Robert Hertzberg

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Robert M. Hertzberg
Robert Hertzberg.jpg
Robert Hertzberg photographed by Christopher Michel in 2014
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 40th district
In office
Preceded by Barbara Friedman
Succeeded by Lloyd Levine
64th Speaker of the
California State Assembly
In office
April 13, 2000 – February 6, 2002
Preceded by Antonio Villaraigosa
Succeeded by Herb J. Wesson, Jr.
Personal details
Born (1954-11-19) November 19, 1954 (age 59)
Los Angeles, California
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Redlands,
Hastings College of the Law
Profession lawyer, politician, green entrepreneur
Religion Jewish[citation needed]

Robert Myles Hertzberg, a native of Los Angeles, has been characterized by the Los Angeles Times as a “high-velocity wonk; he loves BIG ideas, and will flesh out every one of them if you give him a chance.” The Los Angeles Daily News has said: Hertzberg “has relentless dedication and indefatigable energy… he has a reputation for integrity and perseverance.”[1]

Hertzberg served as Speaker of the California State assembly from 2000 to 2002 where he was twice elected on a unanimous bipartisan voice vote. He takes that same spirit of energy and innovation into his law practice, his extensive community service as well as his entrepreneurial business career. Even after leaving the State Assembly, he remained committed to public service, always willing to tutor new legislators or help broker agreements on legislation to further the public interest.Since leaving the State Assembly in 2002, he has combined civic activism to reform California’s political system, ran for Mayor of Los Angeles in 2005,ground-breaking work in the field of alternative energy and a successful law practice. (He was named a “Super Lawyer”in 2004, 2006 and from 2008 through 2013 and the Daily Journal also named him one of the Top 100 lawyers in California, while the Los Angeles Business Journal named him one of their top 10 lawyers in 2007).[2]

The web site “” said that “Bob Hertzberg one of the most talented and respected legislators ever to come out of the California Assembly.” [3]

Early life[edit]

Hertzberg was born on November 19 in Los Angeles, California to Harrison W. Hertzberg and Antoinette"Bunny" Taussig Hertzberg. He was a graduate of Palm Springs High School. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Redlands with a Bachelor of Arts double major in History and English in 1976.While in college, he wrote a 400-page handbook, entitled A Commonsense Approach to English. Three years, later Hertzberg earned his Juris Doctor from Hastings College of the Law at the University of California in San Francisco. He has been an active member of the California State Bar since 1979.[4]

Legal career and early political work[edit]

After graduating law school in 1979, Hertzberg was an associate at the Beverly Hills law firm of Fulop, Rolston, Burns, & McKittrick. In 1983, he co-authored a manual on real estate law, California Lis Pendens Practice, published by the University of California, with a second edition in 1994.[4] He was then a full partner in several small Los Angeles-area law firms until running for the State Assembly in 1996. In 2007, the Los Angeles Business Journal named Hertzberg in the article "Best of the Bar: Who's Who In L.A. LAW." The Los Angeles Business Journal also named him one of the top ten lawyers in Los Angeles. Hertzberg has been repeatedly listed by the Daily Journal as one of the top 100 lawyers in California. In 2004, 2006, and 2008-2013, he was listed in Super Lawyers as top lawyer.

Hertzberg's first political job was a driver for Lt. Governor Mervyn Dymallyin 1973 and 1974, which ended in Dymally's election as the first African-American Lt. Governor in California history. He then did a part-time stint as an advance man in the White House under President Jimmy Carter in 1977–80. From the 1970s through the 1990s, he worked for numerous California Democrats, including LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina,U.S Representatives Dennis Cardoza (Campaign Chair), Brad Sherman,Julian Dixon,Xavier Becerra (Campaign Co-chair), Lucy Roybal-Allard & Hilda Solis,LA City Council Members Mike Hernandez(Co-chair) & Herb Wesson (Chair), and also State Assembly members Antonio Villaraigosa (Campaign Treasurer), Hersh Rosenthal, and Richard Alatorre,[4] among many others.

Election to State Assembly[edit]

In 1996, Democratic Assemblywoman Barbara Friedman of the 40th Assembly District encompassing North Hollywood, Studio City, Van Nuys and Woodland Hills in the "San Fernando Valley" section of Los Angeles was forced to retire due to term limits. Hertzberg ran for the seat and was opposed in the Democratic primary in March 1996 by Fran Oschin, an aide to Los Angeles Councilman Hal Bernson. According to the California Political Almanac, Hertzberg "racked up a sheaf of endorsements and raised well over $200,000 for the primary." He won the primary by 72–28%. In the November general election, Hertzberg had a 59–31% victory over Republican Ron Culver.[5] Hertzberg's know-how and connections from over 100 local campaigns gave him the edge over the less-experienced Assembly Members who were coming into the Legislature due to the new "term limits" law. In 1998 and 2000, Hertzberg was re-elected by successively greater margins, 69% and 70%, respectively.[6][7]

Speaker of the Assembly – 2000–2002[edit]

On April 13, 2000, Hertzberg was unanimously elected by a voice vote as the 64th Speaker of the California State Assembly. In 1996, when Hertzberg first ran for the Assembly, the Democrats had 38 of 80 seats. By November 2000, when Speaker Hertzberg was directing the Assembly Democratic campaigns, his party was up to 50 seats and he was the last Speaker to gain seats until the Obama landslide of 2008.[7] As Speaker, his principle priorities were:

  • Passing bills on alternative energy and protecting the environment
  • Public safety as with anti-gang efforts such as the CLEAR program
  • Improving the integrity of the legislative process through new ethics rules
  • Enhancing legislative oversight, which helped lead to the investigation that caused the resignation of Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush on misconduct charges
  • Passing bonds, including AB16 in 2002, to spend billions of dollars to rebuild California’s infrastructure, especially elementary schools.
  • Establishing the Capitol Institute to better train legislators and their employees.

The non-partisan California Journal rated Hertzberg as the best Member in the Assembly for being a successful coalition-builder, for working the hardest and having "serious brain wattage."[8]

During his time in the Assembly, Hertzberg helped open up discussion with local business leaders, sponsored legislation to make state government more accessible to the public via the Internet, to make it easier to vote, to create more "Criminal Scene Investigations (CSI) laboratories, to cut $1.5 billion in taxes, and worked with Senate President Pro Tem John Burton & State Senator Deborah Ortiz to increase funds to revamp public education through the "Cal-Grant" Program.[9][10] The Cal-Grants Program was "hailed by educators as a turning point that will give poor students unprecedented access to California's colleges and universities" and Hertzberg commented upon the bill's passage, "California is back."[9] (Hertzberg believed deeply in community colleges, seeing them as the key to growth in "New Economy"). Under Hertzberg's Speakership, the state also began to rebuild public transportation, and Hertzberg co-sponsored the legislation creating CLEAR, an anti-gang program, which Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley called "the most successful gang prevention program in California history."[11] (More specifics are listed immediately below).

On the issue of international terrorism, two years before September 11, 2001, Hertzberg was issuing warnings and sponsoring legislation to thwart terrorism. (See AB140 below). After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Hertzberg temporarily shut down the State Assembly and created the Bi-partisan Legislative Task Force on Terrorism to combat potential threats to California's food and water supplies.[12]

Hertzberg’s strong support was also essential to successful legislation to reduce greenhouse gases from motor vehicles by requiring “Low Carbon” fuels, a bill passed by Assemblywoman Fran Pavley as AB1493.[13]

His longest-lasting accomplishment was being the architect of a compromise that allowed numerous school bond measures to go forward. His negotiations with State Senator Betty Karnette (D-Long Beach) allowed the State Legislature to break a decade-long legislative logjam and place school bonds on the 1998 and 2000 ballots. In 2002, he sponsored another school bond, AB16,[14] to place an additional $25.35 billion worth of school bonds on the ballot in November 2002 and then successfully campaigned to pass the bond.[15] Using the framework designed by Hertzberg, California was able to pass over $70 billion in school bonds. For nearly two decades, California state government had been deadlocked with a Democratic State Legislature facing Republican Governors George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson. Hertzberg and Senate President Pro Tem John Burton broke the gridlock to pass the most progressive social legislation since the 1960s. (See below).

Legislative accomplishments[edit]

AB206 – "Citizens' Complaint Act." (1997) Requires state agencies, with web sites, to provide a form on the web site for individuals to register complaints or comments regarding the agency's performance.[16]

AB513 – Meth Sentence Enhancement (1997) increases criminal penalties for selling methamphetamine.[17]

AB853 – Gang Prevention Programs (1997) establishes the Community Law Enforcement and Recovery (CLEAR) Demonstration Project to combat gangs in Los Angeles County.[18]

AB856 – CA Witness Protection Program (1997) creates a state witness protection program run by the Attorney General.[19]

AB880 – Elder Financial Abuse (1998) expands criminal penalties for financial abuse of the elderly and dependent populations.[20]

AB2011 – Gun control (1998) requires that a serial number must be on a non-antique modern gun as a condition for transfer of ownership and requires law enforcement tracing of all seized guns.[21]

AB2351 – Electronic threats (1998) adds threats made by electric communications, such as the Internet, to the list of prohibitions.[22]

AB39 – Contraceptives (1999) Requires health care plans to pay for contraceptive services.[23]

AB140 – Anti-Terrorism (1999) makes illegal the possession, use, manufacture, attempt or threat to use weapons of mass destruction.[24]

AB185 – San Fernando Valley re-organization (1999) allows the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles to request a citywide vote on secession.[25]

AB187 – Grant Information (1999) allows state agencies to make available on their web sites a list of all grants administered by that agency.[26]

AB925 – Conservators (1999) creates a Statewide Registry for conservators and guardians.[27]

AB1094 – Voter Registration (2000) reduces the deadline for registering to vote from 29 to 14 days before the election.[28]

AB1391 – Forensic Laboratories (1999) authorizes the construction and remodeling of forensic laboratories.[29] This bill eventually led to the creation of the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center of Los Angeles in 2007.[30]

AB1473 – Infrastructure plans (1999) requires the Governor to submit annual five-year construction spending plans.[31]

AB1665 – Cal-OSHA Funding (1999) extends the funding for the California Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration inspection program.[32]

AB1717 – Gun Control (2000) requires the Department of Justice to evaluate ballistic identification systems and report back to the Legislature.[33]

ACR181 – California History Month (2000) designates September as "California History Month.[34]

AB16 – Education Bonds (2002) authorized spending of $25.35 billion in future education bond funds.[35] Voters passed school bonds in 2002 and 2004.[15]

AB56 – Voting Modernization Bonds (2001) authorizes a $200 million bond to update and repair California's voting equipment.[36]

AB423 – Farm Labor Contracts (2001) enhances enforcement of farm labor contracts and the payment of back wages owed.[37]

AB669 – State Non-emergency phone number (2001) authorizes local public agencies to establish a "311" non-emergency phone number.[38]

AB865 – Credit Cards (2001) requires credit card companies to detail the time and cost of paying off credit card debts by only making the monthly minimum payments.[39]

AB935 – Public Interest Attorneys (2001) helps lawyers who work in the public interest or indigent defendant field to pay off their student loans.[40]

AB1657 – LA County Healthcare (2001) requires the State Auditor to evaluate the financial capacity of the LA County Department of Health Services to meet its responsibilities.[41]

AB1781 – Instructional materials funding (2002) provides funding for school districts to purchase instructional materials.[42]

AB1838 – Terrorism – W.M.D. (2002) makes use of weapons of mass destruction murder in the first degree and a capital crime.[43]

AB2321 – Court claims (2002) creates rules for personal injury claims against California State and local courts.[44]

AB2717 – Water Desalination (2002) requires the Department of Water Resources to report to the Legislature by 2004 on the possibility of seawater desalination in California.[45]

Personal style[edit]

Warm and outgoing, Hertzberg has been given the nicknames "Huggy" and "Hugsberg" for his habit of offering embraces to colleagues, employees, voters and even opponents.[46] Staffers also know to be on call whenever the Speaker would get a new idea. Republican consultant Tony Quinn described Hertzberg as the "Energizer Bunny with a 150 I.Q. – always willing to discuss policy."

Legacy as Speaker[edit]

With Republican Assemblyman Bill Leonard, Hertzberg worked to create the Robert M. Hertzberg Capital Institute to train new legislators and employees in state ethics rules and computer systems. After his tenure as Speaker ended, the Legislature under successor Speaker Herb Wesson named the Capitol Institute after Hertzberg.[47][48] Hertzberg also created the Speaker's Office of International Relations and Protocol, a forward-thinking move in light of the "globalization" economic trends and the fact that if California were a separate nation, it would be among the world's 10 largest economies.[49] The non-partisan magazine California Journal, gave Hertzberg high marks for working hard, being intelligent, having high ethical standards and for being a successful coalition-builder.[8]

Criticism of Hertzberg[edit]

Veteran Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton said of Hertzberg’s tenure as Speaker: “Reviews are mixed. Hertzberg is an intense bundle of energy, an all-night negotiator, an affable, incessant hugger. But critics contend there’s often more motion than forward movement.” [50] However, Skelton noted Hertzberg’s string of legislative accomplishments and ended the column with “Hertzberg cared. He tried. And he’s leaving the house in better shape than he found it.”[50] In the California Journal, Sherry Jeffe criticized what she called Hertzberg’s “micro-management” and giving Republican “porky bribes” to ensure passage of the budget. She also complained that he was “rolled on redistricting by Senate pro tem John Burton” and commented that “the low point for this speaker – with his penchant for organization, structure and fastidious to detail – came the last night of the 2000 legislative session when, argued one Capitol insider, ‘as a result of disorganization, a great number of bills which would have been enacted fell through the cracks.”[51] Conservative Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters said Hertzberg’s promise of legislative oversight of the executive branch “faded, particularly when the subjects were the energy crisis and the performance of his fellow Democrat, Governor Gray Davis.”[52]

Private law practice and alternative energy ventures, 2002 to current[edit]

Mayer-Brown Firm[edit]

After retiring from the State Assembly in 2002, Hertzberg joined Mayer Brown LLP, formerly Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw as a full partner. At the firm, Hertzberg has specialized in government affairs, providing strategic advice to companies doing business in California and nationally. He has been particularly interested in the fields of the environment, climate-change, energy, water and Indian related issues.[4][53]

Career and Recognitions in the Green Energy Sector[edit]

Besides his law practice, Hertzberg has also been very active in the alternative energy business. During his Speakership in the legislature, Hertzberg was critical in passing the Low Carbon Fuel standards. The Pavley law has now become the law across the nation

He co-founded Solar Integrated Technology in 2003, which was the first solar manufacturing facility ever in Los Angeles. (He sold his interests to run for Mayor of Los Angeles while the company won the Wall Street Journal Award for Innovation and went on the public market in the United Kingdom).[11][54]

After the Mayor’s race, he co-founded Renewable Capital[55] in 2006 to do research and development of electronic vehicle in the U.K. and co-founded G24 Innovations Limited in 2006, an innovative flexible low light solar company in Cardiff, Wales. G24i became a well-regarded award-winning company.[56]

G24 produces a new type of lightweight and flexible solar cell that generates power in low, ambient and even indoor conditions. G24 has won numerous awards in recent years: in January 2008, CNBC European Business chose the company as one of its “Top 100 Low-Carbon Pioneers and The Guardian (UK) named Hertzberg as one of the “50 People Who Could Save the Planet.” G24 is also the recipient of the “NESTA Rushlight Award” (for leading British achievement in the environmental field) as well as winning the World Bank’s “Award for Lighting Africa.”

Most recently, G24 won the prestigious “Business Commitment to the Environment Leadership Award” and Prince Charles invited CEO Hertzberg to join the “Business Leader’s Group on Climate Change.” Additional awards include: “Welsh Innovative Company of the Year 2008,” and Heidrick & Struggles “Force for Good Pioneers” Award. In 2012, G24 won the “Green Manufacturer of the Year Award” at the Insider Made in Wales Awards.[57]

On the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric stated in a news profile that Hertzberg knew “the difference between talking about global warming and actually doing something about it.” [58]

Hertzberg traveled the world as a “green-tech” innovator lecturing and working in many countries, all while he often returned to California to pursue his deep interest in public policy. He has been interviewed by the BBC, CNN and CBS on his work in alternative energy.[59]

Public Policy Activism after Leaving the State Assembly[edit]

He continued to teach each year new members of the California State Legislature, both inside and outside the Hertzberg Institute.

With the Late Nancy Daly Riordan (the Former First Lady of Los Angeles) and Hollywood Director Rob Reiner, Hertzberg co-chaired for two years the First 5 preschool program to bring pre-school programs to the 150,000 4 year-olds in LA County without pre-school.[60]

He also currently serves on the Board of Advisors at former Governor Schwarzenegger’s Institute for State and Global at U.S.C. along with former Mexican President Vicente Fox, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, former Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, former San Antonio Mayor and Housing & Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros, former New Jersey Governor Christie Todd Whitman, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann and Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, who is the Chair of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.[61]

California Forward/Think Long Committee[edit]

California Forward[edit]

In 2009, Hertzberg replaced future Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta as the Chair of California Forward whose self-declared mission is “to work with Californians to help create a "smart" government – one that’s small enough to listen, big enough to tackle real problems, smart enough to spend our money wisely in good times and bad, and honest enough to be held accountable for results.” [62]

The web site of California Forward states that they are seeking “A Comprehensive Solution” to California’s problems, including:

1) Fiscal reforms (performance-based budgeting, a more rational tax system and pay-as-you-go rules.

2) Structural reforms where more power is returned from Sacramento to local governments, pension reforms and a revitalized education system.

3) Democracy reforms, including non-partisan redistricting and voting systems.

While at California Forward, Hertzberg strongly supported the redistricting reforms that assigned the decennial task of re-drawing legislative district lines to an independent Citizen’s Commission and the “Open Primary” initiative (where voters can choose candidates regardless of partisan registration), all of which California voters passed via the ballot box in 2008 and 2010.[63]

In conjunction with Chairing California Forward, Hertzberg has also been a member of the Think Long Committee of California since 2009. This Committee is a non-partisan civic group focused on fixing California’s dysfunctional state and local government structures. The Think Long Committee promotes a vision of 21st Century government in California that is more efficient and “user-friendly” to ordinary California citizens.[62]

Hertzberg completed his service at California Forward in October 2012.

Think Long Committee of California[edit]

In 2009, Hertzberg joined the Think Long Committee of California, a bi-partisan collection of public and private sector leaders, including former Secretaries of State George Schultz & Condi Rice, former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, businessmen Eli Broad & David Bonderman, and former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George. The Committee describes its mission to “Advocate a comprehensive approach to repairing California’s broken system of governance while proposing policies and institutions vital for the state’s long-term future.”[64]

The Think Long Committee’s platform to “Re-boot California’s Democracy” includes:

  • Tax Reform to reduce the income while extending the sales tax to services.
  • Creating a “Rainy Day” fund for the state budget.
  • Full public transparency on initiative funding.
  • Creating a two-year legislative session where one year is dedicated to oversight of previous laws and programs to ensure effective government.
  • Aligning the skills and educational outcomes of California’s master plan institutions with the needs of our cutting edge industry
  • Speeding up regulatory approvals to spur job creation.
  • Realigning, where appropriate, government functions from Sacramento to regional and local governments, thus saving money and increasing accountability.
  • Creating a non-partisan Citizens Council for Government Accountability, which would be empowered to place initiatives directly on the ballot for public approval, will ensure that the public’s priorities are protected.[65]

Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation[edit]

Hertzberg has twice served as Chair of the L.A.E.D.C., in 2004 and 2011, the largest economic development agency in the country. As Chair, Hertzberg lead successful trade missions to China, Japan, and Korea among other nations, helping to create bi-lateral investments and trade.[66]

During his first term as LAEDC Chair, he co-founded the Southern California Leadership Council, which includes former California Governors Deukmejian, Wilson and Davis, to work on consumer goods movement and infrastructure, among other issues.[67]

2005 Campaign for Mayor of Los Angeles[edit]

Assemblyman Hertzberg retired from the Assembly in 2002. At the time, he said he had no plans to run for any other office, expressing a desire to "take care of my kids."[4]

But a steady series of fundraising scandals where members of Mayor James Hahn's Administration were investigated by a grand jury for allegedly awarding city contracts to campaign contributors[1] and the general drift of Hahn (some critics called him "Mayor Yawn") created an opening. In a LA Times poll, only 48% of voters considered Hahn honest.[68]

Antonio Villaraigosa, who lost to Mayor Hahn in 2001, had been elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 2003 while promising not to run for mayor, something he quickly reconsidered when Hahn proved vulnerable. Bernard Parks, the African-American City Councilman who had not been rehired as Police Chief by Hahn and State Senator Richard Alarcon also jumped in, as did a number of minor candidates. Hertzberg's allies convinced him to run, and in 2004, he started a web site ChangeLA.Com to promote his candidacy.

Hertzberg advocated a "boroughs" system to make city government smaller, more efficient and more accountable to the grassroots, plus giving the Mayor's office more power, especially over the school system. He also opposed raising taxes, while favoring synchronizing traffic lights to ease congestion. Hertzberg's campaign platform consisted of four main planks:

  • Break up the Los Angeles Unified School District to make it smaller, more responsive and more efficient. (Hertzberg called the District's 50% dropout rate the biggest threat to the city's future).
  • A "Commuters' Bill of Rights" to help ease traffic woes.
  • Using 25% of new revenue to upgrade the Los Angeles Police Department.
  • Using revenue bond money to build "green" infrastructure immediately.

He told the LA Times that it was more than ambition that caused him to run, but a sense of duty as well:

“Could I go out and make a ton of money in my businesses and law firm? Sure. But when I'm 70 years old, I look in the mirror and I watched this place crumble

and knew I could have done something about it. I just couldn't let that happen. Believe me; otherwise I wouldn't have done it. The sacrifices to me and to my

family are extraordinary.”[4]

Over half of LA city voters did not know much about Hertzberg.[68] To boost his public standing, he launched a TV campaign that featured a giant image of him towering over a city full of problems.[69] He also unveiled an endorsement from former Mayor Richard Riordan.[70] The LA Times expressed a preference for a Villaraigosa-Hertzberg run-off,[1] while the Los Angeles Daily News endorsed Hertzberg.[2] The African-American newspaper, The Los Angeles Sentinel, also endorsed Hertzberg, the first time they had ever endorsed a white candidate against a serious black candidate.

Hertzberg’s efforts paid off as a second LA Times poll found the primary too close to call.[71] Meanwhile, Hahn's supporters fought back with a hardball negative campaign through the mail.[72]

Analysis by the LA Times showed that Hertzberg ran best in the San Fernando Valley and West LA, among white middle class voters and Jews. Hertzberg also won twice as many precincts as Hahn, but fell short when Hahn's negative ads decreased his support in the Valley.[73] A switch of just 3,278 votes would have put Hertzberg in the run-off with Villaraigosa.[74] A lead editorial after the primary election in the LA Times, "Paging Bob Hertzberg," claimed a dull debate between Hahn and Villaraigosa made them "miss Bob Hertzberg and his outsized ideas."[1]

After just missing the run-off, Hertzberg endorsed the eventual winner Villaraigosa, helping the first Latino Mayor in the San Fernando Valley, plus the Jewish and business communities where Hertzberg had run particularly strong in the primary.[74] Villaraigosa ended up winning the run-off by 59–41%.

Political advisory roles[edit]

Since Arnold Schwarzenegger's election as California Governor in the 2003 recall election, Hertzberg has served as both a formal and informal advisor to the "Governator." In 2003, Schwarzenegger appointed him to his Transition Committee and Hertzberg helped guide the passage of the new Governor's "Economic Recovery Package" through the Legislature that allowed the state to weather the financial crisis of 2003–04. According to The People's Machine by Joe Matthews, Schwarzenegger then offered Hertzberg the position of Chief of Staff, nicknaming him "Hertzie."[75] Hertzberg chose to stay in the private sector, but did advise Arnold to "build a thoroughly bipartisan government." Hertzberg wrote in the LA Daily News that his advice was: "Take the initiative to go and meet with members of the Legislature, Democrats and Republicans alike. Sit in their offices, meet with them as human beings, and learn to work with them."[75]

Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg commented on Hertzberg’s role as a link between Governor Schwarzenegger and the State Legislature, saying that Hertzberg would report “what the Democratic legislative line was -- where we couldn't go and where we were willing to go. And he had the trust of the principals on both sides, which helped quite a bit.”[76]

After finishing a close third in the 2005 Mayoral Election, Hertzberg also served as the Chair of Mayor-elect Villaraigosa's Transition Team.[11] In 2009, Hertzberg also served as the co-chair of the Transition Team for newly elected Los Angeles City Attorney, Carmen Trutanich. Despite being out of office for a decade, the journal Capitol Weekly has repeatedly named him one of the Top 100 influential people in Sacramento, writing in 2011: “Bob Hertzberg is one of those hyper-kinetic, Type-A personalities who love politics for its own sake. He’s a former Assembly speaker, an L.A. lawyer and a go-to guy for his ideas on political reform. Amazingly, he was a sort of adviser to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and he continues to be an insider Democrat with his fingers in lots of pies.”[77]

Civic affairs/public policy activism[edit]

Hertzberg has stayed involved in policy debates and formulation through his service on numerous boards of public policy committees and several universities,[11] including:

  • Board Member, 2005 to 2011, Town Hall Los Angeles[53]
  • Member, University of Southern California College of Letters, Arts and Sciences Board on History and Culture, 2005 to 2009.
  • Fellow, USC Keston Institute for Infrastructure
  • USC Price School of Public Policy, Board of Councilors[64]
  • Board of Visitors for Pepperdine School of Public Policy, Member[11][78]
  • California Historical Society, Trustee to 2007
  • National Speaker's Conference, Honorary Member, Executive Committee
  • Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA), Board of Directors to 2007[11]
  • Board Member, Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College[79]
  • Century Housing Corporation, Board of Directors, 2003–2008[80]
  • Member, Executive Committee, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Member, Council on Foreign Relations[68]
  • Center for Governmental Studies, Board Member
  • Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), Board Member to 2008[11]
  • Southern California Leadership Council, Board Member.
  • California Center For Regional Leadership, Board Member, 2005 to 2009.[11][81]
  • Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, Chairman 2004 and 2011.[69]
  • Los Angeles World Affairs Council, Board Member 2008 to 2011.[70]
  • California Forward, Leadership Council co-chair 2009 to 2012 (see above).
  • Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), Board Member
  • Nominated by Governor Schwarzenegger to serve on Climate Change Strategy Panel 2010.
  • Metropolitan Water Committee, Blue Ribbon Committee, 2010-2011.
  • Member, Think Long Committee of California, 2010 to present (see above).[64]
  • Elected member of the Board of Directors to The China-US Energy Efficiency Alliance, a nonprofit organization working to combat global climate change by promoting industrial energy efficiency in China, 2012 to present.[69]
  • Board of Advisors, Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy at the University of Southern California.[82]

Political vision/ideals[edit]

Hertzberg calls himself a "New Democrat" in the mold of Bill Clinton, who is both pro-business and pro-labor.[81] He told the Los Angeles Business Journal that education is the key to the future and "we're trying to pave the way for what's coming next in California; intellectual property, not low-wage jobs."[48] And Hertzberg told the Speaker's Commission on Regional Government: "The winners in the New Economy will be the regions that learn to work together to relieve traffic congestion, build affordable housing, preserve open space and promote economic development. If government is going to be effective in this new age, it is going to have to start thinking regionally. This Commission is an important first step."[82]

In his autobiography Total Recall, Arnold Schwarzenegger relates how he went to meet with Speaker Hertzberg in 2002 to seek support for his successful “After-school” initiative:

“One of my first stops was Bob Hertzberg, the Speaker of the Assembly. Bob is a smart, ebullient from the San Fernando Valley, about the same age as Maria.

He’s so friendly that his nickname is Huggy. Within two minutes, we were swapping jokes. ‘What’s not to like?’ he said about our ballot proposition. But he

warned me not to expect support from the Democratic Party itself. ‘God forbid we should endorse a Republican initiative,’ he wisecracked.”[83]

When he was running for Mayor, Hertzberg told the LA Weekly: "Get it done or get the heck out of the way is my philosophy. I start out as a holistic thinker. I'm the big picture, holistic thinker... It really boils down to the issue of getting the work done. I am sick and tired of the noise. Sick and tired of the empty promises."[61]


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  6. ^ California Secretary of State: Statement of the Vote, November 1998 General Election.
  7. ^ a b California Secretary of State: Statement of the Vote, November 2000 General Election
  8. ^ a b "The Minnies," by A.G. Block, California Journal, July 2002, p.8. "Legislators of the Year," California Journal, June 2000.
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  43. ^
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  45. ^
  46. ^ "Speaker Hugsberg" by Steve Scott, California Journal, June, 2000.
  47. ^
  48. ^ a b “Hertzberg U,” by Kathleen Les, California Journal, June, 2000.
  49. ^ California
  50. ^ a b “Doing his best under term limits,” by George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, November 1, 2001.
  51. ^ “Hertzberg’s Legacy,” by Sherry Jeffe, California Journal, October 1, 2001.
  52. ^ “A new Speaker takes over – but does it really matter anymore?” Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee, February 8, 2002.
  53. ^ a b
  54. ^
  55. ^ http://www.renewable
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  57. ^,awards-and-recognition,57.html
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  60. ^ [60.]
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  62. ^ a b
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  64. ^ a b c
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  66. ^
  67. ^
  68. ^ a b c Los Angeles Times Poll, February, 2005.
  69. ^ a b c Levey, Noam N. (June 29, 2004). "Hertzberg Launches Web Campaign Against Hahn". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  70. ^ a b Gold, Matea; McGreevy, Patrick (February 26, 2005). "Hertzberg Gets a Lift From Gov". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  71. ^ Finnegan, Michael (March 1, 2005). "2 Rivals Eroding Hahn's Strengths". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  72. ^ McGreevy, Patrick; Rabin, Jeffrey L. (March 5, 2005). "Charges Fly Between Hahn and Hertzberg". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  73. ^ ;
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  75. ^ a b The People's Machine: Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rise of Blockbuster Democracy by Joe Matthews
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  78. ^ [78.]
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  80. ^
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  83. ^ Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012, pages 477-78.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Barbara Friedman
California State Assemblyman, 40th District
Succeeded by
Lloyd Levine
Preceded by
Antonio Villaraigosa
Speaker of the California State Assembly
April 13, 2000 – February 6, 2002
Succeeded by
Herb Wesson