The Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday that State Senator Tom McClintock has accepted over $300,000 to pay for on a house he owns in the are he represents, Thousand Oaks, although he lives full time with his family in Sacramento.
There is nothing illegal about this – state senators are all given this money to make it easier for them to commute between their home districts in the state capital. Many politicians will commute to Sacramento during the week, and return home on weekends and during recesses.
The state elections code requires legislators to maintain a residence in their district, and presumes that a senator is “domiciled” where he or she is registered to vote, said Lance Olson, an attorney with expertise in government and political law.
The Times is critical of McClintock’s acceptance of this practice especially during the state’s budget crisis, as McClintock isn’t “domiciled” in Thousand Oaks by human standards.
While the Times focuses on the money issue, what isn’t addressed is how McClintock can truly be in touch with the community he represents if he doesn’t live there. And now, McClintock is running for Congress… to represent the 4th District, a portion of Northeast California. Yet another community where he isn’t domiciled.
Of course, this sort of thing is common in politics. But I get the feeling that if career politicians perhaps spent more time actually living in and getting in touch with the communities they represent, they’d appreciate more about where and how tax dollars were spent, and then maybe we wouldn’t be in such a fiscal crisis.