No paid vacation for state Sen. Rod Wright, and 5 must-read headlines

No paid vacation for state Sen. Rod Wright, and 5 must-read headlines
State Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) on his first day in the Senate after his conviction for perjury. (AP)

A month after he was convicted of voter fraud and perjury, state Sen. Roderick Wright requested and was granted Tuesday a paid leave of absence until he is sentenced on May 16 or granted an appeal. It's about time Wright made an exit from the Legislature – he is, after all, a convicted felon. But a paid leave of absence? The only reason Wright still has a job is because his Senate colleagues decided to go easy on him and wait until the judge affirms his conviction and decides the sentence.

State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has taken a very difference stance with state Sen. Ronald Calderon, who was indicted last week on federal bribery and fraud charges. Calderon was a given a week to resign or take a leave of absence, or the Senate would expel him. The Los Angeles Times Editorial Page has called this inconsistency troubling.


Calderon may choose to follow Wright's lead and take a paid leave of absence too. So Californians will be paying the full salary of two senators, who are essentially on vacation – one a convicted felon and the other charged with pushing legislation for bribes.

Steinberg's office told Patrick McGreevy that the state constitution does not give the Senate power to withhold pay from a senator. This is the perfect time to amend the Constitution or the Legislature's rules to allow unpaid leave of absence for members convicted or charged with felonies. I'll bet legislators would find strong public support for such a change.


Pot initiatives fading for 2014, Capitol Weekly

The field of marijuana initiatives for California's November ballot has been cut in half in less than two weeks, leaving proponents of the two remaining measures in a narrower race for money and momentum while other drug advocates say the next presidential election in 2016 offers a greater chance for success.

Sheriff Lee Baca fancied himself a visionary. His No. 2, Paul Tanaka, considered himself a force to be reckoned with. Together they allowed one of the nation's most powerful law enforcement agencies to drift into a morass of scandal that compelled both to retire. How did things get so bad?

Do CA electeds really believe pot is healthier than e-cigarettes? Cal

E-cigarettes that are far healthier than the normal kind remain under siege in California. Why? Cigarettes just aren't OK with the cool kids running the Golden State — unless we're talking about marijuana cigarettes. How odd.

First step toward fracking ban in L.A. taken by land use panel, Los Angeles Times

A Los Angeles City Council committee took a first step Tuesday toward banning hydraulic fracturing and other disputed practices tied to oil extraction, winning cheers and applause from a packed auditorium.

Two L.A. River Recreational Zones a Possibility This Summer, KCET

This summer, Angelenos might get a double treat. There are plans underway to open both the Glendale Narrows and the Sepulveda section of the Los Angeles River for recreation.



Follow Kerry Cavanaugh on Twitter @kerrycavan and Google+