Former Assemblymembers Oppose Capitol Annex Project

(San Rafael, CA)-- Regarding the destruction of the Historic Capitol Annex: Former Assemblyman Bill Bagley (1961ยท1974) accused the State Legislature's Joint Rules Committee Chair of acting like President Trump by circumventing all proper procedures, thus ruining the Capitol annex and the Capitol's historic west front by building a glaring modern visitors center entrance.

"That proposed gateway mimics a Greyhound bus concourse, and prevents citizens protests in front of the capitol," Bagley declared. "That's the result of stepping on the toes of the past preservationist Senate leaders Jim Mills and Nick Petris, who fought to restore and save the historic Capitol," the former UC Regent commented. "Similarly, the JRC Chair fails to follow state preservation mandates in his attempt to obliterate the annex and wreak havoc on the Capitol's west front facade."

"The State Architect designed the construction of the annex in 1948, now also a designated historical part of the Capitol; the State Architect's office was involved in the Capitol Restoration Project; now however, the JRC Chair ignored the State Architect to determine whether the annex could be renovated or rehabilitated, using the Board of the State Historic Building Code.

Former Senate pro Tern James Mills, a historian and staunch preservationist, authored the State Historic Building Safety Board that was enacted into law in 1976, placing it under the State Architect's office. The Capitol Restoration Project began in 1976 as well, as the California Bicentennial Project in which the Joint Rules Committee adopted Resolution 35 the same year, "Relative to the Preservation, Restoration and Rehabilitation of the Historic West Wing of California's State Capitol:

"The Chair of the Joint Rules Committee is ignoring the guidelines adopted by Resolution 35, later included in AB 2767, sponsored by Assembly Speaker Willie Brown that also created the Historic Capitol Commission," said Bagley. According to the minutes of the first Capitol Commission meeting, Speaker Brown stated that the Commissioners "should view themselves as an independent group and assume their responsibilities despite potential conflicts with the Legislative leadership."

Senator Petris, Chair of the JRC Subcommittee on the Capitol Restoration Project, called upon the Commission to make use of the California Capitol Historic Preservation Society as a non-profit support group, as provided in the Speaker's legislation.

Instead, the current JRC Chair has continually prevented the Commission from doing its duties, which led to the resignations of its chair and an urban ecologist concerned over the destruction of many trees in Capitol Park to build an underground parking garage.

"There should be a public outrage against legislators who desire turning the traditional historic symbol of democracy into a Disneyland extravaganza," Bagley asserted. He and Mills both entered the Assembly in 1960 as the only Phi Beta Kappa members of that class. Incidentally, they are the only surviving Assembly members of that class.