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1853 - Sarah Gifford, community leader and wife of Newhall's first railroad station agent, born in England [story]


Guest Commentary by Dr. Lee Rogers
| Monday, Apr 30, 2012

Lee Rogers, D.P.M.

Last week, I held a press conference to call to attention U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon’s inconsistency on two land swap bills in Congress.

The first bill was H.R. 2157, which McKeon spoke about on the House floor, pushed through the Natural Resources Committee chaired by Doc Hastings, R-Wash., and saw pass by a vote of 376 to 2.  This bill allowed a land swap in the Inyo National Forest for parcels desired by the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.  The ski area is owned by Starwood Capital Group which purchased it in 2005 for $365 million.

The second land swap bill is known in Santa Clarita as the Cemex bill.  It would allow the mining corporation, Cemex, which is expanding its mine in the Soledad Canyon, to swap the current location for land near Victorville.

The citizens of Santa Clarita have been opposing the mega-mine in Soledad Canyon for more than 10 years and at a cost of over $10 million in legal and lobbying fees.  A wide coalition of businesses and environmental groups have joined together to prevent this threat to the valley, which could reduce air and water quality.  Estimates place up to 1,200 trucks per day along an already congested Highway 14, carrying rock and aggregate products.

McKeon has introduced legislation in the House to engage Cemex in a land swap in the past six sessions of Congress.  In four of those sessions he did not work to get a single co-sponsor, in the 110th Congress he obtained 10 co-sponsors, and in the 111th Congress there were three co-sponsors.  In the six sessions of Congress, McKeon never obtained a committee hearing.

Now McKeon says he will not introduce the legislation this year because Chairman Hastings considers it to be an earmark and the party prevents him from sponsoring bills with earmarks.

The truth is, no one is preventing McKeon from introducing legislation, he is free to do that just like any other Member of Congress, but he chooses not to.  He chooses not to fight for something so important to residents of our valleys and instead negotiates a similar deal for a multimillion-dollar investment company.  He failed to act on the bill despite times where there were Republican majorities in both Houses, a Republican President, and no self-imposed ban on earmarks.

To understand why McKeon took such inconsistent positions on these land swap bills, all one needs to do is review his campaign finance reports.  According to the FEC, he took $6,900 in campaign donations from the CEO and employees of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in the first quarter of 2011.  He introduced H.R. 2157 in the second quarter.

It’s time we trade-in Rep. McKeon for a legislator who will go to Washington to work for us instead of special interests.  I will introduce the Cemex bill immediately upon taking office.

 

Dr. Lee Rogers, a podiatrist from Simi Valley, is the lone Democratic candidate for California’s 25th Congressional District in the June 5 primary election.

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1 Comment

  1. Greyling says:

    I’ve done my own research, and this is true. Thank you for telling the truth.

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