Walters: California Capitol harassment cases not handled consistently nor as per Prop. 50 rules

Four years ago, the state Senate was thrown into turmoil by the simultaneous prosecution of three senators on unrelated felony charges.

The Senate compelled all three to step aside from their Senate duties, but could not legally strip them of their salaries and fringe benefits while they awaited disposition of their cases, which eventually resulted in convictions.

In effect, therefore, they received long paid vacations, which didn’t sit well with the voting public, so legislative leaders decided, quite understandably, that they needed some formal
procedures for future scandals.

The result was Proposition 50, a constitutional amendment that voters approved in the June, 2016, primary election. It empowered legislative houses, by two-thirds votes, to suspend, without pay, members who either face criminal charges or are deemed to have breached the public trust.

The Legislature has once again been thrown into turmoil, this time by multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

Two Assembly members have resigned, a state senator has been suspended – with pay – and, most recently, an Assemblywoman voluntarily suspended herself without pay when she was also accused of sexual harassment.

The latter case is a true bombshell because it involves Cristina Garcia, a Bell Gardens Democrat who has been one of the leaders of the #MeToo movement seeking an end to pervasive harassment in and around the Capitol.

Additionally, there are more than a dozen other pending investigations of harassment allegations.

Once again, however, the Legislature is handling each case on an ad hoc basis, rather than via the formal procedures in Proposition 50.

The Tony Mendoza case is particularly troubling.

Mendoza, a Democratic senator from Artesia, is accused not only of sexually harassing staffers but firing those who complained.

In early January, a formal measure to oust him was in the air, but after a four-hour, closed-door meeting of Democratic senators, it was announced that he would take a one-mo
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Source:: The Mercury News

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