Just as the 2018 legislative session was winding down last week, California lawmakers sent Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would allow them to live outside the districts in which they were elected and ostensibly represent.
What’s next? Mayors who don’t have to live in the cities in which they were elected? City council members who do not have to live in their council districts?
More than ever, lawmakers should be required to live in the cesspool districts in which they were elected in order to be inspired to facilitate change.
It was only a few years ago when Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood, was convicted of perjury and voter fraud for lying about his legal residence in Los Angeles County. Today his Democrat predecessor in the same Los Angeles District 35, Sen. Steven Bradford, is the author of the outrageous Senate Bill 1250.
Los Angeles District 35 may not be a lovely district, but the people who live there deserve representation, and they need to know that their representative lives near them, in order to understand the issues – unlike the shameless Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters who does not live in her crime-drug-laden district which overlaps Bradford’s large district. The Los Angeles Times violent crime map tells the story in color.
Bradford’s district includes the Los Angeles County communities of Carson, Compton, West Compton, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox, West Carson, Watts, Willowbrook, and Wilmington, as well as the Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro and Harbor City are with the Port, and the 110 Freeway.
When you look at the two maps above, it’s easy to see that Bradford’s (and Waters’) district has many heavy crime areas… which is apparently why they don’t want to live there, but have no problem campaigning in this district on promises which are never delivered.
“My community is a community that’s often been used as a dumping ground, as a wasteland,” Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, said, SacBee.com reported. “When colleagues don’t reside in their district, we forget the problems we have to face.”
“We legislate on experience,“ she added. “We can’t make it easier to skirt the law.”
Bradford isn’t alone. In 2014, then-Assemblyman Richard Pan was taken to task by Senate opponent Assemblyman Roger Dickinson for taking taxpayer money to cover his living expenses at a second home when Pan ran for an Assembly seat on the south side of Sacramento while maintaining his family house in Natomas, sacbee.com reported. Pan shamelessly took $28,000 in 2012 and $24,000 in 2013 in taxpayer-funded per diem money, claiming he needed to take the per diem because he had to pay for two residences – one in the district and one outside of the district. The Bee found this true, although this happened following redistricting, leaving Pan outside of his district, and why he bought the condo and took per diem to pay for it.
“Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, D-Marina del Rey, said that the bill is a way for her to continue serving in the Legislature while keeping her daughter close to her,” sacbee.com reported. Burke’s district overlaps with Bradford’s. “Burke, who is the single mother to a four-year-old daughter, flies each Thursday with her daughter back to their home in Marina del Rey to spend the weekend.” Boo Hoo.
As one sacbee.com reader commented, “If someone doesn’t want to represent his/her own neighbors, then someone else belongs in the office. Don’t we already have enough laws creating/ supporting the feudal ruling class?”
Look again at the Los Angeles Times Violent Crime Map of Los Angeles. All of the most violent neighborhoods in LA County are just to the east of Inglewood… which is in Sen. Bradford’s, Assemblywoman Burke’s and Congresswoman Water’s districts. Just imagine what they could do together if they cared about improving the region for the people who live there.
Gov. Brown needs to to veto this shameless bill. If lawmakers aren’t interested in rubbing shoulders with the residents of their district, they have no business representing them. Frankly, this bill proves that too many lawmakers aren’t really interested at all in the representation aspect of their jobs anyway – it’s the special interests they represent.