Feb. 27th, 2014
Last month, a Los Angeles jury found State Senator Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) guilty of eight counts of felony voter fraud and perjury.
In 2010, LA prosecutors had sought an indictment against Wright because he did not live at the address listed on his voter registration. State law requires that every state legislator live in the district that he/she represents. Because of the false address on his registration, he committed perjury and voted fraudulently in five elections.
Residency requirements are a serious matter in California, specifically Los Angeles politics. An LA City Councilman faced similar charges, and the LA County District Attorney investigated residency accusations against a Hermosa Beach city councilmember.
So, Wright has been found in the wrong, declared guilty of voter fraud by a jury of his peers, and awaits sentencing. Wright's legal team has vowed to file an appeal, yet Wright at this time remains a convicted felon.
To add insult to indictment and conviction, Wright attempted to introduce a bill which would reduce non-violent felonies to misdemeanors, two days after he was convicted of eight felony counts himself! Even though the convicted state senator claimed that he did not introduce the bill to save himself the humiliation of being barred from pursuing elected office in the past, the legislation would have indeed softened the blow of his eight felony counts to misdemeanors. Wright's outrageous move did not escape State Senate President Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), and Wright pulled his bill. "Wrong author, wrong time," shared Steinberg's spokesman.
Of course, Steinberg's disapproval does not mean that the Democratic Supermajority will not consider the bill at a later time. What's more disturbing, Steinberg has done nothing to have convicted felon Roderick Write expelled from the state senate. As of now, only three Republican lawmakers have called on the upper chamber to move for Wright's expulsion, as well as independent candidate for Secretary of State David Schnurr.
While Steinberg has asserted that since an appeal will render a final determination, the state senate will wait before proceeding. The state senate President has even justified leaving Wright on committee assignments. Is this the proper precedent for handling felonious legislators?
In 1994, state senator Frank Hill (R-Whittier) was convicted of non-violent felonies (soliciting a bribe from an undercover agent). Hill stopped voting on bills and stepped down from his committee assignments after his conviction. After that, the state senate government committee voted 4-0 to expel him after the guilty verdict. Why is the state senate stalling this time?
The San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Daily News (whose owner includes the Daily Breeze), and the Inland Empire’s Press-Enterprise Editorial Boards have all called for Wright’s resignation or expulsion from the state senate.
And who has not? State senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), who has recently announced his candidacy for the Congressional seat opened up following Congressman Henry Waxman’s decision to retire from Congress. Senator Lieu has a remarkable legislative record for protecting bears from hunting dogs, preventing adolescents from using tanning salons, and microchipping pets. He attempted triple the state’s licensing fee, has sided with public sector unions, even voted against the state senate bill which would expedite the termination of teachers guilt of moral turpitude against their students.
And now Lieu has said nothing about his convicted felon colleague Roderick Wright. After contacting his Sacramento office, Lieu’s office has confirmed that he issued no press released. Lieu is wrong to say nothing about Wright, and he should the right the wrong of his silence by joining the editorial boards of statewide newspapers and the Republicans in his caucus to demand that Senator Wright resign from office or move to expel him through committee resolution.
Contact State Senator Lieu’s office, and tell him to stop being silent. Demand that he demand the resignation or expulsion of convicted felon Roderick Wright from the California State Senate.
State Capitol, Room 4061
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4028
Fax: (916) 651-4928
2512 Artesia Blvd., #320
Redondo Beach, CA 90278-3279
Phone: (310) 318-6994
Fax: (310) 318-6733
Arthur Christopher Schaper is a teacher-turned-writer on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance.
Twitter -- @ArthurCSchaper