This is the second part of a two-part interview with candidate Bill Bloomfield, a businessman and Manhattan Beach resident, who is running against Rep. Henry A. Waxman, a Democrat. The two are squaring off for the seat to represent the newly drawn 33rd Congressional District. Waxman presently serves California's 30th Congressional District.
The 33rd District stretches from the Palos Verdes Peninsula to the Beach Cities, through slivers of Marina del Rey and Venice, up to Santa Monica, Malibu, Calabasas and Agoura Hills. The district also extends inland to include Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Beverly Hills and parts of West L.A.
Bloomfield is an independent candidate, and he and Waxman were the two candidates out of eight to advance to the November ballot.
Bloomfield was interviewed on Oct. 3 and 16 and told Patch that if voters are OK with what's gone in the past 38 years of Waxman's tenure, then they should vote him back in.
But he told Patch voters shouldn't send Waxman back if they don't like what's happened, suggesting they try "something new" for the two years the elected candidate would serve before going before the voters again. He wants voters to vote for him "and see if I'm right, see if I'm good at my word."
Bloomfield said he doesn't want to make a career of Congress: "I just want to get it working," he said.
He is the chairman of Baron Real Estate, which he said is not a developer but holds property, and that he works "an hour a month at that."
He retired in early 2006 and is a "political junkie" and grandfather who sits on five nonprofit boards and three for-profit boards, one of which is Baron.
Of nuclear weaponry, he said, "The world as we know it will change if Iran gets nuclear capability. It certainly concerns me how slowly we're tightening the noose around Iran."
He has been in Rotary for 31 years and is the immediate past president of the Manhattan Beach club and was the Westwood Village club president in 1986 and 1987.
Patch: The newly drawn 33rd Congressional District encompasses several diverse communities. What do you see as some of the biggest universal concerns and issues for these communities as a whole?
Bill Bloomfield: Well, the universal concern for these communities is the same for the communities within the entire country, and that is that the future of the United States does not look good unless we get Congress to work again.
We have many, many problems in this country that are threatening our country and all the communities and all the citizens in our country starting with the fiscal cliff, the expiration of a lot of tax cuts, as well draconian spending cuts thrown on the economy all effective January first which all economists say are going to throw us immediately into a recession unless Congress is able to work together to deal with these cuts in a responsible manner and these changes in a responsible manner.
The long term, these trillion dollar budget deficits that are threatening the fiscal solvency of our country, the economic recovery that is way too weak and producing way too few jobs, the schools, our public K-12 system that is not performing nearly well enough, particularly in the inner cities, I could go on and on, all of this threatens all of the communities in the country as well as the communities in this district.
The key is to get Congress working. We need to deal with the hyper-partisanship. We need to get the two sides talking together and I think I'm very qualified to do that with my participation in this group No Labels, my successful work on election reform, both redistricting reform as well as open primaries, and my track record of taking on special interests and, unlike Congressman Waxman, special interests indiscriminately, meaning the special interests that have been funding the Democratic Party as well as the special interests that have been funding Republican Party because it's very important that we have people in [Washington,] D.C. who are immune from the power of these special interests, and not just one side.
Patch: What is your position on the Westside subway extension. Do you support tunneling under Beverly Hills High School?
Bloomfield: Yeah, that's a great question. I toured the area with the head of the school board and also the city's engineer, walked around the high school and then walked over to Century City. But first off, we should point out that there would have been a subway 20 years ago if not for the fact that Congressman Waxman interfered and stopped it. Whether or not methane was the end-all deal, be-all risk that he claimed that it was, I don't know, but it's too bad we didn't build a subway a whole long time ago.
But having said that, looking at where they want to put the station, where instead of on Santa Monica Boulevard they want to move it over to Constellation, I think on balance that makes sense. It's better located. Santa Monica Boulevard, of course one half is a golf course, so they put it more in the center.
But here's the deal: If you're going to do that, in order to move the subway station to Constellation, you have to, as you know, tunnel under the high school and under residences within Beverly Hills, and talking to the engineer, it's clear that if you're going to do that then you need to be sensitive to the needs of the school and the homeowners and his recommendation is that it be at least 70 feet below ground.
Now, the problem is they don't want to make it 70 feet below ground because the Constellation subway stop is on a hill so if they keep it 70 feet below ground under the homes of Beverly Hills and the high school, then it'll be, and I'm making this up, 100 feet below ground in Century City, that makes that station more expensive to build and my response to that is tough.
If the benefit of having it in Century City outweighs the cost to go down as deep as you need to go, then you should have it there, and if it doesn't, then go back to the Santa Monica Boulevard station.
But it is absolutely unfair to treat Beverly Hills worse or any different than they treated any other sensitive areas, and there are plenty of areas on that subway route where it's down 100 feet and deeper for other areas, so that's the answer. They just need to go deeper so it doesn't impact the homes or the high school.
Patch: What do you think about citizens’ efforts to rezone the land under the AES power plant in Redondo Beach?
Bloomfield: I'm going to take my lead from Congresswoman Janice Hahn on this particular matter, and she has been in contact with the California Energy Commission and she believes based on what she understands that the plant is not needed. I am in favor of the California Energy Commisson de-commissioning it.
Now as far as the specific ballot initiative, I am not going to take a position on that. I am very concerned about the legal ramifications that could follow if it passes. I am not a lawyer but I am taking this from what I understand in terms of talking to the city and Mayor Gin but my position is that the rights of the owners of that land, private property rights have to be respected. So that's my answer.
Patch: So, you would be for de-commissioning the plant then?
Yeah, yeah, based on the information I have from Janice Hahn's office. Keep in mind, Liz, I am not a congressman, I do not have access to any more information than any other private citizen. But reading what she said, and her office does have access to it, then, yes, that I would, given the fact they're saying it's not needed. If it's not needed, the city doesn't want it actually.
Patch: But you are saying that re-zoning the land is something that isn't necessarily...
Bloomfield: I am not taking a position on that. My concern is, is it going to lead to a lot of litigation because is it trampling on the rights of the owner of the land? I don't know but that's the question I would throw out there. It's the same question that Mayor Gin and concern, I believe, that many of the members on the council have. That is not to be construed as taking a position. I don't live in Redondo Beach. It's a local matter other than the question of commissioning or de-commissioning the plant.
Patch: What's your position on abortion?
Bloomfield: Oh, I'm pro choice. I am very much a social moderate/liberal. Pro choice, in favor of same-sex marriage in California.
Patch: What is your position on immigration?
Bloomfield: I want to see the borders continuing to be tightened up, the security. I don't know, frankly, Liz, what takes us so long. We've got all this military, the people are coming back, let's get our borders secure.
For me, a definition of a border secured would be one where the illegal flows coming into the United States would be down from 90 percent from its peak. And I think the peak was around '07 or '08.
And once we do that, I want to create a path for citizenship. For everyone that's into this country illegally, that the only law they broke was the fact that they're in this country illegally, is far and away in the best interests for this country to bring those people out of the underground economy and bring them part of the mainstream.
But we need to do it this time with a secure border unlike we did last time because last time when we did it, back in the '80s when they called it amnesty, all it did was it encouraged the next flow. So we need to tie those two together.
It is such a shame this issue gets tied up in partisan politics. Some of the rhetoric coming out of some people in Congress, particularly some people from my former party, makes me ill. Two of my four grandchildren are Mexican-American heritage. And I just, it turns my stomach when people talk about this.
The fact is that people that are in this country illegally have done something that you and I would do if we found ourselves in Mexico tomorrow knowing what we know now. We would spend every waking moment trying to get into the United States because we know what our country has to offer. You know, that's just being human nature. To have certain people demonize them etc. etc. is just criminal.