Leaving his family and his racehorses in Maryland to make the arduous journey back to his congressional district -- our home -- Congressman Dennis Cardoza made one of his rare public appearances at the Merced County Board of Supervisors meeting this week. He congratulated a few honored volunteers before turning the task over to an inanimate staffer who repeated the identical congratulation to each of the remaining volunteers, regardless of their accomplishments.
After excusing himself, Cardoza mentioned that he would be traveling to Israel in the coming week. We could not help but be happy for our congressman because travel broadens the mind as well as the waistline. Voyaging again to the "Holy Land," our congressman will find yet another opportunity for spiritual growth.
Nevertheless, on the tedious material plane ...comparing unemployment and foreclosure rates between Cardoza's district and Israel, we found that while unemployment hovers around 20 percent and continuing to rise here, it was 6.7 percent in Israel last year and the International Monetary Fund recently predicted unemployment would fall to 5.5 percent in Israel in 2011. In the last four years, about 66,500 homes in and immediately adjacent to Cardoza's congressional district have "defaulted and lenders have taken them back." (Modesto Bee, 4-19-11) The housing situation in Israel is somewhat different: new Jewish settlers often receive subsidized housing built on land once owned by Palestinians. "Foreclosure" in Israel, at least when the property was owned by Palestinians, tends to employ bulldozers and soldiers rather than just paperwork.
In the beginning of the foreclosure crisis Cardoza promoted himself as a helper to the needy in his district (at the same time as he moved out of his district). These days he seems to restrict himself to tending to the unslakable thirst of westside agribusiness.
We would like to make him aware of an opportunity he may not have noticed.
We humbly request our congressman, when he is in Israel next week, to petition the Israeli government to provide grants and loans for the support of the unemployed, those losing their homes and the homeless in the 18th Congressional District of California. The funds could be shared from the billions in aid the United States has given Israel every year for decades.
All we are asking is that Cardoza, Our Man in Tel Aviv, try to get a little foreign aid for his district while he is seeking worldly and spiritual enlightenment on his latest Middle East junket.
Badlands Journal editorial board