Sekuler, Eliot

Eliot Sekuler is a Northeast L.A.-based writer who recently retired from a career in communications and marketing departments in the entertainment business.

Assembly Operating Budget Remains Secret As Portantino’s Staff Receive Furlough Notice

By Eliot Sekuler

Last Thursday (7/28), all eleven staffers in California State Assemblyman Anthony Portantino’s offices in Sacramento and Pasadena received letters informing them that they face “leave without pay” beginning October 21 and extending through November 30. The issue surrounding the furlough, which would severely curtail key constituent services for his district, exposes a troubling lack of transparency surrounding the Assembly’s operating budget.

The virtual shut-down of AD 44 operations is one result of a punitive action taken by Assembly Speaker John Perez and the State Assembly’s Rules Committee as retribution for several votes of conscience by the independent-minded Portantino. As a punishment for breaking ranks with Perez, the committee reduced Portantino’s budget by $67,000.  In response, the assembly member and several news organizations requested detail on how the State Assembly’s $146 million funds are allocated. (Currently, the only publicly available detail on that budget is a list of staff salaries.)