The admission: The first post I penned about Jerry McNerney contained a misstatement. In that post I said that I wrote a letter to Jerry McNerney. The truth is that I didn't write the letter that was described. The letter was actually written by one of my neighbors. We share an interest in local issues and were chatting a few weeks ago when he told me that he wrote to McNerney. He showed me a copy of the letter and I liked what he wrote. In fact, I told him he should start a blog and make the letter an open letter to McNerney.
My neighbor, however, is a bit of a technophobe and didn't want to bother with learning how to start a blog. He told me that if I wanted to post the letter I was free to do that, and I should not attribute the letter to him. So that's what I did.
Anyway, when I got home from work today my neighbor left a copy of the letter he received from McNerney today, as a response to his original letter. My neighbor's note for me was "A lot of writing, not a lot of substance, pretty much what I expected."
I'll summarize what McNerney said...he admitted that he had influence over local land use issues. He mentioned the Farm Protection Program, something I wasn't aware of, which functions similar to the Marin Land Trust, where farmers sell development rights to a trust and continue to work the land, thus protecting the land from development. Apparently, this program is set to expire this year (according to Jerry) and Jerry said he intends to vote for reauthorization of the program. That's a good thing, but it's not the type of influence over local land use issues that we are concerned with.
Jerry also mentioned that there are efforts in Congress to restore a fund called the Land and Water Conservation Fund that provides federal matching funds to local governments for parks and the like. Nice again, but totally missing the point of the letter.
He ends with a comment about BART and a promise to keep my neighbor's letter in mind when talking to local leaders.
So, in sum, Jerry totally punted. If this were a test, he'd get a D.
There was virtually no substance to Jerry's letter. What we expected him to do, if he truly cared about protecting the local open and ag lands, was to state that he would begin contacting local leaders to find out what was going on in the area and then he'd come up with a plan to address the issues.
He didn't even come close.