3/27/13 Downieville- Approximately sixty folks turned out to meet our new Congressman Doug LaMalfa at the Downieville School Cafeteria. Sierra County Supervisor Lee Adams welcomed LaMalfa with a informative introduction to his constituents.
Although LaMalfa gave a broad picture of why Congress is bogged down with the differences in political priorities of the House and the Senate, the sequester involving an overall cut in various program funding the main issue to his constituents were the Secure Rural Schools funding, the U.S. Forest Service activities and the problems small rural communities face when someone somewhere else knows what’s best.
Scott McDermid made a good plea for the predicament of the mining industry and Robert Eshleman talked about the effects USFS regulations have on his timber property. A woman who had worked for FEMA and had a home in Tahoe she lost during the Angora Fire complained about all the slash and standing burned timber on public lands suggesting the situation was a danger to all our communities from future fires and yet nothing was being done to resolve the situation. Will Clark wanted to know why the TNF was able to keep control of 4 1/2 acres of property behind the courthouse and not utilize it by either reinstating the USFS presence in the county or giving the county control of the property. Jason Christian a resident of “Portola, a suburb of the great metropolis of Loyalton”, asked if there was a chance that LaMalfa could assume a Leadership role in bringing the divisiveness between political parties to an end to begin to resolve the issues everyone is facing. Cindy Ellsmore asked if it would be possible to close some of the corporate tax loop holes to help the Secure Rural Schools funding and specifically told the Congressman to “we need you to author legislation” to help rural communities survive. Miriam Dines discussed the need for Congress to understand this is not going to be an overnight fix, that even if the timber industry became viable again it would take a lot to rebuild the infrastructure , such as lumber mills, to get back on track. Tom Schumann asked if it was fair that wealthy corporations could influence politicians with huge campaign donations. When asked if he believed that “money is speech” LaMalfa replied, “the courts believe so.” Don Russell asked what the Congressman’s position was on invasions, “Are there any countries you think need invading now?” LaMalfa circled around the question talking about Iran and the need for more sanctions and the issue with Israel suggesting that Israel has bent over backwards to accommodate the Palestinians and that things haven’t turned out well in wars since WWII, although he thought the Gulf War was a success.
Congressman LaMalfa appeared sympathetic to the situations and pledged to be working for the issues facing Sierra and Plumas Counties.
At any rate the whole evening was deemed a success by those who were there. We got to know our Congressman, the general consensus is he will do more for rural communities than McClintock has, is more responsive and willing to give us an ear and the hope is the ear will turn to action.