Friday, August 22, 2014
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 tdelias@aol.com.

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

Green Valley water users appeal court ruling

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
Chapkis Dance brings award-winning moves to Vacaville

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

 
Ducks on the pond, sturgeon in the water

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

Jazz invasion Aug. 30 at performing arts center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Salsa star Domingo Quinones headlines Festival de la Isla

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
How I spent my summer vacation

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Small fire takes place at Solano College

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Internet cafe measure goes before state Senate

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Housing specialist to speak before Senior Rountable

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Brown approves ‘dining with dogs’ law

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Aunt of toddler killed pleads not guilty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
San Francisco to tally bird-into-window death toll

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

GPS devices find huge water loss in western US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Cops greet students at school where plot thwarted

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

California plans aid to immigrant minors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
California to appeal ruling tossing death penalty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Stunt blocks traffic on Golden Gate Bridge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Bodies of 2 men found in adjacent California yards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Assembly approves greater disclosure for campaigns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
No bail for woman in Amish girls’ kidnapping in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Lawyer: Utah restaurant had other chemical burn

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Ice bucket challenge goes awry, firefighters hurt

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Marathon bombing suspect’s friend pleads guilty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
US judge strikes down Florida gay marriage ban

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Gov. Nixon taking National Guard out of Ferguson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
American Ebola doc: ‘I am thrilled to be alive’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Syria opposition: Deadly chemical attack forgotten

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Russian aid convoy advances toward Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Israel kills 3 Hamas military commanders in Gaza

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Turkey’s Davutoglu named new premier

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Thai army ruler named prime minister

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Indonesian court rejects election loser’s appeal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Liberia gives food in slum sealed to stop Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Foley case lays bare debate over paying ransom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Pentagon: Islamic State militants will regroup

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Record drought saps California honey production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

.

Opinion

Are America’s police over-militarized and under-accountable?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

 
Young men helped me, and I thank them

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

Get it straight in Ferguson

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
Editorial Cartoon: Aug. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Today in History: Aug. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Aug. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My whole house shakes when my new neighbors drop their barbells

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Aug. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Aug. 22-28, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
The voice-overs can’t save ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B2

Review: A sweet Moretz rescues ‘If I Stay’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Emmy hopefuls play the angles to nab trophies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Seth Meyers prizes his new role as Emmycast host

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar Aug. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

Julianne Hough dances back to ‘Dancing’ as judge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Jon Hamm hopes Ferguson will come out stronger

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Fade to black: Leonard Maltin ending movie guides

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
‘Doctor Who’ returns with a new season on BBC America

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B6

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

 
Local boxers make weight and are ready to fight

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Serena Williams to face Townsend in Open 1st round

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Loose sod at new Levi’s Stadium removed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Raiders’ Woodson returning to Lambeau, faces Pack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Phelps back in international comp, advances in 100

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Tigers’ Price throws 1-hitter, loses to Rays 1-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Philly loses to Chicago in LLWS

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Ryu sets course record at Canadian Women’s Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
McIlroy stumbles to 74, worst start in 2 months

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Cal interim AD Williams jumps into new role

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Teams test out a new helmet, but does it work?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

Goalkeeper Tim Howard taking break from US team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Signups for Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

.

Business

Big 2015 Chevy Tahoe remains a rare breed of SUV

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

 
Applications for US unemployment aid fall to 298K

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

United lures top fliers with promise of a hot meal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

 
Family Dollar rejects Dollar General offer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

S&P 500 closes at a record; Hewlett-Packard gains

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Ford recalling more than 160,000 vehicles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Bank of America settlement likely to benefit few

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
US housing recovery appears to be back on track

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Airline group forecasts uptick in Labor Day travel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Richard Ray Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Mary Louise Loveall

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

George ‘Wayne’ Hause

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Sharon Ilene Boyd

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Dilbert

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

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

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

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9