The L.A. politics chisme mill flooded my telephone with texts and calls this morning. Was it true that Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving?
My rapid thought:
Not the candidate for the L.A. Metropolis Council 14th District seat held by Kevin de León in a race that’s roiling Eastside politics.
Not the Roosevelt Excessive and Cal State Los Angeles graduate who loves to talk to college students and neighborhood teams to let Latinas know that extra of them are wanted in politics.
Not the previous radio character who used to host a public affairs present on Energy 106 known as “Information Is Energy” that profiled native heroes and urged Latinos to uplift our neighborhood always.
Not the daughter of Mexican and Salvadoran immigrants who has fought the great combat in Sacramento for undocumented Californians and to get restitution for girls sterilized by the state with out their consent.
Yep, Wendy. The chisme turned out to be true.
Carrillo, 43, was booked Friday morning on suspicion of driving underneath the affect and being concerned in a site visitors collision whereas having a excessive blood-alcohol rely — in different phrases, double the authorized restrict or extra. A regulation enforcement supply mentioned that police responded round 1:30 a.m. to the 6200 block of Monterey Street close to Highland Park, the place a motorist had struck two parked vehicles.
In an announcement launched earlier than she left jail, Carrillo apologized, although she didn’t say something about an arrest or allegedly driving whereas intoxicated. “I have to adhere to a better normal that calls for private accountability for my conduct and I settle for duty for my actions,” Carrillo wrote. “I intend to hunt the mandatory assist and assist.”
Oy vey, Wendy.
Thought of one in all De León’s two predominant challengers, her arrest will inevitably launch a sea of “Wino Wendy” opposition mailers from now till the March main. Whether or not her likelihood is kaput is one thing Eastside voters get to resolve — if she stays within the race. However she will not declare the ethical excessive floor in opposition to De León, who’s nonetheless attempting to maneuver on after he mocked Black political energy on a leaked tape that upended Metropolis Corridor.
It’s one factor to be caught speaking bigoted trash in a secretly recorded dialog. It’s one other to get behind the wheel after too many drinks and crash into the night time.
That stain to Carrillo’s fame and profession is everlasting. She’s not going to be regarded as only a homegrown champion of the Eastside. She’s the newest Latina politician to make her constituents proud, then embarrass them with silly falls from grace that by no means needed to occur.
In 2018, it was Bell-area Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, who was stripped of her committee assignments after being investigated for allegedly sexually harassing a male staffer years earlier. Although cleared of that cost, Garcia was discovered to have violated the Meeting’s sexual harassment coverage for “generally and pervasively” utilizing foul language.
Final 12 months, it was then-L.A. Metropolis Council President Nury Martinez, the primary Latina to carry that place and somebody who reveled in presenting herself as la más chingona — the boss bitch — of Metropolis Corridor. She resigned after she appeared on the identical tape as De León, uttering anti-Black and anti-Oaxacan nonsense.
This summer time, Riverside Metropolis Councilmember Clarissa Cervantes was arrested for the second time on drunk driving fees simply weeks after having advised a choose, “Every day I carry regret and promise to by no means repeat these actions.” That hasn’t stopped the 32-year-old from persevering with to run for the Meeting seat held by her sister, Sabrina.
Politicians of all genders and ethnicities mess up, in fact. However Carrillo’s arrest is very disappointing, coming in a 12 months the place Los Angeles misplaced two legendary Latina politicians: former L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina and former Assemblymember Cindy Montañez. The 2 leaned on their backgrounds to combat in opposition to a racist, macho world that might be higher if solely extra mujeres had a say in it.
Molina and Montañez have been beloved exactly as a result of they held themselves to a better normal as Latinas, as a result of allies and enemies alike knew that they have been true public servants — no approach would they get caught violating the general public’s belief, whether or not on or off the job.
Driving whereas boozed up as an elected official is as dangerous a center finger to common people as you can provide.
You’re at all times a idiot for those who drink and drive. At the moment of Uber and Lyft, you’re a straight-up pendejo. If you’re a politician and do this, you in all probability shouldn’t be in workplace. Constituents entrust to you the duty of devising coverage and making issues run proper. The very last thing they should fear about is you smashing into their vehicles early within the morning.
It’s particularly maddening that Carrillo received caught up in an simply avoidable mistake. In 2020, she was reprimanded by then-Meeting Speaker Anthony Rendon for “unwelcome” habits after she was accused of inappropriately hugging and kissing an worker. Did she not notice that opponents have had her underneath a microscope ever since?
It’s much more irritating when you think about that Carrillo can lean on mentors like state Sen. Maria Elena Durazo and former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and a roster of buddies throughout the Eastside, every time she wants assist. Did nobody in that circle suppose to have a handler round Carrillo at each public look, within the lead-up to one of the crucial contentious political races to hit the Eastside in a long time?
I’m sadly acquainted with drunk driving arrests. Pals have misplaced their jobs and relationships. My father was collared at the least twice once I was a younger baby, though he’s been sober now for over 40 years. Carrillo ought to take no matter authorized penalties could come her approach and never ask for any particular therapy. Then, she ought to spend the remainder of her life and profession urging everybody to not drink and drive — and supply herself as a cautionary story.
Already, calls are coming for Carrillo to drop out of the council race, and even resign her Meeting put up. She in all probability received’t, however she ought to at the least give it some thought — as a lesson in humility, and as a reminder of what might’ve been.
I nonetheless keep in mind when she and I met at her household residence in Boyle Heights within the spring, after she advised me she was operating for Metropolis Council. We walked down Avenida Cesar Chavez, the place shopkeepers and pedestrians greeted her with real pleasure.
She forged herself because the anti-De León, somebody who wouldn’t embarrass Latinos and the Eastside with hubris — and he or she additionally claimed the Eastside deserved somebody who truly cared. We noticed streets in disrepair, trash inside planters, historic murals tagged past recognition.
“It’s not even about Kevin,” Carrillo mentioned then. “It’s about respecting this neighborhood.”
A DUI arrest is just not respecting the neighborhood. All you needed to do was name an Uber.