Sunday, July 30, 2006


In Search Of Congressman Pombo, Part One

Did I mention that I recently wrote to my local congressman, Richard Pombo? I almost dropped it, but I just got motivated a little bit. I wrote him once before, some months ago. I got some sort of form response which I promptly deleted. I also got a form response to my recent email. I'm pretty sure I saved it:

Thank you for contacting me. This is an auto response confirming that I
have received your e-mail. I appreciate the time you have taken to contact me.

Please be advised if you sent an e-mail with an attachment or forward from another source, due to security reasons, I am unable to open them. Please cut and paste and re-send the e-mail. If you would like to receive a reply to your letter via U.S. postal mail, please make sure you have included your CA 11th District address. Letters received by e-mail will be responded to the same way. You will receive a response pertaining to your comments and concerns shortly.

If you reside outside of California's 11th District, I urge you to contact your Representative. You can find contact information for your Representative at

For more information on legislation and links to other government information, please visit

This response came on the same day I wrote to Pombo, July 15th. To date, I have not received a response pertaining to my comments and concerns. But why should I expect a response? I may have come off kind of snotty in the email I sent him (I had just read some article about border kidnappings, and was curious about what Pombo was doing on immigration):

I was glad to see you have an "On the Issues" section on your re-election website. Unfortunately, when I went to it, the information there was pretty generic.

I'm no politician, but even I can say "clean energy is good" or "borders are important." Can't you give some specifics? I'm sure your Democratic opponent in the fall will say "clean energy is good" too.

I'm specifically writing today about border control. Even though we aren't in Texas, I read with some alarm about sheriffs there who won't patrol border areas because they are outgunned and come under automatic weapons fire when they respond to increasingly frequent calls about cross border kidnappings. Kidnapping for ransom is apparently a growth industry along the border. So aside from "borders are good," what exactly do you propose or support? A border wall? National Guard troops? How many troops? Where will you put them? Is there a bill you are supporting right now? What is its number so that we can look it up. If there is no such bill, when do you plan on introducing one? When are votes scheduled?

My ideal would be for you to have information like this (specific details, plus information on a bill you are supporting and/or introducing) for each of the top issues you've identified.

I've contacted you by email, I would appreciate any response be directed to me by email as well. I have enough phone calls during the day. I must say I was hesitant to contact you at all, knowing I run the risk of being subjected to endless junk mail and phone calls because you require all of my information just to send this to you. This is a simple email that only requires a simple response. Please be respectful and realize that this is not a request for an endless bombardment. If, based on your reply, I feel the need for more information, I will contact you again. Thank you for your time.

Is that too harsh? Is it a bad idea for a politician to identify the top ten issues for his district or state (or maybe the top five each of local and national issues?), specifically identify his positions on those issues, and identify by title or number the specific bills he is supporting or introducing that address those top issues, and make all of that information clearly and easily available on his website? Is that too much to ask? Is that unreasonable? Is there something wrong with knowing where a politician stands? Am I stupid for even asking these questions?

What got me motivated today was a Porkbusters update over at Big G's place. I'm an optimistic sort. I think that I'll try to write him again, more simply this time, and keep it to one issue at a time. Congressman Jeff Flake recently put in 19 amendments that required an up or down vote on specific pork projects. "A 'YES' vote on any of the Flake amendments is a good, anti-pork vote." Pombo voted "NO" on all 19 amendments. The lamest thing is that most of the projects were not even in his district, or even in his state! I'll try and run through all 19, so look forward to reports on 19 separate emails to Pombo. Maybe by email 17 or so, I'll actually get an actual response.

I'll be off on vacation for a week now, so you can hear about that, and whether or not my hand needs to be chopped off, sometime next weekend.

PS- Don't forget to check in with Philip in Memphis for RockStar recaps!
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