10:00 PM PDT on Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Press-Enterprise

Just when does Senate Republican leader-elect Bob Dutton get to drop the “elect?”

The transition had long been set for Wednesday. Earlier this month, Senate GOP head honcho Dennis Hollingsworth said Dutton would be taking over then, “rain or shine, budget or no budget.”

There were no moving boxes as last week ended. Both Hollingsworth and Dutton said Hollingsworth may stay on longer if agreement on a budget — it’s been 60 days since the start of the state’s fiscal year — is imminent.

Dutton, who locked up the votes to become leader months ago, said it makes sense to hold off on the switch if a budget deal is nearly complete.

Not that there are any signs of that. On Tuesday, Democrats and Republicans are expected to debate dueling budget plans, with nothing expected to pass.

“If there’s no indication that people are negotiating, there’s no reason to wait,” said Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, of the transition.

In any event, Dutton said he’ll be in the leader’s office no later than Sept. 8.

Watch for the moving boxes.

Lewis on Ramos

Inland Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, said last week that the ongoing corruption scandals in San Bernardino County have not affected his work in Washington.

“At the same time, we have to put the highest priority on ending that” culture of corruption in San Bernardino County, Lewis said during a meeting with reporters and editors at The Press-Enterprise.

When asked about who he thought were local leaders with a bright future in elected politics, Lewis said he was concerned about an inflow of quality people.

He cited San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos, whose office is prosecuting former county assessor Bill Postmus and others, as someone who has done a good job and has a high-profile platform as district attorney.

But without providing specifics, Lewis said Ramos, who has publicly expressed interest in running for Congress, has “stubbed his toe” a bit in recent months.

Another top county Republican also has weighed in on the ongoing corruption probe. Senate Republican leader-elect Bob Dutton said recently he thought there were some “political motivations” in the inquiry, without mentioning Ramos.

“I think there are some people using the process for political gain,” Dutton said.

Ramos has consistently denied that he has political motivations in prosecuting Postmus and other former county officials.

Tea for two

Hordes of tea party movement supporters were expected among the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Saturday for Fox News host Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally to promote traditional American values.

While not billed as a tea party event — or even a political rally — some observers said the event could provide an indication of the conservative movement’s size and might, with November’s pivotal midterm elections just two months away.

No area lawmakers were expected to attend the event, which featured former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Still, Inland Reps. Jerry Lewis and Darrell Issa, R-Vista, spoke favorably about the tea party cause in recent days.

Lewis said last week that he had attended a tea party event in Adelanto, describing the supporters as regular blue-collar residents who are worried about high taxes and the impacts of the new health care bill.

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