SACRAMENTO — Assemblyman Gerald Felando (R-San Pedro) briefly found himself in a fix last Friday when the Assembly voted on his bill to provide $2 million to the City of Rancho Palos Verdes to halt the Portuguese Bend landslide.
He was finally able to engineer a victory, but it was almost as difficult as stopping the landslide.
On the first roll call, the measure received only 30 votes, far short of the 54 necessary to send it to the Senate.
So Felando had to spend much of the morning persuading colleagues to side with him. When the roll was called the second time, he was edging within a few votes of victory.
Colleague Plays Joke
But then one of his colleagues called to Felando that he had failed to cast a vote for his own measure.
In fact, Felando said later, he had voted, but as a joke his seatmate, Republican Assembly leader Pat Nolan of Glendale, had leaned over and erased it.
Nolan's antics provided a break for lawmakers rushing to meet Friday's deadline for moving bills to the Senate.
"If you take everything too seriously . . . you get a little crazy," Felando said.
With Felando's vote recast, the bill squeaked through by a 55-18 margin, just one more than necessary, and was sent to the Senate.
The bill would earmark $2 million to build water drainage facilities, grade the land and pump out water that has seeped into geological formations and triggered the landslide along Palos Verdes Drive South.
Oil Lease Funds
The money would be taken from the state's share of federal offshore oil leases. Under a recent settlement of a dispute between the state and the federal government, California stands to get $375 million of those revenues.
But Felando cautioned Monday that the appropriation will not provide a "final solution" to the landslide.
When Felando introduced the bill, he had proposed giving the city $6 million--though it has been estimated that the final price tag for a permanent solution could hit $20 million.
The bill was later changed to provide a $2-million loan and was then changed again to provide the money as a grant. In the face of criticism on the Assembly floor Friday, Felando pledged that he would seek to have the bill changed in the Senate once again to provide for a loan to the city.
Assemblyman Tom Hayden (D-Santa Monica) criticized the measure for singling out one slide area for help when there are many areas along the shaky Southern California coastline plagued by slides.
Hayden pointed out that "it would be terrific to be able to find a way" to also set aside state funds to stop slides in Pacific Palisades and Malibu in his district.
In voting against the proposal, Hayden argued that the $2-million appropriation for Rancho Palos Verdes is "just too much money for one area."