Some local Democrats have harsh criticism for Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo of NELA’s District 52.
On Feb. 3, 34 local delegates of the California Democratic Party blocked an automatic endorsement of Wendy Carrillo for re-election as Assemblymember. Several expressed a preference for Carrillo’s primary challenger, mom, gun-safety activist, and fellow Democrat Mia Livas Porter.
Carrillo was one of only 6 Democratic incumbents in the state Assembly to fail to receive an automatic endorsement from the Party.
The East Area Progressive Democrats agree with that strong message of disapproval for Carrillo, whose ethical lapses and questionable judgement include:
- An official reprimand in 2020 by the speaker of the California Assembly for inappropriate workplace conduct, citing allegations that Carrillo hugged and kissed an employee in an unwelcome encounter and that her Chief of Staff, George Esparza, made “inappropriate sexual comments. ”
- Regarding Esparza: Carrillo hired him in 2018. He was federally indicted in May 2020 for his role in the criminal racketeering scheme that prosecutors say was masterminded by now-indicted former CD 14 City Councilmember Jose Huizar, for whom Esparza worked before joining Carrillo’s staff.
The indictment showed that Esparza’s activities in that scheme continued even after his hiring by Carrillo. But Carrillo did not terminate Esparza until June 2020 when local party delegates, led by EAPD, cried foul over his presence on her public payroll. Esparza pleaded guilty to a federal racketeering charge in July 2020.
- And then there’s Carrillo’s trip to a lobbyist-studded convention in Maui in November 2020, when officials were telling residents not to travel during the coronavirus surge. Carrillo defended her attendance by saying she was “developing a further understanding of some of California’s biggest issues. ”
An essential antidote to attacks on democracy is building public trust in honest government. EAPD takes seriously the role of grassroots Democrats to serve in the party structure and to speak up against corruption and for good governance. That’s how accountability happens and we win better representation, responsive to our needs and goals, true to our core values.