Political Landscape: Sherman speaks to Burbank students


Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) took time during election season to address a crowd mostly too young to be registered.

On Monday, the seven-term congressman spoke to about 200 students during a morning assembly at Burroughs High School in Burbank.

Sherman touted his legislative record, including his support for the stimulus bill and a later jobs package that together routed nearly $10 million to Burbank schools to save jobs for teachers. He also answered questions from students and teachers.

Asked about the possibility Democrats might lose control of the House Nov. 2, Sherman said he was concerned that more conservative Republicans would spur a repeat of the showdown that briefly shut down the federal government in 1994 — after the mid-term election swept out a Democratic House majority during President Clinton's first term.

"We were an international laughing stock," he said. "I think there is a real possibility of that."

Asked if he supports Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana in California, Sherman did not answer directly. But he said if voters approve the measure, he will try to stop federal authorities from enforcing laws against marijuana use and distribution.

"If it passes, I'll defend it," he said.

Sherman also said he opposes Proposition 20 and favors Proposition 27. The effect of those two positions is that Sherman would prefer to leave legislative redistricting in the hands of lawmakers rather than with a new citizen's commission. Sherman said his district changed after the 2001 census, and that a district now entirely in the San Fernando Valley once incongruously included Malibu.

He derided the commission, which is now winnowing down the list of citizen applicants.

"They have a system to make sure those people know nothing about geography or politics," Sherman said.

He whiffed on a question about the governor's race in New York, failing to understand a student's query about oddball candidate Jimmy McMillan of the Rent-Is-Too-Damn-High Party.

But Sherman, a certified public accountant and attorney who serves on Financial Services and Foreign Affairs committees, was in his element when asked what Congress is doing to straighten out the growing trade imbalance with China.

"Not a damn thing," said Sherman, who has penned long-shot legislation to strip China of its most-favored nation status.

"In the short term, it is in the interest of Walmart and Wall Street to keep things the way they are," he said, referring to domestic purchase of Chinese-made consumer products while the Chinese government balks at buying American-made airplanes and other goods. "But it's terrible for jobs. It's hollowing out our manufacturing sector. It will soon hollow out our service sector."

Sherman reminded students that his office can place at least one qualified applicant each year into the nation's military academies, including West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

At the end of the event, Sherman presented Burroughs Principal Emilio Urioste with an American flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol.


Howard Dean talks on medical finances

When former presidential candidate Howard Dean spoke in Burbank on Tuesday evening, his topic was finances in the medical industry and his audience consisted of doctors and professionals associated with Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center and its sister hospitals.

But Dean, a physician who served as governor of Vermont before running for president in 2004 and later chairing the Democratic National Committee, didn't entirely stay away from politics.

Dean, a proponent of universal healthcare coverage, said the healthcare reform law Democrats passed last year does not go as far as it should. He also derided "tea party" activists who he said claim to want small government, but who do not want to give up their own stakes in major federal entitlement programs.

"If you don't want to give up Social Security or Medicare, then don't say you hate big government," he said.


Schiff endorsed by Armenian group

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), who is being challenged by Altadena Republican John Colbert, has received the endorsement of the Armenian National Committee of America.

"We are especially appreciative of Rep. Schiff's leadership role as the author and legislative champion of the Armenian Genocide Resolution," the organization's chairman, Kenneth Hachikian, said in a statement. "He has, in each of his terms in office, worked to build bipartisan support for this legislation and to move this measure through the committee process and toward a vote of the full House of Representatives."

The measure is still awaiting a floor vote in the House.


Airport votes in opposition to Prop. 23

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority Airport voted Monday to go on the record in opposition to Proposition 23 on the Nov. 2 ballot. The measure would block implementation of the state's greenhouse gas reduction law until unemployment falls below 5.5% for more than a year.


Four-year term position available

The Burbank City Council is seeking a representative to serve a four-year term on the Greater Los Angeles Vector Control District Board of Trustees.

The district stretches from Long Beach to Santa Clarita, providing insect control services for 34 cities and part of unincorporated Los Angeles County. Trustees are required to attend monthly meetings in Santa Fe Springs and are paid $100 for each meeting they attend.

Applicants must reside in Burbank and the city permits people to serve on only one board, commission or committee at a time. Applications are available at the City Clerk's Office at City Hall, 275 East Olive Ave., or by visiting http://www.burbankusa.com. The application deadline is Nov. 1.

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