If This Isn’t Corruption, It’ll Suffice Until a Better Definition Arrives

Dear Joe–

Of course I got your letter of February 18. Anne and the Mongol Horde, as you call them, all say hello. Love to Catherine and the Tribe. Paris is nice this time of year–you all should come visit.

Sounds like you poked quite a hornets’ nest with that story of yours about the sitting state assemblyman on 100% disability. Nowadays people fall all over themselves to show they “support our troops,” and that of course includes veterans. Not like when we were kids. That said, I had no idea the VA approved of such a thing as this sustained disability. You would think it implied in its title that disability prevented one from working, and it would follow that this fellow’s 100% disability rating can’t quite be right. Maybe it is. I don’t know.

But that’s neither here or there. We’ve had this discussion before, about how shabbily returning servicemen were treated when we were kids during Viet Nam, and we have agreed how those of them who were wounded deserved, if they needed it, a lifetime compensation. So I think maybe you’re hung up on semantics here. If what veterans were receiving was called compensation instead of disability, I’d bet you a ten spot you wouldn’t bat an eye.

Just a little bit, maybe, you’ve swiftboated this guy.

Because I think you’ve missed the point. Let’s accept at face value that the assemblyman’s disability is 100%. Let’s say he earned it and it’s well deserved. Let’s say he’s a hero and it reflects decently on our country that we’re doing well by him. Let’s even congratulate the assemblyman for his seat and commend him for being productive in society. I’m sure this is how the VA would paint it. It’s perfectly legitimate.

The question you should be asking is not where the assemblyman gets his compensation, but from whom he gets donations and what he does in return for the money.

After reading your coverage I’ve done some research on my own. I’m guessing this is exactly what you’d ask of your readers.

By far the worst thing, to my mind, is the hospital flap going on down there. We’re talking a huge bond, and it beggars belief that construction has yet to be completed. What has it been–ten or twelve years? Your assemblyman should have been aware of this long before taking office. It should have been a top priority of his to help put this right, right from the time he got to Sacramento. Right? My understanding is that, as a sitting assemblyman, he has the authority to ask the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to investigate.

From the JLAC: The Joint Legislative Audit Committee is statutorily charged with ascertaining facts, and making reports and recommendations to the Legislature concerning the State, its agencies, departments and political subdivisions of the State. Independently and through the State Auditor, the JLAC investigates, studies, analyzes and assesses the financial practices and the performance of existing governmental and/or publicly created entities in California – in order to assist those entities in fulfilling the purpose for which they were created by the Legislature. In carrying out these duties, the JLAC reviews requests for audits from any of the 120 members of the Legislature, approves those requests that are a good use of the resources of the State Auditor and will provide important and relevant information to the Legislature and the people of California, and establishes priorities among the requests received and approved for audit.

But we both know he didn’t make any request for an audit because the new manager of the hospital is a major donor. His biggest donor. It’s right there on the assemblyman’s Form 460.

And he’s quoted as saying he owes this doctor a favor!

What puts this well beyond the pale, as you know, is that the assemblyman was asked for an audit request by a member of the hospital’s Bond Oversight Committee–and the assemblyman refused! So the committee member has now reached out to two other state assemblymen, both Democrats, for help. Outrageous! That can’t have gone down well in such a Republican county–to say nothing of how it makes your county look to other assemblymen.

If this isn’t corruption, it’ll suffice until a better definition arrives.

Well, Joe–I wish you luck. I guess all you can do is report on this assemblyman and hope it provokes some thought in your readers.

You’ll have an answer sometime later this year, after the elections.


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