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DOWNEY — The Downey City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to demand Sen. Ron Calderon’s resignation, citing his involvement in a federal investigation for the alleged solicitation of bribes.
The motion was brought forward by Councilman Alex Saab, who said he was “disgusted” after reading the leaked affidavit that revealed the FBI’s investigation into Calderon.
Calderon was stripped of his committee assignments Tuesday. He was also removed as a board member of the California Latino Legislative Caucus.
Below is the complete statement that Saab read Tuesday:
“The reason I asked this be placed on the agenda tonight is because I felt so strongly that we must take a stand against this kind of behavior by other elected officials, and that we demand that Sen. Ron Calderon do that right thing and step down from office.
“The allegation, though yet unproven, is serious enough to warrant this response. The allegation that an elected official has accepted money and other favors in exchange for officials acts is the most serious breach of the public trust and the oath which we have all taken. This negativity, this whirlwind of corruption and this embarrassment to his constituents was caused by Sen. Calderon and nobody else, and the very idea that we should sit idle and do nothing and say nothing is simply not acceptable to me.
“Clearly we all agree and we all respect the constitutional protections of the presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law, and clearly there may have been some violations when the FBI affidavits were leaked, however, that does not take the fact away that the information which has been revealed is damning to the residents of not only the 30th District, but to the entire region including Downey, and the entire state of California.
“Enough with the smokescreens and enough with the excuses. I have said time and time again, we have certain constitutional protections in place which are indeed our fundamental rights as U.S. citizens, but we do not have a fundamental right to be an elected official and whenever something this egregious, this blatant occurs, there has to be outrage. The right thing to do is to step aside and allow the very residents whom you are suppose to represent, and be a model to, to be properly represented without having their elected official distracted from their personal indiscretions.
“I have read the affidavit and frankly am disgusted by what I read. Every elected official takes a solemn oath to faithfully discharge their duties and when this is jeopardized, when this oath becomes murky and a person is unable to faithfully perform their duties because of the distractions they caused, then that elected official must step down.
“We are a Character Counts city: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. These aren’t just words that were haphazardly crated or that we pinned on a wall and expect our kids to abide by. These are a mantra we need to act upon in everything we do as a city and as elected officials. And as leaders and elected officials of this great city of Downey, must take a tough stance and lead by example whenever we see wrongdoing. I expect to be held to this same standard as your councilman and I hope that Sen. Calderon would do the right thing and step aside for sake of poisoning the trust people have in our form of government and in our democracy.”
Mayor Mario Guerra, a candidate for state senate, released a statement after the vote.
“The public must be able to trust their elected officials to do the right thing. Ron Calderon has violated the public’s trust and does not deserve to represent the honest, hard working people of this district. The residents not only deserve an apology, they deserve someone with the courage to do what’s right no matter what.
“We are a Character Counts community and our values and ethics are important. We are role models for our youth. We need to set the example. Senator Calderon’s behavior is shameful and unacceptable. I hope he decides to do what is right for the fine people of this district. This is a stain on all elected officials and representatives entrusted to public service.
“The single most important aspect of being a public servant and representative is character and that includes the precepts of being honest, working for those whom elected us, and doing what’s right when nobody is watching. Soliciting and accepting bribes to vote in a manner that would promote special interests is dishonest, deceitful and shameful. We need representatives in Sacramento who understand the true meaning of a public servant as being someone who does what is in the best interests of their constituents – not special interests.
“I will continue to serve the citizens of Downey, our region and State with the utmost character and will do the same for the constituents of the 32nd Senate District. ”
Saab and Guerra are expected to participate in a press conference Wednesday where they will join officials from Norwalk, Bell Gardens, Pico Rivera, Commerce and other surrounding cities in again demanding Calderon’s resignation.