Nicholas Petris

Petris dies at 90; served 37 years as legislator

Published: Thursday, Mar. 21, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4A
Last Modified: Thursday, Mar. 21, 2013 - 7:59 am

Nicholas C. Petris, who served in the California Legislature for 37 years, representing Oakland and other East Bay communities, died Wednesday morning. He was 90.

Petris died at Piedmont Gardens, an Oakland retirement and nursing facility, after a yearslong struggle with dementia.

Democrat Petris was regarded as a leading liberal voice during his long career in the Assembly and the Senate before being compelled to retire in 1996 by term limits. He was a major advocate of tax reform, farmworker rights, mental health services (the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act) and environmental protection. He penned laws banning smoking on airplanes, trains and buses, and required redevelopment agencies to build housing for low- and moderate-income families.

Petris, who was of Greek ancestry, often peppered his floor speeches with references to ancient Greek scholars.

Services are scheduled for the Greek Orthodox Church in Oakland, 4700 Lincoln Ave., at 11 a.m. Tuesday. A viewing will take place Monday at 7 p.m. at the church.

Call The Bee's Dan Walters, (916) 321-1195. Back columns, www.sacbee.com/walters. Follow him on Twitter @WaltersBee.

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