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Friday, May 13, 2022

Bequeathing Elected Office

 Term limits were supposed to bring fresh blood into California politics.

They have not worked out that way. 

Ben Christopher at CalMatters reports on what happened after Assemblyman Tom Daly announced his retirement: " But hours later, the second punch landed: Daly’s district director Avelino Valencia, an Anaheim City Council member, entered the race with the backing of his boss. A new presumptive frontrunner had entered the race, fresh from the “pipeline.”

[This] year’s bumper crop of vacancies in both the Assembly and Senate means there are an unusual number of departing legislators doing their best to bequeath their seats to chosen successors. It’s a trend that highlights just how small and insular the Legislature can be.

Where such behavior can cross an ethical line is when a lawmaker effectively “denies other candidates a fair shot…by essentially gaming the system,” said John Pelissero, a senior scholar with Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

Just to name a few more examples from this year: 
  • Democratic state Sen. Bob Hertzberg is termed out of his seat in the San Fernando Valley. As he runs to be a Los Angeles County supervisor, he’s throwing his considerable political weight behind Daniel Hertzberg. Connection: That last name is no coincidence. The two are father and son.
  • In late January, Democrat Autumn Burke departed the Assembly early to take a job with a lobbying firm. The next day, she endorsed Robert Pullen-Miles for her Inglewood seat. Connection: Pullen-Miles is Burke’s former district director.
  • Democratic U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier announced her retirement last November. A few weeks later she backed San Mateo Assemblymember Kevin Mullin to take her spot. Connection: He served as her district director, and Mullin’s father was a close political ally of Speier’s.