Does Pretend-Small ‘d’ Dem Wendy Carrillo Want to Have Her Cake and Eat It Too?

EASTSIDER-Recently I caught up with a friend, Caroline Aguirre, and boy did she have some interesting things to say about our latest professional Latino politician, Wendy Carrillo (D-AD 51). Caroline attended a meet and greet held in Eagle Rock on April 14 and got an earful. 

For those who don’t remember, Wendy Carrillo is the newly minted representative from Northeast LA, replacing Jimmy Gomez in the Democratic Party establishment.  

Homelessness 

Ms. Carrillo talked about providing more services for the homeless, including housing, substance abuse programs and mental health services. You know, the usual PC talking points of the California democratic majority. However, as Caroline pointed out to me, Carrillo had as usual failed to do her homework. Since Wendy wouldn’t take any questions from her, here’s Caroline’s comments that she wanted to make: 

“What she failed to mention is that the state of California has failed to spend 2 billion dollars they already have which has been earmarked for the homeless population. (LA Times March 1, 2018) And that California State auditors found that monies allocated for Mental Health Services under Prop. 63 were misused and or unspent. (LA Daily News March 9, 2018) As one person asked about the California Affordable Care Act, Carrillo failed to mention that more than 400 thousand residents of California were signed up for the Medical expansion who may not have been eligible. Billions of California taxpayers’ dollars were spent to pay for medical services for these individuals. Is there any way to regroup those funds? (LA Daily News and LA Times April 1, 2018) Another news article which addressed the fiscal woes within the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority. (News article April 6, 2018) Previously David Goldstein KCAL and CBS did an investigative report on the misuse spending of taxpayers’ dollars by LAHSA. Review LA Daily News article and series on the multiple Rogue and Deceptive Substance Abuse Programs. The state of California has failed to do oversight reviews of many non-profit substance abuse programs”. 

Hey Wendy, where’s the beef? 

Love That Bullet Train! 

While Carrillo loves Charter Schools and the homeless, she has a special place in her heart for, drum roll, Jerry Brown’s Bullet Train, aka the High-Speed Rail Project! This turkey stinks so bad that it will never be completed. Originally the idea started as an engineering project for a relatively straight-line train going something like 200 mph, from LA up through Tehachapi, and then via the San Joaquin Valley to San Francisco. 

Before it ever got off the ground it was co-opted by a bunch of politicians, at first by an Orange County legislator (and Speaker of the Assembly) named Curt Pringle, who became the first Chair of the High-Speed Rail Authority. He quickly set the gold standard for this project by making sure that it was going to run all the way to Anaheim (I kid you not). You can read about him here 

And it did not get better from there. As Dan Walters recently wrote in CalMatters“Reality may finally be catching up with the vision – or pipedream – of a 200-mile-per-hour train connecting California’s northern and southern regions.” 

So why does Wendy love the Bullet Train? Why don’t you ask her? 

Public Safety 

This one’s a biggie. As a newbie Assembly member, Carrillo is a member of the Assembly Committee on Public Safety. This is an issue that Caroline Aguirre knows a lot about, since she is a retired State of California Parole Officer, and still has close ties to the LAPD and the County Sheriff’s Department. 

Carrillo, after a huddle with her District Director George Esparza, refused to take questions from Caroline and would not state why. So, I will ask the questions that our CD51 representative refused to allow -- probably because she knows nothing about Public Safety, even though she supported both Propositions 47 and 57. 

Also from Caroline… 

“What is your take on the California State Supreme Court ruling which let stand the collection of DNA upon arrests which was removed in part by Prop.47? The Grim Sleeper was convicted for the killing of more than 12 females. He was subsequently identified by familial DNA. A Torrance man has been arrested for the rape and killing of two females from Lincoln Heights. The male suspect was identified by familial DNA. 

What do you have to say surrounding Sacramento Superior Court Judge Allen Summer ruling that as many as ten thousand convicted sex offenders could be released early from California State prisons under Prop.57? What does that say about your support for the #MeToo movement? 

Let’s not forget that Governor Brown stated that not one sex offender would be released early under Prop.57. 

As recently as March 5, 2018, attorneys for the Alliance for Constitutional Sex offense Laws filed a civil law suit naming California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (respondents) which states in the second paragraph, Proposition 57 amended California Constitution to provide that “Any person convicted of a non-violent felony offense and sentenced to state prison shall be eligible for parole consideration after completing the full term of his or her primary offense. “Please review California Penal Code section 667.5 for the short list of violent crimes. Superior Court of California Court Case number 34-2017-80002581. Remember the Stanford student who received a local jail sentence of six months followed by three years’ probation under AB 109 for the sexual assault of an unconscious female. 

Also, our Northeast resident wanted to ask Ms. Carrillo about Assembly Bill 2013 authored by Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) and Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella). The bill combats a statewide increase in gang violence by empowering both victims and witnesses to come forward with information. If passed, AB 2013 would withhold the names of victims and witnesses to gang related offenses from public disclosure thus giving them the ability to cooperate with law enforcement without fear of retaliation.” 

Of Charter Schools and Unions 

It was rather odd that Ms. Carrillo, who pretended to be a small “d” grassroots democrat, was in fact put in office by a combination of Union and Charter School money. The Union money was up front, as she the beneficiary of some $300,000 from a Union PAC, and as I wrote at the timethe establishment democratic party endorsements came flowing in like manna from heaven. 

Wendy may be proud of her union endorsements, and that’s cool, but for some reason the Charter School money was buried as individual contributions, so she could pretend to be all in favor of unions in public schools while taking the Charter School money to screw them. Check out the data here.  

Clearly, she wants to distance herself from the LAUSD and Ref Rodriguez, whose felony charges over finances are still pending. Equally clear, she, like most establishment politicians, wants to have her cake and eat it too. She knows that most unions are against the Charter school movement taking away public education dollars from an already underfunded K-12 school system. So, if she personally loves them (and their money), she should cop to it, don’t hide. 

The Takeaway 

Lest you think that I just have it in for Wendy Carrillo, my bias is more general. I would and have used this space to make the same points of any politician. As voters, we have the right to expect our elected officials to take and answer questions, even if they are uncomfortable ones. In fact, especially if they are uncomfortable ones. Caroline should have been able to exercise the right to get answers. 

In this case, I suspect that Jose Huizar’s wife, who is going to run for his Council seat, and who watched Caroline embarrass Councilmember Huizar at a meet and greet a couple of days before, probably talked to either Esparza or Wendy in advance of Carrillo’s meet and greet. 

The takeaway is simple. Remember all this in November. Carrillo won a special election with the help of that paragon of virtue, and wannabe power broker, Christina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), who now finds herself the subject of inappropriate conduct  allegations. 

I don’t know if anyone is going to run against Wendy Carrillo in November. But it would be really nice if we had a bottom-up, local community activist who’s the real deal take a shot at it.

 

(Tony Butka is an Eastside community activist, who has served on a neighborhood council, has a background in government and is a contributor to CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.