Don Bauder 6:07 a.m., May 21
Vargas Attacks Ducheny with Drunk-Driving Comment
State senator Juan Vargas has gone on the offensive against both the California Unemployment Appeals Board and potential rivals for the federal House of Representatives post being vacated by Bob Filner in his mayoral bid.
Yesterday Vargas announced that he intends to craft a bill for next year’s legislative session (last year’s session ended last Friday) that would eliminate the board. He’s asking current members to resign, something former senator Denise Ducheny had already said she’d do in a letter to the Senate Rules Committee two weeks before Vargas made his statement.
“It is time to stop this wasteful board from being the place where termed-out, drunk-driving legislators get an easy government job and get paid $128,000 per year at taxpayers’ expense,” Vargas said.
A task group that studied the issue in 2005 agreed, concluding that “[J]udicial functions that require objective mediation and due process should be handled by administrative law judges as part of a single, consolidated adjudicatory body.”
In a press release referenced by the Fresno Bee and others but unavailable on the official Vargas website, “he added the parenthetical note ‘Drunk-driving arrest’ next to the names of former Sens. Roy Ashburn and Ducheny, who were both appointed to the board after leaving the Legislature last year.”
Ashburn’s DUI case was in 2010, but Ducheny’s dates back to 2000 and resulted in a less-serious reckless driving conviction. Ducheny represented the 40th District before Vargas, which includes portions of southern San Diego County as well as a large share of Imperial County.
“It’s a shame that somebody would take on a whole system and a board that protects the due process rights of workers just to make a personal attack for his political gain,” Ducheny told the Bee. “It was written about me and so he’s attacking all of my colleagues because he wants to get to me.”
Image: Sacramento Bee file photo of Juan Vargas