Thursday, February 01, 2007

CHC Crisis: It Isn't Just Loretta

Yesterday, we found out about that Rep. Joe Baca (D-San Bernardino) allegedly called his Congressional colleague Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) "a whore". Also yesterday, we learned that Loretta intended to resign from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which Baca now leads. Now, Politico is reporting that two California Congresswomen are saying that Loretta is not the only one who doesn't feel comfortable in the CHC:

Rep. Hilda L. Solis said she shared “Sanchez's sentiment about the lack of respect afforded to women members of the Hispanic Caucus.’’ And Loretta Sanchez’s sister, Rep. Linda Sanchez, said she supported her sibling’s decision to resign in protest of Baca’s alleged remark, which he has “categorically’’ denied.

So it's no longer just about Loretta. It isn't just "her problem". It's about Joe Baca's "leadership" of the CHC.

In her statement Thursday, Linda Sanchez said she was “waiting to see if the Hispanic Caucus leadership will make good on its promise to be more fair and inclusive of its Latina members.’’

“Latinas are the fastest growing segment of the minority population,’’ she added, “and their perspective deserves to be represented, not denigrated."

“If the Hispanic Caucus is to be truly representative of the Latino community,’’ Linda Sanchez went on, “it must give equal treatment to all its members, regardless of gender or seniority.”

Perhaps if Baca were a little more receptive toward the feelings of the women in the CHC, there wouldn't be such a problem there...
Well, and perhaps if he didn't practice such crass nepotism:

Solis also reiterated concerns about the political arm of the caucus, BOLDPAC, which came under fire last year after Baca and his allies authorized political contributions to their relatives. Solis, the Sanchez sisters and three other lawmakers then withdrew from BOLDPAC.

“At a time when the public is crying out for a more ethical government,’’ Solis said, “we should be taking every step to avoid any appearance of preferential treatment for relatives.”

So I guess Loretta isn't alone when it comes to having concerns about the CHC. Perhaps it has something to do with Joe Baca funneling away CHC funds for his sons' LOCAL CAMPAIGNS:

The political action committee has made recent campaign contributions to several candidates for state and local offices who have family ties to the Hispanic Caucus. Among them are Baca's sons Assemblyman Joe Baca Jr., a state Senate candidate, and Jeremy Baca, an Assembly candidate. Both sons received $3,300 contributions from BOLDPAC in November, Federal Election Commission filings show.

So perhaps, Loretta does have reason to be frustrated. Perhaps, there wouldn't be such a problem if Baca treated his female colleagues with more respect. Perhaps, there wouldn't be such a problem if Baca put the interests of his fellow Latinos above the political aspirations of his family members. Perhaps, there wouldn't be such a problem if Baca had behaved more like the honorable statesman that his Inland Empire constituents expect of him.

So perhaps, we shouldn't be saying that the crisis in the CHC is "just about Loretta".

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