The Venice Neighborhood Council held its monthly meeting last night at Westminster Elementary on Abbot Kinney Road. That was my first time attending an LA Neighborhood Council Meeting. I love Venice, and I acknowledge the active involvement of those LA residents. When I saw the line of fifty-five people who wanted to join the Neighborhood Council, I almost jumped in line just for fun. I was really impressed with the former principal of Venice High, whose factual basis for joining the Neighborhood Council merits more attention.
As I am not a Venice resident, I was not particularly interested in the welfare or the future of the Ballona Wetlands -- just for that evening, mind you – but I was disappointed that the Sierra Club representatives did not receive more time to share their findings and support for the Wetlands. My biggest interest, though, was hearing from the two Congressional candidates running for the 33rd Congressional district, which now includes Venice all the way to the South Bay, including West Torrance, where I live. As far as that issue was concerned, I had a "factual" interest in what goes on in Venice!
I got to meet Bill Bloomfield and Congressman Waxman again -- Mr. Waxmanshook my hand and said "My blogger!" I was impressed, the guy is starting to pay attention. (visit "WaxmanWatch" -- waxmnwatch.blogspot.com -- to learn more about Waxman's rhetoric and record, and why he should not be running for office.) The two candidates gave ten-minute speeches to the Venice Neighborhood Council and the Venice community who attended, a large and billowing group, politically active yet respectable and respectful of differing interests. Bloomfield went first. He decried the hyperpartisanship eating at Congress and eating away our country's future. The Constitution requires Congress to pass a budget every ear, yet for three years Congress has refused to do even that. As a leader in the "No Labels" movement, Bloomfield supports "No Budget, No Pay" for members of Congress. Perhaps we could start by stripping Waxman of his income, as he is one of the most hyperpartisan members in Congress (Just ask Darrell Issa!).
Mr. Waxman came up next, and judging by the temper of the crowd, he did receive a warmer reception, yet tight crowds do not elect Congressmen; voters do, yet after thirty-eight years in a safe Democratic seat, Waxman would easily have forgotten that. As in previous meetings, Waxman outlined a number of legislative accomplishments that he has enacted in his thirty-eight year tenure: Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Air Act, Ryan White Act. Yet all of this remembrance of things past is an act in itself.
Waxman has also claimed that he has frequently invested his time in the well-being and upkeep of the Brentwood VA, a sore issue which the New York Times and the LA Times has reported on. Time and again, Waxmanclaims that he has "written letters" to investigate, and he stopped "Republicans" from selling off the land. Yet upon a closer look at Waxman's tenure while he was chairman of The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee from 2007 to 2009, what did Congressman Waxman investigate? Thanks to Waxman, we no longer have to worry about. . .lead in toys? He helped cut funds to the Drug Czar, but the President should not be appointing any non-accountable deputies in his administration in the first place, yet Waxman said nothing about this abuse of power.
Waxman investigated Hurricane Katrina, but the partisan theatrics was a party ploy: just disgraceful. I have commented and commended the Congressman for investigating waste in Iraq, yet following the establishment of an Embassy which rivaled the Vatican in size, Waxman sent more inspectors to investigate. After more government, and more waste, do the voters really want more Waxman?
Conspicuously missing form his list of "Oversight Accomplishments" was his foray into steroid abuse in baseball, a subject which he did not address at the Venice Neighborhood Council, either. In early 2008, Waxman "invited" Roger Clemens and other major league figures to testify. He was later acquitted of wrong-doing. A constituent confronted Waxman about steroid abuse and steroid education, but Waxman knew nothing about any of it. Another missing topic from Waxman's"accomplishments": the misuse and abuse of the BrentwoodVA. For all of his time, tenure, and temper as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, surely the Congressman could have dragged the head of the VA before his committee to investigate the poor use and transfer of funds from private rentals and "sharing" taking place on the property. His "frustration" on the issues is contemptible posturing, at best.
Congressman Waxman may have assumed a "homecourt" advantage in Venice, but voters are waking up across the Santa Monica Bay. Thanks again to the Venice Neighborhood Council for sponsoring the two candidates' appearance at the meeting. I only hope that voters spend more time looking at the record, not just the rhetoric, of the two candidates and commit their district to a new contender, Bill Bloomfield. Our country and our veterans deserve better.