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There was a reunion of sorts on the Assembly floor Thursday morning as Assemblyman Charles Calderon was joined by four other members of the "Gang of 5" that made a spectacularly unsuccessful bid to grab control of the Assembly more than 20 years ago.

Democrat Calderon briefly introduced former Assemblymen Rusty Areias, Steve Peace, Gary Condit and Jerry Eaves. In the late 1980s, they positioned themselves between the Assembly's 39 other Democrats and its 36 Republicans and challenged then-Speaker Willie Brown for control of the house.

The five demanded that one of them be elected speaker and threatened to make a deal with Republicans to form a new coalition to control the house. Brown stripped them of key committee assignments and other perquisites as punishment, but they were on the verge of victory when one Republican assemblyman died, erasing the theoretical majority and ending their bid for power.

Calderon was elected a state senator in 1990, but was forced out by term limits eight years later, then returned to the Assembly in 2006.

Areias lost a bid for the state Senate but served in former Gov. Gray Davis' administration as director of parks and recreation and is now a corporate political strategist in Sacramento.

Peace went to the state Senate, fashioned the electric power deregulation bill that later collapsed, and later became Davis' budget director. He's now a political consultant in San Diego who was the driving force behind last year's ballot measure creating a "top two" primary election system.

Condit was elected to Congress but was turned out by voters after becoming ensnared in the scandal surrounding the murder of a young congressional aide, Chandra Levy, a decade ago.

Eaves became a San Bernardino County supervisor but also became entangled in scandal and pleaded no contest to seven state charges of failing to report gifts and influencing decisions in which he had a financial interest. A federal indictment against him was dismissed.


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