Former state Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) was given a “stern admonishment” in 2010 by the Senate Rules Committee for repeatedly using coarse and vulgar language that offended a female staffer, according to a newly released letter from Darrell Steinberg, then leader of the Senate.
Wright said Friday that spoken-word poetry got him in trouble.
The Senate paid $120,000 in 2010 to settle a claim by Fahizah Alim, who alleged she was sexually harassed by Wright in 2010. At the time, The Times reported that Alim’s attorney, John Poswall, said Wright’s actions included inappropriate comments to Alim “over some period leading up to her ultimately leaving that office.”
Two years ago, state Sen. Ted Gaines (R-Rocklin) asked his chief of staff to resign after hearing that the man had been accused of sexual harassment, but later put the aide on the payroll of his political campaign.
Steve Davey left Gaines’ legislative staff in 2015 after a complaint was made that a female subordinate felt uncomfortable with his treatment of her, which included unwanted physical contact, according to documents released Friday by the Senate. The complaint filed said that on two occasions, Davey put his arm around the staff member when they were at public events. Davey also yelled at her in front of others, according to the complaint.
Gaines issued a statement Friday that said he took the accusations seriously when he heard about them in December 2015 from personnel officials.
State Sen. Tony Mendoza has been under investigation for allegations of sexual harassment, but new documents released Friday show he was warned in 2010 by a personnel manager that his habit of hugging staff members “comes with peril,” and he should stop.
Mendoza is currently under investigation for inappropriate behavior with three former staffers, including former aide Haley Myers, who complained in 2010 about the same behavior described in the documents released Friday. The name of the complainant is redacted from the documents, which were part of a decade’s worth of complaints involving the Legislature.
Mendoza was a member of the Assembly when the staffer told Assembly Compliance Officer Lynda Roper that she felt “uncomfortable about Mendoza’s behavior” around her, including “flirtatious” text messages, hugging and one-on-one dinners. She said she feared for her job if she refused the invitations.
Three months after a state Senate staffer was terminated over allegations of sexual harassment, he was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to a top position in the state Department of Veterans Affairs, according to state records released Friday.
Brown officials said the governor did not know about the accusations against Eric Worthen when the governor appointed him in September 2011 as assistant deputy secretary for administrative affairs at the California Department of Veterans Affairs.
Documents released Friday by the Senate show that Worthen had been previously accused of harassment while he worked as a legislative director for former state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco). Worthen was terminated from his job in July 2011 after a Senate investigation.
Allen, a state assemblyman from Huntington Beach, was accused of repeated physical contact that made a staff member “uncomfortable” in early 2013. The woman alleged that Allen made it “a practice of being unnecessarily close to her,” such as touching her foot with his underneath a table during a meeting and approaching her from behind in a cafeteria and squeezing her shoulders, according to the documents.
Jon Waldie, then chief administrator to the Assembly, responded to the complaint by telling Allen to be “very conscious of his conduct,” according to the documents. Allen responded by saying he could not recall being “too familiar” with any staff members, but did recall two women being overly friendly with him outside of work.
Sexual harassment investigations by the Calfornia Legislature cost taxpayers $294,271 from early 2006 through the end of last year, according to a document provided Friday to the Los Angeles Times.
Most of the money was spent by the Assembly in 2017 in the wake of intense scrutiny of misconduct under the state Capitol dome. The document marks the first time legislative officials have revealed the cost of outside investigators in examining claims against lawmakers, staff members and others.
Of the total amount, almost $144,000 was spent by the Assembly last year to investigate eight allegations. The Senate, which reported hiring no outside help on investigations from 2006 to 2016, spent slightly more than $47,000 last year in examining seven allegations.
Eighteen alleged cases of sexual harassment, ranging from sharing of pornographic photos to a staff member accused of grabbing a woman’s buttocks and genitals, were publicly disclosed by the California Legislature on Friday, detailed through investigation records that had been shielded in some cases for more than a decade.
California’s Republican members of Congress are opening their wallets to help a financially strapped campaign to qualify an initiative that would repeal the state’s recent increases in gas taxes and vehicle fees.
If the effort works, it might drive a November turnout among voters who favor repealing the tax hikes — at a time when Republicans need a boost.
314 Action says it's raised about $2 million so far through its PAC and nonprofit. They plan to spend a good chunk of it in Southern California, where they have also endorsed @DocTran2018 and @drhanskeirstead in CA39/CA48. (Note periodic table-looking endorsements list) pic.twitter.com/PB21ZjLcTi
There are four California Democrats whom Republicans are attempting to unseat in the midterms, and a year-end checkup of their finances shows they seem to be doing just fine.
Rep. Scott Peters of San Diego and Rep. Raul Ruiz of Palm Desert led their nearest challengers in cash on hand by seven figures. Peters raised $361,218 in the last quarter of 2017 and had $2.2 million in the bank. His closest competitor, Michael Allman, loaned himself $300,000 and still had only $267,419 in cash on hand.
Ruiz put the most distance between himself and his challengers, raising $493,951 last quarter and amassing a total of nearly $2.1 million. Kimberlin Brown Pelzer, a soap opera actress and avocado farmer, raised a respectable $175,832 in her first quarter as a candidate, but that left her with just $146,663 in cash on hand.