Livermore – Newly elected Congressman John Garamendi (CA-10) held his first Town Hall meeting in Livermore yesterday. Congressman Garamendi was joined by Livermore Mayor Marshall Kamena, several Members of the Livermore City Council, the President of Las Positas College Dr. DeRionne Pollard, and about 100 members of the public.
Garamendi was not at all shy about what he would like to accomplish as the newest Member of the House of Representatives, telling audience members, “It’s all about jobs!”
Indeed, unemployment numbers are of great concern in California as they very well should be considering the current 12% unemployment rate that many might argue is a low-ball figure. But is it the government’s roll to create jobs? In a pre-bailout, limited government society based on free-market principles one might ask, “how would the government know what’s best for job creation?”
One of the first questions from the audience was regarding government run health care and where the federal government gets the authority to enact such legislation. During the question a statement was made that if the government wants to create jobs they should kill nationalized health care.
Garamendi replied with long-winded justification for the government’s involvement pointing out that he recently voted yes on H.R.3962, which passed in the House by a narrow margin. His comments drew a few boos from the audience, with one woman shouting out, “Shame on you!” There were also some supporters that applauded with approval. Ironically, Garamendi informed us all that, “The more we spend [on health care] the worse the result.” He also talked about Medicare, claiming it was a public option that works. A gentleman sitting next to me replied, “Medicare is bankrupt.”
Other questions were asked about federal assistance with education, programs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, water and extending BART to Livermore, where residents’ have long been paying taxes for BART services (over 50 years) with no tracks laid beyond the Dublin/Pleasanton station.
Garamendi mentioned that there has been a reduction in federal funding for community colleges from roughly $15,000 per student down to $8,700 per student per year. Due to the reduction, Garamendi suggested that the number of students enrolled in community colleges throughout the state will be lower than in years passed. He asserted that extending BART to Livermore is for the communities to decide, not him. He also told audience members that, “the climate is changing” and “sea levels are rising.”
Back in May, I asked candidate Garamendi about his position on the undeclared military police actions in the Middle East, specifically Iraq and Afghanistan and if he would support bringing the troops home from those conflicts safely and securely. Surprisingly, the self proclaimed ‘Proven Democrat’ explained that he was always against the war in Iraq, but that Afghanistan was a completely different story since it bordered Pakistan, which has nuclear weapons. He even went as far to suggest that we would see an expanded effort inside of Pakistan in the near future.
Apparently, Garamendi holds a different perspective now on U.S. military presence in Afghanistan stating that he would not support an increase in U.S. troop levels within that country.
I also asked Garamendi if he actually read the 2000-page health care reform bill (H.R.3962) before voting yes on the legislation. Garamendi replied that he, “read a summary of the important parts of the bill.” Garamendi staffers actually had copies of the summary that were made available for the public to review.
The summary was only 4-pages! The summary section that covered “impos[ing] a surtax on the income of individuals who do not obtain health care coverage and on employers who fail to satisfy health coverage participation requirements” didn’t stop Garamendi from voting yes! Nor did the summary section that spelled out a “5.4% surtax on individuals whose adjusted gross income exceeds $500,000″ or the “2.5% excise tax on medical devices.”
You can only begin to question the principles of a Representative whose first action in Congress was to vote yes on a massive unconstitutional government take-over of health care that he didn’t even take the time to read!
We all understand that a 4-page summary of a complicated 2,000 page bill can not possibly give enough information about legislation that will affect every American’s life.
Next time, Congressman Garamendi should consider reading the U.S. Constitution… it’s only 4,400 words, none of which grant authority for federal government run health care.