Opinion: Calling Him Out – What Does Newly Named US Senator Alex Padilla’s Endorsement of John Duran Really Say About Him?

Alex Padilla (left), John Duran

Tuesday night, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla gave his first national interview as a senator-in-waiting on The Rachel Maddow Show. Listening to Rachel compare their backgrounds as California kids of modest means who graduated from MIT and Stanford, my stomach tightened.

The uneasiness returned Wednesday morning while parsing through the aftermath of Tuesday’s unprecedented presidential pardon spree. A newsletter from The Bulwark entitled, “Our ‘Law and Order President’ is a Fraud” had a warning:

“Never forget who the people are who say one thing and do another because that’s how our political system got broken, and our public square turned into a circus; because people pretended to believe the charlatans on their team, even when they knew better.” – Jonathan V. Last

The source of my anxiety was a mailer I received back in October from John Duran’s re-election campaign touting all of the endorsements Duran enjoyed. It was a “Who’s Who” of California Democratic politics. Secretary of State Alex Padilla was pictured front and center.

Why? Why would everyone from a scion of the Kennedy family to a statewide elected official, like Padilla, and our state assembly member Richard Bloom lend their thumbs-up and mugs to a local candidate with Duran’s rap sheet?

As recently as 2019, John Duran had been the center of a sexual harassment scandal that rocked the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. Three chorus members had credibly accused Duran of inappropriate comments and touching that, according to one young man, had been “a traumatic and shocking experience.” Duran responded in print and radio interviews by blaming the #MeToo movement, denigrating one of his victims with a racial pejorative, and calling out his fellow council members’ personal lives.

I, myself, had publicly testified to the inappropriate referencing of a “booty call” by him during a message exchange while attempting to set up a meeting to conduct city business.

And then there’s the half a million dollars he cost the City in legal and settlement fees when the Grindr hook-up he hired as his council deputy with a six-figure salary sued the City for sexual harassment.

So, I’ll ask again, “Why?” Why did Alex Padilla endorse a candidate as flawed as John Duran? Did he think John Duran was the best candidate in the race?

Did Alex Padilla even know who else was running? Had he sufficiently informed himself about the dynamics of our local election so that when he placed his thumb on the scale, he did so responsibly with the best interests of West Hollywood’s residents in mind? In other words, did Alex Padilla know better?

With the corruption and self-dealing rife within the Trump administration and so much at stake for our country in this election season, why did Alex Padilla, Richard Bloom, Bobby Shriver, and all the rest endorse an unabashed sexual harasser? As standard-bearers of the California Democratic Party, did they consider the message they would send to the young men victimized by Duran and to their friends and family? To all the young men and women out there so victimized? Did they care?

Thanks in large part to our nation’s repudiation of corruption, Alex Padilla will now be a U.S. Senator. A circus, indeed!

“It’s time to carve out the rot and hold people accountable,” says The Bulwark.

Now that we’ve dumped Trump, can we afford not to?

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DJF
DJF
2 months ago

This is so tired. Ughhhhh….

hifi5000
hifi5000
2 months ago

John Duran should just retire and pay attention to his law practice.I hope if he gets looked at for a important position with Padilla,the checkers look very carefully at his time as a West Hollywood councilman and what he did during that time.

I assure you there is a bigger world outside West Hollywood and the things Duran did would not be looked at favorably at higher political levels.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
2 months ago

whatever

Jim Nasium
Jim Nasium
2 months ago

Give it up.

Earl Eason
Earl Eason
2 months ago

John Duran is over the age of 60 isn’t he? That picture must be 30 years old. This is a picture of the real John Duran.

Screen Shot 2020-12-24 at 1.46.44 PM.png
Tom Smart
Tom Smart
2 months ago
Reply to  Earl Eason

Hahahaha OUCH, you slay me! (and HIM)

:dpb
:dpb
2 months ago

Thank you for your thoughts. I was beginning to think I was the only one with similar concerns about the Duran endorsements. I received the mailer mentioned and I was shocked that elected officials -Alex Padilla, Richard Bloom and Bobby Shriver – would think it appropriate to endorse a predator. I had the same thought upon hearing Newsom’s appointment of Padilla to fill Kamala Harris’ seat.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  :dpb

Alex Padilla has known John Duran for decades, way before the salacious headlines. Padilla was undoubtedly unaware of what was going on with Duran in West Hollywood. So I think we should cut Padilla and Ricardo Lara some slack as they are very busy dealing with real world problems in Sacramento. The same cannot be said for our Assembly member Richard Bloom who is our local representative. I thought his endorsement was cynical and enabling.

Vigilant
Vigilant
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Little slack available in the ethics and reason department. The slack simply promotes the degrading behavior and erodes the system. Cleaning up the local and California swamp would be a positive endeavor.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  Vigilant

You are right.

Larry Block
Larry Block
2 months ago

Congrats to Senator Padilla. It’s nice to see a heartfelt acceptance coupled with a commitment to the faith in our promise. Also enjoyed Gavin’s lead-in and down to earth approach, —how did he ever marry that Garfoyle? As far as Duran and endorsements the man has served for a long time with a strong presence and the headlines are just a small measure of his service. Hope he gets an appointment he has lots to offer and is entitled to serve or redemption, call it anything you want. The world is his oyster and he is gonna do great things.

Woody McBreairty
Woody McBreairty
2 months ago
Reply to  Larry Block

Guilfoyle

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
2 months ago

I think John Duran is now liberated from his political career and does have the ability to write a new and positive chapter in his life. When you step back and look at his long career as an activist, the positive outweighs the negative. But if he decides to take his life in a different direction, then let’s wish him the best.

Vigilant
Vigilant
2 months ago

Mr. Keitel, did you ever take the time to query Alex Padilla, Bobby Shriver and Richard Bloom on this endorsement? Secondly, it’s never to late to ask the question so if you haven’t hopefully you will do so pronto.

We can only hope that Mr. Padilla doesn’t tap Duran for some position in his future entourage but one can never be too sure.

Ian
Ian
2 months ago
Reply to  Vigilant

Why do you think Duran is giving up his cancerous hold on the city?

Vigilant
Vigilant
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian

Unfortunately you sidestepped the question and have offered speculation.

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