EAST BAY CITIZEN. EVERYWHERE SINCE 2009

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Uncertainty is the word from Alameda County’s D.C lobbyists

Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan wants
to arm residents with information to fight likely
federal cuts to the safety net.
ALAMEDA COUNTY
When describing the current lay of the land in Washington D.C. Alameda County’s congressional lobbyists Thursday used the same word more than a dozens times—uncertainty.

From questions about the future of the Affordable Care Act, the federal budget, and impacts to local sanctuary cities, the county’s eyes and ear in the Beltway are waiting for the Trump administration and House Republicans to begin showing their cards.

Thursday’s hearing was organized by Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan to provide information not only to constituents, but local elected officials, for dealing with the new power structure in Washington. Following Trump’s victory last November and the realization health care in the county could be severely impacted, Chan has been seen by many in the county as clearly reenergized to protect it.


“The way we’re going to do this is really by involving more people and educating more people. Because I believe some of these things happened because people don’t know and this thing about 'alternative facts,’” said Chan. “The more we talk to people about what’s going on the better off we’re going to be in terms of being able to counteract some of these issues that we are very worried about.”

On the ACA front, it definitely is the top priority among Republicans and will strongly impact the state and county, said Emily Bacque, director of policy for the lobbying firm, CJ Lake. But Congress is being stymied until a new Health and Human Services secretary is confirmed.

Rumors of the Trump administration pushing to fund a large infrastructure agenda appear now to be less of a priority, said Bacque, but added, “It’s still too early to know impacts.”

Cuts to the federal budget and their impacts on the county should be expected, said the lobbyist. Bacque noted the Trump transition team used a blueprint created by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, that advocated for significant cuts to the safety net and transportation.

The reality, though, is many conservatives in Congress are enamored by federal grants that aid their districts with hiring new police officers and grants for housing. “There could be some cuts requested, but I don’t think congress will go along with the magnitude of this blueprint we’re seeing from Heritage,” said Bacque. Similarly, high-price tag proposals such as building a southern wall and increases in defense might give belt-tightening conservatives pause, said Lynn Jacquez, principal for CJ Lake.

Perhaps no other issue is more cloaked in uncertainty than the real impacts of Trump’s executive orders on immigration signed Wednesday. They included orders for kickstarting the construction of a wall with Mexico and a threat to revoke federal funding to sanctuary cities.

“Executive orders are always up for interpretation. Some of the areas will be subject to a court-challenge,” said Jacquez, similar to Obama's 2014 order granting temporary citizenship to certain undocumented immigrants. “There are lot of uncertainty and uncertain language in the order.” In addition, any order that requires money is going to be subject to congressional approval, said Jacquez, although authority for building a wall is included in legislation passed in 2006.

Jacquez, however, said the sanctuary city directive is troubling. “It’s very uncertain whether this is even legal and whether it could be done.” Federal agencies are also unsure, she said, and more guidance will likely be coming from the administration. When a school board member from the Tri Valley asked about the ramifications of declaring sanctuary city status, post-executive order, Jacquez said, “Doing so would mark you on the interactive map as a sanctuary entity. That would bring you into the group of 400.”

Despite the pervasive sense of dread among liberals in California, the county’s lobbyist offered some practical hope. When it comes to the likely scrapping of the ACA, they noted 60 votes in the U.S. Senate is needed for any replacement proposal, meaning support from eight Democrats will be required.

The change in administration also means the county and its cities must change their strategies for seeking grants. “Whenever a new administration takes over and new cabinet department members takes over you see a shift of language,” said Jacquez. Whether the buzzwords are, for instance, jobs and the economy, “We need to change our language to match their policies.”

County leaders must also determine how much specifically any potential federal budget cuts will mean to residents and pass the narrative to their East Bay congressmembers. “Provide the ammunition for them to help you,” said Bacque.

2 comments:

  1. By MW:

    One of the most effective methods to protect the health of residents of AC would be for the Board of Supervisors to send letters to each of the managers & various "experts" employed by the Public Works Agency that it will no longer tolerate their long & deeply entrenched culture of lies & phony "investigations," & extra especially in regard to issues that are a threat to public safety.

    To give an example of how extremely sleazy are many of the higher ranking employees of AC's PWA, every single time I have sent a letter to PW, and my letters have been concerning issues relating to health & safety, the PWA, & just like a crooked law firm, has always responded by sending me a backdated letter.

    For instance, if I wrote PW a letter on Jan 15, & w/ the letter also dated & mailed on Jan 15, PW would respond by mailing me a letter a few or several days later, but always dated, IN OTHER WORDS BACKDATED, to at least a few days previous to Jan 15, let's say for instance to Jan 10, to make it appear that my letter was in response to PW's letter, & even though actually PW's letter was in response to my letter. And of course the "facts" mentioned in PW's letter would be nothing but lies, garbage, & nonsense, & also based on phony, scripted, choreographed, & prearranged "investigations" that were designed to "prove" whatever lies, garbage, & nonsense PW had wanted "proven."

    For instance a few years ago I read in a local paper about a particular situation concerning PW's lies, garbage, nonsense, & phony "investigations."

    The situation involved a house in an unincorporated section of San Leandro, & the fact that for a long time large & heavy tree branches had been falling into the backyard.

    (NOTE: Altho the house was in SL, since it was in an unincorporated section, & not in the regular city limits, therefore issues involving trees in that area were under the jurisdiction of AC's PWA, & NOT SL's city government.)

    So I talked on the phone to the homeowner. He told me that the situation with heavy branches repeatedly falling into their yard (the house was occupied by him & his wife & their children) had been so extremely bad, that therefore on windy days they had not even slept in their normal beds, but instead had slept in other parts of the house, SINCE THEY HAD BEEN AFRAID THAT FALLING TREE BRANCHES MIGHT COME CRASHING THRU THE ROOF AND KILL THEM WHILE THEY SLEPT.

    And this situation had gone on & on for months, & while PW's managers & "experts" had pretended to study the issue, & as they also pretended to be studying the issue of whether it might be a good idea to cut down the trees whose continued presence might lead to people being murdered by falling branches while they slept.

    However after that article appeared in a local paper, suddenly the "sophisticated" & "highly educated" managers & "experts" at PW decided to grant permission to cut down those trees.

    In other words, I think originally PW had no intention of granting permission to cut down those trees unless an under the table bribe was paid. However once the article appeared, that put PW in a situation in which it would not be able to deny pre-existing knowledge if a disaster occurred, & therefore was probably afraid that some of its employees might be charged with murder if a falling branch had killed somebody.

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  2. By MW:

    To give just one more example of the "standards" of Alameda County's Public Works Agency and its "deep commitment" to "facts," "truth," "public safety," and "serving the public," there was the intersection that had traffic patterns on late weekday afternoons, in other words from about 4PM to 6PM when people were driving home from work, that were an extreme safety hazard, so therefore people who lived in the neighborhood very much wanted corrections to be made.

    (However I myself having had the displeasure of having to deal with Public Works far too many times, I have come to the conclusion that usually Public Works will not do anything about even the most severe and obvious matters of public safety unless an under the table bribe is paid or there is so much media publicity that PW believes it has no choice but to properly respond.)

    However rather than fixing the safety problem, a problem that could have led to serious injuries and deaths, Public Works decided to "prove" that the intersection was "safe" and that anyone who said differently was "crazy." So therefore the totally corrupt PWA did one of its typical phony "investigations." More specifically, rather than checking traffic at that intersection on a normal weekday afternoon, instead PW checked the traffic on the late Friday afternoon of what was basically a three day weekend, in other words just before a major holiday when traffic was drastically different than usual. However that is standard procedure for PW, in other words to engage in scripted, prearranged, and choreographed "studies" and "investigations" that are designed in advance to "prove" that lies are "true."

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