Our Opinion: Filner comes a-calling

October 11, 2001

Because we are a rather small part of whichever legislative districts we are in and are isolated, we often don't see much of our state and federal elected representatives.

Some have thought over the years that it was a big news event whenever they come to the Imperial Valley. Our response at the Imperial Valley Press has been when our representatives arrive in the area and act as if it is a huge news event, "What's the big deal? You should be here."

It is good to see Bob Filner, who won't be our congressman until 2003 (if he is re-elected), already coming to the Valley, meeting our people and familiarizing himself with our issues. We need the attention and we need the help. As California's poorest county and with the state's highest unemployment rate, we need help wherever we can get it, and if Filner gets to know our problems and addresses those issues, we'll be on the path to progress.


It also is good that Filner is already coming here to meet us because we are going to have to get used to a different kind of congressman. We will be going from Duncan Hunter, who has represented us for more than 20 years with some of the most outspokenly conservative politics in Congress, to Bob Filner, who is left of center and some would say way left of center. He and Hunter disagree on much, on everything from abortion to border issues.

(Hunter, by the way, was not one of those politicians who tried to make a big to-do every time he showed up in the Valley.)

If Filner is not re-elected, it is likely our next congressman will be a Democrat — replacing Hunter, who will no longer be the Valley's representative because of redistricting. The district was designed by Democrats in Sacramento to put a Democrat in Washington.

We are not naive enough to not realize that Filner's two-day stop in the Valley was campaigning. But if Filner is to run a good campaign in our area, he must know the issues. And the issues here are complicated, everything from polluting power plants to the Salton Sea to the New River to total daily maximum loads to immigrants dying in the desert. And that's just a start.

Filner will have a lot to learn about our area, so it is a good thing he is known as one of the brighter members of Congress. We are fortunate in that Filner represents a border area in San Diego so he already knows about border issues, although our border issues differ a bit from San Diego's.

Filner's attentiveness to our area only a few weeks after finding out he could be our representative could mean good things for the Imperial Valley. He is welcome here anytime.

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