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October 23
1888 - 8:15 a.m.: Newhall's luxurious Southern Hotel burns to the ground [story]


U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer

The issue of the Cemex mine looming over Soledad Canyon residents is something that frustrates Senator Barbara Boxer – and what’s one of the most irritating elements of the issue is the lack of support she’s received from local Congressman Buck McKeon.

“Let me be blunt,” she said. “I was stunned when he decided not to – he called it an earmark, but the fact is something bad is going to happen to a community, we have to stop it. I stand very firm for a change of heart here by the Congressman. He was very strong before and he ought to be strong again.”

McKeon authored legislation to stop the Cemex mine in six earlier sessions of Congress, most of the time without additional sponsors. It’s an issue Santa Clarita Valley residents have been fighting for more than 10 years, spending more than $10 million in lobbying fees and at one point, the City of Santa Clarita posted “Thank You Buck” banners across bridges throughout the city.

A complicated arrangement, involving a land swap with the City of Victorville, permits being cancelled by the Bureau of Land Management and money from Cemex going toward redevelopment projects in Victorville, was announced a few years ago by McKeon’s office, but that plan languished, along with the legislation.

But this time, despite a May 31 deadline, when Cemex has indicated it will begin work on the proposed mega-mine, McKeon has chosen not to introduce legislation to partner with Boxer’s, citing a Republican Party promise to avoid any “earmark” projects that serve a limited area.

“By the way, I’ll never give up on this,” Boxer continued. “If we have a change, we’re going to somehow figure this out, but deadlines are looming.

“There’s only one way to get it done, and that’s for the Congressperson who represents the area to stand up and fight for this,” she said. “Because if you read any rudimentary book on how a bill becomes a law, you need both sides to work together.”

Boxer made her remarks during a conference call to California media to talk about four bills she’d like to see passed before the end of this congressional session.

“The purpose of this call is to lay out what I think this Congress can do between now and election day to turn around the huge criticism that is being waged at us,” she said, citing a recent Gallup poll that gave the legislative group a dismal 17 percent approval rating.

“Things are really dismal, but we have a window of time between now and the election, and we can’t wait, we have to set aside all of our partisanship and get things done.”

The four bills Boxer focused on included reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, preventing the doubling of interest rates on student loans and enacting a bipartisan transportation bill that will save or create 2.9 million jobs. She also talked about the importance of getting the Paycheck Fairness Act passed, especially since the voters have already indicated their strong support.

Alternative legislation from the House seemed to be the critical roadblock to reaffirming the Violence Against Women Act, which is strongly supported by law enforcement across the nation.

“We know three women a day are being killed, we know this violence can be prevented,” she said. “Since we passed this, we’ve seen domestic violence drop by 53 percent, so it’s working, but for some reason, the bill passed with 31 Republicans dissenting.”

Boxer said that the legislation being proposed in the House “left some people out.”

The Paycheck Fairness Act passed the House in 2009, but was filibustered by the Senate. That bill protects employees who share salary information against retaliation from their employer and Boxer said, elevates gender-based discrimination, because of the wage disparities that still exist.

”It’s time to get things done, there’s not a minute to wait,” she said.

She said that election year politics are also getting in the way of Congress getting anything done, citing Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s remarks on the Senate floor that their sole purpose was to make sure President Obama was a one-term president.

“There’s room for politics,” Boxer said. “We’re all going to get out there and fight for our candidates, the House, the Senate and the Presidency, but not on the Senate floor. We need to come together and pass these important bills.”

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2 Comments

  1. MaleMatters says:

    Re: “She also talked about the importance of getting the Paycheck Fairness Act passed”

    One more law is always needed to close the gender wage gap. Actually, no law is needed.

    Women’s “77 cents to men’s dollar” doesn’t mean, as pay-equity advocates want us to believe, women are paid less than men in the same jobs everywhere in the country. Nor does it mean that, even more incredibly in the vein of the stereotype “men are stronger than women,” every woman earns 23% less than every man, perhaps leading some of the more benighted to think Diane Sawyer of ABC News earns less than the young man walking back and forth on the street wearing a “Pizzas $5” sign.

    The figures are arrived at by comparing the sexes’ median incomes. They refer to the point at which 50% of workers earn above the figures and 50% below (which means, among other things, that a lot of women outearn a lot of men). They don’t account for the number of hours worked each week, experience, seniority, training, education or even the job description itself. They compare all women to all men, not people in the same job with the same experience. So a veteran male software designer’s salary is weighed against a first-year female teacher’s income.

    Strategically ignoring this over the decades has been less than productive:

    No law yet has closed the gender wage gap — not the 1963 Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, not Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, not the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, not the 1991 amendments to Title VII, not affirmative action (which has benefited mostly white women, the group most vocal about the wage gap – http://tinyurl.com/74cooen), not diversity, not the countless state and local laws and regulations, not the horde of overseers at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and not the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act…. Nor will a “paycheck fairness” law work.

    That’s because pay-equity advocates continue to overlook the effects of female AND male behavior:

    Despite the 40-year-old demand for women’s equal pay, millions of wives still choose to have no pay at all. In fact, according to Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of “The Secrets of Happily Married Women,” stay-at-home wives, including the childless who represent an estimated 10 percent, constitute a growing niche. “In the past few years,” he says in a CNN report at http://tinyurl.com/6reowj, “many women who are well educated and trained for career tracks have decided instead to stay at home.” (“Census Bureau data show that 5.6 million mothers stayed home with their children in 2005, about 1.2 million more than did so a decade earlier….” at http://tinyurl.com/qqkaka. If indeed more women are staying at home, perhaps it’s because feminists and the media have told women for years that female workers are paid less than men in the same jobs — so why bother working if they’re going to be penalized and humiliated for being a woman. Yet, if “greedy, profit-obsessed” employers could get away with paying women less than men for the same work, they would not hire a man – ever.)

    As full-time mothers or homemakers, stay-at-home wives earn zero. How can they afford to do this while in many cases living in luxury? Because they’re supported by their husband, an “employer” who pays them to stay at home.

    The implication of this is probably obvious to 10-year-olds but seems incomprehensible to or is ignored by feminists and the liberal media: If millions of wives are able to accept NO wages, millions of other wives, whose husbands’ incomes range from moderate to high, are able to:

    -accept low wages
    -refuse overtime and promotions
    -choose jobs based on interest first, wages second — the reverse of what men tend to do
    -take more unpaid days off
    -avoid uncomfortable wage-bargaining (http://tinyurl.com/3a5nlay)
    -work part-time instead of full-time (“According to a 2009 UK study for the Centre for Policy Studies, only 12 percent of the 4,690 women surveyed wanted to work full time”: http://bit.ly/ihc0tl See also an Australian report at http://tinyurl.com/862kzes)

    All of which LOWER WOMEN’S AVERAGE AND MEDIAN PAY.

    Women are able to make these choices because they are supported — or anticipate being supported — by a husband who must earn more than if he’d chosen never to marry. (Still, even many men who shun marriage, unlike their female counterparts, feel their self worth is tied to their net worth.) This is how MEN help create the wage gap: as a group they pass up jobs that interest them for ones that pay well. If the roles were reversed so that men raised the children and women raised the income, men would average lower pay than women.

    Afterword: The power in money is not in earning it (there is only responsibility, sweat, and stress in earning money). The power in money is in SPENDING it. And, Warren Farrell says in The Myth of Male Power at http://www.warrenfarrell.org/TheBook/index.html, “Women control consumer spending by a wide margin in virtually every consumer category.” (Women’s control over spending, adds Farrell, gives women control over TV programs.)

    Excerpted from “Will the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Help Women?” at http://malemattersusa.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/will-the-ledbetter-fair-pay-act-help-women/

  2. donricketts says:

    Did you ask McKeon for comment? Did he issue a statement or reply?

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