As a wave of sexual misconduct allegations continues to hit Hollywood, politics and beyond, an overlapping area of Los Angeles County has been left without political representation in Sacramento as a result of two legislators being accused of improper conduct.
Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) and state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) have both gone on leave after improper conduct allegations, according to the L.A. Times, leaving huge swaths of Southeast L.A. County without a legislator repping them in the state Capitol.
UPDATE, 12:25 pm: Mendoza resigned abruptly on Wednesday. See more here.
The L.A. Times wrote: “The overlap between the Mendoza and Garcia districts is significant. More than 94 percent of Garcia’s district lies within Mendoza’s state Senate boundaries, including the cities of Downey, Cerritos and Pico Rivera. That leaves roughly 440,000 people without representation.”
Garcia announced she would take an unpaid leave as an investigation went on about allegations that she’s engaged in sexual misconduct as a legislator. Several complaints rose against the assemblywoman, who was a prominent figure in the #MeToo movement. These include a complaint by a former field representative named David John Kernick, who said Garcia fired him after he refused to play “spin the bottle” with her, said the Washington Post.
Daniel Fierro, from Cerritos, told POLITICO he was groped by Garcia when he was a 25-year-old staffer to Ian Calderon. Garcia was then a Democratic lawmaker and chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Natural Resources Committee.
Now-former state Senator Tony Mendoza apologized to anyone who felt uncomfortable by his behavior, the Associated Press reported. Lawyers investigating complaints against the senator concluded that “he likely engaged in ‘flirtatious or sexually suggestive’ behavior with six women he worked with, including four subordinates.”
As for the overlapping district, former legislator who represented the area Martha Escutia told the L.A. Times that it is “very high-need.” She continued: “It definitely needs a legislator that is on the ball from Day One.”