Opinion

McClintock’s office listens

On April 20, Matt Reed, on the staff of U.S. House member Tom McClintock, came to Oakhurst. Someone from McClintock’s staff comes every few months to meet one-on-one with local people to help with federal agency issues or to discuss federal policies. These are not Town Hall meetings. McClintock’s office has been doing these for years. I often go. Usually it is just me and the staff person.

But this time “the resistance” showed up - at least 30 of them - so the session was moved to a conference room. It was very interesting.

Actually the people who came were cordial and polite which I appreciated. But, wow, were they anti-Trump. The meeting was more about Trump than McClintock, though there were some challenges as to where McClintock stood relative to some Trump statements.

The group did say that they wanted to be heard. I’m pretty sure that none of them came to any of McClintock’s Town Halls in the past. I know because I’ve been coming to McClintock’s Town Halls for years. They came to this one because they are mad at President Trump.

And they were heard. McClintock’s representative, Matt Reed, did a great job. He listened. He was knowledgeable about McClintock’s positions and gently reminded people about those positions. He took notes and will take what he heard back to McClintock. I was impressed with his good nature and genuine interest. He did much to keep things calm and upbeat.

One issue discussed was our tree mortality problem. Some were concerned that McClintock wanted to bypass the EPA because he had a bill in Congress that would help with our tree problem but did not follow the full NEPA procedures. I’ve heard McClintock speak many times on our tree problem and he is the one pushing to do something about it, not the EPA, not NEPA.

Our forests are overgrown with no natural forest fires or logging (not clear cutting) to clear them. So with the drought, the beetles attack.

His bill proposes to work to thin out our forests and pay for it by selling the lumber, not the destroyed beetle lumber but lumber from healthy trees that are actually clogging up the forests that will lead to future problems. It was a good discussion.

As it turned out I believe I was the only Republican voter in the room beyond McClintock’s staff person. People treated me well and I was allowed to speak. So that was good. We are going through some interesting times in our country and dialogue is needed.

Sometimes it is hard to have these conversations with those close to you. I know of a Christmas dinner ruined, friends of 40 years no longer speaking, and so on. But, perhaps, vigorous dialogue among people with no long-term ties at stake is the most useful.

We need to be aware of the impact of the various media. Each has a perspective and is rarely unbiased. Common sense is important. We are fortunate to have Bill Atwood for balance in our little town. McClintock always says that the most important conversations going on in America today aren’t those in Washington, D.C. but those of the American people. We need to have those conversations. And to “the resistance” my recommendation is: Give peace a chance.

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