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By Tim Hunt

A bad week for state Senators

Uploaded: Apr 1, 2014

California state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg is having a really bad week.
Steinberg took over the leadership five years ago when former leader Don Perata was still being investigated by the FBI (no charges were filed against Perata).
The Democrats reached a high point by winning super-majorities in both houses in Sacramento in 2012. That made Republican votes unnecessary if the leadership can hold members together so the Dems could pass budgets without Republican support (or input).
Since then, Steinberg has seen three of his senior members charged with felonies. Sen. Rod Wright from Southern California has been convicted of voter fraud because a jury found he did not live in his district—he has not been sentenced and has said he will appeal.
Then Southern California Senator Ron Calderon was indicted on a corruption charges and last week San Francisco Senator Leland Yee, who was running for state controller, was charged with corruption and potential gun-running after an FBI undercover operation.
That's three Democrat members out of the 28 facing or convicted of federal charges. Ugly.
Steinberg had allowed both Wright and Calderon to remain in their seats, but, after the Yee charges, joined with most other senators to suspend them. Of course, the suspensions came with pay—a questionable "benefit" at best, particularly for Wright who has been convicted. Calderon and Yee deserve the constitutional guarantees available to any citizens that they are deemed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
That said, the charges are enough to besmirch the reputation of the Senate and Steinberg's efforts to elevate the ethical behavior of its members. All three should do the right thing and resign immediately. They are incapable of effectively doing their job of representing their districts while dealing with the criminal matters.

A note about MediCal patients at ValleyCare: All hospital emergency rooms are required by federal law to treat anyone who shows up.
If you look at the clusters where poorer people live in the Tri-Valley area, most are in Livermore, with some in Pleasanton and Dublin. There is almost no housing in the San Ramon Valley that can accommodate people who traditionally would use MediCal services so very few of them live near San Ramon Regional.
Check with the medical people at AXIS in Pleasanton and Livermore about where their patients come from and then ask whether, after hours, you would take a bus to BART, then a bus from BART to get to the public hospital--Highland in Oakland. Last I heard, that's two hours or more each way.
ValleyCare is a much better option for people who live here--regardless of their ability to pay.