Say what you want about Inland Empire voters—we’re loyal to a fault. No one can ever accuse us of flip-flopping: When we make a decision, we stick with it.
Take, for example, our love affairs with Ken “The Jolly Fox” Calvert (R-Riverside) and the as-of-Wednesday-unindicted Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands), from the 44th and 41st Congressional districts, respectively. While a lot of Republican politicians have been accused of wrongdoing, these two dickheads are actually winning awards for their sleaze.
Both are on this year’s “20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress” list put out by the advocacy group Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics In Washington. The more ambitious Lewis also landed on Rolling Stone’s “Ten Worst Congressman” list, Public Citizen’s “Highest Amount of Contributions From Lobbyists” roll, and PBS’s rundown of “Top Alleged Ethics Offenders.”
How has all this bad press played in their home districts? Come Tuesday, barring a sudden medical cure for voter apathy, we’re reelecting Calvert and Lewis by double digits. Fuck responsibility and ethics.
But to be fair to the IE, it’s not like we’ll really have a decent choice in the matter. With the public screaming for change, Bush’s approval ratings in the toilet and the GOP eating its young, the Democrats seized the opportunity by throwing two virtual candidates against the Calvert/Lewis machine. We say “virtual” because the only place Democratic challengers Louis Vandenberg and Louie Contreras appear to exist is in cyberspace.
As of Wednesday, neither candidate’s campaigns have working phone numbers. Vandenberg raised less than $3,000 and a couple of Chuck E. Cheese tokens to take on Calvert, who raised more than $260,000. Contreras couldn’t cobble together enough money to bother filing a campaign finance report, compared to Lewis’ $1.4 million cash on hand. The Two Louies do have functional websites—but so do the Otter Pops.
All of which is unfortunate, given that their Republican opponents were so mind-bogglingly vulnerable to serious challenges. To list in detail all the steaming shit piled around Calvert and Lewis would take more space than we have available.
Here’s a sampling of Calvert’s greatest hits: In 2005, the Jolly Fox earmarked millions of federal dollars for highway and commercial improvements near the Riverside County properties he owned with his business partner, Woodrow Harpole Jr., then sold the properties for $925,000 total profit.
In the spring of this year, Calvert and Co. bought four acres of land from a Mira Loma water and sewer agency for $1.2 million in a suspicious deal in which the agency apparently forgot to first offer the property to other public entities, as required by law. Turns out Calvert had cosponsored legislation that would increase the water supply to the agency. The low-income residents wanted a community park on the land. What they’ll get is a mini-storage business co-owned by Calvert.
Oh, and then there was the 1993 Corona police stop, in which Calvert was caught getting a blowjob in his car from a heroin-addicted prostitute, according to the police report. Calvert, who five years later would bash President Clinton for his oral adventurism, wasn’t charged in the incident.
Getting to the bottom of all of as-of-Wednesday-unindicted Lewis’s shenanigans would be the equivalent of trying to take a sip from a fire hose. But the worst example is that over a nine-year period beginning in 1997, Lewis accepted almost $1 million in donations from his friend, lobbyist Bill Lowery, and principals and clients of Lowery’s firm, Copeland Lowery. During that same time period, Copeland Lowery’s revenue skyrocketed by more than 300 percent in no small measure due to the tens of millions of taxpayer dollars Lewis doled out to Copeland Lowery clients. What has become known as the Lewis-Lowery affair is a sordid mess so depressingly vast that Wikipedia has a 23-page article devoted to it.
And to finally stop all this, the Dems sent us the Two Louies. The Republicans could have kissed them.
“(The Vandenberg and Contreras candidacies) show that the Democrats aren’t serious about these districts,” says Ed Patru, spokesman for the Republican National Congressional Committee. “They’re not spending any money; these are perfunctory candidates. But I see this more as a commentary on the effectiveness of the incumbents. The reason the Democrats failed to recruit substantive candidates is because the incumbents have broad-based support and have done everything they’re supposed to, legislatively.”
But according to Bob Mulholland, political advisor to the California Democratic Party, the Two Louies are what spending priorities get us.
“Look, we have 80 Assembly races, 20 state Senate races, nine statewide and 53 congressional campaigns,” he says. “Yes, there’s an effort to recruit the best candidate possible, but we don’t have Swiss bank accounts here to spend millions on every race.
“Besides, if Lewis does get reelected, he’ll be gone in a year anyway in a scandal.”
In other words, don’t worry, folks. A grand jury will clean up our mess.
If the Democrats can’t find legitimate alternatives to Calvert and Lewis, we at the IE Weekly can. As such, we hereby endorse the write-in candidacy of Tony “Scarface” Montana for both the 41st and the 44th districts.
We believe Tony Montana would be, if not good for the Inland Empire, at least better than the Jolly Fox and the as-of-Wednesday-unindicted Jerry Lewis. Like Calvert and Lewis, Tony is passionate about the free market, foreign trade, border security and torture.
But unlike Lewis, Tony “never fucked someone who ‘din have it comin’ to him.” And, coño, man, Montana never got caught getting a blowjob in his car from a heroin-addicted prostitute.