Worst Legislator in California, Part ...

Worst Legislator in California, Part II: Charles Calderon Lets...

There are 488 comments on the LA Weekly story from Jun 1, 2011, titled Worst Legislator in California, Part II: Charles Calderon Lets.... In it, LA Weekly reports that:

State Sen. Ron Calderon and his brother Assembly Majority Leader Charles Calderon, carry on a family tradition every Thanksgiving.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at LA Weekly.

reality check

Los Angeles, CA

#451 Feb 25, 2014
Update: A candidate for Secretary of State calls on the legislature to expel Calderon so a special election to replace him can be held June 3.

http://www.laweekly.com/informer/2014/02/21/r...

UPDATED Feb. 24 at 5:12 pm: And in the "insult to injury" category, Derek Cressman, a candidate for California Secretary of State, issued a press release tonight demanding that the California state Senate vote to expel Ron Calderon "no later than Friday" so that a special election to replace Calderon can be held concurrent with the June 3 state primary election.:

“The standard for remaining in the Senate should be higher than for remaining out of prison.
Swift action will not only help repair the Senate’s damaged reputation but also speed the process for voters to have honest representation in the legislature.”

Cressman writes that although powerful Senate leader Darrell Steinberg has vowed to call for a Senate vote to "suspend" Calderon if he refuses to resign, a mere suspension "would not trigger a special election to replace Senator Calderon, leaving voters in his district without representation."

Steinberg has long been a close ally of Ron Calderon's, and elevated Calderon to numerous positions of power in Sacramento before this scandal broke.

Cressman is an activist and former vice president of Common Cause who has promised to tamp down the political influence of big-money donors in Sacramento and modernize California's voting infrastructure.

comments

But one must question how State Senator Kevin de Leon becomes the next President of that body, considering his "alleged promises" to Senator Calderon.

Scott Johnson at Mayor Sam

At the press conference today, one of the investigators said Calderon had convinced others to get involved in the corruption.
They did not ID who the "others" are.

author Jill Stewart
reality check

Los Angeles, CA

#452 Feb 25, 2014
http://www.laweekly.com/informer/2014/02/25/a...

There are two dollar figures to keep in mind when thinking about the Ron Calderon scandal.
The first is $100,000, which is the amount of bribe money that Sen. Calderon is alleged to have taken.
The second is $500 million, which is the amount of money that Michael Drobot has already admitted he took in a workers' compensation fraud scheme.

Obviously both aspects of this are serious.
But the magnitude of Drobot's offense dwarfs Calderon's.
Somebody's getting rich here, and it isn't Ron Calderon.

But while Capitol lawmakers have rushed to shun Calderon, no one is hurrying to return money they received over the years from Drobot.

But it would have been stupid to rely solely on Sen. Calderon. According to the Sacramento Bee, Drobot gave $1.3 million in political contributions since 2000, almost all of it to Democrats.

The California Democratic Party received $95,000 from Drobot's company -$50,000 in 2011 and $45,000 in 2002.
Now that Drobot has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and paying kickbacks to doctors, will the Democratic Party return that money?

Uh, no.

"Contributions raised in past election cycles are spent during those respective election cycles," said party spokesman Tenoch Flores.
"We can't return money we no longer have."

But don't worry too much about the Democratic Party - they have $11.2 million in cash in the bank. If they wanted to return Drobot's checks, they could.

STEP UP STEINBERG
Reality Check

Los Angeles, CA

#454 Feb 26, 2014
New information is revealed after two whistleblowers say that the scandal involving Assemblyman Thomas Calderon, his brother and the former owner of the Long Beach Hospital, Michael Drobot, ran rampant.
Hetty Chang reports for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. form the city of Orange Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014.

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Forme...

On the heels of a massive corruption scheme involving state Sen. Ronald Calderon (D-Montebello) and a former hospital executive,
two whistleblowers are speaking out to NBC4's I-Team, for the first time, about what they said was insurance fraud, involving counterfeit medical hardware, which ran rampant under that hospital executive's command.

"The red flags started immediately," said Mark Sersansie of Orange County, who was hired as a sales representative for a man he said worked for Michael Drobot, the former owner of Pacific Hospital of Long Beach.

Sersansie is one of two plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit, which was originally filed in Sacramento in May 2012,
but was recently transferred to Los Angeles County.

The suit alleges doctors were recruited to push workers comp patients to have spinal surgeries done at certain hospitals that overcharged for operations and medical devices, which in many cases were counterfeit, according to the suit.

According to Sersansie, Drobot and his co-conspirators bullied their employees to keep quiet about their scheme.
Trash talk

Los Angeles, CA

#456 Feb 27, 2014
Calderon corruption charges:

Who's who in the investigation of California state Sen. Ron Calderon
KPCC staff | February 21st, 2014, 12:52pm

http://www.scpr.org/blogs/news/2014/02/21/139...
Trash talk

Los Angeles, CA

#458 Feb 27, 2014
A Los Angeles Times editorial questions why state Senate leaders are calling for the resignation of Sen. Ron Calderon when Sen. Rod Wright, who was convicted of perjury and voter fraud, remains in office.

"The bottom line is that Wright was convicted by a jury on eight counts of voter fraud and perjury,
meaning he was never in fact eligible to hold the seat he won.

Doesn't lying to voters 'strike at the very heart of what it means to be a public official'," per the Times.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-...

Why? So Steinberg and Perez can keep their supermajority !
Trash talk

Los Angeles, CA

#459 Feb 27, 2014
http://www.scpr.org/blogs/politics/2014/02/23...

Corruption charges nothing new to cities of southeast Los Angeles County
Theolona Ranger

Los Angeles, CA

#460 Feb 27, 2014
comment separation of Powers issue here, court case has nothing to do with State Senate Ethics

Calderon should get out of town without pay

The senator casts a cloud over the Legislature,
and the public shouldn't pay lawmakers to fight their own criminal charges.

http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-cap-calder...

By George Skelton

Capitol Journal

February 26, 2014, 5:59 p.m.



SACRAMENTO—Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court. That's the American way.

But it doesn't mean that anyone who has not been found guilty is qualified to hold public office.

Specifically right now, it doesn't mean that a corruption suspect is fit to occupy a seat in the state Legislature.

George Skelton

Sen. Ronald Calderon pleads not guilty in corruption case

Ron Calderon's decision could add costs, complications to election

California Sen. Ronald S. Calderon, brother charged in FBI probe

It only means that Sen. Ronald S. Calderon (D-Montebello)— if he can make bail, which he has — shouldn't be locked up without being convicted.

It shouldn't entitle him to continue drawing his $95,291 annual salary.

The California Constitution gives each legislative house the power to "judge the qualifications … of its members" and by a two-thirds vote expel anyone.

Senators should be asking themselves whether this house embarrassment, Calderon, who has pleaded not guilty, really is qualified to be a colleague.

How comfortable are they — Democrats and Republicans — sharing membership in their august club with someone who has been indicted on 24 federal counts of bribery, money laundering, filing false tax returns and other forms of corruption?

If they're not, they should exercise their constitutional authority to give him the boot.

His alleged crimes strike at the heart of democracy and further erode public trust in representative government, especially in the Legislature
Theolona Ranger

Los Angeles, CA

#463 Feb 27, 2014
http://www.dailynews.com/opinion/20140227/sen...

By the Los Angeles News Group editorial board

Posted: 02/27/14, 1:37 PM PST |

For lawmakers fighting criminal charges, there are times when slinking out of the state Capitol in disgrace is too good a fate.
Like when they’re taking voluntary leaves that allow them to continue to pocket their salaries.

Rod Wright, D-Inglewood-or-Baldwin-Hills, started such a leave from the California Senate this week while seeking to have overturned his conviction for voter fraud for living outside his district and lying about it.

Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, could be next to take such a leave rather than face expulsion from the state Senate as he prepares his defense against bribery and corruption charges.

On indefinite leave, Wright will — and Calderon would —
continue to receive a $95,291 salary,
though not $163 per diem payments.

That Wright hasn’t been expelled angers Republicans, who note that Wright could rescind a voluntary leave at any time and cast a vote in the Senate.

It should anger Wright’s mostly Democratic constituents, too. Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay him when he plainly isn’t performing his official duties, leaving no voice in the Senate for the 35th District, which stretches from Inglewood through Torrance and Carson down to San Pedro.

Presumption of innocence notwithstanding,
it’s not as if Wright is on leave because he’s sick.
His troubles have cast a cloud over his district, his party and the state government.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg granted Wright’s request for a leave.
Steinberg has said Calderon should “at the very least” request a leave, but that if he doesn’t take a leave or resign,
Steinberg would move to have the Senate suspend him.

Wright and Calderon should resign.
But if they’re going to do the “very least” instead, they should give up the pay they would have received during those leaves.

To contrive to continue to draw their salaries is an affront to their districts, and more evidence that they care more about their own wealth and comfort than about the people they represent
reality check

Los Angeles, CA

#465 Mar 3, 2014
http://www.sgvtribune.com/government-and-poli...

as predicted and like Wright Calderon wants to get full pay while "on leave" and not representing his district, as if he ever did.

What about "separation of powers" does Steinberg and Perez not understand?

Senate is not subservient to the courts.

story says
The departure of Wright and Calderon deprives Senate Democrats of the two-thirds margin they need in the 40-member chamber to raise taxes, pass emergency legislation, override gubernatorial vetoes and put constitutional amendments before voters without Republican cooperation.

Steinberg, D-Sacramento, had said senators would suspend, but not expel, Calderon because he has not been convicted of a crime.

But he and other Democrats called for Calderon to step down because he is charged with activities that Steinberg said “strike at the very heart of what it means to be a public official.”

If " “strike at the very heart of what it means to be a public official.”
was more than mere verbiage the Senate Ethics Committee could hold hearings and act
trash talk

Los Angeles, CA

#466 Mar 4, 2014
Assembly speaker got nearly $38,000 in gifts, travel last year

http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-...

SACRAMENTO -- Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) received nearly $38,000 in gifts and travel payments last year, according to financial disclosures filed Monday.

Nearly half of that -- about $16,000 -- came from three trips paid for by the State Legislative Leaders Foundation, a nonprofit group that hosts policy conferences for top lawmakers.

Pérez sits on the foundation's board and served as host for the group's National Speakers Conference, a gathering of state speakers and their chiefs of staff, in Los Angeles last year.

A September trip to Armenia also brought in some swag.
The National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia paid more than $9,600 for Pérez's trip to the region; several other legislators also took part in the delegation.

He returned from the trip with a number of souvenirs, including $100 worth of books from Karekin II, the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian gave the speaker religious relics, worth $80, and Armenian brandy, valued at $94.99

anyone see any real difference between Wright, Calderon, Perez and Steinberg?
trash talk

Los Angeles, CA

#467 Mar 4, 2014
California lawmakers report meals, sports tickets, other gifts

http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-...

remember Steinberg and Pals, and the LAFED took $$$ from developer Ed Rotsky to sell out our environmental safeguards and fast track his NFL stadium project
anyone see a stadium?
trash talk

Los Angeles, CA

#468 Mar 4, 2014
PolitiCal

On politics in the Golden State

California Sen. Ron Calderon flooded with gifts while facing FBI probe

http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-...

By Patrick McGreevy

March 4, 2014, 11:07 a.m.



SACRAMENTO -- While under investigation for allegedly taking bribes last year, state Sen. Ronald S. Calderon (D-Montebello) openly accepted $6,827 in legal gifts, including concert and fight tickets, expensive meals and travel from special interests, and a golf game from a group that investigators say was part of a criminal conspiracy, records show.

openly accepted legal gifts
how about the covert illegal ones?
legal defense fund?
future office fund?
non profit?(sic)
reality check

Los Angeles, CA

#469 Mar 4, 2014
Steinberg cops out again
separation of powers- separate judicial, legislative, administrative branches of government
legislative is not subservient to judicial
This is a cop-out
Do Calderon's actions violate Senate standards or don't they?

Ethics panel to delay its investigation of Sen. Calderon

http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-...

By Patrick McGreevy

March 4, 2014, 4:58 p.m.



SACRAMENTO -- The state Senate’s ethics panel will delay its investigation into Sen. Ronald S. Calderon to avoid interfering with a federal prosecution of the lawmaker on corruption charges, the panel’s chairman said Tuesday.

The Senate Legislative Ethics Committee announced the change after it met behind closed doors Tuesday to look into whether Calderon’s actions violated Senate standards that would require his suspension or expulsion from the Senate.

Calderon on Sunday took a paid leave of absence to prepare his defense against federal charges that he accepted nearly $100,000 in bribes from an undercover FBI agent and medical company owner to affect legislation on film tax credits and workers' compensation charges.

Sen. Richard D. Roth (D-Riverside) said Tuesday that the ethics panel he chairs will stand down for now.

“In light of the very broad scope of the federal criminal indictment of Sen. Ron Calderon, and to ensure the Senate Legislative Ethics Committee takes no action that would impede the work of the U.S. attorney, the committee will continue to monitor the judicial process to ensure justice is served,” Roth said in a statement.

“The committee is also reviewing the Senate’s ethics standards, policies and procedures for the investigation of alleged ethics violations.”
trash talk

Los Angeles, CA

#470 Mar 5, 2014
California Democrats lose power of supermajority

Melody Gutierrez

http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Califo...

Sacramento --

- In the days last year after California Democrats secured a supermajority - a voting bloc that lets their party pass taxes or bonds - many pondered how that new political muscle would be used.

Now it's a question of what Democrats will do without it.

Democrats lost their supermajority in the state Senate on Sunday after a Los Angeles County Democrat took a paid leave to fight legal troubles, the second to do so.

Political strategists say critical concessions may be needed from Democrats to pass a palatable water bond or approve a rainy-day fund, both of which would need a two-thirds majority vote to be placed on the November ballot.

"I'm not saying the Democrats won't get what they want. I am saying they will have to pay a price in terms of concessions that they previously didn't have to pay," said Larry Gerston, a public policy professor at San Jose State University. "They have been spoiled."

Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello (Los Angeles County), announced Sunday he will take a paid leave of absence to fight federal political corruption charges stemming from an FBI investigation into bribery. Calderon pleaded not guilty and is out on bail.

Wright's paid leave

Calderon's departure came days after state Sen. Roderick Wright, D-Inglewood (Los Angeles County), announced he will take a paid leave while waiting for a trial judge to validate a felony conviction for lying about where he lived to run for office.

A jury found Wright guilty of eight felony counts of voter fraud and perjury in January, but he is asking the judge to toss out the convictions because of ambiguity about the definition of residency.

Calderon and Wright, both moderate Democrats who did not always vote with their party, will continue to receive their $95,000 salary.

Some Republican state senators are calling for Wright and Calderon to be permanently expelled from the upper house, arguing that a suspension allows for political manipulation.

"There's nothing prohibiting them from returning at will and voting," said Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine (San Diego County). "And that's the problem."

"The supermajority is important," Steinberg said, "but not nearly as important as the Senate itself."

Comment
If the Senate is important expel Calderon and Wright NOW
reality check

San Gabriel, CA

#471 Mar 5, 2014
Pasadena Star News ‏@PasStarNews · 41m
Charles Calderon paid son, Ian,$40,000 for 'consulting' in uncontested election
Trash talk

San Gabriel, CA

#472 Mar 6, 2014
There was a twitter feed posted last night- Today in the Paper-
More on the "family Entitlements"

Charles Calderon paid son, Ian,$40,000 for ‘consulting’ in uncontested election

http://www.sgvtribune.com/general-news/201403...

By Ben Baeder, Whittier Daily News

During his 2010 reelection campaign, former Assemblyman Charles Calderon paid $40,000 to his son for Web-consulting services,
but an investigation by this newspaper turned up no evidence of a campaign website or social media presence.

Those familiar with the campaign said they cannot remember any website, email or social media outreach component.

May, Calderon’s 2010 opponent, concurred.

“Not that I can remember,” May said.“As an incumbent in a predominantly Democrat district, I don’t believe state Assemblyman Calderon felt the need for a re-election website.”
.
Robert Stern, a longtime government watchdog who helped write the state’s campaign finance laws.
“As long as he actually did work, ROFL
there is no law prohibiting what happened,” he said.
“But clearly, there’s an ethical question there.
It borders on personal use of campaign funds.”

It’s not the first time Ian Calderon benefitted from having a father in state government.
The younger Calderon worked for family friends in the mobile-home park industry while his father pushed legislation that would benefit mobile-home park owners.

Stern said the payments to Ian Calderon are another piece of information about the way the Calderon family used their fundraising prowess to build a political dynasty.

“It just shows that Ian was part of this big political machine,” he said.
Reality Check

San Gabriel, CA

#473 Mar 6, 2014
http://www.kcra.com/news/local-news/news-sacr...

Transcript

STATE LAWMAKERS AND CUT IN HALF THE VALUE OF PERMISSIBLE GIFTS THEY COULD GIVE THE GOALIE.

THE CONCERN OF THE POLITICIANS BEHAVING ODDLY ERUPTED IN THEATRICS AT THE CAPITOL TODAY.

THAT VOTE NEVER HAPPENED .

SENATORS ARE NOT ABOVE THE LAW.

REPUBLICAN SENATOR IS LEADING THE CHARGE TO EXPEL FELLOW SENATORS.
UNDER INDICTMENT ON SEVERAL CORRUPTION CHARGES.

HIS MOTION WAS QUICKLY SHOT DOWN.

I RULED OUT THIS MOTION IS OUT OF ORDER.

THE MATTER IS STUCK IN THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE.

WE DESERVE TO HAVE A VOTE.

THEY ARE NOT COMING BACK UNLESS THEY ARE CLEARED .

WE INTEND TO MOVE FORWARD.

THE TWO EMBATTLED SENATORS REMAIN UNPAID LEAVE OF ABSENCE --

REMAIN ON PAID LEAVE OF ABSENCE.

WE ASKED HIM WHY. ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE GOING ON BEHIND THE SCENES.

THIS IS SOMETHING WE ARE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING.

CAN YOU SHARE WITH US SOME OF THE THINGS GOING ON BEHIND THE SCENES?

. EVEN IF REPUBLICANS CAN SOMEHOW WIN A SUSPENSION VOTE,
IT WOULD NOT CHANGE THE FACT THAT BOTH SENATORS WOULD CONTINUE TO GET PAID.

CALIFORNIA LAW REQUIRES STATE SENATORS MUST RECEIVE THEIR PAYCHECKS EVEN IF THEY ARE
Reality Check

San Gabriel, CA

#474 Mar 6, 2014
SACRAMENTO, Calif.(KCRA)—The concern over politicians behaving badly erupted into theatrics at the state Capitol on Thursday.

http://www.kcra.com/news/California-state-Sen...

"Senators are not above the law," said Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, who is leading the charge to expel Sen. Rod Wright and Sen. Ron Calderon.

A jury recently convicted Wright of lying about where he lives. Calderon is under indictment on federal corruption charges.

But Anderson’s motion to expel Wright and Calderon was quickly shot down.

"The motion by Senator Anderson is out of order," Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said.

The motion was out of order because Anderson’s resolution is stuck in the Senate Rules committee, where other Republicans have let it sit without moving forward.

"Californians deserve better," Anderson told KCRA 3. "We deserve to have a vote."

But Steinberg took issue with Anderson’s efforts.

“Senator Wright and again Calderon are not coming back unless they are cleared -- and we intend to move forward,” Steinberg told reporters.“We’re done with this. We’re moving on.”

So, the two embattled senators remain on paid leave of absence -- collecting their $95,291 salaries.

Senate Republican leader Bob Huff had initially proposed suspending the pair, but on Thursday, he pulled the matter without a vote.

KCRA 3 asked Huff,“Wasn’t that the original plan – that you were going to introduce that today for a vote?”

Huff responded,“I put it there to be able to introduce when the time was ripe. But it wasn’t ripe today.”

When asked to elaborate, Huff said,“There’s always things going on behind the scenes, and not all of them are to be public. You know, this is something that we are trying to accomplish, something that you try to get as many people to go along with as you can.”

When pressed about what was going on behind the scenes, Huff said,“Stay tuned.”

Republicans are sensitive on the issue, Capitol insiders said, because of residency questions involving several of their own members – the same issue that led to perjury charges against Wright.

Yet, even if Republicans could somehow win a suspension vote, it wouldn’t change the fact that Wright and Calderon would both continue to get a paycheck.

California law requires that state senators must receive their paychecks, even if suspended. The only way to dock their pay is for their fellow senators to expel them from office.
Trash Talk

San Gabriel, CA

#475 Mar 7, 2014
http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-legislatur...

Cover your ass and spin time

California Legislature considers ethics reform bills

A spate of political scandals has prompted a flurry of legislation aimed at restoring the public's trust.

"There is no question that recent events are testing the public's faith in how our government does its work," said Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), head of a special Senate ethics panel.
"The hard work of the Legislature is too important to be sidetracked by issues of accountability of a few.
We need to restore the public trust."

The timing of the new package is no coincidence, said Jessica Levinson, a Loyola Law School professor who studies governmental ethics.
"Oftentimes the only silver lining that comes as a result of scandals is reform."

The question, she said, is "whether this is real reform or politically expedient reform, or both."

37 public officials, including Brown and Steinberg, recently received notice from the Fair Political Practices Commission that their campaigns had received improper contributions in the form of expensive wine, liquor and cigars provided by lobbyist Kevin Sloat at fundraisers in his home.

Lobbyists are forbidden to make contributions to state candidates.

But the measures do not address the hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel provided to legislators and other officials each year from groups funded by special interests.

Steinberg and Lara said such travel is often educational, and taxpayers would not want to bear the cost.(fudge-loophole)

Still, they could give life to the other ethics proposals, many of which might have died on the vine.
Trash Talk

San Gabriel, CA

#476 Mar 7, 2014
California Senate Democrats acknowledge lost public trust

http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-...

Whole organized crime gang and racketeers are meeting in Los Angeles

“Year after year, the media and constituents raise legitimate concerns about the legal practices currently permitted under state law.” Steinberg said.

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