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John Vasconcellos
John Vasconcellos dies at 82; father of California self-esteem panel
John Vasconcellos dies at 82; father of California self-esteem panel

As a group, politicians have an abundance of self-esteem, but John Vasconcellos stood out for wanting to spread it around. Vasconcellos, a Democrat who was California's longest continuously serving legislator until term limits forced him out in 2004, was the father of California's oft-ridiculed self-esteem commission. He also was a tough budget strategist, a forceful advocate for education, and a deal-maker who employed an intriguing amalgam of New Age pontificating and old-fashioned horse trading. While Sacramento was, as he put it, "a cesspool of cynicism," he maintained his powerful posts in the Assembly and then, the Senate, for 38 years, he said, with the aid...

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