The first any Leisure World Democratic Club member know of the Saturday, July 15 Rohrabacher “get-together” was when they read a front-page article about it the local newspaper on Thursday, July 13. The article said everyone was welcome to attend and did not indicate that any of the Leisure World clubs were sponsoring the event, which led to the assumption that it was a non-partisan event, being sponsored by the Leisure World governing body itself.
The Democratic Club immediately began inviting its members and their guests to attend the event in order to hear what their congressman had to say. On Friday, they became aware that, at the request of the LW Republican Club and the Rohrabacher campaign itself, the LW security was not going to let anyone into the meeting except residents of Leisure World who could show proof that they lived in LW. As a result, the Democratic Club notified interested parties living outside of LW that they would not be allowed to attend, even as a guest of a LW resident.
When people started arriving, it was obvious that the Leisure World Republican Club was in control of the event. There were about 180 people present. It appeared that at least one-third of the people in the room were Democrats.
The following report on the meeting comes from notes taken by SBLW Democratic Club members in attendance
The Rohrabacher “Get-Together” was opened with a welcome from a woman representing the Leisure World Republican Club, followed by her leading the pledge of allegiance to the flag and giving an invocation that included a blessing for the military and their marriages as well as public servants. She also included a blessing for the safety of the meeting because of the “mad” Democrats picketing outside the Leisure World gate. This reference to the “mad” Democrats in the invocation was given quite seriously, despite the fact that she must have been aware that there were a great number of very well behaved Democrats already present in the room who had come to the meeting in response to an article in the Leisure World newspaper paper that clearly stated “everyone is welcome to attend”. The “mad” Democrats she referred to were 15 to 20 members of the LW Senior Patriots for Peace Club who had earlier been peacefully demonstrating in front of Leisure World gate (as they do every month).
Rohrabacher began by introducing his staff: (We are not sure of the spelling of the names) They were Kim Vanderbulen, Alexander Gonzalez, William Romero (responsible for social security and veteran issues) and Cathie Stanton (Chief of Staff). He might have gotten her name wrong—it looked like he was quietly being corrected. He said, “She is always changing her name”
Rohrabacher started his talk stating that he wanted to give an update about what is happening. What follows is the gist of what he said although they are not exact quotes:
Rohrabacher speaking: There is much happening despite what the press would have you believe. Working with Reagan, I learned to write. He taught me to start out with a story of some type. (He then told several light jokes.)
He went on to say:
I think it is disgraceful that the media is trying to focus attention on Russia when there is nothing there. It is part of a plan to obstruct Congress from working on policy. There is someone here trying to disrupt –put the sign down! (note: The person addressed moved to stand at the back of the room and was allowed to continue to hold his sign.) I worked for Reagan on military issues, fought communism in central Europe and organized against communism with Reagan. Reagan organized “Reagan Doctrine” to target and bring the enemy down by providing support to the enemies of the Soviet Union. Russia is not the threat. The real threat is radical Islamic terrorism. We need to work with the Russians in order to defeat Isis. Donald Trump would like to have further cooperation. The greatest thing Donald Trump has said was when he went to Saudi Arabia and said, “Drive the terrorist out of your mosques”. Also, it was a great thing when Trump told NATO that they would have to pay more for defense.
We must stop this flow of illegals over the border. Donald Trump has doubled the number of people sent back and it is a great thing. We do not want a policy that supports people that come here illegally —even if they came as children like the Dreamers did. I am opposed to the issue of sanctuary for illegal immigrants. People (Democrats/press, whatever) with their false sense of superiority would have you think that we need to pay for people in our jails that are not citizens…We (Republicans) are morally correct on this issue.
I am personally working as chairman of the House committee that oversees Europe and Eurasia. I am a senior member of the Science Committee (many in the audience laughed). I am the author of a bill on tsunami waves.
We will pass a tax bill by the end of this year. This will not happen overnight as there are many interested parties that need to be addressed. I have been advocating an ESOPS Employee Stock Ownership plan in which employees would not have to pay capital gain tax when they sell the stock. Now a large amount of the wealth is going to people who own capital. This bill would address the shift in wealth in our country. It would take care of the fact that a small number of people own capital. The ESOPS see to it that ordinary people can expand their wealth, making management and employees partners. People that run companies need to be motivated to stay here. What is happening now is that a manager will move a company to a foreign country and pocket a bonus because of the $ he saved. Then a country like China will confiscate the company and by then the manager will be long gone. Working people need to get part of the profits. My family homesteaded in North Dakota and got to keep their land. This bill will do the same for working people.
We need to reform health care. What we had under Obama is going down. It was so designed so that we won’t see the results in the first 6 years. There are states with no insurance at all. Bill passed by the House is just a first draft. Won’t be the final. “The Senate passed a bill too”. (Not True) Preexisting conditions is the issue. Sick people priced out of the market because of higher rates. We as a people will not accept s plan that excludes them.
My proposal for health care is to catalog all people with pre-existing conditions and then let Medicare take care of these conditions. But we will do that only if these people with pre-existing conditions also are required to purchase a separate insurance plan covering the rest of their medical needs. The cost of the insurance would be lower because the pre-existing conditions would be taken out. Republican friends say we have to do all this through present budget constraints.
Beth Winslow: made a statement about climate change being real and the fact that she is alarmed about climate change and then asked, “How long can you deny the reality of climate change?” (Lots of applause for her question.)
Rohrabacher answer: Same thing happened in the 1920s as is happening now. Same thing happened in the 1950s. It happened at the end of the ice age. There is a regular climate cycle. Throughout history, we have had the same thing. I don’t believe that 97 % of scientists believe in climate change (is caused by humans). If “they” try to control us in relationship to CO2, the next thing “they” can do is take control over our lives. Solar activity is what is causing climate change. All of our money is being drained to work on climate change. President got us out of climate change agreement. Did you know it would have cost 3 trillion dollars and others would have been able to determine how many measures that they would need to adopt? We would have been left on the hook for years to come. The Chinese didn’t have to do anything. People in the media are doing their best to build distrust of the Democratic process. Trump is doing a great job as president. He is not a globalist spending your tax dollars, as was Obama who was concerned about the whole world. Trump is concerned about you and will use your taxpayer money for you here in the U.S.
When Beth challenged his response and tried to read more of her prepared statement, she was told she was being disruptive and shut down.
Russel Gray: Asked somethiing like “How are you going to fund medical care?” Answer: By going after waste.
Thelma Key: I get lots of mail asking for support from Washington. What do you think I should do? Answer: There are some good ones. I hope you will support me.
Dale Lieberfarb: You voted to repeal Obamacare. You voted to pass the house bill. Are you aware that nursing homes cost $7,000 per month for a semi-private room and $12,000 per month for a private?
Answer: The bill will look nothing like the bill that passed the house. It just gets the process started. It is a vehicle.
Greg Coons: Asked question about the OC weekly article on Russia and his receiving campaign money.
Answer: The weekly is just a publication to sell sex ads. They printed another story that was resolved in my favor in court. I have known Paul Manifold for 30-40 years. He was a former member of congress. I met with these people because I was chairman of a committee that oversees Ukraine and Russia. A small amount of money was donated. $1,000.
A man dealing with a bone marrow transplant wanted Rohrabacher to promise that people who are out of work will be able to have their health care. Answer: Everyone with a pre-existing condition will be able to be covered. We know that there is a consensus that people need coverage. It is bologna that Republicans will leave people uncovered.
Someone from the audience: Happy to hear something from a Republican talking about Americans needing health care. Answer: I agree with her that Republicans have not gotten that message out. “The insurance industry does make a lot of $$ on health care.” A company like Kaiser does give us a very good model.
Patricia Cordory (?): I often call Washington. Are you aware that North Korean subs can hit our coast?
Answer: My approach would be to use our capabilities to shut N. Korea down with a cyber-attack.
John Conners: Concerned about racial tension? Answer: Talked about Hillary’s deplorable comment without naming her. Did not really answer the question.
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At one point in the meeting, the LW Republican Club moderator said something about this being a Republican Club meeting and that all of the Democrats in the room should leave if they were going to be disruptive (which they weren’t). The president of the Seal Beach Democratic Club Mary Larson stood up at that point to object, saying that we were there because everyone was invited to come to the meeting and we were not being disruptive but she was silenced for being disruptive.
The meeting probably got cut shorter than intended because most of the questions challenged Rohrabacher’s positions.
Report prepared by
Laura Wilson and Mary Larson
SBLW Democratic Club
P.O. Box 2205, Seal Beach, CA 90740