Weekend Open Thread: Janet Nguyen and Tom Daly make the Courage Campaign’s “Hall of Shame!”




Vern here, and yes, it’s THAT exciting day of the year, the time that the Courage Campaign releases its California legislature Hall of Shame winners. [hat-tip Paul Lucas] And THIS glorious year, TWO of the nine distinguished miscreants hail from our illustrious county – Republican State Senator Janet Nguyen and Democrat Assemblyman Tom Daly. I pass you on to…

Hall of Shame

Sen. Janet Nguyen is the first Vietnamese-American state senator in the nation — an achievement for which she deserves praise. That said, Sen. Nguyen boasts a voting record woefully out of step with the values of her district. Eighteen Senators hail from districts less progressive than Nguyen’s, and yet, for the second year in a row, her progressive voting record is tied for dead last in the Senate. Nguyen’s Courage Score of 0 reflects her unmatched consistency in voting against racial and criminal justice for thousands of Californians.

Where do we even begin? Nguyen voted against voting rights for low-level, nonviolent felons (AB 2466). She also voted against removing already served jail time for drug convictions, a policy that disproportionately harms blacks and Latinos (SB 966). Senator Nguyen even voted against protecting child sex trafficking victims from jail time (SB 1129). These inhumane positions stand in opposition to the stances of voters in Nguyen’s district. For example, Nguyen’s district (SD34) voted to reduce overcrowding in prisons and protect children from being tried in court as adults (62% on Prop 57 in 2016). It also voted in favor of repealing California’s Three Strikes Law (68% on Prop 36 in 2012). Nguyen’s constituents support progressive, humane approaches to human rights — why does Nguyen oppose them?

Workers don’t get a fair shake from Nguyen either. She voted against giving farm workers the fair overtime pay almost all other professions receive (AB 1066). And she voted against expanding parental leave policies to be in line with developed nations throughout the world (SB 1166). Nguyen repeatedly fails to support the rights of California men and women in the workplace.

How about the environment? Even a conservative like Nguyen can support environmental justice, right? Guess again. She voted against giving legal protections to those affected by environmental disasters like the Aliso Canyon gas leak (AB 2748). She also voted against requiring cities to identify disadvantaged areas and work toward the reduction of environment and health related risks in those areas (SB 1000). And she voted against measures to ensure that all Californians have access to clean, safe drinking water (SB 1263). When given the chance to help ensure the people of California clean air, healthy water, and environmental regulation, Sen. Nguyen let them down — time and again.

Yes, Nguyen serves a moderate district. But time and again, her constituents in SD34 have proven that they stand for common sense policies. A majority voted to add a tax on tobacco to fund cancer research and health care for low-income Californians (63% on Prop 56 in 2016). They also supported a ballot measure that repeals the ban on bilingual education in order to accommodate the 40% of California people who speak a language other than English (73% on Prop 58 in 2016).

Sen. Nguyen comes from a moderate district, but her votes are repeatedly the most regressive in the entire Senate. She is out of line with her constituents’ values. This needs to change.

See how she voted.

Asm. Tom Daly has returned to the Hall of Shame and, this time, he is the second least progressive Democrat in the Assembly. Despite hailing from a district (AD69) that is more progressive than half those in California, Daly’s Courage Score is just 22 out of 100. Sad! How can Daly in good conscience claim he represents his constituents?

Daly voted against giving legal protections to those affected by environmental disasters, such as the Aliso Canyon gas leak (AB 2748). This bill would have held companies accountable for the harm they cause, but Daly sent a message with his vote that, when push comes to shove, he sides with corporate lobbyists. Why didn’t Daly support it? You think it has something to do with the almost $5,000 he received from the oil and gas industry opposing the bill?

Daly’s district cares about criminal justice reform. A majority of AD69 voted to end the cruel practice of trying children as adults and reduce overcrowding in prisons (68% on Prop 57 in 2016). Does Daly care about making our criminal justice system more humane? Um, no. He voted against eliminating criminal sentences for underage sex trafficking victims (SB 1129).

The voters of AD69 believe in equality for all Californians. They voted by a stunning majority to repeal the ban on bilingual education (80% on Prop 58 in 2016). When Daly had chances to create a level playing field for all Californians, he whiffed. Even on softballs like increasing the length of parental leave (SB 654) and mandating equal pay for women and all races and ethnicities (AB 1676), Asm. Daly struck out. Daly serves a district that supports equality, but fails to use his votes to advance the wishes of his constituents.

Finally, Asm. Daly also holds a special place in the Hall as one of the Assembly’s leading Abstainers. What does this mean? On 22 of the 35 crucial votes includes in our Report Card, Daly didn’t vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ — he failed to cast a vote at all. Maybe Asm. Daly thought Californians wouldn’t see how many occasions he stood on the sidelines while others showed courage — but we noticed. It is hard to believe that on 22 different occasions, faced with an opportunity to take a stand for his constituents, Daly couldn’t even be bothered to cast a vote.

From votes that prioritize special interests over his constituents to repeatedly failing to even cast a vote on key issues, Asm. Daly does not show courage. His constituents deserve better.

 See how he voted.


Well… Vern here again. You know me, wet blanket, party-pooper, devil’s advocate. You look at these two profiles and the seven others, and I don’t see nine politicians exhibiting shameful cowardice, but electorates and Parties that should be ashamed. Did Rocky Chavez ever pretend not to be a conservative? No, but his “progressive” Oceanside constituency still continues to re-elect him. Tom Daly never pretended not to be a corporatist compromise-Dem, and Janet never pretended to be other than whatever sort of mooncalf of a Repuglican she is. This scorecard is valuable for letting voters know how badly their “representatives” are “representing” them, but the folks who vote for Tom and Janet, and the Parties who can’t come up with someone viable and better, are the ones who should be ashamed.

Anyway this is your tardy Weekend Open Thread. Have at it Juice Crew!

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.