By CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA | Reporter
The Pacific Palisades Democratic Club held its annual meeting on Sunday, January 27, inviting the public to the Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club to hear Congressman Ted Lieu and State Senator Ben Allen give speeches and answer questions on the current state of local and national politics.
Close to 100 Palisadians attended the event, mediated by PPDC President Erika Feresten, hoping to pose their questions to the politicians.
Lieu currently represents California’s 33rd Congressional District, which includes Pacific Palisades, and serves on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
An outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, Lieu’s speech on Sunday addressed everything from the conclusion of the 35-day government shutdown to the recent indictment of longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone.
“The reason that we are no longer in a shutdown is because Democrats have taught [Trump] and America that ‘no’ is a complete sentence,” Lieu said, praising the perseverance of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during negotiations with the president.
Lieu was asked by an audience member how confident he was that the American public would ever see a version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report once he has concluded his investigation into Russian interference of the 2016 election that has so far resulted in seven people pleading guilty and 27 individuals and three Russian companies being indicted.
“I’m pretty confident,” Lieu responded. “If the Department of Justice takes the position that they are not going to release [the report], Democrats will just subpoena the information.
“There’s also nothing keeping us from calling in Robert Mueller to talk.”
Senator Allen, who represents Pacific Palisades in State District 26, took a more local lens on current issues, and gave updates on state initiatives focused on environmental change and future generations.
“We are so far behind our sister countries with regards to early childhood education,” Allen said.
“It’s one of the best places you can invest in a person because there is so much valuable brain development that happens with these little ones, and yet it’s one of the few areas where we put so little investment.”
Allen expressed excitement for California’s new governor, Gavin Newsom, who is a big advocate for environmental protections and paying down debt. But the state senator also warned against supporting too many new initiatives, with the danger of an economic relapse in the near future.
“There’s no question that a recession is around the corner at some point,” Allen said. “The last thing we need is to ramp up a whole bunch of programs just to turn around and cut them all two years from now.”
Among the talks of federal and state initiatives, Pacific Palisades Community Council Chairman George Wolfberg brought the spotlight directly to the Palisades. Also on the Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee, Wolfberg asked the senator for his commitment to support efforts aimed at building a bridge over Pacific Coast Highway that would provide safe crossing to those visiting the incoming park.
“Count me in,” Allen said.