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Stories of the Close Vote, June 27th.

posted Jul 15, 2011, 10:21 PM by Bill Wright - Burton   [ updated Jul 15, 2011, 11:09 PM ]
Over the months of work on this bill some exciting stories have not yet been told!

The vote in the Assembly Transportation Committee was a cliff-hanger!  The vote on out SB910 was 6-4 near the end of the day, the vote was held open for call (committee members can vote at any point during the day of the committee meeting as long as the meeting is still in session), Chair-member Bonnie Lowenthal awaited votes past 5:30 p.m. on two bills, basicly giving our sb910 a chance to pass instead of dying due to lack of votes.  We needed 7 yes votes.  Lobiest(AAA, So CAl AAA, CBC, CABO, City of Los Angeles) , supporters (Alan Wachtel, John Burton, Bill Burton, Jim Brown), legislators staff (Alan Lowenthal, John Casey, Howard Posner, Janet Dawson) waited in a near empty committee room for final results.
A republican assembly member, Achadjian, then returned to vote, he voted yes for our bill, we felt relief of tension thinking of success of passing this day.  Then three minutes later Howard Posner tells Senator Alan Lowenthal that Achadjian changed his vote (changed his mind?-that is not allowed after one has voted), he claimed to have voted on the wrong measure, after going backstage, returning sheepishly to request to change his "mistake".  He would have been the only Assembly Republican to vote yes, it appears he was encouraged to change his vote.  So with some degree of protest Alan Lowenthal said members can't just change their mind after a vote, but still one member had not voted anyway, so at past 5:30 the bill was failing, Assembly member Furutani had not voted yet.

Quickly Lobiest, Senate staff members, and interested supporters fanned out around the capitol building, looking for Furutani.  He may have left the building, heading away from work, or may have been engaged in other work, yet his staff and all the rest could not find him.  I think a personal phone call to him was made, asking him to return to vote, yet no sign of him known past 6:00 p.m.  Our bill was not passing, Bonnie Lowenthal kept the meeting open, then from backstage an out of breath Furutani came forward, with a no vote for SB333 and a yes vote for SB910. 

Needless to say most in attendance had relief of a final 7th yes vote, for the bill to pass. Many went to a nearby pub after that vote!

That same day the Teamsters were contacted to try to reach some resolution of their concerns.  This is a story that will be place here soon! I need to take a deep breath,,,