Three senators locked out of their Capitol offices in tiff with leader

Three Democratic senators were locked out of their offices Monday on orders of Senate Leader Don Perata, who punished them for attending a fund-raising event for the Legislature’s business-friendly moderates.

Senators Lou Correa of Santa Ana, Ron Calderon of Montebello and Gloria Negrete Mcleod of Chino arrived at work Monday morning to find that the locks on their offices had been changed. The lawmakers went to the office of the Senate sergeant at arms, who told them that Perata, an Oakland Democrat and the most powerful figure in the Senate, ordered the locks changed.

At least one of the lawmakers was back in a reopened office by noon, after meeting privately with Perata. The other two remained locked out at mid-day.

Perata declined to discuss the issue. “I never talk about the politics of the caucus,” he said.

But Senate sources said Perata was outraged by the attendance of the three lawmakers at the fundraising event last Thursday at The Kitchen restaurant in Sacramento on behalf of the so-called “Mod Squad.” Perata has explicitly prohibited lawmakers from being a member of any vote-bloc caucus, such as the Mod Squad, that pushes votes on the floor contrary to the caucus’ position. An example of a vote-block caucus is the “Smart Growth Caucus” in the Assembly, which is not allowed in the Senate.

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