Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, February 7, 2002


Page 10


Wesson Sworn In as Assembly Speaker, Names Steinberg, Corbett to Key Legislative Committees


From Staff and Wire Service Reports


New Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson of Culver City wasted no time yesterday naming new committee chairs, moving former Judiciary Committee Chairman Darryl Steinberg of Sacramento to chair the powerful Appropriations Committee and picking Ellen Corbett of San Leandro to take his place on Judiciary.

Both appointments become effective March 11.

The Judiciary Committee generally hears all bills related to the courts, the practice of law and the administration of justice. Speakers often appoint lawyer members to chair the panel.

Steinberg, who led the committee under ex-Speaker Robert Hertzberg of Van Nuys, was a U.C. Davis Law School-educated attorney for the California State Employees Association, then an arbitrator and mediator in private practice before his election to the Sacramento City Council launched his political career.

Corbett worked her way through McGeorge School of Law as a state Capitol tour guide, then opened a San Leandro law practice and was elected to the East Bay city’s city council, serving four years as mayor.

In the Assembly, her bills include a law requiring gun-show promoters to be licensed.

At his inauguration yesterday as speaker, Wesson, a Culver City Democrat, called on lawmakers to protect civil rights and pass a fair budget.

The 50-year-old Wesson became the third Assembly speaker from the Los Angeles area.

“We face a great challenge,” Wesson said after being sworn in as the 65th speaker. “This is our moment. It’s time to step up to the challenges with greatness of our own.”

Wesson went on to say that he expects plenty of criticism during this year’s tough budget negotiations.

“We’ll get criticized in the newspapers, we’ll get criticized by our so-called friends,” he said.

He warned fellow lawmakers of the temptation to balance the state’s budget by eliminating the services that “vulnerable Californians rely on.”

“We can’t balance the budget on the backs of the voiceless, just as we will not balance the budget on the backs of business, teachers or local government,” said Wesson, who assumes his new duties as state lawmakers try to put together a balanced $100 billion budget in the face of a $12 billion shortfall.

In addition to Steinberg and Corbett, Wesson named Democrats Christine Kehoe of San Diego speaker pro tempore, Marco Firebaugh of Cudahy majority floor leader, Wilma Chan of Oakland majority leader, and George Nakano of Torrance caucus chair.

Jenny Oropeza of Long Beach was named Budget Committee chair, Jerome Horton of Inglewood was named chair of the Committee on Government Organization, Rebecca Cohen of the Silicon Valley was named chair of the Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet media, Manny Diaz of San Jose was named chair of a budget subcommittee on information technology and transportation, and Joe Nation of San Rafael was named chair of the Rules Committee.

Those appointees, unlike Steinberg and Corbett, will take over their new posts immediately.

Wesson, who arrived in Los Angeles from Cleveland at age 22 with little to his name after being advised by his father to “go West,” worked his way up the political ladder, eventually winning a seat in the Assembly in 1998.

Previously he served as chief of staff to Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke and chief deputy to Los Angeles City Councilman Nate Holden.

The married father of four’s district includes Ladera Heights, Baldwin Hills, View Park, Cheviot Hills, Westwood and Windsor Hills.


Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company