The former California state senator from Oakland passed this morning. The notable East Bay liberal championed laws that restructured mental health care, controlled development around San Francisco Bay, and significantly expanded the University of California system.
Petris tried several times to limit the sale of cars in California and was portrayed in editorial cartoons as a Don Quixote tilting at the internal combustion engine. One early attempt, in which he introduced a bill limiting car ownership to one car per family, died quickly. In 1969, Petris introduced a bill to prohibit the sale of internal combustion engines in California by 1975. The California Senate approved Petris’ bill. Then-Governor Ronald Reagan promised to veto this bill, but the Assembly quashed it after heavy lobbying by the automotive industry.