Slapshot

Slapshot

When I was a child, my dad voted for Donald Duck one year. Not sure if that’s the truth, but that’s what he claimed some decades ago after casting his vote on Election Day.

After getting over the initial thrill of imagining Huey, Dewey and Louie in the cabinet, I was finally able to ask why he voted for Mr. Duck.

His response: “Because the rest of them are assholes.”

 
To the best of my memory, my old man didn’t hang with politicians, or attend candidate forums. But if our mailbox was filled with the type of trash the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has been sending lately, it’s easy to understand why he summed up politics as one collective orifice.

The committee and the House Majority PAC combined have spent a little more than $60,000 in three mailer campaigns, including one that suggests “Linda Parks comes from a long line of Republicans.” and has pictures of her alongside Sarah Palin, George W. Bush and Rush Limbaugh, to name a few. Another mailer presents rudimentary Photoshopped images alleging she has a closet full of Republican paraphernalia, urging voters to “Stop the Tea Party.”

 

In 2010, the Ventura County Republican Party tried to smear then-registered Republican Linda Parks in her fight for re-election for Ventura County Supervisor against termed out Assemblywoman Audra Strickland, R-Moorpark.

Parks, registered as “no party preference” and a candidate for the new 26th Congressional District, poses the biggest threat to the Democratic machine’s top candidate, Julia Brownley. With the new top-two primary system, the two candidates who receive the most votes move on to the November election. Republican Tony Strickland is a shoo-in, as he is the only Republican candidate on the ticket and can raise money like a televangelist on Good Friday.

That leaves Brownley, Parks and three other Democratic candidates to battle for the final spot. The other Democratic candidates will surely siphon votes from Brownley, and this has the Democratic machine worried that Parks, who was recently endorsed by the Los Angeles Times, will gain enough traction to move on to the November election.

In response, the DCCC showed that what they lack in creativity, they make up for in hypocrisy by using nearly the same attack rhetoric the Ventura County Republican Party used to slam Parks during her successful 2010 Ventura County Supervisor campaign against Audra Strickland, Tony’s wife. (See photos.) Taking it even further, the DCCC published an 80-page report detailing Parks’ private and public life and published it on the Web, along with video content of Parks that can be downloaded if anybody feels like making a negative video about her.

Even Tony Strickland said that what the DCCC is doing is shameful! That’s like Larry Flynt telling somebody their naughty pictures are tasteless.

The irony of it all is that it makes Parks’ decision to register “no party preference” all the more laudable. She is running a positive campaign, refusing special interest money and posing one heck of a threat to advance to the general election. While Parks can drive voters up the wall for declining to state who would receive her vote for speaker of the house, president or where she stands, exactly, on some public policy issues, she has shown a touch of class while walking the middle road as the Left and Right show that their true colors are actually one and the same.  

Slapshot is a monthly column/op-ed piece on various issues around Ventura County.

Slapshot

Slapshot

One of the many memorable scenes from the 1967 film The Graduate shows Benjamin, a listless college graduate unaware of his place in the world, shifting aimlessly at a homecoming party thrown by his self-consumed, upwardly mobile parents, when Mr. McGuire has a word with Benjamin:

Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.

Benjamin: Yes, sir.

Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?

Benjamin: Yes, I am.

Mr. McGuire: Plastics.

Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?

Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?

While that dialogue was written to be a metaphor about the superficiality of American society, it’s ironic how politicians have taken the plastics advice to heart. Forty-five years later, State Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, seems to have employed Mr. McGuire’s knowledge in his latest bill authoring attempt.

In what is arguably a response to his most threatening congressional rival — Assemblywoman Julia Brownley’s, D-Oak Park — and her popular attempt to issue a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags to curb pollution, Strickland moved to attack reusable cloth bags. Apparently Strickland believes — with enough conviction to make it a state mandate — that these reusable bags are a public health threat. Serious illnesses from food cross-contamination can befall the public if they don’t wash these bags, Strickland has said. So Senate Bill 1106 proposes that labels be printed on every reusable bag, reminding people of their imminent threat, and grocery stores would also have to visibly warn customers about these potential First-World horrors.

Aside from Mr. McGuire’s advice, the research for Strickland’s bill came from a 2010 study, funded by the American Chemistry Council, a plastics industry trade group that also contributed $3,000 to Strickland’s past campaigns. The research from the plastics industry was so compelling to Strickland that his proposal originally called for warning that failure to wash these bags “can cause serious illness, cancer or birth defects.”

While good sense prevailed in striking the latter warning from the bill’s language, Strickland seems to believe wholeheartedly that his constituents do not possess the good common sense to wash a bag if it’s dirty, and that another nanny-state regulation needed to be added to the existing 151,002 health and safety laws in California.

Since Strickland supports industry labeling initiatives, I called his media spokeswoman Sarah Walsh to hear about his stance on the labeling GMO (genetically modified organism) proposition that will require food sold in retail outlets to be labeled if it contains genetically engineered ingredients. If Strickland is so concerned about the bags that carry food, it seems likely that he’d champion an initiative, regardless of it being heavily endorsed by the Left, to make sure that his constituents are aware that the food they put into cloth bags, and eventually into their bodies, is genetically engineered, or not. Walsh, however, did not return calls to provide comment. 

   
Luckily for Strickland, his bill was rejected by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee 4-1 (Strickland casting the lone supporting vote), and this plastics blunder may fade from public scrutiny quickly enough that it won’t affect his chances in the June 5 primary. But while Brownley shows her creativity in dealing with plastic bag pollution by introducing a major plastic bag recycling competition to local schools in Oxnard for a chance to win a new bench made of recycled plastic bags, Strickland showed his lack of imagination.

It’s as if he is no different from The Graduate’s Benjamin: a man lost in a deep void with the inability to articulate his vision for the future.  

Slapshot is a monthly column/op-ed piece on various issues around Ventura County.

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UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS

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    August 22 @ 8:00 am - October 23 @ 8:00 pm
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    September 21 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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