State Senator Ron Calderon's Montebello office is still open for business, with district director Claudia Cruz handling constituent concerns like missing unemployment checks or late tax refund, while the senators spokesman explains Calderon's decision to take a leave of absence while he fights corruption charges.
Calderon spokesman Mario Beltran says it means he will not be in Sacramento carrying legislation or voting but other than that doesn't have any other impact because both of his offices will be open .
Calderon, who represents some 900,000 people in communities like Montebello, Commerce, and Pico Rivera, and his brother Tom, a former assemblyman , have both pled not guilty to federal corruption charges. The allegations are basically that they took bribes to influence legislation.
Calderon is the second state senator to take a leave within a week. Inglewood's Rod Wright is gone, after being convicted of voter fraud. But this is more than a problem for those two men; it means the Democrats no longer have what's called a "supermajority" in the state senate
That means Governor Jerry Brown's likely agenda needs Republican support to pass such key issues as creation of a rainy day fund to cushion future economic troubles, a possible new tax on oil and restrictions on the way politicians raise campaign funds.
However, Republican consultant Mike Madrid says nothing was certain even before the loss of the two senators. Madrid says "Two-thirds of the legislature is very significant , I don't want to underplay that, but the power that comes with that is very measured, it hasn't been used at all, and probably won't be. "
Even if there's a crucial issue, a close vote, they 've apparently agreed . They still have to sit it out. They can't take a leave from their leave, so to speak. Calderon and Wright will still be on the taxpayers' payroll: Some $ 95,000 a year, the highest in the country for a state legislator.