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Re: Probe of Sen. Ron Calderon

The Truth about Perception

Ron Calderon has his hands full and it has nothing to do with his workload. The state senator from Montebello is the focus of some sort of corruption investigation.

His whereabouts unknown, his high-priced attorney declaring his innocence (even though admitting he had no idea what the investigation was about), the senator’s staff refusing to open the door to a public office to the media – no answers, no details, no Senator Ron Calderon.

The only thing left in the wake of the announced probe is perception. How the public perceives the media reports, how we interpret and perceive the senator’s actions and non-actions, and the perception of what and how Senator Calderon’s attorney responds and reacts to media inquiries. Not much, but enough to develop opinions on the matter.

With so many corruption scandals in local government in recent years (Bell, South Gate, John Noguez, Montebello City finances), the reaction of communities can be swift and unforgiving for elected officials who have allegations of misconduct associated with them and their offices.

Impartiality is really limited to having never been associated with illicit, illegal or inappropriate actions while in a position of governance. Otherwise, just the perception of having been involved in actions that violate the public’s trust can be a career ender.

Details on the circumstances that led the FBI to serve warrants at the senator’s Sacramento and Montebello offices will no doubt be told in the coming weeks. But for now all we have is our personal biases, our individual experiences with, and expectations of, our elected officials, and the ability to form conclusions with limited information – also known as the truth of perception.

Richard Garcia

Montebello, CA

An earlier version of this article identified Richard Garcia as Richard Montoya.

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