Democrat is poised to take on Doolittle: Retired Air Force lieutenant colonel says he will defeat opponents in Tuesday’s primary | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Democrat is poised to take on Doolittle: Retired Air Force lieutenant colonel says he will defeat opponents in Tuesday’s primary

Jeff Munson
Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Fourth District congressional democratic candidate Charles Brown, right, talks with Beth Adams of South Lake Tahoe on Sunday at the Village Center.
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In the run-up to Tuesday’s statewide election, including primaries for the 4th Congressional District, candidate Charlie Brown didn’t take aim at his democratic opponents when he visited Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

Instead he focused his grievances on the man he hopes to beat in November.

“They’re good people and believe in what they are trying to do, but I’m the only one who can defeat John Doolittle,” Brown told the Tahoe Daily Tribune in an interview Sunday.

Brown was also referring to Democratic opponents Lisa Rea, a Nevada City criminal justice advocate and Michael Hamersley, an El Dorado Hills lawyer who works for the legal department of the California Franchise Tax board.

Rea campaigned in South Lake Tahoe on Saturday.

With the endorsement of the California Democratic Party, the Sacramento Bee and the AFL-CIO, the former Republican turned Democrat two years ago says he’s confident he will get broad support among 4th District voters Tuesday.

It was only a year ago when even the most loyal Democrats of the 4th District said beating Doolittle would be next to impossible. But with an ongoing ethics scandal that has been plagued the Roseville congressman since October, Brown – a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel – says what was once considered impossible is now possible.

Words and actions count and John Doolittle has not been a man of his words or actions when it comes to the people in the 4th District, Brown insists.

“When people in his district have asked him for help, over and over again he’s told them to hire a lobbyist. Is that the kind of representative the district needs?” Brown asks.

Brown used his Tahoe visit to discuss Doolittle’s most recent action in Congress which halted an agreement that would have allowed the U.S. Forest Service to buy the 1,086-acre Homewood Mountain Resort for between $60 million and $65 million on Tahoe’s West Shore.

The Forest Service had hoped to keep the ski resort going and keep home building off of the sensitive land. According to the Sacramento Bee, which wrote the story, the Forest Service has been worried that the sale of the property would allow for it to be carved into estate-sized lots.

Brown says what Doolittle did – which was to put a rider in an appropriations bill to thwart the sale and in doing so, not telling anyone about it – is a symptom how out of touch Doolittle is with his district.

“The bottom line is this is a deal that was worked out that was to be subject for public consideration and Doolittle attached a rider that killed it without any discussion or clear explanation. This is something that many people in Tahoe people clearly wanted.”

While all members of Congressmen have the right to put riders into bills, Brown says Doolittle didn’t do it for the district. He did it based on his own prejudices.

“Was it ethical? Was it in the best interest of the district? I would say no,” Brown said. “From everything we know now he did not come back and talk to people about the benefits and downsides of this. He just did it. It appears from what we know, he killed it because the people who were for it didn’t come and talk to him about it.”

According to the Bee, the owner of Homewood only recently contributed money to John Doolittle’s campaign, with hopes that it would give him enough access to explain his position.

“This is appalling. Fourth District residents shouldn’t have to write a check before their representative will consider doing the right thing,” Brown said.

“If he were in the district a little more often, maybe he would know more of the issues facing the voters, whether it’s (on the West Slope) or at Lake Tahoe.”

Brown said from what he knows of the potential sale, it would be good for the environment and for the local West Shore job base, which is a tourism-dependent economy.

Further questioning the congressman’s commitment to Lake Tahoe and its economy, Brown said Doolittle has had every opportunity to use his position on the House Administration Committee to bring lobbyists to Tahoe for big donor conventions. Instead, Doolittle has routinely held the conventions in Las Vegas, Brown said.

“He says its not for the gambling and drinking but a place where big value donors would come to,” Brown said. “I agree. If you’re gone hold them hold them some place nice. Hold them at Lake Tahoe. It’s in the district. Doolittle clearly doesn’t feel compelled to show off the 4th congressional district for all its jewels and charm.”

Regarding the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the agency that governs planning at Lake Tahoe, Doolittle has always been vehemently opposed to the TRPA, which was formed in 1969 at the urging of then California Governor Ronald Reagan and then Nevada Governor Paul Laxalt, both Republicans, to regulate development and protect Lake Tahoe’s environment. In an August 2005 interview with the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Doolittle reiterated that he’d like to see the agency abolished.

Brown has a different take on the TRPA.

“The concept of the TRPA is good. It’s the make up of the board that hasn’t been working out. I think you need a different mix of people in their and enough local activists on the board instead of a lot of career people who don’t live in the area,” he said.


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