comes to getting service in restaurants and supermarkets,
   finding places to live, and getting jobs. As an example of
   this, in my first year in the Assembly, Verna Canson, lobbyist
   for the NAACP. called on me at my Capitol office asking me to
   carry a bill to enlarge the scope of the California Fair
   Employment Practices Act, which prevented discrimination in
   employment based on race, color, or creed. I told her I would
   and I sent her rough draft of the bill to Legislative Counsel
   (a group of lawyers hired to work for the legislature) and when
   the final draft was ready, I introduced it on the floor.

        I assumed Verna had contacted me because she learned of my
   concern for racial justice through local NAACP leaders in
   Vallejo. As originally adopted, the Fair Employment Practices
   law did not apply to Nonprofit Corporations, which remained
   free to discriminate based on race, regardless of employment
   qualifications. The new bill corrected that. I was happy to
   have a chance to work on it.

        There was some opposition when the bill was heard in
   committee, but I got support from more than a majority
   (necessary to refer the bill to the floor of the Assembly). It
   was the first really controversial bill I debated and handled
   on the Assembly floor. I was green and scared but quite deter-
   mined. The debate went okay, but after the close of all
   arguments, with time for further debate terminated and the
   initial vote taken, I had only 40 aye votes, and a majority of
   41 was necessary for passing. Mild panic set in; I didn't know
   what to do. Then Assemblyman Willie Brown came over to my desk.

        Willie told me that Republican Paul Priolo would vote for my bill
   if I were to first publically on record state that I would
   amend it in the Senate in a minor way which would not weaken
   the purpose of the bill. Although I agreed with the substance
   of the amendment, I was at a loss as to how to put my position
   publically on record. The time for all debate had closed.
   Willie said I should seek recognition on the basis of "Point of
   Information" and ask the Speaker when it would be appropriate
   for me to tell Mr. Priolo that I would place his amendment in
   the bill in the Senate.

        My Lawyer-like limits bothered me and I told Willie I
   couldn't knowingly break the rules. Willie said, "It's true you
   will be skirting the rules, but you have to do it, it's the
   only way." Faced with this advice from a veteran I respected
   and admired, I couldn't do anything but try it.

        I got recognition and did what Willie said. The Speaker Pro Tem,
   Carlos Bee, remonstrated me saying, "Mr. Dunlap, you're out of
   order." I apologized, Mr. Priolo changed his vote to Aye, and
   the bill passed the Assembly. In the Senate, with the amendment
   in it, the bill was still defeated in the government efficiency 
   committee. The chairman told me that the Elk's club in Fresno 
   (Elk's is a Nonprofit organization) liked to employ all Chinese
   waiters in their diningroom. In later years, another legislator
   succeeded with my 1967 bill.


        That same day, one of the Republican Assemblymen who had
   voted against the bill came up to me and asked, "How come you
   were carrying a bill like that?" He meant, you're not black,
   why should you be involved for them. I had previously thought
   him to be a nice friendly guy; obviously he was infected with
   racism. He wasn't going to publically try to put blacks or
   other minority races down, but he sure wasn't on the side of
   reform. That's a little preachy, but it touches on a principle
   that's important. I didn't then, and don't now, look on creating
   real equal opportunity as just a benefit to a discriminated-
   against group, but rather as a benefit to all our society.
   Discrimination in housing, education, and employment is wrong,
   and when something is wrong, the whole structure suffers, not
   just those intimately affected. 

        I came to know a lot about issues and images, bureaucrats
   and lobbyists, political power-brokers, candor, charisma, and
   cartoons. I discovered also that it was hard to do justice to
   my job as a politician and to take good care of my family. I
   did start some important changes, and I was about the most
   progressive legislator who could have served from my area. 
   And, I had fun doing it--not fun and games type fun--but
   something more satisfying, bringing with it moments of

        However, for the most part during my first two years I
   wasn't charting a course, I was just out there in the storm
   reacting to external events--just surviving. Some of the time I
   thought I was doing when I was really just learning. But with
   two years experience, I knew the ropes; I could be efficient,
   and more aggressive. I felt like a different person; of course,
   I wasn't--but, because my image of myself was better, I was
   better, and because I was better, my image of myself was
   better, and this couplet of actuality and image went on
   together, feeding on each other, finally disappearing in a
   spiral in the high heavens.

        I really was riding high--through the clouds, on my
   treadmill--I didn't look then, but later I did, and noticed it
   was a long way down.


        I began my second term in the Assembly 'sporting long
   sideburns', to borrow a phrase coined by the Napa Register, my
   news nemesis. (The Register was the only daily newspaper
   published in Napa County.) They photographed Janet and me
   during the swearing-in ceremony on the floor of the house. This
   was January of 1969, and the sideburns weren't the only change
   that'd taken place. I'd dropped my crewcut and I didn't look or
   act (so I thought anyway) like a smalltown lawyer anymore.
   Napa, at this time, was changing too, from an Ag community or
   'cow county', to a more swanky suburbia/tourist attraction.

        As the second term started, I reached the height of my
   involvement with perqs, or the trappings of office, epitomized
   by my lease car, an expensive Thunderbird with everything on
   it, including a power sunroof. I remember on one occasion
   driving south on Interstate 5 at a speed of 115 miles per hour,
   with my teenage son David looking out the back window for the
   Calfornia Highway Patrol. The car had safety tires and all the
   power in the world, and it was a very straight road, but I
   wouldn't do it today, I'd just be late for that meeting in
   Fresno, and set a better example for my son.

        All legislators get a new state-financed car every two
   years. In '69 the permitted rental allowance was 200 dollars a
   month; you could pay more yourself and get anything you wanted.
   Some went first class with Cadillacs and Lincolns. I thought my
   Thunderbird was hot stuff, but it only cost me 37 dollars a 
   month, and the state credit card absorbed the cost of gas and
   repairs to boot. It was really nice to have a luxurious car
   without having to pay through the nose for it. Janet and I
   would never have spent our own money for it.

        Our cars were intended for some personal use--to justify
   this they made us pay 10 percent of the lease price even if we
   were at the minimum. Once, when my son's jeep broke down 300
   miles from home, we rented a towbar and drove down to get it in
   my state car, gas paid for by the people. At least I didn't
   soak them for the towbar.

        Another time I'd driven to the Capitol from Napa with our
   female St. Bernard, Little Bit, in the back seat of the car.
   From there I sent the dog on, with the Assembly Sergeant-at-
   Arms in my place as chauffeur, and the dog sitting up in the
   back. Mrs. Richbitch was on her way to a kennel in Carmichael
   to be bred. It's amazing how easily I got into the habit of
   having other people do things for me--I mean the chauffeuring,
   not the breeding.

        On one occasion when I was in the Senate a vigilante
   constituent thought he had caught me red-handed misusing my
   state vehicle. He also thought he had the evidence to prove it,
   and sent it to the Governor's office.

        He had taken a couple of pictures of my younger son Peter
   on his egg route delivering eggs in what he thought to be my
   state car. Marc Poche, Governor Brown's legislative secretary, 
   came to see me evidencing some concern. The pictures were of
   Peter, and he was delivering eggs, but not in my state vehicle.
   Peter was using Janet's and my same old Dodge Dart, which did
   have senate licence plates, but the car was ours and even the
   auto licence itself was paid for by Janet and me. Legislators
   may have an extra legislative plate for their own persnal car
   if they want, and I had chosen to have one. Photographs of the
   car, and reproduction of the correspondence illustrating my
   constituent's indignation and our somewhat playful responses,



           Perhaps partially because of this incident I finally
     chose anonymity over vanity and I decided it would be better
     not to have legislative plates on our Dart. I changed to
     regular plates, and kept the S4s plate as a souvenir. 

          The final fate of S4s is interesting. After I had left
     the legislature I received a letter from a Doctor in a
     midwestern state. His hobby was collecting unusual license
     plates and he was apparently writing all former legislators in
     California to see if they had any spare plates they would part
     with for a reasonable sum. My S4s plate was occupying a
     relatively obscure place on my workbench in our garage so I
     wrote him saying I'd be glad to send it to him for the cost of
     mailing. He was very pleased and immediatly sent me his check
     for $7.50, which more than covered the cost of sending it to
     him. So S4s has gone from the Dart and the egg route to my
     workbench to a Doctor's tack board or whatever, in, I think,
     St. Paul, Minnesota.

          Even those who are part of government can't seem to break
     the habit of trying to get the best of the system. This is
     what I did a little with my state car. We also had telephone
     credit cards and I used mine occasionally for family purposes.
     I wish I could say I hadn't abused any legislative privilege,
     but obviously I did. Pencils came home with me, also full
     boxes of felt-tip pens and postage stamps--all this amounted
     to darn little, but I wish I hadn't allowed myself to take advantage  
     of the situation. If you've spent too much of your
     life scrounging for a dollar, it's hard not to be greedy. At
     the time we used to justify rewarding ourselves because we
     knew we were underpaid and most of us could've made a lot more
     money out in the private sector.* This was a phoney-baloney
     rationalization. Even those who were rich and didn't need to,
     tried to beat the system.

          I wasn't amassing a fortune during these years--I had
     property--two acres and a house--and maybe 5,000 dollars in a
     savings account--but I was still paying for what I 'owned',
     and we were often short of cash, so I probably felt like every
     five dollars I saved on gas, phone bills, or postage, brought
     me a little closer to total control over my life.


           In the first two years at the Capitol I'd gotten to know
     most of the players (as I've said). The stars were Unruh,
     Reagan, Monagan**, Crown***, and Willie Brown.**** Vasconcellos 
     *As a begining State Assemblyman in 1966 I made a little over
     $16,000 a year. As an attorney the prior year I had earned
     about $40,000. Some attorneys of course made a lot more than
     that and my income had been increasing. However, becoming a
     legislator was a matter of choice, and it was personally if
     not financially more rewarding. 
     **Robert Monagan: Assembly Republican minority leader 1966-68,
     Speaker of the Assembly 1969-70. Joined Nixon Administration
     in 1971-72, to later return to California as Lobbyist for
     Calif. Manufacturers Assoc.
     ***Bob Crown: Chairman of Ways and Means Committee. Died 1970.
     Killed while jogging, by a motorist in a crosswalk. 
     ****Willie Brown: Flambuoyant San Francisco Assemblyman.
     Chairman Ways and Means 1971-74. Speaker of the Assembly 1982-
     -1996. Mayor of San Francisco presently. At one time, a
     Ridiculer of 'Rambler' owners.

     and Sieroty were a couple of the young hopefuls. (Elected
     along with me in '66, they became my closest allies at the
     Capitol.) There were good guys and bad guys. Some I really
     liked, some I was at odds with, a few I held a little in awe.
     There were cocky guys who acted like they knew it all, and
     wanted you to think just that--some of them I found out
     actually knew damn little. Being able to see this helped me
     realize I needn't be ashamed by my own knowledge or ability.
     One thing I didn't learn in my first two years was how to
     handle power bosses such as Jess Unruh.

          Jess was a Democrat--one of the good guys in most of what
     he stood for politically--but his methods were those of a
     power monger. I feared him, I admired him, but didn't like
     him--and I imagine he could've cared less. 

          It would be impossible to write a story about California
     politics in the 60's without some reference to Jess Unruh. My
     perception of him is admittedly critical--tinged with
     begrudging admiration. I hasten to say that I did not know him
     well nor personally. In fairness to him I should say there may
     have been a warm Jess Unruh, unrevealed to me.

          A method power manipulators use is to belittle or make
     fun of a person and avoid having to deal with their idea--this
     is exactly what Unruh did to me on one occasion when, at a
     Democratic caucus* (circa 1967), I came forth with what I 
     *private meeting of Democrats in the Assembly (no set times). 
     thought was a progressive and practical idea--Jess said,
     "John, you've already gotten your head run over once with a
     lawnmower" (I had a very short haircut), "maybe you'd better
     hold back on that one." He might as well have said you're
     going to get yourself clipped again, you goddamn fool. Instead
     of responding to the idea he called attention to my haircut*--
     this was brilliant, and manipulative; humorous, but it put me
     down. He smothered my idea without taking it on at all.
     Anybody who thought I had a good idea wouldn't be about to
     risk speaking up for it at that point. I felt that Unruh had
     belittled me personally, and he had. He 'walked on my ego'--he
     'trod the bulk of his large frame on my small ego.'

          A few years prior to this time Unruh had been grossly
     obese and had acquired the name Big Daddy. Jess was a former
     U.S.C. football player and he was not small. Even after he
     lost the weight he kept the name Big Daddy. I remember him
     presiding over an Assembly Democratic Caucus just before the
     budget vote in '67. He needed to be sure he had a two-thirds
     vote for the budget, and Jess would turn from one to another
     like an orchestra leader without a baton, and say, "You can
     vote for this budget--I want you to." A brave soul here and
     there stood up to him and refused. At this point my ear itched
     *As I said, I started my time at the Capitol with the same
     crewcut I'd had for 17 years practicing law and only at the
     end of my first year did I let my hair grow to a normal
     length. Sideburns followed re-election.
     something awful--I was afraid to reach up and scratch it or 
     Jess would think I was volunteering to vote for his budget. I 
     didn't. He didn't ever quite get to me. I would have said no, 
     and it would have been very embarrassing and hard, and I'm
     certainly glad I didn't have to.

           In 1967 the powers of the Speaker included the authority
     to decide what committees every member would serve on. I
     filled out a form giving Education as my first choice and
     stating what I thought were excellent qualifications. Two of
     my three years in the Army Air Corps in World War Two were
     spent as an aerial gunnery instructor and I had been an
     elected school trustee for eleven years. All members had
     interviews about committee appointments with the Speaker. When
     it came time for mine Jess opened up point blank, "John, I'm
     not sure I can appoint you to the Ed committee. There are 34
     new members and half of you want to be on it."

          I felt some strong response was immediatly necessary and
     so off the top of my head I said, "I've had more vicarious
     experience with the whole of the state education system than
     any of the rest of them." I went on to explain that my
     daughter Jill was a freshman at U.C. Santa Barbara, my son
     David was a junior in high school, Peter was in fourth grade,
     and Jane was in kindergarten. Unruh probably grunted "Well,
     maybe." Anyway, when the committee lists were published ten
     days later I'd made it.
          A few years later Jess asked me to fix a speeding ticket
     for his son, that is, to get a judge in my district to dismiss
     the charge. An Assemblyman can't just go out and stop the
     legal process and save people from tickets whenever he wants,
     but he can sometimes. I called the Vallejo judge, who said
     he'd do it if I thought it'd help me with Unruh. This was the
     only time in twelve years I asked for what I considered an
     unfair political favor, and as I look back on it I probably
     would have impressed Jess more if I'd just said, "I don't fix

          Ordinarily, the California Highway Patrol didn't give
     legislators speeding tickets (this priviledge didn't extend to
     members of their families). The theory of it was that a
     legislator on state business often had to get from place to
     place rapidly--sort of an unofficial legislative immunity
     existed. So, when the road was clear and I was in a hurry, I'd
     go 70, 80, 85 miles per hour. You might see three or four
     legislators' cars on Interstate 80 on Monday morning bombing
     from the bay area to the Capitol. 

          Unruh was born one day before me, just my age, but I
     never felt his equal. He was a power seeker and at this time
     and this place this was the name of the game. I saw power
     seeking, as an end in itself, as wrong. You need power, it's
     true, but obtaining power 'for its own sake', even in lofty
     legislative halls, didn't seem to me any more of a worthy 
     accomplishment than becoming a good weight lifter or tiddly
     winks champion.

          The abstract idea of "power" came up once when I was
     participating in a 'Great Books' discussion course, in the
     early 50's. I remember being unable to swallow Nietzche's
     'Philosophy of the Crownflower'. The Crownflower works its way
     in and around all its companion vegetation in the jungle so it
     can climb to the top and bask in the open sun (a demonstration
     supposedly of the pure impulse to possess power.) Nietzche
     implied man was compelled to do the same, stepping on and
     otherwise using his fellow man to climb to the top . I share
     this compulsion, to a degree, but I'm not sure what good it
     does me, and its universal application obviously would adopt
     the law of the jungle for ....mankind, legislators, everyone.

         There are also other more worthwhile natural human impulses or
     instincts--including Mothering/Fathering, the will to
     sacrifice or just share; to cooperate or innovate. Great
     satisfaction comes from puzzle and problem solving; from
     discovering useful things.

          When Robert Kennedy ran for president in 1968 and won the
     California primary against Senator Gene McCarthy, Jess Unruh
     had been Kennedy's California Campaign Chairman. He had also
     been a strong supporter of President John Kennedy and close to
     the Kennedy family. Unruh was usually unemotional; however,
     following Robert Kennedy's assassination election night, Jess let
     his emotions get ahead of him. The L.A. County Coroner, in
     applying the law to his post mortem duties, was creating a
     situation hard for the Kennedy family and inconsistent with
     ordinary funeral plans. Jess tried to jam through some sort of
     emergency bill or procedure for the family's benefit. He was
     humanely motivated. Usually he sat back in his offices behind
     the Speaker's platform, and pulled strings like manipulating
     puppets, but not this time. He was out on the floor personally
     joining in debate and cajoling legislators for votes, saying
     things like 'we've got to protect RFK's body from that
     butcher.' I don't remember the details nor the end result. I
     do remember it as the only time I ever saw him lose his cool
     and display his humanity.

         Despite my criticisms, I recognized that Unruh was one of
     the good guys. He wanted to be on top and stay there, but most
     of the time when he was there he used his power for what both
     he and I thought was the common good (unlike the Crownflower.
     which simply basks and reaches higher).

          Number One on my bad guy list was Governor Ronald Reagan.
     Reagan was a manipulator, but of a different breed from Unruh.
     Appearing on the scene at a time when television was becoming
     the stage for politics, he appealed to the masses over the
     boob tube, while Unruh, less good looking, and less able to
     smile although far more knowledgeable and far more committed
     to controlling government's role in society, worked behind the 
     scenes in the halls of the legislature. Unruh's wealth of
     knowledge was coupled with a mind like the proverbial steel
     trap--he was admired, however, more than he was liked. Reagan 
     could never be said to have a mind like a steel trap, but he
     was clever, and was probably liked more than he was admired.
     He projected "authenticity" and was able to create an
     impression of disarming honesty. He could appear to be "a nice
     guy who could laugh at himself". His retort to "YOU MEAN YOU
     WANT TO ELECT AN ACTOR AS PRESIDENT!!??" was, "I don't see
     how you can be President if you're NOT an actor."
          For Reagan the Act was the objective, rather than some
     law or political event. The Performance--looking good and
     being loved--was everything. Reagan, as president, showed the
     same tendency--at a cabinet meeting he might ask a trusted
     aide, 'What am I supposed to say?', rather than 'What are we
     trying to accomplish?'

          Reagan had a little of the religous zeal, the kind that
     would lead you to want to acquire power and use it--for the
     glory of God or the USA--but it was his God, or his USA, not a
     dynamic growing body politic. Reagan's strength lay in the
     fact that he saw things simply, and presented them to the
     public in an even simpler, though often deceptive, form.
     "Government by Press Release" was a term some of us used
     to describe Reagan's bill shenanigans. We'd hear a speech or
     see a press release about legislation being introduced to 
     accomplish this that and the other thing (intended to "solve"
     a particular problem) and we'd go look for the legislation and
     we'd find that it either wasn't there, hadn't been introduced,
     or didn't do what the press release said it did, or it'd been
     introduced in "Dummy" form with substance to be figured out
     later. We had a Paper Tiger by the tail (a tail which he could shed
     like a lizard if you grabbed it).

          Reagan was a master salesman and manipulator of the
     Deceptive Halftruth. A very few days after his swearing-in, he
     and his director of finance launched a media blitz to
     demonstrate the 'utterly deplorable' condition of California
     State Government Finances. They released the statement,

     The State of California is spending a million
     dollars a day more than it is taking in--

     blaming the fiscal quagmire on the spending programs of the
     previous Democratic Administration. This statement was
     included in his budget message, in his State of the State
     Address, and in numerous press releases throughout January and
     February 1967, and it was literally true, but Reagan's truth
     failed to take into account seasonal finances. Like the poem
     says, In the depths of Winter, Spring cannot be far behind. In
     the winter of the fiscal year, before tax revenues come into
     the treasury, money only dribbles in, while most expenses are 
     prorated throughout the year on a relatively even basis. A
     large part of the state's money doesn't come in until April,
     income tax time. Reagan's purpose in painting this horrible
     picture of the state's economy wasn't just to blame Democrats,
     he wanted to justify both tax increases and draconian cuts in
     the social service programs.

          The second of Reagan's 'Deceptive Halftruths' which I
     observed involved one of our social service programs. The
     mental health services, during 8 years of the Pat Brown
     administration, had made progress--general conditions and
     treatment techniques were improving. Patient admissions to
     state hospitals each year were increasing, but because more
     people were being treated and released cured, or better,
     anyway, the actual number of patients living on hospital
     grounds at any one time was down. Reagan, coming onto the
     scene with an idea to reduce government, period, but in
     particular to reduce social services, chose the statistic
     which suited his purpose, and began issuing statements like

         As experts from my district testified, you could
     warehouse patients indefinitely in the back wards with less staff,
     but continuing the policy of treatment, "cure", and release,
     required maintenance of a higher ratio. Reagan's 'selective
     statistics' no doubt convinced some people, and his policies, 
     whether publically sanctioned or not, did do damage to the
     State Hospital System.

          Another of Reagan's trick statements (he said it in '67,
     and he never stopped saying it) was,
     The sales tax is a fair tax, because you can
     decide how much you want to pay--by not buying,
     you can choose not to pay.
         This premise is wrong to start with, because people should not
     have the option to pay or not pay taxes. But also, if there is
     an option, everyone should have it equally. The sales tax
     gives the "option" more to one group, and not so much to
     another. Lower income people have little choice how much sales
     tax they pay. They spend pretty much all they earn on
     consumables--a used car to get to work in, diapers,
     toothpaste, toilet paper; a refrigerator to keep family food
     cold. In other words they spend pretty much everything that
     comes in. A larger percentage of their income is hit by the
     sales tax, compared to the wealthy, who have extra income that
     they don't have to spend and do have the choice whether to
     break into it and buy a fancy car, a sophisticated computer,
     or a state-of-the-art stereo, (thus paying sales tax on these
     items.) And then, also, a lot of the things only the wealthy
     can buy aren't subject to the sales tax: second homes, stock 
     and other investments, expensive opera tickets.

         As a begining legislator I was shocked to think that the
     governor would so manipulate the truth. As a practicing
     attorney for 17 years I was thoroughly familiar with the
     adversary system and the fact that it's not up to an advocate
     to 'Tell All'--we have to put our best foot forward, but
     sometimes we might be hiding the fact that the other foot is
     not so good. Still, I have no trouble saying that an
     'advocate' should't deceive by trick or device, i.e. through
     emphasizing one fact or statistic which creates a fog
     obscuring the whole truth.

          Reagan and his director of finance used this numbers game
     over and over during the budget process. I got over being
     shocked by it and began to look for and expect his trick
     phrases. The examples I mention are only a few of what was for
     Reagan and his cohorts a standard modus operandi. In the short
     run they could get away with this, because there weren't
     enough of us with sufficient press and media coverage to
     counteract it. The Democratic Leadership was so stunned by his
     election and so outclassed by his media presentations it
     didn't respond as loud and strong as it should have. In this
     respect Unruh failed. However, several of us acted as an
     unofficial self-appointed Truth Squad, doing our best at least
     in our own districts to unmask his deceptive halftruths. We
     were a leaderless group, yet we acted in concert, without 
     anyone to tell us what to do (although we did talk to each
     other and may have swapped techniques.) As Mice Milk developed
     we had better coordination and showed some real elements of "The
     Squad"--certainly Mice Milk's sharing involved anti-Reagan
     pitches, but bear in mind even older members of the
     legislature had no prior experience with a governor of the
     opposite party whose philosophy threatened the existence of
     programs they helped develop and had previously taken for

         It was a relief in 1975 to be joined at the Capitol (in 8
     years Reagan had run his course, as far as state politics was
     concerned) by Jerry Brown, a governor with some philosophical
     kinship. It did in fact release some of my energy for more
     creative projects such as: 1. "Joy" 2. Collective bargaining
     for Farm Workers 3. Protection of the ozone layer in the
     stratosphere from fluorocarbon propellants in aerosol cans 4.
     Protection of workers from discrimination based on non work-
     related disabilities 5.Creating a State Bank 6.Requiring
     "piecharts" on packaged food products, to show the percentage
     of sugar. My success in some of these may have contributed to
     my eventual undoing (melodramatic foreshadowing).

          I noticed that Reagan as President still used his same
     old tactics. I heard a news commentator use the term
     'selective revelation' when speaking of Reagan's White House.
     I was not surprised--in a way it bored me, and I didn't, 
     directly, do anything about it. However, in 1967 I delighted
     in ferreting out the whole truth, and speaking about it to my
     colleagues, my constituents, my wife, my kids, and anyone else
     who would listen, including my St. Bernard Little Bit, who at
     least wouldn't have argued with a member of the Truth Squad.
                              st bernard overseer council


          During the '69--'70 term the Democrats were the underdogs
     at the Capitol in all respects--not only was Reagan governor,
     but the Republicans had control of the State Senate as well as
     the Assembly. It was a time of Democratic lament. The great
     Clydesdale power horse Jess Unruh was reduced to a whinnying
     Shetland pony--from Speaker, to Minority Floor Leader. We
     doubted very much our ability to beat Reagan but we were
     laying definite plans to recapture control of the Assembly and
     hopefully the Senate--it was in this vein that I spoke to a
     large partisan group of Democrats early in the campaign year 
     of 1970.

        As I spoke I fairly bleated at how unfairly the Republican
     Speaker Monagan dominated choice of committee majorities and
     control of the House despite his slim (41-39) majority. But I
     also wanted everyone to know that we Democrats were fighting
     back. I said, "that's all right, we've got a couple of aces up
     our hole too."* Call it misplaced modifier or split figure of
     speech--either way it was a major political malaprop. I kid
     myself into believing it might have gone unnoticed if my
     administrative assistant, Gordon Goijkovich, standing in the
     rear of the room, hadn't let out a loud guffaw. That's what I
     got for having a staff who listened to what I said. Anyway at
     this point about 180 people seemed to realize what I had said
     and gradually joined him until they all were laughing. I
     blushed like a schoolboy and laughed too, and finally
     stammered out, "I guess that's one up on me too."
    *The proper poker term is "aces up our sleeve", or "an ace in
     the hole" (what hole that is, I'm not sure, but it's
     acceptable in polite company).