Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge, said he is being “dealt harsh punishment” by his own party for “voting his conscience” on the state budget.
Two weeks ago, Portantino — who will be running for Congress after terming out of state office next year — broke ranks with other Democrats and voted against the budget due to further cuts to higher education and the elimination of redevelopment agencies.
On Friday, Portantino — who represents Pasadena, Altadena, La Cañada Flintridge, Mayflower Village, South Pasadena and parts of Los Angeles, Temple City, Arcadia and Monrovia — received a letter from Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, chair of the Assembly Rules Committee. The letter informed him that his previously approved budget for office expenses had been slashed for the third and fourth quarters of this year and that his entire staff will be sent home for a month, from Oct. 21 to Nov. 20, without pay.
According to the letter, Portantino’s projected budget was expected to have a deficit of $67,179 by Nov. 30. Portantino has until Friday to deliver a revised spending plan.
If Portantino’s revised budget is not approved, his mail will not be sent through the Assembly mailroom and stamps will not be issued to him. He will not be allowed to order office supplies, furniture, equipment or subscriptions to publications. Staff traveling expenses would also be cut, including mileage reimbursements for driving within Portantino’s 44th Assembly District.
“This bizarre and unprecedented action is clearly intended to punish me for my vote and to discourage other assembly members from performing their duties in a conscientious manner,” Portantino said in a prepared statement. “I am very concerned that it will have a detrimental effect on the services for the district for which I proudly serve and I have asked Ms. Skinner to reconsider this exercise of power.”
Wendy Gordon, Portantino’s field representative, told the Weekly that as far she knew, no other assembly member faced similar cuts.
“We have not heard from anybody else facing this,” Gordon said.