16 May 2010

Carbon Canyon and Congressional Campaign Contest Controversies Commencing

Normally, we wouldn't see much happening with congressional elections until the fall election season, but these are different and interesting times, so the normally placid primary campaign, with the election to be held on Tuesday, 8 June, is proving to be an exception to the rule when it comes to the race for the 42nd District member of the House of Representatives.  Carbon Canyon falls within the boundaries of this district, which has been overwhelmingly Republican and conservative in voter turnout for years.

Republican Gary G. Miller of Diamond Bar is a six-term incumbent in the office and has rarely faced any serious opposition in the main fall campaigns, so to see that there are three challengers within his own party for the primary is an especially striking example of how much matters have changed since the 2008 economic disaster.  Rep. Miller is now facing opposition within his own party for several avowed reasons, courtesy of the website of candidate Lee McGroarty, a Chino business owner:

1) He voted for the first two government bailout of financial institutions, otherwise known as TARP;

2)  He was one of only 39 Republicans who supported a Democrat-sponsored housing bill that has been referred to as a bailout of irresponsible homeowners;

3) He voted for a bill to bailout Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (a bill that did have broad bipartisan support);

4) He voted for the so-called Cash for Clunkers program (though stating that he wouldn't have except that the money was already allocated in the stimulus bill passed by Democrats upon taking control of Congress in early 2009); and

5) He changed his mind and voted against an audit of the Federal Reserve Bank.

In addition, McGroarty called last week for a San Bernardino County District Attorney's investigation effort after CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington), a progressive (read: liberal) watchdog group, accused Rep. Miller of using earmarks to benefit a non-profit housing foundation run by a major supporter that works on projects outside the 42nd District.  The issue led to a testy recorded exchange between Miller and a local Fox news reporter in the parking lot of a facility where the representative was attending a function.  Mc Groarty, meantime, allegedly had two endorsements on his Web site that were not legitimate.

Miller has been involved in controversy before, most notably land sales to the cities of Monrovia and Fontana that the representative claimed were forced under eminent domain and, therefore, exempted him for capital gains taxes.  To date, a F. B. I. investigation has yielded no action.  Miller was also accused of profiting from his relations with Lewis Operating in development projects in Rialto and not fully disclosing the collaboration according to House of Representatives rules, though it is not been stated whether he was actually in violation.

So, in recent weeks, campaign signs have been adding to the natural beauty of Carbon Canyon trumpeting the campaigns of the incumbent and his two main challengers:  McGroarty and La Habra CPA Phillip Liberatore.  There is a fourth contender, Diamond Bar resident David Su, whose campaign appears to be all but dormant.  On the Democratic side, there is only one candidate, Michael Williamson of Mission Viejo, whose positions on most issues are just about the same as his Republican counterparts.

To date, the most spirited competition has undoubtedly come from Liberatore who has been sending out mailers to district constituents.  One is a full-color, six-panel foldout that discusses who the candidate is, what he stands for and why he is running for Congress.  While Liberatore generally reiterates support for traditional Republican platform issues concerning lower taxes, the support of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution affirming the right of citizens to bear arms, strong national defense, and "an unbridled free enterprise system, among others, what animates Liberatore (and McGroarty and Su) is the belief that Miller, who has voted 96% of the time with his party, has abandoned the principles of the true conservative, and, therefore, must be replaced by someone with the authentic credentials of the party and its platform.

Liberatore prominently lists on his mailer such supporters as Calvary Chapel Chuck Smith, conservative radio host Frank Pastore, Christian broadcaster Warren Duffy, and the president of the conservative Pacific Justice Institute. 

In addition to the general campaign signs, a stencil-painted sign has been posted on a fence at the southeast corner of Carbon Canyon Road and Valencia Avenue (see above) that reads: "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God."  The sign, courtesy of Liberatore, is invoking the phrase attributed to both Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and, of course, seeks to tie in to the current "Tea Party" discontent with the direction of the country and to the generally avowed motto of "Taking Back America."  One can only assume what the reference to tyrants is specifically directed towards (the federal government generally? Barack Hussein Obama?  The New World Order and the Single World Currency?) while the references to rebellion and God is obvious given the history of the "Tea Party" movement(s).

Miller certainly believes that Liberatore is something of a threat to his incumbency, because the "Gary Miller for Congress Committee" has a Web site titled "Phil Liberatore for Congress??"  Notably, nothing in it concerns Liberatore's stands on the issues, but rather addresses an alleged 75 lawsuits to which the challenger has been a party.

There is still a few weeks until the primary election is held and the heat of the campaign will undoubtedly rise with late spring temperatures!

No comments: