Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Gentleman Never Tells

Steve Lopez has a wonderfully snarky column in today's Los Angeles Times. His subject (or target) is Mike Duvall, the former California state assemblyman caught bragging about his sexual conquests during a break in a legislative hearing. He didn't know the camera was rolling and the mic was live.

So maybe I'm not the best person to judge Mike "Spanky" Duvall, the family values crusader from Yorba Linda. He's the unfortunate chap who resigned from the state Assembly last week after he was caught on camera boasting of his sexual conquests and peccadilloes, which include a mistress who wears panties the size of an eye patch.

"So I am getting into spanking her," Duvall told his colleague, Jeff Miller of Corona, while the two sat on the dais during a break at a hearing in Sacramento. They did not know the microphone was on. "Yeah, I like it. . . . She goes, 'I know you like spanking me.' I said, 'Yeah, that's 'cause you're such a bad girl.' "

Not that I don't have my own fetishes. I like to fantasize, for instance, that while two legislators kibitz at an Appropriations Committee hearing in a state with crippling budget problems and a ridiculous load of unfinished business, the knuckleheads are talking about something other than spanking and underpants.

Now, as Mr. Lopez implies, this would be just another story about a hypocritical Family Values guy (and both parties have them) except for one thing: one of his conquests just might be a lobbyist.

Duvall is a gamer, though. Boasting about sextracurricular activities at a government hearing is brazenly bad form, but doing so with a camera in the room puts you in the Stupid Human Hall of Fame. And to make matters worse, one of Duvall's concubines may be a lobbyist with Sempra Energy.

Sempra has spent $800,000 on lobbying the first half of this year, $2,800 of it on Duvall, who was vice chairman of an energy committee and took Sempra's side in four votes this year. So this isn't just a sex scandal. It's a window on Sacramento's notorious pay-to-play culture, and now we're left to wonder if a G-string can buy as much influence as a campaign check.

So, now that Mr. Duvall has resigned, Orange County has to fork out more than $400,000 for a special election, money that could have been used for something more useful to its citizens during this financially tenuous times.

Oh, well, I guess boys will be boys.

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