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Jesse Unruh

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 6, 1987
Jesse M. Unruh's name seldom appeared in print far from the word powerful ; it suited well his politics, his physique and his personality. In the mid-1960s his politics and 290-pound physique earned him the unflattering title Big Daddy after he locked up the Assembly, of which he was the Speaker, until it did as he demanded: vote on a budget. His personality later led him to reflect that it was a big mistake.
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BOOKS
November 18, 2007 | Peter Schrag, Peter Schrag, a columnist and former editorial page editor of the Sacramento Bee, is the author, most recently, of "California: America's High Stakes Experiment."
It's been a long time since Jesse M. "Big Daddy" Unruh was a household name in California politics. Unruh was, as the cliche goes, "the powerful speaker" of the state Assembly from 1961 to 1969, candidate for governor in 1970 -- he lost to then-Gov. Ronald Reagan by 500,000 votes -- and state treasurer from 1975 until his death in 1987. So why would anyone want to write Unruh's biography now?
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OPINION
July 27, 1986 | WILLIAM KAHRL, William Kahrl is a frequent contributor from Sacramento.
Jesse Unruh is the Jekyll and Hyde of California politics. Over the past quarter-century, he has repeatedly erected new heights for government to scale in serving the public interest, while always remaining himself mired in controversy over the most tawdry issues of money and influence. In achievement, insight and intelligence, he is everything we could hope for in a public servant and the last thing many of us would ever want.
OPINION
November 12, 2007 | Bill Boyarsky, Bill Boyarsky, a former city editor and columnist for The Times, teaches journalism at USC and is the author of the just-published "Big Daddy: Jesse Unruh and the Art of Power Politics."
If ethnic relations in Los Angeles seem tense now, it is enlightening to know how much worse they were in the segregated, racist L.A. of post-World War II, when Jesse M. Unruh, an overweight, angry GI Bill vet, enrolled at the University of Southern California. Eventually, Unruh went on to hold state political offices and, for a time, was the most powerful politician in California. He was part of a generation of visionaries that included former governors Earl Warren and Edmund G. Brown Sr.
MAGAZINE
November 1, 1987 | JAMES R. MILLS, From "A Disorderly House: The Brown/Unruh Years in Sacramento," by James Mills, to be published this month by Heyday Books. Mills was chairman of the Democratic caucus and head of the Assembly Rules Committee during the '60s.
ANY NUMBER of theses, dissertations, articles and books have been written about the age of Unruh in the California Legislature. They have explained to all who cared to read that Jesse Marvin Unruh became the speaker of the California Assembly by persuading his predecessor, Ralph Brown, to appoint his friend Bob Crown as chairman of the Elections and Reapportionment Committee to preside over the gerrymandering of the Assembly after the decennial census of 1961.
NEWS
August 5, 1987 | KENNETH REICH, Times Staff Writer
Jesse Marvin Unruh, often regarded as the most powerful Assembly Speaker in California history and a prominent figure in state politics for more than 30 years, died Tuesday night at his home in Marina del Rey after a long battle against cancer. He was 64, and had been diagnosed as suffering from cancer of the prostate in 1983. Family spokesman Kenneth Berk said Unruh died quietly, surrounded by his family.
OPINION
November 12, 2007 | Bill Boyarsky, Bill Boyarsky, a former city editor and columnist for The Times, teaches journalism at USC and is the author of the just-published "Big Daddy: Jesse Unruh and the Art of Power Politics."
If ethnic relations in Los Angeles seem tense now, it is enlightening to know how much worse they were in the segregated, racist L.A. of post-World War II, when Jesse M. Unruh, an overweight, angry GI Bill vet, enrolled at the University of Southern California. Eventually, Unruh went on to hold state political offices and, for a time, was the most powerful politician in California. He was part of a generation of visionaries that included former governors Earl Warren and Edmund G. Brown Sr.
OPINION
January 12, 1992 | Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a senior associate at the Center for Politics and Policy at Claremont Graduate School, is a contributing editor to Opinion.
Gov. Pete Wilson's State of the State address to the Legislature was, in many ways, a requiem for an era in California government and politics. The economic boom that reliably fed Golden State programs has gone bust. And the legislative institution that California has known since Jesse M. Unruh created a full-time, professional body in 1966 is in its death throes. The gloom and doom here surrounding state finances are palpable.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 24, 1988
The late Jesse Unruh said it best: "Money is the mother's milk of politics." Proposition 68 is a ballot measure whose time has come. Any legislator who pretends not to be influenced strongly by the demands of large contributors is guilty of spreading fertilizer all over California. I feel unrepresented and helpless against insurance companies, trial lawyers' groups, the American Medical Assn., land developers, oil companies and all other special interest lobbyists, whose donations are reimbursed by me in the form of paying increased costs.
NEWS
August 9, 1987 | KAREN ROEBUCK, Times Staff Writer
Bruce Unruh spent nearly $158,000 on his unsuccessful bid last March to become Redondo Beach city treasurer--about four times the city record, according to recently filed campaign disclosure reports. Unruh, who got 1,625 votes and came in last in a three-person race, spent $97.10 per vote, one of the highest figures ever in a California municipal election. "It's a sobering thought, but these things sometimes have to be done," Unruh said in an interview last week. "That's how I felt about it.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 18, 1993
I read George Skelton's column (Dec. 2) and agree with his main point of the need for public financing of campaigns. However, I take exception with his lines about my father: "The word in those days was that the price for guaranteeing a bill's passage through the Assembly was a $10,000 contribution to the political coffer of the late Speaker Jesse M. Unruh (D-Inglewood). I never knew whether that was true, but I didn't doubt it." Frankly, that was a cheap shot at someone who's not here to defend himself from rumors.
OPINION
January 12, 1992 | Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a senior associate at the Center for Politics and Policy at Claremont Graduate School, is a contributing editor to Opinion.
Gov. Pete Wilson's State of the State address to the Legislature was, in many ways, a requiem for an era in California government and politics. The economic boom that reliably fed Golden State programs has gone bust. And the legislative institution that California has known since Jesse M. Unruh created a full-time, professional body in 1966 is in its death throes. The gloom and doom here surrounding state finances are palpable.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 2, 1990
Your editorial endorsing Brown states Hayes would use the office only to protect the state's finances while Brown would use the state's financial clout to pressure corporations in which state pension funds have large holdings. I think you have the priorities reversed. As a recipient of a civil service pension, I dread the day a politician starts using our pension funds to promote a political agenda instead of maintaining the financial integrity of the fund. Incidentally, The Times ran an article several years ago on how former treasurer Jesse Unruh was using his office to extract large campaign contributions from bond underwriting firms wishing to do business with the state.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 27, 1989 | STEVE HARVEY, From staff and wire reports
"Batman" may have enjoyed a boffo opening at the box office, but there was at least one dissenter in West Hollywood. The joker sprayed a logo of the caped crusader, with a line slashing through the middle, on a Melrose Boulevard sidewalk. Now begins the third annual search for the nation's biggest sports nut. It's sponsored by Fisher Nuts, of course. No Southern Californian has won yet, but Mike Zimmerman of Temple City finished in the top six in 1987. Zimmerman's most impressive performances, according to Fisher: --"Proposed to wife in bed during Mets-Phillies game."
NEWS
April 19, 1989 | CLAUDIA LUTHER, Times Political Writer
Setting the stage for a costly primary fight, former U.S. Treasurer Angela M. (Bay) Buchanan barnstormed California Tuesday to announce her candidacy for the Republican nomination for state treasurer. Buchanan, 40, an Irvine resident, flew to Sacramento, Fresno, Burbank and San Diego to promote her challenge to incumbent Treasurer Thomas Hayes, a Republican. Hayes, 43, was appointed to his post by Gov. George Deukmejian last year following the death of Jesse Unruh. Calling herself "the underdog" to the governor's candidate, Buchanan nevertheless dismissed suggestions that she was defying Deukmejian.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 24, 1988
The late Jesse Unruh said it best: "Money is the mother's milk of politics." Proposition 68 is a ballot measure whose time has come. Any legislator who pretends not to be influenced strongly by the demands of large contributors is guilty of spreading fertilizer all over California. I feel unrepresented and helpless against insurance companies, trial lawyers' groups, the American Medical Assn., land developers, oil companies and all other special interest lobbyists, whose donations are reimbursed by me in the form of paying increased costs.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 2, 1990
Your editorial endorsing Brown states Hayes would use the office only to protect the state's finances while Brown would use the state's financial clout to pressure corporations in which state pension funds have large holdings. I think you have the priorities reversed. As a recipient of a civil service pension, I dread the day a politician starts using our pension funds to promote a political agenda instead of maintaining the financial integrity of the fund. Incidentally, The Times ran an article several years ago on how former treasurer Jesse Unruh was using his office to extract large campaign contributions from bond underwriting firms wishing to do business with the state.
NEWS
December 22, 1987
Weeks before his death, the late state Treasurer Jesse M. Unruh, one of the most accomplished political fund-raisers in California history, wrote a letter endorsing a ballot proposition to reform and restrict campaign financing in legislative races, according to sponsors of the measure. Officials of Common Cause and the League of Women Voters released the letter at a press conference in Los Angeles.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 5, 1988
The people of California lost big in the political flurry over the appointment for the state treasurer's post. It isn't that an ambitious right-wing ideologue did not get the support of the Legislature. Rather, that in considering the replacement for the late Jesse Unruh all members of the California political establishment (Democrats and Republicans) selfishly ignored us. The electorate had voted overwhelmingly in the last election for a moderate pragmatist in Unruh. The governor in interpreting the California Constitution's provisions decided that he knew much better what the people needed when he gave his nomination to the Legislature for confirmation.
BOOKS
January 24, 1988 | Jess Bravin, Bravin formerly covered the California Legislature in Sacramento for The Times. and
After scorning his leadership for the last 15 years of his life, Sacramento virtually deified Jesse M. Unruh upon his death Aug. 4, with politicians of both parties tumbling over each other to praise the fallen state treasurer. Republican Gov. George Deukmejian named State Office Building No.
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