In a column ostensibly lambasting local district attorneys around the state for failing to prosecute legislators who live outside the districts they represent, Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee lives up to his paper’s penchant for looking out for Democrats.
In his column, Walters mentions two Democrats who have been targeted with prosecution and one prominent Republican who has not.
Walters hangs his column on the idea that only in Los Angeles have prosecutors targeted the legislators, writing, “A big exception has been the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, which has successfully prosecuted nine politicians, both local and legislative, for violating the residency law. The most recent is former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, but the best known is state Sen. Rod Wright, who’s awaiting sentencing after conviction on charges of lying about his ‘domicile,’ as the law puts it.” Both Alarcon and Wright are Democrats.
When a writer from Northern California praises Los Angeles, there’s got to be a hidden motive, and there is: read a little farther in the column and you see whom Walters wants to skewer: “Republican Congressman Tom McClintock, for instance, represents a Sierra foothill district but lives in a Sacramento suburb – the same place in which he lived while representing Southern California districts in the Legislature.”
Of course, McClintock is the only current representative that Walters mentions.
McClintock is not the only GOP member Walters has in his crosshairs, but he has to hearken back to 1984 for the next one.
And there are those who say – Wright made this argument – that a law passed by the Legislature in 1984 to protect its members from prosecution and signed by then-Gov. George Deukmejian makes the practice legal by declaring, “The domicile of a member of the Legislature… shall be conclusively presumed to be at the residence address indicated on that person’s currently filed affidavit of registration.”
Walters concludes, “Given the prosecutions of Alarcon, Wright, and others in Los Angeles, a failure to either apply the law uniformly or change it will add even more fuel to the public’s already jaundiced view of those who hold public office.”
McClintock has now been warned.