Senators in trouble

Everyone is innocent until proven otherwise. However, there are jobs, like that of senator, in which the perception of corruption is enough to make someone unfit to do work that requires the public’s trust. That is why Ron Calderón must step aside.

The Democratic senator from Montebello is still in his job, and does not seem willing to leave it. This after he was charged with 24 federal counts, stating that he accepted money from a hospital executive in return for promoting favorable laws and from an FBI agent posing as a film producer seeking state tax credits for filming. Calderón chaired the Banking and Finance Committee when he was in the Assembly and is the former chair of the Senate Insurance Committee.

The federal indictment is very serious. It questions the senator’s honesty in carrying out his public office—the same position that he should resign from because of the federal charges. The most honorable choice would be to resign; otherwise, he must be removed from the Senate.

Likewise, Democratic State Senator Rod Wright of Los Angeles, who was convicted of perjury and election fraud, remained in the Senate as if nothing had happened, with the blessing of Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg. It was only yesterday that Wright took a leave of absence while waiting for the appeal in his case.

The cases involving Calderón and Wright are different. The former stands accused of corruption, while the latter was found guilty of perjury because he said that he lived in the district he represented, which was not true. Wright deceived his constituents and should have never been at the Capitol representing that district.

The legislature’s reputation in general is not good. With every day that Calderón remains in office, the Senate shows tolerance beyond belief.