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2001 - Then-Assemblyman George Runner introduces legislation to memorialize the historic Ridge Route. Enacted Oct. 4. [story]


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Saturday, Dec 6, 2014

darrylmanzer_blacktieJust what job is Howard P. “Take the Buck” McKeon going to have when he retires from Congress? Many of us, myself included, naturally think he will work with his kinfolk in a Washington, D.C., lobbying group that is heavy into defense contractors. It seems a natural fit. The retired chairman of the House Armed Services Committee would be a great fit. He knows the clients well,; heck, they’ve even donated money to Mrs. McKeon’s failed bid for state office.

This isn’t anything new in the political arena of Washington, D.C.; it happens a lot. Usually it is the staffers of the retiring politician and not the family. But just because a lobbying firm does a lot of defense industry-related work doesn’t mean it can’t do work outside of that.

Besides his congressional career, what else is “Take the Buck” qualified to do? His family business went kaput. He was the first mayor of the new city of Santa Clarita. In 1992 he was elected to Congress, and the rest is history.

My background in and with the military and in my observations of McKeon can be summarized in a number of ways. For instance, in the Navy, officers get a yearly Fitness Report. It is an evaluation of an officer of the work he or she is performing and an opinion of what the officer could do in the future. So my evaluation of McKeon, if I were writing the summary on that document, it would look something like this:

Mr. McKeon is an officer who has served aboard this ship for nearly 22 years. One would hope that with such experience he could be loyal to those he serves; honest in his actions; and of the highest moral and ethical standards. Unfortunately, he has failed in nearly all of these areas except when it has related directly to his own personal gain, often at the expense of others.

Mr. McKeon is not a man of his word. He has claimed not to know of certain aspects of his work but was in the very room when such aspects were discussed. Even though others heard the same, he denies ever hearing what was said.

His constant need for approval has gained him a position that few others would want. Indeed his ability to place blame on others when he was clearly at fault shows that his integrity is of questionable status at best.

He has held various positions of leadership but apparently lacks any skills that would show he is a leader. If an enlisted man were to follow this officer, it would be only out of sheer curiosity.

Now I don’t really know what happens to the money remaining in a campaign fund, but at last check it looks as if McKeon really is taking the bucks – a little over 600,000 bucks. Most of the money came from the political action committees of various defense contractors.

I doubt I would hire a person like Howard P. “Take the Buck” McKeon, but if I had the chance, I would have to perform a prospective employee evaluation that would look something like this:

A review of the resume of Mr. McKeon was conducted in detail because, while extensive, it lacked the traits necessary to show he could be a profitable member of this company.

His lack of experience outside of the government service where he served in an undistinguished manner makes him a poor choice for employment.

I recommend he not be hired.

So what is “Take the Buck” going to do? He cannot support his lifestyle on the excellent (yet for him, inadequate) amount he will get in retirement income. When his contacts as a lobbyist no longer need him, his new job will fade away.

So I think I’ve been thinking about his future as if it were a foregone conclusion with his defense industry cronies. But a friend of many years of political experience said something that makes a lot more sense. Try this one on for size:

Mr. Howard P. “Take the Buck” McKeon will become a lobbyist for mining companies. He has done so much of late to assist mining folks. The 2,400-acre copper mine on Apache nation sacred lands – mining that will be done by a non-U.S. company that also mines uranium in Africa with Iran and has as a partner, China. He didn’t even remember that the Cemex mine was not in the bill when he was sitting in the congressional hearing where members of the Santa Clarita City Council testified just after the Apache nation representative did so. He was in the room during all of that testimony.

So there you have my prediction, folks. Howard P. “Take the Buck” McKeon has found a job. In fact I would think it was his retirement job that he had in mind for the last 15 years of so. He is going to lobby for the mining industry.

I wish it were my idea. I am amazed I didn’t see it earlier. But it is most obvious. Why hasn’t the Cemex mine left the Santa Clarita Valley in the past years we’ve been fighting it? Our congressman has been a lobbyist for the mining industry for a long time now.

If not for Cemex, then for one or more competitors. You can’t go cancel one company’s federal mining contracts today if you’re planning to uphold another company’s federal mining contracts tomorrow. Too dangerous a precedent.

It’s so obvious. It’s been there all the time.

I hope he makes a lot of money, because the city of Santa Clarita should charge him for the $10 million it has spent fighting the good fight.

 

 

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com. His older commentaries are archived at DManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

 

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. Max Lang Max Lang says:

    He will lobby for both mining and defense.

  2. Max Lang Max Lang says:

    He will lobby for both mining and defense.

  3. I’m thinking he should give Dr. Kevorkian a call.

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