Big Daddy

Ask Big Daddy

Dear Big Daddy,
Did you see that Mervyn Dymally made a witness cry while chairing the Assembly Health Committee the other week? You were the most infamous committee chairman ever. Was Dymally maintaining order, or just being mean?
–Weeping witness watcher
Dear WWW,
At some point someone got the idea that we shouldn’t make laws without seeing the people they affect. These days if you watch hearings, you’re liable to get the idea that the average Californian is a visibly disabled porn star with no health insurance who has laws named after their dead children and is deeply concerned about the gambling distribution fund.
Insensitive? Sorry, but I’m old school. Which was also Dymally’s excuse. If you’ve seen the tape, the witness was prone to dramatic tangents. But Mervyn, that’s what you signed up for. In our day, she probably wouldn’t have been in the room.
But our day is long past (especially mine). Suddenly, nice counts, and not just as a negative. If you want to yell at somebody, make it John Laird, in private, for showing up with the weepy witness. Then watch your pet projects die in his Budget Committee, so, really, you’re better off sucking it up.
Like many recent pols, Dymally did the most damage to himself during his so-called apology. He referred to Patty Berg, who had intervened, as “not tough.” I don’t know how far I would test that theory, Mr. Dymally. Not that her spot chairing Aging and Long Term Care would have anything to do with you.
As you can see, Mr. Dymally, the Capitol is as full of potential nemeses as ever. And have you noticed what these people have in common? They’re Democrats, just like

Want to see more stories like this? Sign up for The Roundup, the free daily newsletter about California politics from the editors of Capitol Weekly. Stay up to date on the news you need to know.

Sign up below, then look for a confirmation email in your inbox.


Support for Capitol Weekly is Provided by: