Credibility: Darrell Issa’s Problem

by on June 29, 2010 · 53 comments

in Culture, Popular, San Diego

Darrel IssaEditor: The internet is full of choice gems, and one of them is San Diego’s own “The Politics of Football” blog by Andy Cohen. Andy is a self-described ‘football nut’ (he was employed by the Chargers for 11 years) – yet politics is in his blood. Here is a poke he took at north county right-wing politician Darrel Issa. (We here at the OB Rag had our own run-in with Issa last summer at his “town hall” meeting in Vista.)

by Andy Cohen/ The Politics of Football

If you would like to know just exactly what’s wrong with Washington these days, look no further than Darrell Issa, the Representative of the 49th district in North San Diego County. Nothing screams “extreme partisanship” more than the way Issa has comported himself during his tenure in office.

Darrell Issa is on a one man crusade to discredit the Obama administration, and one can only assume with the ultimate goal of impeaching Obama. Since Obama took the oath of office on January 20, 2009, there is no slight, no minute detail that Mr. Issa is willing to let slip by his guard in an effort to bring down this Democratic regime. It’s enough to make Don Quixote burst with pride!

The trouble is that Mr. Issa isn’t exactly the model of decency, honesty, and fairness himself. And as the saying goes, “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”

The latest dustup that has Issa once again tilting at windmills is the alleged criminal act of offering Representative Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania an unpaid position in an effort to entice him to drop his ultimately successful primary challenge of sitting Senator and Republican convert Arlen Specter. You see, at the time of his much publicized switch, the Obama administration pledged to support Senator Specter in his reelection bid in 2010. And support him they did, if only rather tepidly.

This, in Issa’s partisan opinion, is grounds for criminal prosecution. Which would be just peachy with me so long as Mr. Issa was consistent in his quest for justice.

First, a brief historical look at the career of Mr. Issa: On his military service, Congressman Issa claimed that he served for nine years in the Army. But records show that he served only five years. Issa also claimed that he was part of an elite Army bomb unit that was detailed to protect President Nixon at the 1971 World Series. But records show that he spent a mere six months on a bomb disposal team while in a college ROTC program, which hardly qualifies him for elite status. Even more devastating, though, is that Nixon never attended any of the 1971 World Series games.

TalkingPointsMemo also found that Issa’s Army record was “marred by a bad conduct rating, a demotion, and allegations that he had stolen a fellow soldier’s car.” But that’s not the last time Issa would be accused of a crime.

In 1972, Issa was convicted of “Possession of an Unregistered Handgun,” the second time that year he was arrested on weapons charges. In 1982, he was a suspect in an arson fire at a Ohio manufacturing plant he owned. Just weeks prior to the fire, Issa had greatly beefed up his fire insurance protection on the plant.

In the political arena, Issa’s record is rather dubious as well: He accused outed CIA covert operative Valerie Plame of perjury during the congressional hearings investigating the misuse of power by the Bush administration in the commutation of Scooter Libby’s sentence; his allegations were baseless. He disparaged the testimony of four women whose family members were killed in Iraq at a hearing investigating the malfeasance of U.S. contractor Blackwater. He called the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York a plane crash to justify denying support to the heroes who rushed to Ground Zero and who are now suffering from serious health problems as a result.

He defended Roger Clemens’ steroid use in Congressional hearings. He defended the Bush administration’s criminal destruction of White House email records, saying that they weren’t intentionally deleted, but lost because of a software glitch (a charge he was later forced to retract). In fact, nearly every time the Bush White House came under scrutiny, there was Congressman Issa riding in on his white horse.

His defenses of the White House, though, only come when a Republican resides there. Ever since Obama took up residence, Issa has been on a non-stop quest to uncover a Watergate-esque scandal, all to no avail.

Congressman Issa has been rather schizophrenic on the issues: He adamantly opposes trials in civilian courts for Guantanamo detainees, while at the same time insisting suspected terrorists be afforded their Miranda rights, and opposing the loosening of the Miranda rules, even in the case of erstwhile Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He decries “uncontrolled government spending,” yet wholeheartedly supported the Bush administration’s uncontrolled spending.

Issa was a key figure behind the firing of former U.S. Attorney for San Diego Carol Lam for political reasons, yet he demands an investigation into the Obama administration’s dismissal of AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin, insisting it was for political reasons and citing a lack of transparency. As if the Bush administration’s firing of eight U.S. Attorneys was completely above-board and beyond reproach.

Darrell Issa is a very wealthy man who seems to have forgotten that not everybody in his district is so fortunate. And his thirst for power and attention has become a national embarrassment. He has been dishonest and disingenuous as a representative of the 49th district. He has worked tirelessly to advance the Republican agenda, yet has done precious little to make government work better for the voters who hired him. He has been an excellent political provocateur, but an abysmal legislator and representative of the people of the San Diego County.

San Diego deserves better. Mr. Issa was sent to Washington to work for the people of San Diego, not the Republican Party. Congress is being crippled by partisan sniping at its worst, and Congressman Issa is among the worst culprits. With unemployment in the county hovering around 11%, it would behoove Mr. Issa to get to work on behalf of his constituents instead of ministering over his Joseph McCarthy revival and his march to legitimize every last conspiracy theory whispered into his ear.

Posted June 3, 2010

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

JMW June 29, 2010 at 11:56 am

Didn’t Issa make a bunch of money selling car alarms? Fear for profit has been his style for a while, unless I’m mistaken.


Kenloc June 29, 2010 at 3:07 pm

actually he did.He invented the “talking car alarm”.It’s his voice that says”Step away from the vehicle” on those alarms.


Frank Gormlie June 29, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Yup, you’re correct there Mr JMW.


annagrace June 29, 2010 at 1:32 pm

“With unemployment hovering around 11% in the county,” it bears repeating that Issa recently voted against extending unemployment benefits. Nice.

Thanks Andy.


Andy Cohen June 29, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Just FYI (since I neglected to provide the link in the post, an oversight I’ll have to correct), I got my info from the San Diego Workforce Partnership at the link below:

They have unemployment in San Diego at 10.4% in April, down from 11% in March. California’s numbers are at 12.3% and 13%, respectively.

Just thought you might want to know.


john July 6, 2010 at 7:58 pm

extending unemployment benefits does not create jobs. you could argue with merit it seems coldhearted to not extend benefits, but many would counter the longer you stay unemployed the less attractive you look to prospective employers.
I think the best point made here (and much shorter than my essays) was by Jeff alluding to the partisanship on both sides bringing our system down. failure to recognize partisanship by one’s own party is the epitomy of partisanship itself.
you have to understand the greedy ****ers running the show engineer this distraction in to keep us busy. not many people are a stereotype of L or R, D or R. too often people form caricatures of the opposition to throw their weight at and it only divides. we still have human faults, needs and strengths in common. like those losing their benefits, as I myself experience financial hardship I find the resources available for food and clothing are largely faith based, people volunteering in churches, yet see too often the left portraying anyone of faith(I’m agnostic)as cold hearted conservatives.


annagrace July 6, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Right John. Extending unemployment does not create jobs. That is not the intent of unemployment. It does however provide a necessary safety net for people who have lost their jobs.

Congress’s inability or unwillingness to extend unemployment benefits means that people won’t be able to pay their rent or mortgages, just for starters. Ditto for utility bills. Food. Transportation. Health care. Unemployment benefits go directly back into the economy because of those very expenses that have to be met.

Legislators who voted against extending this benefit – this includes Issa- are not only heartless but lacking any grasp of basic economics.


john July 7, 2010 at 1:07 am

By the above logic the government could merely spend its way to national prosperity with nobody contributing to the overall output.
If what you’re saying is letting people end up on the street isn’t helping the economy, that seems on the surface to make good sense. However saying Issa doesn’t understand basic economics for not extending unemployment is not really a credible criticism as he is well known to have built a very successful business practically from scratch. Chances are you’ve driven a car with a security system or parts of it made from DEI products, as not only did he build them up to be the largest aftermarket supplier, they were for a time the largest OEM supplier including mfrs like GM. They also employed alot of people at their Vista facility, I once visited it when my friend worked there.
Hey unemployment is a funny thing, you pay into it so many people feel it’s their right to milk it for what it’s worth. If you make it 6 months, they’ll take it, if it’s 12, they’ll take that too. What congress might be doing could be called tough love, disgree if you like philosophically but there is sense to it from some angles.


Andy Cohen July 6, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Actually, according to economists, unemployment benefits are THE MOST STIMULATIVE thing that governments can do to salvage its economy.

Think of it this way: If you don’t pay unemployment benefits, then people don’t have any money to even buy staples. If no one’s spending money, then the economy gets hit even harder. If the economy gets hit harder, then more employers will have to lay off more workers, and the economy starts to retract again. When there is no demand, then there’s no reason to supply.

Also consider this: There are five workers for every job that’s available right now. Unless you’re Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle, that means there simply aren’t enough jobs to go around, which means that many of the unemployed aren’t going to find a job any time soon. There just aren’t any out there. By not paying unemployment, you only make matters worse.

Take a look at the history books and you’ll notice that during the Great Depression, in 1938 and 1939 when the Roosevelt Administration stopped many of the New Deal programs they had instituted, unemployment shot back up. They started their programs up again, and unemployment started to go down again.

The key is to not make things worse. Discontinuing unemployment makes things worse. It’s going to take time for employers to start to ramp up again, and we need to make sure that we’re not doing anything to disrupt that process.


annagrace July 6, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Exactly Andy.


john July 6, 2010 at 10:58 pm

“Actually, according to economists, unemployment benefits are THE MOST STIMULATIVE thing that governments can do to salvage its economy. ”

If you can substantiate that claim with a link to a single notable economist saying that I’ll eat my hat, to mimic an old saying.

If anything if the government wanted to use its revenues to stimulate the economy, it doesn’t pay people to extend the time spent between jobs, it does as it did when FDR was President- creates monumental public works projects of infrastructure with lasting value and benefit for generations to come. Such as the Hoover dam.

They aren’t discontinuing unemployment, they are not extending it.


Andy Cohen July 7, 2010 at 12:03 am

Is Nobel Prize winning economist and Princeton professor Paul Krugman credible enough for you?


Andy Cohen July 7, 2010 at 12:14 am
john July 7, 2010 at 2:25 am

Well to your credit you did try to source that so I did read the whole piece and even went a little farther and researched what people were saying about it. It all leaves several points:

1. Krugman doesn’t come out and say it’s the MOST stimulative thing. Or what you said. He does try to imply it’s more stimulative than infrastructure building because it’s immediate, which would be true if this all just happened recently or if we saw the end of the tunnel in all this coming but that’s not the case here at all. So essentially he’s full of poop and it’s not me saying that, people all over the web are wondering what he’s been smoking.

2. I’m not because I see his motivation which is funny because we’re not really discussing the economy here but partisan toolery harming us all and that is what motivated his piece-attacking Republicans. And he’s wrong there as well, because…

3. This Wall Street Journal story back in November 2009:

Shows that Congress, including Republicans, already extended unemployment benefits back in November to their longest in American history!
The latest extension of unemployment benefits couldn’t come at a better time, it seems; President Barack Obama signed legislation into law Friday providing an additional 14 to 20 weeks of benefits for those who have already exhausted theirs or will do so by year-end.
The extension comes on the same day the Labor Department announced the U.S. unemployment rate hit 10.2% in October, crossing into double-digits for the first time in 26 years as the nation’s jobless swelled to 15.7 million.
The bill, passed earlier this week by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, extends federal jobless benefits by 14 weeks for Americans in all 50 states who face exhaustion before year-end, and by 20 weeks for those living in states where the unemployment rate is 8.5% or higher.
The additional 20 weeks in hard-hit states means the maximum a person in one of those states could receive is now up to 99 weeks, or nearly two years — the most in history.
More than a third of the nation’s unemployed — 35.6% — have been out of work long-term, defined by the Labor Department as a period of 27 weeks or more — the highest proportion since World War II. As illustrated in the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, that is raising much concern among policymakers.
“The probability that a laid-off worker will find a job grows smaller the longer people have been out of work, according to studies in the 1980s by economists Lawrence Katz of Harvard University and Bruce Meyer of the University of Chicago. […] Mr. Katz, Mr. Meyer and other researchers also have found that wages the laid-off can expect when they do find a new job also tend to be lower the longer they were without work.”
To pay for the additional benefits, Congress will extend a payroll tax on employers that had been set to expire at the end of the year.
So this perception he’s portraying of nasty Republicans denying the unemployed food from the table is just plain BS. Both parties already extended benefits to unheard of lengths and that destroys Krugman’s argument this is something that’s a necessary stimulus as well- did that improve the economy between November until now? No.

4. the Nobel prize has been forever tarnished since a certain Vice President accepted an award for a movie he promoted by private jet, reputedly accompanied by secret service agents flying in a c-130 with Cadillac Escalades, while his mansion in Tennessee had its pool heated year round even when he wasn’t there, telling us we needed to conserve energy. Which he directly made $35 million off of because he owned stock in the company that makes the software for smart meters.
This is highly relevant for two reasons- his direct involvement in the campaign finance scandals during the Clinton years. Nothing has hurt our economy as much as China’s wholesale theft of our patents and manufacturing know how and copyrighted material. Clinton and Gore accepted campaign contributions from Chinese nationals and US corporate pigs to alter policies that facilitated this. I can reference all of that if it’s a secret to you and I bet it is. Google Chinagate or Loral/Bernard Schwartz DNC for a start.
Secondly Gore’s encouragement for all Americans to feel guilty every time they so much as start their car to go somewhere or light the oven to cook has greatly contributed to stagnating our economy.
Yeah that sounds like partisan ranting but it’s factual based and you can’t say Nobel without thinking about Gore. And laughing- or crying. Policies he was part of or helped encourage like Kyoto (even without our ratification only caused US companies to flock to non annex one nations with investments, taking US jobs with them) have earned Gore top billing in a who’s who of American economy doomsters.

But again the hat tasted okay even though it was just a nibble.


Andy Cohen July 7, 2010 at 10:33 am


Watch the Colbert piece. It’s pretty self explanatory.

At any rate, what I’m reading from you is a bunch of whining, but you offer no solutions. There is a bill in the Senate right now that seeks to further extend unemployment benefits, but it’s Republicans that are blocking it. So what would be your alternative? Just tell these people to get a job? To starve?

What about “One job for every five workers” is it so difficult to comprehend?

Whine all you want about Big Bad Al Gore and the Clinton Corruption machine–after all, it’s a favorite Republican pastime. But while Dems are searching for ways to keep the economy from falling off a cliff (with the exception of Ben Nelson), it’s Republicans who are playing petty politics and throwing up roadblocks in the recovery efforts. At least the Dems are TRYING to do SOMETHING! Repubs have offered absolutely NOTHING.

Again, watch the Colbert piece. Krugman lays it out pretty plainly so even a kindergartner can understand.


john July 7, 2010 at 8:09 pm

The “whining” comment frankly wasn’t called for, and I thought by your effort to (successfully) source your claim you were above the trite commentary level.
No I don’t have the solution, I’d be writing at the WSJ instead of pounding the keys for a hobby if I did.
I do know the solution is not to keep extending unemployment forever as if the federal budget is a bottomless pit. That should be obvious to anyone who’s ever balanced a checkbook.
In the end you’re letting partisanship blind you to my point:
There’s nothing anyone can do to “get the economy going”. We’d need to start producing something the world wants for that to happen, but the industrial explosion of China in the 90’s that everyone in America had a part in- Clinton implementing the same policies Bush Sr. would have had he won in ’92, the American corporations who sold their brick and mortar manufacturing assets for a quick profit (which is why the budget was balanced for a short time by 2000) who we could say were Republican oriented, and the desire of you and I for cheap DVD players and the like, caused intellectual properties we can’t get back to create an industrial machine we cannot compete with. They don’t recognize patents so working harder or smarter ain’t gonna do it.
On top of the fact the dollar is a fiat currency propped up by OPEC oil since 1973, we are falling hard and deep below all the prosperity we used to know.
Obfuscating all this with partisan blame about Republicans blocking the Great White Nope from saving us all is counterproductive. Notice I also haven’t blamed Obama for anything. He hasn’t done anything to blame him for, anyway I voted for him. He’s the same old same old, but as he’s pouring your flavor of koolaid you’re drinking it fast as you can which makes this all the more dangerous.
If it was McCain you’d be critical.
Look at criticisms from the opposition against him, weed out the dumb stuff but be glad they’re watching.


Dave Rice (a.k.a. psd/anonymouscoward) June 29, 2010 at 1:59 pm

You’ve got a real nice, easy-to-read style, Andy! Thanks for the entertaining (yet disturbing) tidbits on the congressional voice of North County. I, for one, usually don’t pay much attention to anything coming out of the region except craft beer…


Jeff June 29, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Obama is just like every other president in the last 30 years. Full of himself and policies that will never be passed. Issa isn’t doing any better. Get em both out.


annagrace June 29, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Really???? Comparing Issa and Obama? Not going for that one Jeff….


Jeff June 30, 2010 at 3:27 pm

All modern politics has become is a mud-slinging spectacle. All parties are guilty. If people would just solve issues instead of fighting then we wouldn’t have to compare Obama to Issa.

Get rid of party lines and bring up the independents.


Frank Gormlie June 30, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Join the Coffee Party, Jeff.


Jeff July 1, 2010 at 3:46 pm

sure…that is a new one to me.


Sunshine June 30, 2010 at 9:05 am

What bothers me most about this is the collective of individuals that voted him into office. I bet they’re still out there ready to vote for him again to keep his schmarmie dealings going.

Thank you for presenting his record in a straightforward and factual manner for all to see.

Although I don’t live in North County, I’m glad those that do will now see what this guys all about. If this is what the majority of North Countiers want, I imagine he’ll be reelected. In light of his recorded dealings, seriously doubt that this is what the majority sent him to Washington, D.C. for.


Jeeni Criscenzo July 4, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I campaigned for 18 months while living in North County to oust Issa in 2006 election – I could only muster a third of the vote. It’s a tough crowd up there – very military and too much blind nationalism (My country is always the ‘good guy’ and any war Bush wants is fine!). Maybe with the economy in a dive, folks will be more willing to listen to reason. Howard Katz ) is running against Issa this time – but Issa’s got more money than God!


john July 6, 2010 at 7:38 pm

I have some mostly good things to contribute about Issa and the issues raised here, and possibly one bad thing. .
First off I know two people who know him or of him personally before he took office, one worked for Darrell’s old high school Principal for years, and he repeatedly discussed with me how Darrell was perceived to be a young man of hard work and ethics, and reputedly when he made something of himself in business, returned and bought the Principal a new car in appreciation of his influence in his character.
The other person was in a high management and technical position in Darrell’s auto products company, DEI, that Darrrell essentially built from the ground up and sold to finance his initial bid for congressional office- that’s remarkable in its own right as he largely financed that himself with his own assets, not contributions from others who would ask for favors later. You can decry him for being a wealthy man yet it’s largely self made and that’s not something to be ashamed of. Anyway my friend who worked for him always said he was a no BS boss who had a lot of integrity in a business that had a lot of fly by nighters come and go, stalwartly defending him.
He acquired US car audio companies like a/d/s and Precision Power Industries as they were going under in the era of onslaught by cheap Asian products, and honored the warranties for existing product already in the hands of customers, that is unusually generous.
It is relevant to that I will add this is a criticism I have of Issa, his company’s purchase of american companies with domestic product and subsequent transfer of sourcuing to chinese manufacturing is indicative of the selloff of US manufacturing jobs that led to america’s current financial state- though perhaps you could say he didn’t pioneer the practice, but joined in the fray. All in the eye of the beholder I guess.
Which leads me to the final point of contention.
Valerie Plame, and her husband Joe Wilson, are the sorriest opportunist lying pieces of you know what to have disgraced our nation on the international stage in decades, and anyone who doesn’t understand exactly why is either oblivious to the facts or far more partisan than they could ever accuse Issa of being. If they’d choose to argue against this I am more than happy to provide a cheerful education or relentless owning on the matter, whichever the choice is. As I did the good folks at wikipedia as seen here:
the posts under batvette cover the relevant issues, summarized here:
had Ms Plame not intervened and “offered up (her husband’s name) to her superiors” as the Senate inquiry found with physical evidence and testimony to be the case, to be sent on a mission nobody in the CIA wanted to go on, it is absurd to think they would have thought to contact an outside agency and send a man with no security clearance and no training on how to file reports with a clear answer, on that trip.
A CIA agent, had he been sent as Cheney expected, could never have written a “kiss and tell” article as Wilson did- thus raising the question of why a State Dept employee was sent on a job they asked the CIA to do was perfectly valid and hardly “leaking her identity” out of revenge. As Wilson’s trip never gave a conclusive answer, yet he claimed he knew Cheney had received one, Wilson was the liar in the matter and his wife further lied to obscure her role in it.
The media knew all this and tried to keep a non scandal alive simply to sell newspapers. Look at this:
Amazingly the best kept secret of the whole “scandal” was the media’s Amici Curaie for Judith Miller where their lawyers, probably the best in the country, laid out the grounds for Plame’s non covert status and revealed the CIA was crying about to cover the real ****-up:
They botched the assignment and didn’t give Cheney a clear answer on the yellowcake.
If you don’t believe all that and assert Wilson was a “truth teller” ask yourself why he remained silent after hearing Bush’s SOTU “16 words” and didn’t go public until AFTER the invasion? He did public interviews including TV spots on PBS in that time gap agreeing Saddam had WMD!
So in closing Issa is a partisan, okay. Pot, kettle, blah blah blah. I just want to know who tells the truth. The truth is Obama’s not the great hope we thought he was and is another Trilateral commisssion puppet for the elite, of which Issa is probably a minor puppet or even member. His partisanship is part of their smokescreen to divide us so they can enslave us. I will be happy to discuss any point raised above and invite the education of being proven wrong.


Frank Gormlie July 7, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Jimminy crickets John! Give it a rest. Your partisan rants on old, settled matters are not worthy of your time, bro. You accuse others of being partisan and then you release a spittle-filled charge on Valerie Plame and her hubby Wilson. And then you cite a wikipekia forum as your proof, a forum that you were involved in. Why? Are you still debating whether there were WMDs in Iraq? You can’t be – please tell me you’re not.


john July 7, 2010 at 8:53 pm

First let’s get this straight, it’s not me who is making the original accusation about partisanship, I am responding to accusations about partisanship expressed within.
If it’s an “old, settled matter” then why hasn’t the author been able to get his facts straight on the matter in those 6 years since the Bipartisan Senate inquiry into the use of Intelligence in the Iraq War released its report, which made firm conclusions, signed off by Democrats on the panel, which are reflected in my above statements?
If he’s bringing it up, and he’s just plain wrong, why are you criticizing me as if I’m introducing stale issues? Sounds to me like you’re willing to discuss issues that support your agenda and if someone offers an opposing view, that could lead to more truthful viewpoints, it’s off the table. You’ve probably formed this image of me being a Republican Conservative but that is laughable. I voted for Obama and on most every domestic issue my views follow the Democrat platform. I’m just less left than you and others here but I like to look deep into facts on certain issues and enjoy arguing against obvious errors, and after 9/11 started looking at our foreign policies and if truth was my agenda it became obvious I’d have to support the administration’s policies.
The worst of all this IMO Frank is by feeding the media effort to discredit a perfectly legal and necessary war the Democrats in Washington had an equal hand in initiating, your distraction allowed the criminals Bush and Cheney to make the biggest constitutional transgressions in American history, which will be impossible to reverse. Just as Republicans did by making the big issue Clinton banging Monica instead of focusing on him taking campaign contributions to alter commerce policies toward China. These views display decidedly nonpartisan fact baring.
Finally you really don’t want to argue with me about Plame and Wilson, and my linking to the Wiki talk page merely demonstrated my arguments are sound and well sourced. And that I don’t fall for a cheap debate tactic like trying to shift the issue to proving WMD existed in Iraq. The point raised was the truth of statements made by Valerie Plame about her role in her husband’s selection on the Niger mission, and she has made every attempt to obscure the truth there- as has hubby Joe. It’s a hotbutton issue I am well studied on as it’s indicative of how some people used our foreign policy, endangering US soldiers in foreign lands, for political capital. You feel strongly about the homeless and many are Vietnam vets- you think they’d have as many problems if they’d have not been told it was a mistake? Been treated as heroes like WW2 vets? Well Iraq vets deserve better. Maybe you should consider I am of the same mind as you and we’d get along great as neighbors but I approach an issue with a different perspective.
BTW, an issue that interests me is that Mission Bay Landfill mess. I still have the 2000 Reader article burned in my memory and noticed from a 2002 CityBeat article this was something you were active on.
What became of Donna Frye’s efforts to get to the bottom of that? Was the city’s report as fraudulent as the ’80’s report? Are they just leaving it because it’s worse to disturb the drums? Aren’t they rusted anyway?
Maybe we should invite the mayor and his predecessors (Pete Wilson the worst) to a polar bear club swim on New Years at the boat ramp? The stockholders of Teledyne Ryan, Solar, Rohr, too? LOL.


Frank Gormlie July 8, 2010 at 8:59 am

John, sometimes I just forget the intensity that you feel for these issues. … On the issue of the old dump next to SeaWorld I was intricately involved and I would love discussing it with you over coffee someday. Could we do that?


john July 10, 2010 at 1:27 am

Sure. That whole thing makes me sick, and I can imagine why it’s out of the public eye. Catch 22.


Molly July 7, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Issa is a danger to American democracy. His lies and deception are enough to make that judgment. So what that he was a successful capitalist and parlayed his millions into being in Congress. Another millionaire has bought himself a seat. Big deal.

On another note, no one it seems wants to weed through all this material that you leave to argue minor points over Bush’s fraudulent administration. I don’t have time to debate these points that have been accepted. Time to move on I think and get over what most of us have been saying for NINE years.

Okay, so Obama is not the grand magician we would have liked him to be. Okay, you mentioned the Trilateral Commission. Is World Government and black helicopters next?


john July 7, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Molly, thanks for the laugh.
Ripping Issa for his capitalist millionaire identity while portraying me as a conspiracy theorist to distract from my point that Obama is a stooge placed in office by capitalist billionaires.
There is a list called “top 25 censored news stories” published every year that details important issues virtually ignored by the mainstream media.
On the list in 1977 was “Jimmy Carter’s Trilateral Commission White House”
On the list in 2o10 was “Obama’s Trilateral Commission White House”
The Trilateral Commission was formed by David Rockefeller in the early 70’s under the auspices of fostering relations between Japan, the US, and Europe, for economic benefit, when his Council on Foreign Relations think tank was garnering much bad publicity he wanted to avoid.
The first head of Trilateral was Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Polish born immigrant who selected James Earl Carter to propel into the White House. Soon after Carter chose Brzezinski to be his National Security Advisor, and filled almost all the top posts in his administration with Trilateral members who’d all been hand picked for membership by Rockefeller.
this essay by a man named Noam Chomsky (maybe you’ve heard of him?) excerpted from a book he wrote on it, tells that and more:
Brzezinski was a close advisor in Obama’s campaign. Obama filled his White House with Trilateral commission members. The elite pawns who do the bidding of David Rockefeller and his group of international bankers.
and here is a piece from a scholar who is decidedly Marxist, which appears on a well known leftist site, which gives some background on Trilateral’s “parent” group, the Council on Foreign Relations: (concerning the sham that was the 2004 election)
The author of that piece wrote an expose on CFR in the late ’70’s that CFR acknowledges on its website to be “the most important critical piece written on the history of CFR”. (can provide a link on request, or google “cfr history further reading)
That’s a fact. Not a conspiracy theory. Our democracy is an illusion, which is perpetuated by partisan bickering they use to distract us from this. You get to vote, but for who they allow to appear on a ballot that will not change the status quo. The most misleading aspect is those who call it “New World Order” so people can laugh at it and marginalize truth tellers as conspiracy theorists. As you just attempted.
Nothing new about this at all. I bring you facts, absorb or discard as you choose.


Andy Cohen July 7, 2010 at 12:35 pm
Frank Gormlie July 7, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Thanks Andy, which pretty fairly supports your “partisan” post on him.


john July 7, 2010 at 9:53 pm

but where’s the bombshell, guys? it concludes with this:

“Mr. Issa says he is committed to investigating all manner of abuses, whether perpetrated by the public or private sectors.

“You can call me a pain,” Mr. Issa said. “I’ll accept that as a compliment.”

After failing to describe a single meaningful policy proposed by Obama that Issa attempted to obstruct. It merely attempts to portray him as a party hit man for Republicans, but again doesn’t introduce anything wrong that he’s done in the process. If anything it sounds like, well, whining on the part of his opposition that he seems to have captured the media’s attention. That he’s good at it.

I think it’s funny that the argument seems to fall on worries that one congressman from California could be capable of restraining Obama from running the country- which is pretty funny since the argument 6 years ago was that a hick from texas with a double digit IQ and a year and a half in Washington, had been able to subvert the constitutional duties of the entire congress and senate and led them by the nose to do his bidding as they voted to go to war.
Maybe it’s no coincidence the Times article mentions Gray Davis, the wimpiest state leader in history? The guy who flew into town at six oclock in the evening the second day the town was burning from end to end to give a press conference relating his excuses why he failed to demand federal aerial firefighting support for us?
Does anyone remember what the Govinator did in the same situation? I do.

BTW Andy even though I’ve been a pain in your ass on this piece and we obviously disagree on a lot of things, this was still a well composed, intelligently presented piece with credible sourcing on all points. Maybe why I thought it was worth poking at? :-)


Andy Cohen July 7, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Looks like somebody needs a hug………


Andy Cohen July 9, 2010 at 12:07 pm

More on Darrell Issa from SD Citybeat Mag:

A problem with credibility indeed…….


john July 10, 2010 at 1:19 am

I think the Goldman Sachs thing bears a deeper look for sure. That kind of thing bothers me, if there is something to that I’d change my tune on Issa in a heartbeat. I don’t know why he spent so much of the column on the real estate deal when he could only conclude it amounted to nothing as no connections could be made.


Dave Maass July 10, 2010 at 8:52 am

John, I made no such conclusion. What I said was “so far.” We don’t have a staffer in DC, but we are digging into this one as best we can.

In the end, a bank is accused of improperly going out of its way to cut a Congressman a $3 million deal. Whatever transpired behind the scenes and might not leave an online paper trail. The circumstances behind the deal will come out during trial, if it goes to trial.

Don’t for a second think that we’ve concluded he’s clean on this one. Email me at if you’re interested in hearing some of the other possibilities we’re investigating.


john July 10, 2010 at 9:39 am

“In the end, a bank is accused of improperly going out of its way to cut a Congressman a $3 million deal. ”

Well that’s one way of looking at it, another could be someone asking $11 million for a piece of commercial real estate with little or no tenants in a very depressed market took $3 million less than the asking price for a customer with cash.

Reading the piece again I’d say a conflict of interest could start with his wife and son being involved in the company responsible for leasing and management prior to the sale, was that a coincidence and/or what’s Darrell’s intentions with the property? Could she/he have possibly provided obstacles in leasing the building out to prospective clients, devaluing it to fire sale status that Issa took advantage of? If this isn’t the case and their involvement was simply tipping off daddy/hubby to a property that they knew he could leverage on the cheap with cash, as a good investment, is it so benign if he buys it with the intent of leasing space out as opposed to moving DEI operations in? (not likely? didn’t DEI purpose build its own facility less than 10 years ago?) I don’t see the Carlsbad property being a great real estate investment from a leasing POV though maybe a “wait and see” could be revealing if wifey’s blackberry so to speak has a lot of prospective leaseholders she’s been stalling.
Of course this is all typical RE muck. Whether it’s significant probably may hinge on what the actual value of the property is, is it really $11-12mil, or is that what the initial developer pumped it up to be as he was building it and overestimated North County’s commercial properties market.
Will watch CB for the update. I don’t miss an issue, you can’t beat the price. :-)


Andy Cohen July 13, 2010 at 1:51 pm


The controversy comes from the fact that the selling bank turned down a valid offer of $11.5 million on the property, instead selling it to Issa and Co. for only $8.5 million. On the surface, that looks rather shady and deserves some looking into.

Now, it may turn out to be perfectly legit, as pointed out by Dave in the article: It may be a simple case of the $11.5 million being contingent on the buyer being able to cobble together the money through loans, partnerships, etc., and it may have taken some time, whereas Issa could offer $8.5 million in a quick, easy cash transaction. If the seller was in desperate straights, then the quick cash transaction might have been more appealing despite the lower bid.

It looks like the Ventura County bank has a legitimate gripe, but we’ll just have to wait for the lawsuit to play out to be sure. If the plaintiff is successful in the suit, it will not look good for the “honest” Darrell Issa. After all, this is the kind of shenanigans that got Duke Cunningham sent to jail.


john July 13, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Thanks for the clarification on that, though I might add that from a voting public/constituants point of view one of the possible avenues to explore, if that becomes the destination, would make the alleged wrongdoing quite different from Cunningham’s shameful actions:
It could be that if he did get an inside deal that was based improprieties on anyone’s part- and that anyone was either/or his wife or son through their position in the leasing company and not Darryl’s congressional influence being bartered to the bank for a discount, it’s hard to put that in the classification of Duke’s activities.
It’s one thing for a person to steal fron a private party outside the job he’s elected to do. It’s a lot worse when he uses that job to collect bribes in exchange for influence in awarding contracts paid for by the people who elected him. While those of us with high ethical standards might see them in the same light and don’t want any kind of thief in office, our political system’s history shows countless examples of corrupt politicians being reelected time and time again by constituants who don’t care if he steals, just not from them- and might elect him just because he’s great at stealing FOR them- i.e; making shrewd deals that bring more federal contract money toward THEIR district.
Note I’m not backpedalling from my “I think Darryl’s a great guy” position just pointing out that especially in politics,”thief not same as thief thief”. (takeoff on old Japanese proverb)


john July 11, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Just a note to follow up that I felt compelled to bore Dave with a War and Peace length accounting of some events I had experienced with one of Darryl’s top management people at DEI (alluded to in short form above) this morning. While I could never expect any of it to alter the politics of the situation, if Dave is gracious enough to peruse it I’m sure he’d agree that from my angle at least, there is basis to my own opinions about Issa albeit from a viewpoint of personal experience witnessing the conduct of his company and managent representing Issa at the time.
As we approach these possibly valid issues Dave is raising it really only means we’d differ that obvious truths will be recognized by him or I with equal objectivity but where he’d lean toward a suspicious eye (as he should as a reporter) in a matter of contention, I might be likely to give benefit of doubt.
For benefit of Frank’s publication, I’ll relate a summarizing point I made to Dave:
My knowledge of Issa’s credibility is in the number of ways I’d seen DEI’s (and thus Issa’s) admirably honest corporate philosophy spill over into the car audio industry at a time when skull duggery in contests judged by manufacturers and their dealers was rampant, and knew one of the top management people whose integrity was really impeccable. I don’t know what Issa’s up to in Washington nor could I speak about recent real estate deals. However if Frank were to write an article on the Black’s owner running for office in a local election in a few years, his experience now and criticism for the business practices he’s intimately witnessed would certainly have a relevant place at the table of discussion.

(it’s a whole ‘nother issue but strangely related, I was in VF-21 at Miramar and on the USS Coral Sea from ’79-83, when Randy Cunningham was our sister squadron’s (VF-154) ops officer, I saw him on a near daily basis for quite a while and as he did many junior enlisted, unusual for officers, he regularly conversed with me when he saw me wrenching on a plane in the hangars, asking us about food, berthing conditions, showed true concern for us. If you ever asked me I would describe him as the most stand up and affable officer I’d met in the 4 years I was in)

I once speculated to a friend how far the mighty could fall. Duke left the Navy about when I did, with no desire to run the gauntlet of politics involved with navigating the flag ranks. My friend speculated it wasn’t likely Duke changed that much but instead tried to play the game of Washington politics with the big boys and when he dabbled in graft and corruption and the subsequent coverup/divert game with the media, he simply was not experienced enough in the dishonesty to cover his ass properly and the vultures, (his GOP colleagues, though not at all implying the subject of this thread) ) all distanced themselves from the weak, even offering him up as a sacrificial lamb. As he blubbered like a baby when he got to prison you would not hear a glowing testimonial from me about his integrity. Man up, commander, take your licks. I’d hold a thimble of sympathy for the way his wife dumped him as he was convicted though. That was cold!


no_more_yesterdays July 14, 2010 at 12:43 am

My name’s Scott and I’m unemployed.
So here I was, just minding my own business, providing for my family and just living the dream.
For 15 years I’d been running staffing agency territories and training the recruiters.
Things were great. In 2006 my wife and I sold the house we’d owned for 12 years, put a $250k down payment on a bigger place.
One day I’m checking my 401k online and almost 1/2 was gone!
What the heck!?
A little bit later, there’s a foreclosure across the street. Same floor plan as ours – ends up selling for $100k less than what our 1st mortgage is. Doggone it!
I hear about judicial loan modification (cram down), congress it going to help straighten things out I hear.
I learn that I used to be that way until congress changed it in 2005….. hmmmmmm
Well, cram down doesn’t pass, and I make a point of seeing which congressman / senators voted against it.
Playing the lost docs game with chase mortgage on a mortgage modification. (Still trying 18 months later)
As unemployment rises and , I reduce expenses, but in the end I get laid off.
Re career at 50 – whoohoo!
I hammer the marketplace, trying to get work, but the recruiting agencies aren’t expanding yet.
Shocked when congress goes home for the Memorial Day weekend without extending unemployment benefits. But oh well, they’ll get it right when they come back……
July 4th rolls around. Still trying to get a job.
I’m hearing comments from republican congressman/senators that as one of the unemployed, I’m lazy, spoiled, spending my money on drugs, should take a lower paying job, and am just milking the system.
House passes unemployment extension in the final hours, but senate has already left for the 4th of July holiday….. Hundreds of thousands of Americans suffering in the worst economy and they go celebrate 4th of July?
What the heck?
I read that republicans block the extensions because it’ll add to the deficit. Been hearing a lot of republicans screaming about the deficit, so I go to treasurydirect. gov to see what it was when our President took office. Almost 11 trillion. Currently at 13 trillion. I get curious, what was it when president bush took office? – I look it up on – almost 6 trillion.
Wait just 1 cotton pickin’ second, something’s not right here….
I go to website and see that our congressman, republican Darrell Issa voted against :
– Modifying mortgages in bankruptcy – extending unemployment – all of the stimulus funds to get economy going – regulating the subprime mortgage industry
Ok, I’m pretty angry now.
I read his voting record further. I get angrier.
I vote for the democratic candidate in the primary – Howard Katz.
I begin reading more on Darrell Issa and I find out he’s the richest man in congress and read lots of articles surrounding a “less than ethical” background.
my one vote isn’t going to be enough I figure, so I wrote to the democratic candidate Howard Katz, told him our current congressman’s voting record does not reflect the best interests of my family and could I volunteer to help his campaign. Never done anything like this before, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to tossed around like a ragdoll and then have my character insulted.
I begin to take things personal.
I am starting to see how the political game is being played for power and millions of Americans are the chess pieces.
I don’t know if we’ll unseat Darrell Issa.
With a lot of help, luck, and good winds, we’ll replace him with someone whose positions and values reflect the needs of our new current reality.
Things have changed, for me, and millions of others.
I’m not afraid of our future.
I’m not nervous about our future.
I’m angry.
And I’m going to do whatever I can to send that message.
Please visit our candidate’s site.
If you can donate anything -we have to pay the rent, buy signs, buttons, we have to advertise,etc.
it’s an all volunteer staff.
I hope you’ll do what you can to send a message to congress this November.
They’re not watching out for us.
1 vote isn’t enough
And by the way,
“I stand with the President of the United States”
Always have before, always will.
Even the republican ones.
That’s my President


john July 14, 2010 at 11:16 pm

“In 2006 my wife and I sold the house we’d owned for 12 years, put a $250k down payment on a bigger place.”

Did Darryll Issa tell you to live far above your means like that, speculating that the housing bubble would continue forever? In 2006 all the warning signs were there for anyone who hadn’t already been stung by an ever souring economy.
My pockets have been empty since around 2001, which was about the time our service economy was shoved off the top of the world trade center. You’re blaming someone else for not being able to tinker with a mortgage to keep you in a house you shouldn’t have bought in the first place.

“- Modifying mortgages in bankruptcy – extending unemployment – all of the stimulus funds to get economy going – regulating the subprime mortgage industry”

You realize when a congressman votes, he has more people to serve than just you?
Tell you what, your story sounds sad to you, when I see you in line out in front of the church on Sunset Cliffs at 9am on M,W and F to hopefully get a couple of loaves of stale bread I’ll share your tears.
But on this “stimulus funds to get the economy going”. As I recall most of Obama’s “Stimulus” was financing more government projects and federal hiring- as well as the random corporate/bank bailout.
Join the club, get in the back of the line- it’s a whole new dark future we’re looking at, but if you’re pitching that we should join you in supporting Howard Katz because he’s going to modify your mortgage so you can stay in your suburban pseudo-mansion, and extend your unemployment while you live in the detached reality of thinking personnel staffing recruiting is an expanding career field…
You gotta do better!
BTW interesting bio on Katz…. globe trotting traveler and has three horses and a ranch in temecula. Sounds like real salt of the earth working man stuff.
So what’s he going to do different from anyone else?


no_more_yesterdays July 15, 2010 at 12:29 am

Evening John,

just got back from the campaign staff meeting and so your reply.

first, i’d like to say i hope things get better for you soon.

my letter was meant to share my particular story. Each of us has suffered our own pains during these times. I’m aware that many have experienced setbacks even worse than mine. I definitely didn’t intend to evoke the “poor me” sentiment.
i only wanted to share my frustration and anger with the current system.
i am sincere when i say i hope things get better for you soon.

i would like to clarify a point or two that i had made in my original letter.
in 2005 congress changed the bankruptcy laws to prohibit judicial modification on mortgages secured by primary residences only. second homes, rental properties, vacation homes, rv’s, boats can still be modified during a chapter 13 bankruptcy.
given the extraordinary situation this country finds itself in with millions of homeowners underwater and facing foreclosure, judicial mortgage modification cost taxpayers nothing, and offers a substantial motivation to the national banks to modify the millions of mortgages sitting in limbo while banks have no current motivation to address the situation. i could go on, but i think you’ve probably seen my point of view. naturally the banks lobbied heavily to change the laws in 2005 and then again to prevent it from being corrected.

on the government stimulus subject, i spent a fair amount of time on the website earlier this evening gathering data about funds coming into our district. one of the campaign activities that i’m trying to put together is a job fair. we’re planning on gathering as many employers as possible, especially those that rec’d federal funds. i intend on calling in some favors to setup a panel of professional recruiters to assist with resume prep/assistance for jobseekers.
everything is just in the initial planning stage as i began volunteering on monday.

john, we’ll be at the oceanside sunset market this thursday evening if you’d like to swing by and learn more about howard and what we’re trying to accomplish. we’d love to see you there.

best wishes,



john July 15, 2010 at 7:07 am

Well it sounds like Howard’s given you spirit and motivation, or should I say “hope” for a brighter future with the promise he’s going to “change” all the ills that his predecessor helped inflict. I don’t want to take the wind out of your sails there.
However it does seem that we’ve heard that before from candidates that failed to deliver and often ended up worse than the last guy. The recurring theme being people like yourself putting all their energy into promoting their guy will be the one that’s different, that’ll turn everything around, and fix everything the last guy did whose promotors were also convinced he was going to be different than the last. (read: Obama hasn’t really done a damn thing different from Bush, we’re still in Afghanistan and Iraq, he still doled out funds to corporations, etc, he just does it in ways that sound better to his supporters)
I think 98% of them are cut from the same cloth, each just pours the red or blue koolaid the flavor of which is to each sides liking. Pity the district which elects those 2% that really were different, their district got locked out of most federal spending projects when their boy didn’t play ball.
Problem is if we elect a politician who makes his decisions largely considering the plight of the common man, the country as a whole is screwed. It’s like a corporate CEO who doesn’t like to lay off workers when needed and is nice to everyone. In the end the company most likely fails and nobody gets a a paycheck.
A good boss, sorry to say, is a son of a bitch in the eyes of his employees, and like those stern teachers we had who really molded our character, it’s rarely appreciated until long down the road.


john July 15, 2010 at 7:42 am

A couple of things I discovered while rereading this:

#1 an extraordinarily fair and balanced piece on Issa’s health care stance back in February:

where did the love go, guys? evaporate as the election draws near? I mean really, sounds like you were trying to reach across the aisle then and work together.

#2 that Talking Points Memo about Miranda rights is misleading as hell, making it sound as if Issa’s Miranda stance was hypocrisy or waffling. It’s not. He is talking about miranda being read for US CITIZENS arrested on charges that are elevated to terrorism related. Trying to connect that with Gitmo detainees, all of whom except one were not US citizens and most were taken off the battlefield of a declared conflict, is tenuous (doing it a favor) if not outright dishonest on the part of TPM. I understand that’s not your piece, but it’s linked to….


annagrace January 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm

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