Right Place, Right Time

It has been quite a week for the State Senate.


On Wednesday, March 23rd, former Democratic State Senator (and current Congressional candidate) Lou Correa noticed a fire at an apartment complex in Santa Ana and, using a garden hose, had the fire mostly extinguished by the time the fire department arrived. He was credited with helping the seven people in the apartment escape to safety.

“Correa made a U-turn, parked his car, grabbed a garden hose, started applying water to the balcony, and yelled for the occupants in a unit in front of the fire to get out… Correa’s efforts enabled three woman and four children, all under 5, to escape their apartment safely, Concialdi said.”
Congressional candidate Lou Correa credited with rescuing seven from Santa Ana fire” by Scott Schwebke of the Orange County Register


Less than a week later, on Monday, March 28th, current Republican State Senator Andy Vidak stepped into traffic to keep a driver from traveling under a large tree that was about to fall into a road in downtown Sacramento.

“A driver considers herself lucky after a tree fell on her car at J Street near 33rd Street Monday evening. Things could have ended differently if it weren’t for the actions of a quick-thinking state lawmaker…”
Driver of car crushed by tree in Sac: I’m very lucky” on KCRA

Seriously, as someone who studies the history of the California State Legislature, it’s events like these that make me proud to help preserve these stories. If the State Senate had an award for outstanding service to Californians, these two would have earned it this week.

Senate Medal

California’s Newest Almost-A-Political Party

Even many of those who follow California politics most closely may not have heard about the new and unique political party which may have enough registered voters to become ballot-qualified, but is being held up on a technicality.

An article in the November edition of Ballot Access News, “California Secretary of State Refuses to Tally Independent Party Registrations” detailed the efforts of the Independent Party to become ballot-qualified.

According the the article by Richard Winger, the party was formed for non-partisan reasons. Wait, what? A non-partisan party? Yes…

Earlier this year, the Independent Party was formed, partly to assist independent candidates. Under current law, an independent candidate for Congress and partisan state office must have “party preference: none” on the ballot. Most independents would rather have “independent” on the ballot next to their names.

Accordingly, the Independent Party will have no platform.

The problem? The Secretary of State says that the party name is too similar to that of the American Independent Party. Winger points out an inconsistency, noting that the Secretary has allowed political parties with names like Americans Elect Party (2011) and American Freedom Party (2015) to register… so why not the Independent Party?

The Secretary of State does not say no party can ever be called “Independent Party.” Instead he says the name “Independent Party” is too similar to the name of the American Independent Party, which has been a qualified party in California since 1968. However, the Secretary of State let Americans Elect qualify in 2011, and over the past 37 years there have been 19 political bodies with “American” as part of their name. Just a few months ago the Secretary of State let the American Freedom Party register as a political body. At one time or another, 43 states have had two parties simultaneously on the ballot that shared a common word in their names, such as “Socialist” and “Socialist Labor.”

Stay tuned. Fortunately for us, Richard Winger is watching.

Perea to Resign December 31st


As was reported in the news yesterday, Assemblyman Henry T. Perea has announced that he will resign effective December 31st.

Some quick statistics about his service and resignation;

  • Perea will leave office after 265 weeks in office, ranking as California’s 3237th longest-serving legislator (just ahead of John Campbell at 264 weeks).
  • In past 5 decades, only 2 California state legislators have resigned at younger age than Perea; Michael Rubio in 2013 and (future Governor) Pete Wilson in 1971.
  • Since 2000, 11 people have left the California Legislature younger than Perea (who’s leaving at 38.5 yrs old).
  • Perea is the fourth California state legislator to resign in 2015, and the 20th since January 2010.