Chapter Six

                   Committee Hearings and Sherwood Forest
          The legislative committee hearing is a political
   institution in and of itself, and the hearing on our quixotic
   tax bill, though a onetime event, was typical of many hearings
   on major controversial legislative proposals.

        Compared to the Senate or Assembly as a whole, committee
   meetings take much more legislative time and energy and are
   far more productive of deliberate decisions. At good meetings
   legislators actually rewrite bills in open hearings, debating
   precise meaning and even punctuation--they work hard to
   develop language satisfactory to reluctant members but still
   strong enough to get the job done. There are also times when
   grandstanding for the press becomes more important than
   substance. Often you can bet that if a leading conservative or
   liberal makes a point, his or her paired opposite will feel
   impelled to respond. Once Alan Sieroty had former U.S.
   Attorney General Ramsey Clark testify in favor of a bill to
   prohibit capital punishment. The bill still went down the
   tubes but Clark's testimony got a lot of publicity and may
   have softened public support of the death penalty a little--
   damn little probably. Though Clark was speaking directly to
   committee members, a large part of his appeal went over their
   heads and through the press to the public.



        Each legislator usually serves on only three or four out
   of a possible 25 or 30 standing committees. Good committee
   members become semi-expert on the subject matter of their 
   bills. It's their job. On the floor of either house, actual
   changes or amendments to bills' language seldom occur (the
   decision is usually "yes" or "no") but such changes often,    if
   not always, occur in committee.


        On the Assembly or Senate floor only legislators may
   speak, but in committee any person may speak as a witness.
   Witnesses can be lobbyists or just plain citizens speaking to
   the public interest as they see it--a Hell's Angel might
   appear before the Transportation Committee speaking against a
   compulsory motorcycle helmet bill; a Libertarian might appear
   before the Public Health Committee to testify against a bill
   requiring flouridation of drinking water.

         Witnesses can be key to the success or failure of a bill.
   So-called 'expert witnesses' may be called by the author to
   support his bill or by the opposition to oppose--and may, on
   occasion, upset the applecart and affect the result in a way
   they hadn't intended. For example, when I was Chairman of the
   Senate Education Committee I authored an important bill for
   university students. It was intended to control and limit the
   power of organizations such as the Educational Testing
   Service, a legally non-profit corporation in the business of
   devising, administering, and evaluating tests of student
   ability, interest, and adaptability. We felt there was an
   overreliance by state and private colleges and universities on
   these tests and that too much student time and money was spent 
   on them.* Students claimed Administration made them take these
   tests every time they turned around, and made them pay for
   them. People whose judgement I trusted advised me that the ETS
   was overused, did overcharge, and its tests were
   insufficiently correlated for accuracy. I told the students I
   thought our bill was too good for the committee and that I
   didn't think we'd make it. We presented our bill and did OK,
   but I sensed in committee members an attitude of "is this bill
   really necessary, Senator Dunlap?"

        Then came the opposition. ETS had 6 or 8 witnesses from
   various universities, including undergraduate department heads
   and graduate school deans. They were there to beat the bill,
   but they ended up winning it for me.

        They marched up to the witness table and took their
   seats, exuding academic arrogance. Though they didn't say it
   in so many words they implied that the committee was out of
   place even giving a hearing to such a bill and taking their
   valuable time to come and oppose. When members questioned them

   *The tests encouraged reliance on a numerical evaluation to
   determine student quality. This system is an example of what's
   been called "The Myth of Measurability"--the myth being that
   you can reduce so-called 'imponderables' to an objective
   numbers system. Reducing quality to a numerical evaluation, I
   think, can be a way of avoiding hard decisions which should in
   fact be made rather than avoided. Use of numbers assumes an
   equality or uniform identity for each unit, and is a denial of
   diversity and individualism. (See "The Myth of Measurability"
   by Paul Louis Houts, Hart Publishing Co. Inc 1977.)

   their questions went unanswered and witnesses used the questions as
   as excuses to report what they'd come prepared to say. They
   were unable to respond to a 'live script' and turned the members
   off so much they bought a bill they wouldn't have otherwise

        A good witness ought to have some idea of what
   legislators are looking for, thinking about--and should
   clearly describe what the bill does, but at any point in
   testimony be prepared to shift ground and respond courteously
   to anything any legislator brings up (the 'live script'
   concept), not say, "No, Senator, that hasn't got anything to
   do with it; you're way out in left field there Senator So-and-
   So..." Acting as if his judgement were above reproach, ETS's
   "expert witness" , when questioned, implied that the Senator
   was out of his element and didn't understand the subject or he
   wouldn't ask such a question.

        At this point in testimony I could almost see the vibes
   from the other committee members. They were shaped a little
   like arrows and pointed in the direction of all the witnesses
   but at this one especially. And Senator So-and-So at this
   point looks at the academics and thinks, "maybe I'd better
   vote for Dunlap's bill and let these guys know who's boss."

        Some politicians are not college graduates, but not very
   many are stupid. A witness entering a committee hearing enters 
   a lion's den. His tongue is his whip but it needs to be used
   skilfully, and the lions tend to stick together. There are
   some Senators on committee who ask questions the rest of us
   think are stupid and a waste of time, but the witnesses
   shouldn't call attention to this fact, because legislators are
   a relatively select fraternity, and it's all right for one of
   them to call one of their members stupid, but if an outsider
   does it he's hurt himself and his cause.

        A good witness can put a doubtful bill over the top. I
   had an Assembly bill directing the State Department of Parks
   and Recreation to establish biker-hiker campsites in state
   parks for people traveling on foot or in non-motorized
   vehicles. I believed that our parks were too heavily oriented
   to serving car camping family vacationers, and the needs of
   young single people traveling alone were not being considered.

        The opposition, including the Department, said my bill would
   turn our state parks into "hippie hideouts" and the Department
   should be left alone to run its own shop. I testified myself,
   giving statistical background, and had one outside witness.
   She was a young woman student from Reed College in Oregon who
   had been an intern with me the previous year. She was
   articulate, erudite, and soft-spoken. She had just completed a
   700 mile bicycle trip from college in Portland to her home in
   Napa and was the picture of tan, radiant, enthusiastic and 
   wholesome young America. All she did was tell of how the
   biker-hiker campsites would have been helpful to her, but her
   presence implicitly put the lie to the "hippie hideout"
   assertion and my bill got the necessary "do-pass"
   recommendation from committee. 


        Before the committee reforms of the early 1970's some
   Senate committees held secret meetings the night or noon
   before actual hearings and took their votes in private, then
   announced the results without the press or public even knowing
   how individual legislators had voted. Now, a rollcall vote is
   required on all bills, and the results are recorded and
   published once a week. (Credit for this change should go to
   Senator Peter Behr, Republican from Marin County, who, as a
   begining Senator in 1976, almost single-handedly took on the
   Senate establishment and won.) A discerning constituent can
   read between the lines if there are too many failures to vote
   by any one legislator. And that's how some bills are killed in
   committee--legislators deliberately absent themselves rather
   than have to go on record against a bill. It takes a majority
   vote to get a bill out of committee--5 out of 9 on a 9-member
   committee, say--so even 4 positive votes and no negative ones
   isn't good enough.

        It's pretty hard to duck a vote on the floor if the
   heat's really on (there the Speaker may actually send the
   Sergeant-at-Arms after you and bring you in) but committee 
   business doesn't have that priority, so they can get away with
   it. They always have some excuse--like they had to be in their
   district or in another committee or in the Governor's office--
   but I've been pretty damn sure sometimes they were just plain
   hiding out. I've lost good bills--good for the people of the
   state--because legislators have ducked voting. They wouldn't
   have had the guts to vote against the bills, but they've had
   the craft to play hide and seek. This happens all too often--
   it's unfair, but then, nobody ever promised me things'd be
   fair in state politics. If things were guaranteed to always be
   fair the system would run itself without senators and

        An old curmudgeon in the Senate who served for years as
   chairman of Senate Finance and knew the rules upside down one
   way or the other, once ruled against somebody in committee,
   "you're out, Senator X, your bill is dead."

        Senator X says, "but that's not fair," and Chairman
   George Miller Junior reaches in his pocket and throws the book
   of rules for Senate Committee hearings at him down and out
   about 12 feet, missing the microphone that's between himself
   and the complaining senator--the book hits the senator on the
   arm and it's too small to hurt him but it's kind of an
   offensive gesture and he shies off a little and looks up at
   Senator Miller as if to say "what you gonna do to me," and
   George Miller barks, "There's the rule book--it tells I gotta 
   give you a hearing and gotta let the public know about it--it
   tells me I've gotta give you a chance to say your spiel--I've
   dotted my i's and crossed my t's and done it all--you read in
   the rule book, Senator, and tell me where it says I've gotta
   be fair."

         At the Assembly Rev and Tax committee hearing that
   afternoon at the Capitol, the professor performed well. Our
   lunch discussion had apparently not only reassured, but also
   inspired him. Even committee members adverse to our bill
   avoided taking him on. Maybe they were intimidated by his
   title, but more likely they were saving themselves for Alan
   and me. Mr. Prestige, A. Alan Post, longtime Legislative
   Analyst, complimented Alan's and my presentation of the bill,
   "Mr. Dunlap and Mr. Sieroty have done an excellent job of
   placing alternatives before this committee. They are
   nontraditional but they are alternatives which should be
   considered on their merits." It was like the teacher telling
   you you done good--or your mother or father--Post's comments
   made me feel successful and important. (A. Alan Post worked
   for the legislature giving non partisan analysis of bills and
   budgets over a period of decades. He served during the terms
   of Governors Knight, Pat Brown, Reagan, and Jerry Brown.)

        Assemblyman Bill Cunningham from Orange County listened
   to the professor because he didn't want to be discourteous to
   an out-of-town guest, and he listened to Post because Post 
   wasn't really saying anything in advocacy of our bill, but as
   soon as Sieroty and I began presentation of the facts and
   figures supporting it, he gained the chair's permission to

        Cunningham was one of a few arch conservatives. Coming
   from a safe Republican district, he seldom bothered to carry
   any bills of his own because he didn't need them for his
   district and/or to get re-elected. He got his ego kicks out of
   being an obstructionist to 'reform'. His view of the potential
   of human nature was limited by his observation of its past--he
   was intelligent, but not inspired, nor creative. What it
   really amounts to is that there were a few conservatives who
   didn't have any political reason to create through
   legislation, so, in order to carry out their self-fulfilling
   phrophecy --that the world is limited to what has already
   occurred--they continually try to poke holes in innovative

        Defeatist criticism is obviously intended to kill
   progressive legislation, and sometimes it does, but now and
   then it serves to improve the innovative product by exposing
   errors which can be eliminated--making the final concept
   better. This rationalization for the existence of the arch
   conservative is valid to a degree--'pairs of opposites
   slugging it out and then the truth shining down after the
   battle'--but I do think the system works better when we don't 
   have high polarization and the extreme adversary system of
   good guys and bad guys. Maybe it's the civilized version of
   the bloody conflict between Arjuna's army and the army of his
   'enemy'. Krishna exhorted him to fight, saying that only in
   this manner could conflict be resolved into truth. Arjuna
   regretted the wasteful loss of life. I regret the loss of time
   and energy playing war games--we shouldn't have to be winners
   or losers--a course of action is there to be discovered. What
   you don't need is somebody to rush in and say, "well, what do
   you think it is?" Just come in and say, "you're right, there
   is a way. Let us find it."

        After Alan's and my initial testmony and Alan Post's
   comments, Cunningham the arch conservative, as I said, gained
   the chair's permission to interrupt.

        "Mr. Dunlap and Mr. Sieroty, believe it or not I've read
   this 33 page bill of yours from cover to cover. You're talking
   about eliminating capital gain exclusion and depletion
   allowances and adding extra brackets on income tax--despite
   all your subtle nuances and fine technical language, what your
   bill actually does is soak the rich. You can't get away with
   this one. Robin Hood was an outlaw," he smashed his fist on
   the desk before him, "and he's dead." The assemblyman to his
   right actually felt threatened and pushed his chair, which was
   on wheels, back away from Cunningham.

        I might have said, "Just because you've gotten away with 
   screwing the poor for forty years doesn't mean that when we
   try to stop this we're soaking the rich." But I answered,
   "This bill doesn't soak the rich, it takes unfair advantages
   away from them. Capital gain exclusion and oil depletion
   allowances are unfair tax gimmicks created by, and for, the

        Cunningham retorted, "What you call tax gimmicks are
   legitimate incentives carefully woven into the fabric of our
   tax structure so that business will expand and provide jobs
   for the workers you pretend to be helping. You're pandering
   for the support of a group who have nothing to lose, people
   who have no stake in society. They need the help of private
   enterprise, not pious pretending do-gooders the likes of you." 

        Alan said, "It's true that those we seek to benefit have
   less stake in society, in a material sense, than the wealthy.
   For this reason the wealthy have more to lose and should pay
   more (rather than less through loopholes) for government
   provided property protection services--Police, Firemen, the

        "...besides that, Bill," I added, "if private enterprise
   is this great job giving bonanza to the human race, how come
   it needs to be propped up by a tax subsidy? You'd think it'd
   be weaned by now--gone on beyond the stage of 'infant
   industry'. Big Business ought to be eating meat and potatoes,
   not sucking milk and pablum."

        Cunningham and I could've gone back and forth for a long
   time. Our concepts were so different, we'd of course never
   convince each other, and we weren't exactly talking to each
   other, anyway; both of us were speaking to the press and
   others in the audience. There were about fifty observers
   besides committee members and staff. Fortunately for me at
   this point, the committee chairman interrupted, like someone's
   mother breakng up a sandlot baseball game, saying, "It's time
   for Johnny to come in; it's too cold, or wet, or dark, or it's
   time for dinner. Come on in Johnny." And Johnny's glad 'cause
   his team's ahead, and they all declare Victory. In this case I
   was glad, because I'd had the last word.

        The committee chairman said, "It isn't so easy to be a
   small businessman. I speak from experience. What with
   multinational corporations telling you what you can and can't
   do and labor unions and government regulations and taxes to
   boot, it's tough. I'm afraid this bill would make it harder on
   small business."
        Alan pointed out that small businesses don't usually have
   access to investment loopholes, but how it really works is:
   every small businessman thinks he's gonna get rich, and so he
   defends all of the tax loopholes that are available to big
   business and the wealthy who have investment money to play
   with. In reality one out of 856 small businessmen do get some
   money to work with, but most stay small--or quit and become 
   employees--or go broke. Many more go broke than strike it
        At this point the chair considered it appropriate to call
   a witness from the Lodi Chamber of Commerce, who was
   testifying as a representative of the big State Chamber of
   Commerce, a Big Business dominated lobby. He said, "Mr.
   Chairman, it's just like you say. Between the multinationals,
   the unions, and the government, we have it rough. I have a
   clothing store and I work hard, and some years there isn't any
   profit, and the employees get everything--then a good year
   comes along and you may live a little better, but with this
   bill that'd be about all. With higher tax brackets taking a
   big share of your profits you've got nothing to put back into
   your business."

        I responded, "Mr. Chairman, this is an example of what
   Alan was talking about--big business using small business to
   give a phony argument for it. This retail clothing merchant
   wouldn't be adversely affected by our bill--it allows him to
   average his income over four years--all he has to do is take
   that one good year and average it with the previous three--and
   he won't hit the higher tax bracket."*

        The chair recognized Assemblyman Shindler, who said, "I
   note on page four, in the second paragraph, line 21--that you 
   *The 1986 Federal and '87 California Tax Bills eliminated
   averaging, which in my opinion was a fair adjustment for 
   make a reference to such and such and such--what does that

        "That doesn't mean anything--it's crossed out."

        "Oh," he said, "that's right." A little laugh ran through
   the chamber. The chair next called for other opposition
   witnesses, and the chief lobbyist for the California
   Manufacturer's Association was the first to arrive at the
   podium. He gave a set brief speech which I'd heard many times
   before, "The very fact that this bill has come up before the
   legislature is a terrible thing for the business climate in
   California. Obviously, it must be defeated, but the very fact
   that it has come up will alarm those now ready to invest their

        The S.O.B. said this kind of thing over and over, but we
   had to sit there and let the guy finish--he went on and said
   more. Instead of screaming YOU FAKER, YOU SAY THAT EXACT SAME
   head and bit my tongue. One committee member nodded in
   agreement, another gave his approval aloud. The favorable
   reactions to this pap reminded Alan and me that the votes
   weren't there. We were fighting a loser, but we had to keep it
   up with spirit, because the reporters were there and they
   seemed to be paying attention and taking notes at the right

        Sometimes committee meetings drag on and on with repet-
   itive testimony. Legislators have been known to nod and nap. I
   can remember getting up to get coffee to keep awake. I also
   used to carry my mail to committee hearings, and when I wasn't
   terribly involved, I'd read it. I imagine the Sergeant at Arms
   would at times be appalled at the mess I left on the floor by
   my seat in committee. I'd take a big file of mail with me and
   read it. Those things I read and didn't need to respond to or
   didn't want to keep for any purpose I'd just throw on the
   floor under my chair. I could have put them in a pile and put
   them in a basket later, or given them to someone to throw
   away. I'm not sure whether making a mess was my way of
   advertising how hard I worked, or whether I was just proving I
   was a bigshot and making someone clean up after me. I can also
   remember working in my office at night and eating salted
   peanuts--the kind salted but still in shells. I used a waste
   basket but I wasn't very careful. When the secretaries came to
   work in the morning I'd hear them say, "I see John was on a
   peanut binge again last night."

        The chair was about to close the meeting when freshman
   Assemblyman Rogers, who was an M.D., indicated his desire to
   get in on the act, and was recognized. "This increased tax on
   capital gain seems unfair to me. A couple of years ago I had
   2000 dollars in spare cash and bought some Pacific Lighting
   stock. It went up, and last week I sold it for 4000 dollars 
   and bought oil company bonds. If your bill passed I would have
   to pay high taxes on that 2000 dollar gain and I couldn't buy
   as many bonds. Really, all I did was sell something I already

        "Right," Alan said, "but in selling you made a 100
   percent profit --is there any reason you shouldn't be taxed on
   it, the same as a man who had to work full time for a month or
   two to earn that much money?"

        "But I didn't earn it. It came because I sold something I
   owned already, which I bought with savings I had earned as a

        Alan said, "Doctor Rogers, profits are earnings. Frankly,
   I believe it's immoral for a man who works with his hands, his
   body, or his brain to be taxed on everything he earns, when
   someone who gets a windfall profit is taxed on only half of
   it. However, your particular transaction would not be affected
   by our bill, because the changes would be phased in over a
   three year period."

         Alan and I were pleased with the hearing, despite our
   defeat. The vote was eight to three for a 'motion to hold in
   committee', the standard motion to kill a bill. Unruh
   apparently hadn't come through with any votes. Every committe
   member was interested enough to get there and be on record.

        Most of our background arguments about the function of
   government, and taxing according to the ability to pay, as 
   we'd discussed at lunch, got into testimony. We went a little
   further into the 'User Theory of Taxation'.i.e. conservatives
   arguing that: taxes should be based on benefit, so they
   shouldn't, for instance, pay for public education, because
   they don't have as many children, (and, their children often
   go to private schools) and, since THEY don't use public health
   and welfare programs, they shouldn't have to pay for them.

        Though we didn't subscribe to this 'benefit' theory, Alan
   and I were able to get across the fact that the wealthy do
   benefit from government far more than they admit--for example,
   the institution of private property has been given sanctity by
   government, and is somewhat dependent on government
   protection. Police, courts, jails, and prisons; probation and
   juvenile delinquency laws, are chainlink fences around private
   property; fire protection's in there too. The wealthy have
   homes to protect, and of course all commercial and industrial
   property is owned by wealthy individuals or corporations and
   is protected. And, finally, there's the tremendous public-
   financed cost of the military. If the Army/Navy/etc are there
   to protect property, we've already said who owns it and
   benefits. If it's there to protect common citizens, remember
   that in our past major wars from Vietnam on back, these
   people, although they don't generally own the land they're
   defending, are the ones pushed out on the Front by the
   military machine (and their crosses stretch for acres over the
   hills of Golden Gate and other national cemetaries.

        I've talked about reasons to tax the wealthy, and I might
   add, that through spending those taxes to benefit people
   generally, the wealthy thus benefit, in the creation of a more
   stable society. Indirectly, their wealth is made more secure--
   without police and without repression....on the other hand,
   tax-supported progressive education could lead to a re-
   appraisal of values, and a general will to reduce extremes of
   wealth and poverty--thus perhaps undermining the 'money
   empires' (and the psychology of the Lottery). Few of us are
   really qualified to paint the picture of this Better Way Of
   Life, though--one which would emphasize spiritual, scientific,
   or artistic progress--demoting individual/material gain.

        We also managed to point out that government should make
   up for the lack of perception of different strata of society
   due to separation. Even some of the conservative members were
   impressed by this argument, but not Assemblyman Bill
   Cunningham, who said, "I'd prefer to maintain my own option of
   generosity, rather than turn it over to the greenclad
   representatives of Sherwood Forest." At the conclusion of the
   hearing I think anyone listening with a half open mind
   recognized that Alan and I weren't just modern Robin Hoods--
   that our specific tax suggestions had merit. What Cunningham
   said, though, drew a laugh--it was funny in a way, but it also
   showed that Alan and I hadn't really struck home or nobody
   would've laughed.


        I spent 12 years involved in tax reform with only a few
   crumbs of success to show for it. But then, trying to create a
   fairer tax system is a continuous process, not one sudden
   shining product--and there's always someone there to try to
   work things for their personal benefit. In 1976, after four
   years of trying, I finally got through a major constitutional
   tax reform measure--only to have it wiped out in 1978, before
   it had a real chance to work.*
   *Since 1910 the California constitution had provided that it
   took a two-thirds vote of both houses of the legislature to
   tax corporations (i.e. Corporate Franchise Tax) but only a
   simple majority to put a tax on "The People" (for example
   personal income tax). This discriminatory protection for
   corporate wealth was patently unfair. In 1975, Senate
   Constitutional Amendment #1, authored by me, passed both
   houses of the legislature and was approved by a 60% vote of
   the people in June of 1976. It provided for all taxation with
   a majority vote. Given time, the elimination of the
   constitutional inequity might have created opportunity for a
   more fair tax system. Unfortunately, just two years later in
   1978, the prop 13 anti tax initiative proposal designed mostly
   to curb the property tax, also made all state taxes (corporate
   and personal) subject to a two-thirds legislative vote.
   Offhand, one might think this would protect the people more
   than a majority vote, and produce a more fair tax system.
   Actually, I believe the opposite result occurs. A minority,
   one more than a third of either house in the legislature, can
   thwart the will of the majority. This constitutionally imposes
   a tyranny of the minority, and what this minority generally
   protects is the vested wealthy interests. 
        However, as in many other parts of my job, my major
   function was preventing bad things from happening, rather than
   creating miracles of reform. And as I've said, Reagan was the
   major badguy we were up against. I wish I could say we stopped
   him dead in his tracks but we didn't. We did cut down on his
   effectiveness, we protected State Government from decimation--
   but it suffered. 

        Reagan had been unable to get the worst of his regressive
   tax measures and restrictions through the legislature, because
   they involved the need for constitutional amendment and he
   just didn't have the two-thirds vote of both houses. He even
   tried putting them on the ballot through the Initiative
   process (and did get them on it), and manuvered the election
   to November 1973, as a special election. With nothing on the
   ballot but a complicated Tax initiative, we feared (and he
   hoped) there'd be no inducement for many people to vote. A
   heated contest for such offices as Governor, President, or
   U.S. Senator tends to 'bring out the crowd', or a large
   representative vote (like the World Series even gets me
   interested in baseball), but a complex tax proposition lacks
   dramatic appeal, and under these circumstances 'the crowd'
   might stay home, while the Republicans, ever watchful of their
   tax dollars, would automatically vote. So, it looked like
   Reagan might successfully endrun the legislative process. Many
   of us screamed 'FOUL PLAY', but he was technically within the
   rules. What beat him was a coalition of Assembly Democrats led
   by Speaker Bob Moretti, money from moderate lobbying
   interests, and a halfway enlightened press and media. Reagan
   had overplayed his hand. He thought everybody'd be for him and
   they weren't. This defeat may be one of the reasons he didn't
   seek a third term in 1974--more than likely, however, he just
   figured his chances for the presidency were greater if he got
   out of state government while he was otherwise ahead.

        As history is written, the Reagan years will be described
   as 1980-88. My Reagan years were earlier--'66-74. I was just
   one of several jackals snapping at him, in those 8 years--or
   maybe just another gnat buzzing around him (from his point of
        This is not a biography of Ronald Reagan, or really a
   'political' treatise, and I've probably already in talking
   about him stretched the parameters of this book a bit--maybe
   to spice it up a little with the romantic aroma of Reagan, and
   ride into the publishing limelight on his dubiously famed 
   coattails...? (I started out that last sentence with the idea
   of using the word 'aromatic'--picturing a hungry publisher 
   with his nose in the air nostrils twitching at my mentions of
   bigname politicos. Of course as time goes on certain names
   may not spark so much public memory. I think of Reagan now..or
   imagine him as he is now--in his decline, guarded by
   nurses...what is he doing and thinking??)