For some legislators in Sacramento, Christmas comes early in the form of… (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated…)
Re "Gifts shower newly elected," Nov. 22
Infuriating. Whatever illusion remains that "we the people" are truly represented by our elected officials was dealt another serious blow by this article, which reports on the intense lobbying of California's incoming legislators. How is this behavior not illegal? This arrangement is bribery, pure and simple.
Adding insult to injury is the obvious perception these government hacks have of we the people as absolute morons who will believe their excuses that going on junkets is really just "learning about the issues" and that decisions are based on "what is best for the people I represent" despite intense lobbying.
State and federal government are beyond repair; all that is left is to ride the process to its inevitable collapse and start over.
After reading about these gifts for the newly elected legislators, I've decided to run for office. And I make no bones about it: I'm looking for all-expense-paid trips for my wife and me. I will not insult the voters by saying that "I was learning about the issues." How expensive, exotic and distant the trips are will be the deciding factor in my vote.
My grandchildren need braces. I will expect the California Dental Assn. to take care of that too while I'm vacationing in Hawaii, China or Brazil at the lobbyists' expense — or, as the legislators call it, on a fact-finding trip.
The article on California legislators accepting gifts is appalling although not surprising. Before moving to California, I was a parole and probation officer in Oregon, where the department's policy was to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. As a consequence, even a well-meaning offer of such a small item as a candy bar would be turned down because it could be construed as a bribe.
Our legislators should enact a similar rule for themselves if they want to regain some semblance of trust from the voters.
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