We published an editorial Saturday about the “Food Stamp Challenge,” how some Congressional representatives had tried – and failed – to live off $3 a day for food, which is equivalent of the benefits received by the average food stamp recipient.

We got word today that state Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, is taking the challenge as well. Leno, who is running to unseat state Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, will be trying to live on $3 a day this week, according to his staff.

Leno is doing it in honor of National Hunger Awareness Day on Tuesday. He is also hoping to raise awareness of his legislation, AB 1382, which would eliminate California’s requirement that every adult in a household that receives food stamps be fingerprinted and photographed. Leno contends that this burdensome requirement is one of the reasons that California ranks last in the nation for food stamp participation. Only two other states have such a requirement.

His campaign is a worthy one. But it’s certainly curious that Leno is now trying to get by on $3 a day, given that last week he took heat for holding a $1,000-per-person fund-raising event – a day before the committee he chairs was to decide on more than 600 bills. The timing of such a fund-raiser raises some legitimate ethical questions.

According to the Sacramento Bee, lobbyists in attendance at Leno’s meet-and-greet at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel were treated to chicken skewers, spinach snacks and pastry puffs.
Today, Leno had soup for lunch.

– Paul Gullixson