Monday, October 30, 2006

SERIOUSLY TIME for a CHANGE

In August, my opponent, Rep. Brad Sherman made a public promise to many constituents that he would debate me.  He lied.

For weeks, Mr. Sherman has skipped candidate forums in the district, and ignored requests by my campaign staff to schedule an event: any time, any place. Most recently, he refused to even respond to a formal proposal that called for the San Fernando Sun newspaper to moderate a debate in the northeast San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles.

I was especially looking forward to meeting Mr. Sherman in the northeast Valley because it is an area that he publicly fought to exclude from his district, one he has utterly ignored since it was forced upon him after congressional lines were redrawn in late 2001.

In published reports in the Los Angeles Times from 2001, prominent Democrats chastised Mr. Sherman and implied that his opposition was potentially racially motivated:

     “[Sherman] has made himself irrelevant,’ said State Sen. Don Perata (D-Alameda), the chairman of the Senate Redistricting Committee. ‘He would like to have sort of a white-bread district and is having a real hard time understanding that the population of California is changing, particularly in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.’ He called Sherman, ‘as self-serving as anybody I’ve met.’
     (“Neighboring LA Democrats Trade Barbs Over Redistricting,” Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2001)

     “[State Sen. Richard Alarcon (D-Sylmar)] also said Sherman has ‘fought vehemently and publicly to reduce the number of Latinos in his district. There are some fences that need to be mended. He needs to let the Latino community know that he supports them as a community.’
     (“Remapping Plan Fails To Appease Latinos,” Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, September 11, 2001)

Now, I absolutely reject the notion that Brad Sherman is a racist—I simply do not believe it. But Brad Sherman is a politician. He sees people in this district as voter registration statistics, not constituents, and has done so for the last four years.

I have no doubt that he fears his act will not play as well in the Northeast Valley as it does in upscale Sherman Oaks, where he has a home. That said, his decision to simply ignore the Northeast Valley for years is infuriating, and it makes no sense, political or otherwise.

My partner in life happens to be Latino—first generation American, in fact.  When elected, I will represent everyone in this District...regardless of where they live, or their political party affiliation.  It's seriously time for a change.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Valley is DUE for a CHANGE...

The San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles has a justifiable “chip on its shoulder.” Despite being part of the City of Los Angeles, it has long been treated as a second-class citizen by local government, a source of great frustration and anger for many Valley residents.

In 2002, this bipartisan issue became so acute that the Valley residents actually voted overwhelmingly to secede from the City of Los Angeles, and GOP Assemblyman Keith Richman (pictured below) was provisionally elected “Mayor of the San Fernando Valley.” Ultimately the initiative was defeated by a majority of the Los Angeles voters from other parts of the City, though the Valley’s discontent remains.

According to the California Institute for Federal Policy Research, the imbalance between what California pays the federal government in taxes and what it gets back in the form of federal funds has gotten worse every year since my opponent, Rep. Brad Sherman, took office. In 2003—the most recent year for which data is available—Californians sent $50 billion more to Washington, D.C., than they got back in return: a record high for any state in the country.

“Getting the Valley its fair share” is the central theme of my campaign. The message is resonating because, with the exception of naming a local Post Office or two, Brad Sherman, has done almost nothing for the 27th District.

In fact, in its 2006 “Power Rankings” of Members of Congress, www.congress.org ranked Brad Sherman a dismal 349th out of 435. As an explanation for Sherman’s low score, the website noted: “Average tenure and committee position, but did not advance any legislation in 2005.”

The “fair share” concern is real. It is powerful, populist and bipartisan. Brad Sherman cannot go near it because of his admittedly undistinguished Congressional record in this area. The same sentiment behind “fair share” that was strong enough to move the Valley to literally vote to secede from the City of Los Angeles, is also strong enough to vote out a do-nothing Congressman.

Please share your thoughts with me, and help us win this election, so I can effectively represent everyone in our District... [HankwitzForCongress.com]