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Our Opinion: Filner running hard

April 14, 2002

Pundits say congressmen never quit running. And with their seats up for election every two years, the election cycle never truly ends for Congress members, particularly for those in seats that are far from safe.

Some say that is a weakness of Congress, that representatives are so busy running for re-election that they never get much of consequence done. Bob Filner, however, is so busy running for re-election that he is doing a lot for us.

Then again, maybe we are being just a bit cynical. Filner, a Democrat from Chula Vista, will be our congressman if he is re-elected in November's general election, thanks to redistricting. He is facing a political newcomer in Maria Guadalupe Garcia, and we don't know what kind of challenge she will mount. Filner probably feels quite confident in a highly Democratic area. Still, right now Filner is working hard to impress those in his district, particularly his new constituents in the Imperial Valley, and we hope to see some results from those efforts.

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Filner seemingly tilted at windmills in his work opposing a gas pipeline that would feed polluting new power plants in Mexicali, particularly considering the energy priorities of the administrations in Sacramento and Washington. We thank him anyway.

Filner may have a better shot at getting some money for Imperial County to upgrade its outdated, poorly functioning, limited-range emergency communications system. There are many problems with that system, including interagency communications and dead spots in some areas, but all attempts to locally fund an upgrade have been turned back by voters.

Because of our proximity to the border and our three ports of entry, Filner is trying to push through getting funding for the system by branding it an issue of national security. That may be a little bit of a stretch, even in these tenuous times on international fronts, but the situation certainly is a dangerous one for many here.

Whether Filner, a combative Democrat, can get such funding through a Republican-controlled Congress is questionable. We think his chances would be better if he enlisted the help of Imperial County's longtime, reliable and popular congressman, Republican Duncan Hunter.

If Filner continues working so hard for us if and when he is re-elected, Imperial County could reap many benefits. If it turns out to be just that he is trying to impress new voters in the district and then forgets we are here, we'll be cognizant enough to see through that quickly.

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