Describing himself as a guy who was "you could say, like a head of state," departing California Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez gave a bizarre interview to Spanish language Univision in which he claimed that slams on his lush lifestyle were based on his ethnicity.
The Sacramento Bee broke the story today, quoting Nunez as telling the Univision program Voz y Voto: "Because of the fact I am Mexican, they think I have to sleep under a cactus and eat from taco stands."
No word yet on who this awful bunch of "theys" are. Nunez' "woe-is-me" victim scenario was set off by last year's coverage of his spending practices in the Bee, the San Francisco Chronicle, and other media outlets, based on an investigation by Nancy Vogel at the L.A. Times, which revealed that Nunez spent thousands on "office expenses" at posh Louis Vuitton in Paris, and thousands on a "meeting" at a pricey wine purveyor's in Bordeaux.
The interview shows that Nunez suffers from extraordinarily thin skin, and has been silently simmering about his perceived ethnic victimhood.
The story in the Bee prompted a flurry of angry online comments, including this one from a reader claiming to be Mexican: "The people of California would be better served by fewer pompous, self-righteous bigots given the opportunity to serve in the Assembly. I wish he would just shut up and leave. Thank GOD for term limits!"
Nunez' frequent apologist, the hardcore partisan spinner and media manipulator Steven Maviglio, who this year ham-handedly tried but failed to taint the reputation of the Weekly's Marc Cooper, insisted to the Bee that "You cannot deny there's some overtly racial overtones to this."
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So now we know that Nunez not only sees himself as a racial victim, but, Al Haig-like, fantasized that he was a head of state. (In fact, the Speaker's job is granted internally by the other Democratic legislators, not by the voters.)
Nunez wanted badly to keep his not-the-head-of-state job. In January the Weekly was, arguably, the only California media outlet to name and run the photographs of every legislator, included Nunez, who would have been able to cling to office for years if voters had approved Proposition 93 to water down term limits.
When voters turned down Nunez's bid via Prop. 93 to overstay his term limits, his power immediately began to fade. He was replaced earlier this month as Speaker by L.A.'s Karen Bass. But Bass, instead of sending a message about working across the aisle to fix the disastrous California budget, hired partisan pet rock Maviglio as her chief media manipulator.
Get ready for more attempts to cry "racism" to quell very normal, very fair, and in fact very important, criticisms and investigations of Sacramento's deeply unpopular 120 legislators (Here's a pdf of today's PPIC poll showing the legislature's approval rating has plunged to 26 percent), who happen to these days include a large number of Latinos, blacks, gays and other minorities.