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Switching to GOP Is Out of the Question, Robbins Asserts

November 02, 1987|ALAN C. MILLER | Times Staff Writer

State Sen. Alan Robbins, who has threatened to bolt the Democratic Party and re-register as an independent, has rejected an invitation by state Republican Chairman Bob Naylor to come "all the way over" to the GOP.

"It's just not something I'm prepared to do," said Robbins, who has been a registered Democrat for more than 20 years. But, he added, "The change to independent is still a possibility."

Senate President David A. Roberti (D-Los Angeles) said he expects to sit down with Robbins as early as this week to discuss the 14-year Senate veteran's grievances.

In a bid to capitalize on Robbins' ire with Roberti, Naylor sent the Van Nuys lawmaker a letter and issued a news release Wednesday urging Robbins "to make that much more of a difference."

Democratic officials derided Naylor's actions--taken six weeks after Robbins said he might re-register--as an effort to rekindle news coverage of internal Democratic tensions. They said any genuine overture to Robbins would be made in private.

Robbins, 44, said he told a Republican colleague who approached him last month that he was not interested in joining the GOP.

He said he feels he might be better able to concentrate on San Fernando Valley issues as an independent and has been encouraged by the success of Sen. Quentin L. Kopp of San Francisco, the only member of the 40-member upper chamber not affiliated with either major party.

Robbins, who periodically supports Valley Republicans and who in turn has received their backing, is generally nonpartisan on most issues.

He disclosed that he was considering becoming an independent in the wake of two bruising transportation battles shortly before the Legislature adjourned in mid-September.

On the last legislative day of 1987, the Senate delayed consideration of a controversial measure sought by Robbins to ban light-rail construction in North Hollywood and Van Nuys for a decade and to postpone Metro Rail construction in the Valley for two years. Roberti and other prominent Democrats played key roles in setting aside the measure on procedural grounds.

This followed an intense and protracted struggle by Robbins and Assemblyman Richard Katz (D-Sepulveda) to pass a sweeping bill to abolish the RTD and replace it with a super transit agency. Democrats as well as Republicans demanded the removal of a provision that would have created a seat earmarked for Robbins on the powerful new agency's board.

The transit reorganization bill eventually passed, but Gov. George Deukmejian vetoed it.

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