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Three Strikes and the Duke is out

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
May 27, 2004


"It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except congress." — Mark Twain

Last week I received an email from a reader and recent transplant, commenting on my recent profiles on Randy "Duke" Cunningham and asking what "a person with common sense, independence, a spirit of service, and a real desire to have open and efficient government to do" to have a truly representative voice in Washington. And to use this forum to "showcase the new thinking and new ideas of third (fourth, fifth, etc.) Party candidates." How could I refuse?

But first, a summary.

While researching the corruption associated with Gregory Canyon Ltd. and the citing of a toxic landfill on top of the San Luis Rey Aquifer, within the San Luis Rey River Valley, connecting dots led to evidence Congressman Cunningham of squashing local environmental efforts to bring federal recognition and funds to the communities of the San Luis Rey watershed.

Stung, I had to ask myself "Who does Representative Cunningham really represent?" Considering a healthy and thriving river valley to be in the best interest of everyone in North San Diego County, it was obvious his first priority was not the environmental well being of his constituents. Going on line I found documentation of the "Duke's" anti-environment voting record while in congress. His rating with the League of Conservation Voters has never been above a D average.

Bad on the environment. Strike one.

Further inquiry shows the "Duke" had dedicated he congressional agenda to achieving a key placement on the select intelligence committee. In other words, the Congressman has busy playing spy games while the Administration of Bush II drives the U.S. economy into a ditch. He has not been working on things vital to the well being of those living in the California's 50th Congressional district. Local issues such as illegal Immigration, water resources, ocean pollution, agriculture conservation, mass transit, renewable energy, and unemployment barely register on the Cunningham agenda.

Ignores local issues. Strike two

The Bush Administration and Republican leadership knew they were instigating war based on false intelligence. As a member of the House Select Intelligence committee, Serving on Human Intelligence, Analysis, and Counterintelligence; Intelligence Policy and National Security; and Technical and Tactical Intelligence subcommittees. When I followed the money, looking at who was supporting his time on Capital hill with monetary donations, it was clear Mr. Cunningham was nothing more than a Hawkish puppet whose strings were being pulled by corporations such as Halliburton, The Carlisle Group, General Dynamics, and other defense contractors.

Corporate spy games. Strike Three!

And we all know what three strikes mean.

The question is with whom do we replace the Duke? As important it is to retire Mr. Cunningham from public disservice, it is equally important to elect a representative who will focus on contributing to the national government in ways that improve the quality of life for those living in the 50th district. Promoting economic and environmental sustainability are two issues long ignored. It is also important to elect a representative unwilling to take corporate money. Is there such a person? Of course there is.

Francine Busby is the Democrat challenging the "Duke." Her environmental platform reads well enough, as does her commitment to policies promoting renewable energy, and energy conservation. She also supports a woman's right to choose and affordable health care. Most encouraging is her pledge to restore environmental regulations undone by the Bush Administration.

Gary Waayers is the Green Party candidate. Like the "Duke," Gary Waayers is a Vietnam Vet, and was a training specialist at Mira Mar Naval Air Station. That is where the similarities stop. Gary is calling for changing the debate in Washington, and re-centering it around the actual needs of people. As a Green candidate one is assured he is not taking corporate money, and as a professor of biology he will always advocate for sound environmental policy.

The voters of the California's 50th congressional district deserve, and should demand, a series of debates between these candidates. To do otherwise would be completely self-destructive. I'm sure this publication and other media outlets would relish the chance to cover such an event. I suggest any one seeking alternatives to 14 years of misrepresentation to contact the campaigns of those asking to replace him. Most can be found on line.

Watch this space for profiles on all candidates seeking the California's 50th congressional seat.

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