Los Angeles Times state Capitol columnist George Skelton begins his piece today on the Mike Duvall scandal much more tantalizingly than a typical George Skelton column.The Legislature had just wrapped up its annual session when a top aide invited me to a post-adjournment party across the street from the Capitol. I went.
Entering the hotel suite, I saw an open bedroom door. And sitting on the bed was an attractive female lobbyist wearing only black panties. Two or three male legislators stood around grinning, chortling.
A little embarrassed, I hurried past to the main party group. The bedroom door soon closed. And for the next 45 minutes or so, one legislator after another entered or left the room.
The lobbyist had just won passage of a major bill, and I assumed she was celebrating by entertaining helpful lawmakers.
No, this was not early Saturday after the tortured conclusion of this year's regular session. It was 46 years ago, not long after I had begun covering the Legislature for a wire service.
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One of Skelton's points is "that lobbyist-provided sex--supplied directly or indirectly by some glorified pimp -- is nothing new in the California Legislature or any democratic body, dating back centuries." But another he makes much farther down in the column seems to infer that the Legislature provided sex by lobbyists 46 years ago got much more accomplished than the gridlocked assemblage he covers now.
Despite nightly carousing--or maybe because of the camaraderie it created--the '63 Legislature was one of the most productive of the last half-century, passing a major welfare expansion and a historic bill banning racial discrimination in the sale and rental of housing. Voters repealed the open housing act, but courts restored it.
To be fair, Skelton quickly adds that the current Legislature, with Duvall spanking and eying eye-patch underwear and all, "has had a better year than it's getting credit for," citing keeping the state afloat amid the toughest economic times since the Great Depression as its main accomplishment.
Of course, there is so much political polarization in Sacramento that getting anything done often drags legislators into the wee, wee hours of the morning--or more like the next morning--long after bars close and before liquor stores start selling booze. As Skelton concludes, "No one feels like partying at 6 a.m."