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Joe Gonsalves; Dairy Farmer, Legislator, Lobbyist

July 11, 2000

Joe Gonsalves, 80, Cerritos dairy farmer who became a respected state legislator and lobbyist. The son of Portuguese immigrants, Gonsalves operated a dairy farm in the area that became the city first called Dairy Valley and then Cerritos. In later years, he and three of his nine sons owned up to 3,700 head of dairy cattle on a farm near Hanford. Gonsalves began his political career as a city councilman and mayor of Cerritos. He was elected to the Assembly in 1962 and served until he lost a bid for his redrawn district in 1973. A Democrat, Gonsalves worked for tax reform, authoring a 1971 bill to close income tax loopholes after it was revealed that then-Gov. Ronald Reagan paid no state income tax in 1970. The assemblyman also led efforts to reform property taxes years before the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978. As a legislator, Gonsalves created a dairy collective to increase farmers' negotiating strength with creameries, and worked for legislation to permit production of raw milk. After he left the Legislature, Gonsalves became an influential lobbyist, working for several small cities in Los Angeles County. In Sacramento, he worked for funding for sound walls along Southern California freeways and allocation of property tax revenue to cities. He lobbied the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on behalf of small cities, particularly to limit charges for providing county sheriff's law enforcement services. On Friday in Sacramento of a blood disorder.

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