California Democrats will have a 24-hour “sexual assault and harassment” hotline at this weekend’s party convention in San Diego as some top Democrats in the state have had to resign or come under fire because of allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment.
The party’s convention website reads:
Sexual Assault & Harassment Hotline We have worked with national survivor advocates to establish a 24-hour hotline during the three days of the Convention where Delegates have a safe and confidential way to report an assault or threatening behavior against themselves or others. Information about the Sexual Assault & Harassment Hotline will be provided to Delegates when they register, and will be posted throughout the Convention.
Additional Security Following current best practices, we are stepping up the level of visible security at our Convention this year. We are taking this step for several reasons. First, we want to ensure adequate personnel to respond to any reports we get from Delegates or from the Sexual Assault & Harassment Hotline. We also want to ensure that there are plenty of trained professionals who can de-escalate potential problems before they turn into situations that threaten your safety. Lastly, in the unlikely event of a natural disaster or other major incident, we want to make certain everyone in the Convention Center is safe and secure.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “questions have been raised about the freewheeling — and at times risky — behavior at state party conventions” in California Democratic circles.
On Thursday, just a day before the convention, Democrat Tony Mendoza, a state senator from Artesia, resigned after he faced expulsion over sexual harassment allegations. As Breitbart News has noted, Mendoza reportedly “made an unwanted advance toward a 19-year-old intern and gave her alcohol in a hotel suite at a 2008 Democratic Party convention.” An independent investigation released this week found that Mendoza also “more likely than not” engaged in inappropriate behavior “toward six of his female colleagues, including four subordinates.”
Democrat Raul Bocanegra, who used to be an Assemblyman from Arleta, resigned last month after the Los Angeles Times reported that six women accused him of inappropriate behavior.
Democrat Matt Dababneh, who used be an Assemblyman from Encino and Woodland Hills, also resigned last month after “multiple women accused him of misconduct.”
Dabahneh was a longtime adviser to Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), who has also come under fire for creating a “toxic work environment” for his female employees. Eight former employees told McClatchy that no junior employee would have felt comfortable reporting sexual misconduct in his office.
“Congressman Sherman showed zero interest in the personal well-being of his staffers and there’s no reason to believe he would have cared or taken any action if a complaint was made,” a former staffer told the outlet.
Democrat Cristina Garcia, as Assemblywoman from Bell Gardens and a #MeToo leader who was even featured in Time magazine, has come under for fire for allegedly sexually harassing a male staffer, reportedly sleeping with fellow lawmakers to extract information from them, and allegedly dismissing other staffers who questioned her behavior.
In Orange County, Erik Taylor, a former county party chair, recently resigned as a campaign manager to a congressional candidate after allegations of impropriety were made against him, according to the Times.
Gubernatorial candidates like former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Treasurer John Chiang, and Delaine Eastin are expected to speak along with Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA). Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, impeachment activist Tom Steyer, and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) are also slated to address the convention.