Jerry Gillam was a one of a kind. When I started interning at the LA Times Sacramento Bureau in 1981, Jerry became my mentor. It was a bit unnerving for me since Jerry was several inches taller than me and a whole lot more demonstrative.
But he took me under his wing. He introduced me to legislative reporting -- and not the glamorous stuff. He introduced me to stacks and stacks of campaign contribution reports at the FPPC, long before electronic filing, Microsoft Excel and search functions. It was tedious stuff, but it taught me what to look for, who to look for and how detail matters.
He showed me the Capitol, even the dingy temporary quarters of the both houses before they moved into their fancy renovated chambers. He taught me how to cover a legislative session, the people I needed to learn about, the rhythms of the place.
Jerry had a huge heart, a voracious laugh, a smile that was gleaming. I owe him a lot. He was a good man, and I will miss him.
Herbert A. Sample