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Commentary by Diana Shaw
| Monday, Sep 1, 2014

mug_dianashawAfter reading an Orange County Register article that seemed to say Sen. Steve Knight voted against a bill to ban the sale of Confederate flags on state property because the ACLU took the position it would not pass constitutional muster, I told some of my Democratic friends I was impressed by Sen. Knight’s backbone.

I confess I read only the article, not the bill as passed, and that was a big mistake.

In a piece of superb journalism, SCV’s very own Mike Devlin vetted the OC Register article as I did not. Devlin noted that ACLU representative Peter Eliasberg actually said the state was within its right to ban its own sale of the item, “but to say any person who comes on state property can’t – I just don’t think it’ll survive judicial scrutiny.”

Then Devlin read the bill as passed (as I did not) and discussed it with Peter Eliasberg himself. The bill addresses only sales by the state of California, and Eliasberg, as quoted in the OC Register’s misleading article, says that is just fine.

My bad for reading only the article referred to by Knight and not the actual bill. Of course, I’m not paid by the taxpayers to read bills. Steve Knight is.

I’m a Democrat and a former candidate for the 38th Assembly District. I am frustrated by the new top-two primary system where all of the candidates are thrown into a heap for the first pass, and the November election is between the top two vote-getters.

The rules are so strict that a November voter doesn’t even have the right to write in a candidate’s name. Isn’t writing in “Mickey Mouse” a time-honored American tradition?

The system also locks out third-party contenders who might not have a chance of winning but deserve to have their voices heard up until election day.

It disenfranchises people who have moved after the primary but before the general election, and people who come of age after the primary. And darn, I was willing to work hard to get every vote I could for Democrat Dr. Lee Rogers, a great candidate who was well on his way toward raising enough money to get our message across in a Democratic-versus-Republican race, and raising his profile with independents and others watching the 25th Congressional District.

As difficult as it might be for me, I wondered whether one of the top-two Republicans should get my vote.

Thanks to Mr. Knight for reminding me there is a reason to withhold my vote from both him AND Tony Strickland, who is famously supported by money from the Koch brothers and big oil (they want to drill off the coast). I won’t contribute to putting someone in office who will obsessively and without rationale caucus against Obama.

The argument that Knight, from Palmdale, will benefit our area as a “local” holds about as much water as arguments that McKeon had our backs. Can anyone say “Elsmere Canyon”? How many years in a row did McKeon “sponsor” bills but never work to get a necessary co-sponsor to stop the dump and its attack on our environment and property values?

When either Knight or Strickland works to end the top-two primary system, when either candidate commits to support women’s reproductive rights, support the ACA, re-institute the Voting Rights Act in its entirety, ensure passage of reasonable immigration reform, tax oil producers like the rest of the oil states do, yada, yada, I’ll think about it. It ain’t gonna happen.

Knight refused to vote against the sale of the Confederate flag by the state of California on taxpayer property. The flag is a symbol of treason, racism and the death of 600,000 Americans. The flap he created is a reminder of the constituency he seeks to serve and the duplicity in which he is willing to indulge.

His behavior is an outrage, and I apologize to my Democratic friends for falling for it. I’m now convinced more than ever that my decision to abstain from voting for either Republican candidate for the 25th Congressional District is the way to go.

 

Diana Shaw, a former Democratic candidate for state Assembly, has lived in the Santa Clarita Valley since 1988.

Editor’s note: In 1996, legislation coauthored by U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, and U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., thwarted the siting of a dump in Elsmere Canyon (Newhall) by barring the Secretary of Agriculture from transferring Angeles National Forest land for use as a landfill.

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7 Comments

  1. Bonnie Eaton says:

    It’s about time we heard from you. Thanks for telling it like it is.

  2. Ted Lawrence says:

    The top two is important, because it forces people to vote for individuals, not for parties and you can see by what you write here why that is important. Democrats don’t have a great choice in this election, but even before the open primary, Strickland received a commendation from the League of Conservation Voters for a bill he authored to help clean up groundwater, has a great record on animal rights and for years has talked about toning down the rhetoric in Washington so that both sides could at least move forward on the area’s they agree on. The choice isn’t great, but at least you have one and for Democrats it should be easy to vote for Tony Strickland for Congress.

  3. Will you end voter registration this Fall?

  4. I’m with you, Diane. We really ought to have a write-in capability on the ballot to at least vent our frustration with the two non-choices we have been given. To be honest, I’d rather see our district unrepresented in Congress altogether than have either of these guys in office.

  5. Diana Shaw says:

    I’d like to thank the editor for pointing out that the Elsmere Canyon issue has been resolved. Elsmere Canyon was a landfill issue that was resolved after a few years of intense efforts by many SCV residents. What I should have mentioned in this context was the pending Cemex Mine. To the best of my knowledge, despite similar efforts by SCV residents, the situation has not yet been resolved to the benefit of our community, despite many, many years of effort by our City Council, action groups, and empty promises by Congressman McKeon.

    Also, to Ted Lawrence: I am thrilled that the League of Conservation Voters commended Strickland. Based on your comment, I hopefully looked up Strickland’s environmental history on the non-partisan site Project Vote Smart. In 2013 Strickland got a 7% ranking by the League. This is NOT a reason to vote for him.

  6. Anonymous says:

    We understand that there are Democrats who heard Lee Rogers endorse Knight for the 25th Congressional District after conceding to the two Republicans. However, we believe the voters in our area should have the opportunity to hear the congressional candidates make their bids. The better of the two candidates should become the winner. This doesn’t mean that the Democrats need to hold their noses as they vote. Being an informed voter hopefully makes you a decided voters. If an opportunity is provided whereby we can hear and question our candidates than voters should take advantage of this. He who can handle the heat should be able to step forward because Congress is not for sissies and there are larger issues at stake. We need to hammer at these two guys to see whom can best represent us. Air out all “he is a carpetbagger” and “he is a daddies’ boy” arguments all need to be publically addressed. As for the confederate flag argument, Shaw brings up, needs to be addressed also. The first thing that goes through my mind, “what in the hell was he thinking,” comes loud and clear. Is this a question of not knowing, laziness to know the issue, or the inability to read bills? We can only hope with Rogers’ endorsement this isn’t a sign of what is to come. . . and no at this time, we haven’t chosen to support Strickland either. But Knights confederacy stance does raise ire . What history class did he miss? Last we heard September 17, 2014 Mint Canyon Moose Banquet Room, 18000 Sierra Highway in Canyon Country 7:00pm-9:00pm is the next schedules debate! Does anyone else have any other dates and times voters can here the candidates? We are willing to post. Write us at crazycatherder@att.net Minerva L Williams and Todd L. Hoover

  7. Ed Galindo says:

    With Mixed emotions I will cast a vote for a Repub. It was our own fault for not getting out the vote for Lee. But, the sleeping lion will awaken and when he does the Latino Community in the Antelope Valley will have its representative. Our Rep’s, currently in Sacramento, indicate they can deal with Tony. That’
    s good enough for me!

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