We’ve long believed the state unemployment appeals board was a retirement community for termed-out state legislators friendly to past governors or the high-level Capitol friends who do the appointing.
The membership reads as such. Former Imperial Valley-area Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, who was long buddies with former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, landed on the board when she termed out, along with landing $128,000 a year for 16 meetings.
Termed-out state Sen. Denise Moreno Ducheny, who represented Imperial County, also was appointed to it, by the Senate Rules Committee. She has an extensive history in the Capitol and has made lots of friends quick to return favors.
Say what you want about each, but the board is a remnant of California’s bustling past, when times were booming and state officials could arguably afford to give a bump to their friends.
That time is no more. The board is easy money for those fortunate enough to make the exclusive club. It was slated for elimination in Gov. Jerry Brown’s initial budget. But it was saved, for what reason we don’t know. There were probably more than a few aging legislators casting an eye to their post-policymaking careers who couldn’t bear to see it eliminated.
But that it has now become a target of state Sen. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, is questionable and, we think, disingenuous knowing Vargas’ reputation for mudslinging and running campaigns in which you would not want to be caught wearing white (read: dirty).
Vargas, who represents Imperial County, is running for U.S. Rep. Bob Filner’s House of Representatives seat since Filner is running for San Diego mayor.
Moreno Ducheny, who said Tuesday that she resigned from the unemployment appeals board two weeks ago, is considering a run for Filner’s seat as well, although she has not officially announced.
Vargas, in a press statement regarding the appeals board, had some choice things to say about the membership, tacky statements about it being a board for drunken drivers. Moreno Ducheny was one of those convicted drunken drivers he was referring to.
We’re sure you can see where we’re going with this, because Vargas already went there. Predictably and despicably.
He has, we think unsuccessfully, tried to obscure what it is he is doing. Vargas wants you to believe he’s looking to balance the budget and eliminate unnecessary spending. In reality, all evidence points to Vargas taking shots at Ducheny in the congressional race, an unrelated issue.
Vargas is attacking an easy issue with the appeals board. The public isn’t going to fight to retain it; the politicos are. But it leaves him a direct opening to attack his political rivals through subterfuge.
Eliminate the board for the right reasons, not Vargas’.
THE ISSUE: Vargas is proposing the end to the unemployment appeals board.
WHAT WE SAY: It does need to be done, but he’s obscuring an easy issue to attack his opponents.
WHAT DO YOU SAY? Send us your thoughts on this topic to www.ivpressonline.com/letterstotheeditor
Eliminate state unemployment appeals board for right reasons
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
Los Angeles Times welcomes civil dialogue about our stories; you must register with the site to participate. We filter comments for language and adherence to our Terms of Service, but not for factual accuracy. By commenting, you agree to these legal terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.
Having technical problems? Check here for guidance.