THE THOMAS AND DOROTHY LEAVEY CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF LOS ANGELES RESEARCH COLLECTION
Biography: Bob Beverly Papers
Robert G. Beverly, a Massachusetts native, attended high school and began college in Pittsburgh before the outbreak of World War II. Beginning in 1943, Beverly served a three-year stint in the U.S. Marine Corps. After his discharge, he resumed his education at U.C.L.A. in 1946 and two years later went on to Loyola University's School of Law, where he received his LL.B degree in 1952, specializing in municipal and government law. During his time at Loyola, Beverly moved into the senate district that he would represent many years later.
Beverly began his political career in 1958 when he was elected to the city council of Manhattan Beach, where he served for nine years, including three terms as mayor. He also served as city attorney and was on the city's planning commission and zoning board, as well as being active in the League of California Cities.
In the Special Election of May 1967, Beverly won a seat in the State Assembly for the 46th District. In 1969, Beverly was named chairman of the assembly's Finance, Insurance and Commerce Committee and in the following year was named "Legislator of the Year" by the California Trial Lawyers Association. In the 1971-72 legislative session, he became Chairman of the Committee on Criminal Justice and went on to serve as the assembly's minority floor leader.
In 1976, Beverly won the state senate seat for the 27th district that began his 20-year tenure in the state's upper house. Once elected, he made his mark by actively serving on several committees over the years, including the senate's Local Government, Transportation, Judiciary, Insurance and Financial Institutions, Education, Government Organization, Rules, Intergovernmental Relations, Elections and Reapportionment and Veteran's Affairs committees. He also served as Chairman of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee and vice-chair of the Appropriations Committee.
After the 1980 census and subsequent reapportionment, Beverly won election to the newly-formed 29th Senate District in 1984. The new district had one-third new territory, mostly in Long Beach, Lakewood and Signal Hill, while excluding most of San Pedro and all of Wilmington. Beverly won reelection to this district in 1988 and 1992 in increasingly close contests. In the wake of 1990's Proposition 140, which in 1997 was declared unconstitutional by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, term limits forced Beverly to not seek reelection in 1996.
Beverly's extensive background and interest in local government led him to become deeply concerned in legislation that affected the authority of cities and counties. Not only did he demonstrate steadfast resistance to the erosion of local control, he repeatedly supported legislation seeking to strengthen local government and the concept of "home rule."
Authoring approximately 25 bills a year, Beverly saw hundreds of them signed into law. Perhaps best known are the Song-Beverly Acts, which have served as models in the field of consumer protection. Also noteworthy is his "rob a home, go to prison" measure, signed into law in 1980, that ensured jail time for those convicted of residential burglary.
Late in 1987, Beverly was strongly considered by Governor George Deukmejian for appointment as State Treasurer, in order to complete the term of the recently deceased Jesse Unruh. This situation arose after the state Supreme Court rejected Deukmejian's original appointment of then-Congressman Dan Lungren because he had not been affirmed by both houses of the legislature. However, even before the court's rejection, Beverly had received bipartisan support for the appointment. Despite Beverly's ability and willingness to fill the position, Deukmejian decided it wiser not to risk losing Beverly's senate seat to a Democrat.
Bob Beverly died in 2009.
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