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Legislature now a stepping stone for would-be L.A. council members

August 3, 2012 | 12:21 pm


Once upon a time, a time before legislative term limits, the Los Angeles City Council used to be a stepping stone to the Legislature. But Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield’s entry into the San Fernando Valley’s 3rd District council race is just the latest indication that it now works the other way around.

As David Zahniser reports, Blumenfield is the fourth sitting Assemblyman to join the 2013 race for City Council. Democrats Mike Davis, Gil Cedillo and Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar) are also seeking council seats. The current council president, Herb Wesson, is a former Assembly speaker. Council members Richard Alarcon, Tony Cardenas, Paul Koretz and Paul Krekorian all once served in Sacramento.

It’s not difficult to see why this trend has reversed over the last two decades. With the passage of Proposition 140 in 1990, Assembly service was capped at six years. That measure also stripped state pensions for Sacramento lawmakers.

It also established an independent commission that controls lawmakers’ pay. The average Assembly member now makes about $95,000 a year. Council members make close to twice that amount, plus they get pensions, city cars and can serve for 12 years.

In June, voters changed legislative term limits, passing a measure that will allow lawmakers to serve 12 years in either the Assembly or the Senate instead of the six years in the Assembly and the eight years in the Senate allowed under the 1990 law.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is also a former Assembly speaker, but signs are he may want to head back to the state Capitol. In an interview with Yahoo! News, the mayor said that after he leaves office next year, he’d like to run for governor.

[For the Record, 1:37 p.m. Aug. 3: An earlier version of this post said Bob Blumenfield is running in Los Angeles' 4th Council District. He is running in Council District 3.]


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-- Anthony York in Sacramento

Photo: Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) is one of four current legislators running for Los Angeles City Council. Credit: Associated Press