Why the General Motors plant closures are good for America and not so good for Donald Trump


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2019 Cadillac CT6
One of the best cars on the road and discontinued

Toyota Camry has been the best selling car in America for more than two decades. In the last few years the Honda Accord was the second best selling car in America.    Last year, Toyota and Honda introduced all new versions of the Camry and Accord and while the cars two remain the best selling cars in America. Sales of the two cars are substantially lower than 2017. 

Its not just Toyota and Honda, most passengers cars are crawling off dealer lots.  With one exception, nearly every automaker is offering incentives to move  passenger cars off the lots as American tastes have shifted to SUV’s.  

Kelly Blue Book says passenger cars sales are down 12% this year. Autodata says passengers cars represented 32% of all vehicles sold this year. This is a major drop from 2015 when passenger cars represented 51%. 

General Motors has spent billions in developing new fuel efficient cars.     The newest generation Chevrolet Impala and the Chevy Cruise received some of the best reviews for the brand in decades.   Consumer Reports said the Impala was the best in class. And despite the good reviews both models are under preforming, selling fewer cars than the previous generation.  

General Motors revamped its stodgy Buick and Cadillac divisions with Cadillac building cars that can out maneuver Germany’s best.   The problem is no one wants the relatively new Buick Lacrosse and the Cadillac’s CT6.  

General Motors recently announced they were closing down five plants in North America.   The Lordstown Ohio plant that builds the Chevrolet Cruze. The Hamtramck Plant in Detroit that builds the Chevrolet Volt, Buick Lacrosse and the Cadillac CT6.   Transmission plants in Michigan and Maryland and the plant in Oshawa, Ontario that builds the Chevrolet Impala.  An estimated 14,000 workers will be affected.

Donald Trump is outraged. During his candidacy he promised to increase auto manufacturing jobs. To punish GM, he’s threaten to cut all subsidies. The President is particularly angry about the closing of the Lordstown Ohio plant,in state that overwhelmingly supported him in 2016.  It was a foolhardy promise, as no one can predict changes in the marketplace.   

While our president was tweeting, the auto industry changed.  Automakers like Volkswagen, Hyundai Kia and General Motors underestimated the popularity of the SUV’s and no one predicted the popularity of Tesla and Electric Car. 

Preparing for a New World

Some believe in the next few years fewer people in urban areas will purchase cars. A new generation is embracing ride sharing and other modes of transportation.  Technology is allowing millions to work from the home and the growing demand for Electric Cars may, require a                                                        different type of auto worker.                                                      

For years, domestic automakers ignored changes in the marketplace.  In the early 70’s Americans were attracted to the low prices and quality of the Japanese automakers.   The Ford, Chrysler and General Motors (The Big 3) responded with mediocre small cars.  The profits for the Big 3, was in large cars with V8 engines and trucks     

In 1973, (OPEC) The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries  stopped sending oil to the US. Resulting in fuel shortages and higher prices.   Buyers, of fuel efficient small cars, abandon Ford, Chrysler and General Motors for small cars at Toyota, Datsun (Nissan) Honda and Volkswagen. Many of them continued buying cars from the Japanese Automakers.

 When Gas Prices increased again in the early 2000′ American Automakers heavenly invested in SUV’s  Despite slowing sales American  Automakers continued to build over saturating the market.   The industry was to slow to react to changes in the industry, the demand for more fuel efficient cars and trucks. 

General Motors one of the largest automakers in the world and Chrysler needed a bailout loan from the government to remain in business.  

General Motors Positioning Itself for the Future

If the Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had their way, GM would continue to build  unprofitable vehicles to keep their constituents employed. 

To avoid a catastrophic 2008 meltdown, General Motors and other automakers are being proactive. 

General Motors CEO Mary Barra  is implementing billions of dollars in cost-cutting measures in preparation for the next economic downturn. Shifting the company’s focus toward costly, emerging technologies such as autonomous and fully electric vehicles.  

 Shrinking its employee ranks is part of the plan, especially on the manufacturing side of its business, but GM also is sending a message that it’s working to change the makeup of the work force that remains.

“We are going to continue to hire, because when we look at the skill sets that we need for the future, the vehicle has become much more software-oriented, when you think about the hundreds of millions of lines of code that are in a vehicle that operates today,” “That’s only going to increase.”     Mary Barra

Just the first round……….

This is just first round of layoffs and plant closures.    Ford Motor Company is planning to stop building every sedan except the Mustang, and the Focus which will be built in China.   Unlike General Motors, Ford doesn’t plan to close any plants, however some shifts may be eliminated.  Most of Fords sedans are assembled in Mexico.   

Tesla and the new world order

A few years ago the California Air Resources Board required 15 percent of cars sold in California to be all-electric, plug-in hybrid electric or hydrogen vehicles.  This requirement would cost the industry billions in an untested market.  Billions more to build a hydrogen car.  Initially most of the industry converted gas engines for short range electric engines in existing models.    In 2010, GM Introduced one of the first plug in hybrids, the Chevrolet Volt, which allow the car to drive on pure electric power for up to 60 miles and then the car combustion engine powered the car and recharged the battery. 

Enter the California Fuel Cell Partnership:   In January 1999, two state government agencies—California Air Resources Board and California Energy Commission joined with six private sector companies—Ballard Power Systems, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company, BP, Shell Hydrogen and ChevronTexaco—to form the California Fuel Cell Partnership. Headquartered in West Sacrmamento.  The goal was to demonstrate and promote the potential for fuel cell vehicles as a clean, safe, and practical alternative to vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. Within a very short time, other government agencies and private businesses became members.  Today, the members include Hyundai, Volkswagen, Nissan, Toyota, Honda and General Motors.  Today there are three hydrogen fuel cell cars for sale in selected markets.  Honda Clarity, Hyundai Nexo and the Toyota Mirai. The challenge for hydrogen vehicles is suppliers of hydrogen and a network of fueling stations.  

In 2010 Nissan introduced the Leaf, one of the first all electric cars sold in several countries including the United States.  Nearly 400,000 Leafs has been sold globally.  Most of the Leafs sold in the US were sold in California.  Initially the Leaf had a range of less than 80 miles.  The newest models have a range of 151 miles.

In 2012, Tesla Inc. A small company in Northern California. Introduced the first full size luxury, all electric car called the Model S.  The standard Model S had a driving  range of 208 miles, more than double the Leaf . Buyers could  increase the driving range to over 300 miles by opting for a larger battery.  By 2016 the Model S was the second best selling electric vehicle in the world. 

While sales of nearly all combustion engines passengers cars are down.  Sales for Tesla’s Model 3 us up over 400%  It was the sixth best selling sedan last month in the United States. 

  American and Domestic automakers are investing more than 100 billion dollars to bring more electric and  hydrogen vehicles to the marketplace. 

The transition in the Auto Industry is troublesome for Donald Trump as some workers will not survive.   The proactive measures taken by Ford and General Motors to avoid a repeat of the 2008 meltdown may not be good for the President, however it is good for America. 

CityFella 

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The Hyundai Kona EV is Coming to California


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Actually Hyundai’s Kona is already here and is being sold all over the United States and Canada. However, the Kona EV (Electric Vehicle) initially will only be sold in the Golden State.   The New Hyundai’s funky looking subcompact SUV was introduced last spring. 

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Hyundai Kona (W combustion engine)

Subcompact SUV’s are on fire and the Kona is what the struggling car maker needed.  Hyundai, Kia, Genesis group is car rich and SUV poor at a time when more people are buying SUV’s 

 Hyundai’s Kona is the first vehicle sold with a combustion engine and an all electric engine.    Hyundai says the Kona will have an electric range of  258 miles, which is higher than Nissan, the new Jaguar, the future Audi E tron and Chevy’s Bolt.  The only electric vehicle has a longer range, is Tesla. 

Timing

Pricing for the Kona EV starts at $37,000 before the $7500 Federal Tax Credit (for purchasers of an electric car ).   The Electric Kona should be on sales early next year, however only in California and eventually to the rest of the country.      

Tesla’s Model 3 is a bonafide hit. Out selling established players like, the Ford Fusion and the Nissan Altima.  As a result, by the time the Kona hits the market  Tesla buyers tax credit will be cut in half.   Tesla says they plan to sell a basic Model 3, at $35,000 base price, however this model with have a range of 220 miles. 

Yes Matilda, an Electic Car is in your future

Like the Model 3,   Kona EV is a hit before it hits showrooms.    Hyundai says, there is currently a 10 month wait for the electric vehicle.  While there isn’t much of a demand for cars these days there is a huge demand for electric vehicles.

Tesla’s Model 3, sold more cars than the entire brand of Mercedes, BMW, and Audi.  The Model 3, is the fifth bestselling car in the US,  only the Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Honda Accord, and the Toyota Corolla is out selling the Model 3 and the average price of the Model 3 is more than double of those makes. 

Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have committed billions to the Electric market.  Mercedes Benz may jointly build electric cars with Tesla.  Volkswagen and Ford are talking about jointly building electric cars. 

Big Man Rides

While I haven’t completed a full test of the combustion Kona, I like the funkyness of the car  But it is a subcompact. Leg room for this 6.4 giant was just ok, and its a narrow vehicle .  It was tolerable but only for small jonts. It put together well and rides well for a subcompact .   For big people the nice driving yet homely Chevy Bolt has more room and the price for the two are nearly the same , however the driving range on the Hyundai is a little longer. Average sized people  wont have issue with the Kona.   

As for SUV’s the  Hyundai Kona is exceptional.  Its the only Subcompact SUV that offers two engine choices, and the only Subcompact that offers 4 wheel drive*     *The Kona EV will is only offered as a two wheel drive car. 

So if you live in the other 49 states and want a Hyundai Kona EV you’ll have to wait.  and if you live in the Golden State and want a Hyundai Kona EV, you’ll need to zip on down to your nearest Hyundai dealer and leave your deposit. What we learned from the Tesla, the line will only grow longer. 

CityFella

Something old and different for Friday 9-28-2018 (yes, there’s video)


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Spotted on the streets of Sacramento 

A vintage 1955 Buick Century Cailfornia Highway Patrol Car 20180914_073145-353455096.jpg

These cars were specificly built for the CHP.

They had the Special 48 coupe body, Century engines and Roadmaster brakes  (This was back in the day when GM built different engines and parts for each divison) They were among the first cars (Code name: Century 68) built specifically for police use. The half of cars were equipped with a three speed column shift manual transmission.  The other half was built with a less reliable Dynaflow automatic transmisson.

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Like all, 1955 Buicks, the (Century 68) featured updated styling with “tower” tailights and a large “widescreen” front grile.  Century models carried, like the top-of-the-line Roadmaster, four portholes alongside their front fenders to denote the high-output of their V-8s.  The Century series was Buick’s performer, combining the Special’s lightweight bodies with the Roadmaster’s 322-cubic-inch OHV V-8.   The 9.0:1-compression-ratio engine inhaled through a Carter four-barrel carburetor and produced a gross-rated 236 horsepower at 4600 rpm.

“A Beast”

According to the April 1955 issue of Highway Patrolman Magazine, “During dynamometer tests, the car developed 148 horsepower at the rear wheels and reached a wheel speed if 108 mph against the 4-horsepower drag of the machine.  At this point, the test was terminated abruptly when the rubber tread spun off the tires of one of the rear wheels that was being tested.

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A Star is Born! 

Highway Patrol: Best of Season 2 (2-DVD)

“Highway Patrol” was on the air for four seasons from 1955 to 1959.  It still airs in syndication.
 It is said, there are only a couple of the Century 68 on the road, one wonders if the car spotted in Saramento is one of the two?

This Episode “Lady Bandit’s doesn’t feature the Century’s with the exception of the opening. 

Enjoy!!

CityFella
Sources: MotorTrend, Wikipeda

 

You’ve Heard of Berkeley. Is Merced the Future of the University of California?


 

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By: Jennifer Medina/New York Times

 

As he walks to class at the University of California, Merced, Freddie Virgen sees a sea of faces in various shades of brown. He is as likely to hear banda corridos blaring out of his classmates’ earphones as hip-hop. With affectionate embraces, he greets fellow members of Hermanos Unidos, a peer support group for Latinos that is one of the largest student organizations on campus.

“When I looked at other campuses, I would find myself feeling that I didn’t belong, like I’d stick out,” he said. “This was the only place where I saw so many students I could connect to, who would get where I was coming from. Even if it felt like academic shock, it wouldn’t feel like culture shock.”

In the decades since a ballot measure banned affirmative action in California’s public institutions, the University of California has faced persistent criticism that it is inadequately serving Latinos, the state’s largest ethnic group. The disparity between the state’s population and its university enrollment is most stark at the state’s flagship campuses: at University of California, Los Angeles, Latinos make up about 21 percent of all students; at Berkeley, they account for less than 13 percent.

But at Merced, the newest addition to the 10-campus University of California system, about 53 percent of the undergraduates are Latino, most closely mirroring the demographics of the nation’s most diverse state.

 

Click the Link  Below for the Rest of the story

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/19/us/university-california-merced-latino-students.html 

 

 

The Golden State Warriors Have Broken the NBA


The reigning NBA champions now have another All-Star in DeMarcus Cousins, and the entire league is left to wonder: What’s the point?

By: Ben Cohen/Wall Street Journal

Remember when the Los Angeles Lakers signed LeBron James? That was adorable.

The Golden State Warriors responded to one of the most seismic moves the NBA has ever seen on Monday night by reminding the other 29 teams in the league they’re only nominally playing the same game. They pulled off the surprise of the summer: a one-year, $5.3 million bargain deal with free agent DeMarcus Cousins. Which means they now have five players from last year’s NBA All-Star Game on the same team that won last year’s championship, and the one the year before that, and probably next year’s, too.

Now it’s worth asking the question that echoed around the league as demoralized teams began to reckon with the depressing reality that the Warriors, who are coming off what is statistically the best four-year stretch in the history of professional basketball, might have gotten even better: Um, how?

The first thing that’s important to understand is that the DeMarcus Cousins they’re getting isn’t the DeMarcus Cousins who is used to demolishing the other extraordinarily large human beings who call themselves NBA centers. Not too long ago, Cousins was described as “the best big man in our game” by someone who would know: LeBron James.

But there’s a reason he was there for the taking. The four-time All-Star tore his Achilles tendon in January, a devastating injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the season and should keep him on the bench for his first few months in Golden State, and not even the Warriors are light years enough ahead of the NBA to know how Cousins will recover. He could be a shadow of himself, and his mercurial personality could upset the Warriors’ chemistry, and things could get so bad for Golden State they might actually lose a game in the Finals. Or he could be the discount they didn’t need.

Cousins was worth the gamble either way. And that’s because it wasn’t really a gamble.

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“Pow”

Click the link below for the rest of the story

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-golden-state-warriors-have-broken-the-nba-1530619138

Mysterious and Troubling Hart SUV crash


The troubling past of a family whose car plunged off a cliff off Highway 1 in Northern California

There were no skid marks

Perhaps the most troubling clue is what investigators didn’t find.There were no skid marks or brake marks in the area leading up to the fatal crash.
And there were no witnesses to help guide police on what happened. The SUV was discovered only after a passer-by saw the mangled wreckage below the cliff.
Data from the vehicle’s software air bag module and software suggest the car had stopped at the scenic highway outcrop overlooking the cliff and then accelerated off the road, said Greg Baarts of the California Highway Patrol’s Northern Division.
And that leads police to believe the crash may have been intentional.
“At this point in our investigation, that is the direction we are going,” Baarts said.

Bruises discovered

Jennifer and Sarah Hart once lived in Minnesota, where Sarah Hart pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic assault involving one of the children in 2010, according to Douglas County court records.
That child had told an elementary school teacher of pain in her stomach and back, and bruises were discovered. Sarah Hart told police she had spanked the child over the edge of the bathtub because of the child’s behavior. She was sentenced to community service and one year of probation.
Then, about 10 months ago, the Harts moved into their home in Woodland, Washington, neighbor Bruce DeKalb said. He said the family was “very private.”
Another neighbor, Bill Groener, said the children were home-schooled and kept inside most of the time.

Pleas for help

DeKalb said Devonte and one of his sisters had told him they were being mistreated. The neighbor recalled two disturbing encounters he had with the children.
“One of the girls came to the door at 1:30 in the morning and said that she needed help and the parents were not treating her properly, and (she) wanted us to protect her,” DeKalb said.
“We ended up getting her back to her parents … and then I went over there the next morning and just checked on things, and everything seemed normal, and we let it go from there.”
DeKalb said Devonte was the only child he saw doing chores outside, such as taking the garbage bins to and from the street.
Then, starting about two weeks ago, Devonte “started coming over asking for food and saying that they were taking meals away from him due to punishment,” DeKalb told HL”It started out as one time a day and escalated up to three times a day, until a week went by and we decided that we needed to get professional help.”
DeKalb said he called Child Protective Services on March 23, and officials arrived just after Jennifer Hart came home from work. But she didn’t answer the door.
Sarah Hart came home soon after, DeKalb said. By the next morning, the family and their vehicle were gone.
Child Protective Services tried to visit the family twice more, on March 26 and 27, but couldn’t make contact, the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services said.
The department said it had no prior history with the Hart family. But the search continues for the three missing children.

Sex under the Capitol Dome: State Senator Tony Mendoza resigns


 

 

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The Me Too\We Said Enough movement is rocking the Golden Dome of California’s State Capitol. Last October a letter circulated by lobbyists, female lawmakers and legislative staff members and some political consultants cited a pervasive culture of harassment in the capitol.  Sexual harassment is common and sexual assaults have taken place in the Capitol.

While some staffers have come forward, many are still afraid to name to harassers as others experienced retaliation after filing formal complaints with the Legislature. 

Unlike state employees and your employer, legislative workers have no civil service protection.

Bills to provide them with whistle blower protection against retaliation has died in the Legislature four years in a row.

Under a new process instituted this year, the Assembly Rules Committee refers complaints deemed valid to an independent law firm — legislators say they believe that will speed the process of assisting victims.

Ten allegations of sexual harassment are pending before the Assembly, according to Speaker Anthony Rendon’s office.

A wave in the dome is in motion and slowly building strength.

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In November, Los Angeles Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra resigned after six women came forward with stories of aggressive attacks by Bocanegra dating back nearly 10 years.  In 2009, Bocanegra  had been disciplined by the Legislature following allegations that he had groped a fellow legislative staffer. In 2010, he forcibly kissed and groped a woman at the MIX Nightclub in Sacramento. http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-bocanegra-accusation-harassment-20171120-story.html

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A week later, Assemblyman Matt Dababneh representing Woodland Hills resigned. After Sacramento lobbyist Pamela Lopez came forward.   Lopez claimed in 2016, Democratic Assemblyman Matt Dababneh followed her into a bathroom in Las Vegas, masturbated in front of her and urged her to touch him.

Another woman, Jessica Yas Barker, alleged that Dababneh routinely spoke of his sexual exploits and made disparaging comments about women while she worked as his subordinate office from June 2009 until December 2010.  Dababneh said, both allegations are false.

In an interview Dababneh said,”My stepping down isn’t out of guilt or out of fear. It’s out of an idea that I think it’s time for me to move on to new opportunities”

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Allegations are growing for Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia from Bell Gardens.  Garcia is one of the faces of the #MeToo movement in government.  Garcia, who is currently on a voluntary unpaid leave of absence as the Assembly investigate the charges.

In 2014, Daniel Fierro told POLITICO as a 25-year-old staffer to Assemblyman Ian Calderon, he was groped by Garcia. He said she cornered him alone after the annual Assembly softball game in Sacramento as he attempted to clean up the dugout. Fierro, who said Garcia appeared inebriated, said she began stroking his back, then squeezed his buttocks and attempted to touch his crotch before he extricated himself and quickly left.

Fierro is not the only one claiming improper advances by Garcia. A prominent Sacramento lobbyist says she also accosted him in May 2017, when she cornered him, made a graphic sexual proposal, and tried to grab his crotch at a political fundraiser. He spoke to POLITICO on the condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisals.

The lobbyist, who represents a major industry association, said that Garcia appeared to have been drinking heavily at a fundraiser hosted by Governor Jerry Brown for state Senator Josh Newman at the de Veres bar in Sacramento. He said he was heading out the door in part to avoid the assemblywoman — who had been increasingly “flirtatious” and had called him on a few occasions before for late night drinks which he repeatedly declined.  She spotted him and said,“Where are you going?” the lobbyist said.

“She came back and was whispering real close and I could smell the booze and see she was pretty far gone,’’ he said. “She looked at me for a second and said, “I’ve set a goal for myself to fuck you.”

At that point, Garcia “stepped in front of me and reaches out and is grabbing for my crotch,’’ he said. That was “the line in the sand,” according to the lobbyist, and he stopped her. “I was four inches from her, eyeball to eyeball — and I said, ‘That ain’t gonna happen.’”

But his account of the groping incident was corroborated by another high profile political operative in Sacramento, who declined to be named for publication. She said at the time the lobbyist was both angered and “humiliated” by the encounter, and disturbed that his sexual rejection of Garcia could have implications for his industry.

Both she — and the lobbyist — believe it may already have.

The Cristina Garcia sexual-harassment scandal expanded when J. David Kernick then a field representative to Garcia,  engaged in a night of heavy drinking and urged about a half-dozen staffers to play spin the bottle, the game in which players end up kissing.

Garcia “was seemingly not critical of [Kernick’s] work until after he questioned the appropriateness of her suggestion that after a fundraiser at a whiskey bar that [he] sit on the floor of her hotel room and play spin the bottle,”

In  his complaint to the State Fair Housing and Employment. Kernick said that after “protesting this sexual harassment,” he was written up for insubordination and fired. Kernick said the write-up prevented him from finding another job in politics.

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Yesterday, Democratic State Senator Tony Mendoza representing Los Angeles resigned hours before a possible vote to expel him .

Senator Mendoza’s has denied the accusations made by six women and said the investigation was unfair, illegal and racially motivated.  He say’s he intends to sue.

The Attorneys conducting the investigation concluded that Senator Mendoza “more likely than not” engaged in behavior such as offering a 19-year-old intern alcohol in a hotel suite at a Democratic event, suggesting a young woman in a Senate fellowship take a vacation with him and rent a room in his house, and asking several women about their romantic lives.

The investigation found that Mendoza likely engaged in unwanted “flirtatious or sexually suggestive” behavior with six women, including four subordinates, a lobbyist and a young woman in a fellowship with another lawmaker.

He is the third California lawmaker to resign over sexual misconduct allegations since the #MeToo movement erupted nationally last fall, leading millions of women to share their experiences on social media.

The events surrounding the 46 year old married Senator sounds more like “Dynasty” than the Real Housewives.   

Three of Mendoza’s aids were fired after meeting with  the Senate Rules Committee staff and detailed allegations that Mendoza engaged in a pattern of inappropriate behavior with his district director Ava Perez.
Multiple sources told The Sacramento Bee that Mendoza,  invited the young woman back to his place to review resumes, including hers, on the night of a party at the Mix Nightclub Downtown. The woman, Ana Perez worked as a fellow in his office through a prestigious Sacramento State program that places graduates in legislative offices for 11 months
At least two of his aides complained about the way Mendoza’s district director, Perez treated them. One questioned why she was even working for the Senate given her felony record for lying to a grand jury to cover up campaign finance fraud in Commerce, sources said.
Mendoza has repeatedly denied firing the aids for complaining.  As for Perez and her criminal background, he believes in second chances.  As for the outstead aids, they are silenced by confidentially agreements.  Its not uncommon for aids to sign such agreements.

I’m leaving, but not QUIETLY!

In a Richard Nixon-esk exit.   Mendoza went after the leader of the Senate and former roomate  Kevin de Leon in his resignation letter.

“Its clean that de Leon will not rest until he has my head on a platter to convince the MeeToo movement of his sincerity in supporting the cause.

He wrote, that he wasn’t able to see the evidence against him and was ordered to remain silent about the allegations. He said he couldn’t get a fair hearing with so many of his fellow Democrats running for higher office and thinking about their own political futures.   He called the Senate’s process farcical and  “more likely than not” was a low standard of proof that didn’t merit a penalty as high as expulsion.
He said, he might run for his seat in the fall

 

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Hear the stories, plan your defense,see the letter Click on the link below

 https://www.wesaidenough.com/home