Joe-Baca

11:05 PM PST on Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Press-Enterprise

After leaving legislation to honor Tiger Woods in the proverbial rough, Inland Rep. Joe Baca says a mulligan could be in order sometime in the future — if the scandal-plagued golfer cleans up his act.

Baca recently announced that he has no plans to move forward with his bill seeking the Congressional Gold Medal for Woods, in light of Woods’ admission of “transgressions” in his personal life and rumors of extramarital affairs.

“It’s disappointing, not only for me but for everyone around him,” said Baca, D-Rialto, who keeps a photo of himself with Woods on the wall in his Washington office. “It mars him.”

Yet Baca said Woods’ legacy on the links, where he has had unrivaled success and helped open the door to minority golfers, remains intact.

Baca, a near-scratch golfer himself, said he would reconsider re-introducing the legislation in a future congressional session if Woods can rebuild his image.

“You have to look at what Tiger Woods is going to do with himself — what will he do? How will his character change?” Baca said. “It’s up to him, not me.”

CLOSING LOOPHOLES

Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone is seeking the Republican nomination for the 36th state Senate District and has a host of issues that he finds important.

He supports efforts to create a part-time Legislature and wants to close loopholes in campaign finance laws, he said in an interview last week.

He said he worked to draft a part-time Legislature measure even before he became a candidate but never took it far and laments officials who hop from one elected post to another because they need the job and income.

Stone said it’s unfair for people to try to skirt state campaign finance limits.

“It creates an imbalance when some take advantage of the system,” he said.

“We should not condone illegal campaign donations in any form,” he said. “We need to close the loopholes.”

One of Stone’s potential GOP opponents, Rep. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, was fined $20,000 by the state Fair Political Practices Commission for accepting campaign contributions from the Fresno County Republican Central Committee in excess of state contribution limits.

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