Rep. Doug LaMalfa is scheduled to make a rare public appearance in Grass Valley Saturday at a town hall meeting set for noon at the Fairgrounds. If local Republicans have their way, it will be more of a dog-and-pony show than an open exchange of ideas.
LaMalfa has been missing in action since last November’s election while his fellow Republicans have been taking flak at raucous town hall meeting around the country. But LaMalfa professes to be looking forward to an exchange of ideas and concerns with his constituents.
“I plan to have a productive discussion that revolves around the start of the 115th Congress and our goals moving forward with the new administration,” he said in a press release. “I look forward to seeing you all there and hearing your ideas and concerns.”
I’m sure people will want to question him about his position on Ryancare, particularly since over 25,000 of his constituents have medical coverage under Obamacare or MediCal, but don’t expect any deviation from the party line: He’s just a foot soldier who has no influence over the final bill that will eventually emerge from Congress.
I’m confident he’ll express concern for Trump’s proposal to cut discretionary spending by the Agriculture Department by 21 percent; the ag industry is already fighting back. (Fortunately for the LaMalfa family farm, subsidies are mandatory spending, not discretionary.)
People will have plenty of questions and a lot of them are expected to show up. About 1,000 seats are being set-up for the event. Local conservative blabbermouth Todd Juvinall, emulating our fact-free president, claims protesters will be bused in for the event. Like Trump, he offers no evidence.
The Nevada County Republican Party, apparently mindful of the rude reception our congressman received when he surfaced in Auburn last month, is implementing measures to thwart “The typical opposition/protest groups (that) will try to dominate this event.”
Chair Bob Hren claims law enforcement rules–he doesn’t mention the source–will bar large signs or flags inside the venue, and urges fellow conservatives to “show up in large numbers to show we are strong too.”
Perhaps taking a page from local Democrats at the February demonstration in Auburn, Hren is urging LaMalfa supporters to show up in “attire that reflects a flag motif, or the colors red, white, blue.” Democrats are being urged to show up in “blue and/or patriotic attire.” (It may be hard to tell the two sides apart.)
Fellow Republicans are urged to arrive “very early” to get good seats (Democrats say be there by 10), but it turns out a select few will be given early admission to the venue. Those on an approved list of people setting up chairs and other items for the town hall will get early admission and front row seats.
The list, and secret information about when and where to arrive at the Fairgrounds, is apparently under the control of Don Bessee, best known to the general public as the scourge of the marijuana bogey man. Now that the pot issue is settled, he is monitoring attendance and providing janitorial services for the event. It just shows you how far the mighty can fall.
If the Republicans succeed in packing the first couple of rows with the usual suspects, they will have an impressive rock garden. It should make for a lively afternoon.