Henry A. Waxman, who has represented the 33rd Congressional District since 1975, has announced his retirement. For the first time in four decades, this seat is now wide open and up for grabs.

A total of 21 candidates are running for his seat. The five frontrunners (in terms of campaign war chests) are defense attorney David Kanuth, former Los Angeles City Controller and Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, radio show host Matt Miller, new age author Marianne Williamson and State Senator Ted Lieu (D-Santa Monica).

The 33rd hugs the Southern California coastline from Malibu to Palos Verdes, extends inland to Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Bel Air, Beverly Hills and includes the South Bay beach cities.

I haven’t made up my mind who I’m voting for in this race, but I’ve eliminated Lieu off the top because he’s a grandstander and a bully.

Lieu appeared on my radar screen when I started receiving e-mails in August and September of 2011 from “save the ocean” environmental groups about AB-376, which was winding its way through the state legislative process.

Lieu vigorously opposed AB-376 — a new law which would ban the practice of cutting fins and tails off live sharks and dumping them, mortally maimed, back into the ocean to die. De-finning is a brutal, non-sustainable practice that’s decimating many shark species.

The fins are used in soup that’s considered a delicacy in some Asian cultures. AB-376 passed in September, 2011 despite Lieu’s opposition. So much for Lieu and the environment.

On Nov. 30, 2011, Lieu was grandstanding for his West Los Angeles and Mar Vista constituents by holding a Senate Select Committee on Air Quality hearing in West L.A. Lieu is chair of the committee.

According to a Senate press handout, “During the 2011-12 legislative session, the Select Committee on Air Quality will review issues of air pollution around the state of California and … look at causes and sources of air pollution and their environmental and health impact on various communities in the state.”

But, his efforts on airport air pollution focused strictly on Santa Monica Airport (SMO).

I asked, “Why is Santa Monica’s Airport the only airport being targeted by Lieu?” Keep in mind this occurred before redistricting and his senate district didn’t include Santa Monica.

Northrop Field/Hawthorne Municipal Airport, Zamperini Field in Torrance, Compton/Woodley Airport and LAX were in his district. He ignored them and by concentrating his “senate investigation” on only SMO, it was clear this wasn’t about aviation related air pollution but more about stroking his West L.A./Mar Vista constituents for votes.

Lieu’s “shoot from the hip” style went into overdrive mid-December, 2012 when he sent a letter to Lowe’s Home Improvement Chief Executive Officer Robert A. Niblock complaining that his firm’s actions were “profoundly ignorant,” “un-American” and “naked religious bigotry.”

Lowe’s pulled its ads from reality TV series “All American Muslim” that was airing on the TLC cable channel. The series was about the everyday lives of five Muslim families from Dearborn, Mich.

A right-wing evangelical group — the Florida Family Association — called for a boycott of Lowe’s Home Improvement Centers and all advertisers running ads on the show because they thought it was anti-American and anti-Christian.

The FFA labeled the show, “Propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values” and tried to connect the “All-American Muslim” to terrorists.

Lieu’s letter, with copies to the press, also threatened legislative action including a senate resolution asking for a boycott if Lowe’s didn’t apologize to Muslims and reinstate its ads

Although Lowe’s had already apologized for “making people unhappy,” he also threatened that he’d look into whether Lowe’s violated any California laws and charged that “Lowe’s is engaging in religious discrimination.” Lieu was on a tear.

Sunday night, Dec. 11, Lieu appeared on Fox 11’s “10 O’Clock News.” He was asked about 65 other advertisers who had either refused to place ads or pulled ads from the series — advertisers such as Campbell’s Soup, Walmart, Capital One, McDonalds, Hershey, Nintendo, Toyota and a long list of household names. He responded that he wasn’t aware other advertisers had canceled ads and added that they must’ve pulled out after Lowe’s canceled its ads.

The Fox 11 anchor asked, “Where did you do your research?” “On the Internet,” he answered. Lieu was informed that Fox News “did our research on the Internet” and found that numerous advertisers had canceled ads days before Lowe’s canceled their ad schedule and Lieu wrote his letter. Did he send anyone else letters, too? Nope. Oopps.

Lieu’s shoot-from-the-hip approach revealed him to be uninformed and rash. Misusing his position as state senator to browbeat and threaten makes him out to be a bully especially when his ruffled feathers had nothing to do with governing the state of California and appeared to be purely personal

Lieu thought he had an issue that would gain him nationwide press. It did but it backfired because he didn’t bother to do his basic homework. Threatening boycotts and possibly forcing two Lowe’s Home Centers to close in Torrance (his home district) thereby throwing hundreds of hard working people out of work was shortsighted and foolish.

There’s more, but I’m out of space and you get the point, by now. Ted Lieu isn’t the politician I want representing me on federal matters. I’ll tell you who I think should go to Washington and why, next week.

 

Bill can be reached at mr.bilbau@gmail.com.

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