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Anthony Portantino: From Obscurity to the Spotlight, a Politician Doing What’s Right

It was
like watching a remake “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” rewritten as “Mr.
Portantino Goes to Sacramento” — the accidental politician becomes the
reluctant revolutionary.
In barely two months, Portantino has gone from the relative
obscurity of serving quietly and industriously as one of California’s
120 lawmakers to stumbling into the political spotlight as a lone voice
challenging the leadership and record of failure of a hopelessly
gridlocked Legislature.

He has made headlines in newspapers
across the state, inspired editorials sharply critical of Assembly
Speaker John Perez’s abuses of his power, prompted two major newspapers
to sue the Legislature for refusing to release how much it spends on
itself and its staff — that’s taxpayer money, not the special-interest
money that puts them into office and provides costly favors to them.

daring to break ranks from his fellow Democrats and voting against a
state budget based on phony revenue estimates while putting dangerous
criminals onto our streets early, doing nothing to provide jobs or hold
government agencies accountable, Portantino is being treated like a
political leper by his own party leadership.

They have issued
notices to his staff that they will be furloughed on Oct. 21 for 40
days, claiming that he overspent his budget — the same budget they
refuse to release for all legislators. On Thursday, they tried to
squelch Portantino’s right to speak on the Assembly floor when he tried
to praise three Republicans who joined him in defying the speaker by
releasing their budgets themselves.

“I can’t concern myself with
retribution,” Portantino said near the end of our 90-minute
conversation. “I just have to be who I am and connect to the people I
represent. You can’t do anything else.”

This isn’t a personality
squabble. It’s about honesty in government. Transparency.
Accountability. Solving the people’s problems. Fixing what’s broken.
Spending tax money wisely. Looking after the public interest, selling
out to special interests.

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8 Responses to Anthony Portantino: From Obscurity to the Spotlight, a Politician Doing What’s Right

  1. Sandy Sand says:

    Forget about finding an honest man in gereral, but if Ron were Diogenes, would he have found one honest politician.
    What a great change of pace to read this kind of story.

  2. Anonymous says:


  3. Anonymous says:

    Two corrupt cousins screwing LA and California.

  4. BRAVO Mr Assemblyman Anthony Portantino ! A salute to your parents for teaching you common virtues. And, a sincere thank you, as Ron Kaye put it, “…for actually doing the right thing for the right reasons despite threats and bullying.”

  5. Bob G says:

    Hey Ron and others:
    Why not call your own state Assembly rep’s office — the Democrats I’m talking about here — and ask whether your elected rep supports this treatement of Portantino. Five calls to each of ten Assemblymen and this thing will stop.
    Perhaps there is a different side to the story, like Portantino joining with Republicans to block the budget. This seems a little unlikely considering the new rules, but it would at least be useful to have a cool rendering of the facts here.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I would like to see the budget for Kevin DeLeon. The son-of-a-bitch is a do nothing. We have never seen him conduct a community forum on the concerns of his constituents. He is grossly out of touch with his District.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Portotino is a great guy who is very responsive to his community. I wish him well and will vote for him in his next election.

  8. Frank Flint's ghost says:

    AP is a solid citizen; the western San Gabriel Valley has a chance to elect someone who actually cares about the district’s future because he and his wife lives there and of what it means for his children (unlike Dreier, who has other “interests”)….
    Perez is a college drop-out and an operator who could not make it outside of politics (elected or otherwise) if his life depended on it – kind of like 90 percent of these yahoos, Republican and Democrats alike.

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