I have followed Mike Fitzgerald's columns in the Stockton Record for a long time. He has written some of the most lucid material on the way that developers are selling the public a bill of goods as well as thousands of new homes in the frequently threatened flood plain of the San Joaquin River.
Today, he weighs in on Richard Pombo and the race in the 11th CD. His new name for Pombo, Taker in Chief, is fitting. Fitzgerald finds many reasons NOT to vote for Pombo and none of them have anything to do with campaign financing or Jack Abramoff.
Foremost, though, it's a referendum on Richard Pombo.Fitzgerald's view of Pombo is more nuanced than most, it won't raise the hackles of the Kossaks, but it clearly identifies Pombo as a dinosaur, an endangered specie that does not need protections.
A tight race alone says plenty. Without the 6-point Republican advantage gerrymandered into this district, Pombo would be toast with cowboy pancakes.
Pombo is indeed one of the biggest recipients of money from Big Oil. But I believe he favors resource exploitation for reasons of his own, namely his belief in "property rights."As a referrendem on the politics of exploitation, Fitzgerald said little about McNerney, but clearly sees him as a symbol of the new West.
There's a flag-waving undertone when Pombo mentions property rights, a sense of defending a fundamental American freedom from government usurpers and regulation-crazy enviros.
But what does "property rights" really mean to Pombo? His record makes that clear: It means the right to take from the land. To develop property. To gouge the earth for minerals. For one's interests. For profit.
California recently enacted global warming legislation. Entrepreneurs and leaders will transform society with new sustainable energies. It's the cusp of a new era.
And with impeccable timing, the fates have produced McNerney, unseasoned, but an energy consultant who understands how the Valley could play a new role.