From the SacBee…
‘Taxation without representation is tyranny.” As the American Revolution gained strength, this phrase was the rallying cry of the colonists. These revolutionaries believed that because they were not directly represented in British Parliament, any laws that body passed taxing colonists were illegal.
More than 230 years later, 3 million Californians currently pay taxes without any direct representation in the state Senate. And, if Senate Constitutional Amendment 17 is passed, that number will only continue to grow.
Our forefathers worked to prevent Californians from extended lack of representation. The California Constitution purposefully outlines only three methods of discipline: censure, reprimand and expulsion. Nowhere does the Constitution mention suspending legislators.
Yet seven weeks ago, three senators were “suspended” with pay from the California Senate. Sen. Roderick Wright was found guilty of eight felonies. Sen. Ron Calderon was indicted on federal corruption charges after an FBI sting, and Sen. Leland Yee was charged in federal court with accepting bribes and gun trafficking. While suspended, these senators are still paid, yet are banned from executing any of the duties of their office, leaving 3 million Californians without a voice or a vote in the Senate. The people’s rights have been suspended.