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DeSaulnier heads to Spain on legislative junket

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Friday, September 25th, 2009 at 6:17 pm in California Senate.

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, is going to Spain to study its national water system.

Per the Los Angeles Times today, the Legislature postponed its special session on prisons and water until Oct. 13 in order to accommodate DeSaulnier’s and other lawmakers’ overseas exodus:

“Seven state senators are heading overseas this week, some having left Thursday, on a trip that includes stops in Copenhagen, Madrid, Bilbao and Barcelona.They plan to study Spain’s national water system and Scandinavian environmental programs, and to promote trade between California and Catalonia, according to a statement from the Senate Office of International Relations, which is organizing the trip.”

Uh, excuse me, but I Googled “Spain” and “national water system” and I got 18.7 million hits. See how easy that was? No plane ticket needed.

DeSaulnier doesn’t seen to regard Google as a worthy substitute for Madrid, and who can blame him?

He defended his decision to go on the week-long trip, saying the agenda contains important policy discussions and the opportunity to develop valuable personal relationships. Spain is paying for about half the trip and DeSaulnier says he will cover the rest out of his pocket or from his state campaign account.

“I think it is myopic to think that legislators have to stay in California to do their jobs,” DeSaulnier said. “Not everything was invented here.”

But, of course, if Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg wants legislators back in Sacramento before Oct. 13, DeSaulnier says he will cancel the trip.

Cowboy Libertarian and conservative commentator Patrick Dorinson does not sound sympathetic.

“They have to postpone the special session on water and prisons so they can go to Europe?” Dorinson said. “If there is ever a time when voters will go for a part-time legislature, it’s now.”

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  • Uhh

    Yes, clearly google is all we need to learn everything about any given topic. We might as well abolish schools and universities since we can just google things instead, right Lisa?

  • Elwood

    Madrid is indeed a beautiful city.

    Let’s hope they keep Marky Mark.

  • http://www.jeanswatercolors.blogspot.com Jean Womack

    Sometimes a person in another country has a good idea and is willing to tell us about it or show it to us. And we don’t have to send spies over there to find out about it. We can just send legislators. Then everyone gets good publicity and is happy and they can’t accuse us of keeping him in a ghetto and never letting him leave the country.

  • Ralph Hoffmann, Guest Columnist

    Let’s all sing; “The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain.” On the other hand, What’s the song about how long the reign of politicians in Sacto lasts? Will many of them be reined in in 2010 because their speeches are all wet, or do they think we’re too wet behind the ears to notice? There could be a fire hazard in CA for politicians come 2010.

  • Tom Benigno

    Concerned:
    It’s nice to see Mark take a vacation from his busy schedule. Maybe he will bring back some new recipes from Spain, for his restaurant. His new dish will be called El Basso Verde Mucho Dinero.

  • John W.

    I was fascinated mostly by the pursuit of trade between California and Catalonia. Could be a trend of relationships between us and all places with rhyming names.

  • JLWolff

    I’ve never read any critiques of the fact finding missions in Iraq or Afghanistan as useless despite the fact that there are 6,050,000 hits for “War in Iraq” and 1,770,000 for “War in Afghanistan” (substantially more than the 61,100 hits I got when I googled “Spain” and “national water system”)

    I suspect that this is because quality information gathering often involves observing the situation for yourself and talking with those directly involved, not just looking at what someone else has said about it. This is how you get good investigative journalism and how you get high quality legislating. I sure hope you didn’t just google “DeSaulnier” and “Spain” when writing this article.

    If we can learn something from Spain that will help us fix some of the many crippling problems facing our water system than I’m all for the trip.

    This is why I supported Mark for State Senate, so he could work to solve some of the problems facing our state, even if it meant he’d have to travel thousands of miles to do so.

  • Elwood

    Re: # 7

    It’s nice to see that true love for Marky Mark still exists even after his humiliating defeat by a guy who lives in Walnut Grove.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  • JLWolff

    Re: #8

    It’s disappointing to see that you still avoid the issues by commenting on unrelated matters.

    And for the record, while I proudly voted for Mark for State Senate in 2008 and will proudly do so again in 2012, I am even prouder to have been one of the most ardent supporters of John Garamendi’s campaign for Congress. For some of us, support of one candidate doesn’t equal deep seated hatred of all of their rivals.

  • Elwood
  • Tom Benigno

    Concerned:
    JL Wolff:
    I am totally confused at your statements, first you say your glad to see Mark DeSaulnier getting involved in our water problems by going to Spain. For what? They are using sewer water to irrigate their fields, and we are already doing that.
    Maybe Spain has a way of creating rain doing rain dances over there. Another question is how can you support Mark DeSaulnier, and then say you are a proud supporter of John Garamendi when he just beat your candidate for 10th congressional district.

    The last part of your statement on #9 should go both ways, Mark DeSaulnier needs to respect other candidates that are not in his party as well.

  • JLWolff

    Tom Benigno:
    I personally know nothing of Spain’s water system and if it is a bad system than maybe that should have been the focus of Lisa’s article and all of your comments rather than ridiculous attempts to paint fact finding missions as useless.

    As for which candidate I supported, from he announced his intent to run onward I have supported Garamendi’s bid for Congress. That doesn’t mean that Mark isn’t a great State Senator, it just means that I liked John more and preferred to have him as my Representative to Congress. Sometimes you have the pleasure of voting for the better of two goods rather than the lesser of two evils and this primary that was definitely the case.

    I do agree with you that there needs to be mutual respect across party lines even when issues and policies vary greatly.

    And Elwood:
    Yes, you were jumping to conclusions about my support of Mark in the Congressional race, I appreciate the apology.

  • http://www.jeanswatercolors.blogspot.com Jean Womack

    Any good journalist knows that sometimes you can’t believe it when you are looking right at it, not to mention when you got it over the internet. You gotta go there and see it before you make decisions concerning people’s lives.

    I guess Garamendi’s campaign must be doing all right financially, because they haven’t asked me for any money yet. On the other hand, all of DeSaulnier’s contributors are public information filed in Martinez, I think. So Garamendi can ask them for money any time he wants to. Except I only gave DeSaulnier $25 so my name might not be on the list. However that was for the barbeque at the Democratic caucus in the Community center in Walnut Creek. I still owe him for some good sandwiches at his HQ in Walnut Creek on election night. Since I am unemployed, I hope they will be merciful. Don’t worry, it’s on my conscience already.

  • Elwood

    JLWolff:

    There is something wrong with the way your brain works.

    Perhaps you should take up bowling.

  • http://www.jeanswatercolors.blogspot.com Jean Womack

    Regarding Fred’s concerns, in Point Richmond they solved the problem of people being told to stay out of the bars and people being threatened because they were in a bar when another person was in there who didn’t want to be seen in there, by closing most of the bars. Now we have our drinking party out in the street on our art and music festival days, and it’s better than being in a bar. And the fact is that I did not care who was in the bar and who wasn’t. I didn’t write about that, and no one was interested in reading about that. The people who were threatening were on a bad trip but what could I do about it? Nothing. If I had complained to the police about it, they would have just said to me, if you don’t like it, don’t run a newspaper. Maybe the dailies get treated better, I don’t know.

  • Allen Payton

    If Spain is picking up half the tab and Mark’s paying for the other half, what’s the big deal? As long as us taxpayers aren’t paying for this European study and trade mission.
    As someone who traveled with state legislators in 2006 as a delegate on the Northern California Trade Mission to Ireland, to learn how that country became the economic powerhouse known as the Celtic Tiger, I can tell you, it was a week full of meetings and very little time for sight-seeing. I needed a vacation from the trip, when I got back!
    Sorry, Lisa, I’ll have to disagree with you on this one, as it doesn’t smell funny to me. While the timing may be in question, I just hope it produces more trade for California businesses.

  • Elwood

    Hey Allen, you’re not forgetting that Marky Mark is now a dimmiecrat are you?