Sunday, July 27, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

State Senate must do more to restore trust

TomEliasW

By
From page A6 | April 02, 2014 |

Ever since San Francisco’s Leland Yee joined his colleagues Ron Calderon of Montebello and Roderick Wright of Los Angeles on the state Senate’s indicted/convicted list and then all three were suspended, other senators have recognized they must restore the public’s trust.

That won’t happen if suspensions are all those other senators are willing to mete out against their allegedly crooked brethren. Nothing less than expulsions and quick special elections for replacements can prove the Senate still knows why it exists.

The proven and alleged crimes of the Senate Three would be enough to justify severe action, just as a state senator indicted for bribery was expelled in 1905.

Meanwhile, keeping Yee, Calderon and Wright on suspension — with pay, no less — leaves almost one-tenth of Californians unrepresented in their Senate. Remember, all three men purveyed one common message during their many election campaigns: Only they could provide the most effective service available. So much for that.

Today they provide no service. In sustaining the trio’s similar struggles for political survival and personal freedom, other senators appear to have forgotten they were elected not just to collect paychecks and perks, but to represent Californians and further the public good. In each case, the public would be best served by not letting the Senate’s alleged crooks hang on for many months while their cases and appeals play out.

None of the three has yet shown the slightest willingness to consider stepping down. Calderon, accused of political corruption, and Wright, convicted of using a false address when filing to run for office, are both stonewalling and their mostly Democratic colleagues keep enabling them even though their legal woes reduced the party’s Senate edge below the magic two-thirds majority margin needed to pass some laws.

With Wright and Calderon first on leave and now suspended while their cases play out, Democrats failed to push through several measures, including a key bill aiming to force revelations of “dark money” contributors to political campaigns. Not one Republican voted for that one, all it would have taken for passage, but if the Democrats still had a two-thirds margin, the predictable GOP solidarity against sunlight would not have mattered.

Now comes Yee, indicted in late March for both firearms trafficking and political corruption. He may yet resign his post — from which he’ll be termed out by year’s end anyhow. For sure, his candidacy for secretary of state, California’s chief elections officer, ended with his arrest.

Yee’s absence puts the Democrats another vote shy of the supermajority they reveled in for about a year after the 2012 elections. If the three troubled senators left or were booted, voter registration numbers in their districts assure those seats would remain Democratic. Their stubborn attempts to continue political life make it clear they care less about public policy than personal interest.

One thing each retains (besides their salaries) even while suspended is a possible plea bargain negotiating chip: At some point, prosecutors may offer the option of resigning in exchange for lighter treatment.

Said Yee’s fellow San Francisco state Sen. Mark Leno, “Every indictment, every arrest, every arraignment, even every suspicion or allegation, reflects very poorly on each of us and all of us (in the Senate).”

Mere words like those are not enough. Until the Senate is willing to expel and not just suspend members when they fall into disgrace, voters will be justified in figuring most senators care more about their own skins and pocketbooks than the policies to which they claim devotion.

Yee’s case is classic for this. If convicted of the firearms charges against him, the longtime gun-control advocate will be exposed as one of the greatest hypocrites in California history.

It all raises the question of why other state senators have been so reluctant to throw out their disgraced or convicted colleagues. One possible answer to that question might be that many have skeletons in their own closets or fear they might someday.

There is, of course, no proof of this, but who could blame voters for believing it?

The bottom line: If politicians were more concerned about policy than their own skins, they’d be gone the moment they can no longer represent their constituents and further policies they claim to love.

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

Comments

comments

.

News

Zombies by rail: It’s not just a show, it’s a trip

By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Fatal Covell Boulevard crash recalled in court

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

Humphrey Fellows will host Global Forum

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Community gardens stretch food dollars, study finds

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Wildfire spurs evacuation of 700 homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
State can’t say if it’s meeting drought goal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Rairdan joins race for Davis school board

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Ukraine launches offensive to retake Donetsk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Israel extends Gaza truce through Sunday

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

New ordinance aims to prevent nut thefts from orchards

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

 
Biggest book sale to date opens Friday at Davis library

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Luna family matriarch turns 100

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
 
Discussion of oil by rail EIR planned Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Mace Innovation Center is focus of meeting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Freeway crash injures two drivers

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5

Museum wants your old Davis High School yearbooks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Affordable housing forum planned in Davis

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Protesters gather at Primate Center

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A8

 
State awards $40,000 for historic property survey

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A8

Free blood pressure screenings offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Vanguard hosts economic development director

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Get a sneak peek at documentary trailer

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Davis Chamber Choir sings short summer program

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A9

Tasting event benefits Yolo Land Trust

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A9

 
At the Pond: From Davis, it’s easy to get back to nature

By Jean Jackman | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Tickets on sale now for DHS Hall of Fame dinner

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
.

Forum

Feels like a million miles away

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A7

 
Here’s what you need for a perfect wedding

By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

 
Check doctors’ vitals before they check yours

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Husband’s let himself go

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A14

 
Questions on water rights

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A16, 1 Comment

Campus turns on the tap

By Our View | From Page: A16

 
So, what’s in a week’s worth of waste?

By Michelle Millet | From Page: A16

Pat Oliphant cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A16

 
Golf tourney was a big success

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A16

We can do more to help

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A17

 
New playground is wonderful

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A17

Just Us in Davis: Little Rock Nine hero to celebrate with Davis youths

By Jann L. Murray-Garcia | From Page: A17 | Gallery

 
.

Sports

Sutherland presents 1st clinic; golf column on its way

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
New Korematsu teacher is an American Ninja Warrior

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Furyk opens 3-shot lead in Canadian Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Gray wins 6th straight, A’s 4 HRs beat Texas 5-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Kershaw throws 2-hitter as Dodgers beat Giants 5-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Nibali set to cruise to Tour victory

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Area sports briefs: River Cats take Game 1 of doubleheader

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

 
.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Companies will collaborate on crop insect control

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A13

 
Developer’s commitments: affordable and green

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13 | Gallery

Lagerstrom represents Davis at Mary Kay seminar

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

 
UC Davis Health System earns ‘Most Wired’ award

By Charles Casey | From Page: A15

Bartholomew hires new associate

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

 
Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A15

Go back to school with Great Clips

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

 
.

Obituaries

Carlton Hope Meister

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Jonathan Eric Hollander

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, July 27, 2014

By Creator | From Page: A6