Alleged sexual harasser Democrat Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra announced his resignation from the Legislature Monday. But does anyone really think anything will change inside the predatory state Capitol?
Let me make one thing very clear: Raul Bocanegra will not suffer. He will not be jobless and on unemployment. He will not have to reinvent himself. He will not take a blue collar job. What will the Quid Pro Quo be? He has already been promised a soft landing, in a safe six-figure labor union job, or on one of California’s worthless commissions. Sen. Tony Mendoza will also not suffer any real fate. Democrats will circle the wagons, protect their elected members in exchange for future favors, and guarantee soft landings.
The sexual harassment hearing Tuesday in the Assembly Rules Committee was interesting and even enlightening. I must commend Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon for allowing the hearing to take place, and the Rules Subcommittee Sexual Harassment Prevention: Current Policies and Protections and Recommendations for Change committee members for the thorough hearing they held. They clearly were in a no-BS mood, despite being fed some drivel by some Rules HR-type staff. Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, committee Chair, even acknowledged that they may need to “take the policing out of the hands of the Assembly,” in the future. “There is a built-in incentive to protect members of your caucus,” she concluded.
As I pointed out Monday, “With every Congressional session, lawmakers violate Federalist #57: “they can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society. This has always been deemed one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together.”
The practice of Congress and the California State Legislature exempting itself from the laws it writes emerged as Congress began to ignore fiscal policy and adopt wild social policies.
As James Madison’s 1788 article, the 57th of 85 articles favoring ratification of the Constitution, Federalist #57 states, “It creates between them that communion of interests and sympathy of sentiments, of which few governments have furnished examples; but without which every government degenerates into tyranny.”
And what have we today: One set of rules and laws and restrictions and edicts for the commoners, and another set for the political elite.
Keep in mind, California State Sexual Harassment law states if the harassment is by a supervisor, the employer will be on the hook under strict liability. If the harassment is by a co-worker, however, the employer will only be on the hook if a supervisor knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take immediate and appropriate corrective action.
My Own Tale
I worked for only 10 months in the California Senate in 2014 for a wonderful, kind member, now-retired Senator Mark Wyland. As such, I participated in the Senate’s mandatory Sexual Harassment training. Putting it mildly, it was a joke, but not a funny one.
I was also a Human Resources Director for 20 years in a large manufacturing company with hundreds of employees. I know what earnest sexual harassment training is, and delivered it to my own managers and staff with the idea of preventing sexual harassment — unlike the trite drivel presented by the Senate. The most distasteful aspect of the Senate presentation is the presenter made a mockery of his job presenting the information. They could have found a more believable presenter – that is, if Senate leaders (and outspoken Senate feminists) actually cared.
My path to HR was not my first choice.
I was a young college intern in the mid-1980’s at a lobbying association, and then managed to convince them to hire me. I thought it was my dream job. However, what I saw and experienced, not by my colleagues, but by others in the lobbying community, politicians, and industry members, was unbelievable and eye-opening: Groping was the least of it. Grabbin, pinching (and bruising), deliberate touches, filthy propositions, shocking comments, forced hugs/kisses/lingering creepy handshakes… and the open drug use (it was the 1980’s).
It wasn’t long before I learned to rarely go anywhere near or around the Capitol unescorted, if at all possible.
This was during the era of then-Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, who could be see about town flanked by blonds in expensive leather pants. It was a weird time.
To add perspective, a few of the Assembly members at the time were Stan Statham, Eric Seastrand, and Tom McClintock on the Republican side of the aisle, and Gary Condit, Rusty Areias, Alister McAllistar, and Sam Farr on the Democrat side, to provide perspective.
On the Senate side, Democrats Hershel Rosenthal, Diane Watson, Paul Carpenter, John Garamendi and the notorious Art Torres (whose Internet history appears to have been scrubbed) held office, and on the Republican side we had Sen. H.L. Richardson, and Senators Marian Bergeson, Ken Maddy and Bill Campbell.
It was the days of big big big lobbyist Clay Jackson who was eventually convicted of bribing a complicit Democrat Sen. Alan Robbins — and sent to prison for it. Dem state Senators Paul Carpenter and Joseph Montoya also went to prison in the mid-1990’s along with Robbins for the same racketeering case.
I handled my aggressors, dodged and fought off others (usually drunk/stoned/drugged or wimpy). And then I quit my job and left the Capitol life for nearly 25 years. Other young women were not so fortunate.
The Scarlet Letter of Politics
The liberal godless society we live in today has led to this explosion of sexual harassment and abuse claims, and there will be more. And when liberals are in charge of the Capitol, it even worse – like a giant preschool.
The hearing today identified:
- sexual harassment victims inside the Capitol fear retaliation;
- have a fear of more harassment;
- have fear and history of careers and jobs being destroyed.
The other bombshell is that the Assembly does not keep a listing of abusers/harasser lawmakers, AND there are current sexual harassment/abuse allegations of standing Assembly members. This is deliberate, and a direct violation of sexual harassment laws.
When presenting reform policies in Tuesday’s hearing, one of the women speakers pointed out the overuse of exemptions in the California Public Records Act by the Legislature. I can attest to this as a journalist who has filed requests to acquire documents through the California PRA. She also identified that the ping-ponging of these cases back and forth between the two houses only happens because there is not one office that investigates and conducts the interviews on these claim. An independent, non-partisan Human Resource office sorely needs to be created.
False Choices, No Ethical Standards
The Legislature, which continues to righteously impose sexual harassment laws on the private sector, is that they also continue to exempt themselves from their own rules, and cherry pick which ones to follow. Additionally, complaints aren’t allowed to be properly filed or handled in a way that leaves a public trail or traceable record. Women who have filed complaints said that Assembly puts nothing in writing, particularly if the transgression involves a member of the Legislature.
The solution is really very simple as long as honesty is maintained: Everyone is subjected to the laws passed – Lawmakers, the political elite, and the masses – just as Federalist #57 says. In it, author James Madison advocates the election of “men who possess most wisdom to discern, and … pursue, the common good of the society.”
When observing the elected representatives at the state Capitol, it is difficult to find “men (or women) who possess most wisdom to discern, and … pursue, the common good of the society,” save for a few “representatives have an obligation to stand by their words.”
Federalist #57 was titled, “The Alleged Tendency of the New Plan to Elevate the Few at the Expense of the Many Considered in Connection with Representation.”
It also addressed those representatives who “sense a mark of honor and gratitude feel at least the tiniest affection to these constituents.” We need to bring back and honor these American political values.