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Rep. Doug LaMalfa opposes Iran deal, critiques global warming in Grass Valley town hall

Ivan Natividad
Staff Writer
Congressman LaMalfa answers questions during a town hall meeting at Grass Valley City Hall on Tuesday.
Laura Mahaffy/lmahaffy@theunion.com | The Union

Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) held a town hall meeting at Grass Valley’s City Council Chambers Tuesday afternoon, where he affirmed his opposition to President Barack Obama’s proposed nuclear deal with Iran amidst a flurry of questions from local residents.

“It’s pretty hard to come to an agreement with somebody that still doesn’t want to acknowledge the sovereignty of existence of an ally like Israel,” said LaMalfa. “At this point … if my vote was required today, I’m an (affirmed) no vote to the agreement.”

The deal was reached on July 14, when Iran and six other nations led by the United States came to an agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear ability for more than a decade; international oil and financial sanctions would be lifted in return.

The deal has garnered staunch opposition from Republicans, but has also split congressional Democrats, most recently New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, one of the Senate’s top Democrats, who has voiced his opposition to the deal.

CNN reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has stated that debate over the issue will begin next month once lawmakers return from summer break.

Representing California’s First Congressional District since January 2013, LaMalfa fielded comments and questions from a packed room, some in favor and others against the deal.

“I am very proud of our country being in the negotiations and agreeing to these negotiations,” one attendee said. “It changes for the first time, since those weapons of mass destruction didn’t happen, our armed and violent stance toward the Middle East … I am done with war, and I think the American people are done with war.”

LaMalfa responded, “War doesn’t wait for us. We’re a peaceful society if we’re allowed it.”

Nevada Joint Union High School District board member Linda Campbell was present at Tuesday’s town hall, sharing her disagreement with the congressman’s opposition to the Iran deal by yelling, “Give peace a chance.”

“Excuse me, I cannot listen to this guy and his propaganda (and) lies,” she said, storming out of the council chambers. “This man, what he’s telling you is propaganda.”

While other issues were discussed Tuesday, including forestry, Medicaid, and the drought, attendees engaged LaMalfa in somewhat heated exchanges on the topic of global warming.

LaMalfa has publicly critiqued and voted against global warming legislation.

“You’ve actually motivated me to do a lot of organizing in the next polling to organize young people against you,” Nevada City resident John Lorence said. “Because I’m not worried about me, or my neighbor, (but) the younger generation.”

LaMalfa retorted, “I support science as long as it’s real and not a political manipulation, which I think a lot of it is.”

The congressman also took some heat for authoring drought bill legislation that would allow the purchase of 430 acres along the Bear River by the Nevada Irrigation District as part of the Centennial Dam Project.

LaMalfa on Tuesday affirmed his support for the amendment and the project saying “I’m in favor of it, and I have an amendment to allow (the Bureau of Land Management) to transfer the property that it’s sitting on in order to advance that.”

South Yuba River Citizens League Executive Director Caleb Dardick told The Union that he hopes LaMalfa rescinds his legislation to allow for further environmental studies before moving forward.

“What we want to say to the congressman, is that we respect our friends at NID, and we need to be creative about how we manage water in our community,” he said. “We have been invited to engage in the approval process and environmental review that’s coming. We think it’s premature to move forward with legislation to acquire the BLM land now.”

In a more agreeable exchange, Nevada County Democratic Central Committee Chair Jim Firth shook LaMalfa’s hand after thanking the congressman for his stance on using biomass as a viable energy source.

Firth, though, cited a printed list of issues he hoped LaMalfa would address in the future.

“I did hear all of your comments, and that was the one that I could agree with,” said Firth.

LaMalfa thanked Firth for his sense of bipartisanship, adding that relationships between Republicans and Democrats are “not as terrible as it looks on TV.”

“(Yes) we disagree, but who agrees on 100 percent with anybody else. We’re not robots, right?” he said. “We’ve got to hack through this stuff and get it done. I think you’re going to see that in the Iran agreement.”

For more information, contact LaMalfa’s Auburn District Office at 530-878-5035 or the Redding District Office at 530-223-5898.

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email inatividad@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.

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