California legislator Michael Rubio, the ultimate in revolving-door syndrome

We’re still not over the unexpected news that former state Sen. Michael Rubio, a Democrat from Bakersfield, resigned his office to take a job as the top California lobbyist for Chevron Corp. This one goes down in history as the ultimate in revolving-door syndrome: Rubio went from directing a legislative body that oversees an industry to lobbying for that industry—all within the same workweek.

Rubio’s action comes on the heels of him having a boosted statewide role in a campaign to reform the California Environmental Quality Act. Also, Rubio was a no-show at a recent committee hearing he was meant to co-chair on fracking—the one where there was widespread aggravation about the oil industry’s continued push for lax-to-no regulations and next to no transparency when it comes to fracturing the state’s massive shale oil reserves. He’d even cast a “no” vote against Sen. Fran Pavley’s Senate Bill 1054, which asked oil companies, simply, to notify residents when fracking was going to take place.

In retrospect, it’s almost as if Rubio had already been in tryouts for the Chevron job.

Elected in 2010, Rubio dropped his plans to run for Congress in 2012, he said, because his second daughter was born with Down syndrome. In the recent move, his daughter provides an excuse once again. This time, it’s “I need to spend more time with my family.” Now, we know real life happens to politicians, too, and we’re cognizant of the struggle parents can face in such circumstances. It’s not beyond belief that this man’s family situation did, in fact, play a role in his choice to leave the Senate.

But wrong is wrong. It all makes for a sad statement about the once-promising Central Valley moderate and a worse fate for the rest of us who live in a state where the all-powerful oil industry can buy whatever/whoever it wants.