Nothenberg, Rudy: Moscone legislation


Rudy Nothenberg: George was a very very clever and very determined and careful legislator. He became majority leader fairly fairly early. [And in the] Senate, particularly Senate you needed to succeed in part because of your personality. There was forty – at that time there was one woman – thirty-nine guys and one woman. I think there was only one. Jon Rubin: Rose Ann Vuich. Rudy Nothenberg: Okay, I think that was it. And there was a club, and you achieved leadership by not just how well you knew your subjects, although that was important, how [hard] you were willing to work which was actually less important, but how long you got along with the club. And you were able to get what you want by manipulating. I mean you needed twenty-one votes. That’s generally not a huge thing, well it’s big enough, but you didn’t get it on the strength only of your perspicacity, by your knowledge about what was happening in the water districts in the valley or something, you needed to have a personality, you needed the ability to achieve agreement by different people, and you needed the collegiality that existed at that time. George was masterful at it. He was very, very good at it, but Jon also he did not back off on his issues. He carried Willie’s bill that decriminalized sexual behavior among same-sex individuals. George carried that for us in the Senate. At that time, Willie could do anything. Willie had a reputation and character to just go ahead and do what he wanted. George had to be more careful over there, but he was not unwilling to deal with issues that were meaningful to the Gay community at that time with the community of Color. While he had to use the collegiality to get what he wanted, that didn’t mean he backed off on the issues.


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The Moscone oral history interviews are part of the George Moscone Collection, MSS 328.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections and Archives, University of the Pacific Library

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