By David Futch
Update: The L.A. Times has a new angle showing the Calderon Boys — Charles Calderon, Ron Calderon and Tom Calderon, entwined in an obscure “Central Basin Municipal Water District” that controls millions of dollars. See jump.
Emboldened by bulging campaign coffers, brothers Charles and Ron Calderon don't merely introduce laws designed to reap profits for huge special-interest groups. Many of the laws that bear their names, they never wrote a word of. The bills are actually quietly ghostwritten by special interests who benefit from new laws they've custom-designed. Read all about it here, in Worst Legislators in California, Part II.
Charles Calderon shines in another troubling way. His campaign contributions from 2007 through the middle of May were $1,116,396 — yet only a scant 5 percent came from his constituents — you know, those people he represents. Charles Calderon is the Number One taker of outside money, in a California legislature filled with such takers.
Assembly leader Charles Calderon's campaign contributions from Jan. 1, 2007 through the middle of May gushed in from almost every worrisome special interest group you can imagine. This information is thanks to the folks at MAPLight.org.
Take a guess. From what distant zip code — a place filled with nasty characters and sleaze — does California State Assembly leader Charles Calderon get his biggest hunks of cash?
Funny answer. But no.
Charles Calderon got his greatest riches from the 95814 zip code. That's downtown Sacramento.
Zip code 95814 includes the statehouse, and is also the office locale for many of the 1,200 lobbyists who troll the Capitol building's marbled halls in expensive suits and zip around Sacto in their Escalades, often ferrying people like Charles Calderon to dinner.
MAPLight shows the Top 10 zip codes who gave money to Assemblyman Charles Calderon's campaign from Jan. 1, 2009 to Dec. 31, 2010 as follows:
1.Sacramento, CA 95814 (Downtown and Capitol), $372,777;
2. Los Angeles, CA 90020 (Koreatown and Wilshire Center), $36,700;
3.San Francisco, CA 94105 (Embarcadero South), $23,800;
4.Pasadena, CA 91101, $20,200;
5.Washington, D.C. 20004, $15,000;
6.Los Angeles, CA 90040 (City of Commerce), $13,450;
7.Newport Beach, CA 92660, $13,202;
8.Irvine, CA 92618, $12,200;
9.Los Angeles, CA 90071 (Downtown L.A.), $11,600;
10.Fort Worth, TX (Texas?? More on that later.) 76131, $11,500.
Go to the next page to see Who Gives To Chuck Calderon in Hopes of Getting Stuff Back, such as California state laws “authored” by Calderon that his special interest cash-givers actually ghostwrite, word for word, themselves:
According to MAPLight, here are the top 10 individual contributors to Charles Calderon from Jan. 1, 2009 to Dec. 31, 2010:
1.California State Pipe Trades Council, $15,600;
2.California Association of Realtors, $11,700;
3.State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, $11,300;
4.California Dental Association, $11,300;
5.California State Council of Laborers, $10,900;
6.Southern California Pipe Trades District Council 16, $8,800;
7.Time Warner, $7,800;
8.Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, $7,800;
9.Barona Band of Mission Indians, $7,800;
10.Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, $7,500.
And check out the next page to see the range of industries and insiders who prop up Charles Calderon's political career the most fervently.
Huge unions, rich tribal gaming lords, me-first developers, utility monopolies, big Pharma, and wealthy lawyers all need Chuck's help to make California a better place:
This is a MAPLight Top 10 list of the types of groups who gave to Charles Calderon from Jan. 1, 2009 to Dec. 31, 2010. (Cash given by the Democratic Party and other politicians not included.)
1.General Trade Unions, $75,200;
3.Tribal Governments, $44,260;
4.Real Estate, $26,632;
5.Government Employee Unions, $23,800;
6.Electric Utilities, $22,100;
7.Telecom Services & Equipment, $21, 250;
8.Pharmaceuticals & Health Products, $20,150;
9.Health Professionals, $18,800;
10.Lawyers & Lobbyists, $18,650.
How will California ever turn itself around, when the cream of the crop in Sacramento — the chosen “leader” so anointed by his other California state Assembly colleagues — is Charles Calderon?
Today, the Los Angeles Times weighs in with a troubling tale of the three Calderon Boys' innumerable conflicts of interest — all of which Chuck, Ron and Tom deny — in an obscure water district in Southeast L.A. County.
Tom Calderon got $750,000 in “consulting fees” from the Central Basin district. Who are the district's biggest protectors in Sacramento? Yep, Chuck and Ron Calderon. Ron helped make sure in 2009 that an audit wasn't launched in the water district. When is an investigation of the Calderon Boys gonna happen?