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By Shawn Raymundo

Holding his inaugural Coffee with Your Congressman event, Rep. Mike Levin, of California’s 49th District, met with constituents at Ellie’s Table at Egan House on the morning of Friday, March 22.

Levin, a resident of San Juan Capistrano, spent one-on-one time with locals answering their questions.

“We’re going to keep doing these,” Levin said, addressing the crowd. He later added, “I want to be accessible. I want to know what’s on your mind.”

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Last month, the freshman congressman held a town hall meeting in San Juan where he outlined some of his goals such as getting homeless veterans off the streets and removing the spent nuclear fuel from San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).

Levin is behind a new SONGS task force that’s currently being assembled and co-chaired by Greg Jaczko, the former head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Rear Admiral Leendert Hering Sr.

Following his coffee event, Levin told The Capistrano Dispatch that he met with the co-chairs Thursday to review the abundance of applications submitted by people interested in being on the task force.

“A lot of applicants, a lot more than we thought we were going to get,” he said. “There’s incredible interest in the community, people that have a variety of scientific and policy backgrounds that want to serve.”

With so many applicants, he said he’s hoping to have the list narrowed down soon and have the first meeting convene when he’s back in the district around mid-April.

During the town hall last month, Levin had also addressed the environmental risk of California’s seismic activity as a reason why SONGS should be a priority when it comes to determining a permanent site for the spent fuel.

Levin said he’s been communicating with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, about introducing legislation to make nuclear fuel sites that have a higher risk of seismic activity such as SONGS a priority to remove the spent nuclear fuel.

Earlier this month, San Juan Capistrano Mayor Brian Maryott announced his plans to run for Congress in 2020, possibly setting up a challenge for Levin’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Maryott, a Republican, called Levin’s policy proposals “extreme” earlier this month when he announced his second try as a congressional candidate.

Levin disagreed with the comments, noting that he’s been working hard for the residents in the district.

“I look forward to a spirited discussion and I stand by my priorities and values, which I believe are reflective of a majority of residents of the district,” he said in response to Maryott’s criticism.

Levin hopes to hold a town hall meeting each month for the next year and will be in North San Diego County on Saturday afternoon for a town hall in the Cardiff-by-the-Sea community.


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  • The San Onofre nuclear waste is being stored in untransportable cracking canisters. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) admits walls of every canister is unavoidable damaged due to the inferior Holtec engineering design for downloading canisters into storage holes. They said Edison purposely loaded 29 canisters they knew would be damaged. Now Edison wants to load and damage 44 more. The NRC may announce their decision Monday. Each canister hold roughly the amount of highly radioactive radionuclides released from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

    Promises to transport these unsafe cracking canisters to someone else’s community is insane and unsafe. The vendors proposing to build storage sites in New Mexico and Texas said leaking canisters will be returned to sender.

    At last week’s State Lands Commission, the Commissioners approved allowing Edison to destroy spent fuel pools — the only method to replace these damaged Chernobyl cans. State and federal elected officials know about this, but it appears to be going on deaf ears. It’s much easy to promise to get the waste out of here rather than doing what it takes to make us safe.

    Sign petition to recall and replace defective thin-wall canisters (only 5/8″ thick) with proven thick-wall transportable casks (10″ to 19.75″ thick). Thick casks were used at Fukushima and survived 2011 Tsunami and 9.0 earthquake. Cracking canisters have no seismic rating. Don’t be fooled by Edison and others claiming these Chernobyl cans are transportable or safe.

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