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Opinion: The 49th Peril
Shirley King | Avenida Primavera

 

The 49th Congressional District redrawn after the 2010 census added Del Mar – now a District which spans northern coastal areas of San Diego County including cities such as Encinitas, Oceanside, Vista, and Carlsbad, as well as smaller portions of Orange County.

Since 2003 Congressman Darryl Issa, formerly of the 48th has represented the 49th whose Republican party in the recent election had a1.5% decline of registered voters in its longstanding advantage in this District.

Lest we forget, Darryl Issa, evolved to public life by funding the campaign to recall Governor Gray Davis - thus opening the door for Arnold Schwarzenegger to Sacramento and paving the road for his own way to Washington in 2001. He holds the Chairmanship of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform with responsibilities for oversight of virtually everything government does – essentially investigating and exposing waste, fraud and abuse. Most notably this watchdog position has expanded to include his well-known conspiracy theory – Fast and Furious - that earns his ‘A” rating from the National Rifle Association and the Gun Owners of America.

The open question is does Rep. Issa represent the interests and values of Del Mar, a narrow sliver of the 702,000 citizens for whom he speaks in Washington. Del Mar borders the Torrey Pines Mesa area, which is rich with researchers, entrepreneurs, students and scholars - where many claim Del Mar home. It is an activist community whose values were loudly spoken recently with a widely supported petition campaign to stop the Del Mar Gun Shows.

Learning little from phone calls to his offices and his web-site, I searched the Congressional Voting Record for his votes in the areas of particular importance for Del Mar residents - Science and Technology funding and the lifting of restrictions for the funding of Firearm Injury Prevention research. Issa has consistently voted ‘No’ for bills that authorize appropriations for science and technology research and development - funding for such agencies as National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, and National Institute of Standards and Technology. Despite his opposition, funding was secured for Science and Technology for five years.

The other relevant vote was cast with the majority to continue the severe restrictions on funding the Centers for Disease Control for its gun-related research - research that is critical for wise policy-making to address and answer the intense arguments on both sides of the gun debates. Within the gun realm, it is hard not to question and be persuaded about Rep Issa’s alignment with special interests when listening to his speech and interview at the 2012 National Rifle Association’s (NRA) national convention. He projected the intent of the Obama administration for “Fast and Furious” as a way to clear the way for an assault weapons ban and as a part of “trampling on Second Amendment rights.” “Fast and Furious” was launched under the Bush administration, and continued by the Obama administration, to investigate and undermine the smuggling of guns from the US to Mexico by drug cartels. Some guns sold through the program were connected to the murders of Mexican citizens and a US federal agent.

Clearly his votes are perilous for the scientific productivity of this region and for the public health concerns of our residents about gun safety. Rep. Issa does not reflect the values and interests of Del Mar. And perhaps not even the majority living in the 49th.

 

 

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