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Feb 21, 2017 (San Diego) The town hall was held at the Muslim Center of San Diego, who were extremely good hosts. Every seat was filled, and as Reporting San Diego walked in, they were bringing in more chairs. The crowed that showed up was of all colors, hues, and ages. The reality is that most of these are attended by older people, this was had about one-fourth who were 3o and younger, This included a few teenage who asked questions, as well as children, who behaved very well.
Now there were themes to the questions asked, and we will note the themes and then go for some questions. The first theme was anger and fear. There is quite of that because of what is happening in Washington and Peters was told to do all he could to stop the Donald J Trump agenda. People were polite, there were no screams but that was one theme.
The second theme was the Affordable Care Act. People are worried that it will be gutted, and nothing will replace it. To this end, Peters was even asked about Californians for a Healthy California Act, introduced in the State Senate by Toni Atkins and Ricardo Lara. Peters deferred the question and suggested that voters contact Atkins. This is a state matter and he did not want to get involved as a federal official.
The third theme was Russians. The information is out there, of Russian interference and in this respect, Peters was clear that this is a problem. That Republicans are giving the country to Russia after we fought to keep it free from foreign interference.
The fourth major theme was the Muslim ban. No, Peters did not shy from calling it in both his introduction and when asked a Muslim ban. It was clear that he was bothered by this clearly anti-constitutional act.
Peters was asked about the Path to citizenship, partly due to the internal enforcement immigration order. Peters said, “in 2013 the Senate actually came up with a plan. It got 68 or 69 votes. It is a very bipartisan bill. The person who killed it was Jeff Sessions.”
“The idea was to provide for border security. Some armaments, some border patrol people. It provided permission slips for those who wanted to come here, and it provided a pretty torturous path, I think it was a 13-year path and make them citizens.”
He added that there was a plan, but you cannot force a vote in the House. He added that it would solve a lot of other problems. This is what government is supposed to do.
Wendy Patterson of Indivisible 53 asked about obstruction and why they are not doing it more? (As we noted above, this was a real theme) She stated, “we feel very left down by a lot of these yes votes.”
Peters said, “it is a very serious moment in our history. I can’t speak for any particular senators.” He added, “some of these appointments are worst than others, If you had to give five yes votes, it probably would be for Scott Pruitt at EPA.”
Peters also kept it clear. “we don’t have the power to stop anything. I respect the Senators who have to make their own decisions.” He added that he hopes they stop the worst ones, but Scott Pruitt is probably the worst.
He also said that he would not pick a fight over General James Mattis, or Lien Chao, they are the grownups in the room. Peters also stated that there was very little regard from the Trump administration to find bipartisan support.
There was one point of conflict when Roger Ogden called on Peters for holding the forum at the Islamic Center. He essentially accused the congressman of cuddling with the enemy. The answer from Peters was in-artful since he did point out that good relations meant that attacks could be stopped and that no other attack has happened since 911. He later apologized for his answer, because Muslims, like all other minorities, are represented by him.
There was also a funny moment. One of the people who asked a question started by saying he has voted twice for the Congressman, but that he was 16. It was nerves, it was his grandmother. The exchange, however, was funny. The congressman told him that he hoped he did not vote for him.
We are embedding two videos, with media, and some of his introduction. In the introduction, Peters went over several important points. They ranged from the Chamber of Commerce who needs an open border with Mexico for business to thrive, to yes, the Russian interference in the elections.
First the introduction:
During the media Interview Reporting San Diego asked specifically of the beginnings of a trade war with Mexico. Peters referred to himself as a free trade democrat, and stated he is one of the few. We also asked about NATO and what would happen if we had a crisis in the Baltic States. The context is that Russia has been making noise that it might violate the territorial integrity of these states, who are NATO members. This would trigger Article Five of the NATO treaty and, in theory, mandate the involvement of US troops in Europe. The last time Article Five was invoked, the only time was after the attack of September 11, 2001.