My state senator, who is also majority leader of the California Senate, is Bill Monning. We’ve generally gotten along well, having been on a panel on the Iraq war at our daughters’ school in the spring of 2003 and having both spoken at an antiwar rally last decade. We were on the same side on both issues.

The local publication Monterey County Weekly had a cover story on him the week before. I wrote the following letter to the Weekly, which was published:

Like Bill Monning, I would have been touched by, and proud of, my father if he had given a $20 bill to a poor Mexican immigrant. That speaks well of his father and of Bill Monning.

It’s tragic, therefore, that the lesson he learned from his father’s private act of voluntary charity was to use government to make forcible transfers and to interfere in other ways in people’s lives. He deserves strong kudos for his legislation allowing terminally ill adults to request medication to bring about a peaceful, and less painful, death. But he deserves condemnation for using his political power to raise the gas tax and to dictate to restaurants what they can and can’t advertise on their children’s menus.

I’m glad that he withdrew his 2012 bill to ban food trucks within 1,500 feet of a school. That would have hurt a number of relatively low-income Mexicans.