comscore Harassment allegations shine light on Capitol party culture | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Harassment allegations shine light on Capitol party culture

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Jodi Hicks, a lobbyist and partner oath the women-led Sacramento firm, DBHK, poses in Sacramento, Calif. As allegations of pervasive sexual harassment swirl in California’s Capitol, Hicks says at least one male lawmaker said he may stop meeting with women lobbyist over drinks and another man told Hicks he would not hire her firm over fear he’d have to “walk on eggshells.” Hicks says that’s the wrong way to fix the problem.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. >> California’s Capitol is awash in allegations of sexual harassment, creating an atmosphere that’s affecting how men and women interact.

Holding meetings over drinks or winding down at a bar after a hectic day in the Legislature is a regular part of Sacramento, where policymaking and deal-cutting often depend on personal relationships. After-work campaign fundraisers and other evening events provide numerous opportunities for colleagues to do business and socialize.

Those days might not be gone, but there’s unquestionably a changed sensitivity about them.

Behavior at such events has crossed into inappropriate territory. Democratic Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra of Los Angeles was disciplined in 2009 when he was a legislative staff member. Elise Gyore, another Capitol staffer, had accused him of putting his hands down her blouse at a Sacramento nightclub.

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