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BATTLE FOR THE 57th: Sylvia Rubio Takes in $100,000 More Than Lisa Calderon; Tribal Casinos and Cardrooms Pick Sides


Sylvia Rubio

BY BRIAN HEWS • [email protected]

The battle lines have been drawn in the race for the 57th Assembly District, a seat recently vacated by Ian Calderon, who wanted to “spend more time with his family.”

The 57th district includes Norwalk, Whittier, Santa Fe Springs and surrounding areas.

Sylvia Rubio, the third Rubio sister to run for a state seat, is running against Lisa Calderon, Charles Calderon’s wife and Ian’s stepmother.

Ian Calderon recently Tweeted, “of course [I will]  support Lisa’s Democratic pursuit for [my] post.  Her 30+ years of living/raising her family in the district along with her work in public policy and community activism makes her not just the strongest candidate, but the rep #AD57 deserves.”

Voters are hoping his step mom is better at spending money than Ian.

In 2014, Hews Media Group-Los Cerritos Community Newspaper exclusively reported that Calderon filed reports with the California Secretary of State indicating he spent over $13,000 in campaign funds to maintain and operate a personal vehicle.



Documents showed that Calderon spent over $11,000 at various gas stations and mini-marts.

In total, he made more than 170 different credit card purchases at gas stations between May 21, 2012 and December 18, 2013.

Both his state car and state credit card were later revoked.

Sylvia’s sisters, Sen. Susan Rubio and Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, are both Democrats representing Baldwin Park in the Legislature, and the sisters have plans for Sylvia.

Campaign documents from the Secretary of State’s website show the Rubio sisters hard at work in their efforts to get Sylvia elected to the Assembly.

Those same documents show Ian hard at work, although not as successful; and the donations clearly show lines drawn between Tribal casinos, Calderon, and California cardrooms, Rubio.

In June of this year, HMG-LCCN exclusively reported that Attorney General Xavier Becerra took over $300,000 in donations from Tribal casinos for his successful campaign.



Becerra then turned around and handed the casinos the holy grail, circumventing state law and the Governor’s Gambling Control Commission. 

The Commission, all of whom report to Gov. Newsom, have control over cardroom rule changes, not the Bureau of Gambling Control, who’s members who report to Becerra.

Yet there was Stephanie Shimazu, the Bureau’s director, changing rules without consulting the Commission. 

If enacted, the new rules will put many California cardrooms out of business, and likely bankrupt some cities, devastating whole families, while costing cities and the state thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in revenue.

The changes will also cause the loss of millions in philanthropic dollars given to many local communities and organizations the cardrooms support.

Many cities will have to implement severe cuts in public safety and services, some, like Hawaiian Gardens, will likely be forced to file for bankruptcy.

And it looks like the battle between the California cardrooms and Tribal casinos will be the Rubio’s versus the Calderon’s, with Lisa Calderon landing clearly on the side of the Tribal casinos.

As of Tuesday, documents show that Lisa Calderon garnered a little over $69,000 from supporters, including $4,700 from the Viejas Tribal Casino; the tribal casinos were huge supporters of Ian Calderon in his first  bid to win the seat.

Ian Calderon, along with the SEIU Local 1000 Candidate PAC, the SEIU Local 2015 State PAC, and the California SEIU each gave $9,300, nearly 41% of Calderon’s total donations.

Chuck Calderon ally, Assemblywoman Loren Gonzales (D-San Diego), gave $4,700.

Rounding out the donations were several individuals who gave over $15,000.

Sylvia Rubio’s total, as of yesterday, where she took in $2,500 from her former employer Carson Mayor Albert Robles and $4,700 from Downey-based Meruelo Group, eclipsed Calderon’s donations by over $100,000, with Rubio taking in nearly $171,000.

The total included $9,400 from California cardrooms.

The Rubio family stepped up with Sen. Susan Rubio, Asm. Blanca Rubio and Brian Rubio all giving $9,400.

Philanthropist Bill Bloomfield, along with California Jobs for a Strong Economy and two medical care companies made up the remaining $9,400 donors.

Sixteen individuals and companies donated $4,700 each, most notably, Elon Musk’s Tesla Corporation.

Others included Valero Oil, Athens Trash, Western States Petroleum, California Independent Petroleum, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturer’s Association.