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.

Theolona Ranger

Los Angeles, CA

#300 Nov 7, 2013
The other Calderon scandal

Instead, most news outlets are focused on the latest scandal surrounding Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montbello, Tom Calderon’s brother and chairman of the Senate Select Committee on California’s Film and Television Industries. He stands accused of offering to help provide a state tax credit for films that cost less than a $1 million.

On Saturday, I published a story about Freshman Assemblyman Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, Ron’s nephew, authored two bills in 2013, AB 344 and AB 533, also involving the movie industry.

And, Freshman Assemblyman Ian Calderon, 28, was given the chairmanship of the Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media committee, by Speaker John Perez.

Again, it’s been crickets in the main stream media.
http://www.loscerritosnews.net/2013/11/06/cal...
Theolona Ranger

Los Angeles, CA

#301 Nov 7, 2013
It is likely that representatives of Assembly Speaker Perez made some phone calls discouraging further reporting of his Calderon connection.

Hews Media Group reported that the Los Angeles Times was also provided with the audio tapes,
but refused to do the story.

At the time of the meeting, Hews Media Group reported that records show Calderon was being paid $11,000 per month by Central Basin Municipal Water District for “public affairs.”

Aguilar begins the meeting with an explanation of why they were “summoned” by Perez and Villaraigosa and then says to the Maywood Mutual Water Districts general managers,
“anything can happen if the money is there.”

“Almost three minutes into the meeting,
Enrique Gasca enters the room and is introduced as Speaker Perez’ Director by Calderon,”

Hews wrote.“Calderon goes on to say,‘if we can’t make this (the project) happen we are all in a lot of trouble, in terms of things you want from Sacramento and his (Speaker Perez) ability to retaliate or encourage things… I have never seen a Speaker who does not get what he wants.’”

Calderon continues:“Here’s the deal, we need to be proactive, if we are not, if we do not put a plan together we can all support, the MMWD’s can be dissolved with (Calderon snapping his fingers) a ‘stroke of the pen’, it can be done,”
reported Hews Media Group.

“One of the GM’s angrily says,‘and this is your solution to better quality water?’”
Calderon answers him,‘it (the water quality) doesn’t matter, the (goal of the project) does not matter.’he bill that Calderon was talking about was Assembly Bill 240, first authored by Perez after he became Speaker.
The current bill was authored by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-Lynwood.

The bill was also being pushed by former Assemblyman Tom Calderon,
and only targeted the Maywood Mutual Water District.

AB 240 was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. According to Rendon,“AB 240 addresses the water quality problems in the 63rd Assembly district by requiring mutual water companies like those that that deliver water to Maywood’s residents to comply with the Brown Act and the Public Records Act—two icons of public agency law.”

The audio recording has Calderon telling the group 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.”

He goes on to say,“if we can do that, then that will make him (Speaker Perez) feel comfortable enough to go ahead and move forward (to disburse the $25 million).
He (Perez) will want to have an independent agency receive the disbursement-Calderon indicates that CBMWD as the agency-and would be the appropriate entity to control the process.”

Twenty minutes into the meeting one of the Maywood water districts general managers asks “what do you want us to do?”
Calderon’s response was,“as long as it is agreeable to us (Calderon, Aguilar), I don’t think the Speaker (Perez) is going to care how it is done, as long as it is getting there,”
Hews reported.

Aguilar then prompts the GM’s for a “needs list” and tells them that,“it is in the best interests of you and your owners to cooperate with us and Speaker Perez.”

“In what was probably indicative of the entire meeting, one GM says to Aguilar,‘so you want me to give you a list of things that I need to replace to solve a problem I don’t have.’” Aguilar’s response was a loud laugh followed by “yeah.”
Theolona Ranger

Los Angeles, CA

#302 Nov 7, 2013
Related articles
•California State Assembly Speaker John Perez Implicated in Central Basin Water Scheme ( downeybeat.com )
•California State Assembly Speaker John Perez Implicated in Central Basin Water Scheme – Another Corrupt Scheme ( capoliticalnews.com )
•Gil Cedillo Jr. Spent $15K on Lavish Meals While at Central Basin Municipal Water District ( loscerritosnews.net )
•Central Basin Nixes $350K in Proposed Contracts to Ex-Senator Polanco and Sacramento Firm ( loscerritosnews.net )
•State Assembly speaker implicated in water scam ( wnd.com )
•BREAKING: FBI Issues Statement on Al Jazeera America Expose on The Calderons ( loscerritosnews.net )
•Whittier City School Board Member Irella Perez Jumps Into 32nd Senate Race ( loscerritosnews.net )
Trash Talk

Los Angeles, CA

#304 Nov 8, 2013
Calderon scandal puts film credit in the spotlight

Read more here:

http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/08/5891789/cald...
Trash Talk

Los Angeles, CA

#305 Nov 8, 2013
This was no 'Argo': FBI-connected studio in Calderon sting made real films

http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2013/11/8/thi...

http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/news/2013/11/...
Theolona Ranger

Los Angeles, CA

#306 Nov 8, 2013
State Senator Ron Calderon, under investigation for taking bribes, strikes back at Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia

MONTEBELLO >> State Sen. Ron Calderon, who is under investigation from the FBI for taking bribes, Friday struck back at Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who has asked him to resign.

In an emailed statement, Calderon, D-Montebello, accused Garcia, D-Artesia of ignoring the Constitution.

“It is outrageous in a democratic society for Cristina Garcia, an elected official, to trample on the Constitution by making a mockery of the presumption of innocence, a fundamental right, and seek political gain by embracing the criminal acts of media outlets that violate federal law by revealing the contents of sealed federal documents,” Calderon stated.

“I would suggest that Assemblywoman Garcia would best serve her constituents by reviewing her notes from her 8th grade civics class,” he stated.

Garcia had no comment, said Elena Lee, her press secretary.

Calderon is under investigation for soliciting a total of $88,000 in bribes from an undercover FBI agent posing as a film producer and Michael Drobot, chief executive officer of Pacific Hospital of Long Beach, according to an affidavit filed with the U.S. District Court that Al Jazeera America made public.

It was just on Nov. 1 that Garcia, who is in her first term of office, asked Calderon to resign. Garcia defeated Calderon’s brother, Tom, in the race for state Assembly in 2012.

Her district comprises about half of Calderon’s district.

“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,” stated Garcia in a statement released on Nov. 1.

On Tuesday, Senate leader Darrell Steinberg will ask the Senate Rules Committee to remove Calderon from all of his committees.
Theolona Ranger

Los Angeles, CA

#307 Nov 8, 2013
Sen. Ron Calderon no stranger to political fire

Ron Calderon landed a plum assignment back in 2005 when he took the chairmanship of the Assembly's Banking and Finance Committee, a position that would give him power over some of the Capitol's wealthiest interest groups.

But before Calderon even convened the committee's first hearing under his leadership, he invited 300 lobbyists to a $3,200-per-couple reception at the Firehouse Restaurant in Old Sacramento, billed specifically for the "banking and finance" sector.

Targeting the fundraiser toward one industry was wrong, he told The Bee at the time, and the invitation was promptly re-worded.

"This will never happen again – I guarantee it," Calderon said then. "I don't like being in this position."
Theolona Ranger

Los Angeles, CA

#308 Nov 8, 2013
Now a state senator who represents the Los Angeles community of Montebello, Calderon again finds himself under fire. His Capitol offices were raided Tuesday by FBI agents who carried out several boxes of material but would not discuss the nature of their investigation.
Few people around the Capitol are willing to talk openly about the FBI probe, and most who do business with Calderon will not be quoted by name. But interviews with lobbyists and legislative staff members reveal a common theme: When they heard FBI agents were inside the Capitol, there was little surprise that Calderon's office was the focus.
Calderon, a moderate Democrat, is known for fancy campaign fundraisers in Las Vegas, traveling out of state at interest groups' expense, carrying legislation that benefits specific industries and being one of three brothers who treat Capitol politics as a family business.
"He has definitely been a public official who enjoys the perks of being a public official," said Phillip Ung, an advocate with California Common Cause, which promotes transparency in government.
Calderon has accepted more gifts from lobbying groups than any other legislator, a Bee review of lobbyist disclosure reports shows. Since 2000, he has accepted roughly $40,000 worth of gifts, more than double the amount given to any other legislator during that period. Calderon's gifts included many dinners and golf outings, as well as airfare to Hawaii and tickets to see the Lakers, Kings and Britney Spears.
In 2010, Calderon was one of 38 lawmakers the Fair Political Practices Commission questioned for not properly reporting gifts. His case involved a $1,400 weekend he and his wife spent at the Pebble Beach golf resort, hosted by the Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies.
In 2007, the FPPC criticized a Calderon bill that would have limited disclosure of donations that interest groups give to a charity at a politician's request. Calderon ultimately had the bill pulled from the governor's desk.
Also in 2007, Calderon inspired the state government to tighten up fundraising rules when he raised $150,000 for a legal defense fund after legal troubles already had been resolved. He had started the fund to deal with a possible election recount. A Bee investigation at the time found that he used some of the money to pay for a golf fundraiser at Bandon Dunes in Oregon that included a $7,000 private flight, a separate golf event at Lake Tahoe, an $800 spa bill and meals while attending a conference in Hawaii.
"Raising money is part of the process, unfortunately," said former Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla, who remembered Calderon as an affable and cooperative lawmaker when they served together in the Assembly.
"He liked high overhead activities and I like low overhead activities. Everybody's got their own thing."
Calderon now has active campaign committees to raise funds for 2014 runs for Assembly and state controller. His brother Tom, a former assemblyman, is raising money for a 2014 Senate run. His brother Charles, also a former assemblyman, is raising money to run for secretary of state next year.
His nephew Ian is a first-term assemblyman, with whom he shares a Land Park house while in Sacramento.
"Every Calderon has to get elected, and not every Calderon will just breeze through successful campaigns," Charles Calderon said in an interview with The Bee.
The brothers grew up in East Los Angeles before the family moved to the San Gabriel Valley, Charles Calderon said, noting that "neither of our parents had a high school education."
Ron, the youngest of the three, was a gymnast at Montebello High, his brother said, before he moved on to UCLA. He got into politics by helping on both his brothers' campaigns.
Ron has since made his own name as a community leader, Charles Calderon said.
Theolona Ranger

Los Angeles, CA

#309 Nov 8, 2013
"Ultimately he will be best known for blocking a prison from being sited in the city of Whittier. That's a pretty significant deal," he said.
"That's why Calderons get elected, because in the community, close to where people live and know you, they know what you've done, what you've accomplished."
In the Legislature this year, Ron Calderon is carrying a bill backed by the fireworks industry that would allow fireworks to be sold in California during Christmas week.
It's one of many bills he has carried to benefit businesses over the years. Among them: legislation to give tax breaks to the film industry, allow shoes made of kangaroo skin to be sold in California, expand the kind of betting allowed on horse races, increase the amount of money payday lenders can loan and streamline regulations in the California Environmental Quality Act.
He has also carried bills backed by more liberal interests, including government watchdog group Common Cause and the animal advocates Humane Society of the United States.
In 2011, Calderon carried legislation to increase fines for cockfighting participants and spectators.
"My only experiences with him have been positive with respect to support for our agenda," said Jennifer Fearing, a lobbyist for the Humane Society, which sponsored the bill.
Ung, the Common Cause advocate, said Calderon supported the group's mission to make it easier for people to register to vote, authoring a bill to allow online registration and supporting a bill to allow Election Day registration.
"We were happy to work with him," Ung said.
"He's known as being very well-connected. His family has been in the business for two or three decades. So when you work with him, you know he's able to make phone calls to get things done."
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/06/5475291/sen-...
Theolona Ranger

Los Angeles, CA

#311 Nov 8, 2013
Calderon now has active campaign committees to raise funds for 2014 runs for Assembly and state controller. His brother Tom, a former assemblyman, is raising money for a 2014 Senate run. His brother Charles, also a former assemblyman, is raising money to run for secretary of state next year.

His nephew Ian is a first-term assemblyman, with whom he shares a Land Park house while in Sacramento.

"Every Calderon has to get elected, and not every Calderon will just breeze through successful campaigns," Charles Calderon said in an interview with The Bee.

The brothers grew up in East Los Angeles before the family moved to the San Gabriel Valley, Charles Calderon said, noting that "neither of our parents had a high school education."

Ron, the youngest of the three, was a gymnast at Montebello High, his brother said, before he moved on to UCLA. He got into politics by helping on both his brothers' campaigns.

Ron has since made his own name as a community leader, Charles Calderon said.

http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/06/5475291/sen-...
Theolona Ranger

Los Angeles, CA

#312 Nov 8, 2013
Sen. Calderon’s latest Faustian bargain...

By Jack Ohman

Oct. 31, 2013



Now that state Sen. Ron Calderon’s formerly sealed FBI affidavit has been leaked, we can once again watch another thread of American democracy being frayed.

The Founding Fathers built a strong, beautiful, almost mathematical constitution.
It has held up remarkably well more than 226 years, despite the best efforts of quite a number of elected officials to shred it.
Our individual states also have done a remarkable job of keeping their state constitutions intact, and many well-intentioned, talented, remarkable people have held office in California and 49 other states.

But some people never get the memo.

I am still constantly amazed when I see brazen, flagrant, rampant corruption in politics.
I am also constantly amazed that I’m constantly amazed, because I’m a political cartoonist who dines out on this sort of thing.
Back in Minnesota, I worked in politics when I was a teenager in the 1970s. I never had a responsible position, really, except for the time when I had to learn how to work (for the first time in my life) a manual transmission from a congressional candidate for whom I was a ... driver.

But I also remember why I was interested in politics. I found it inspiring and was inspired by several people: JFK, Hubert Humphrey, Fritz Mondale and a few others.
Naturally, I also enjoyed the public contact of the whole thing, but never one time did I ever think:“Wow, I could make serious, ethically questionable money doing this.” Never.

I just thought politics was a way to expand my love of debate and being captain of my KSTP-TV High School Bowl Quiz team.

Quick, ask me a question about the New Deal.
The answer is almost always Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Reading the transcript of Sen. Calderon’s FBI affidavit is a depressing exercise, because it is so familiar. Politician gets elected in a safe district, feels invincible, wants to live the high life that the wealthy interests who seek to influence him dangle before his eyes,
and he makes the Faustian bargain so many politicians have made.

In Calderon’s case, he allegedly made all sorts of little deals with undercover agents to get some money for his college-age children: fake jobs, blank checks, and so on.
Anyone who isn’t wealthy and who has kids in college knows the feeling.
I feel like I write $3,200 checks every 18 hours. Oh, and they also need a little walking-around money, like lobbyists.

In California, state legislators are well-compensated, particularly in relation to those in other states. They earn more than $100,000 per year, which is certainly well above the economic level of the vast majority of their constituents. In Oregon, state legislators make about $30,000 per year, including per diem.
The consequence of this is that Oregon has either wealthy legislators or people who are willing to serve at a huge financial sacrifice, living like monks. Mostly, they aren’t going to Vegas and drinking champagne out of a slipper.

The other consequence is this: There aren’t a lot of middle-class legislators, particularly at the congressional level. Most of America is middle class. Are they represented? Probably not as well as they could be.

In 2011, 47 percent of the members of Congress were millionaires.

That doesn’t line up, really, with the median net worth of the American people, which is $77,000. That’s $923,000 shy of 1 million, last time I checked.

So, here we are. Another politician (allegedly) goes for the gold in a sleazy manner, and we watch. It ratifies our now-common view of politicians, which is too bad.
I met a man the other night who sits on a county board of supervisors in our region.
He wasn’t slick, he showed up at a small event in a small place, and, as far I can tell, he was doing what these folks are supposed to be doing: serving.

Not self-serving.

http://www.sacbee.com/2013/10/31/5870759/sen-...
Theolona Ranger

Los Angeles, CA

#314 Nov 8, 2013
http://financialservices.house.gov/media/file...

complete link for testimony posted by Montebello Historian

Make the Gerri Guzman tie to Calderon and Pay day Loans
Montebello Historian

San Gabriel, CA

#315 Nov 9, 2013
"“I would suggest that Assemblywoman Garcia would best serve her constituents by reviewing her notes from her 8th grade civics class,” he stated."

Talk about condescension. Well Ron I paid attention and I learned that our government consists of three branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial.

In the Judiciary (which interprets the law), he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

But in the Legislature (which makes the laws), of which he is a member, he is guilty until the judiciary proves his innocence.

An honest and ethical man would recuse himself until his innocence is proven. If he refuses, he will continue to taint not only his voting but also the character of his fellow legislators.
Knight Owl

Los Angeles, CA

#316 Nov 9, 2013
Montebello Historian pays attention

Calderon is connected to the Central Basin Water district.

So is Jack Hadjinian who also was flown to Sacramento to testify.
Same M.O.
and Jack falsely left the impression that he represented the City...
so are Gil Cedillo and Gil Cedillo, jr.
So are the Vasquezs
Tom Calderon was a "consultant" while appointed to the Montebello Planning Commission.

The Calderon Scandal is coming to many places in Montebello.

Montebello Historian writes
"But in the Legislature (which makes the laws), of which he is a member, he is guilty until the judiciary proves his innocence.

An honest and ethical man would recuse himself until his innocence is proven. If he refuses, he will continue to taint not only his voting but also the character of his fellow legislators. "

Great ethics point Historian
Have you read up on the Nevada Ethics Commission Case?
It establishes Ethics as "common law" and greatly expands those who would cause a conflict, specifically: campaign managers
Theolona Ranger

Los Angeles, CA

#317 Nov 10, 2013
Catch up news for the record
Oct 31
http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-...

FBI looking at Calif. lawmaker's water legislation

http://news.yahoo.com/fbi-looking-calif-lawma...
Theolona Ranger

Los Angeles, CA

#318 Nov 10, 2013
FBI started asking about Calif. lawmaker years ago

Associated Press / June 6, 2013

http://www.boston.com/business/news/2013/06/0...

hree people who have spoken multiple times with the FBI told The Associated Press on Thursday that agents initially were interested in virtually anything involving the brothers but more recently narrowed their questions to issues surrounding the Central Basin Municipal Water District, which paid Tom $11,000 per month as a consultant.

Agents also wanted to know about Ron’s involvement in legislation affecting the district.
World Traveller

La Puente, CA

#319 Nov 10, 2013
Knight Owl wrote:
Montebello Historian pays attention
Calderon is connected to the Central Basin Water district.
So is Jack Hadjinian who also was flown to Sacramento to testify.
Same M.O.
and Jack falsely left the impression that he represented the City...
so are Gil Cedillo and Gil Cedillo, jr.
So are the Vasquezs
Tom Calderon was a "consultant" while appointed to the Montebello Planning Commission.
The Calderon Scandal is coming to many places in Montebello.
Montebello Historian writes
"But in the Legislature (which makes the laws), of which he is a member, he is guilty until the judiciary proves his innocence.
An honest and ethical man would recuse himself until his innocence is proven. If he refuses, he will continue to taint not only his voting but also the character of his fellow legislators. "
Great ethics point Historian
Have you read up on the Nevada Ethics Commission Case?
It establishes Ethics as "common law" and greatly expands those who would cause a conflict, specifically: campaign managers
Where does the info about Jack being flown anywhere by Central Basin come from?

Here is the link for Jack's SB 1336 support.

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/...
World Traveller

La Puente, CA

#320 Nov 10, 2013
Jack is mentioned on page 3.
Knight Owl

Los Angeles, CA

#322 Nov 12, 2013
In March of this year, Calderon combined family business with a junket, the affidavit and his campaign reports show.
A second undercover agent, supposedly working with the phony film studio executive, wanted to meet Calderon on March 21 in Miami.

Ron and his brother Tom Calderon showed up, and the talk turned to hiring Tom as a consultant to push a film tax credit bill.
The agent asked whether that was absolutely necessary.
No, Ron said, but hiring his brother would help push the legislation through more quickly.

The following day, Ron headed off to Cuba, a trip paid for by his various donors, according to his campaign finance filing.
The cost:$3,500 for four days, plus $2,487 for air fare on a Virgin America flight, and $169 for an upgrade.

Apparently upon his return, Ron and the agent met again in Miami. According to the affidavit, Calderon asked that the agent make a payment of $10,000 to a Calderon-controlled nonprofit, Californians for Diversity.
As they headed to the airport, the agent gave Ron an envelope with $3,000 in cash, supposedly for Ron’s daughter.

Politicians have a First Amendment right to raise money to run their campaigns. They don’t have a right to take cash in exchange for carrying out their duties. Money may be speech. But lately, it hasn’t been speaking well of our democracy.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/02/5873456/dan-...
Knight Owl

Los Angeles, CA

#323 Nov 12, 2013
Senate leader Darrell Steinberg discusses Ron Calderon situation
Daily Breeze>Political Corruption Posted: 11/11/13
http://www.dailybreeze.com/government-and-pol...

LOS ANGELES >> The Democratic head of the state Senate said his proposal to remove state Senator Ron Calderon from high-profile committees will protect the public.

State Sen. Darryl Steinberg, D-Sacramento, has called for the State Senate Rules Committee to meet today on whether or not to temporarily remove Calderon, D-Montebello, from his committee appointments.

Calderon sits on the senate’s Insurance, Banking and Financial Institutions, Governmental Organization committees and its select committee on Procurement.

“You err on the side of protecting the public,” Steinberg told KNBC’s “News Conference” program on Sunday morning.

“These allegations are serious enough to raise a cloud.

I don’t want any interaction (Calderon) might have with advocates, the public or my colleagues over legislation to be clouded.”

The removal of the chairmanship also could cost Calderon campaign contributions, said Doug Heller, former executive director for Consumer Watchdog.

“It is the classic juice committee.

It’s because the key interest group, the insurance industry, is a heavily political industry and a big financial contributor to politicians,” Heller said.

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