California is experiencing a watershed moment.
Women all over the state are standing up to sexual harassment that plagues the work place.
It started with women publicly speaking about the sexual misconduct of producer Harvey Weinstein. As Hollywood took a hard look at their treatment of women over the last 75 years, women in Sacramento were saying, “me too.”
Hundreds of Sacramento lobbyists, lawmakers and staffers signed a letter demanding an end to the mistreatment of women in politics. The protest and letter has evolved into a “We Said Enough” campaign.
And how has Tulare County responded to this historic moment?
By being home to the very first politician accused of sexual assault since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke.
On October 19 a story circulated online that Assemblyman Devon Mathis committed sexual assault on one of his young female staffers in April of 2016 after a night of heavy partying.
Of course he is innocent until proven guilty and there is speculation over whether the accusations are true.
Joseph Turner, who broke the story in his blog American Children First, is an ultra conservative determined to unseat the eight Republican legislators, including Mr. Mathis, who voted for the cap and trade bill. He calls them the “Cap and Traitors.”
In addition, former staff has said Mr. Mathis did not display this kind of behavior when they worked for him.
Why hasn’t Mr. Mathis given his side of the story?
Police can’t discuss cases under investigation, but the subjects of those investigations can talk to whomever they want — whenever they want.
Did He Do It?
It almost does not matter.
For the first few months of Mr. Mathis’ tenure in 2015 it was smooth sailing as he deftly recruited Democrat, Republican and Tea Party support.
Yet, in the ensuing years, he has managed to alienate all of them and generate some pretty negative press. Some highlights include Mr. Mathis’ receiving thousands of dollars from Health Care Conglomerate Association (HCCA) and then doing nothing to save the Tulare hospital from HCCA’s mismanagement.
Ironically, Mr. Mathis’ biggest defender concerning the hospital has been Tulare Mayor Carlton Jones, another recipient of HCCA money. Mr. Jones also did nothing to save the hospital, saying that it wasn’t any concern of the city’s.
Mr. Mathis allegedly bragged about saving Southern Inyo’s hospital with one phone call. He allegedly called HCCA CEO Dr. Benny Benzeevi, which resulted in HCCA’s taking over soon after. Twenty months later, Southern Inyo hospital is suing HCCA to get out of its contract.
Others stories include: the leaked email instructing staff to make appointments for Mr. Mathis only with donors when possible. Mr. Mathis’ funneling campaign donations to Chief of Staff Sean Doherty’s consulting company and hiring his and Mr. Doherty’s relatives. Mr. Mathis’ receiving a Fair Political Practices Commission warning because he neglected to disclose his one and only asset on his campaign finance form.
Most revealing is Mr. Mathis’ lack of loyalty toward his staff and their lack of loyalty towards hm. In three years, his small office has lost or fired 9 or 10 staffers.
The final straw with his Republican base was when Mr. Mathis told his constituents that he would not vote for Cap and Trade or the cell phone tower legislation–then turned around and voted for both bills.
A Drinking Problem
So the point isn’t whether Mr. Mathis committed a sexual assault. The point is his record in Sacramento and his personal life decisions that put him in the position of being accused in the first place.
And his personal life is a bit of a mess.
He is a twice married father of five young children and two step children. I admire anyone who has a big family, but what is a married father of seven doing out carousing late at night and allegedly getting stoned?
Why is Tulare County’s representative bombed on a Wednesday night?
There are rumors from a Sacramento insider that Mr. Mathis’ drinking starts in the afternoon at the restaurant patio across from the capitol.
Staffers allegedly try to water his drinks down or throw them away when he is not looking.
According to another blog, The Right On Daily, written by Aaron F Park, “What I know of Devon Mathis’ situation is that he liked to go out drinking with his staff, a lot. When I have personally seen Mathis at CA GOP Conventions, he has been intoxicated. ……. why the hell was an Assembly member drinking with his staff? Why was Devon Mathis regularly seen at the house of Justin Turner near Sacramento State? Why did I hear about this pattern from a ton of people?”
According to divorce court documents from his first wife, Amber,
“In December of 2011 the Petitioner (Devon Mathis) and I were living in Fresno. We had enrolled our son in school together in Fresno. When the Petitioner’s attitude began to break down, his partying escalated, he was drunk around the children, he refused to watch the children when I was working, and he even tried to rape me. It was obvious that I could no longer live with him.”
Amber and their children moved to Porterville.
An Anger Management Problem
According to divorce records Amber said, “Over the past several years there have been 4 reports to the CPS (Child Protective Service) against the Petitioner (Mr. Mathis) regarding abuse to the children.”
The CPS was called over allegations of Mr. Mathis abusing his children after losing his temper, such as throwing things at them or knocking them over. He has also allegedly used harsh corporal punishment since his oldest was only two months old. In another alleged incident he spanked his middle child so hard that he left bruises over his buttocks.
Amber filed a police report when she saw the bruises on her son and the case was handed over to the Tulare County DA’s office.
On another occasion, the police were called to Mr. Mathis’ home when he was living in Porterville. Mr. Mathis allegedly left his oldest son, who has autism, outside in the front yard alone. The boy was found about two miles away on the highway.
According to his neighbors and court records, the Mathises lost custody of his second wife’s oldest son because Mr. Mathis abused him.
Amber stated, “It is obvious Mr. Mathis has a serious problem with anger and cannot control his temper with our children. There is also an order protecting his current wife’s son from Mr. Mathis with a no contact order.”
The son in question now lives with his father in a county north of Sacramento.
Rigging the System
What really frosts my cake is that it appears he used the National Guard in 2008 to his financial advantage.
In March of 2008 according to Amber, “I told Devon that if he wanted our marriage to work out that he should not sign another six-year contract. Devon ignored my request and signed the contract. He told me that if they did try to deploy him, he would file for a hardship.”
In Mr. Mathis declaration to the court he confirmed her statement.
“I had decided not to go active duty because of how hard all this had been on our relationship, but Amber and I did decide for me to sign another six-year contract with the National Guard reserves. This way I could still build up retirement rather than throwing away the past seven years of career I had with the National Guard. We planned to file for a hardship if ever they wanted to have me deploy again so I would not have to go.”
I’m no expert on the army, but is a reservist supposed to sign a six-year contract with the National Guard when that person has no intention of serving if deployed?
Mr. Mathis signed the contract with the Army National Guard in March of 2008.
Amber was diagnosed as bi-polar in November of 2007, which was going to be used as the reason for his family’s “hardship.”
Did Mr. Mathis disclose her condition to the National Guard or keep it in his back pocket as a “get-out-of service-free” card?
Mr. Mathis wrapped himself in the American flag and built his entire campaign platform around his status as a veteran.
Though he claims to the contrary, he has accomplished precious little in Sacramento and had to use his veteran status again to be elected in 2016.
Losing His Assembly Seat is the Least of Mr. Mathis’ Problems
A lawyer pointed out that we are missing the big picture.
“The least of his problems is losing an election. Mr. Mathis might be going to jail.” He also may have to register as a sexual offender after he gets out of prison.
On October 20 Sacramento police opened an investigation into the following:
According to Turner’s blog, “At some point ‘Victim A’ gets very sick and the other female takes her to a guest bedroom to rest. She subsequently passes out.
“Later, Assemblyman Mathis excuses himself to use the restroom. The inordinate length of his absence prompts the female to check in on him. Unable to locate him she proceeds to then check in on the ‘Victim A’ whereby she discovers Mathis digitally penetrating her while she was unconscious.”
According to Penal Code 289, “Any person who commits an act of sexual penetration when the victim is prevented from resisting by any intoxicating or anesthetic substance, or any controlled substance, and this condition was known, or reasonably should have been known by the accused, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a period of three, six, or eight years.”
What Say You, Tulare County?
Mr. Mathis’ motus operandi is to conduct a smear campaign against anyone who reports negatively on him.
The Valley Voice has reported on Mr. Mathis’ forums, town halls and major press conferences.
But when we print something critical he calls on a handful of relatives and loyal followers to fill the comment section using fake names to make his supporters to seem more legion than they really are.
Even former Chief of Staff Sean Doherty joined in the comment section using false names to criticize the paper.
But this is bigger than an incumbent who isn’t going to win the next election, or even make it through the primary.
This is about an incumbent who needs to know when it is time to step aside.
He is an embarrassment to the entire Republican Party.
Aaron Park said in his blog, “Mathis? Everyone knows he is dead on his feet – when will Republican Leadership break the news to him that he needs to pack it in?”
I’ll be curious to see what Mr. Mathis’ supporters have to say now.
Maybe instead it’s time that the people of the 26th Assembly District to have their say –
14 thoughts on “Political Fix (2 November, 2017)”
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When I made my personal opinion on whether or not to vote for Mathis it was more on a gut instinct…..his seemingly lack of political character; too easily swayed, not informed of obvious facts on matters, and riding the high wave with little to no interest in doing the actual hard work of his position. If his personal life was in such an upheaval I do not know for the life of me how this guy won any election but then again this is Tulare County country and voters have a way of taking pride in NOT VOTING! I did have to laugh when the writer said that he (Mathis) is an embarrassment to the entire Republican Party…..seems to me that he fits in perfectly as their motto is “as long as they are Republican no matter what he or she gets my vote”. As for “Joseph Turner, who broke the story in his blog American Children First, is an ultra conservative determined to unseat the eight Republican legislators, including Mr. Mathis…………..” I automatically distrust anything this extremist dirt digger says or does. I’ll let the court be the last word in their pathetic games of seeking out and destroying anyone who doesn’t politically toe their line in rhetoric or deeds.
Character assassination – Wikipedia
Character assassination. … Character assassination is an attempt to tarnish a person’s reputation. It may involve exaggeration, misleading half-truths, or manipulation of facts to present an untrue picture of the targeted person. It is a form of defamation and can be a form of ad hominem argument.
General · Narcissism · In politics · In a totalitarian regime
Courtesy of the haters from the past 2 elections and some new friends. You and I both know who you are and I couldn’t be more disappointed.
As a long time reader of this paper, I have followed the articles written about our assemblyman and his antics.
The Valley Voice has covered Mathis since day one of his running for office. They treated him better than any other paper in the county. God knows the VTD didn’t give him the time of day when he was a candidate that was likely to lose.
They treated him well after he got elected. They covered the birth of his twins. They covered his election victory and talked about it as the miracle that it was. Unlike the Fresno Bee which didn’t even think to discuss what happened with the Mathis campaign even though they had done something nobody thought was possible.
They covered his efforts to reach across the aisle when he attended the opening of the Democrat HQ, much to the chagrin of the Tulare County Republican establishment, we can all be sure. Yet they covered it for what it was. Something the other papers did not do.
Overall Mathis was treated very well up until, it seems, some new management took over in his office. Management which prioritized him waging a quixotic fight over the vaccine bill from summer of 2015 (SB277 I think) which he ‘led the charge against’ instead of fighting for water like he promised us. But then it seems that some stupidity started developing from Mathis’ office. He had a flagship bill in 2015 (AB954) which would have helped bring water to the residents of Tulare County who had seen their wells run dry. But instead of making that his priority, it was discovered that he was more interested in making a bid for leadership of the Republican caucus in Sacramento. I think Catherine Doe called it “taking his eye off of the ball”. Sure he got criticized. He deserved it. He promised to fight for water for us and it was discovered that he was busy fighting for his own self aggrandizement.
Let’s see. What else has been covered? Perhaps we should talk about his wife defrauding Wounded Warriors and collecting a monthly care taker stipend when she wasn’t performing those duties 4/7 days a week. The Valley Voice covered that and Mathis’ sycophants blindly defended him again in the comments section.
Maybe we should talk about the email that clearly was received by Mr. Mathis and his wife, directing the paid legislative staff to prioritize donors for meetings with Mathis. I’ll give you a hint. That is Chicago pay to play politics right there and it is a crime.
Let’s talk about him refusing to ask for an audit of the hospital board because he ostensibly owed its chairman (a major donor to the Mathis campaign) a favor. Flagrant corruption. And where are we now with that hospital. Oh yeah, we can all read that tragic story in the news. But Mathis sycophants were there to defend him again in the comments.
Oh I think my favorite one was when his, then Chief of Staff (Sean Doherty), got caught trying to submit ‘anonymous comments’ on articles critical of Mathis to steer the public discussion in a different direction. Honestly, how amateur could he be?
I wonder, how many other goodies can I find besides the big one that is on everyone’s mind right now? The FACT that Mathis is currently being investigated for sexually assaulting a woman in Sacramento. A woman that, according to the articles so far written, was passed out drunk. We could talk about the fact that the Voice looked into Mathis’ past and found that this isn’t the first time a woman has made a claim like this against him (hint, his ex wife did in their divorce papers as covered in this very article). I wonder how many more cases like this there are? Generally, predators tend to repeat offend so, like Harvey Weinstein, I would bet we see more women coming out about him in time.
Then there is the revelation in this article that he signed a contract with the Army that he had no intention to carry out? I am not lawyer but I would be willing to be that he definitely committed premeditated fraud. I wonder when the Army will get around to reading this and recouping the money they paid him?
Then there is his voting record, he promises that he will vote against cap and trade and then votes to extend it. He promises that he will vote against the telecom bill and then votes in its favor. I can’t imagine why the people who supported him, who endorsed him, who donated to him, who picked him in 2014 and again in 2016 would be pissed off that he basically just lies right to their faces after promising that he will always do what his district asks him to do.
But hey, keep blindly defending him. It’s like you’re clearly either a family member of his or some close friend who will join him in obscurity if he goes down for all his crimes. He’s only been caught:
-Breaking Fair Political Practice Commission regulations (see the article about his rental house income, or even more interestingly how his wife treated their tenant when they willfully broke the lease and forced her out).
-Presided over an illegal operation where only donors got to set up meetings with Mathis,
-Protected a major donor from an audit that was deftly needed to possibly save the hospital (conveniently that donor was the chairman of said hospital board),
-Defrauded the Army by signing a contract to be available to deploy but fully intending to file for a family hardship separation should they have asked him to do so (hint, illegal).
-Being a sexual predator both in Sacramento and here at home in Tulare County with his ex wife.
-Having his former Chief of Staff bully the Valley Voice because they had the nerve to be critical of Mathis (seems more people should be critical of him).
-Lied to his constituents on numerous occasions. Cap and Trade and Telecom bill for example.
There are numerous other issues the Valley Voice has covered while the VTD hasn’t had the cajones to talk about a man that has proven to be one of the most vile and corrupt leaders that has ever come out of Tulare County. It’s time that this fake individual step down from his position and let someone who will not cover the office in scandal after scandal, take over.
Personally, I will be supporting Gubler for Assembly, just like Mike Boudreaux and Senator Vidak are doing. It’s time for us to have real leadership and real representation. Not this pathetic shell of a man who hasn’t accomplished a single thing he promised us in 2014.
Pretty good comment…..too bad you added that last paragraph ……you turned into a public relations commentator for Gubler.
The facts about Mathis are what I listed above. A vote for a snail is a vote for a more qualified candidate at this point. LOL
I’m sorry but people who don’t use their real names (or hide behind false monikers) opinions don’t impress me. You have such a great opinion yet you hide. How can anyone trust what you say to be true when you are hiding behind a falsehood.
Would using his name change the truth? Can you please point to something he said that wasn’t spot on? He is a long time reader, what else is relevant?
Yes, it would lend credibility to the article. Your paper did call Doherty out when he used a moniker. But of course you didn’t like him, then.
This sentence ‘a man that has proven to be one of the most vile and corrupt leaders that has ever come out of Tulare County. It’s time that this fake individual ‘, is just ridiculous. He is having all of his dirty laundry aired for the public to see by his fellow ‘good republicans’. He is neither corrupt nor vile. Those are just opinions and insinuations and until he is proven guilty of misdeeds by a Court of Law and not of opinion, I will continue to support him. So beat me up as you do people with different opinions than your own, it doesn’t matter. I know what is going on here. I know all about the efforts being made to remove him from office, I know who is behind it, and when it began.
Word of warning to Gubler (whom I knew as a child and have no hard feelings towards) You get what you ask for. You were not their first choice or even 2nd choice of candidates to run against him, you are just the one they picked who will be easy to bend. Don’t get too cozy, and plan on a lot of time away from your family. Personally I hope Mathis does bow out of this one. Politics is a shit hole and the people are fake.
I have on occasion posted opinions that one could consider to be a different view point than Catherine’s. I have never read any comments coming from her that were derogatory in nature or mean in spirit. I do not recognize the person that you described. Based on the caliber of her writings and in her responses that I have read, I would say that you are way off base in your description of her.
We called out Doherty because he lied and made intentional grammatical mistakes to hide his identity. I could not pick him out of a crowd and neither like nor dislike Doherty now or then.
The Valley Voice readers would like to hear who you think is behind removing Mr. Mathis from office and when it began. Personally, I started my research on Mr Mathis when he lied about throwing his hat in the ring for the Republican Assembly leadership and then his communications director stood me up for a meeting. From what I have researched about his personal life and concerning how he votes, Mr. Mathis’ possible removal from office will be self inflicted.And if he does bow out, who is going to hire him for the kind of money he makes in Sacramento?
You think someone else is at fault? Do you think Mr. Gubler was recruited to run against Mr. Mathis? I’d like to hear who you believe these people are. My information is Mr. Gubler got mad at the job being done and decided to try and do it himself.
It would sure be nice if we could find a political candidate who wasn’t there for him or herself first, but that might just be an impossible task. I will say that in the one town meeting I attended, I was very disappointed with the way he seemed tio talk down to his audience. I happen to believe that our choices for the upcoming election are poor at best. But if even half of what this story says about Mr. Mathes is true, then he has no place in the public arena.
BTW, the police investigation was closed according to the Fresno Bee.
Leave Mathis alone! I’m a democrat and don’t know if he is a saint but It’s funny how these people are quick to condem him but they love Trump who has endorsed a US Senate candidate whose character has been question with hitting on 14 year olds and Trump has demeaned: women, minorities, and war hero’s like John MCcain who has cancer? And, why on earth would anybody vote for a Visalia councilman when Visalia is full: of gangs, drugs & thieves. You can blame Sacramento but there sure has not been a strong sheriff like Joe Arpio who I strongly disagree with but think he ran his jails right!
PS When Sheriff Butch Coley ran for re-election I wrote things in the paper supporting him but they would never publish it in the Times-Delta. They kicked him out after 4yrs and what did Whittman do so great? Now, the “establishment” wants Gubler and is against Mathis. Look how Visalia and Tulare co is today with crime & gangs. I say give Mathis another chance. Don’t let the media & big shots tell you who to vote for.