Congressman Alan Lowenthal Sells Out

A lot of this article is about the “inside baseball” of politics. Tonight one of the few vocal voices in the Democratic Party of Orange County who doesn’t want Seal Beach, Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Cypress, Garden Grove and Westminster to be turned into a traffic nightmare with an expanded 405 that dumps all it’s overflow traffic onto our streets was forced out of his leadership position by the trade unions, and Congressman Lowenthal helped do it.

One of the more vocal critics of the 405 expansion is a gentleman named Greg Diamond. Tonight, by one vote, he was ousted from his leadership in the Democratic Party of Orange County. That one vote was made by Congressman Lowenthal’s representative. After the vote I asked her why she voted the way she did and she said, “Because the Unions.”

A little background. There are multiple plans before the OCTA and Caltrans right now to expand the 405 by two (or three) lanes in each direction. While that sounds like a good idea, there are a few problems with it. The biggest problem is what happens when the new northbound lanes hit the LA/OC border. They just magically disappear. The traffic on them though does not.

So, during rush hour when all those lanes are filled with cars and trucks they will hit the OC/LA border and the lanes that they are on will decrease. When this happens you have to create a funnel to move those cars into the remaining lanes. That funnel will have to start miles before the county line as at the county line we have the 22/405/605 interchange as well.

As traffic comes to a grinding halt on the new expanded 405 cars will search for alternatives other than sitting it what will become one of the larger parking lots in the west coast. They will exit at Seal Beach Blvd heading both north and south to get around the bottleneck. They will exit at Valley View Street and again go both north and south to get around the bottleneck. They will exit at Westminster and… you get the idea.

The cut through north roads will be Katella, Cerritos, Ball and maybe even Lincoln. The south will be Westminster.

One of the major champions that the area had in addressing the issues raised by the 405 expansion was Greg Diamond. But one of the groups behind the expansion was the trade unions. They wanted it because it meant more work and jobs. They didn’t care if there were toll lanes. They didn’t care if there was a funnel that destroyed the communities around the bottleneck. To them it was about government spending that would create 200-300 jobs, not about the effect of this mess on the communities and the residents.

Like I said when this article started, this is “inside baseball”. In most cases we residents would never know what was going on. But Mr. Diamond is a tireless advocate for those with little voice and he was exceptionally vocal in attempting to stop the expansion. Between the 405 and other issues he took on like Anaheim’s raping the future with a potential (questionable) bond issue for lot’s more than they need to do the Convention Center expansion, he was clearly looking out for the affected communities. But he also had a post in the OC Democratic Party and that Party machine is run by the Unions (as was so eloquently pointed out when the membership was reminded by one of the Party leaders that they hold their meetings in a Union Hall).

Clearly, as we have seen by their support of highly questionable projects like the 405 expansion, the Trade Union’s interests are jobs, jobs, jobs. Even at the expense of the communities. But a political Party is NOT just an extension of the arm of the Union, or at least it’s not supposed to be. The Democratic Party makes the claim that they look out for the little guy as well as the Blue Collar guy.

So, where does Congressman Lowenthal fit in? As an elected Democrat representing OC cities he has a vote in all the Committee meetings. Knowing that all the communities that would detrimentally affected were in his district, one would have hoped that he would be voting for keeping a strong advocate to protecting his communities in his party position.

But much like listening to Assemblyman Travis Allen sell out the Los Alamitos, Rossmoor and Seal Beach communities he supposedly represents when he voiced his opinion that he was in favor of putting a massive truck terminal on the Los Alamitos border, listening to Congressman Lowenthal’s representative’s explanation that the Congressman was willing to throw an advocate for his communities under the bus to satisfy the Unions was a bit of a shock.

As a Congressman there isn’t a lot you can do that has an effect on what Caltrans or OCTA is doing or going to do on the 405. But to use your vote to undermine one of the most vocal voices that was attempting to protect your communities just so that you wouldn’t piss of the Trade Unions, well that’s about the worst thing you could have done for the people that you claim to represent. Oh, yes, in the first vote Mr. Diamond was ousted by one vote. Yours.

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7 Responses to Congressman Alan Lowenthal Sells Out

  1. Concerned resident says:

    Perhaps us residents should email Congressman Lowenthal and let him know our thoughts on this?

  2. Los Al Resident says:

    I’d email him. Here is the link to a contact form (there is no actual email listed): https://lowenthal.house.gov/contact/contactform.htm?zip5=90720.

    Seems we are always fighting some battle, if it’s not the trash people, it’s the trucking people, and now the congressman/unions/octa people on top of other issues I’m battling that are important to me. It can get to be too much at times.

  3. jb says:

    More information about this issue is available on Orangejuiceblog.com and theliberaloc.com – including comments from Mr. Diamond. Very interesting topic about Orange County county politics ..

  4. JM Ivler says:

    In a recent conversation with a local (R) he stated “I didn’t leave my party, my party left me.” and I find that is true with many people when they look at the two party system we basically have (sorry greens and libertarians, you really don’t count in the “party” game). In general the (R)’s look after the wealthy and the corporate class and the (D)’s look after the working class and the poor. Or at least that’s the way it used to be. Now both the (R)’s and the (D)’s seem to be looking out primarily for the corporate interests (unions are corporations too) and the working class… good luck with that.

    Considering the amount of our tax dollars that get given to these political parties directly and indirectly, that neither of them actually represents our interests any more (there are a few elected who do, but the political parties themself don’t) maybe it’s time for a small tax revolt where we insist that these “parties” be defunded. No special tax dollars for a “majority office” or a “minority office” in the State or Federal capitals. Let’s end the Political Party welfare state.

  5. Concerned resident says:

    JM, what does this sentence mean?
    ‘No special tax dollars for a “majority office” or a “minority office” in the State or Federal capitals. ‘ Thanks>

  6. JM Ivler says:

    to quote from c-span. at the federal level..

    Leadership staff, who work for the speaker, majority and minority leaders, and majority and minority whips in the House of Representatives, and the majority and minority leaders and assistant majority and minority leaders (whips) in the Senate

    These are people who are paid from our tax dollar to run “political offices” within the body of government that are there for no other purpose than to help party leaders maintain control of their party (with the exception of the Speaker of the House in the House of Representatives).

    from the wiki’s…

    Party leaders and whips of the United States House of Representatives are elected by their respective parties in a closed-door caucus by secret ballot and are also known as floor leaders. The U.S. House of Representatives does not officially use the term “Minority Leader” although the media frequently does. The House instead uses the terms “Republican Leader” or “Democratic Leader” depending on which party holds a minority of seats.

    [more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Party_leaders_of_the_United_States_House_of_Representatives ]

    The great part is with these positions you get MORE STAFF. These staff positions are paid with tax dollars. How much staff? [from the 2011-12 appropriations bill in Congress]

    Offices of the majority and minority leaders 43
    Offices of the majority and minority whips 30
    Offices of the secretaries for the majority and minority 18

    [source: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/?&sid=cp112N9Aoi&r_n=sr197.112&dbname=cp112&&sel=TOC_11336& ]

    So at the Federal level that is appropriations for 91 employees with the duty to help manage the political parties in the House and Senate at the Federal level.

    Add in the extra pay for the positions themselves. A member of the Senate or house gets $174,000. But make it to party leadership and you get $193,400.

    By law the US House has to provide a “Statement of Disbursements” The most current one shows that – for example the amount spent in 2013 by the Majority Whip was $1,270,268.19. That’s right, over one million dollars spent by a guy who’s sole job is

    A whip is an official in a political party whose primary purpose is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. Whips are a party’s “enforcers”, who typically offer inducements and threaten punishments for party members to ensure that they vote according to the official party policy. A whip’s role is also to ensure that the elected representatives of their party are in attendance when important votes are taken. The usage comes from the hunting term “whipping in”, i.e. preventing hounds from wandering away from the pack.

    Isn’t it nice to know that over $1 million dollars of our tax money was spent keeping the “party” in line? Oh, the Minority Whip spent $1,052,455.97. So between the two of them they spent a bit over $2.3 million dollars of our tax dollars on Party Politics.

    Majority Leader: $1,515,713.4
    Minority Leader: $5,088,482.49
    [The Minority Leader is listing $4,733,445.03 for Personnel Compensation the Majority Leader is listing $1,451,769.79, one of these has to be wrong as the Majority Leader gets a larger staff. In the Majority Whip staffing you can see $1,204,200.01 and the Minority Whip is $983,927.08, which looks much more in-line with the way it should look for the Majority and Minority leaders. I can't find a copy of the corrected document on the House.gov website.]

    Anyway, by now you can get the idea that at the Federal level we are paying about $4 million dollars or so to the two major political parties for their operations within the House of Representatives. This has nothing to do with anything but misuse of our tax dollars to the benefit of the two largest political parties.

    Hmm, a bit on the long side for an explanation, but on the positive side, it is rather complete. :-)

  7. Concerned resident says:

    Thank you JM. That is a crazy waste of taxpayer money and that whole thing breeds corruption. We need clean government & we need it now.

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