Friday, January 30, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Senators prefer money over trust

elias column sig

By
From page A8 | June 28, 2014 |

There was a clear message when the state Senate in mid-June first rejected a ban on legislators taking campaign contributions during the last 100 days of each lawmaking session, and then partially reversed itself to finally pass a watered-down version covering a much shorter time period.

That message: “We would rather have money than trust.”

The flurry of Senate action came just over two months after it refused to expel three senators who had been either indicted or convicted for perjury or selling their votes and services. Instead, the senators were suspended, leaving millions of citizens without full representation and no hope of getting it soon.

The Senate’s initial rejection, strikingly, came on the very day that two members of the state Assembly paid fines for taking illegally high contributions.

Is it any wonder that a springtime national poll showed California among just seven states where the majority of citizens don’t trust either state or local government to act honestly?

Had the Senate passed the last-100-day contribution ban, it would have been a major start toward restoring trust, as far from perfection as a three-month ban would nevertheless be. That’s because there can never be a ban or a limit on promises lobbyists might make during any time span about future contributions or favors.

But even after it took a week of heat over its initial move, where it adopted a fig leaf consisting of a one-year, one-month, end-of-session ban on members soliciting or accepting contributions, the Senate wasn’t willing even to go to 100 days. Instead, after 100-day sponsor Sen. Alex Padilla wrangled a batch of Republican votes, the Democrat-dominated upper house passed a bill forbidding all legislators from soliciting or accepting contributions from lobbyists and their clients from Aug. 1 until each legislative session’s scheduled end on Aug. 31.

A similar ban will cover the month prior to passage of each year’s budget. The initial Senate-only resolution also applied during this summer’s budget negotiations, but since it passed just days before a budget agreement came, the add-on didn’t mean much. The virtually meaningless initial resolution was a sop to Padilla, the Democratic nominee for secretary of state.

Perhaps the most telling thing about all the Senate action was that its resolution – a measure of what majority Democrats really want – doesn’t apply to any Assembly members and thus leaves out two-thirds of all legislators. There’s also the fact it was a resolution, not a law.

So it wouldn’t be binding beyond this year. Next year, with the pressure presumably off from the indictments and convictions of Democratic Sens. Rod Wright, Ron Calderon and Leland Yee, who knew whether senators would bother to renew it? The later passage of a real bill, a potential law, means the new ban, while shorter than the 100 days Padilla wanted, would apply in all years and to all legislators – if the Assembly passes it, too.

But all this is still much ado about very little. It’s possible for lobbyists to make promises during a 100-day period and it’s even easier for them to do that during a mere month-long hiatus, which makes all the Senate actions far too lenient.

This didn’t stop big talk from key senators. Said the Senate’s newly elected president-to-be, Democrat Kevin De Leon of Los Angeles immediately after the initial resolution passed, the rule intended to “ensure that members of the Senate are focused exclusively on legislative business at these crucial times in the legislative calendar.”

Yeah, right. These good folks are certain to forget about fundraising just because they can’t actually accept checks for a few days. Back in early spring, some of Sacramento’s most prolific fundraisers said even Padilla’s desired 100-day ban would accomplish little. “It’s just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic,” said Dan Weitzman, who gathers funds for Democrats. What passed would be weaker.

All of which means the Senate actions amount to little more than a public relations ploy, intended to convince skeptical voters their legislative senators really are trustworthy. Good luck with that.

Thomas Elias is a California author. Reach him at [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Teens earn right to perform with symphony

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
From classical to Queen: Chamber Players are ready

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Photographer has a passion for color

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Solano summit focuses on ways to end poverty

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Fraud among challenges immigrants face, Fairfield panelists say

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Cadets learn skills for future careers

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
‘Souper Bowl’ coming to Solano County

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4

 
Sports aircraft company CEO recalls effort to locate in Solano

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
SolTrans announces changes to bus routes

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Fairfield police log: Jan. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 2 Comments

 
Suisun City police log: Jan. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

California’s snow survey shows far less snow than last month

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Protestors shun sister-city relationship

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

City event criticized for Mexican mafia connection

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
State to move more than 2,000 inmates

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Boy Scouts reaches settlement in sex abuse case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Tech advances lower chance that driver will die in car crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
‘Anonymized’ credit card data not so anonymous, study shows

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Poll shows giant gap between what public, scientists think

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Fort Hood gunman Hasan says he wants to keep top lawyer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Attorney General nominee wins GOP endorsements

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Police: Family killed man over child custody dispute

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Killer says his ideas influenced family suicide

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
NASA astronaut memorial stirs memories for shuttle veteran

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Simultaneous attacks in Egypt’s Sinai kill 26

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Indonesian investigators: Crashed AirAsia flown by co-pilot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Gas blast at Mexico children’s hospital, at least 2 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Families plead for lives of IS hostages as swap hopes fade

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Deadly San Francisco blaze spurs look at fire alarms

By T. Burt McNaughton | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: Jan. 30, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
 
 
.

Living

Today in History: Jan. 30, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My cousin’s 14-year-old son sleeps in the same bed as his grandma

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Jan. 30, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Jan. 30 through Feb. 5, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Review: A tired gimmick weakens thriller ‘Project Almanac’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

‘The Thorn Birds’ author Colleen McCullough dies at age 77

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Hilary Duff, George Lopez help in search for stolen dog

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Justin Bieber apologizes for bad behavior in online video

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Musician Geezer Butler arrested in Death Valley altercation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Lil Wayne sues mentor’s record label for $51M, seeking split

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jim Parsons to play God in Broadway’s ‘An Act of God’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande to pay tribute to Stevie Wonder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
 
Bernie Mac widow drops malpractice lawsuit against doctor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Entertainment Calendar: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Desert stars: Celebs converge on Phoenix for Super Bowl 49

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Marshawn Lynch talks about why he doesn’t talk to the media

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Vanden boys pull away from feisty Fairfield 86-66

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B7

 
Serena aims for 19th major in Aussie final vs. Sharapova

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Gronkowski and Chancellor make for must-see Super Bowl matchup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
This date in sports history for Jan. 30, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Signups for Friday, Jan. 30, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

 
.

Business

Chevrolet polishes its mid-size truck

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Prospect of Chinese cars in US still remain years away

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Senate passes Keystone XL bill, battles loom

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
McDonald’s under siege as new CEO steps in

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Obama seeks spending spike for defense, domestic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment

 
Who wants a bite of Hershey…jerky?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Anthony Neal Hunley

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Joseph Phillip Raiff

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

Frank Z. Perez

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Dzhon Athanc

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Gloria Elizabeth Neal

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9