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Political Landscape: Sherman speaks to Burbank students

October 21, 2010|By Bill Kisliuk

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Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) took time during election season to address a crowd mostly too young to be registered.

On Monday, the seven-term congressman spoke to about 200 students during a morning assembly at Burroughs High School in Burbank.

Sherman touted his legislative record, including his support for the stimulus bill and a later jobs package that together routed nearly $10 million to Burbank schools to save jobs for teachers. He also answered questions from students and teachers.

Asked about the possibility Democrats might lose control of the House Nov. 2, Sherman said he was concerned that more conservative Republicans would spur a repeat of the showdown that briefly shut down the federal government in 1994 — after the mid-term election swept out a Democratic House majority during President Clinton's first term.

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"We were an international laughing stock," he said. "I think there is a real possibility of that."

Asked if he supports Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana in California, Sherman did not answer directly. But he said if voters approve the measure, he will try to stop federal authorities from enforcing laws against marijuana use and distribution.

"If it passes, I'll defend it," he said.

Sherman also said he opposes Proposition 20 and favors Proposition 27. The effect of those two positions is that Sherman would prefer to leave legislative redistricting in the hands of lawmakers rather than with a new citizen's commission. Sherman said his district changed after the 2001 census, and that a district now entirely in the San Fernando Valley once incongruously included Malibu.

He derided the commission, which is now winnowing down the list of citizen applicants.

"They have a system to make sure those people know nothing about geography or politics," Sherman said.

He whiffed on a question about the governor's race in New York, failing to understand a student's query about oddball candidate Jimmy McMillan of the Rent-Is-Too-Damn-High Party.

But Sherman, a certified public accountant and attorney who serves on Financial Services and Foreign Affairs committees, was in his element when asked what Congress is doing to straighten out the growing trade imbalance with China.

"Not a damn thing," said Sherman, who has penned long-shot legislation to strip China of its most-favored nation status.

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