Living where you’re not

15 Mar

Assemblyman-Richard-Pan-SizedIt’s called carpetbagging.
We’ll explain the picture of Mr. Pan in a moment.

Politics 101 opens its doors.

Following the Civil War, the term carpetbaggers was used to describe the Republican political appointees who came South, arriving with their travel carpet bags.

Southerners considered them ready to loot and plunder the defeated South.

Today the term is used to refer to a politician who runs for public office in an area where he or she does not have deep community ties, or has lived only for a short time.

Charles Djou was accused of being a carpetbagger.

He was living in Kaneohe when he announced he was going to run for the Honolulu City Council.

He moved to East Honolulu, ran, and was elected.

Let’s flop over to California, where Assemblyman Richard Pan is being accused of a different form of carpetbagging.

He’s supposed to live in the district he represents, but he apparently spends little time in the condo he bought to comply with the law.

When redistricting redrew the lines, Pan bought a small place in the new 9th Assembly District.

He registered to vote there and swore under penalty of perjury that he was living there.

But reports are he never moved his wife and two young sons to the new district.

Just about every state has a law is that does not allow a shell game in which lawmakers buy a house and call it their “domicile” to qualify as a candidate but never intend to live there.

So, there are two types of carpetbaggers.

The kind where you move to an area to run for office.
Legal but frowned upon.

And the kind where you say you live in the area you represent.
Illegal and a bunch of trouble if you get caught.

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