Rep. Baca wags finger at Sanchez for closing office for Cesar Chavez Day

There is no affection between Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joe Baca (D-Calif.) and the Sanchez sisters — as the recent attempted coup against him made plain.

And Baca burned his bridges yet further on Monday by declaring that lawmakers should not take off work in honor of Cesar Chavez’s birthday, which was last Saturday. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) was the only member of the caucus to close her office Monday in honor of the Hispanic civil rights leader.

Baca had these choice words for her decision.

“Cesar Chavez worked his whole life toward achieving equality and fair labor rights. I believe the best way to observe Cesar E. Chavez Day is not by taking the day off from work or school, but by having our children learn about his struggles and his victories on behalf of all Americans,” said Baca.

“That is why I have introduced a resolution, H. Res. 76, to encourage teachers to teach our children about the life and work of Cesar Chavez, and urge the president to issue an executive order creating a public holiday for Cesar Chavez.”

Linda Sanchez’s chief of staff, Michael Torra, remarked, “For several years, the California Legislature has closed for a day in honor of the March 31 …  Congresswoman Sánchez is co-sponsoring legislation in the House to make March 31 a national holiday.  When Congresswoman Sánchez was first elected … five years ago, she decided to use her discretion to promote a national Cesar Chavez holiday by closing her office for a day in honor of the late labor and civil rights leader.”

Baca has been on the outs with the Sanchez sisters ever since he (allegedly) referred to Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) as a “whore.” She has dropped out of the caucus altogether; little sister Linda has also threatened to leave and is only participating from a distance.

Loretta celebrated Cesar Chavez Day with a celebration the week before in a local park. Rep. Grace Napolitano’s (D-Calif.) spokesman said, “It’s just one of those things that everyone observed in their own way,” although his boss did nothing special. 

Others did not do much out of the ordinary, either. Rep. Solomon Ortiz’s (D-Texas) spokeswoman, Cathy Travis, said, “He is traveling with the Armed Services committee. The office didn’t close since it isn’t a federal holiday and people expect us to be working.” And Bob Sanders, spokesman for Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.), said of his boss, “He is out of the country, but because of security I can’t say why, where or for how long.” 

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) had special plans, but they didn’t involve shutting his office. “He was in San Luis, Arizona, unveiling the statue of Cesar Chavez,” said spokeswoman Natalie Luna.   



Staffer refuses to take shirt off for beefcake contest

Things seemed so promising for Julian Anthony (Tony) Haywood, staff director and counsel for the House Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives.

He was recently tapped by “Inside Edition” to be among the top 10 choices for the show’s Sexiest D.C. Bachelor search. But he wouldn’t take his shirt off and excused himself from the contest, citing a scheduling conflict.

An “Inside Edition” spokesman remarked of those less modest than Haywood, “These were a great group of guys who had a blast hanging out together at Saturday’s photo shoot. They were great sports about taking their shirts off and had a great time playing a game of impromptu football near the Capitol. In fact, they all got along so well that they were making plans to go out together later on that night.”

ITK phoned Haywood, wanting to pry deeper into his unwillingness to reveal more in the beefcake beauty contest. “I didn’t think it was all that appropriate for someone in my position to do that,” Haywood said. “It’s really not my style.”



Bono wins award; dines with Gary Sinise, Connie Stevens

Sometimes it’s really good to be a member of Congress — for example, when you get to hang out at the Beverly Hills Hotel and rub elbows with actor Gary Sinise and legendary singer and actress Connie Stevens.

On Sunday night, Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) was among the recipients of the American Spirit Award presented by the Caucus for Television Producers, Writers & Directors in association with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild. 

Stevens presented Bono with her award. Joining Bono at her table were Stevens, fellow honoree Sinise (star of  the TV series “CSI: New York”), television legend Chuck Fries and acclaimed writer/producer Greg Strangis.

Bono, who wore a stylish, black Theory pants suit — apparently the brand is one of her favorites — spent much of the dinner laughing and joking with Sinise, who wore a green suit and black shirt.

Caucus member Gary Grossman of Weller/Grossman Productions said gratefully of the dinner — chicken in a red wine sauce, green beans and mashed potatoes, followed by crème brulee — “‘Fear Factor’ did not cater this meal.”

Jason Vasquez, Bono’s spokesman, said the award reflected the congresswoman’s proactive legislation on copyright protection. His boss is “good friends” with Sinise, Vasquez said.

She is also close with a number of other celebrity types, including Kevin Costner and Suzanne Somers.



Sighting: Cornyn spokesman enjoys me-time on Mall

Some staffers golf in their free time. Others drink.

Brian Walsh, spokesman to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), was spotted flying a kite over the weekend on the National Mall. 

This calls to mind Ben Franklin, who famously discovered the properties of electricity by flying a kite during stormy weather.
Walsh’s motives were less scientific; he was spotted flying the kite with a fresh-faced young woman and a large German chaperone. “It was the Japanese Kite Flying Festival,” Walsh said. “There were like 800 kites on the Mall this weekend.”

He was there for a picnic with friends. The kite-flying was not competitive. “The weather was fantastic,” he said. “I’m not going to comment any further.”



Rep. Tubbs Jones has a new do

A styling Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio) was recently spotted with a brand new shorter hairdo. “I guess you could call it tapered down on the sides,” confirms her spokeswoman Nicole Williams. “As it gets warmer she cuts it shorter.”

Tubbs Jones’s longtime hairdresser, Wilbert Black, recently died. So his wife, Odessa, now cuts the lawmaker’s hair at Black’s Beauty Salon in east Cleveland



Baucus honored at dinner

The afflicted bond over pumps and sugar levels


The annual Palm Night dinner of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at The Palm in Tyson’s Corner last week was a relatively low-sugar affair.

The organization honored Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) for his “outstanding dedication” to the mission of finding a cure for juvenile, or Type 1, diabetes.

Besides the obviously notable Senate Finance Committee chairman, other celebs turned out for the event, such as Miss America ’99 Nicole Johnson, a Type 1 diabetic, as did other diabetics, including 8-year-old Makenna Missal and 13-year-old Shelby Phillips, daughter of The Palm’s V.P. of operations.

During the dinner, which included cheesecake with a strawberry glaze, the girls bonded over their pumps and sugar levels. Missal’s blood sugar was “all over the place,” according to a source at the dinner, so she had to eat carefully.

Type 1 diabetics do not have to manage just sweets. They must balance carb counts for all foods they eat — the filet mignon and lobster were great low-carb choices. Missal steered clear of the creamed spinach and the cheesecake.

The dinner raised nearly $120,000 for the organization.