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Ron Kaye: Politicians' actions speak louder than words

December 04, 2011

Events in recent days — from the eviction of Occupy L.A. protesters from the grounds of Los Angeles City Hall to the open-records lawsuit inspired by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino’s defiance of his party’s leadership — have exposed a level of political hypocrisy that ought to make everyone uneasy.

Hypocrisy is rampant at all political levels today with what is really going on in the back rooms of government having little or no connection to the story fed to the public.

It’s just a coincidence that the week’s events exposed liberal hypocrites from Sacramento to Los Angeles.

With savage devil winds slamming his constituents, it wasn’t a good time for Portantino to publicly gloat about exposing the utter contempt his party’s leadership has for taxpayers and their money.

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Last summer, the La Cañada Flintridge Democrat did the unthinkable: He cast the lone Democratic vote against a state budget that everyone knew was phony, based on inflated numbers for revenue and the savings from cuts.

For his stand, Portantino was stripped of funding to pay his staff, which faced furloughs as long as six weeks. He fought back by exposing one of the Legislature’s deepest secrets, the real cost of their staffs — an action that prompted the Los Angeles Times and Sacramento Bee to sue for all the records of how the Legislature spends nearly $150 million a year for its own care and upkeep.

On Thursday, Sacramento Judge Timothy Frawley ruled the spending records are indeed public, finding the Assembly leadership’s claims that their own open-records law doesn’t apply to them was ridiculous.

“In a somewhat ironic twist,” Frawley wrote, “the Assembly argues the ‘Open Records Act’ should be given a narrow interpretation that significantly restricts the public’s right to inspect legislative records. Further, the Assembly argues that the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers prohibits this court from enforcing any other interpretation. Both arguments lack merit.”

The ironic twist was not lost on Assembly Speaker John Perez, who didn’t even bother to have his lawyers contest the judge’s tentative ruling.

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