In the spirit of turning lemons into lemonade, Pasadena district office staffers for Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D- La Cañada Flintridge) are hosting a food drive next week before budget cuts force the temporary closure of that office, said spokeswoman Wendy Gordon.

State Assembly leaders ordered all Portantino staffers to take unpaid furloughs from Oct. 21 to Nov. 30 after accusing Portantino of overspending his personal office budget.

Portantino contends that the cuts are intended to punishment him for refusing to support his party’s proposed state budget in June.

The public spat between Portantino and Assembly Speaker John Pérez (D – Los Angeles) prompted Pérez to release records of Assembly member spending, and lawsuits seeking other budget records are pending.

The food drive occurs as part of an open house event from 4 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 5 at Portantino’s district office, 215 N. Marengo Ave., Pasadena.

During the open house, constituents will learn about how to contact state agencies in the absence of district representatives, said Gordon.

Proceeds of the food drive will benefit the pantries of Foothill Unity Center and Friends in Deed.

For more information, call (626) 577-9944.

ALSO:

Senior hunger on the rise

--Joe Piasecki, Times Community News

Twitter: @JoePiasecki