The situation in California is dark and full of terrors.
The fallout from Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and assault allegations are now landing in Sacrament.
While Senator Elizabeth Warren was revising her #MeToo backstory to suit today’s narrative, there seems a seismic change in political culture developing on the other coast.
A group of female politicos in Sacramento are leading the charge, bringing to light charges of sexual harassment by male colleagues in the state’s capital.
With allegations of rape and assault at the hands of Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein dredging up repressed memories across the nation, [head of Visa’s western U.S. government relations program Adama] Iwu’s experience served as the catalyst for a movement to challenge a culture at the state Capitol that many say has long allowed sexual harassment and assault to be swept under the rug.
Since the campaign went public Tuesday, the number of female legislators, lobbyists, political consultants, Capitol staff members and other women in Sacramento that signed an open letter calling out widespread “dehumanizing behavior by men with power” in political circles has more than doubled to over 300. Attention has broadened to the steps government should be taking to address the problem.
Women heeding the call to action tell stories of lobbyists who groped them, legislators who tried to make out with them on elevators, unwanted hands on their thighs and behinds, late-night text messages and lingering hugs that left them feeling uncomfortable and ashamed. Iwu and other organizers also launched a website, wesaidenough.com, to give women an outlet to share their experiences anonymously.
I will be interested to see what names are named. There are quite a few California politicians and bureaucrats who deride President Donald Trump for his use of vulgarities, while they smear Trump in the state’s continuing war against the White House. It will be fascinating to see if the loudest voices belong to the biggest perpetrators.
The California Assembly plans to hold public hearings next month to address these charges, as allegations of pervasive mistreatment continue to ripple through Sacramento.
The announcement comes one day after the California Senate announced it has hired lawyers and human resources consultants to investigate allegations of widespread sexual harassment and evaluate Senate procedures.
In a joint statement, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount), Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) said that “sexual harassment of any kind is intolerable.”
The lawmakers say a three-pronged approach is necessary to confront the issue: changing a climate that has been permissive to sexual harassment, offering victims have a safe place to discuss complaints and ensuring that “sexual harassment is dealt with expeditiously and that the seriousness of consequences match the violations committed,” they said in a statement.
So, now our drama will come from Sacramento instead of Hollywood!
I was a guest on Canto Talk today, along with my California compatriot Katy Grimes. She and I both agreed that the current situation in California is dark and full of terrors…perfect for the annual Halloween show. Katy will be following up with details on the sexual harassment reports from Sacramento with her excellent, detailed coverage soon.DONATE
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