by Matt Fleming | June 3, 2016 7:59 am
Following renewed calls from members of the legislature’s women’s caucus for Assemblyman Roger Hernández to step down amid domestic violence allegations, one legislator is criticizing what she claims is the group’s uneven response on issues, after the group failed to denounce her political opponent for allegedly “bullying” her.
The two leaders of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus demanded in April Hernández, a West Covina Democrat, step down from his committee assignments (including the Labor and Employment Committee chairmanship) and take a leave of absence from the legislature while under a temporary restraining order from his wife.
Last week, calls against Hernández intensified following testimony from his wife during divorce proceedings, which detailed eight alleged incidents: One of Hernández choking her with a belt, another of Hernández dropping her to the ground and beating her with a broom and another of Hernández threatening her with a knife after accusing her of having an affair, according to the news reports.
But Asm. Nora Campos, D-San Jose, said the outrage from the women’s caucus has been unevenly applied.
“I want to know why the women’s caucus is so quick to take position on Asm. Hernández, but when it comes to Sen. Jim Beall and the bullying of women in San Jose they’ve been quiet,” Campos said. “I called on the Women’s Caucus leadership to take an equally aggressive position with Sen. Jim Beall.”
A spokesperson for the women’s caucus said the group would not be responding to Campos’ allegations regarding either Beall or the manner with which the group responds “at this time.”
What’s going on?
Campos is termed-out of the Assembly and challenging Beall, a fellow San Jose Democrat, in the Senate. She previously alleged that Beall “bullied” both her and the woman vying to replace her, and alleged Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León did as well.
De León was accused of trying to discourage Campos from challenging Beall and for sending another senator to do the same. The alleged other senator allegedly said he or she was “concerned” for Campos’ safety, according to The San Jose Mercury News.
A de León spokesman called the allegations “irrational” and “outrageous,” according to The Mercury News.
As for the allegations against Beall, it’s complicated.
What (allegedly) happened with Beall?
In April, Campos’ husband, Neil Struthers, was kicked in the genitals by entourage members of union leader Enrique Arguello, a Beall ally, at a union fundraiser. Arguello claimed Struthers called him a gay slur, threatened him physically and made racist remarks, all of which Struthers denied.
Campos told The Mercury News that this related to Beall because of his political connection to Arguello, adding that Beall had endorsed Arguello for a position on a Democratic central committee. Campos also alleged that following the fight, two union members came by her house to “intimidate” her.
The Mercury News also reported that Darcie Green, the Democrat running to replace Campos in the Assembly, is alleging Beall used his influence with Kaiser Permanente officials to get Green forced an unpaid leave of absence from her job.
Beall endorsed Green’s opponent.
Back to Hernández
The original statement by the two leaders of the women’s caucus about Hernández was conspicuously from them and not from the caucus as a whole. CalWatchdog followed up with Campos to see if she had a position on Hernández and asked her to clarify her response, as it seemed she was putting political intimidation on the same level as domestic violence.
“The Women’s Caucus position is clear and I stand behind (sic),” Campos said. “I demand consistency from caucus leadership and expect that they give the same type of response to Senator Beall. If they do not, it is clear to me they are simply playing politics.”
It’s not the first time Hernández — who is challenging Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Norwalk, for her seat in Congress — has been accused of wrongdoing. In 2012, an ex-girlfriend accused him of domestic violence, although charges were never filed due to insufficient evidence.
That same year, Hernández was arrested for drunk driving in a state vehicle, but was acquitted by a jury on one charge, while the jury was hung on another.
In 2015, allegations of political money laundering against Hernández were dropped by the Fair Political Practices Commission after two key witnesses were unable to testify — one had serious medical issues while the other had passed away.
Source URL: https://calwatchdog.com/2016/06/03/state-lawmaker-demands-even-handed-responses-womens-caucus/
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