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.
#277 Nov 1, 2013
6 hrs ago
Calderon corruption allegations of the oldest hustle in politics: Opinion
By Los Angeles News Group editorial board
... one of the biggest state legislative scandals in decades, bring down one of the West’s most powerful political families and seriously damage the Latino caucus that it helped build. And guess who will end up paying? Californians.
It’s the oldest hustle in politics.
... Democratic Sen. Ronald Calderon and his older brother have collected more than $1 million in payments in exchange for shaping legislation in the Capitol.
It looks like the old game of the rich paying politicians to write laws that make them even richer. While these cozy relationships, if true, have bulked up the politician’s pocket they have left taxpayers’ a little thinner...
Outrageous would be an understatement.
But it’s only half the story.
#278 Nov 1, 2013
On this edition of the Capitol Connection podcast, we take a deep look at the issues raised and possible political fallout from the affidavit filed in the bribery investigation surrounding state Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello.
#281 Nov 2, 2013
Calls begin for Sen. Ron Calderon to resign his seat
Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/20...
Jerry Brown keeps mostly mum on Calderon investigation
Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/20...
FBI has been watching the Calderons for years
Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/20...
#282 Nov 2, 2013
Who is Michael Drobot? Leaked affidavit touches on embattled donor
“Hi Mike!” Calderon wrote in one email.“Thanks again for the ride up and lunch! So this is a reminder for you to arrange ... to divide pay into 2 payments.”
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/02/5873966/who-...
#283 Nov 2, 2013
Which local city Councilmember joined with the Calderons and the Central Basin Water District to oppose water related legislation in Sacramento that ultimately passed overwhelmingly? Which city council candidate (non-incumbent) has this Councilmember sponsored and appointed to a city commission? What kind of votes would be expected from this candidate should she be elected? Where does the Chamber of Commerce, many of whose members don't even live in Montebello, fit into all this?
#284 Nov 2, 2013
I'd guess Jack Hadajian.
What did he do for the Assessor to earn those big bucks?
Chamber has a poor record in Montebello- that's why the Home Depot is in commerce and Montebello receives NO SALES TAX from any hardware store.
Very myopic and self centered.
Why did Bill and art even Bother with MOPA and the Chamber endorsements???
Bill just wants to be liked, kiss babies, bullshit how great things are done when reality is all to apparent to any potential developer.
Montebello needs to go 12 step but first you have to admit you have a problem.
Hello: I'm The city of Montebello and I'm Broke.
Jack has been quiet, stealth. A Mole???
Chamber is unduly influenced by their new big money buddy Cook-Hill.
Let's have a "greeting" and party
Jack and Vivian
Where do you stand on the condo project Vivian?
#285 Nov 2, 2013
#286 Nov 2, 2013
Assemblywoman Garcia calls for Sen. Calderon to resign
Garcia’s call is notable because about half of her district overlaps Calderon’s senate district and she represents his hometown of Montebello.
“I fully realize that we must respect the presumed innocence of Sen. Calderon, but the distraction caused by this case, in my own backyard and its long-term implications are detrimental to the fabric of government and to the citizens that the senator represents,” she added.
Last year, Garcia beat Calderon’s brother, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon, in the primary election for the 58th Assembly District.
She ran on an anti-corruption platform stemming from her work against officials in the city of Bell.
#287 Nov 2, 2013
Calderon is chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee, and sits on the banking and financial institutions, environmental quality and government organization committees.
He’s also chairman of three select committees – on film and television; on international business; and on economic development.
He also sits on a committee that deals with the wine industry.
Steinberg, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, has the power to assign and revoke committee memberships.
He needs to do more than say the right thing.
He must take action by removing Calderon from any post from which he can exert any influence.
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/01/5870724/edit...
#288 Nov 2, 2013
#289 Nov 4, 2013
EDITORIAL: Limit damage of Calderon corruption probe
And if the incidents related in the affidavit are at all true, the entire Legislature should be embarrassed — even if Calderon turns out to have committed no actual crime. The document portrays influence-peddling for pure self-interest, with no consideration of any larger public policy.
Californians will inevitably wonder just how far such behavior extends — a question for which legislators can blame themselves.
Consider the reports last year about globe-trotting, all-expenses-paid trips that many legislators took, funded by powerful interest groups. Or the stories of free tickets to concerts, sports events or amusement parks.
Such handouts may be legal, but they create the perception of a Legislature more attuned to special interests than voters.
And the average Californian cannot help but wonder about a connection between the busy schedule of fundraising at the end of the legislative session, at a time when special-interest bills often emerge suddenly and pass without debate.
The need for campaign money does not excuse lax ethics and self-service. Legal or not, legislators should reject political practices that appear to hang a “for sale” sign on public office.
#290 Nov 5, 2013
Los Angeles is a key player in Sen. Ron Calderon FBI bribery sting
Additionally, the FBI’s L.A. corruption unit was already investigating two local public officials in 2011 — unnamed in the affidavit — when agents decided to turn their attention on Calderon, federal documents state.
Calderon cites his own political accounts and his brother Tom Calderon’s nonprofit, Californians for Diversity.
According to the affidavit, Calderon “mentioned several different accounts into which he was considering having the (agent) deposit the remaining money (Californians for Diversity, Senator de Leon, Ronald Calderon for Controller, Ronald Calderon Officeholder, and a Los Angeles City Councilman).”
“The (agent) told (Calderon) to spell out where he wanted the money to go on a piece of paper and the (agent) would do it,” the document states.
Some money was eventually transferred to Californians for Diversity, the affidavit later indicates. The “councilman” is not mentioned again in the document.
Although Los Angeles may figure into the FBI affidavit, the city hasn’t seen a similar major FBI bust, said government ethics expert Bob Stern, former president of the Center for Governmental Studies.
The allegations in the Calderon affidavit appear serious, Stern said.“What’s surprising to me is that the statements that were made (by Calderon) were pretty incriminating and not very smart.”
#291 Nov 5, 2013
State Sen. Ron Calderon must resign, right now: Editorial
What an embarrassment for the people he supposedly represents, the heavily Latino southeast county communities of Norwalk, Pico Rivera, Montebello, Whittier, Bell and other areas. A compromised Calderon has no ability to serve them and needs to leave the Legislature now.
For the sake of his constituents, Calderon must now relinquish the legislative seat he has so badly tarnished. It’s the only honorable move left for him, a small dignity he could leave us with after the scandal he has dumped on Californians.
#292 Nov 6, 2013
Capitol Alert: Steinberg seeks to remove Ron Calderon as Insurance chair
When asked whether Calderon should retain public office, Steinberg replied, "I certainly have my doubts."
Those doubts about Calderon's fitness have apparently solidified into the certainty that the Montebello Democrat should not be allowed to lead the Insurance Committee until the federal investigation is concluded. Steinberg announced Wednedsay that he was asking the Senate Rules Committee to nix Calderon's Insurance Committee chairmanship and remove him from his other committee assignments.
"I am concerned, however, about keeping Senator Calderon in his positions. The allegations, though yet unproven, are serious enough to cloud any interactions the Senator might have with colleagues, advocates, and the public on issues within his jurisdiction."
The Rules Committee is scheduled to consider Steinberg's request at a meeting next Tuesday
Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2013/11/06/27688...
#293 Nov 6, 2013
Montebello Historian posts in the School board
thread re Gerri guzman
"I'm sure there was also some Calderon money involved as well since they were instrumental in getting predatory loan amount increases passed by Sacramento."
Here's a website that calls itself the Consumer Rights Coalition. It's a front for predatory credit agencies. Their enigmatic motto is "Dedicated to Preserving Access to Credit."
The reason I mention it is because of "The Consumer Voice" column by Gerri Guzman entitled SHORT-TERM LENDING INNOVATION: KEEPING CREDIT ACCESSIBLE FOR ALL.
I wonder what her paycheck was.
I'm sure there was also some Calderon money involved as well since they were instrumental in getting predatory loan amount increases passed by Sacramento.
Check it out:
#294 Nov 6, 2013
Editorial: To separate themselves from Calderons, lawmakers should end payday loans
Legislators of both parties have enabled Sen. Ron Calderon while he has carried water for:
for-profit colleges (diploma mills) and other big-money interests.
Now that Calderon is the subject of an FBI investigation, lawmakers are trying to put some space between themselves and the Calderon family, hoping the public will forget.
They won’t. If lawmakers really want to distance themselves from the Calderon legacy,
they should take a hard look at reversing some of its most egregious giveaways. One place to start would be the payday-loan industry.
Calderon and his brother, Assemblyman Charles Calderon, are two of the largest recipients of campaign contributions from payday-loan outfits, receiving more than $81,000 from the industry between 2003 and 2011,
according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics.
Not surprisingly, the Calderons have been the biggest impediments to effective regulation of this industry,
which preys on low-income residents.
As of 2011, some 17 states and the U.S. military had effectively banned the practice, because of its potential to trap people into a spiral of debt.
In a recent column, The Bee’s Claudia Buck laid out the risks to consumers from payday loans, as outlined by the state’s Department of Business Oversight. These include higher interest rates than allowed under California law; funds siphoned from a person’s bank account without permission; personal financial data sold and pirated by the lender, and other problems.
According to the Center for Responsible Lending,
a consumer group that opposes payday loans,
82 percent of payday loan fees –$474 million – come from borrowers taking out a new loan within two weeks of paying off their last loan.
How can a family save to buy a house or send their kids to college if they are trapped in this debt spiral?
They can’t, t
hanks to the likes of the Calderons.
Charles Calderon effectively legalized payday lending in California when he served in the Legislature more than a decade ago, with the maximum amount of each loan set at $300.
He and Ron Calderon then attempted to push the cap to $500 in 2011.
When we called them on it, Ron Calderon wrote a patronizing response that attempted to portray himself as champion of the little guy, even as he was raking in perks and campaign contributions from an industry that doled out $3.28 billion in loans in California that year.
In the most recent session, Sens. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Jim Beall tried to limit payday loans to four per year, with required underwriting and a longer minimum repayment period.
Yet the bill got watered down and ultimately defeated when it reached the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee,
where Ron Calderon has been a longtime committee member.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg says the FBI sting accusations against Ron Calderon are “serious stuff,” which is why Steinberg plans to remove him from the California Film Commission.
Yet it’s the routine transactional business that the Calderons have performed that has caused the most harm to Californians.
Those transactions couldn’t have happened if Steinberg and others hadn’t let the Calderons rise to positions of power in the Legislature.
If lawmakers want to cleanse themselves of the Calderon taint, cracking down on payday lending would be a good place to start.
Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2013/11/05/27688...
#296 Nov 7, 2013
Crime Scene: Embattled Calderons move from local spotlight to FBI’s cross hairs
By Frank Girardot, Pasadena Star-News
There are certain cliches that go along with federal criminal indictments.
You know what I mean: Exploitative racketeers, territorial mafiosi, dangerous outlaw motorcycle gangs, treacherous Columbian drug runners and cutthroat homicidal maniacs with names like “Sammy The Bull” or “Pauly Pistols.”
That’s what you expect to see in federal criminal filings.
What you don’t necessarily expect to find among these wordy chronicles of dirty dealings is the model citizen so revered in his community that he’s elected to high office without a hiccup.
You don’t expect to find a man who once stood “side by side” with California Attorney General Kamala Harris in the spotlight of a national press conference lurking in the shadows of the FBI’s cross  hai rs.
And yet, State Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, is the target of a potential criminal firestorm that’s been brewing in Sacramento for several years.
The Calderon story, told through published reports and leaked documents, points to this:
The way Sacramento operates is questionable at best, and at worst, the state Capitol is more corrupt than some Third World dictatorships I can name.
We can thank some gutsy investigative reporters at Al Jazeera America for revealing FBI affidavits associated with the Calderon mess.
For his part, Calderon has been neither charged nor convicted. He remains in office, even as the leadership of the Democratic Party seeks to remove him from positions of power in the state Senate.
Pasadena attorney Mark Geragos, who represents Calderon, told the Los Angeles Times,“The only illegal act that is being committed is either by the government or by Al Jazeera.”
Protestations aside, Calderon hasn’t done himself any favors. As caught on film by Al Jazeera cameras, he comes across as the typical fat cat: there he is smoking an expensive cigar at a poolside bonfire; here he is waddling around a ritzy central California golf course.
He drives one of the most expensive taxpayer-provided cars in Sac-town and doesn’t miss too many meals.
Bluntly, the Al Jazeera report gives a firsthand look at Sacramento politics in all its gross, ugly realism.
But wait! There’s more involving the Calderon family, that local political dynasty with roots in Montebello.
Hews Media, which publishes a group of weeklies in Southeast L.A. County, said it has obtained audio of Ron’s brother, Tom Calderon, a former assemblyman, telling executives of the Maywood Mutual Water District that they should participate in a scheme to funnel $25 million to the Central Basin Water District.
According to the Hews report, Tom Calderon tells the Maywood execs that “the quality of the water is not an issue, but painting a perception that the water is bad is the intent, and if the water is presented as being bad, then the money will be there.”
Tom Calderon also tells the men, according to the report published Oct.  24, that their agency could be “dissolved with a stroke of a pen” if they didn’t play along.
That’s some heady and damning stuff. If true, it’s a lot more sophisticated on the criminal level than allegations that Mayor Cristina Cortez’s husband, a youth football coach, sold crack cocaine near an elementary school.
No doubt the FBI’s probe of the Calderons has the potential to clean up some of the mess in Sacramento. It’s up to the voters to do the rest.
Frank C. Girardot is the editor of the Pasadena Star-News. Follow him @FrankGirardot on Twitter.com or at facebook.com/crimesceneblog
#297 Nov 7, 2013
Ron Calderon has been too long at the public trough
Wake up, citizens who are in the district of state Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello.
For far too long this man has been at the trough, eating away at our hard-earned tax dollars that are suppose to be used for the betterment of our districts. Some of this money is being used on himself and family. Talk about nepotism!
He has carried this idea of favoring family first to the max.
Why does he keep being elected to office?
I’ll tell you why, because we the voting public are too lazy to do anything about this situation with Ron Calderon.
I can bet he will not resign and down the road this too will blow over if he is not removed from office. He will once again saunter to the trough and resume his insatiable appetite.
We are grateful to the news media and FBI sting that brought this to the public attention: the robbing of public funds and unethical behavior.
I hope others will wake up and share my views.
I truly hope that he is prosecuted to the full extent of the law and pray that this is a stern warning to other elected officials.
We are fed up with this unethical behavior, which is rampant at every level of government.
Let’s elect qualified, honest, decent and ethical people to office and get rid of these corrupt self-serving individuals.
— Rudy Dominguez, Whittier
#298 Nov 7, 2013
EXCLUSIVE: Undercover FBI Agent ‘Rocky Patel’ Used Dal Rae in Pico Rivera to Stage Calderon Sting Operation
The DalRae I'm Shocked-Shocked
Hews Media Group-Community Newspapers, as well as other media outlets have been publishing a series of critical investigative reports on State Senator Ronald Calderon, and his two brothers, former Assemblyman Thomas Calderon and former Senator Charles Calderon as well as political newbie Assemblyman Ian Calderon for the past eight months.
Last week, the Calderon’s became international political stars thanks to a series of hard hitting investigative reports from the Arab based media outlet Al Jazzera.
It appears that the FBI went to no expense, and detail, to craft an elaborate “movie production studio” that was over seen by one of their own agents known as “Rocky Patel.”
“Rocky Patel” played the role of a slick, aggressive, independent movie executive who engaged Ronald Calderon and Tom Calderon to help him craft legislation in Sacramento.
HMG-CN spoke to at least three sources who claim that they were introduced to “Rocky Patel” while they were dining at the Dal Rae.
One of the sources, said that Calderon Press Secretary Mario Beltran accompanied Patel at one of the meetings at the Dal Rae and took the liberty to introduce the undercover agent to them.
HMG-CN has called Beltran at Calderon’s Montebello District Office for comment about his association with Patel, to no avail. At least three messages where left to Beltran during a three day period.
“Can you believe it, we met Rocky Patel,” the source said.“We happened to the at the Dal Rae that night and Mario Beltran came up to us with Rocky,” the source continued.
“I can’t believe it, this is definitely a made for television movie,” the source told the newspaper.
In addition, the source joked that Rocky Patel was “young and hot!”
Dal Rae Co-Owner Kevin Smith told HMG-CN in an interview on Monday that he had never met Senator Ron Calderon.“I don’t even know who the guy is, meaning Calderon. Sorry, I can’t help you with any details about the situation,” Smith said.
Smith, when pressed about how many times “Rocky Patel” had dined at the Dal Rae, he said,“this conversation is over,” and hung up the phone.
#299 Nov 7, 2013
What’s being ignored in the Calderon Scandals
It’s interesting to see what stories the big newspapers choose to run, and more interesting to see what they ignore. Rather than never letting a good scandal go to waste, big media is part of making the news, or keeping some news quiet.
More than one week ago, the Hews Media Group broke a big story about California State Assembly Speaker John Perez collaborating with former Assemblyman Tom Calderon and Central Basin Municipal Water District officials,“in an attempt to coerce three Maywood Mutual Water Districts into taking on unwanted projects that if they did not accept, the districts, as Calderon said, would be ‘dissolved with a stroke of a pen.’”
One of the water districts’ general managers later asked who Tom Calderon was, with Calderon answering,“I was a State Assemblyman, my other brothers were Assemblymen too, so (laughing) we got the politics covered.”
The projects would have landed Calderon and his allies, as well as the Central Basin Municipal Water District, a lucrative $25 million dollar consulting contract to “fix problems” that one Maywood Mutual Water District General Manager insisted twice in the audio recording “we don’t have, or we were already working with the WRD to fix,”
Randy Economy and Brian Hews reported.
Hews Media Group has three audio tapes of the meetings and deal making, which are now in the hands of the FBI.John_Pérez_2011
“Calderon is heard on the audio recording saying he was ‘summoned’ by Speaker Perez and the Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to call the meeting that included Enrique Gasca, one of Perez’s top staff lieutenants, CBMWD General Manager Art Agiular, Sergio Palos, General Manager of MMWD #1, Gustavo Villa, GM of MMWD #2, and Bob Ruhlf, who is the GM in District #3,” Hews reported.
This is big news worthy of a RICO investigation. RICO is the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, passed in 1970, to eliminate the ill-effects of organized crime on the nation’s economy.
But since the Hews Media Group October 24 story, it’s been only crickets in the mainstream media.
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