Does Derek Cressman, candidate for California Secretary of State, know kung fu?

Or is he packing a weapon?

Such questions occur after reading responses by Cressman, and other self-styled political reformers, to the arrest and indictment of State Senator and California Secretary of State candidate Leland Yee. The main thrust of the responses: we must be do something to stop people like Yee from engaging in corrupt acts. Chief on the list of things that must be done are 1. The election of a new Secretary of State who will fight corruption 2. The creation of some kind of new committee or commission to promote ethics and fight corruption.

Cressman is leading the charge, releasing a statement the morning of Yee’s arrest and arguing that Yee is not just one bad apple but representative of corrupt politics in California.

Such political statements, in the wake of big news are so common that no one thinks tries to think about this logically. How would a commission, or Secretary of State Cressman, actually stop Leland Yee and his co-defendants?

When one reads the indictment, which goes way beyond alleged bribes to include deals involving dangerous weapons and dangerous people, it’s clear that a commission of good government types in Sacramento wouldn’t be enough. Stopping Yee or someone like him, as Cressman and others pledge to do, requires more than campaign finance reform or the threat of expulsion from the legislature.

It would require people who are armed. Or at least possess some badass fighting moves.

I suspect that reformers aren’t proposing to stop the gangsters themselves. If I’m wrong and that’s what they really are proposing, they should say so – because the prospect of watching Derek Cressman or, say, Dan Schnur on the streets of San Francisco hunting down Bay Area gangsters might well be enough to win my vote.

I suppose there’s a middle ground: we could give guns to a legislative ethics commission. Or even better, to the FPPC. At the very least, campaign treasurers and lawyers would think twice before filing campaign reports late!