In Legislature, beards grow
faster than consensus
Amid the hand-shaking and back-slapping of members returning to the Assembly floor from a long summer recess on Monday, a few new beards bristled.
Was the newly acquired facial hair perhaps a kind of rally beard, intended to sustain members through the grueling final stretch of the year? Were they hairy totems to bolster legislative luck?
“No, no, no,” said Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, owner of a bushy gray batch. He had been camping.
In what is apparently a long-running tradition, Cooley joined Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, California State Librarian Greg Lucas and a few others on a four-day excursion along the headwaters of the San Joaquin River.
Apparently there were no bipartisan policy breakthroughs. Cooley said he hit the trails, while his Republican counterpart got in some fishing.
“I just figured if I’m going to be camping, I’ll lose my razor for a little bit,” said Cooley, a former scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts. “I think,” he added, “other lawmakers ought to consider going on this trip.”
A pair of Democrats running for nonpartisan state schools chief had almost identical financial pictures on June 30, the end of the latest filing period. Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson finished June with $194,550 on hand, and rival Marshall Tuck had $179,913. Torlakson, the incumbent and a close ally of teachers unions, spent $1.15 million through the primary election. Tuck, a former charter school executive, spent $1 million.
“Santa Cruz is the canary in California’s coal mine.”