By Jason KUROSU
With the new state administration, we felt it was important for our readers to reacquaint themselves with the players in Sacramento.
Bob Huff – Hailing from Diamond Bar, Senator Bob Huff was a member of the California State Assembly from 2004 to 2008. He is currently the Senate Republican Caucus Chairman and represents the 29th Senate district, half the population of which lives in Los Angeles County including unincorporated areas of La Crescenta-Montrose.
As with many Republicans, Huff does not support increased taxes and thus is critical of the call for increased taxes in Governor Jerry Brown’s new budget. Huff is in favor of reducing spending and pension costs and using that money for other programs, namely school reform. Senator Huff is a proponent of school reform and a supporter of charter schools, which he believes outperform public schools due to increased competition for students.
Carol Liu – Senator Carol Liu, who served in the State Assembly from 2000 to 2006, represents the 21st district, which includes La Cañada-Flintridge. She served on the La Cañada-Flintridge City Council before serving in the Assembly and was elected to the State Senate in 2008.
Liu spends a lot of her focus on education. She earned her teaching credential and education administration credential at UC Berkeley and was a teacher and school administrator before entering politics. She is a former PTA president and president of the Pasadena City College Foundation board. She is currently the chairwoman of the Senate’s budget subcommittee on education.
Improvements to state services for students and women were her main focus upon entering her office, although much of her focus in recent years has been centered on the state budget.
Tim Donnelly – Assemblyman Tim Donnelly represents the 59th district, which contains a substantial portion of the La Crescenta-Montrose area. Donnelly’s forays into the political realm began with his founding of the largest Minutemen chapter in California. He stepped down from the Minutemen in 2006 but continued his campaign against illegal immigration and for securing the borders by running for State Assembly last year.
Donnelly, a Republican, is a supporter of most conservative issues, but mainly issues regarding the border, as his Minutemen background would suggest. He recently introduced a measure similar to the Arizona immigration law, which would make it a crime to be in the state without proper documentation.
Mike Gatto – Representing the 43rd District, which includes the entirety of Burbank and a large majority of Glendale including La Crescenta and Montrose, is Assemblyman Mike Gatto. Gatto worked as an attorney and served in the administrations of two Los Angeles mayors before entering the Assembly. He was elected in 2010, and was the youngest Democrat in the State Legislature at the time of his election.
Gatto currently sits on six different committees: Appropriations, Revenue & Taxation, Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism & Internet Media; Water, Parks & Wildlife, Elections & Redistricting; and Rules. In his short time in the Assembly, he has authored bills that would stop taxpayers from paying the pension costs of other cities’ officials (this namely being in response to Glendale taxpayers paying the pension costs of the city of Bell’s police chief) and also authored a “Rainy Day Fund” bill, which would require the Legislature to follow a strict program for how to spend and save money.
Cameron Smyth – Cameron Smyth, who represents the 38th district that includes Glendale, has represented the district since 2006. He was named the Republican Caucus Chair upon his reelection in 2008 and the Chairman of the Assembly Local Government Committee in 2010.
Smyth serves on several committees including the Business and Professions Committee, the Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee, the Select Committee on Preservation of California’s Entertainment Industry and the Utilities and Commerce Committee among others. Smyth also received the Legislator of the Year award in 2009 from the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence because of his restoration of funding for domestic violence programs.
Anthony Portantino – Representing the 44th district, which includes Pasadena, La Cañada-Flintridge and parts of La Crescenta-Montrose, is Democrat Anthony Portantino. He served two terms on the La Cañada Flintridge City Council from 1999 to 2006 and two terms as the city’s mayor (2001-2002, 2005-2006.)
He was elected into the Assembly in 2006 and was appointed as chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education. In 2010, he was named to head the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation and also serves on several other committees, including Higher Education, Government Organization, Human Services and Transportation.