Nolan Strikes Back at One Assembly Critic

Times Staff Writer

A Republican assemblyman who criticized Assembly Minority Leader Pat Nolan has been punished by being taken off two major committees and moved into a smaller Capitol office, it was announced Friday.

This was the first retaliatory action Nolan, of Glendale, has taken against a fellow Republican member. It was viewed as a warning to others to either reduce their criticism of him or face the same consequences.

"Yes, it's true," said Assemblyman David G. Kelley (R-Hemet). "I've never been a fan of Pat's, but I really don't know what I did. He (Nolan) accused me of making a run on him. But I didn't make a run on him."

On Other Committees

Kelley is being removed from the Agriculture and Water, Parks and Wildlife committees, but presumably will retain four other committee assignments.

A spokesman for Nolan said: "His (Nolan's) only comment is that he is in a leadership position and he is exercising his leadership. That's all he wants to say."

Kelley said he has not received a letter from Assembly Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco) advising him he is being dropped from the two panels, "but Willie told me he was going to carry out Pat's wishes."

One of the first things that Nolan did after becoming GOP leader last November was to fire half a dozen veteran top assistants of Robert W. Naylor (R-Menlo Park), who formerly held the job, and to change the locks on a sensitive campaign office.

After Proposition 13

Nolan is one of the more conservative so-called "Proposition 13 Babies" who came to Sacramento in the wake of the 1978 property tax revolt. Kelley also is a member of the same legislative class, but is regarded as more of a moderate.

Kelley was part of the inner circle during the Naylor regime. And he has been critical of Nolan's leadership on a variety of issues, including letting the 1985-86 budget pass the Assembly last week without much of a fight.

"I think we should have put up a fight on it (the budget)," said Kelley, a citrus rancher. "We didn't do it. Pat has the capacity to become a minority leader, but you cannot lead by intimidation.

"He wants me to be right in line with the minority leadership 100% of the time. And I just won't do that."

Kelley reportedly is scheduled to remain vice chairman of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee and a member of the Labor and Employment, Intergovernmental Relations, and Economic Development and New Technologies committees.

Word that Kelley was due to be punished for being critical of Nolan has been circulating in the Capitol for some time.

Assemblyman Richard L. Mountjoy (R-Monrovia), who was GOP caucus chairman under Naylor, recently sent a memo to his colleagues that said Nolan told him that Kelley "needed to be taught a lesson for attempting to put something together against the leadership."

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