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California assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, a high-profile player with the #MeToo movement, is now facing allegations of sexual misconduct conduct. Two men charge that Garcia groped them, in one case after making an explicit sexual proposition. Another says he was fired after declining to play “spin the bottle” with Garcia. She has taken unpaid leave while investigators look into the charges. Over in the Senate, Tony Mendoza resigned from office as a vote to expel him was being prepared, so perhaps Mendoza and Garcia could commiserate with each other. For taxpayers, this is more than a matter of prurient interest.
As we noted, in the last three fiscal years, the state of California has paid out more than $25 million to settle sexual harassment claims against state agencies. The biggest payout was $1.7 million to Tyann Sorrell of UC Berkeley School of Law for sexual harassment at the hands of former dean Sujit Choudhry. The dean and his fellow abusers should have paid the settlements out of their own pockets and nothing is likely to change until state law makes legislators and government employees take responsibility for their own actions. Meanwhile, the anniversary of perhaps the worst case of abuse in state history recently passed without notice.
In late February, 2017, the senate held a memorial for New Left radical and former state senator Tom Hayden. Senator Janet Nguyen, a refugee from the Stalinist regime Hayden championed, attempted to speak out but senate Democrats demanded that she be silent, shut down her microphone, physically removed her from the Senate floor, and even cut off the video feed for the California Channel. Contrary to the sexual abuse cases, nobody suffered any penalty for smacking down Janet Nguyen. Longtime capitol observer Dan Walters was not surprised that governor Jerry Brown kept quiet about the case. As governor in 1975, Brown opposed the settlement of Vietnamese refugees in California and “he even tried to block refugee flights into Travis Air Force Base.”