Next California Speaker: John Perez, Villaraigosa's cousin, a neophyte with one year under his belt

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Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 5:56 PM

Proving that you can skyrocket from relative obscurity to big-time power if you play your cards just right, neophyte politician John Perez, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's first cousin, is widely expected to be chosen by the Democratic majority in Sacramento as the next California Assembly Speaker, KQED radio is reporting from Sacramento.

While much of the initial news will focus on the fact that Perez is openly gay, Perez has made more of a splash in his very short political career by pursuing controversial special interest legislation (as in his Assembly Bill 813 written to benefit just one billionaire) and for the strange manner in which Perez's two chief rivals for the open Eastside L.A. state Assembly seat he won in 2008 vanished from the primary race.

Perez apparently will be officially chosen next week. He will follow Karen Bass of Los Angeles, who struggled as California Speaker after she, like Perez, was granted the big Sacramento job by her legislative colleagues even though she had not gotten any experience first in lower political posts -- city council or county supervisor, say.  Bass had this to say:

As reported by KQED's John Myers:

Bass made it official, or seemingly so, in a discussion with Capitol

reporters this afternoon. After a few days of intense private

politicking, she says freshman legislator Perez has received more than

enough commitments from Democrats in the Assembly to get the job.

Another Los Angeles legislator, Kevin DeLeon, had fought hard to become Speaker, but Bass insists that Perez has the simple majority needed from his lower house colleagues in Sacramento to get the post.

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