Steinberg: Ron Calderon was unsuited for California Film Commission

ccadelago@sacbee.comNovember 1, 2013 

Senator Darrell Steinberg speaks to the media Thursday about removing Sen. Ronald Calderon from the California Film Commission. The FBI alleged State Sen. Ron Calderon accepted about $88,000 in bribes from an undercover FBI agent posing as a film studio owner and from a Southern California hospital executive during a wide-ranging probe into his conduct as a legislator, according to a 124-page affidavit published online Wednesday by cable news network Al Jazeera America.

PAUL KITAGAKI JR. — pkitagaki@sacbee.com

Lawmakers took an extraordinary step to remove embattled Sen. Ron Calderon from the California Film Commission, a post he was entitled to hold until at least the end of his term.

On Thursday, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg announced that the Senate Rules Committee, which he leads, had removed Calderon from the commission effective immediately. But the law appears to allow the Montebello Democrat to remain on the panel through the end of 2014.

A Steinberg spokesman cited a provision of the law stating that state lawmakers appointed to the commission can participate “to the extent that participation is not incompatible with his or her position as a Member of the Legislature.”

“These are not actions taken lightly,” spokesman Rhys Williams said. “We reviewed the relevant rules, obtained the advice of the legislative counsel, and the Senate Rules Committee voted unanimously (5-0) to take the action.”

Calderon is at the center of a federal probe into allegations that he accepted more than $60,000 in bribes from an undercover FBI agent posing as a film studio owner. Even the appearance of impropriety dictates that Calderon be removed from the film commission, said Steinberg, D-Sacramento.

Film Commission Director Amy Lemisch said she considered the Senate’s action final.

“I’ve notified the other members of the board that (Calderon) was removed,” she said.

Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago

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