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Roundtable: More Darrell Issa, More Funds For County Supervisors, No Shelter In Escondido


Darrell Issa's Crusade; Escondido Says No; Supervisors Say Yes.


Mark Sauer


Chris Jennewein, Times of San

Jill Replogle, KPBS News

Alison St. John, KPBS News


Darrell Issa: Champion Or Bully?

San Diego has five congressional representatives, but only Darrell Issa of Vista consistently is in the national news.

Issa, who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is a huge thorn in the side of the Obama administration, which he has been investigating non-stop on a variety of issues, including Obamacare, Benghazi, a huge increase in the illegal immigration of children, the ATF "Fast and Furious" scandal and even the fine levied against a tree trimmer in northern California.

Issa currently is investigating scrutiny of the tax-exempt status of tea party groups by the Internal Revenue Service and the loss or destruction of e-mails and a lap-top computer belonging to Lois Lerner, former head of the IRS Exempt Organizations Unit.

Issa's hearings have shown that the IRS is almost as bad at record-keeping as the Veterans Administration and that it lacks the capacity to store anything electronically beyond six months.

It has also been evident to many that the congressman can be his own worst enemy, at times seeming to be a petty tyrant, cutting off the microphone of Democratic committee member Elijah Cummins or objecting to the way the IRS commissioner raised his hand during the swearing-in, even as he investigates important issues and genuine problems.

No Shelter In Escondido

The Obama administration has been struggling to deal with a tsunami of unaccompanied children crossing into the United States for the last three years or so.

The government is looking for places to shelter the 50,000-plus kids until they can arrange immigration hearings — and probably deport most of them.

One area under consideration for housing them was Escondido, for some reason. But in a packed hearing Wednesday evening, the Escondido Planning Commission unanimously voted against housing any children in a vacant, 96-bed nursing home, citing parking and safety issues.

The children have made their way over an extremely dangerous route to the U.S. mainly from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. They or their parents seem to have been told that they will be allowed to stay under President Obama's executive Dream initiative. The administration is working to correct the mis-impression. , which, the administration says, is not true.

Why the government tried to house the children in such a conservative city with a history of anti-immigrant policies is anybody’s guess.

Slush Fund — Or Neighborhood Reinvestment Grants?

The San Diego County Supervisors reversed itself this week and is on the way to restoring $5 million to its discretionary fund.

The board halved the $10 million fund ($2 million for each supervisor) when budgets were tight and four years ago under heavy criticism about favoritism, self-interest and lack of transparency in the awarding of grants to community non-profits.

Supervisor Dave Roberts made the motion, which was approved unanimously. The motion and the entire budget must be approved later in the summer.

The supervisors' busy week also included addressing the Forest Conservation Initiative. It was passed by voters in 1993 to limit development on private lands in the Cleveland National Forest through zoning regulations. The sun, however, has set on the law, and it has expired.

The supervisors are considering a proposal to allow more development amid worries about lack of water and very real fire danger.

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