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A marketplace of political thoughts

Mark Humphrey and Robert Chacon

On the morning of a devastating terrorist attack in London, Rep. Adam

Schiff paid a visit to the Glendale Farmer’s Market at Brand

Boulevard and Wilson Avenue, where constituents were eager to hear


his thoughts on the morning’s events and related issues.

Schiff has been visiting farmer’s markets within his district,

which includes Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena, for three months now.

“Generally, two types of people come here: those who are aware


that I’ll be here and come with questions on specific issues, and

those who don’t know I’m coming and tend to ask a broader range of

questions,” Schiff said.

Schiff answered questions at a booth and also proceeded to walk

around the farmer’s market, introducing himself to shoppers and

shaking hands with vendors.

Constituents at the farmer’s market generally asked Schiff about

foreign and international concerns such as the morning’s bombings in


London, which killed 37, and the ongoing conflict in Iraq.

“Every voice for peace adds to the clamor to stop the madness in

Iraq,” said La Crescenta resident Sharon Weisman, who came to see


Attendees also asked Schiff for his thoughts on a wide swath of

domestic issues, including but not limited to the Patriot Act and the

Supreme Court seat recently vacated Sandra Day O’Connor.

“Ideally, we would like to get someone [on the Supreme Court] with


the same pragmatism as Sandra Day O’Connor,” Schiff told inquisitive

constituents. “We’d also like to see someone selected who everyone

supports. After all, Sandra Day O’Connor was confirmed by a 99-0


Not everyone was satisfied with the answers that Schiff gave.

“I’ve talked to people [in the Middle East] who have told me that

the way the Americans are treating the Iraqi people is terrible,”

said Glendale resident Irena Varjabedian, who came to ask about

holding a town hall meeting to discuss Iraq. “The congressman did not

agree with what I had to say, unfortunately,” Varjabedian said.

Schiff, though, is aware that it is difficult to please everyone.

“Every farmer’s market offers a different sort of interaction; no

two are the same,” Schiff said. “Really, it’s a nice opportunity for

people to come buy some fresh produce and get to meet their

representative while they’re at it.”

Antonovich disappointed in state Assembly committee

A bill that would assist in the tracking of unregistered sex

offenders failed in the Assembly Public Safety Committee, prompting

Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich to criticize the


SB 629 would have required sex offenders to renew their drivers

license annually in order to help track the 25% of offenders who do

not register while they remain at large.

The measure would have allowed police agencies to cross reference

with the Department of Motor Vehicles to create a more accurate

database of sex offenders, Antonovich said.

“Liberals in the legislature have made the rights of sex offenders

a higher priority than the safety of the children and families they

prey upon,” he said.

Scott’s higher education bills clear first hurdle

Three higher education bills authored by state Sen. Jack Scott

passed the Assembly Higher Education committee this week. The bills

cover a broad range of issues affecting community college financing

to vocational education and an education doctorate program offered at

the California State University system.

Currently, only the University of California can offer doctorates

in education, but SB 724 would authorize the 23-campus Cal State

system to offer a doctorate degree in education designed to address

needs in kindergarten through grade 12.

A community college vocational bill will strengthen the link

between vocational education programs in community colleges and

students in primary and secondary schools. SB 794 is backed by $20

million earmarked in the state budget for this purpose.

“Higher education is well provided for in this year’s budget,”

Scott said.

A separate bill, SB 361, would restructure the funding allocation

formula for the 72 districts that make up the California community

college system.

If passed, the new plan would fund needs in the areas of student

access, noncredit instruction and district funding equalization.