Abdul Rastagar, Mission Viejo
Most voters feel neglected by and disappointed in their elected representatives, regardless of party lines. Unfortunately, this is also true of Representative Darrell Issa, whose district straddles North San Diego County and South Orange County. Mr. Issa has refused to hold town halls, citing questionable cost figures as a justification. Yet, his constituents routinely, and hypocritically, receive mailings and emails from him declaring his intention to listen to the voters. A lot of citizens have legitimate questions and concerns that they want to pose to Mr. Issa and, as an elected public servant, he owes it to them to speak with them in-person.
Mr. Issa will soon understand that if he does not wish to meet with his constituents, the competition will. Recently Marine Colonel and 49th district congressional candidate Doug Applegate hosted a packed town hall meeting in San Juan Capistrano in which he spoke at length about issues important to local residents. For many in the audience, it was their first time listening to Col. Applegate and, just like Mr. Issa, he seemed well articulated, intelligent and knowledgeable about the issues. The difference is that Col. Applegate took the time to engage the public in a real and meaningful way. Fortunately, not everyone has forgotten what democracy looks like.
Editor’s Note: on Feb. 21, Issa met with a group of people assembled outside his Vista office for 90 minutes to answer questions.