Friday, August 22, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Senators prefer money over trust

TomEliasW

By
From page A6 | June 19, 2014 |

There was a clear message when the state Senate in mid-June first rejected a ban on legislators taking campaign contributions during the last 100 days of each lawmaking session, and then partially reversed itself to finally pass a watered-down version covering a much shorter time period.

That message: “We would rather have money than trust.”

The flurry of Senate action came just over two months after it refused to expel three senators who had been either indicted or convicted for perjury or selling their votes and services. Instead, the senators were suspended, leaving millions of citizens without full representation and no hope of getting it soon.

The Senate’s initial rejection, strikingly, came on the very day that two members of the state Assembly paid fines for taking illegally high contributions.

Is it any wonder that a springtime national poll showed California among just seven states where the majority of citizens don’t trust either state or local government to act honestly?

Had the Senate passed the last-100-day contribution ban, it would have been a major start toward restoring trust, as far from perfection as a three-month ban would nevertheless be. For there can never be a ban or a limit on promises lobbyists might make during any time span about future contributions or favors.

But even after it took a week of heat over its initial move, where it adopted a fig leaf consisting of a one-year, one-month, end-of-session ban on members soliciting or accepting contributions, the Senate wasn’t willing even to go to 100 days. Instead, after 100-day sponsor Sen. Alex Padilla wrangled a batch of Republican votes, the Democrat-dominated upper house passed a bill forbidding all legislators from soliciting or accepting contributions from lobbyists and their clients from Aug. 1 until each legislative session’s scheduled end on Aug. 31.

A similar ban will cover the month prior to passage of each year’s budget. The initial Senate-only resolution also applied during this summer’s budget negotiations, but since it passed just days before a budget agreement came, the add-on didn’t mean much.

The virtually meaningless initial resolution was a sop to Padilla, the Democratic nominee for secretary of state.

Perhaps the most telling thing about all the Senate action was that its resolution — a measure of what majority Democrats really want — doesn’t apply to any Assembly members and thus leaves out two-thirds of all legislators. There’s also the fact it was a resolution, not a law.

So it wouldn’t be binding beyond this year. Next year, with the pressure presumably off from the indictments and convictions of Democratic Sens. Rod Wright, Ron Calderon and Leland Yee, who knew whether senators would bother to renew it? The later passage of a real bill, a potential law, means the new ban, while shorter than the 100 days Padilla wanted, would apply in all years and to all legislators — if the Assembly passes it, too.

But all this is still much ado about very little. For if it’s possible for lobbyists to make promises during a 100-day period, it’s even easier for them to do that during a mere monthlong hiatus. Which makes all the Senate actions far too lenient.

This didn’t stop big talk from key senators. Said the Senate’s newly elected president-to-be, Democrat Kevin De Leon of Los Angeles immediately after the initial resolution passed, the rule intended to “ensure that members of the Senate are focused exclusively on legislative business at these crucial times in the legislative calendar.”

Yeah, right. These good folks are certain to forget about fundraising just because they can’t actually accept checks for a few days.

Back in early spring, some of Sacramento’s most prolific fundraisers said even Padilla’s desired 100-day ban would accomplish little. “It’s just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic,” said Dan Weitzman, who gathers funds for Democrats. What passed would be weaker.

All of which means the Senate actions amount to little more than a public relations ploy, intended to convince skeptical voters their legislators senators really are trustworthy. Good luck with that.

— Reach syndicated columnist Tom Elias at tdelias@aol.com

Comments

comments

.

News

DHS musicians back from summer in Italy

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
City to overhaul its sprinkler heads, other water-wasters

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

No easy task: History buffs still trying to save building

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Davis indecent-exposure suspect pleads no contest

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Not-guilty plea entered in Woodland homicide case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Russian aid convoy reaches war-torn Luhansk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Putah Creek Council appoints new executive director

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A3

Communitywide ice bucket challenge on Sunday

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

 
Parents’ Night Out features Vacation Bible School

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Afternoon tours of city wetlands resume Sept. 6

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Yolo County golf tournament enters fourth year

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Can you give them a home?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Saylor will meet constituents at Peet’s

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Event will unveil mural celebrating food justice

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Prunes take center stage at last agri-tour of the summer

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

In need of food? Apply for CalFresh

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Wolk bill would require reporting of water system leaks

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Writing couple stops at Davis bookstore

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Explorit: Final Blast show returns for second year

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A5

Record drought saps California honey production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
World travelers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Seniors set to stroll through Arboretum

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Forum

Weightlifters causing a racket

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Police are our friends, right?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Wage plan has a big flaw

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Bridging the digital divide with computational thinking

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

No support for militarization

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
A better use for this vehicle

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

.

Sports

Watts likes what he’s seen in keen Aggie DB competition

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Watney and McIlroy struggle at start of The Barclays

By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B1

 
Light-hitting Cats fall

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Giants win nightcap in Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Big West soccer coaches have high hopes for UCD men

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

Yolo Mambo to play free show

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
‘If I Stay’: Existential angst

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11

 
Davis Chinese Film Festival to kick off with 1994 favorite

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Rock Band campers perform at E Street Plaza

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Natsoulas to host mural conference

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

.

Business

Car Care: Teenagers not driving safe cars, study shows

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Car Care: Feeling the summer heat? Your car battery is too

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Three-wheeled Elio gets closer to going on sale

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, August 22, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6