Denise Ducheny’s ‘Triple Crown Year’ may Haunt possible 2012 bid vs. Supervisor Greg Cox — She topped 40-member state Senate in Office Budget, Staff Salaries & Benefits … and Per Diem income

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Major League baseball has not had a Triple Crown winner since 1967, but latest State figures show State Senator Denise Ducheny  reached a similar  feat while Senate Budget Committee Chair.   Ducheny was  #1 in total office budget ($1,274,117), …   #1  in total Staff salaries &  benefits ($1,108,429) ….   and tied for first in the famous Per Diem payments ($38,042).   All those #1 scores may be hard to explain if,  as expected by many observers,  she challenges County Supervisor Greg Cox (R-Chula Vista) in next year’s election.

These figures  are from the annual Senate Rules Committee’s, “Summary of Expenditures for Members’ Offices“, a revealing treasure trove of  data buried every year in the Senate Journal of official proceedings.  And Sacramento being Sacramento, the ‘latest figures’ are for the legislative year ending November 30, 2009.    Oh yes, that is Sacramento-style all right.

Ducheny  (D-Imperial Beach)  was then nearing the end of her 2 Senate terms, part of the top Democratic leadership, and appropriately  chairing the Senate Budget committee (!)    Budgeting may have begun at home, since she topped the competitive  40-member Senate “League” in these 3 prestigious areas.

…   KEHOE   &    HOLLINGSWORTH  TRAILED   DUCHENY  BY   $250,000

By contrast, GOP  Sen. Dennis Hollingsworrth’s  own office budget   [representing many more constituents in fast-growing East County & Riverside]   lagged $293,783 behind Ducheny at $980,334,  and Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) was $292,578 behind her with  $981,439.

… THE BUDGET COMMITTEE’S OWN BIG  BUDGET SCORE

The seperate budget for her Senate Budget Committee’s operation was another $1,508,442,   and that ranked —–   WAIT   FOR   IT —–    # 1 among the 23 state senate standing committees!    The 2nd-place Appropriations Committee was more than Half a  Million dollars behind  at a paltry $1,000,008.     Now that is total domination,  sports fans.

… WHAT ARE THOSE FAMOUS  ‘PER DIEM’  PAYMENTS ?

The “Per Diem”  was then $173-a-day to legislators who appeared at floor sessions, some of them fairly brief , and in the view of some skeptics,  convened in part to qualify for the $173.   For example, on Oct. 29,2009,  the Senate convened, took no  roll call votes,  excused absent Senators from attending, and wrapped up another hard-working day. The total Senate Journal entry for Oct. 29, 2009 barely fills 3 pages,  most of it Boiler plate.  Senator Ducheny was there for this “labor” per the Senate Journal.

… ANOTHER  IDEALIST  TRANSFORMED  BY  INSTITUTIONS

Your correspondent does not doubt Denise Ducheny first took her State Assembly seat in 1994 determined to change Sacramento.    But like so many before her,  it looks like Sacramento may have changed Ducheny instead.

There are a  Million  Sad  Stories in  Sacramento, California.  This …  has been  One of them.

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