Wakim trips over racist image
Sam Wakim took a big stumble last week on his way to becoming a legislator, but at least voters now have a good idea of where he stands on driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.
Wakim, as we reported Aug. 9 (“Elections with a twist,” Newslines), is the Yreka dentist who has announced his candidacy in the Republican primary for the District 2 Assembly seat now held by Doug LaMalfa, who is being termed out. His only announced opponent is former state Sen. Jim Nielsen.
Last November, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Wakim to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, apparently as reward for work he did as county chairman of the governor’s 2006 reelection bid. Wakim was scheduled for a confirmation hearing this week, but on Aug. 17 the Sacramento Bee reported that he had resigned from the post after the newspaper notified the Governor’s Office that it had discovered a racist image on Wakim’s personal Web site, operated pseudonymously under the name “Abu David” (it is now inaccessible).
The image—of a mock driver’s license featuring a caricature of a Pancho Villa-type Mexican wearing a huge sombrero and a bandoleer—reportedly has been floating around the Internet for a couple of years. Instead of “California” at the top it reads “Mexifornia,” under “Sex” it reads “MUCHO” and “Weight” it reads “TOO MUCH.” For a signature, it proffers a scrawled “X.”
When Senate President Pro-tem Don Perata learned of the image, he issued a statement calling it “hate speech” and charging that it “clearly cross[ed] the border of acceptable public discourse.”
Wakim quickly tendered his resignation from the NCWQCB. All of a sudden, apparently, he’d gotten too busy to do the job. “I am running for office,” he told the Bee, “and preparing for this confirmation hearing has taken up a lot of my time. I just decided earlier today that enough’s enough.”
(Wakim did not return several phone messages left by the CN&R.)
Wakim told the Bee he intended to continue his Assembly bid, for which he has raised $230,000, including $100,000 he has lent his campaign.