California Democrats in turmoil: Hispanic Caucus leader accused of sexism, SF Mayor admits to affair with married woman

Not one, but three Democratic women Representatives in Congress are openly complaining about Rep. Joe Baca’s alleged lack of respect for the women in the Caucus. Via Josephine Hearn at The Politico:

A day after Rep. Loretta Sanchez resigned from the Hispanic Caucus charging its chairman had called her a “whore,” a pair of Democratic congresswomen from California spoke out in support of Sanchez’s sweeping complaints that chairman Joe Baca did not respect the women in the caucus.

In an increasingly bitter spat dividing the 21-member caucus, Sanchez also had charged that her follow California Democrat, Baca, had treated the women in the group “like shit.”

On Thursday, the two other California congresswomen bolstered Sanchez’s remarks.

Rep. Hilda L. Solis said she shared “Sanchez’s sentiment about the lack of respect afforded to women members of the Hispanic Caucus.” And Loretta Sanchez’s sister, Rep. Linda Sanchez, said she supported her sibling’s decision to resign in protest of Baca’s alleged remark, which he has “categorically” denied.

On Thursday, Baca repeated his denial to Fox News, saying there was no rift within the caucus.

“There is none, absolutely none,” Baca said. “Everybody is working together.”

In her statement Thursday, Linda Sanchez said she was “waiting to see if the Hispanic Caucus leadership will make good on its promise to be more fair and inclusive of its Latina members.”

“Latinas are the fastest growing segment of the minority population,” she added, “and their perspective deserves to be represented, not denigrated.”

If the Hispanic Caucus “is to be truly representative of the Latino community,” Solis said, “it must give equal treatment to all its members, regardless of gender or seniority.”

Solis also reiterated concerns about the political arm of the caucus, BOLDPAC, which came under fire last year after Baca and his allies authorized political contributions to their relatives. Solis, the Sanchez sisters and three other lawmakers then withdrew from BOLDPAC.

“At a time when the public is crying out for a more ethical government,” Solis said, “we should be taking every step to avoid any appearance of preferential treatment for relatives.”

In an interview with The Politico Wednesday, Loretta Sanchez also cited concerns about whether Baca was properly elected Hispanic Caucus chairman in November and about his general attitude toward female lawmakers.

Baca isn’t the only California Dem in hot water. SF Mayor Gavin Newsom, most infamous for his tyrannical decision to ‘allow’ gay marriages to take place in SF for a brief period back in 2003, was forced into admitting today that he engaged in an affair about a year and a half ago with the wife of his now-former campaign manager Alex Tourk. The affair apparently took place while Tourk was Newsom’s chief of staff and Tourk’s wife, Ruby Rippey-Tourk, was the mayor’s appointments secretary from 2004 til last spring. Via the San Diego Union Tribune:

SAN FRANCISCO – Confronting a political scandal that sounds more like a soap opera, the city’s handsome young mayor made an emotional apology Thursday for an affair with a former secretary – the wife of his own campaign manager.

“I want to make it clear that everything you’ve heard and read is true and that I’m deeply sorry about that” Mayor Gavin Newsom said during a hastily called City Hall news conference at which he went on to apologize to the aide, his staff, his family and San Franciscans.

Political observers said the 39-year-old divorced mayor’s effusive apology, which came only hours after the story broke on a newspaper’s Web site, may have helped defuse a scandal that threatened to haunt his bid for re-election in November.

Newsom’s former deputy chief of staff, Alex Tourk, 39, resigned as manager of the mayor’s re-election campaign Wednesday after approaching Newsom about his relationship with his wife, Ruby Rippey-Tourk, 34, who worked as the mayor’s appointments secretary until last spring.

The brief relationship first reported Wednesday night on the San Francisco Chronicle’s Web site took place a year-and-a-half ago while the mayor was getting divorced from his wife, Fox News Channel host Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former prosecutor and lingerie model.

Tourk, who had worked at City Hall since Newsom’s 2003 election, was one of Newsom’s top advisers and became manager of the mayor’s re-election campaign in September.

Newsom’s “apology” can be read here.

The mayor, according to the SF Chronicle, was “in shock” when confronted by Tourk. Can’t imagine why.

What is it with SF mayors and affairs anyway? And just what the heck is in the water in California? ;) :-?

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