Thursday, August 16, 2007

Assault on Local Democracy

Shoot the messenger when you don’t like the message. This is what happens when a citizen of Barstow dares to stand up and speak truth to power.

I am used to dealing with hostile opposition from those who have a vested interest in the status quo. It has been said that power is never surrendered without a fight. But frankly it is over the top when the leader of the local Republican Caucus, Robert Vassuer makes an all out assault on public participation and our First Amendment Rights.

In is letter to the editor of July 23, (Gadflies waste time at City Council meetings) he stoops to some real lows in his name calling about people that care enough about their city to speak out on issues to which they disagree. The precious few of us that are willing to participate by speaking out, he calls: “local annoyances, Joe Gomez’s merry men and women, navel gazers club, trash, gadflies, technically challenged, roadblocks, and miscreants.

What we call public oversight and participation, Mr. Vassuer slanders as: “wasting Council time, concocting, bashing, vicious, sour grapes, pontification, motivated by personal gain, vengeance, penchant for theatrics, spreading noxious waste, ungainly harangue, paid political announcements, contemptible, counterproductive, road blocks and paralyzing the commendable efforts of city government.”

I have deep respect for the traditional values of the GOP Republicans which includes balancing the budget, protecting civil rights, privacy rights, less government regulations, concern for the environment, and a deep sense of patriotism.

I have nothing but distain for the politics of hate and the politics of division that is is the hallmark of the Neo-cons that have been destroying the party of my parents and the good GOPs that I call friends, family, and business associates. They are destroying the old values and leaving the good people of the GOP behind. It is obvious that Mr. Vassuer is one of these types with the hate and division he spreads.

In his more recent diatribe of hate, manufactured statistics, and lies, (8/2 corruption in Democratic Party easy to find) he makes a lame attempt to pretend that Democrats are some how more corrupt than all of the Bush Administration corruption and incompetence that now dominates the news and is the focus of countless investigations, hearings, and impeachment efforts.

But the real hypocrisy of his attacks on Democrat corruption comes in his own role in selling out his small caucus as a pawn of the Barwest corruption. Now he would suppress free speech to those that stand up and expose the extent of that corrupting influence on our election process, our leaders, and our institutions.

Let us agree to disagree without the name calling and other personal attacks. We should engage in a debate about the facts and without the spin and attacks. We need to return to the days of bi-partisan co-operation and we need to stay vigilant in protecting our democracy.

Larry D. Halstead
Mojave Desert Democratic Club

Note: This piece was submitted as a "Letter to the Editor" at the Desert Dispatch (see on August 16. As of this posting, it had not yet run but I was told it would be around Monday, August 20 or later.

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