Rebellious California lawmakers get banished to ‘The Dog House,’ a tiny office

Press Enterprise | 8/11/2017 | Jeff Horseman
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Welcome to “The Dog House,” Melissa Melendez.

That’s the nickname for the 391-square-foot State Capitol office to which Melendez, a Republican assemblywoman from Lake Elsinore, was assigned this week. There’s even a plaque listing and praising former occupants for “Standing up for your Principles.”

Dog - House - Punishment - Sacramento - Lawmakers

The Dog House is both punishment for Sacramento lawmakers who run afoul of leadership and a badge of honor for the banished. Melendez, whose former office was twice as big, also was removed as vice-chair of the Assembly Insurance Committee.

She replaces Assemblyman Matthew Harper, R-Huntington Beach, in The Dog House.

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The move comes about a month after Melendez resigned as assistant leader of the Assembly Republican Caucus. Melendez said she could no longer work with Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley after he voted in favor of extending California’s Cap-and-Trade Program to 2030.

Mayes’ vote outraged conservatives who argue that cap-and-trade boosts already-high gas prices. He is facing calls from two Republican National Committee members and Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, among others, to step down as leader of the Assembly’s GOP minority.

Assemblywoman - Melissa - Melendez - R-Lake - Elsinore

Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount. Mayes’ spokesman said Rendon, not Mayes, was behind the decision to move Melendez.

Donald - Trump - Supporter - Sacramento - Democrats

An outspoken conservative and Donald Trump supporter in a Sacramento dominated by Democrats, Melendez sounds unbowed by her banishment.

“My beloved dog died yesterday,” Melendez tweeted Wednesday, Aug. 9. “Today, I get my office moved to the dog house. Go figure.”

Wednesday - E-mail - Melendez - Decision - Californians

In a Wednesday e-mail, Melendez said: “I made a decision to stand up for Californians against higher fuel and utility costs, a decision I do not regret. While Assemblyman Mayes may not appreciate my efforts, I know that struggling Californians do.”

Published reports about the two-room Dog House describe visitors having to wait in the hallway and cramped conditions for staffers.

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