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Going out on a limb

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
August 2, 2005


Last week I went gonzo on a very competent politician. My attempt at making sense of the political power struggle rebounding from the fall of Randy Duke Cunningham was clumsy, and for that I stand corrected. Whereas I do not want to retract my previous column, I need to make it clear that my journalistic speculations were merely that, speculation .Please forgive me if I made it seem like Howard Kaloogian is the anti-Christ. He is not. Nor is Howard responsible for all the sins of western civilization. He is just a guy with his eye on the prize.

My role as an opinion editorialist is to interpret current events through an idiosyncratic filter. One reader suggested I sit down with Mr. Kaloogian and ask him questions that would end my speculation. Point well taken. I could of done that, but Howard was busy posing for cameras in Baghdad, and restraint is hardly my forte.

Instead of taking journalistic potshots at the Republicans operatives trying to replace the disgraced Cunningham, I intend to lay down a journalistic olive branch to facilitate journalistic considerations less speculative and more informative. The first Republican contender I hope to talk with is Howard Kaloogian himself. I owe him that much.

The questions I would like to ask those seeking to represent everyone living in the 50th Congressional district pertain to concerns both local and national. All voters should be asking candidates about regional issues that affect their daily lives. Homeland security begins at home. Water scarcity, mass transit funding, sustainable growth, air quality, immigration reform, habitat conservation, corporate control, and population pressures are all homeland security issues.

Quality of life is more than just bombing competing ideologies out of existence.

Cunningham's tenure on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, and his Chairmanship of the Subcommittee on Human Intelligence Analysis and Counterintelligence, will retire when he does. His compromised position on House Appropriations Committee does too. The fall of Cunningham leaves a clean slate.

Because the new congressional representative will start fresh, it's important to know what baggage they're taking to D.C., and who's waiting to meet them. Every voter should be asking candidates for federal office what they would be doing to improve the environmental quality of their family's lives. With ever increasing populations, what is being done to maintain ecological sustainability? What do would be candidates have to say about the loss of agriculture in a once fertile region?

How a candidate feels about local issues speaks volumes about how they would behave in congress. Randy Duke was elected as a war hero, and by his record proved a rather generous war hawk. The question now before the voters of the 50th district is what comes next. Do they want another war hero, or a Christian soldier? Perhaps a self-styled businessman. Personally, I'm looking for the deepest shade of green possible.

Voters have plenty of time to measure the agendas and competence of those who feel they process the qualification needed to best represent every resident of district, and not just those who nurse from the same ideological teat. The print media also needs to start excavating the dirt lining their closets and the skeletons nestled there.

Voters need to know where candidates stand on all issues, not just the cloak and dagger of faith-based religiosity, as every candidate will identify as a good Christian soldier. Southern Californians must demand from our elected officials an active commitment to environmental quality. I wonder what Mr. Kaloogians' position is on fuel efficiency standards and global warming science. Where does Bill Morrow stand on the Endangered Species Act and Genetic Engineering?

The restoration of coastal wetlands and marine sanctuaries would reap dividends in tourism dollars, as would mass transit funding, and coastline preservation. The next congressperson for the 50th district should understand the biological importance of our place on the planet and behave accordingly. A federal representative focused on life at home, instead of fighting wars in far away lands, would better serve all species existing in Southern California.

Living in Leucadia, the liberal heart of the 50th district, I have a vested interest in who inherits the Randy Duke Show. I'm sure there are others that want an environmental steward protecting and advancing our ecological interests in the halls of congress. Homeland security is really about clean air, clean water, and sustainable populations. Will those issues will be given as much consideration as guns, god, and greed, when shopping around for a new congressperson? I hope so.

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