State Assembly, 1975-1976
State Senate, 1977-1986
Scope and Content
Title: Paul Carpenter Papers
Collection number: LP211, LP212, LP408
Paul Carpenter, California Legislator
13 cubic feet
California State Archives
Abstract: Paul Carpenter served as a Democrat in the State Assembly from 1975 to 1976 and the State Senate from 1977 to 1986. He represented
the 71st Assembly District and the 37th Senate District. Both districts encompassed parts of Orange County. The Paul Carpenter
Papers consist of 11 cubic feet of textual records from his term as an Assembly Member, 1975-1976, and from his term in the
Senate, 1977-1986. The collection is organized into three series: Bill Files, Correspondence, and Subject Files. The papers
were processed at two separate times. The 1977-1980 bill files were processed under LP211 and LP212. The 1981-1986 bill files,
the correspondence, and subject files were assigned identification number LP408. This collection does not contain any records
from his tenure in the Assembly.
Physical location: California State Archives
Languages represented in the collection:
While the majority of the records are open for research, any access restrictions are noted in the record series descriptions.
For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication
is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility
for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives
[Identification of item], Paul Carpenter Papers, LP[number]:[folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary
of State, Sacramento, California.
Acquisition and Custodial History
The California State Archives acquired the Paul Carpenter Papers following his final term in the State Legislature.
Paul Carpenter served as a Democrat in the State Assembly from 1975 to 1976 and the State Senate from 1977 to 1986. He represented
the 71st Assembly District and the 37th Senate District. Both districts encompassed parts of Orange County. According to Paul
Carpenter and the 1977 Members of the California Legislature and Other State Officials, he was born in 1928 in Sioux City,
Iowa. He matriculated to the University of Iowa, the University of Missouri, and the University of Florida, earning a Ph.D.
in experimental psychology. He worked as a professor in the California State College system, a business executive and a research
scientist. Before entering the Assembly, he helped develop the first Orange County Master Plan for health care as the Associate
Director of the Orange County Health Planning Council.
According to the 1977 Members of the California Legislature and Other State Officials Carpenter, entered politics because
he has "a strong sense of community responsibility" and felt "strongly that elected officials at all government levels must
'fight to keep the workingman's head above water.'" He left the Legislature after the 1985-1986 session for the Board of Equalization.
He was elected to serve the fourth district.
He married Janie Carpenter in 1953. They met while at the University of Florida while each worked on their Ph.D. They had
two daughters and lived in Orange County beginning in the 1950s, lasting throughout his public service.In 1990, Carpenter
was convicted of obstruction of justice and money laundering and sentenced stemming from a Federal Bureau of Investigations
operation. After briefly fleeing to Costa Rica, a judge sentenced him to seven years in prison in 1995. He was released in
1999 and died in 2002.
According to the California Legislature at Sacramento (Handbooks), the Senate Final History, and the Assembly Final History,
Carpenter served on the following committees:
State Assembly, 1975-1976
- Education, 1976
- Elections and Reapportionment, 1975
- Governmental Organization, 1976
- Housing and Community Development, 1975
- Human Resources, 1975-1976 (Vice Chair, 1975-1976)
- Vice Chair, 1975-1976
State Senate, 1977-1986
- Banking and Commerce, 1981-1986 (Vice Chair, 1983-1984)
- Vice Chair, 1983-1984
- Business and Professions, 1983-1986
- Education, 1979-1986 (Chair, 1979-1980)
- Chair, 1979-1980
- Elections, 1985-1986 (Chair, 1985-1986)
- Chair, 1985-1986
- Elections and Reapportionment, 1977-1978 (Vice Chair, 1977-1978)
- Vice Chair, 1977-1978
- Governmental Organization, 1979-1986
- Health and Human Services, 1983-1986
- Health and Welfare, 1977-1982
- Public Employment and Retirement, 1977-1986 (Vice Chair, 1981-1982)
- Vice Chair, 1981-1982
- Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 1985-1986
- Genetic Disease, 1977-1982
- Governmental Efficiency, 1981-1986
- Innovation in School Finance and Character Education, 1979-1980
- Mobilehomes, 1981-1986
- Pacific Rim, 1985-1986
- Chair, 1985-1986
- Southern California Transportation Problems, 1981-1984 (Chair, 1981-1984)
- Chair, 1981-1984
- Ad Hoc Educational Sunset Review, 1979-1982
- Legislative Audit, 1977-1986
- Legislative Retirement, 1981-1982
- Mass Transit, 1981-1986
- Refugee Resettlement, 1985-1986
- Solid and Hazardous Waste, 1985-1986
- Aging, 1981-1986
- Cable Television, 1985-1986
- Senate Democratic Caucus, 1981-1986 (Chair, 1981-1986)
- Chair, 1981-1986
Boards, Commissions, and Councils
- Hazardous Waste Management Council, 1981-1984
- Commission on the Status of Women, 1983-1986
- State Public Works Board, 1979-1986
Scope and Content
The Paul Carpenter Papers consist of 11 cubic feet of textual records from his term as an Assembly Member, 1975-1976, and
from his term in the Senate, 1977-1986. The collection is organized into three series: Bill Files, Correspondence, and Subject
Files. The papers were processed at two separate times. The 1977-1980 bill files were processed under LP211 and LP212. The
1981-1986 bill files, the correspondence, and subject files were assigned identification number LP408. This collection does
not contain any records from his tenure in the Assembly.
According to correspondence with his constituents, he supported environmentalism that did not hamper the economy. Examples
approach include authoring bills to continue recycling hazardous waste storage drums and to provide limited liability for
hazardous waste companies. Despite seeking this balance, he continually authored legislation designed to protect and clean
up hazardous waste. In 1981, Carpenter authored the California superfund legislation. Aside from the environment, Carpenter
felt that the state needed to promote and protect the economy, particularly small businesses and land owners. According to
his correspondence with constituents, he felt that the free market and competition forced people to achieve their best work.
Except with regard to the environment, his bills frequently attempted to decrease state regulation. His efforts to hasten
renters' evictions by property owners as well as his successful bill requiring state agencies to compensate small businesses
for court costs caused by unsuccessful regulation suits emerged from this business focus. Constituent correspondence forms
the bulk of the subject and correspondence files. He often explained his policy positions in form letter responses but added
notes expanding on his decisions. This material
contains Carpenter explaining his legislative record, often by citing constituent support.
One of Senator Carpenter's most prominent media appearances involved a fight between then Governor Jerry Brown and the Senate.
In 1979, Brown nominated Jane Fonda for the California Arts Council. Carpenter, along with the Senate, rejected the nomination.
Jane Fonda, with the Governor's backing, and the rejecting Senators publicly attacked each other. The spat escalated into
a personal feud when Carpenter issued a newspaper advertisement offering to change his vote if Fonda would apologize for her
anti-war actions and spurious comments regarding her rejection. Carpenter received plenty of comments from across the state.
The correspondence is included in the subject files series. No clear consensus emerged but Carpenter claimed his constituents
fully supported his position.
No further accruals are expected.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Carpenter, Paul B., 1928-
Orange County Health Planning Council
California Arts Council