) April 14, 2010 ― The late great Speaker of the United States House of Representatives "Tip" O'Neil, an extraordinaire power broker, once declared — "All politics is local."
Congressman O'Neill viewed the role of government as intervening to cure social ills.
The work by Thomas E. Mann in “Unsafe at Any Margin” underscores that truism. Mann asserts the “major conclusion is congressional elections are local, not national, events…” Mann argues elections are candidate-centered phenomena and it is the individual characteristics of the candidate as perceived by the voter that are the key determinants in deciding congressional elections.
Congressman O'Neill was a mastermind of using his influence not only in the lower chamber of the House of Representatives in Washington D.C. but more so, in local politics back home in Boston, Massachusetts.
One telephone call from "Tip" O'Neill to any elected official and/or friend back in Boston would bring immediate action to honor the congressman's request. Much of this influence came from an army of political supporters ready to vote for whatever issue or candidate O'Neill wanted to support back in Boston.
O'Neill used the phrase "All politics is local" to attribute the key to longevity in office is to remain in good graces of home town constituents primarily providing jobs to keep the Boston economy humming along by being the gatekeeper using federal funds to fund projects back home.
O'Neill by the power he exerted in the U.S. House of Representatives bringing home pork (earmarks) to Boston practiced what he preached that enabled O'Neill to be a prime mover with everything that happened in Boston, Massachusetts.
The biggest federal earmark ever obtained by a congressman or senator was funding downtown Boston's $14.6 billion Big Dig's public works project. The legendary Democrat from North Cambridge stoked it with federal dollars, spurred by his belief it was a transportation necessity and an economic boost and of course ― created jobs and prospered Boston's economy.
For nearly 34 years, Congressman Tip O'Neil was the number 1 influential member
of 435 members of the House of Representatives, not only in Washington D.C. but also back home in Boston, Massachusetts.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, polar opposite of Congressman O'Neill with absolutely no influence and understanding of back home politics is Congressman Ed Pastor, first elected to Congress in 1991 from Arizona's Congressional District 4.
With a congressional district population of 67% Hispanic including a significant portion being undocumented, for the past nineteen (19) years, immigration has been the primary issue in Congressional District 4 located in central west Phoenix, Arizona, constituting a major portion of Maricopa County.
One year later in 1992, Joe Arpaio was elected Maricopa County Sheriff and was re-elected in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008.
A parallel track exists for both men starting their public careers nearly the same year with immigration being a significant issue for both men but with profound opposite views. One man has made immigration the centerpiece of his office and
the other man has chosen to be silent on immigration.
Each man is the antithesis of the other.
Joe Arpaio serves as sheriff of Maricopa County and claims to be the "Toughest Sheriff in America" primarily because of his use of arresting persons with a "brown face" which has had tremendous success for Arpaio using immigration as an issue to promote the beliefs of his political base of white conservative Republicans at the expense of everyone with a brown face in Maricopa County — namely Hispanics.
Joe Arpaio uses a standard traditional method of election to advocate a certain belief and persons who endorse or support said belief, vote for Arpaio to support and achieve the desired result.
Not so with Ed Pastor, who has no belief or strategy but gets re-elected simply because there is no other alternative candidate to select. Pastor wins by default.
The definition of a U.S. Congressman is to serve the constituents of his congressional district but
Ed Pastor has chosen to be silent as a extremely passive participant in the number one issue in District 4 neglecting his responsibility as an advocate for the human rights of Hispanics.
Pastor should have made immigration a priority but in the 19 years as a congressman, representing a primarily Hispanic district, Pastor is silent to immigration. Martin Luther King Jr., accurately describes this characteristic trait: "One who silent is just as guilty as the one who perpetrates it."
Ed Pastor is the only one in Phoenix, Arizona, who does not understand the immigration issue
In October, 2007, Arizona State University (ASU) held a conference "Immigration and the Public Sector Public Official" that brought National immigration experts and academic leaders to Phoenix for a national conference to share research, insight and address questions on the impact of immigration and immigration policies on people working in the public sector.
On Channel 8's Horizonte's Jose Cardenas talked to Dr. Catherine Eden, director of the ASU Bob Ramsey Executive Education Center, about the conference and how people working in this specific area are dealing with this issue.
Jose Cardenas: "The ongoing immigration issue impacts government at the state, local, and federal levels. Last week, public leaders attended an ASU conference called immigration and the public sector, your world is changing. How do you respond? It was an opportunity for people facing daily decisions involving immigration to talk about their experiences and hear experts share their research on the impact of the issue and how they respond in their local communities. How did the program come about."
Catherine Eden: "Well, my job is the school public affairs and what is called executive education. Public administrators, I work with them and try to figure out what it is they need. Often times it's ethics training, leadership, organizational management. What are the hottest issues? The biggest issue they keep saying to me is immigration immigration.
If Immigration is the biggest issue in Phoenix, Arizona, then why has Pastor chosen to be silent? However, Ed Pastor did vote to approve ICE detention centers
If immigration in the biggest issue in Phoenix, Arizona, then why has United States Congressman Ed Pastor, who represents a congressional district inhabited primarily by Hispanics, not addressed this issue?
Pastor does sponsor citizenship classes but these classes are superfluous in comparison to the agony of a loved one or friend being caught in one of Joe Arpaio's immigration sweeps.
Pastor has done nothing to address police racial profiling, immigration sweep
s, failure to improve jails' medical, mental health conditions, nor eliminate intimidation showered on undocumented and American Hispanics caught in the web of a 287(g) sweep. ICE has now eliminated supporting Arpaio's use of 287 (g) but Arpaio has simply replaced 287 (g) with Arizona approved immigration enforcement.
The record speaks for itself: Ed Pastor shows little interest in any issue of District 4
― not only immigration but Pastor has no interest in any of the issues important to Americans and specifically, the constituents of District 4.
Congressman Ed Pastor should be leading the fight to bring to an end discrimination showered on Phoenix Hispanics and should have a prime role in advocacy for Hispanics but Ed Pastor is nowhere to be found. With 66% of District 4 being Hispanic, Congressman Ed Pastor should be a leader in all Hispanic issues particularly, national Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the U.S. Congress, but sadly, he is not.
In fact, Congressman Ed Pastor is not a leader in Washington in any issue much less Hispanic issues.
One look at local daily newspaper headlines or watching local nightly television news identifies the major divisive issue of Congressional District 4 is immigration and all its aspects.
Clearly, Congressional District 4 is an Hispanic district.
An ideal representative in Washington would be one who had the best interests of his constituents as his mandate and direct his efforts to serve the best interests of his constituents.
Police racial profiling is a federal violation. The priority for the constituents of District 4 is to end selective police enforcement directed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio at Hispanics.
It would have been in the best interest of District 4 constituents if Congressman Ed Pastor would have asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate any wrong doing by the Maricopa Sheriff Department and specifically, in the county jail
― but Pastor has not!
Congressman Ed Pastor should also have requested the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee to impose oversight and have hearings on the conduct of the Maricopa County Sheriff including all operations and take appropriate action if wrong doing was found
― but Pastor has not!
There are presently some congressional investigations ongoing but Pastor has no role in any of these.
Using the "Tip" O'Neil handbook to trade votes for any request
There are obviously many congressmen in Washington who understand the importance of their vote to support issues or to vote to approve federal legislation.
With the recent approval of Health Care Reform, votes became a trading commodity of value and no one had more success than
Congressman Bart Stupak from Michigan.
Congressman Stupak's playbook on trading his vote for Obama's Executive Order stating no funds would be used for abortion was central to negotiating a compromise with the Obama administration in passing the health care bill in March.
Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) supported Health Care Reform at the expense of Immigration Reform because Immigration Reform is not the highest priority in the land for Puerto Ricans like Congressional Hispanic Caucus chairperson, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, a Puerto Rican American politician.
The decision to have the CHC vote "yes" on Health Care Reform knocked down another potential roadblock to reaching the necessary 216 votes for final passage, outside of steep political concerns about the bill's impact on the midterm elections.
At the very least, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus should have traded their votes for Immigration Reform
― but they did not.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who rates Immigration Reform as the highest priority in the USA had originally threaten to withhold support for Health Care Reform because of provisions the Senate added restricting the undocumented from using their own money to access the insurance exchanges that would be established by the proposed legislation.
Illinois Democrat Luis Gutierrez says it's scandalous this Congress has done nothing on immigration and President Obama has made things worse.
Representative Gutierrez said, "This administration of Barack Obama will exceed the number of family separations and deportations than even at the height of George Bush, which is saying a lot. Understand the fear and the devastation that are going on. You know, it needs to get taken care of. It's the plight of some 12 million undocumented immigrants that busloads of their supporters came to Washington on March 21 to change."
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) did take a page from Congressman Stupak's play book trading his opposition to abortion to obtain his vote for passage of Health Care Reform, but the Congressional Hispanic Caucus traded their votes not for Immigration Reform but for Puerto Rico's residents $1 billion to have access to a state insurance exchange and $6.3 billion for Medicaid spending in Puerto Rico.
Obviously, Immigration Reform is not a priority for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Immigration Reform should be the highest Hispanic priority in the USA but other than Congressman Gutierrez, there is no national advocacy. It would have been much better if the CHC would have traded their votes for Obama's assurance Immigration Reform would follow Health Care Reform.
Chairperson Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), with more than 20 CHC members behind her, told reporters the broader impact of the Health Care legislation overrode the other concerns. She said 8.8 million Hispanics would gain insurance coverage in the legislation, a "historic opportunity" not to be missed.
Nydia Velazquez obviously indifferent to Immigration Reform and accepting insurance exchanges for Puerto Ricans by the White House, eagerly accepted the provisions for Puerto Ricans and in doing so, effectively killed Immigration Reform in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Health Care Reform Leaves Out Undocumented
As Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, an American Puerto Rican successfully traded the votes of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to obtain inclusion of Puerto Ricans, where was Ed Pastor in fighting for health coverage for the undocumented?
Restricting undocumented immigrants from using their own money to access the insurance exchanges that would be established by the proposed legislation were explicitly excluded from the legislation. The question of whether to extend coverage to undocumented immigrants was so politically contentious, under the approved legislation, they will not even be able to buy health insurance in the newly created purchasing pools called exchanges if they pay entirely out of their own pocket.
Ed Pastor Did Not Stand to End Iraq War
Mr. Pastor chooses to be silent on immigration but his modus operati (MO) is not unique to immigration for on all issues of vital importance, Mr. Pastor is silent!
On February 17, 2007, I wrote the following editorial: "Ed Pastor Did Not Stand to End Iraq War."
There are 435 members of the House of Representatives. Of the 435 Congressman of the House of Representatives, only one member chose not to debate the war in Iraq.
Congressman Ed Pastor of Arizona sat on his hands and did not stand in the well of the House to debate the issue everyone in America was discussing where two or more were gathered.
The congressman failed to do his duty.
The congressman failed to do his duty to stand up in the well of the House and debate to bring Americans home from the war in Iraq or support the George Bush surge to send more troops to Iraq. The congressman sat silent on his hands. Some have said silence is betrayal.
Residents of Arizona District 4 need visible representation in the House of Representatives. Ed Pastor has served for 19 years and his silence in the well of the House of Representatives and his modus operati for 19 years as always been the same — silence and invisible.
Martin Luther King, Jr., when he spoke out against the Vietnam War, said, "There comes a time when silence is betrayal." And so it is.
Pastor as the only U.S. Congressman who did not think it important enough to stand and debate ending the Iraq war, much less would be to have Pastor take a position on immigration to help the undocumented who along with friends and family make up a majority in Congressional District 4 which makes District 4 a "safe district" on immigration advocacy. In 19 years in Congress, Pastor has not sponsored one major piece of legislation — not one!
There can only be three reasons why:
1. He approves of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's use of immigration sweeps to arrest undocumented.
2. He sees no wrong in racial profiling.
3. He has no knowledge of what is happening in Phoenix, Arizona
With any one of the three items above, Congressman Ed Pastor is derelict in the representing the interests of his constituents.
Leaders are elected to be visionary and advocate for the rights of constituents.
Not once in 19 years has Ed Pastor criticized the tyranny of Joe Arpaio. Not once! There has never been a request from Congressman Pastor for the U.S. Department of Justice to have the U.S. Attorney for Arizona investigate Joe Arpaio, nor any request for any congressional oversight investigation of Arpaio nor any request to the White House for assistance.
Congressman O'Neill was a mastermind of effective arm twisting to obtain favorable results in Boston.
There are many like O'Neill back in Washington but Pastor is not one. In fact, Pastor's modus operandi is not to take a leadership role either in Washington or Phoenix.
The prime example of this is the primary issue in the 4th Congressional District of Arizona — immigration and particularly its impact on Hispanics residing in the District.
Pastor lives in a "safe" district and could be a very vocal advocate on Immigration Reform in Washington as well as Phoenix but Pastor evidently does not choose to make immigration a priority issue in his District.
Blindly following the herd: Pastor voted to approve ICE Detention Centers
Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano have surpassed former President Bush's policy of reducing the Hispanic population in the United States using U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Obama's repeated assurances ICE would focus on dangerous criminals and not on workers and families is not true.
In a Feb. 22 memo, James M. Chaparro, head of ICE detention and removal operations, wrote, despite record deportations of criminals, the overall number of removals was down. While ICE was on pace to achieve "the Agency goal of 150,000 criminal alien removals" for the year ending Sept. 30, total deportations were set to barely top 310,000, "well under the Agency's goal of 400,000," and nearly 20 percent behind last year's total of 387,000, he wrote.
To meet the ICE goal of 400,000, ICE has now instructed ICE agents across the United States to arrest all undocumented working in car washes, McDonald's, standing at Home Depot and other places where the undocumented are working or looking for a job.
Rather than being a leader in Washington, Pastor simply follows the herd.
On December 7, 2004, Ed Pastor voted yes to authorize funding to build ICE detention centers to hold the undocumented without rights specifically habeas corpus included in the United States Constitution.
Hispanic News calls for Ed Pastor to retire
The best thing for the constituents of District 4 is for Congressman Ed Pastor to retire to provide an opportunity for someone to become a strong advocate for Congressional District 4 Hispanics.
Mr. Pastor's silence is betrayal. He should not run for re-election. We should look for another. Someone who would stand in the well of the United States House of Representatives and debate with great oratory the issues facing the Nation. The constituents of Arizona Congressional District 4 deserve nothing less.
Regarding Ed Pastor
― "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." Martin Luther King, Jr.
Regarding Joe Arpaio ― "There may be tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they may seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Always." Mahatma K. Gandhi.