Chapter Four 

                  "The Man With The Cats"

        As I slowly waked up one morning in March, 1970, I heard
   a car starting outside and saw that I'd left a light on in the
   bathroom and I realized I wasn't at home. I'd spent the night
   in the El Rancho Hotel in West Sacramento. With a slightly
   uncomfortable feeling I remembered that this wasn't just an
   ordinary day. Two biggies--big events or significant bills--
   were scheduled. There were 'biggies', 'chickenfeed', 'pork
   barrel', and 'bread and butter' (designed to please or appease
   your own district) bills. These aren't terms everybody would
   use but I did, and certainly most people at the Capitol
   understood them.*

        The Mountain Lion Bill was up for debate and vote before
   the full Assembly, and Alan Sieroty's and my quixotic tax
   reform legislation was set to be heard and probably lambasted
   by the conservative Rev and Tax Committee. As I threw off the
   blanket of sleep, I started feeling the excitement of big
   things happening, but another more cautious side of me was
   saying, 'pull the covers over your head and hide. Stay in bed,
   don't go out there and face those people--your weakness and
   hollowness will finally be exposed.' Most people occasionally
   feel this basic illogical insecurity--like in the poem my sis-
   *Rather than leave you totally to your own extrapolation, I
   should add that a 'pork barrel' bill is one which brings
   substantial money, employment, or something else of value into
   the district you represent. 'Bread and butter' is the same
   idea only to a lesser extent and of a more routine nature. In
   this day and age a legislator's corporate benefactor may
   replace the district as recipient. 
   ter-in-law B'Ann used to recite:

                       'You're nothing but a nothing
                        you're not a thing at all'. . .
                       'Oh no I'm not I'm just a mouse
                        that's all I want to be.'*

        When I got up and started doing practical things--like
   taking a hot shower then a short cold one, and stumbling
   around for my razor, the extreme feelings of elation and
   apprehension left me. My preoccupation with my feelings
   dissipated--it was a real day and I had real work to do. 

        I'd brought my best suit, freshly cleaned--it was light
   blue with slightly darker hairline stripes. You feel good in a
   good suit, it integrates with you--it's part of you. 

                           'Hello there kid
                           You sure look like a brother bat to me'

   That's how B'Ann's poem starts.

                           'Oh no I'm not I'm just a mouse
                           that's all I want to be.'*
   *These semi-nonsensical rhymes were originally used to amuse
   our children, but became general family vocabulary. 

        I knew I wasn't gonna get any votes on account of my
   pretty suit, but it was an indirect way of letting my
   colleagues know this debate was important to me, and the
   possibility of TV coverage made me care about it more than
   usual. Janet had picked me a pale blue shirt for the TV camera
   and a dark brown tie with an inscription of the seven ages of
   man in seven images descending down the tie. The knot was tied
   in the shape of a baby's head; at the bottom an old man's head
   was represented by just a speck.
        Sometimes legislators on the floor will say ridiculous
   things just to see whether people are listening or not.
   Anyway, as I was saying, Janet had picked me out a brown tie
   to go with my shirt. 

        I put my suit on; thus armored I drove down West Capitol
   Avenue, a motel/restaurant/entertainment strip. It's an
   extension of the Capitol Mall, but it's across the Sacramento
   River in Yolo County. When you hit the Tower--the old
   drawbridge leading into Sacramento--there lies the mall,
   straight ahead, ten blocks of four-lane boulevard between you
   and the Capitol Dome. At first I was thinking about the day's
   events and how I'd handle them, and driving slowly, and then
   thinking less and less--just wanting to get to my office and
   get started, and driving faster and faster on the mall, pass--
   ing between new government buildings, heading for the ornate
   domed Capitol, ending up zooming down the member's driveway 
   and stopping abruptly in the underground garage and leaving
   the car for one of the attendants to park.

        In my office I saw that my desk had the usual pile of
   crap on it, and I was about to sit down and go to work, but
   there was a sheet of typewriter paper on the seat of my chair

   ATTN: MR. D.

   written on it in large red letters. Typed under the letters

   Sign declaration of candidacy. Form 
   attached. I have to deliver to Sec. 
   of State's office today.

        Oh shit, I thought,  I've got to run for office again this year--
   that's a hell of a thing to have to think about now. It seemed like I
   was always recovering from one election or getting ready for
   another. Assembly terms were only two years. '66-8, '68-70, '70-???
   up on the carousel again? I signed the form and took it into
   the outer office and stuck it under the carriage bar on
   Wanda's typewriter. She put things on my chair, because she
   knew I was going to sit there; I put things in her typewriter
   --she couldn't type and I couldn't sit, without first
   attending to each others' special errands.

        I'd originally hired Wanda as my second secretary on the
   recommendation of a friend at Solano College in my district.
   Dorothy Loviach was now working for the Assembly Criminal
   Justice Committee. The powers-that-be usually liked us to hire
   from the Capitol secretarial pool but after two phonecalls and
   one interview they let me bring her to Sacramento, warning me
   she'd probably be somewhat immature. The only thing I noticed
   was that she had a little trouble admitting she didn't know
   something, at first, but she got over that fast and in a
   year's time had learned so much she became my First Secretary-
   -at age 19--the youngest at the Capitol.

        Hiring Wanda had seemed something I 'ought to' do--'I
   should try this'--partly because she seemed right and partly
   because my friend at Solano College would think well of me for
   doing it. In the end it showed me to have become a good
   Capitol teacher and her a good learner, fast and thorough. We
   were a good boss/secretary team. 

        A male chauvenist puts males above females, thinks women
   exist for men--that's the extreme, of course, and though I
   didn't really believe this, I was, momentarily, unhappy and a
   little angry when, two years later,  Wanda got married and moved to
   Glendale. I knew better, but felt a little like my male perogative had
   been usurped. Like a good boy I went to the wedding, which was dull.

        Wanda was sharp and outstanding but her family and friends
   didn't live up to my expectations. I think she planned and
   paid for her own wedding--maybe I'm just imagining that to
   have been the case--I don't really remember.

        Though I was unhappy when Wanda moved to Glendale, that
   ain't nothin' compared to when I learned that she'd gone to
   work there for an arch-conservative Republican Assemblyman,
   Mike Antonovich. I hadn't trained her for that. Later, she
   visited me and said she'd quit the job because it wasn't
   challenging enough.

        Back at my desk I settled down to reading some memos from
   staff, and scribbling reactions on some of them--like:
   or: Sure, Go.
   Do it.
   or: No, that's not right
   or: We've got to find this out first.

        Wanda had also left notes about people I should call, but it
   was 7:30, too early for phonecalls. Even when biggies are
   scheduled, routine doesn't stop--luckily there was still time
   to cover some of the details on my desk. I was glad I was
   alone. I could do this stuff better when nobody was around to 
   bug me. Pretty soon there'd be student interns at a table at
   one end of my office, two secretaries in the outer office, and
   Mike Gage, my legislative assistant, walking back and forth
   between all of us. And by nine o'clock the phones would be
   ringing, sometimes almost constantly.

        I'd just dictated a memorandum when Wanda opened the door
   from her office to mine. As she saw me she said, "I like your

   I smiled and said thanks.

        "I saw my typewriter--I'll take the papers down before we
   get too busy--see you in a few minutes."

        When Wanda got back, we went to work. We had an intercom
   system but usually it was easier to just leave the doors open
   and raise our voices a little when we had to communicate.
        Gage finally dragged his ass in about ten after nine.
   Don't misunderstand me. Mike worked hard and long hours but he
   sort of made a statement of independence by not hewing to
   routine scheduled hours. Mike was 24 with red hair which was
   slightly balding. He was almost always dieting, though he was
   only a little overweight, and he was always quitting smoking.
   Mike was a very hard worker and politically brilliant. The
   Mountain Lion Bill was partially Mike's baby and he started
   bugging me about it immediatly. "Okay, John, the Mountain Lion
   bill's today," (like he's telling me something I don't know,)
   "and I'll bet you haven't talked to Zberg and Sieroty."

   "I'm going to do that on the floor--"

   "How many Aye votes have you got counted?"

   "I haven't got a vote count, I don't think we need one--I
   think we're in."

   "You could still muff it on the floor. You won't have any
   lions backing you up down there this time."

   "You mean you didn't get them again?" (For a press
   conference earlier in the year I'd been flanked by two live
   lions.) "I'd expected to take them to the floor with me."

   "To help you lion up votes."

   "Yeah," I said, as the corners of both our mouths turned
   up in shit-eating grins. (or more politely, "sardonic", "compulsive"

        The tension of the job made clowning inevitable. Probably
   the craziest group of clowns and the best staff I ever had was
   in 1974 when I was campaigning for the State Senate. Mike Gage
   was my campaign manager and Edna Brown and John Harrington
   were my legislative assistants. Gage and I and Harrington had
   a habit of startling each other by picking up a piece of
   furniture and throwing it across the room, intending that it
   should be caught, which it usually was. We threw only light
   chairs and small end tables. Gage might come into my office
   and stand looking down at some material on an intern's desk,
   then suddenly turn and grab a chair and toss it to me where I
   stood by my desk. Not wanting to be outdone, I'd call for Harr
   --ington and throw it to him as he came through the doorway.
   John managed to catch the chair and ground it, cursing at us.


       Once John and I tossed large ashtrays to each other at
   the same time, and the two ashtrays hit in mid-air, showering
   glass all over. We were greatly surprised. Ruth Siegle, one of
   my district representatives, once gave me a metal horn with a
   rubber squeeze ball on the end of it--sort of a Harpo Marx
   device. At times of frustration and bedevilment I used to blow
   it--sometimes into the telephone.

        Edna Brown joined my staff after working a year and a
   half free as an intern. She was a great lady.

        By 9:30 both interns and my second secretary had arri-
   ved on the scene. The first intern had been dispatched for
   coffee. Somehow we all managed to touch base, say hello, and
   get on with the various things we were doing in between
   phonecalls, reading memos, and opening the day's mail.

        When I left the office to go to the legislative chambers
   a little after ten, Wanda gave me a folder with legitimate
   mail in it, junk having been sorted out. I might have time to
   read it during dull moments on the floor. 

        Session was supposed to start at ten sharp, but never
   really got underway until about 10:30. This demonstrated yet
   another 'pair of opposites', the Virtue of Promptness but the
   Sagacity of Tardiness. You waste time by being on time,
   because others generally aren't. Today I was prompt because, 
   as I'd promised Gage, I needed to try to line up at least a
   few votes before debate. I hadn't done a detailed job of
   getting advance commitment. The opposition came from limited
   quarters. We seemed to have a popular thing going. 

        The back entrance to the Assembly Chambers (For
   Legislators Only) is a narrow hallway within which the
   members' elevator stops. Coming out of the elevator I walked
   quickly past the Sergeant-at-Arms, saying hello almost over my
   shoulder. Anyone who wasn't a member would've been stopped at
   that pont. Entering the chamber I walked under the Speaker's
   rostrum and 80 feet across the floor to my desk, noticing a
   couple of other early arrivals on my way. After putting down
   my files I made a beeline for my former seatmate, Ernie
   Mobley. I told Ernie my Mountain Lion Bill was coming up today
   and I hoped I could count on his vote. He told me that his
   farmers and cattlemen didn't like the bill. "It just concerns
   sports shooting," I told him, "livestock is still protected."
   He said he'd listen to the debate and make up his mind. I had
   similar conversations with eight or ten others, catching them
   near the door as they trickled in. Some, I asked for their
   vote out and out. "Are you familiar with AB 660, my Mountain
   Lion bill?" etc. Others, I knew what their hesitations might
   be so that's where I started out talking. At least half of
   those I talked to were favorable about the bill.

        Just a little before a quorum arrived on the floor I went 
   to the coffee room in the back of the Assembly Chamber to sip
   coffee and see if I could pick up a couple more votes. Willie
   Brown was in a corner talking to a member of his staff. I
   mentioned the bill to him briefly but already knew I had his
   support on it. Willie had a copy of the little book Jonathan
   Livingston Seagull in his hand. He said he was intrigued with
   its message. "Birds and man have no limits", he said.
        Coffee and donuts are provided in this rear chamber for
   legislators and their guests. A P.A. system relays the
   activities of the house, so you can talk to peole, hear what's
   going on out on the floor, and drink coffee at the same time.
   It's a formality that's persisted, that food and beverage
   aren't allowed out on the floor. From the coffee room you can
   be back on the floor in a matter of seconds, voting or in the
   middle of debate...I got up, leaving my half empty coffee cup,
   and started to walk toward the swinging door into the chamber.
   Before I reached it, it opened and my good friend Assemblyman
   Alan Sieroty came in. He smiled as if he was actually glad to
   see me and said, "I was lookng for you--my staff tells me
   you're going to take up your Mountain Lion bill today--
   anything I can do to help?"

   "I was going to ask you if you would--just listen to
   debate and jump in if you think I'm in trouble. You know the

   "Sure. It's a good bill. I wish I had a bill with a real 
   live animal in it."
   "Your paleontologist friends couldn't provide you with
   one, could they?" I said. Alan had recently, on request of
   some friends of his from academia, put in a bill to designate
   Smiladon Californicus (the California Sabretooth Tiger) the
   'Official State Fossil'.

   "No," Alan responded, "but I sure would've liked to bring
   one up here for debate."

   "Do you think it'd fit in the elevator?"

   "I think so. I don't think they're that big."

   "I can see it--on the way up from the basement you and
   Curly" (the elevator operator) "each holding a tusk."

        Most legislators are so embroiled in their own bills that
   they don't have time to think of volunteering to help somebody
   else. Alan had a lot of his own going on but he often knew of
   my important bills, because we shared interests. And, we were
   just darn good friends.
        At 10:30 a quorum (majority of the members) having
   appeared, the House was called to order and we started taking
   up the day's business item by item in the order designated in
   the pamphlet (daily file) on our desks. While the Speaker (or
   his designated helper) went through routine matters in a
   perfunctory mumbo-jumbo manner, I sat half-listening but going
   through the material in the Mountain Lion file to prepare my
   opening statement. I already knew the material A to Z--I just
   had to make a couple decisions about where to begin my speech. 

        Assembly rules provide that the bill's author has an
   opening and a closing statement, a maximum of five minutes for
   each. Other speakers are similarly limited. The presence of
   active opposition meant to me I should give the bill full
   treatment. Others following in debate are recognized to speak
   in the order in which they raise up their microphones--the
   mikes are mounted on flexible metal arms and can be stuck up
   in plain sight...sort of like a kid raising his hand in

        At 10:55 we reached item 22 on the Daily File. The Clerk
   read the bill number, AB 660. I raised my mike and the Speaker
   recognized me, saying, "Mr. Dunlap, are you ready to proceed?"
   I answered, "Yes, Mr. Speaker," and looking around saw two
   other members raise their mikes--the opposition was prepared,
   not lying in the weeds or forgetting their job. 
   I began my speech.

   "Members--in 1923, a year after I was born, there were
   two passenger pigeons in the whole world--both were males.
   Rather obviously, there aren't any passenger pigeons now. We
   have now about forty California Condors alive,* and their 
   *Since then the number went down to about a dozen and
   Zoologists have now started capturing eggs and raising baby
   Condors in captivity, with the idea of replanting them in the
   wilds. Their number now is again in the forties.
   number has been diminishing. Maybe they'll survive and maybe
   they won't...Too many times, we've recognized that a species
   is endangered--too late. This hasn't just happened, we made it
   happen." I went on with the guilt approach, not just to try to
   make them feel miserable, but to get them to recognize that
   the Mountain Lion Bill gave us a chance to do the right
   thing, start turning around and taking responsibility for our

         I continued, "The State used to pay people to shoot
   mountain lions--this bill is the next logical step after
   removal of the bounty--the opposition may have said things to
   you about the bill, but what it really does is quite simple.
   It prohibits sport shooting of the California Mountain Lion.
   That's all. No more no less. AB 660 has the support of all
   major conservation organizations including the Audubon Society
   and the Sierra Club--also, the Vallejo Rod and Gun Club, and
   the Mountain Lion Coalition."

        Gage and I were in on the formation of the Mountain Lion
   Coalition, along with several wildlife preservationists and
   scientists. The group was formed to help enlist support and
   develop publicity. At one strategy session a coalition member
   brought tame mountain lions with him. Mike, attending for me,
   had a brainstorm and asked if the lions could be used at a
   press conference, to give the bill a good sendoff. The owner
   consented, but when Mike told me about it I was at first very
   negative. It seemed like unnecessary grandstanding.

       Mike said, "You know darn well it'll help the bill--it'll help make
   people less afraid of lions and it'll increase the number of
   people that read about your press conference by 5,000 percent.
   Drop your false modesty, John." Mike kept on arguing, and I
   finally gave in, partly to him and partly to my ego, which
   said 'Go Man Go.' I said to myself, 'I can use the press
   conference to emphasize the importance of the bill as a symbol
   of the need for conservation of all wildlife'--this satisfied
   my image of myself as 'a thoughtul person who doesn't just go
   off grandstanding'.

        The lions arrived at the Capitol through the members'
   entrance in the underground garage and were taken out of the
   car in their cage, which was wheeled over to the Assembly
   members' elevator, which took them to the first floor. Curly
   for years after that used to refer to me as 'the man with the
   cats'. They were taken to a small room between the governor's
   office and the press conference room. This is where I met
   them, about thirty seconds before the conference started. I
   hadn't thought to be apprehensive, but I became so instantly
   when I went in there and first saw them. They were big, bigger
   tha St. Bernards and a lot more agile, and they were moving
   around out of the cage. I was glad to see the owner had them
   on leash. I was only a little scared. I said, "Well, it's time
   to get started, will you bring them in?" And we went into the
   press conference room. 

        The owner brought the lions up and stationed them one on
   each side of me at the conference room table. Before I even
   sat down the TV cameras started to click and spin. I smiled
   out at them, as if to say, "My lions and I have got a great
   bill; we want you to listen and help tell our story to the
   world." I launched into my presentation, introducing the lions
   and the bill. I pretty well lost myself in the show, and
   responding to questions afterward--except once when the lion
   to my left was moving around and straining at his collar. I
   patted his front paw to try to quiet the beast, and it
   responded with halfway between a snarl and a roar and reared
   its head. I felt uneasy, bordering a little on panic. What the
   hell do I do now?--it wouldn't look good if I left--not at
   all--but the owner calmed it down right away--later, he told
   me its paws were sensitive because they'd been surgically


        The conference was a success; we had a front page photo
   on 18 California daily newspapers, plus the London Daily Mail
   (for whatever that was worth). The only negative came in a
   letter from a Vallejo constituent, who said, "O.K., Dunlap,
   have you forgotten about us Senior Citizens? You're so busy
   with the goddamn Mountain Lion--have you forgotten about
   Property Tax Relief? Is the lion more important than taking
   care of the people?" This guy didn't give a hoot for the
   mountain lion. As far as he was concerned, conservation was 
   strictly a luxury--and talking to him about the mountain lion 
   was like talking Capitalism versus Communism to somebody who
   doesn't have enough to eat. Of course there were people out
   there who'd use anything against me they could (and maybe he
   was one of them)--people glad to have a chance to say, 'there 
   goes Dunlap again, off on a tangent that has no bearing on anything'.




        I continued with my floor presentation, "The mountain
   lion is an endangered species because, by our continued
   population expansion and exploitation of natural resources,
   we've taken away part of the lion's homeland. On top of this,
   we're shooting the lions for sport. No one bill can reverse
   the process of destruction of the lion's natural habitat, but
   by this bill alone, we can stop sport shooting.

        "The opposition would have you believe the mountain lion
   is a marauder of livestock and ravager of children.* This is
   absolutely untrue--we aren't talking about the lions they
   threw Christians to at the Circus Maximus in ancient Rome.
   Mountain lions are shy animals who avoid contact with humans--
   the deer hunter who suggested this bill to me had seen a lion
   twice, for a few seconds each time, in thirty years of deer
   hunting. Lions are carniverous but they feed on other wild
   animals, principally deer--and, an adequate number of lions
   helps keep the deer population within the natural limits of
   its feed supply. Overpopulation of deer can cause the herd to
   become sickly and actually threaten its existence. This is why
   some thoughtful hunters support my bill."
   * Since the time of my bill, a young woman jogging in the Yosemite area
   was killed by a Mountain Lion.  This tragically illustrates that
   the worst can happen. However, since that time Moutain Lion
   protection survived an initiative vote of the people which
   sought to eliminate it. 

        I went on to say that, occasionally, an old and decrepit
   or wounded lion may kill a few sheep--but I pointed out that
   the bill has a safeguard built into it for just such lions--
   when a lion has been killing any domestic animals, the fish
   and game department may issue a special permit to kill that
   lion. I continued speaking, "The most often quoted survey says there
   are 600 lions in the State--and diminishing. But, in fact, we don't know
   how many there are--even if you believe I'm a little wrong and
   there are twice as many as this estimate, it's far better not
   to take a chance--we didn't act in time to save the pigeons
   but it's not too late for the lions. A principle of
   conservation should be, When in Doubt, Preserve. If we find
   there are more lions than we thought, we can always start
   killing them again."

        At this point my time was almost up and I sensed that my
   message was getting across, but that I'd soon lose attention
   from the members that were listening--and I was pleased to see
   that many were. It was time to close.

        "This bill isn't," I began, thinking of the letter from
   my Vallejo constituent, "just for the benefit of the posey
   pluckers or the very few wildlife enthusiasts who'll have a
   chance to see a lion. We are saving lions because they're part 
   of the natural ecosystem on which we all depend. If we got rid
   of all the lions we'd probably survive--the likelihood of the
   destruction of this one species so upsetting the cycle of the
   ecosystem as to destroy it, is remote--but if we don't learn
   to stop with the lion, when are we gonna learn? Maybe only
   when it's too late for us as well as the passenger pigeons.
   The fate of man on earth rests, in part, on how well we learn
   to respect the needs of other living things." I sat down,
   looking in the direction of Alan Sieroty's seat. He gave me a
   nod and silently clapped his hands, indicating approval. This
   was what I was looking for.

       My opening presentation had taken almost the full five
   minutes. On some bills the opposition doesn't feel strongly
   enough about it to take it on openly on the floor. When this
   occurs, it's best to undersell the bill--not make much of a
   speech, because your own rhetoric may spark your foes into
   action. On an occasional bill you may even try to 'mumble it
   through'. This may involve using one, two, or a maximum of
   three sentences which describe what the bill does but skirt
   its potential controversy. If I'd tried to 'mumble through'
   the Mountain Lion bill, I'd have said something like, "Mr.
   Speaker and members, this bill relates to fish and game
   provisions protecting various species of mammals. It was
   amended in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee to clarify
   and strengthen its provisions. I ask for an aye vote." Then 
   I'd flip my voting switch to green and sit down and start
   reading a book or talking to my neighbor, acting nonchalant.
   Meanwhile somebody jumps up saying, "Hey hey hey he's trying
   to mumble it through but so and so and so are opposed to it--
   he lies!" Or, "Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Assemblyman Dunlap
   has just tried to mumble through a bill that took five hours
   of committee time in two separate hearings. There were at
   least five opposition witnesses and the whole agricultural
   community is opposed...It's an insult to the intelligence of
   this great debating body."

        But I had given the bill full treatment, and though I
   expected to carry it without much difficulty, I knew there'd
   be some debate. While the opposition started up I checked over
   my notes to see if I missed anything.

        "Does Mr. Dunlap know," a conservative Democrat was
   speaking testily, "that there are over 3000 mountain lions
   roaming the hills of California?" He went on to proclaim that
   my bill was a forerunner of the extreme preservationist
   philosophy and if successful would be followed by bills to
   prohibit shooting coyotes, bobcats, and sooner or later even
   rattlesnakes. He also suggested that once these bills were
   through I'd probably introduce one to outlaw hunting rifles,
   since they'd no longer be necessary.

        I figured he'd claimed too much and wouldn't be taken
   seriously by many; he'd also exposed his affinity to the 
   National Rifle Association. But to be on the safe side I made
   a couple of notes to respond in my closing statement.

        Next, a Republican got to this feet and recited the
   organizations opposed to my bill: Farm Bureau, Cattleman's
   Association, National Rifle Association, etc. He charged that
   the lions in the Sierra foothills were even now marauding
   sheep and cattle and if livestock owners couldn't protect
   their property the price of meat would rise even higher than
   it already was. He went on to inform us that a renowned
   university zoology professor had testified in committee that
   my bill was unnecessary. I made notes again, as my friend Ed
   Zberg put up his mike and was recognized.
        Ed said that it was probably unnecessary for him to speak
   but he just wanted everybody to know that this was a carefully
   thought-out bill, well-drafted and thoroughly heard in
   committee--that the testimony in committee was in conflict as
   to how many lions there were but the most reliable survey said
   600, not 3000 running rampant. He ended, "I join Asemblyman
   Dunlap in asking for an Aye vote on this important bill."

        Because Zberg mentioned numbers again, it gave me a good
   lead into my final statement--on the spot I remembered an
   additional fact about lions and their populations, and I began
   my statement with it--

   "One of the reasons we are so concerned with there only
   being 600 mountain lions is that we're not dealing with 
   animals that proliferate as quickly as bunny rabbits or house
   cats--ordinarily a female lion has one or two cubs every two 
   years. Contrary to suggestions from the gentleman from
   Buttonwillow, the purpose of this legislation is solely to
   protect the California Mountain Lion-the fate of the bobcat,
   coyote, and rattlesnake can be judged by this legislature on
   their own merits, if and when anyone chooses to introduce
   bills to protect them. But I won't be the one." I might've
   added that I wasn't about to hold a press conference flanked
   by two rattlesnakes.
        I figured the Republican's citing of the united
   opposition and the UC professor's opinion had lost me a few
   votes, so I turned directly to him as I continued--

   "It's true that the agricultural lobbies are against this
   bill--but how many individual farmers have each of you heard
   from? I have only one letter from a farmer opposed to this
   bill--the farmers in my district are much more concerned about
   pesticide control and labor laws than the fate of the mountain
   lion. I suggest to you that farmers know their interests
   better than their lobbyists--and they know an old crippled
   lion isn't going to kill enough sheep to raise the price of
   lamb, particularly before a permit can be issued to legally
   kill it. I also suggest to you that farmers know that mountain
   lions provide a function--holding down damage to crops from
   deer and raccoons."

        The main farming activity in Napa County was winegrape
   growing. Since raccoons have been known to damage grapevines, 
   growers and vintners were not opposed to my bill. I also
   shared with them a desire to keep the environmental integrity
   of the Napa Valley intact. Some of them were born and raised
   in the valley and were genuinely and sentimentally attached to
   its preservation. Others knew darn well they had to preserve
   the land, water, and air in order to grow grapes...but we
   didn't always agree. I urged public hiking trails rimming the
   valley and up and down the banks of the Napa River. Growers
   and vintners saw this as an infringement on private property--
   mostly theirs. They were however willing to sacrifice the land
   for wineries and visitor parking lots along with increased
   traffic. All of my environmental bills weren't as dramatic as
   the Mountain Lion bill. I had many to preserve open space and
   protect agriculture from excessive property taxes. This was
   part of preserving the valley.

        Concluding my closing statement I said, "Universty of
   California Professor Starker Leopold did say that AB 660 is
   unnecessary. However, his conclusion wasn't based on his
   factual and scientific information (which, incidentally, backs
   up our basic information justifying this bill--a small number
   of lions, diminishing; a reduced natural habitat.) The
   professor said specifically that we didn't need this bill
   because the Fish and Game Commission presently has the author-
   ity to impose limits and restrict killing. His conclusion was
   based on his misplaced confidence that they'd do their job as
   they're supposed to--the Fish and Game Commission are
   political appointees mostly representing hunting interests and
   they believe that wild animals are there, basically, for one
   reason--to be hunted. The professor's conclusion that AB 660
   is 'unnecessary' was a political judgement, not a scientific
   one. I believe this legislature is best suited to make its own
   political judgements. We don't need no college professor to
   tell us our business" 

       I'd intended to end debate with a repetition of my
   'conservation maxim', When in Doubt, Preserve--but as I
   watched the reaction to my statement on the professor, I could
   see that I'd hit home, so I cut it short with a minute of time
   left over, saying, "I ask for an Aye vote on this bill to
   protect the California Mountain Lion." I held my hand on the
   voting switch as I sat down so I could flip it to green as
   soon as the roll opened. Psychologically it's good to get as
   many green lights up on the board as soon as possible.
   Legislators are all supposed to be great leaders making
   independent judgements, but sometimes they act more like sheep
   and go running after whoever moves first. Eight or ten early
   green lights usually bring on more.

        Debate on some bills is as abbreviated as thirty seconds,
   others may last fifteen or twenty minutes. This one took 
   fifteen. The longest debate on any bill that I carried was
   Senate Bill #1, during the first extraordinary session of 
   1975. It was the Ag-Labor Relations Act, sponsored by Governor
   Brown. Debate lasted over an hour. Once in a while a major tax
   bill might take a full morning, afternoon, or evening session.

        The initial vote on the Mountain Lion bill was 37 Aye, 12
   No. This was a 3-1 majority--of those voting. An absolute
   majority of the whole Assembly, 41 out of 80 possible votes,
   is required to pass a bill. So far only 49 legislators had
   voted. The rest were either not present, had not been paying
   attention to the vote, or had deliberately not voted. I stood,
   and moved for what's known as a 'call of the house', which
   means a postponement of final action on the bill until more
   assemblymen showed up and got their votes in. While the next
   order of business on file came up, I went to the clerical
   staff under the Speaker's rostrum and asked for a record of
   the vote. They gave me a card with the names of all of us in
   alphabetical order, and after each name an Aye and a No
   column, marked by computer to show how or if we'd voted.
   I found the names of a few who hadn't, who I thought were
   probably favorable to the bill, and set out to track them
   down--in their offices or at the perimeters of the chambers or
   wherever they were--meanwhile, the legislative process went on
   like a five ring circus, presentation of bills, voting, and
   buttonholing, all going on at once.
        I can remember having two or three bills under call at one 
   time--other members, at this same moment, could be in the same
   boat. So what you have is a dozen legislators walking around
   with bills up in the air, pulling cards and pencils out of
   their pockets, figuring how many votes they need to land them-
   -accosting each other, sometimes smiling and saying thanks,
   sometimes having heated private arguments. It must look
   strange to someone seeing it for the first time. Probably the
   impression would be one of chaos and rudeness. A real circus
   fan--a reporter or lobbyist, a professional capitol spectator,
   that is--sees what's going on in a corner of the tent. While
   the ringmaster calls his attention to the center, where Miss
   Fifi rides an elephant on tiptoe, or a legislator is making a
   speech, the fan notes 'oh there's Dunlap, he's got that bill
   on the mountain lion, and there comes so-and-so, he's in from
   L.A., and Dunlap's talking to him, I can see from the way he
   nods he's got another vote now he's going over to Blank, yeah
   he's got another vote lined up there too--looks like Dunlap's
   got his votes but he's continuing to hit people up, probably
   wants to nail it down for sure.

        I was getting enough votes. I had 45 promised when, as
   business on one bill was completed, I threw up my mike and
   said, "Mr. Speaker, I'd like to remove the call on item 22."
   He went through his verbal mumbo jumbo; the call was removed
   and the names of absentees were announced one at a time by the 
   clerk--at which point they voted orally, and their votes were 
   recorded. The vote stood at 52--14, and I was about to ask
   that it be 'announced', when three members asked to change
   their votes from No to Aye, making the final vote 55--11.
   These last three switch voters wanted, in the record of the
   final vote, to be in with the majority. By originally opposing
   the bill, they'd shown their farmers and cattlemen (lobbyists
   for whom were sitting in the gallery behind the chambers) that
   if there'd been a chance to defeat it they'd have done their
   part. Now they figured they might as well cut their losses
   and go with the winner.

        Voting on the floor of the Assembly is an electric
   event--like watching the electronic scoreboard in the closing
   seconds of an extremely close basketball game--all the points
   are 'scored' in a matter of seconds and the game's over--but
   on the floor of the Assembly there's another bill and another
   game's going on right away. Sometimes the continuous tension
   results in legislators playing games with the legislative
   process--a member might say in the middle of his bill
   presentation, "All right, Mr. Speaker, I would like my
   colleagues to know that this bill isn't any good and I think
   everybody ought to have a choclate ice cream cone right now."
   The presiding officer might answer, "Thank you, Mr.
   DeStefano for your recommendation, will the sergeant-at-arms
   please retire and bring in 80 cones, 40 vanilla, 39 choclate, 
   and one spumoni for Mr. DeStefano."

        Or, a legislator might finish a short speech on what he
   thinks is a non-controversial bill--he sits down, asking for
   an Aye vote and flicking his switch to green--as he looks up
   at the scoreboard his vote is the only green in a sea of red
   lights. He turns and frantically looks around the floor at his
   colleagues--seeing a smile on one or two faces, he realizes he
   has been made the object of a conspiracy--and relaxes a
   little--looking back at the board he sees the red lights
   gradually turning to green and he smiles too. After everyone
   has had a good jolly old laugh, business gets underway again.

        The split second the vote was finally announced on the
   Mountain Lion Bill, I had a feeling of exultation--like 'this
   calls for two drinks before lunch!!!'--but it didn't last.
   There was no time to feel and damn little for introspection--I
   just jumped back on the treadmill (it's running and you're on
   it and there isn't time to get off and think about it) and I
   made a beeline for the floor telephone. You can call
   practically anywhere in the world from the floor of the
   assembly for nothing (that is, you don't pay for it), but I
   was just calling upstairs to my office. Wanda answered and I
   said, "The bill's in 55-11--wire service will cover the
   dailies; let's take credit with the district weeklies, get out
   a press release for them and tell Gage he can relax." Mike was
   already on the phone and he broke in saying, "I already heard 
   the results on the squawk box" (Assembly proceedings are
   broadcast to receivers in the Speaker's office and several
   other locations in the Capitol building) "don't waste time
   congratulating yourself; call our friends on Senate Rules
   right away and get the bill assigned to Natural Resources and
   Wildlife. It'll die if they send it to Ag."

   I whined my reply, "You had to think of that--do I really
   have to?" He was right but I'd have preferred to relax a
   moment or two. 

        Mission accomplished, I turned to thoughts of my little
   gray home in the west--it's a corner of heaven itself. There
   are two eyes that shine because they are mine, and a thousand
   things other than this. Calling home I told Janet of my
   success and she shared my exultation.

   "Hey, Sox, I'm on the floor the Mountain Lion Bill just
   went through 55-11."
   "Wow, Great!"
   "Yeah, I'm pleased. How are you?"
   "Just fine. Can you come home early and celebrate?"

        I couldn't. It'd be 8 p.m. before I got home. Alan and I
   had the tax bill and I had to stop in Fairfield. "Maybe we can
   do something special this weeked," I told her, but of course
   that'd depend on what was happening when the weekend arrived.
   It was nice to talk to Janet but I also felt guilty--she and
   the kids did tend to play second fiddle. The job came first 
   more often than not. 

        Before going to lunch I ran into Jess Unruh in the men's
   room. Jess at this time was minority leader--the Democrats
   having lost control of the assembly, Republicans held
   Speakership and all key committee chairmanships.

        Unruh knew that Sieroty and I had our tax bill up in
   committee that afternoon--before we started to talk about it
   Jess said, "shhhhhh" and looked under all of the stalls to
   make sure we were alone. He then said, "You're fighting a
   loser, but I might be able to get you a vote or two. A couple
   of guys on the committee owe me, from when I was Speaker. They
   might vote for the bill knowing it's gonna get killed in Ways
   and Means anyway."

   "We'd appreciate any help you can give us, Jess."

   "I'm not doing this just to help you, I want to use your
   bill, John." It was 1970 and Jess was running for Governor
   against Reagan. He needed to have concrete examples of tax
   reform as part of his campaign.

        That fall, Jess did mention the Dunlap-Sieroty bill as he
   was campaigning against Reagan, and he did well to expose
   Reagan as the candidate of the very wealthy--the tax bill
   helped him do this. Some of the bloom had worn off Reagan's
   image but he was still a very popular governor. Jess couldn't
   crack Reagan's popularity and he didn't inspire people
        The great Democrats have been those that inspire. I 
   believe the great message of the Democratic Party is
   innovation and change, which are threatening to people, and
   you can't come off successfully with this unless you're also
   bringing a message of hope and inspiration--and mostly all
   Jess did was Negative Reagan. He did a pretty good job of this
   but he didn't inspire enough people to believe in his own
   candidacy. Jess lost by half a million votes, a decisive
   defeat, with the only consolation being that it was half the
   margin Reagan had beaten Pat Brown by 4 years earlier.