Local Spin: Farr Worse
Our congressman says D.C. is even nastier than we think.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Sam Farr doesn’t strike me as a “the sky is falling, the sky is falling” kind of guy. And while he didn’t run around the Weekly’s offices like Henny Penny in the old children’s fable, he sat at a conference table in our offices on Tuesday morning and pretty much acted the part. Calm and collected, true, but he still acted the part.
In short: There is absolutely nothing getting done in our nation’s capitol right now, nothing of substance, nothing that is going to help any of us. The pain is being spread to everyone.
The Salinas Valley growers who claim the federal E-Verify system for confirming ag workers’ documentation is going to screw them hard and decimate the labor force? They aren’t overstating the case, Farr says. By not getting serious about financial reform (like appointing the single smartest person in D.C., Elizabeth Warren, to oversee the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), the President has doomed us to another few years of government by Goldman Sachs, with Tim Geithner, the creature of that financial war criminal Henry Paulson, running the U.S. Treasury.
Forget any chance of another round of federal stimulus funding. And forget any federal program that might cut mortgage interest rates to 3.5 percent so that homeowners can hope to get out from under, or use that extra capital for those things one normally uses extra capital for, like buying a car or starting a business. On the Hill, the minority party has to request permission to hold a meeting, and if the majority wants to, it can tell them their meeting will be held at 4am in a basement boiler room. And the Democrats just have to sit there and take it.
THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING GETTING DONE IN OUR NATION’S CAPITOL.
Also, Farr says, the GOP, obsessed by Solyndra and how they can use it to embarrass the President, is actively getting rid of anything green: the recycling bins, the CFL light bulbs, the eco-friendly serving ware in the cafeteria – and then they tried to pass an amendment that would prohibit anyone under the age of 17 from learning about conservation.
“It was being treated as pornographic material,” Farr says. “The dumbest amendments have been on the floor.”
Trace it all back to the extinction of that most rarefied of all D.C. animals, the moderate Republican. You can blame erstwhile GOP presidential wannabe Newt Gingrich for that, Farr says.
“Gingrich was more of a controversial figurehead, but he was bright. He liked to use government and he liked to get things done,” Farr says. “And he did everything he could to get rid of moderate Republicans.”
The result: Speaker of the House John Boehner, whose sole purpose in life is to defeat Obama.
Not that the president is doing himself any favors these days either, certainly not in California. Last week federal prosecutors declared war on California’s medical marijuana dispensaries, raiding one legal grow operation in Marin County and sending warning letters to dispensary landlords that if sales don’t stop within 45 days, their property might be seized and they might go to jail. California’s four U.S. attorneys, in launching their campaign, made statements that would in other circumstances be laughable (pot brownies are a marketing tool to get kids hooked?). Laughable if, you know, those U.S. attorneys didn’t also have the power to summon Drug Enforcement Administration agents to raid and shut down businesses legally operating in California.
Ask Farr why the President has decided to take this on right now, and the basic answer is, he doesn’t know. But he and Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher are circulating a letter through the 53 members of California’s congressional delegation, calling upon the President to knock off the SWAT-style federal raids, respect California’s legally enacted laws that provide for the medical use of marijuana, and quit threatening landlords with asset forfeiture and prison sentences. And Farr and Rohrabacher are calling upon the President to use administrative powers to reschedule marijuana as a Schedule II or III drug, or publicly support legislation that would change the federal statutes, such as Congressman Barney Frank’s (D-MA) H.R. 1983 introduced earlier this year.
The California delegation is on a week’s break right now before they head back to D.C. and into the fray. So far, Farr and Rohrabacher have collected signatures from Pete Stark, Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee.
That’s five down, and 48 to go. What those 48 decide to do about that letter will let all of us know whether our own elected representatives respect the will of the people who voted them in, and ultimately, whether the federal government respects that will too.
I hope I don’t already know the answer to that question.
MARY DUAN is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at email@example.com.