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Why I Support Democratic Candidate Louis Vandenberg for Congress in California's 44th District Congressional Race

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Copied at the end of this message is a recent post from the DailyKos.com by Louis Vandenberg, the Democratic Candidate running for Congress from CA-44 this November. He has distributed this post to some of the voters in CA-44 of which I am a resident. I'm asking you to please read it carefully because you will find a comprehensive analysis of many of critical issues facing us in this desperate time. You will find that his views are very well thought out and well articulated and are progressive in every way. In my view this man is the antithesis of his opponent in this race, the Republican Incumbent, Congressman Ken Calvert.

Ken Calvert was in lock step with Tom Delay on most of the fundamentalist Christian, corporate centric and conservative legislation that has come out of Congress since Tom Delay was made majority leader. Delay came into power because of his close ties with the corporate lobbyists on K Street. Ken hasn't changed a bit since Delay was ousted from Congress, he is just following another piper playing the same tune. That new Republican Majority Leader is another darling of the corporate lobby, John Boehner (OH-8). Boehner was the Congressman that is infamous as he was once down on the House floor handing out Tobacco Industry contribution checks to a slew of Congressional Reps to get their support for legislation favoring the tobacco industry. So you can see that Ken Calvert's support and emulation of these Republican Leaders doesn't bode well for the American citizen or for the constituents in CA-44 if Congressman Calvert gets re-elected. He is just automatically rubber stamps legislation that supports the Bush and Corporate America agenda unless there is an opportunity to add an earmark to legislation that may be beneficial to him or his lobbyist friends.

It's not surprising that Congressman Calvert has been named to the list of the top 20 most corrupt lawmakers in Washington. (Source: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) www.citizensforethics.org .) The following is the detail on Mr. Calvert's alleged transgressions from Source: (http://www.beyonddelay.org)

Ken Calvert is a seventh-term member of Congress, representing the 44th district of California. His ethics issues stem from his use of earmarks for personal gain and his connections to a lobbying firm under investigation.

Earmarking for Personal Financial Benefit
In 2005, Rep. Calvert and his real estate partner, Woodrow Harpole Jr., paid $550,000 for a four acre piece of land at Martin Street and Seaton Avenue in Perris, just 4 miles south of the March Air Reserve Base in California. Less than a year after buying the land, without making any improvements to the run down parcel, they sold the property for $985,000, a 79% increase. During this period, Rep. Calvert pushed through an earmark to secure $8 million for an overhaul and expansion of a freeway interchange 16 miles from the property, as well as an additional $1.5 million for commercial development in the area around the airfield.

In another deal, a group of investors bought property a few blocks from the site of a proposed interchange, for $975,000. Within six months, after the earmark for the interchange was appropriated, the parcel of land sold for $1.45 million. Rep. Calverts firm received a commission on the sale.

By using his position to earmark funds to increase the value of his own property, Rep. Calvert violated the prohibition against using his position as a member of Congress to advance his own financial interests. as well as the House rule requiring all members of the House to conduct themselves at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House.

Relationship with Lobbying Firm
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The lobbying firm of Copeland, Lowery, Jacquez, Denton and White is (Copeland Lowery) currently under investigation by a federal grand jury for its ties to Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA). On May 23, 2006, as part of its investigation into Rep. Lewis ties to Mr. Lowery, the FBI obtained Rep. Calverts financial records at the same time that they pulled Rep. Lewis's financial records. Rep. Calvert has helped pass through at least 13 earmarks sought by Copeland Lowery in 2005, adding up to over $91 million.

An investigation should be launched into whether Rep. Calvert violated federal law or House rules by taking money for his campaigns in exchange for earmarks to help the clients of Copeland Lowery.

Source: http://www.beyonddelay.org/summaries/calvert.php

In order to provide you with some additional information about Congressman Calvert, I want to point out the fact that he has taken almost $150,000 in campaign contributions from Big Oil and he has supported almost every effort there has been by the Bush Administration and the Republican Leadership to push through legislation and subsidies that benefit the Oil Industry. Do you think your gas prices are too high? I think mine are! Source: Moveon.org.

To sum things up; Louis Vandenberg's post in the DailyKos shows that he is a "real" progressive candidate that believes in the values that this country was founded on; wants to support our troops by removing them from Iraq via a staged redeployment; wants to fight the real terrorists, al-Qaeda, with old fashioned police and intelligence operations and not with our military in Iraq; wants to bring back a government based on providing for the common good; wants to stop the conservative agenda of robbing from the poor to give to the rich (Reverse Robin Hood Effect); wants to break up the GOP media-industrial-political complex by reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine in the FCC and thereby getting rid of all the demagogues and Karl Rove talking heads in the media; wants to reestablish the 4th Estate as the watchdog of our democracy and bring back "truth" into the American political process; wants to bring about campaign finance reform by instituting a National Public Financing (Clean Money) process for all federal election campaigns thereby eliminating the need for our elected officials to be beholden to their large campaign contributors which results in a stranglehold that corporate America now has on our legislative process.
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You have the choice of supporting Louis Vandenberg for Congress or reelecting that corporate and neocon "go to guy" Republican, Congressman Ken Calvert, who has been tarred with the same corruption brush as Tom Delay and Jerry Lewis. In my mind the choice is clear because Louis Vandenberg, if elected, will not only be fighting for his constituents in CA-44 but will be part of the progressive groundswell in Congress that will bring this government back to it's real responsibility of representing the American people and not being a government by corporate executives and the super wealthy.

Louis is not a wealthy individual and does not have the resources of some of the other Congressional candidates that are independently wealthy and have the advantage of receiving large donations from their corporate lobby supporters (who I imagine would, in the course of things, expect some sort of return on their largess). As you can imagine, because of his progressive leanings and because he is running in a district that the DCCC and the DNC have written off as "not in play", he can expect little, if any, monetary or other campaign support from the Democratic Party, the DCCC or the wealthy individuals in the district. So it comes down to drumming up support for a great candidate like Louis by the grassroots and by the netroots of the progressive community. He will not only be an asset to his constituents but he will be supporting a progressive agenda in Congress that will benefit us all.

So I'm asking you to go to his web site www.vandenbergforcongress.com and make a contribution, whatever the amount, or volunteer to help in his campaign (you can do it remotely) or do both. I have done so myself, and after knowing Louis for a while I feel that I have made an excellent choice. I hope you'll make the same decision.

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