October 6, 2008

Reps. Lewis, Baca Explain Support for Bailout Plan

By Lauren McSherry

Following the vote by Congress to pass the roughly $800 billion bailout plan Friday, a number of local representatives issued statements seeking to explain and justify their votes to the public.

Among them was Rep. Joe Baca, a Democrat from San Bernardino, who on Monday voted against the first iteration of the bill. On Friday, he voted in favor of the legislation.

Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, issued a statement saying he voted for Friday's bill for a number of reasons, including protecting as many as 24 million middle-class Americans from the alternative minimum tax and re-establishing tax laws that encourage the production of electricity by wind, solar, and biomass.

In a statement, Baca said, "Without immediate federal action, California will be unable to sell voter-approved bonds for highway construction, schools, housing or water projects. And because of the extreme delay in passing the state budget, California's cash reserves would be exhausted by the end of October without this loan. This means that payments for teachers' salaries, nursing homes, law enforcement and every other State-funded service would stop or be significantly delayed. This must not be allowed to happen."

"Ultimately, today's bill is about providing confidence in our markets and stabilizing our economy. We must do this if we are to protect our jobs at home, stop further outsourcing, and ensure our society has access to the credit it needs to run."

The San Bernardino County Democratic Party will host a "Meet the Candidates Night" 5:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, at the "Tim Prince for Congress" campaign headquarters, 104 East State St. in Redlands.

Refreshments will be served and entertainment will be provided.

Voters will be able to personally meet 43rd District incumbent Congressman Joe Baca and Tim Prince, a San Bernardino lawyer running against incumbent Rep. Jerry Lewis.

Among the other candidates expected to attend are Carl Wood who is running against Assemblyman Paul Cook, a Republican from Yucaipa and 62nd District incumbent Assemblywoman Wilmer Amina Carter.

For more information contact "Tim Prince for Congress" office manager Margo Tannenbaum at (909) 792-9993.

The agencies holding three public hearings on a proposal to expand the military base in Twentynine Palms have changed the times of the meetings.

The Bureau of Land Management and the Marine Corps will host public meetings in Twentynine Palms and Victorville.

The first public meeting is scheduled for 4-9 p.m., Oct. 23, in Hay's Gym, Twentynine Palms Junior High School, 5798 Utah Trail, Twentynine Palms.

Two additional meetings will be at 1-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m., Oct. 24, at Hilton Garden Inn, 12603 Mariposa Road, Victorville.

Both meetings in Victorville are scheduled to provide the public the broadest opportunities to attend, according to Roxie Trost, BLM Barstow Field Manager.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation on Tuesday which will provide financial relief to residents in the San Bernardino Mountains, according to a news release.

The bill, written by Assemblyman Anthony Adams, a Republican from Hesperia, gives relief from payments, penalties and interest accrued by the prior owner of the Arrowhead Manor Water Co., a privately owned water purveyor.

In 1976, the Department of Water Resources made a loan to the Arrowhead Manor Water Co. for approximately $900,000. Due to poor management practices of the water company, the loan swelled to nearly $1.9 million, including principal, interest, and late payment penalties.

Since 2003, when fires ravaged the San Bernardino Mountains, the county has been working to help residents rebuild the communities in a responsible way, according to statement from Adams.

Last year, 3rd District Supervisor Dennis Hansberger approached the Department of Water Resources to seek forgiveness of the loan. He argued that the state had no reasonable expectation of ever recovering the loss, and having the county pay it back would create an unfair burden on ratepayers.

"I am convinced that the final version of this bill has significant protections for our taxpayers' money, and I am committed to very serious oversight of this program as it is put in place. We must be watchful of how this tremendous expenditure is spent, but we cannot afford the consequences of doing nothing."

- Rep. Jerry Lewis, Republican from Redlands

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