I tuned into the California State Senate confirmation hearings for Senator Abel Maldonado this afternoon at about 1:30pm and watched until about 4:15 when they concluded. Senator Maldonado was appointed by the Governor to fill the vacant Lt Governors position. The following are a few of my observations about the proceedings this afternoon:
The hearing is took place in the senate rules committee where Senate Pro-Tem Darrell Steinberg opened by saying Senator Maldonado’s review should be “thoughtful” & “dispassionate.”
When it was rules committee member Senator Sam Aanestad’s turn to make an opening statement, he reminded the committee that he is also a candidate for Lt Governor and that he would recuse himself from voting or making any further comment regarding the Maldonado nomination.
After the other members of the rules committee spoke, it was time for Maldonado’s opening statement. Senator Maldonado actually welled up in tiers during his opening remarks, talking about his family and his humble beginnings as the son of farm worker. Maldonado made it clear that he would oppose offshore oil drilling and that: “Every day I make myself a promise to do everything I can to bring those (oil drilling) platforms down.”
Senator Maldonado stated that the three main qualities that guide him as a politician are: “I am open minded, pragmatic, and reasonable.” What a statement like this usually means from a politician is: I don’t really have a core set of principals and I will do whatever is most convenient or expedient at the time I have to make a decision about how to vote.
Contractors got no relief from the good Senator, when he was asked about a proposal to force withholding from payments to independent contractors, he said he’s leaving door open to the Democrat call for a 3% independent contractor withholding, but says it’s a “temporary” fix. He did say that he does think it is not a good idea to lower the vote threshold to simple majority. He thinks that 2/3 threshold makes legislators have to “come together”
After many speakers in favor of Maldonado’s nomination and a few opposed, each member of the committee made statements with the exception of Senator Aanestad. Senator Cedillo voted yes to move the nomination to the full Senate and said: “This is not a political vote. This is a vote in the interest of comity.” Senator Dutton voted yes and joked: I ‘flipped a coin’ about whether or not to support Maldonado. Senator Oropeza voted yes. Then Senator Steinberg votes yes and says:” My vote today is not a political endorsement It is…an acknowledgement of the fact that you crossed over…to avoid…deeper cuts.” In other words: Thanks for helping us raise taxes and screw the taxpayers of California! The fun and games in the confirmation battle for Senator Abel Maldonado to be the next Lt Governor have just begun. Stay tuned.