Sunday, March 30, 2014

The California Democrats' Culture of Corruption

Democrats tagged the Republicans with a War on Corruption in 2006. Congressmen Bob Ney of Ohio and Randy “Duke” Cunningham of San Diego, House Majority Leader Tom Delay and Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska were under criminal prosecution or had pled guilty while Congressman Mark Foley of Florida was sending illicit emails to minor boys. Corruption though is a non-partisan, bipartisan activity. Adultery, corruption, and other defalcations in office are equal opportunity scandals, except that corruption is more common with majority parties since they possess power. As Lord Acton said: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” California is a one party state, so blue that the Democrats controlled a supermajority in both houses of the legislature until a few weeks ago. Senator Leland Yee (D. San Francisco/San Mateo) was arrested and indicted in a FBI sting last Wednesday on 7 counts of seeking political favors and a gun trafficking scheme. His arrest was a surprise and shock. He was an avid gun control legislator and preached transparency in government. Senator Yee unsuccessfully ran for Mayor of San Francisco in 2011. His unsuccessful campaign is still $70,000 in debt, which he is trying to work off. One of the allegations associates him with a Chinatown gangster, Raymond "Baby Shrimp" Chow. Senator Yee is one an FBI tape saying: "I'm just trying to run for Secretary of State. I hope I don't get indicted." He is no longer running for SEcretary of State. I left San Francisco in 1970 and am now shocked to read that San Francisco is one of the cities known for “pay to play,” which is better associated with some cities and states elsewhere in the country and state. Senator Ron Calderon’s (D Montebello) indictment on February 21 was not a total surprise. The FBI raided his offices last June. He is from a long established political family in a section of Los Angeles not known for political integrity. One of the charges was interesting. Instead of directly taking a bribe for himself, the bribe was shunted to his brother Tom, a former Assemblyman and a political consultant, in exchange for the Senator running political favors. The Senator was hit with 24 counts of bribery, wire fraud, money laundering, and filing false tax returns. The FBI has him on tape. Senator Roderick Wright (D. Inglewood) was convicted on January 28 on eight counts of perjury and voter fraud in lying about his legal residence. He claimed to be a resident of the Inglewood district he represented, but his actual residence was outside the district in Baldwin Hills. The 40 member state Senate voted 28-1 on Friday to suspend the three Senators. The last Senate expulsion was 1905. The one no vote was from Republican Joel Anderson of Alpine, who wanted them expelled. Apparently under the California Constitution the Senators will continue to receive their annual salary of $95,291 until they leave office. The current makeup of the California Senate is 28 Democrats and 11 Republicans with one vacancy. The Democrats now lack the 2/3 supermajority needed to pass tax increases or a constitutional amendment. California Democrats swept the 2012 elections, riding President Obama’s coattails. They gained four Congressional seats, won all eight statewide positions, and reaped a supermajority in both the State assembly and Senate. California became a one party state at the state level. Sadly, the three state Senate scandals, which may not be the last, probably will not revive the sinking California Republican Party. The changing demographics in the state, coupled with the 2010 Gerrymandering, pose too large an obstacle for Republicans in California.

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