Guest Opinion: I reported my harassment in the California Legislature. Then state investigators went after me | April 22, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - April 22, 2022

Guest Opinion: I reported my harassment in the California Legislature. Then state investigators went after me

by Ruth Ferguson

In a recent interview, California Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins said it was "disappointing and hard to hear that there are (legislative staffers) who still have concerns" about the harassment reporting process in the Legislature.

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Ruth Ellenberg Ferguson is a graduate student at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley and a board member of the San Francisco Women's Political Committee.


Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2022 at 8:01 am

felix is a registered user.

Oh no, not nearly good enough, Assemblyman Berman. You don’t get to remain silent, hiding behind the excuse of litigation. If you can stop f-bombing the public long enough, remember people elected you to lead, so lead.

Lead the effort to get the Legislative records opened so women may review them and take additional action if warranted.

If you want to preserve a shred of credibility that you care about women being free of harassment in your own workplace, fire your staff member who didn’t file the WCU Complaint in July 2019 as required.

Take a course in good employment practices. It’s lousy to lure prospective hires with promises of substantial pay raises, then not deliver.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 22, 2022 at 10:14 am

Online Name is a registered user.

More hedging and stonewalling from Mr. Berman. Guess he couldn't even come up with a general "I condemn all sexual harassment..." statement.

Pathetically typical.

Thanks for publishing this.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 22, 2022 at 11:14 am

Anonymous is a registered user.

I read Ms. Ferguson’s report of this office situation with great interest. I am sorry she was mistreated in Marc Bergman’s office.
In addition…
But why should this get brushed off by our “leaders?”
There seems an arrogance and security in our current decade of one party rule at the state level.
How about a little diversity in our state legislature, as in stopping the current one party rule in Sacramento? They push through terrible laws like SB9 and think they’re above the concerns of us millions of “little people.” In reality, most of the public are too busy being productive, working hard here in Silicon Valley to follow arcane bureaucracy - but we must!
The state legislature has an endless thirst for our tax dollars and along with Governor Newsom feels mostly very secure. I strongly disagree with offering free medical care to undocumented persons in this state! Incorrect premise along with breathtaking expense to taxpayers!
There have been other recent scandals. Let’s get some moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans in our CA state legislature.
Oh, Democrats how about listening to reasonable input/complaints of women in the office.

Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 22, 2022 at 3:11 pm

Green Gables is a registered user.

Hello Anonymous - It does not make any difference if its Democrats or Republicans in the government. They are all a bunch a pompous and arrogant LIARS. Newsom is an empty suit anyway.

Posted by Mondoman
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 22, 2022 at 3:27 pm

Mondoman is a registered user.

It does make a difference if there's a chance for someone of the other party to replace a legislator. It's the lack of that possibility that is the fundamental problem of one-party government, whether here in California or in Texas.

Posted by SRB
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 22, 2022 at 4:28 pm

SRB is a registered user.

Thanks for writing and publishing this.

Let me see if I get this straight. Assembly Berman's response to harrasment allegations within his own office is to allow retaliation against the victim while providing counseling and continuing employement to the perpetrator ?


Posted by SR
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 23, 2022 at 1:24 pm

SR is a registered user.

Interesting to watch this develop. Not a peep from our local politicos who were quick and strident in their denunciations of Brett Kavanaugh. Zach Ross, not only continues in his role as Berman’s District Director, he continues to serve on the board of the Peninsula Democratic Coalition (along with his wife and dad). Stacey Ashland, former school board candidate, former Council candidate, Raven Malone, among others, serve with him. Crickets. On April 21, Forest Peterson, Stanford postdoc who was unsuccessful in his bid for an ADEM seat, and who claims that labor rights are a priority, tweeted that Berman was his favorite Assembly person and encouraged people to donate to him (PTC member Cari Templeton liked it). Liz Kniss, who couldn’t get on the anti-Kavanaugh bandwagon fast enough is also silent.

Interesting to note, that in 2019, Berman named Christine Blasey Ford Assembly District 24 “Women of the Year”. Of Ford, Berman said “Dr. Ford put the country ahead of her own well-being, speaking out in the most public way imaginable about her sexual assault,…Dr. Ford exhibited strength and dignity under the most extraordinary conditions, and in telling her truth, she paved the way for countless other survivors to tell their own.” Certainly not what he’s saying about Ruth Ferguson.

And, if you haven’t watched the video of Berman berating his audience, it’s available and well worth a watch.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 23, 2022 at 4:24 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Yes, the silence from the local politicians and the local county Democratic Party offices about Berman is pretty deafening. Shame on them. And, of course, shame on him.

Posted by ArtL
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 23, 2022 at 4:54 pm

ArtL is a registered user.

Maybe Assemblyman Berman was unaware initially of the harassment in his field office, but he certainly should have acted with vigor and urgency once he heard about it. It speaks badly about his diligence in administering his own office affairs (as he spoke so badly in the recent hearing that he chaired!!). And Assemblyman Berman's response in the newspaper is really lame and totally inadequate. An honorable man would resign.

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2022 at 8:38 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

Unaware or he didn't care? There's a difference. Only he knows the truth.

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 24, 2022 at 10:14 am

Annette is a registered user.

Still nothing on this from Berman, the man who admonishes others to "Follow the f*&#ing rules!"?

Could there be a better example of hypocrisy? We need to do ourselves a favor and vote this guy out of office.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 24, 2022 at 11:02 am

Online Name is a registered user.

The media haven't exactly been rushing to profile Berman's opponent. In fact this is the only article I've even seen on the race Web Link which happens to be at the top of my Palo Alto section of Google News. Notice the gap in the funding and coverage of the Berman and his opponent.

Posted by Leslie M
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2022 at 9:28 pm

Leslie M is a registered user.

If a fraction of this is true Berman and his senior staff should resign now!

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