CALIFORNIA: Big Bill Goes Over the Hill

William G. (for George) Bonelli is one of the noisiest, most powerful politicians in California. A hawk-beaked, hail-fellow rancher, lawyer and onetime associate professor, "Big Bill''* Bonelli, 58, wears wide-brimmed hats and. when the occasion demands, a Phi Beta Kappa key (won at the University of Southern California). He is also the boss of one of the most potent political agencies in the U.S. As chairman of the California State Board of Equalization, Bonelli supervises the tax assessments of big businesses; as the board member for Southern California, he hands out all liquor licenses from Santa Barbara to the...

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