Senate pulls plug on Perez priority
By Brian Joseph, Timothy Sandoval and Ramon Solis
The Orange County Register
August 29th, 2011, 4:52 pmOne day into the final two weeks of the legislative session, lawmakers and their staffs are bracing for gridlock in Sacramento as the State Senate rejected the Assembly speaker’s top legislative priority Monday.
Legislators and Capitol staffers are concerned that Assembly Speaker John A. Perez will take some sort of punitive action against them in response to the defeat of his Assembly Bill 46, which sought to disincorporate the Los Angeles County city of Vernon. A tiny city, but plagued by corruption, Vernon is home to fewer than 100 residents but roughly 1,800 businesses. The speaker made it his top priority this year to dissolve the city.
The Senate, however, had other ideas. Amid concerns that disincorporating the city would affect businesses and jobs, senators of both parties spoke loudly against Perez’s bill, saying it was a drastic step that would needlessly hurt the economy. The bill died on a 13-17 vote, with a whopping 10 senators abstaining.
The concern now is what Perez may do in response to this public defeat. Perez has developed a reputation for confrontation and retribution. For weeks now, he’s been engaged in a war of words with Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, who has challenged the speaker over cuts to his office budget and the secrecy surrounding them.
Members of the Senate and their staff suspect their bills currently under consideration in the Assembly may not be passed.
Shortly after the vote, Perez released this statement:
“Today’s action by the Senate is a deep disappointment to the men and women of the Southeast Communities. I introduced AB 46 to finally end the toxic corruption that has poisoned the Southeast Communities by disincorporating Vernon. The Senate chose to ignore decades of corruption in Vernon, and AB 46, like multiple bills that came in response to the Bell scandals last year, could not gather a majority of senators. The fact is clear: Senators [Ron] Calderon and [Kevin] De León, along with their colleagues, have given Vernon a free pass to continue doing business as usual, and those senators will own the responsibility for any misdeeds that may occur in the future. I am proud of the fact that I stood with the men and women of the Southeast communities in this effort.”This vote is sure to color the final days of the legislative session, which is arguably the most important time in Sacramento, when the fate of literally hundreds of bills stand in the balance. Stay tuned to Total Buzz for developments. The Legislature ends its work year on Sept. 9.