LA WATCHDOG--As a result of an expose in the Los Angeles Times that disclosed numerous incidents of groping and sexual harassment, State Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) announced that he will not seek reelection and that he will resign from the California State Assembly on September 1, the end of the legislative session.
According to Bocanegra, “the most prudent decision to avoid another costly special election in Los Angeles and [to] ensure our community is not left without any representation in the State Assembly would be for me to resign at the end of the legislative session.”
But there is more to this delayed resignation than just Raul Bocanegra.
Underlying Bocanegra’s nine month delay is that the Democratic leadership in Sacramento is willing to sell its soul to ensure a supermajority in the State Assembly.
As for the cost of a special election, the complicit Democratic leadership does not want a special election as it will be a distraction and a waste of time and valuable campaign contributions. They want to wait until the regular November election cycle.
Bocanegra should be held accountable for his actions, not only by resigning yesterday, but paying for all of the government’s costs of a special election.
If Bocanegra and his supporters are unable to reimburse the government in full, then the Sacramento based leadership of the Democratic Party should be held accountable for any shortfall. They have enabled Bocanegra and the frat boy, alcohol fueled culture in Sacramento by ignoring the obvious lecherous behavior of Bocanegra, State Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), and other elected officials and the powerful members of their staffs.
If there is any doubt about the shenanigans in the Sacramento, all you need to do is ask the more than 200 women who signed a letter denouncing the culture of rampant sexual misconduct in our state capitol.
In addition to playing deaf and dumb, the leadership, primarily State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), the head of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a candidate for Insurance Commissioner, actively scuttled efforts over the last four years of Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) to have the California Whistleblowers Protection Act apply to the legislature and its staff. And no doubt Lara was supported by Senator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), the powerful head of the State Senate and a candidate for the United States Senate seat that is now held by Diane Feinstein.
As a first step, Raul Bocanegra must heed the call of the Women’s Caucus and many others throughout his district and State to resign immediately. He will need a little encouragement from the leaders of the Democratic Party who want to avoid further controversy and embarrassment. If not, the Assembly should vote to expel him without delay and hold him accountable for the cost of the special election.
The Legislature must pass an amendment to the California Whistleblowers Protection Act that covers the Legislature and all of its staff, including “at will” employees and those who are not members of an union. At the same time, the Legislature must also amend the California Public Records Act so that it also applies to the Legislature.
Enablers Ricardo Lara and Kevin de Leon should reconsider running for statewide office as their abysmal record on sexual harassment makes the “P” in Progressive stand for PIG.
The Legislature should also encourage the many other silent victims of sexual harassment to come forward with their stories to an independent party under conditions of strict confidentiality.
Finally, ask yourself, would you want your daughter or sister to work in Sacramento?
Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and is the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. He is a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.)