In theory, Jimmy Panetta-- son of Leon-- is a progressive. He joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus so he can claim to be... in a California central coast district (CA-20) with an unassailable D+23 PVI and where all 4 counties-- the two big ones, Monterey and Santa Cruz, and the two small ones, San Benito and Santa Clara-- are deep blue. He also joined the New Dems and that membership is a far more accurate representation of where he is-- both ideologically and ethically.
Panetta was just reelected to Congress with 76.8% of the vote, down slightly from 2018 when he won his district with 81.4%. That doesn't indicate that he's losing his grip on the district at all-- just that Trump turned out plenty of crazies in November, unlike during the midterms. Trump's share of the vote, still puny, went from 23.2% in 2018 to 25.0% this year. Like I said; it's a solid blue district. And Santa Cruz County isn't just solid blue, it's very progressive as well. In 2016, Bernie beat Hillary there 25,171 (55.3%) to 20,105 (44.2%). Panetta isn't looking for a primary from the left... so he pays his annual dues to the CPC and otherwise ignores the caucus entirely-- including when it comes to voting.
Panetta has a solid "F" from ProgressivePunch, indicating that he votes with the New Dems, not the Progressive Caucus. Only 13 of California's Democrats have more conservative, pro-corporate voting records-- and 3 of them, fellow New Dems Gil Cisnernos, Harley Rouda and TJ Cox, were defeated for reelection.
If you live in his district and follow politics you at least know that there are a lot of questions surrounding Panetta, the overarching being whether he's the head of the transpartisan corruption in Monterey County or just a cog in something bigger than he is? Panetta is know in his district-- if not in the CPC-- for holding a lot of fundraisers with top, stinking-rich Republican donors, particularly from Big Oil and Big AG. Back home he regularly frequents local fundraisers for Republican candidates working against Democrats-- including a corrupt local Sheriff who should resign (or be recalled) amidst allegations and now 2 state investigations of a myriad of abuses of office. The press is generally quiet about it all. Son-of-Leon is golden in CA-20. As for the investigation of his ally, word is Jimmy is jamming up the process with the DA office, where he used to work. The public deserves answers.
And that's where respected muckraker Royal Calkins comes in. A long-time editor of the Monterey Herald, he now contributes to the Voices Of Monterey Bay journalism site. The investigations referred to above are being conducted by the California Fair Political Practices Commission. One revolves around credible accusations that Monterey County Sheriff Steve Bernal (R) was taking gifts of value he never reported and improperly using county staff and resources. For example, Bernal failed to report free lodging from former county Supervisor Butch Lindley and how he "repeatedly used Lindley’s guest house south of Salinas for sexual rendezvous with at least one of his Sheriff’s Department subordinates."
Calkin's full explanation of the Bernal scandals is very much worth reading carefully. Instead of going to the California Democratic Party convention, Panetta attended a fundraiser for this crooked Sheriff; showing exactly where his priorities are. Meanwhile Panetta's brother is the attorney Monterey County is paying in the Bernal lawsuits, expenditures that are currently being investigated. It is a family thing.