Assembly member Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada-Flintridge) announced Tuesday evening that the expected furlough of his office staff had been canceled.
Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, who had initially ordered the furlough based on what he said were budget overruns, sent Portantino a letter canceling the staff furloughs, the assemblyman's office announced in a statement.
Portantino told Patch that he believes that a pair of letters he sent Perez in the last two weeks helped sway the speaker toward canceling the furloughs.
"Last week, I sent speaker a letter asking him to rescind layoffs, pointing out how ridiculous the whole situation was, and today I sent him another letter reminding him of the folly," Portantino said in an interview. "I think that pretty much reminded him that he had botched the entire situation."
"We're thrilled the district will be reopened," said Portantino spokesperson Wendy Gordon. "We're all happy we won't be furloughed and that the people of the 44th district won't be disenfranchised."
Gordon added that a fundraiser--scheduled to gather food donations for community members and raise awareness about the furloughs--was still planned, but that it would now be a "victory party."
Portantino has said his office was singled out because of his vote against a Democratic budget proposal; Perez has denied that.
Portantino added that while he was "ecstatic" that the furloughs were canceled, he planned to continue pushing for transparency.
"It's clear that everything that happened has had nothing to do with my budget and everything to do with my budget votes," he said. "Rescinding the furloughs was certainly welcome news but more needs to be done."
Below is the full text of Portantino's statement.
PORTANTINO CLAIMS VICTORY ON BEHALF OF THE CONSTITUENTS OF THE 44TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
“This afternoon I received a letter from Speaker Perez indicating that the staff of the 44th Assembly District would no longer face unprecedented furloughs.
Though I am thrilled for my staff and district, I am disappointed that the Speaker is holding on to the delusion that this was anything but retaliation for my independent budget vote.
It never made any sense to single out my staff and the half-million residents of the 44th A.D. because I voted my conscience.
As always, I remain committed to fighting for the issues that I care about and I’m glad we can now focus on taking care of business.”
Patch has made a call to Speaker Perez's Press Secretary and is awaiting comment.