When the state Legislature reconvenes Wednesday in Sacramento, a local state senator will find himself the target of a resolution calling for his ouster in response to sexual misconduct allegations against him.
Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, has already been stripped of his legislative leadership positions in response to the allegations, but he has resisted calls for him to step down or even take a leave of absence, calling the accusations “unsubstantiated.”
Mendoza said last month he was disappointed at calls for him to step aside, saying the people he represents deserve “an opportunity to hear the truth.”
“I assure them that I will vigorously defend myself to clear my name,” he said.
Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, is expected to introduce a resolution to have Mendoza expelled from the Senate, saying “a simple suspension, with or without pay, is not enough.”
“Many of us have been waiting for Senator Mendoza to do the right thing and resign, but that has not happened,” Vidak said.
Vidak contends that Senate leadership has failed to ask Mendoza to resign, so he will be introducing his resolution calling for the full Senate to vote to expel him. Such a move requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, said last month he asked Mendoza to take a leave of absence, but Mendoza declined. De Leon has said he was “deeply troubled by the quantity and specificity” of the accusations against Mendoza.
According to the Los Angeles Times, three former Mendoza employees claim they were fired after going to their supervisors with concerns about Mendoza’s behavior toward a 23-year-old fellow. One of the former employees contended that Mendoza invited the fellow to his house to work on her resume and invited her to stay with him at his hotel during a political event.
The Sacramento Bee reported that a 19-year-old intern came forward with allegations that Mendoza gave her alcohol in an Anaheim hotel room during a 2008 political convention. The paper also reported that a former aide accused Mendoza of sending her after-hours text messages and inviting her to private meals and a weekend political event in Pebble Beach, even though she was married.
—City News Service