If we were to get a peek at what the 2018 District One Congressional race might look like, we need look no further than to footage at the Grass Valley town hall on March 18, 2017.
The room was packed, almost reaching the 1,500 maximum capacity. All 300 chairs were filled and the number of people standing quadrupled those in seats.
The press release for the town hall said that this was to be "...a productive discussion that revolves around the start to the 115th Congress and our goals moving forward with the new Administration." Very few goals moving forward were discussed. Congressman LaMalfa was grilled on his laissez-faire attitude towards the environment, health care, WIC, and women's access to Planned Parenthood. His answers fell short of making it a productive discussion. He often ventured out on a tangent and had to re-ask the question when he lost sight of his own point. The only thing that LaMalfa was able to successfully manage was to solidify the movement to have him unseated in the 2018 election.
The dismantling of the ACA seemed to be the most prominent topic of the entire town hall. The replacement currently being pushed by LaMalfa clearly further lines the pockets of insurance companies while causing 24 million people to lose health care. In California we have hope in Bill SB-562, but the entire nation as a whole will be negatively impacted if there is success in destroying the ACA. Many spoke of the success that they experienced being covered under the ACA and two physicians expressed that, though not perfect, the ACA helps more than it hurts. Mindy Oberne, a long time local advocate for Health Care For All-California (http://www.healthcareforall.org/), which has a meeting on March 25th at the Briar Patch Co-op at 11 am (Details on our Calendar), spoke eloquently to the advantages of a single payer system. LaMalfa was left floundering to answer why in his mind he felt that single payer would not work to a room full of people, his constituents, who would like to see single payer come to fruition in California.
The opportunity to pressure LaMalfa into not supporting the granting of Federal lands to the NID as part of the plans for pushing the building of the proposed Centennial Dam (For background information go to our page Save Bear River.). Opponents were able to voice their concerns visually.
Photo Credit: Kelli Thompson Photography
Within those who oppose LaMalfa, there is a divide in how the crowd responded to the Congressman. At many times the room broke out into chants, "You work for us!" or "Single Payer." Some shouted their frustration with LaMalfa's half truths or his outright lies. There were those present who felt it was counter productive to voice dissent while LaMalfa was speaking. Coming to understand one another and accept our different modes of operation will create a united front, clearly we are not there yet. There is an unsaid rule to non-violent protesting, if you are not in agreement with what a faction is doing, acknowledge your own feelings and move to do an action that you are comfortable with. It is a slippery slope to tell people what their display of pain should and should not look like. The exercise of democracy comes in many shapes and and varied displays of action.
One question that LaMalfa failed to answer, but not the only one, was asked by Jerry Silverman of Meadow Vista, CA, "In the case that the clear majority of the legal citizens of district one were against the passage of the AHCA, would you vote against it or would you adhere to the party line and go against the wishes of the majority of the people that you were elected to represent?" Often an unanswered question gives an answer more clearly than a simple yes or no would have.