‘Wet reckless’ perp Sen. Hueso gets tax-funded car

ford fusion hybridLast December, state Sen. Ben Hueso pleaded guilty to driving “wet and reckless” and received probation. Now he’s being gifted a new car — paid for by taxpayers.

As CalWatchdog.com reported last Aug. 25:

“State Senator Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, was arrested early Friday morning on suspicion of drinking and driving. He reportedly spent the night drinking wine and tequila in the State Capitol and at a local restaurant with several of his colleagues. Years before, he voted to ban drinking at public beaches.”

Now, the Los Angeles Times just reported:

“The state purchased $540,000 worth of new Ford Fusion Hybrids and other cars for legislators over the last 18 months, prompting criticism from taxpayer activists who call the vehicles unnecessary political perks given at a time when many Californians continue to struggle financially. …

“The 2015 cars were assigned to the more senior lawmakers, Alvarez said, including Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Democratic Sens. Ben Hueso of San Diego, Marty Block of San Diego, Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens, Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara and Richard Roth of Riverside. The newer cars also went to Republican Sens. Joel Anderson of San Diego and Mike Morrell of Riverside.”

Hueso also worked on a bill to kill Uber, the ride-sharing company. In that instance, Gov. Jerry Brown worked out a compromise to tighten safety while keeping one of San Francisco’s brightest new tech companies — and competitors such as Lyft — going strong in their home state.

In the November election, voters re-elected Hueso with 55 percent of the vote, to 45 percent for fellow Democrat Rafael Estrada.

The car purchases come after de Leon laid off 39 staffers, many of whom wrote the analyses of bills that citizens, journalists and lawmakers rely on to figure out what’s going on in government.

All bills are online at the state’s site, Bill Information. The analyses put into plain English legislative language that often is difficult to understand. And the analyses often include historical information especially useful now that term limits have reduced the “institutional memory” in the Legislature.

The analyses also partly made up for the sharp reduction in news coverage of the state Capitol the past decade as newspapers have cut staffs. It’s this type of gap in information that CalWatchdog.com works to fill.

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John Seiler

John Seiler

John Seiler has been writing about California for 25 years. That includes 22 years as an editorial writer for the Orange County Register and two years for CalWatchDog.com, where he is managing editor. He attended the University of Michigan and graduated from Hillsdale College. He was a Russian linguist in U.S. Army military intelligence from 1978 to 1982. He was an editor and writer for Phillips Publishing Company from 1983 to 1986. He has written for Policy Review, Chronicles, LewRockwell.com, Flash Report and numerous other publications. His email: [email protected]

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