Last March it came to public attention that my congressional representative, Darrell Issa (R-CA 49), had earmarked almost $1 million in tax funds for road improvements to West Vista Way that would directly ease access to several properties he owns. For me, this was a personal affront from a man who told me that such matters were not within his "jurisdiction as a Federal Legislature."
As it happens, I had written to Congressman Issa about the dangerous intersection in front of Monte Vista Elementary School, in which drivers running the stop signs, while the crossing guards were out and children were in the crosswalks, had become a common occurrence. On a personal level, my son and I had been in the crosswalk on one such occasion when a driver, most likely blinded by the glare of the sun on his/her windshield, impatiently drove through the intersection and had to slam on his/her brakes at the last minute, stopping literally 4 feet away from us. My son had nightmares for weeks about it.
After exhausting all avenues at the city level, I resorted to writing to Congressman Issa. I still have the letter which explains that these matters are not within his "jurisdiction as a Federal Legislature." And while I still maintain that anyone with a modicum of decency, upon hearing that children were involved in near miss traffic incidents while walking to and from school in his/her district would have picked up the phone to inquire as to why this was happening, but then no one has ever accused Mr. Issa of being too decent. At the very least Issa's assertion that such matters were not within his jurisdiction was a lie, as the earmarks he secured have proven.
About the same time I received that letter from Issa, a friend of mine who worked at another elementary school told me about an incident in which a 10 year-old little boy became the victim of a hit and run while he was walking home from school. Because the boy’s mother was undocumented, it went unnoticed and untold in the press, and swept under the carpet. The boy ended up being in the hospital for 6 weeks.
In light of the dire threat that our children are under as they walk to and from school it seems to me that the more pressing road improvements would be those that would save lives. However, Congressman Issa doesn’t seem to feel that way. His priorities appear to be about serving his own financial interest, even at the expense of lives of the school children in his district. And to make matters worse, it is his judgment that is in charge of the House Oversight committee, deciding matters of decency and ethics in Washington. Based upon his attitude and behavior on this issue, I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks there are other people in Washington better suited for this job.