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Spring 2001
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"As usual, when Howard comes by, he's got my ear. I have a lot of respect for him," Villaraigosa says. "I believe then and now that we shouldn't be robbing Peter to pay Paul. We shouldn't be charging the university to make up for shortfalls in other public services. When he was able to convince me that this legislation would cost the university hundreds of millions of dollars, I was not willing to allow that to happen."

When the meeting ended, there was a common sigh of relief as Villaraigosa assured them the bill would not leave the committee in a form that was unacceptable to them. He assigned a staffer to work on a compromise. But when no common ground could be found, the bill languished for months in committee without ever getting a hearing.

When supporters made one last-gasp effort to resuscitate it in the final days of the session, Welinsky again ran interference. "It was like a bad horror movie with a monster that keeps resurrecting," recalls Welinsky, who again called on legislators.

"It finally died in committee, and there's no doubt in my mind that Howard made the difference," Arditti says.

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