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Lawmakers Check Into "Hotel California Street"

February 4, 2011 - Joselyn King
It's a short walk "across California" for State Sen. Larry Edgell and two legislative roommates when they leave their State Capitol offices in Charleston for rest this legislative session.

Edgell and state Sens. Doug Facemire, D-Braxton, and Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, have rented a house this year directly across from the State Capitol on its east side along California Street.

And Edgell, D-Wetzel, admits his new temporary home in Charleston -- just steps away from the State Capitolás door -- has become the popular center for off-campus legislative activity this year.

"We live closer to the State Capitol than the governor does," he pointed out. The West Virginia governors mansion is located further southwest of the State Capitol along Kanawha Boulevard.

Among lawmakers, the residence has come to be known as "Hotel California Street." It's a place where they can go for a nap, or to speak privately on sensitive matters.

Edgell, Facemire and Snyder were looking for an apartment to rent together while the legislature was in session when they learned of the California Street residence.

It is owned by the aunt of former Delegate Carrie Webster, D-Kanawha, who is now a Kanawha County Circuit Court judge.

The owner was transferred in her job, Edgell explained, but had concerns about renting out her home -- which has fine furnishings, antiques and artwork that she couldnát take with her.

"We contacted her . . .and I guess she thought, 'They're three state senators -- old men -- they're not going to do anything," he said.

The men plan to rent "Hotel California Street" on a year-round basis.

Edgell noted that state House of Delegates members have designated parking spots along California Street. When the weather permits, he said it's not unusual for many to stop by and gather on the porch to talk before heading home.

And Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, also has taken advantage of the proximity of "Hotel California" to meet privately with members, he said.

State Attorney General Darrell McGraw is a neighbor, Edgell continued.


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