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Cristina vs Robert-- A Congressional Race You Should Expect To Hear A Lot About This Cycle

Yesterday's L.A. Times ran a nice "both sides now" piece about the Dem vs Dem congressional race in the newly created 42nd district (southeast L.A. County). You had to read way down into the story before learning that conservative pretend-Democrat Robert Garcia-- currently attempting to pass himself off as a "progressive"-- is not just backed by the corrupt trans-partisan establishment, but that, according to, Seema Mehta, the reporter, Robert Garcia "was" a Republican, registering with the party "less than a decade after Proposition 187, the GOP-backed ballot measure that sought to deny taxpayer-funded services to those in the country illegally. He was a California youth coordinator for George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign and founded the Long Beach Young Republicans in 2005. Garcia downplays his involvement in both, although media clips from the time quote him proudly playing a prominent role in the club. He also notes he was in high school during Proposition 187 and wasn’t involved in politics then. Garcia said he followed his family’s lead in supporting the GOP because of their fondness for President Reagan, whose immigration policy provided the pathway for their citizenship. He registered as a decline-to-state voter in 2007, two years before he won a City Council seat; and as a Democrat in 2010, four years before he successfully ran for mayor, according to the Los Angeles County voter registration database. 'People are allowed to grow and change,' and former Republicans shouldn’t be treated as 'second-class Democrats,' Garcia said, pointing to his refusal to take corporate PAC money and support for single-payer healthcare. 'What matters is your record.'"

Yes, "what matters is your record" and we'll get to that in one second. First though, the lie Garcia just told about not taking sewer money, which is what his campaign is built on. His whole smear strategy against Cristina Garcia is being filtered through Robert's slime-ball super-PAC, entirely financed by sewer money, though he technically has "nothing" to do with it. He isn't even elected yet and he's already behaving like a typically corrupt scumbag, getting around the rules by using loopholes and by lying his ass off with a straight face. But that pretty well defines who Robert Garcia is anyway.

Cristina Garcia has been endorsed by Blue America-- you can contribute to her campaign here-- largely based on her leadership on Climate and environmental justice issues. Robert Garcia, endorsed by phony political hacks like himself, Gavin Newsom in the fore, is the kind of self-serving narcissist that has held California back in the fight against the clean environment Cristina Garcia has devoted her career to. Robert mouths the right words-- and then acts exactly like the Republican he was and will always be. Progressives-- real ones-- have a burning question for Robert Garcia.

While Cristina Garcia was writing and passing AB-142 (toxic cleanup) and AB-167 (clean air), now 2 model environmental bills, not just in California but nationally, Robert Garcia was defending Long Beach as one of only two California cities still burning trash and poisoning its residents. Robert Garcia charges Long Beach residents $8 million for a recycling program that doesn't recycle anything-- just burns it.

You thought that the last remnants of that the toxic, retrograde practice of trash burning was mostly banned by the early 1990’s, right? It was, but not in Long Beach (and Modesto), which still employ trash incinerators. The EPA officially warns that incinerator burning is extremely bad for public health. The toxins in the dirty air released by incinerators increase the risk of heart disease, aggravate respiratory ailments such as asthma and emphysema, and cause rashes, nausea and headaches. According to the environmental think tank, Tishman Environment and Design Center, nearly all of the country’s incinerators are found in low-income communities, disproportionately exposing them to environmental toxins. That’s what progressives call injustice and why actual progressives-- not Robert Garcia/Gavin Newsom make-believe progressives-- fight for environmental justice.

Robert and Cristina had already gone to battle on the issue of Long Beach incinerator as far back as 2017, when she was chair of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. The Long Beach mayor testified in front of the committee in favor AB 655, a bill which would have given trash incinerators a designation as "a clean technology." That would have allowed the Long Beach trash incinerator to continue to burn and pollute for the foreseeable future. Assemblywoman Garcia noted that the bill, authored by one of Sacramento's most corrupt conservative Democrats, Patrick O'Donnell, was a "Special Interest Gimmick" and the effort, despite Robert Garcia's efforts, died in her committee. Supporting the O’Donnell gimmick? California Chapters of the Solid Waste Association of North America’s Legislative Task Force, the City of Long Beach, Covanta Long Beach Police Officers Association, and Stanislaus County. Opposed to the bill? Californians Against Waste, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health Central California Asthma Collaborative, Central California Environmental Justice Network Central Valley Air Quality Coalition, Clean Power Campaign. Clean Water Action, Coalition for Clean Air, the Environmental justice Coalition for Water. Pretty clear distinction there, right?

But Mayor Robert didn’t stop fighting for his incinerator buddies. After their gimmick failed in the state Assembly, the company, Convanta, began to plead poverty. They threatened to shut down. Instead of calling their bluff and letting them shut down, Mayor Robert begged them to stay. And then he rewarded them with $8 million in upgrades to keep them up and running until 2024. He then pronounced that city officials are having "robust conversations" with leaders in Sacramento about the future of SERRF and how it fits with the city’s "zero waste" plans.

This whole incinerator issue is playing out with great poetic justice. Earlier this month, Assemblywoman Garcia introduced what she told me today was "the reverse gimmick bill." The bill would hold toxic incinerators accountable to the community by removing the diversion credit for municipal solid waste incinerators thus redefining the practice of incineration as disposal. "Municipal waste incinerators," said Cristina this morning, "are a reminder of how environmental racism can become normalized as a policy neutral solution when the story is always more complicated. The last two remaining municipal waste incinerators are 30 years old, toxic, and in environmental justice communities that shoulder the statewide burden of having trash burned in their communities. It's perverse to send trash to be burned to our already overburdened community and call it recycling. I introduced AB 1857 to correct this injustice once and for all."

Currently and for the last 30 years money-grubbing, paid off conservative political hacks like Robert Garcia have been pretending that burning trash is recycling; Cristina's bill makes it clear that the practice is toxic and not recycling. As she told me today, this shady activity and the gimmick Robert Garcia was pushing in AB 665 is exactly how environmental racism is normalized in our policy. She successfully pushed for the incinerator in Commerce to close down at the same time Robert was pushing pretend burning trash to make energy was clean power.

His behavior sounds perfectly fine for the members of Congress who are backing him. It's the way the institution runs. It's the way progressives want the institution to stop running. For the corrupt DC and Sacramento insiders, Robert Garcia is the comfy candidate-- he's just like they are. Cristina is an ass-kicking reformer who makes people uncomfortable because she fights for the working class and upends the balance that comfy liberals settle into no matter how they start their careers. Robert Garcia already started his on the wrong foot and he's headed straight to Blue Dog/Manchin/Sinema world if he's elected. The tragedy of that is that our comfy liberal buddies are giving him the cover and buying into the smear tactics his SuperPAC is using against Cristina.

We should be supporting the real Democrat, not the fake Democrat, the real progressive, not the fake progressive-- Cristina Garcia, not the trash burner. Don't be misled by slippery career pols like Gavin Newsom.


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