Another Name to Consider for the Legislative Office Building

IMG00001-20100407-1128The Assembly has named the Speaker’s Office of Majority Services conference room within the Legislative Office Building at 1020 N St. after the late, long-time Capitol staffer Bill Cavala.

That action makes it unlikely Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, a Sacramento Democrat, will proceed with his resolution, SCR 62, to name the entire building after Cavala, a mentor to many current legislative employees.

There is another candidate who might be considered, however.

Tombstoning – naming legislation or an edifice after lawmakers  — is a long-standing Capitol tradition. While the practice of naming legislation after oneself is now banned, the practice of naming buildings and stretches of highway after public officials continues.

The Senate Governmental Organization Committee, which was to consider Steinberg’s resolution April 13, catalogued a lengthy list of state buildings named after public officials. Among them, the Joseph Rattigan Building in Santa Rosa, the Alfred Alquist building in San Jose, the Pat Brown and Earl Warren buildings in San Francisco, the Hugh Burns building in Fresno and the Ronald Reagan State Building in Los Angeles. The Treasurer’s Office is in the Jesse Unruh Building. Across the fountain from it is the court building, which is named after former Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk.

Numerous stretches of highway throughout the state are named after public officials, living and dead: Eric Seastrand, John Thurman, Ken Maddy, Luther Gibson, Quentin Kopp, Bob Monagan, Jack O’Connell to name a few.

In the Capitol are the Jesse Unruh, Rose Ann Vuich and John Burton hearing rooms, the Willie Brown conference room and the Ken Maddy lounge.

Logically, the Legislative Office Building should be named after the author of SB 42, the 1989 measure that transferred title of the building at 1020 N St. to the Legislature.

The bill was carried by Sen. Bill Craven, a courtly Escondido Republican who favored two-tone wingtips that made it look like he was wearing spats.

He served in the Assembly from 1974 through 1978 and represented the 38th Senate District until forced out of office by term limits in 1998.

A moderate Republican, Craven prided himself on his bipartisanship, often casting the final vote to send a Democrat’s bill to the governor.

A Marine, he served in the Korean War and, in World War II, was attached to the battalion that raised the flag atop Mt. Surabachi on Iwo Jima.

Like his colleague, Bob Beverly, a Manhattan Beach Republican, Craven was a long-time member of the Senate Rules Committee and that carried a responsibility for taking care of legislative housekeeping, such as creating new office space. Beverly, for his part, routinely carried the bills increasing legislative salaries.

The same year Craven carried the Legislative Office Building legislation, he also got signed into law a bill creating California State University San Marcos, which in his honor named a building Craven Hall.

Originally, the Legislative Office Building was slated to be a new structure at the 1020 N site. At a time when the state was facing budget constraints this was perceived as wasteful and portrayed in the media as a profligate “Taj Mahal.” Craven took the press hits with characteristic courtesy and aplomb.

The new building idea was abandoned and the bill watered down so that the Legislature evicted the state agency occupying the existing building and took it over.

An expert on local government financing, Craven was also an advocate on behalf of residents of mobilehome parks and backed legislation to reduce pollution from aerosol cans.

Among his other accomplishments, sponsoring legislation to create the network of call boxes along state highways.

A long-time heavy smoker, he died one year after leaving office.


Filed under: California History


  1. A grand idea for a grand man

    Comment by Dennis Loper — 4.09.2010 @ 4:37 pm

  2. Truly excellent idea; Bill Craven was top drawer. And we should find something to name after Bob Beverly, too (outside of the Beverly-Killea LLC Act).

    Comment by Larry Doyle — 4.09.2010 @ 5:00 pm

  3. Absolutely tops!!!!!

    A great legislator and a real decent individual.

    Comment by Pat Henning — 4.09.2010 @ 6:03 pm

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