Perspectives Outside the Walls End of session politics is frustrating By Les H Cohen, Legislative Advocate Emeritus/OC Ombudsman Years of exciting and successful experience representing clients at the state capitol taught me that, end of session politics can be a frustrating, messy and almost crazy business—or as many call it—an “imperfect science.”
Hundreds of bills held in the “suspense files” were passed, amended or rejected at the Aug. 14 appropriations hearings by Senate and Assembly committees.
As a freshman lobbyist, I was dumbfounded as to why the bills I was supporting were killed by the two powerful committees. No one— legislator, staff or my lobbyist colleagues — could or would tell me. And, I quickly learned that after this week’s traditional live-or-die for hundreds of bills, I was not alone—it impacted all lobbyists, and their clients.
The bills in the “suspense file” were held until the final day for referral to the respective floors of each house—with the appropriations committees offering three scenarios, pass the bills as written; pass them with last minute amendments; or “hold” the bills in committee to die a quiet death without an official vote. The last two options are where Capitol Watchers, including perceptive reporters, say the shroud of secrecy descends.
The reasons why some bills move forward to the floors of both houses, and why some bills die in this appropriations process is and probably will remain a mystery to almost everyone, including the affected authors of those bills. This process, without public debate or vote of the Legislature, has often been called the least transparent exercise the Legislature applies to all bills.
Finally to add to the mystery of the process, bills that were previously killed often become part of the unique process known as G & A, “gut and amend.” This is where the term “Lazarus” is applied as the bill rises again to be acted upon by the close of the session, Aug. 31.
None of the above was ever taught in my university political science classes. It is all on-the- job-training, my passion that I will proudly will endure forever.

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Letter to the Editor
Editor,
Obviously Ron Nett did not read my entire letter to the editor, because following his opening statement in the Aug. 21 edition, he continues by echoing my exact words that it is the mentally deranged persons who are perpetrators of gun violence. He continues by stating that some law enforcement agencies do have laws “aimed at dangerous persons.” This is exactly the point I was making when I said that it is not the gun that commits crimes against people, but rather it is mentally deranged persons who do it.
Patrick Coffee
Mutual 10

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Jean Sudbeck, president of American Legion Auxiliary 327, thanks the Golden Rain Foundation for sponsoring the food drive for veterans at the recent entertainment program in the Amphitheater. The response was one of generosity of the entire community and came at a time of great need. The veterans are also grateful.
Setting It Straight
The Focus on GAF columnin the Aug. 21 edition of the News had several errors.
President Maureen Habel is a former board member of the PEP.
Carole Damoci is vice-president of the Golden Rain Foundation, not Mutual 12.
Mary Wood is the past president of Mutual 6 and former treasurer for the Garden Club and Scrapbooking Club and currently serves as corporate secretary of the GRF board.