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A lesson worth memorizing Carlos R. Davalos | Sat, Jan 08 2011 12:00 PM

If I was a punk kid who found himself in trouble with the law, say for allegedly stabbing some dude and leaving him for dead near a college campus, would I want my politically connected father to help me?

Yes.

If I was the father of a 19-year-old boy who, at times, seemed directionless and misguided and one day found himself arrested and incarcerated for his role in killing someone else's son, would I do everything in my power to get him out of trouble?

Would I retain the best defense lawyer I could afford?

Would I call in all the favors owed me and exert any political influence I might have, all in an effort to save my boy?

Probably, yeah.

And so, it appears, would former Democratic California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu–ez.

The father of Esteban Nu–ez - convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the death of Luis Dos Santos - Nu–ez the elder is not only business partners with one of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's political advisors, he has enough of a personal rapport with the Republican that during his last hours in office, Schwarzenegger reduced the prison sentence of his friend's son from 16 years to seven.

Talk about bipartisan clout. Nu–ez senior is more connected then all the dots in a child's coloring book. Can he be faulted for what he did, if anything, to get his son out of prison as quickly as possible?

The latest development in this saga serves as a distasteful reminder of our own roles in this little drama we call life. And the moral of the tale is one that bears remembering and repeating every so often:

"It ain't what you know, it's who."

Say that to your kids every day right after good morning. Write it on a sticky note and slap it on your computer screen at work: "It ain't what you know, it's who!"

If you're Fabian Nu–ez, you're relatively happy this morning. In seven or fewer years your son is getting out of prison. He's coming home thanks, no doubt, to your efforts as a father.

In time the outrage will subside and both Nu–ez men will carry on with their lives. There will be holidays and birthdays to celebrate.

In seven years one man goes home to his family while another, Luis Santos, will still be dead.

In seven years Esteban Nu–ez will be free sooner than he was supposed to be thanks, in some part, to the people with whom his father does business.

And there's not a damn thing you can do about it. What do you know?

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