The following is the second of a series of topical column titled “The Right Stuff” to promote thought and ensure accuracy within political campaigns and issues. Our objective is to promote interest among voters to separate fact from opinion or fiction. It is time for voters to demand representatives who promote the founding principles of our country at every level of government.
Have you tried to communicate with your state or federal representative lately? How has that worked out for you?
Rep. John Garamendi always responds to this writer with a form letter to tell me of his personal accomplishments, but has never answered specific questions posed. U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer usually responds with evasive comments on my questions and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein seldom responds at all.
I do not expect the representative to personally prepare answers to each question, but taxpayers provide unlimited funds for staffers who can prepare reasonable answers for the boss’s signature. I am not speaking from inexperience. Whether I received in my earlier life a complaint from a senator or a complaining customer, the complainer always received an answer to the point prepared by my staff and reviewed by me. For the quality of answers I have received, I can only judge my representatives as incompetent managers or as being intentionally deceptive.
For direct meetings with representatives, the ratio of office holders to constituents is a growing problem. How does the office holder ration time between direct business and meeting constituents? The result is frequently an overly protective staff or a defensive office holder. Examples are state Sen. Lois Wolk, who started glancing at her watch three minutes after our meeting started, and Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, who indicated interest but never provided any feedback.
An Environmental Protection Agency local issue indicates that the inability to obtain appropriate corrective action is, in part, a result of unresponsive elected representation. (The issue with EPA will be explained in detail in a subsequent column.) The Solano County Taxpayers Association spent three years researching this issue, which is expenditure of $150 million by Vacaville as mandated by environmental agencies without adequate scientific data.
Though the Vacaville waste is given as the example, the larger issue is that every city in the country is subject to similar mandates as stated by members of the Central Valley Water Control Board. Five factors have been identified as leading to these costly EPA decisions and the first two require congressional correction.
I presented this situation to Garamendi at a Dixon Town Hall nearly three years ago. Since then I have provided written documentation and made repeated verbal and telephone requests to his staff for the congressman to meet the Taxpayer Committee to review the problem. Despite alleged support, that meeting has never occurred.
The founders of this nation expressed concerned whether the citizens would be educated enough to maintain good representation. Those citizens met their responsibility. European leaders, particularly those who suffered for 40 years under communism such as Vaclav Havel of Czech Republic, have seriously questioned the American public for their choice of elected officials.
Members of the U.S. Congress have a higher re-election rate than representatives to the Russian Duma. When our legislators vote on measures without knowing the content, when they approve bills public polls measure the citizens to oppose by 65 percent, when they give their dismissive self-serving responses to your thoughtfully prepared letter, why do we re-elect them to office.
Ask yourself this: Are you a responsible citizen when you re-elect an incumbent who has strapped your grandchildren with national debt by approving expenditures that have no measured value?
Earl Heal is a Vacaville resident and member of The Right Stuff Committee, a committee of the Solano County Republican Party. Reach him at email@example.com.