Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Richard Riordan Endorses Competing Candidates for State Senate

Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan has endorsed competing candidates in the upcoming June election for California's 26th State Senate district seat. And both Amy Howorth and Ben Allen -- candidates for the 26th S.D. -- are touting Riordan's endorsement in their political mailers.

Howorth's mailer quotes Riordan as saying, "I am pleased to endorse Amy Howorth for the State Senate." 

Similarly, Allen's mailer quotes Riordan as saying, "I'm proud to support Ben Allen for California's 26th State Senate seat."

Since Republican Riordan endorses both Howorth and Allen, whom does he really support?

But lest you think Allen leans Republican, yet another Allen mailer claims support from Democratic politicians Zev Yaroslavsky and Fran Pavley. Pavley is quoted as saying, "I wholeheartedly endorse Ben Allen for the State Senate."

Tellingly, Allen trumpets his Riordan and Yaroslavsky/Pavley endorsements in separate mailers. Is the former targeted to registered Republicans, while the latter is sent to Democrats? Do Independents get both?

As during every election season, voters are flooded with confusing and contradictory political mailers. Politicians hope that voters will just peruse the feel-good photos of candidates and their smiling families, note that they've been endorsed by presumably important people, and not think too much beyond that.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Congressional Candidate Ted Lieu Supports Rights of the Accused

California State Senator Ted Lieu (D - Westside) is running for Congress in the 33rd Congressional District, hoping to replace the retiring Henry Waxman.

He's also currently sponsoring a bill that should civil libertarians and Constitutionalists across the political spectrum.

According to Gary Walker, writing for The Argonaut (April 2, 2014):

"Lieu's Senate Bill 980 would compel police departments to allow inmate defense teams to conduct DNA testing on biological case evidence and allow courts to act against law enforcement officials who destroy DNA evidence in violation of state code."

Especially noteworthy is the part I put in boldface. The article continues:

"Law enforcement agencies are currently allowed to destroy biological evidence six months after a conviction, but Lieu's proposal would extend the timeline to a full year. It would also mandate that DNA evidence be run through the FBI's Combined DNA Index System in cases where DNA evidence is found not to match a suspect or inmate.

" 'I think one of the greatest injustices that a government and a society can commit is to wrongly convict an innocent person,' said Lieu, a former Air Force Judge Advocate General prosecutor.

"Since 2000, there have been 244 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States, including eight in California, according to the California Innocence Project, which is co-sponsoring the bill with the Northern California Innocence Project."

You can read the full story here.

Ted Lieu's main opponents include Wendy Greuel and Marianne Williamson.