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More fallout from the Rosario Marin resignation, Director of CA Consumer Affairs, Carrie Lopez, quits

March 28th, 2009 · 18 Comments

Carrie Lopez, the Director of California’s Department of Consumer Affairs, turned in her resignation letter to Governor Schwarzenegger yesterday. Her expenses had been under investigation after The LA Times revealed that she charged the state for transportation to a Justin Timberlake concert at the Staples Center back in 2007. The tickets for Lopez and her daughter had been paid for by Sempra Energy. Her resignation follows that of her former boss, Rosario Marin, who led the State and Consumer Services Agency.

It was also revealed that Lopez charged the state for meals on at least two occasions when records showed that she was being fed courtesy of event hosts, Sempra and Bank of America. To compound matters, Lopez had indicated that she may have not eaten at those events…which begs the question, ‘Why was she charging for those meals in the first place?’ So many of us here in the Golden State have to brown bag it, especially in these tough times that charging for something that is already being paid for certainly does raise red flags.

Fortunately, Lopez has agreed to reimburse the state for any expenses that cannot be justified. I am glad that she’s doing this. To me, this illustrates that Carrie Lopez is willing to amend for any wrong doing and is trying to do right by way of the California taxpayer. She has already repaid the state for the transportation to the Timberlake concert and has refunded the cost of the tickets and the food to the energy company as reported by the LA Times. Sometimes leaders have to fall on their swords, and if in fact, more questionable expenses were found in the audit of Lopez’s reports, then she is doing right by leaving her office and giving someone else an opportunity to serve.

As Seneca has stated before, “For Latinos who are acting in the public arena as elected or appointed officials and career public servants, it becomes an obligation to demonstrate respect for the public concerns on ethical behavior.” Thank you for your service Carrie Lopez and for leaving your office with dignity. We have seen what happens when people under ethics investigations have to go out screaming and kicking, and it isn’t always pretty.

Photo Credit: Carrie Lopez, Director of CA Department of Consumer Affairs until April 3, 2009, www.dca.ca.gov

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Tags: ethics · Rosario Marin

18 responses so far ↓

  • 1 wendy carrillo // Mar 28, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    I’m sure the LA Times is not telling the entire story. Would not be a first.
    It’s unfortunate her boss was caught double dipping and the effects have trickled down.
    These are two different women being judged the same.
    It also doesn’t help that right wing conservative talk radio shows need ratings and get them by exploiting the story and putting her head on a stick. It’s a very very dangerous way to manipulate the public.
    I think she got screwed by the Governor’s office. She’s expendable and not valued.
    I don’t know what else is in the report, but I’m sure there is a level of sensationalism attached.
    If anything, I think that as women, and as Latina’s, there are many lessons to be learned from this.

  • 2 DelToro // Mar 28, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    Yeah I’m sure your right Wendy its the sensationalism not the fact that another public figure exploited her position to the detriment of the taxpayer. When will the people on this site realize it is the person not the etnicity that is the problem? It seems that some of these radio programs you are talking about are the only ones willing to attempt to educate the public on how slimey these people are. Unlike our so-called journalists they are the only ones willing to expose all these people no matter political affiliation. Or I guess we can give all the latino/latina named people a pass since they are just looking out for “our” best interest. Jesus this is exhausting.

  • 3 webmaster // Mar 28, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    DelToro,

    In the original post, I never said that Carrie’s ethnicity is the problem, and Wendy didn’t say that it was either. That certainly isn’t the conclusion we are drawing.

    What Wendy is implying is that with so few Latinas in positions of leadership in CA, this incident with Carrie Lopez has consequences for other Latinos/as. Carrie’s job is to look out for the best interest of all Californians, and if you haven’t noticed, Latinos are a large portion of the CA population.

    Like it or not, race and ethnicity still matter.

    As for radio programs, I don’t listen to the variety that bash people. I tend to stick to NPR and read for my sources of news. AM radio banter isn’t my cup of tea, and AM radio tends to be dominated by the right.

  • 4 DelToro // Mar 28, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    I agree with you on one thing webmaster, race is still very much apart of things. As long as we keep bringing it up by setting ourselves apart it always will be. The next few generations have a real opportunity to not let this happen but my guess is with all that is thrown in their face by the rest of us they will eventually be sullyed.

  • 5 DelToro // Mar 28, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    PS- I disagree with you that all AM radio is the same. I thought so too until I listned to a few programs and found some real common sense. As for NPR I think their agenda is as glaring as LA Times or NYT. IMHO.

  • 6 Jesus (Hay-soos) // Mar 28, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Webmaster,

    Try listening to Pacifica Radio for a change. It’s on the internet too.

  • 7 reenee // Mar 28, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Charlotte Whitton, a well known Canadian feminist once quipped: “Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.”
    If history tells us anything at all, it’s that this can and will apply to men and women of color who have attained high office. Like it or not, there is a faction out there waiting to see them fail. They want the chance to say, “See? I told you so!”
    Obviously, a person’s character and integrity is what will either distinguish them or extinguish them, however, if they are either brown or black, they might want to put extra effort into not being seduced by the money and power at their disposal, because someone will be watching.

  • 8 Mexitli // Mar 29, 2009 at 12:02 am

    Well, IMO, the California’s Department of Consumer Affairs is staffed with idiots PERIOD! They have authority over the CA State Contractor’s State License Board.

    Only the CA Energy Commission has more idiots.

    These two agencies should be abolished and the employees should compete in the market place for employment and/or opportunity like everyone else.

    These two agencies combined have done more harm to CA businesses than sub-prime mortgages.

    Having said that, what these ladies have done strikes me as small change. I do not see it triggering a minor infraction, let alone anything more serious.

    If an employee of mine had done these same things without my prior knowledge only to find out later I would say something like “Next time ask.”

    It’s they way the other employees perceive what transpires that counts.

    It’s no big deal and there’s no need to make a big deal out of it. There may have been some insurance problems in the event of an accident but in my view it’s no harm, no foul.

    No sense in firing a good producer over a tonteria.

  • 9 webmaster // Mar 29, 2009 at 8:10 am

    Nice comment Reenee.

    Jesus, I do listen to Pacifica radio sometimes. And I also listen to some Christian broadcasting, so I can understand what the Christian right is talking about (not necessarily a fan of their agenda).

    Either way, I don’t think that it is fair to bash Carrie Lopez on the radio because in the grand scheme of things, what she did is relatively minor. She did what she did, she’s paying back the state, and she’s leaving her office. It’s done. No need to take her to task on the radio.

  • 10 Bearguez // Mar 29, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    All this further enhances the opinion that we are a culture of idiots.

  • 11 WhatThe.. // Mar 30, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Rosario Marin broke the law, she commited fraud and theft of the State Taxpayer, its very simple. She should have been fired or prosecuted immediately, and those who do the same even up to the Governor’s office the effect should be the same. So much of this self serving behavior we see in Sacramento has become part of the normal pattern of behavior, its just wrong!

  • 12 BettyM // Mar 30, 2009 at 10:53 am

    This is a mess. There is a lesson here and I hope everyone is learning (again….).

  • 13 Michaelr // Mar 31, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    I think Bearguez has a point. I hope that the Timberlake concert was worth it.

  • 14 theKaiser // Apr 3, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    All that higher education and all those political connections couldn’t expand this person’s common sense. What a moron.

  • 15 madashell // Apr 22, 2009 at 12:48 am

    Carrie Lopez has not been accountable to the people of California, not just because she is a thief. I am sure she was not even returning phone calls. She thought she was above the citizens of California. What she thought is that she was in charge, royalty of some kind and now she is off her high horse. I hope she leaves California and goes somewhere where she can take a good look at herself and all the damage she has done.

  • 16 Arnolito // Apr 24, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Man you Latino/as are wicked ! I would suggest you research why so many Latina/os are been pushed out of Sacramento. It’s not only construction and auto workers going to the unemployment lines. As a hint try power struggle.

  • 17 Buey // May 13, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    If she was an office assistant, she’d be fired & prosecuted, not given the chance to resign “with dignity.” The culture of entitlement and impunity that exists in the higher levels of business & government won’t be corrected soon, so stand by for more of the same. Carrie Lopez only differed from the other skunks in terms of her ethnicity & the fact she was such a petty thief, when she could’ve stolen millions.

  • 18 Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s former assistant pleads guilty to theft // May 18, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    [...] bonuses at the public’s expense. We just had a similar incident here in California with Carrie Lopez. [...]

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