Monday, August 28, 2006

"Prop. 90 endorsers"

Reposted commentary from: The California Observer

I support the provisions of property protection behind Prop 90, though I also believe a greater solution is necessary at the federal level to protect people's property rights.

My congressional opponent, Brad Sherman, voted against H.R.340, a non-binding resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that last year’s highly publicized Supreme Court decision in ‘Kelo et al. v. City of New London et al.’ [1] was wrong.

In this landmark case, the government of the City of New London, Connecticut, seized private property from individuals, claiming that the “city has carefully formulated a development plan that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including, but not limited to, new jobs and increased tax revenue,” thereby hiding behind the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause regarding ‘eminent domain’. However, those who stood to profit most from the property transfer were NOT its owners: they were the private developers.

While “increased tax revenue” for the city may be a result of its actions, and may, therefore, benefit all residents to some extent, it is NOT a sufficient reason to seize private property. As for another reason cited, new jobs will certainly be created: all those jobs necessary to demolish homes and build shopping centers.

The House bill [2] declared “eminent domain should never be used to advantage one private party over another.” Fortunately, despite my opponent’s strange efforts to the contrary, Congress overwhelmingly passed this Resolution in June 2005, 365–33 [3], with the support of 144 Democrats, Rep. Xavier Becerra (CA) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA) included among them.

Clearly, this is not a partisan issue; this is an issue of private property rights. And the people of the San Fernando Valley deserve to know that the Gentleman from California’s 27th District has little, if any, interest in protecting theirs.

[1] http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/04-108.ZS.html
[2] http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c109:2:./temp/~c109752mX6::
[3] http://clerk.house.gov/cgi-bin/vote.asp?year=2005&rollnumber=361

Congrats: FRIENDS and EMMY® WINNERS!

Throughout my career in the entertainment industry, I have been fortunate to know and work with some of the most talented people in show business.  Today I offer my heartfelt congratulations to a few of my friends and colleagues who were recipients of Creative Arts Emmy® and Primetime Emmy® awards during the ceremonies held by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on August 19th and August 27th:

Outstanding Drama Series:
     Joel Surnow, Executive Producer, "24" (Fox)
     Jon Cassar, Co-Executive Producer, "24" (Fox)

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series:
     Jon Cassar, Director, "24" (Fox)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie:
     Jeremy Irons as 'Earl of Leicester' in "Elizabeth I" (HBO)

Outstanding Reality/Competition Program:
"The Amazing Race" (CBS)
     Bert van Munster, Executive Producer
     Jonathan Littman, Executive Producer
     Elise Doganieri , Co-Executive Producer

Outstanding Children's Program:
"I Have Tourette’s But Tourette’s Doesn’t Have Me" (HBO)
     Dolores Morris, Supervising Producer

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series:
     Leslie Jordan as 'Beverley Leslie' in "Will and Grace" (NBC)

Kudos to all of you!  It is a privilege to know you, and to participate in your efforts to entertain television (and film) audiences over the years.  

Keep up the great work!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

IT'S the PEOPLE, NOT the PARTY

On August 10th a member of my staff forwarded an (unfriendly) email to me with a subject line that read: “How I'd like to be represented...”

Normally I do not engage in responding to a note from an obviously misguided reactionary whom I have never met. However, since this particular email shed light on a commonly held prejudice, I wanted to share it here, and make a couple of quick points. (Note: Although the author signed his name to the email, I will preserve his anonymity, as I am the one who chose to run for public office, not him.)

The author wrote in the body of his note: “I'd like to be represented by a candidate who is NOT a self-loathing, hypocritical, neo-con gay man. Give me a good ol' Dem any day--straight or gay. THEY know that EVERYONE is equal, worthy of marriage and personal choices.”

It is not the Party affiliation that makes a person: it is the people who comprise the Party. As such, we should not segregate anyone based solely on a political party affiliation.

Yes, some of the Republicans in Congress have an abysmal historical record on issues involving equality for lesbians and gays. And earlier this year, on July 18th and June 7th, respectively, many of those same Republicans were joined by thirty-four (34) Democratic House Representatives and two (2) Democratic U.S. Senators who voted for a Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) to the U.S. Constitution, which would have effectively banned all gay marriages.

Conversely, and if we truly want change on a national scale, we must—absolutely MUST—highlight and applaud the efforts of those Republicans who, like me, refuse to toe the Party line on this particular issue in Congress.

There were twenty-seven (27) House Republicans and seven (7) U.S. Senators who voted against the FMA, including Rep. Mary Bono and Rep. David Dreier from California. We cannot let their great efforts for equality go unheralded, anymore than we can afford to pretend to enjoy the automatic support of all of their Democratic colleagues.

On this particular issue, having a “good ol' Dem” in the House didn’t necessarily help, did it? Once again: it’s the people, not the party. (Coincidentally, of the major party Members who voted, exactly the same percentage of House Republicans voted against the FMA as Democrats who voted for it: 14.4%)

Fortunately these proposed Constitutional amendments amounted to nothing more than political posturing. Both failed to pass, as expected, due to the fair-mindedness of hundreds of women and men in each Party, and their ‘Independent’ colleagues.

So I submit to the author of the email we received, and to all those reading this posting, that I am far from a “self-loathing, hypocritical, neo-con gay man.” In fact, the only accurately used adjective in that sentence is “gay.”

I happen to believe deeply in personal freedom and responsibility, and equality for all people. Yet, because I am a Republican candidate, the writer of the email implied that I did not “know that EVERYONE is equal, worthy of marriage and personal choices.” He is simply wrong, and clearly does not know me at all. He does, however, have a right to be wrong: we all do.

I am a man who loves his family, his country and his freedom, and will work tirelessly to protect and support each of those things (and more) as a Member of Congress. There are myriad issues that affect all Americans: like fairness, national security and opportunities to foster business growth. If we do not start working together, and stop focusing on single-issue social politics, we may be in danger of destroying the very spirit of inclusion and equality on which America was founded.

www.hankwitzforcongress.com

Friday, August 04, 2006

"Love Your NEIGHBOR as YOURSELF"

I read today that during the San Diego Gay Pride festival this past weekend five people were brutally attacked, allegedly for their sexual orientation, as they left the event.

Excuse me: What year is this? Have we suddenly been transported back to the bigoted and segregated days of yore? Are some people still this ignorant and foolish? Apparently so...

Anyone who knows me is likely aware that being gay is only one part of who and what I am; that my life is dedicated to many, many things beyond that which is considered to be part of so-called “gay culture.” However, when I hear of this kind of ridiculous, despicable, disabling and hateful behavior, I need to weigh in, as it’s personal.

ALL FORMS OF BIGOTRY AND HATRED HAVE TO STOP, FOLKS!

It should not be too surprising that the people arrested in connection with these attacks are members of a group who call themselves "Lowlifes." Imagine referring to yourself as a 'lowlife' and swelling up with (false) pride therefore. Who are these idiots? And two of them were teenagers! Where are their parents?

Three of the four suspects arrested appeared in San Diego criminal court yesterday. Lowlifes indeed.

My staff and I stand firmly with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in his statement about these acts of cowardice, and the upcoming "Hate Crimes Rally and Candlelight March” on Friday, August 4, 2006 at 5:30pm in San Diego:

     "The hate and ignorance these detestable acts embody stand in stark contrast to the principles of tolerance and compassion that represent California. Hate crimes like these hurt not only their immediate victims, but an entire community. They only expose the futility of violence. By responding to violent attacks with peaceful demonstrations and answering hate with solidarity, Friday's rally serves as a powerful reminder that only by respecting differences can we hope to avoid these types of tragedies in the future."

God bless you, Governor Schwarzenegger. And thank you.