When both John Pero and I get politically blindsided, it’s a rare day indeed. Perhaps I went too far.
After Fourth District Congressman Tom McClintock made his spring appearance last year at Oakhurst Elementary School on April 23, my subsequent Sierra Star column, “21st Century Tom,” bemoaned the fact that so few folks had shown up. I wrote, “All that was missing was the chirping of crickets.”
I was hoping next time would bring more people, looking forward to again provide the congressman with a list of helpful questions to assist in his presentation, although he completely ignored all of them at Oakhurst Elementary, even publicly berating me with the words, “Peter - this is not a political meeting.”
You can only imagine my sudden shock and sad surprise to learn that Tom had come and gone, again like a phantom ship slipping by through heavy fog in the dark of night. Even worse, I was discovering this a full 10 days after the fact in a headline story published by the Sierra Star. It was like “The Twilight Zone.”
Then I found out that John Pero hadn’t known about Tom’s visitation either. As Central Valley Oakhurst/Coarsegold Tea Party coordinator, I respect the fact that John stays right on top of things, even as I do on my side of the aisle, making all the more mysterious McClintock’s obvious decision to stage his recent Oakhurst stop as a drive-by.
In asking about, it would appear that Tom McClintock has become quite guarded in limiting his exposure to unscreened questioning and unforeseen challenge with careful and cautious venue selection.
Early this year, his office heavily promoted an early evening “Town Hall Meeting” on Tuesday, March 10, to be held at the Mariposa Senior Center – hardly Candlestick Park or even a decent sized Dunkin’ Donuts. As McClintock anchored his day around this strategic centerpiece, it was then the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce became somehow connected - enticing Tom to travel 27 miles south on Highway 49 and participate in a comparatively exclusive private get-together to which the general public and, in fact, much of the chamber’s own membership list was not invited nor informed of the event.
Details on chamber involvement remain murky - particularly what criterion was used for selecting invitees - by whom - and why so many members were excluded.
While I am heartened by McClintock’s ringing endorsement of the critical need for more water as reported in the Star, he blames this four year drought pretty much exclusively on the Feds, perhaps hoping to carpet with forgiveness his own “Stairway to Heaven” by giving The Lord a pass in the process – just like Congressman Aaron Schock (R – Illinois) wanted his Washington office to look like Downtown Abbey.
Well, Tom, here’s the deal.
I’m sorry if I have made you uncomfortable with any column I have ever written containing negative commentary about you, which would be all of them, and herein propose to made amends.
There’s nothing to fear. No more crickets. Come back to Oakhurst and our community center and do a real “Town Hall.” John and I could ask the questions, all of which you’ll see beforehand, and you could give the answers. It’ll be fun. There’ll be a place for everyone who wants to be there.
Wall to wall - guaranteed.