To the voters of the Valley (and the newly drawn 3oth Congressional District):
The drama in the new 30th Congressional District has highlighted all the conflicts and constraints of one-party rule in different sections of the country. Now that the Democratic party has advanced and availed their top-two candidates on Valley Voters, including Sherman Oaks and Van Nuys, one wonders what choices will be available in the future.
For me, I was a Sherman fan from the moment I learned that he had voted against TARP. Unlike members of the Republican Party (including Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan), Sherman staked a minority view by voting against that bad legislation, even if he did it for the wrong reasons.
Moreover, because I wanted to help edge out Congressman Henry Waxman, who was the previous Congressman for the old 30th, the symbolic victory of taking down both axes of the Berman-Waxman machine was too good to pass up, even if for a while it seemed to good to be true.
When I saw every Democratic incumbent in the Congressional delegation line up behind Berman, followed by two well-connected Republican Senators, I still felt sure standing for Sherman. The fact that the younger Congressman was willing to reach out to Republican voters signalled to me that the two major reforms in California, both the Open Primaries and the Citizens Redistricting Commission, were doing their job, forcing candidates to compromise and coalesce the middle ground with constituents. One voter visiting in Manhattan Beach related to me that Howard Berman advertised himself as "the incumbent" in the new district, one which contained only one-fourth of his previous constituency. This presumption offended that one voter, as it should, and gave him pause to consider supporting Sherman.
These two major reforms -- Open Primaries and Citizens Redistricting -- which Independent Candidate Bill Bloomfield advocated and promoted long before he ran for office against Henry Waxman, were designed to cripple the crass entitlement mentality of the political class which expected nothing less than a coronation every two years. Congressmen Henry Waxman and Howard Berman fit this profile, and it is fitting to see their profile diminish in the Westside.
Congressman Henry Waxman recently released a phone advertisement suggesting that Sherman's aggressive behavior at the Pierce College debate clearly exposed the younger legislator as unfit for the office. Of course, Waxman neglected to mention that his colleague in political-machine chicanery Berman started the joust by jabbing Sherman as "delusional", most likely to elicit sophomoric laughter from the mostly post-high school crowd in the audience. Before that, it was Berman who started getting negative when in July the Southland learned that Sherman was polling ahead by double-digits. Moreover, Congressman Henry Waxman has no right to castigate anyone as mean or crude, since his careless and caustic demeanor with colleagues and witnesses deserves no less a reprimand.
The final punches and gutter-sniping in the 30th Congressional race are what most voters would expect from long-standing politicians who for the vast majority of their tenure never had to run for office, let alone talk to constituents in order to solicit their feedback or respond to their concerns. Not even two weeks ago, Congressman Waxman shut down a constituent in a local "open forum", apparently appalled and displeased that any voter would criticize his thirty-eight year record.
Political machines of any kind, in which two safe incumbents turf their campaign dollars to fellow congressman in more competitive races, should never happen again in the state of California. To the Republicans who are holding their nose to cast a vote for Sherman, remember with calm hope that the Open Primary system permits any candidate from any party, especially an independent or a decline-to-state, to rise up and take down an incumbent who feels that it is not incumbent upon him to represent his voters. If Sherman does not keep his word, if he resorts to the same political chicanery of machines in the past, all it will take is a moderate challenger to take him down in the next election.
Valley voters, end the Berman-Waxman machine and end the easy incumb ency of decades past, which lasted for decades too long. Vote for Brad Sherman for the 30th.