Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
Published: Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 – 12:00 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 – 6:19 am

One seat was conspicuously empty when the state Senate convened Monday because Sen. Ron Calderon was, to use the official parlance, “excused on personal business.”

His “personal business” was being arraigned in Los Angeles on federal corruption charges that could imprison him for decades.

After the charges against Calderon, a Montebello Democrat, were announced on Friday, the Senate’s Democrats quickly declared that they want him to resign or take a leave of absence.

If he doesn’t, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said, “the Senate will seek to suspend him.” But on Monday, after another powwow, the Democrats gave Calderon another week to respond to their threat.

A leave would be tantamount to resignation because Calderon has only nine months remaining in office, thanks to term limits.

Were there a plea deal sooner, Calderon would have to resign anyway because Government Code Section 1770(h) plainly says that when an officeholder is convicted of a felony, the office is automatically vacant.

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