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October 30
1984 - NTSB revises probable cause of 1982 "Twilight Zone" deaths after director John Landis appeals [story]
John Landis

You Know I'm Right | Commentary by Betty Arenson
| Friday, Mar 7, 2014

bettyarensonLast week I wrote about the dismal atmosphere of politicians, specifically California state Sens. Roderick D. Wright (D-Inglewood) and Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), and the political process in general.

For a quick review, Wright was convicted by a Los Angeles jury Jan. 29 on eight felony counts of various forms of fraud, and Calderon has recently been indicted on 24 felony counts including bribery, money laundering and facilitating “a $500-million healthcare fraud scheme.” His scheme’s partner in crime, Michael Drobot, has agreed to work with prosecutors to convict Calderon.

Last month, the L.A. Daily News reported one portion of the numerous charges as “authorities described as the largest medical fraud case in California history.”

In truth, the aforementioned 32 crimes aren’t the only ones; the more outrageous ones are the crimes continuing to be perpetrated on the public, i.e., the taxpayers. Sadly, while many, including me, see them as the most egregious, they are actually “legal.”

I am speaking of the fact that these two politicians were given the option, and have been allowed, to take a “leave of absence” to ponder their defenses. Oh yes, and each of them will still be paid his $95,291 annual salary. Reportedly they will not receive their $163 (daily) per-diem allowance. Unbelievably, that item was actually a consideration.

The Sacramento Bee reported March 5 that Wright’s situation is “a first,” because others before him have always received per-diem dollars. Logic is out the window; why would a worker, who cannot come to work, be paid for expenses that are specific to costs incurred for coming to work? Did you get all of that?

As for receiving their salaries, the Los Angeles Times reported: “The state Constitution prevents the Senate from withholding pay from a senator on leave of absence or suspended.”

Yes, the politicians have set themselves up nicely. Imagine that little item coming up on a ballot for Californians to vote on.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, is calling the shots. He allowed Wright to function at his “job” for a month after his convictions. Yes, a convicted felon who was present on the state Senate floor to discuss and vote on the laws the rest of us must live under.

Steinberg is fearful of losing the Senate’s supermajority of Democrats. His excuse for the handling – or mishandling, as the case may be – of Wright is that Wright is to be sentenced for his crimes on May 16, and at that time Wright could be granted some wondrous outcome. Wright plans to ask the judge to overturn the jury verdicts.

Wright’s own words for his defense are nearly laughable. He asserts he hasn’t done anything others before him haven’t done, and that it isn’t like he took a bribe or anything. Wow, that would be really serious.

Too bad we have to way until May 16. Without doubt, there will be more dog-and-pony show as of May 17.

As for Calderon, the reports are predictably conflicting with respect to Steinberg’s position.

The first reports were that Steinberg wanted Calderon to resign even though the scenario is at the indictment stage, versus conviction. Days later, it was reported that Steinberg gave Calderon the option of the paid leave. Only politicians would call that a “choice.”

Irrespective of being caught red-handed in an FBI sting in one set of crimes and a cohort turning on him in another, Calderon has pleaded not guilty and is running free on a penny-ante $50,000 bond.

In summary, here are the things that are definite: The leaves of absences are wholly sanctioned; the leaves are vacations; the benefits or perks will continue and accrue indefinitely; the time off is fully paid by you and me; and the job titles and positions are solidly protected.

That leaves one question. Who’s paying for the lawyers?


Betty Arenson has lived in the SCV since 1968 and describes herself as a conservative who’s concerned about progressives’ politics and their impacts on the country, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She says she is unashamed to own a gun or a Bible, couldn’t care less about the color of the president’s skin, and demands that he uphold his oath to protect and follow the Constitution of the United States in its entirety. Her commentary publishes Fridays.


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