Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Santa Monica Daily Press "Endorses" Henry Waxman

I love free speech! No one has to fear if someone spreads lies or distortions, because everyone has access to information from different sources, with many biases. The truth will out, and no one can put it out.

The Santa Monica Daily Press loves free speech, too. In the past year, the SMDP has generously afforded an out-of-towner like me some press space in their "Letters to the Editor". Here's one that I wrote about Waxman, the Fifth Street Post Office, and their striking similarities.

Sadly, I wish that Congressman Waxman shared my enthusiam for free speech, but unfortunately he shut me down in an "open forum" in Redondo Beach last week.

On a more recent note, the SMDP has just released their list of endorsements for local and national races. From the outset, the editorial board admitted a penchant for supporting Democratic candidates. Their endorsement of Congressman Henry Waxman sounded like a back-handed compliment. With the endorsement in its entirety, some of the finer points that stand deserve greater scrutiny:

Waxman has a long history of supporting liberal causes and holding those in power account

I am glad to say that with the growing number of young voters and Santa Monicans, this view is not total. Independents in the region are skeptical of any man who has been in power for so long. I have run into open-minded voters throughout the region, even Republicans in Venice, who don't support another term of Henry Waxman.

As far as holding "those in power" accountable, how come he voted "No!" to the "No More Solyndras" Act? He said that he was "sorry that Solyndra happened". Where was he when the banking and check-kiting scandals broke in Washington in the early 1990's?

He’s an old-school progressive whose views mirror those of most Santa Monicans.

Unfortunately, Waxman has gone corporate, taking huge campaign donations. The real distinction of "old-school" progressive belongs to retiring Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich, a politician who was willing to charter private jets just to cast voters, a progressive presidential candidate who has also decried the growth of "big government" in Washington and who wanted to get our troops out of Afghanistan immediately.

That said, it has felt at times as if he has taken us for granted.

This admission is the most telling and the most damning. After 38 years in office, rarely running a campaign, and twice facing no major party challenger, a legislator grows complacent, even distant. From the moment he got elected, Waxman moved to Washington D.C. and never moved back. Even for his current campaign, the Electoral Commission lists his office in Bethesda, Maryland. What's he doing out there when he's supposed to be representing interests in the Santa Monica Bay?

No movement on building housing for homeless veterans.

Honestly, Waxman's lack of movement on this issue is also a damning indictment, once which cannot be overlooked. Granted, the city of Santa Monica has set up services to support homeless veterans. The Congressman who currently represents the Santa Monica Bay has failed to get in step with his ownn constituents. He had two years on the House Oversight and Government Reform committee. During his tenure, he went after lead in toys, but the status and abuse of the Brentwood VA was not a priority.

Letters sent but nothing accomplished in regards to limiting flights at Santa Monica Airport or saving the Downtown post office.

Writing letters does not a Congressman make. Anyone can write a letter, and having federal authority behind you, no matter how persuasive or penetrating one's prose, does not advance the cause of getting housing for our homeless veterans. As for the Post Office, a movie producer bought the Venice Post office; there must be someone else who can step in to care-take the Fifth Street Post Office, too.

But then again, there’s no guarantee that any of that would have been accomplished if his challenger, millionaire Bill Bloomfield, were in office.

Waxman already established a record of doing very little or not enough for these issues. "No guarantee" does not mean "no doubt", though, since a politician must keep good on his promises, or not get reelected. Bloomfield has taken no PAC or special interest money, so he has already signaled to voters that he represents them, not the political class, not the lobbyists. Bloomfield has invested in many causes including electoral reform, a documented record of assisting the community before he threw his hat in the ring!

We liked Bloomfield and believe his efforts to rid Washington of obstructionist forces are needed, but his disinterest in local issues concerned us, as well as his lack of a voting record.

Bloomfield's interests in a Congress that works is an interest that touches on everyone. A lack of a voting record does not impede evaluating the well-meaning and the presence of a Congressman in office.

We believe Waxman should be given another term, while Bloomfield should be supported in his efforts to reform politics from the outside.

Bloomfield can do more from inside Congress, and that’s where he belongs. Bloomfield for the 33rd!

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