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SHERIFFS CALLED TO ATTEND CONTROVERSIAL ARTESIA CHAMBER LUNCH FEATURING ASSEMBLYWOMAN CRISTINA GARCIA

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia speaks at the Artesia Chamber lunch. In the foreground is her opponent in November, Mike Simpfenderfer.

 

 

During her speech, Garcia called Autism “a disease,” angering many in the audience who know Autism is a disorder, not a disease.

 

BY BRIAN HEWS

The Artesia Chamber hosted its monthly luncheon this past Tuesday and invited embattled Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia as the guest speaker, calling the luncheon the “State of the State.” 

Apparently, the chamber did not anticipate the controversy and animosity that would be generated by inviting Garcia,  who is under a months-long investigation for sexual harassment and groping of a former staffer, as guest speaker.

HMG-CN first published an article about the stunning invitation weeks ago, which evidently produced blowback on the chamber, so much that Chamber officials questionably asked local Sheriff’s Deputies, on local taxpayers dime, if they would  attend and “police” the luncheon.

Sources told HMG-CN the real reason for the Sheriff’s presence was that two “big bad anti-Garcia unions” were attending the lunch.

With the Sheriff’s waiting outside, the attendees arrived and later told HMG- CN “they definitely felt intimidated” by their presence.

As Garcia arrived, she was greeted with shouts of “shame on you” and “why don’t you apologize,” and subsequently rushed into the luncheon room.

Many attendees questioned the luncheon title “State of the State” calling it misleading, saying it should have been called the “What’s Going on in Sacramento” luncheon.

The luncheon took the usual course, with officials recognizing elected officials who attended the luncheon including some ABC Board Members and dignitaries from Cerritos College.

Garcia’s opponent in November, Mike Simpfenderfer, was also in attendance.

Garcia was stripped of all committee assignments after the second investigation of sexual harassment and groping started, so she has no influence to affect bills; all she can do now is vote.

Garcia spoke from a piece of paper using a prepared speech and talked about state spending projects that were already passed into law and told the attendees that the state’s rainy-day fund currently stands at a massive $14 billion. 

At one point, an attendee interjected asking how she plans to do anything In Sacramento when “she has no stroke,” having been removed from all committees.

At another point in her prepared speech, Garcia shockingly referred to Autism as a disease. Autism is not a disease, it is classified as a disorder. 

Garcia was immediately interrupted by an angry mother of an Autistic child saying, “how dare you call it a disease!”

After that outburst and correction, the audience was encouraged to submit questions, with chamber officials telling the attendees “Garcia will not take questions from the audience.”

And that is when the fireworks started.

According to one attendee, Garcia took “screened soft-ball questions” that were written down on cards passed around during her presentation. 

Chamber Board Member Larry Caballero, an outspoken supporter of Garcia and who was instrumental in inviting Garcia, collected the questions, but some attendees observed that Caballero did not give all the cards to Garcia.

Ron Miller, Executive Secretary of the powerful Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, had written out his question, but Garcia failed to address it.

When it became obvious Garcia would ignore Miller’s question, he raised his hand and asked “how can you be an effective legislator when you do not have any committee assignments?” 

Garcia ignored the question.

Erin M. Lehane of Working Californians Against Corruption asked Garcia if she had apologized to her staff for her alleged lurid behaviors, such as asking staffers to play spin the bottle and talking to them about how she had sex with other legislators in her office.

(Prior to the questioning, in blatant intimidation, the Sheriff’s asked the diminutive  Lehane if “there was going to be any trouble.”)

The question reportedly “angered” Caballero, who turned around and yelled at Lehane.

Lehane ignored Caballero and kept questioning Garcia.

Garcia once again ignored the questions related to her sexual harassment and groping charges.

 After posing for photos with supporters, Garcia was escorted out by the deputies to an awaiting car.

HMG-CN has sent several emails to Garcia representatives without response.

Simpfenderfer told HMG-CN, “We saw again this week the need for a change in the 58th on November 6th. It is time to end the non-stop drama of Cristina Garcia. We face serious problems and I am ready to get to work for all of us.”.

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