Legislators representing the San Gabriel Valley last year received trips to Hong Kong, London and Paris, tickets to the Super Bowl and gifts ranging from contact lenses to funeral services, according to statements they have filed with the state Fair Political Practices Commission.
Sens. Joseph Montoya (D-El Monte), Art Torres (D-Los Angeles) and William Campbell (R-Hacienda Heights) and Assemblyman Frank Hill (R-Whittier) accounted for nearly two-thirds of the $234,000 in honorariums and gifts reported by the 15 legislators whose districts include parts of the San Gabriel Valley. Each accepted more than $30,000 in gifts and speech payments last year.
Legislators generally must report all gifts worth at least $50 except for those from family members or holiday and birthday gifts exchanged with friends. Gifts reported by the legislators ranged from courtesy memberships in country clubs to football tickets to airport parking passes.
In the case of Montoya, his outside income surpassed his annual salary of $37,105. He gained $33,500 for speeches and appearances and accepted nearly $18,000 worth of gifts, including trips to Europe and Asia.
Campbell received more than $26,000 for 23 speaking engagements. He was paid fees ranging from $125 from a labor union to $3,000 from the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He reported more than $6,000 worth of gifts, mainly a trip to Germany that cost a German political foundation $4,694.
Torres got nearly $20,000 from speaking engagements and $11,000 in gifts, including $655 worth of contact lenses and eye exams from a Sacramento health foundation. As chairman of the Joint Committee on Refugee Resettlement, International Migration and Cooperative Development, he received a $4,000 grant from a foundation to visit Canada, Sweden and France to examine their policies and programs for immigrants.
Torres and Montoya were among a group of legislators who toured Europe to look at waste-to-energy projects as guests of energy companies. The trip cost the sponsors more than $7,100 for Montoya and $4,800 for Torres.
Assemblyman Frank Hill (R-Whittier) received $20,950 for speeches, including $8,500 on three consecutive days last December when he was paid $5,000 by G-Tech Corp., which provides equipment and services to the state lottery; $2,500 by the Sunrise Co., a land developer in Palm Desert, and $1,000 by Super Shuttle International of Los Angeles, which operates an airport shuttle service.
Other large speaking fees paid to Hill included $2,200 by the National Waterbed Retailers Assn. of Chicago; $2,000 by a lobby for accountants called the Independent Accountants Foundation Inc., and $1,500 by the Howard Stein Dental Clinic in West Covina.
In addition, Pacific Telesis Group, parent company of Pacific Bell, spent more than $9,100 on travel, lodging and meals for a trip taken by Hill and his wife to London and Paris last September. Hill said the one-week tour gave him a chance to look at privatization of telephone service in Great Britain and at a French experiment that supplies computer terminals to customers as part of the telephone service.
Assemblyman Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles) and State Sen. Newton Russell (R-Glendale) also were on the Pacific Telesis tour. Polanco reported that the company paid $9,596 in expenses incurred by his wife and himself. Russell lumped his tour expenses among $4,662 worth of gifts from Pacific Telesis, including Super Bowl tickets. Russell is vice chairman of the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee, and Polanco and Hill serve on the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee.
The only area legislator who did not accept fees for speeches last year was Assemblyman Richard Mountjoy (R-Monrovia). The fewest gifts were reported by Assemblyman William Lancaster (R-Covina) who accepted a wine pack, a crystal bear and a briefcase from medical and insurance associations for taking part in a health issues seminars. Lancaster said the value of the items was less than $200.
Sen. H. L. (Bill) Richardson (R-Glendora) reported one of the more unusual gifts, funeral services from Forest Lawn valued at $857. He could not be reached for comment, and his staff did not know who the services were for.
Montoya received $970 worth of pest control work from a termite company. Assemblyman Charles M. Calderon (D-Alhambra) attended the Grammy awards in a limousine as a guest of the recording industry, a gift that Calderon valued at $1,049.
Assembly Republican leader Patrick Nolan (R-Glendale) received $19,000 worth of gifts, including trips to the Netherlands and Japan paid for by business, political and trade groups in those countries.