Blue-ribbon excuses: shoplifting California lawmaker

by Walter Olson on January 19, 2012

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward), who chairs the Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection, has “pleaded no contest to charges that she tried to walk off with $2,500 in clothes.” [L.A. Times via Amy Alkon] “Hayashi spokesman Sam Singer has called the incident ‘a mistake and a misunderstanding.’” [Dublin Patch, KGO] “Hayashi’s attorney, Douglas Rappaport, told reporters that the lawmaker is taking medication for a benign brain tumor and that the ailment may have been responsible for her behavior.” But that doesn’t mean she’ll be taking a medical leave from her duties: according to her attorney, the tumor “is being treated with medication and no longer affects her,” reports the Sacramento Bee, which continues in a skeptical vein: “Medical experts said Monday that it is very rare, however, for a brain tumor that does not require surgery to influence behavior so significantly.” “I am confident that with the close of these proceedings, she will continue to ably serve her constituents with the same talent and passion she has displayed throughout her time in office,” wrote Assembly Speaker John Pérez in a supportive statement.

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DYSPEPSIA GENERATION » Blog Archive » Blue-ribbon excuses: shoplifting California lawmaker
01.19.12 at 9:29 pm

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1 Rliyen 01.19.12 at 11:52 am

Typical. Not to mention the fact that she won’t step down is because, if I remember correctly, she’s termed anyway.

2 mojo 01.19.12 at 12:45 pm

There’s a reason they call it “Hayweird”

3 Scott Jacobs 01.19.12 at 2:37 pm

“I am confident that with the close of these proceedings, she will continue to ably serve her constituents with the same talent and passion she has displayed throughout her time in office,” wrote Assembly Speaker John Pérez without a single detectable hint of irony in a supportive statement.

Fixed that for him.

4 Ron Miller 01.19.12 at 3:45 pm

Ultimately, this is why we have elections.

5 Anonymous Attorney 01.20.12 at 12:58 pm

The county treasurer in Perry County, Pennsylvania, was arrested for shoplifting a few weeks prior to the election day. She kept the arrest secret and was elected. When the arrest surfaced, she ignored calls to step aside (never mind that her position was to be TREASURER)…

She, too, described her attempted heist of jewelry from Sears (yeah, Sears) as a “big misunderstanding”, even after the police chief reviewed the surveillance tape and announced that she appeared to know exactly what she was doing.

It just doesn’t seem to me that the available pool of qualified candidates for office is so small that we need to have criminals occupying the spots, but of course, elected criminals is pretty much a tradition in America by now. Is it that the same risk-taking propensity needed to win office is also behind the criminal activity? A narcissistic, pathological personality? The mere wages of democracy? Is our clucking in vain?

6 Robert 01.20.12 at 1:36 pm

Of all the possible excuses for sudden unusual behavior, a brain tumor is probably the most legitimate one! There’s a chance that there may be some legitimacy here.

7 Walter Olson 01.20.12 at 4:00 pm

>Of all the possible excuses for sudden unusual behavior, a brain tumor is probably the most legitimate one

Well, sure, but that just sharpens the skepticism many will have about the “it’s fine now and no it never affected my duties and no surgery was needed and no I’m not going on leave” side to the episode. There are also hints that the prosecutors might have found the defendant’s side not wholly forthcoming about willingness to corroborate the brain-tumor angle of the story by submitting medical reports and the like.

8 Ron Miller 01.20.12 at 4:40 pm

How else did this problem manifest itself? Just stealing? Wouldn’t you, as Walter said, be rushing forth with affidavits from doctors and other evidence if there was really something to back it up?

If she is full of it – as most of us suspect – it is a terrible slap in the face to people that do suffer from brain injuries from tumors and accidents. It really is.

9 Richard Blaine 01.20.12 at 6:42 pm

The whole point of politics is the ability to take other peoples property and money with impunity. Assemblywoman Hayashi just cut out the middlemen. She may be the most honest elected official extant.

10 Richard Nieporent 01.20.12 at 8:25 pm

It just doesn’t seem to me that the available pool of qualified candidates for office is so small that we need to have criminals occupying the spots, but of course, elected criminals is pretty much a tradition in America by now.

Unfortunately that was the excuse for allowing Timothy Geithner to be appointed Secretary of the Treasury after he was caught cheating on his income tax.

11 OBQuiet 01.20.12 at 9:18 pm

“Richard Blaine 01.20.12 at 6:42 pm

The whole point of politics is the ability to take other peoples property and money with impunity. ”

Reminded me of an Orson Scott Card novel I read decades ago called ‘Treason’. Basically, it was about a prison planet where all the decedents had evolved the original groups ‘talent’ to the extreme. Those descended from Geologists can command the earth to move, Physicists control time, Doctors heal by touch…

And Politicians lie and cannot be disbelieved.

12 smart dude 01.21.12 at 8:14 pm

The California Assembly is an organized crime gang every day of the year.

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