Friday, November 2, 2012

Streebek's Column - Sherman failed to help


An independent producer not connected with Congressman Howard Berman’s campaign released today a video focusing on poor constituent service by Congressman Brad Sherman. The video tells the plight of Debra Knowles Hill who received a lottery ticket that enabled her to ask Sherman a question at a Town Hall Meeting. She explained her problem and the need to receive mortgage relief. The video shows his disinterested and uncaring response to her at the Town Hall meeting.

His dismissive actions toward her did not dissuade Debra from following up with Sherman’s office. Her contact resulted in only a single letter being sent to her bank. Sherman’s office did not have the time of day for her thereafter.

Debra in desperation reached out to Congressman Berman’s office. Even though her house was not in Congressman Berman’s district his staff provided the help to her that she needed.

Debra Knowles story does not exist in a vacuum. Fred Lang another attendee of a Town Hall meeting tells the following story:

After a career in the computer industry where I had become a corporate executive with worldwide responsibility, I found myself with a life altering choice. My wife had an unfortunate accident at work and with my extensive traveling schedule I watched her health deteriorate with each return home.  After settling her workers Comp case in 2001, with a stipulation of 100% disability and lifetime medical care; I gave up my job to become her primary caregiver. In the years that followed this situation placed a tremendous burden on our financial resources.

On May 15th 2011 I attended a town hall meeting hosted by Brad Sherman. Following the meeting I had the opportunity to speak directly with Congressman Sherman. I explained that due to changes in the Workers Comp Law (Gov. Schwarzenegger’s SB 899) the Insurance company had been given legal cover to delay significant monies that were due me. I explained to the Congressman that this situation had placed our home of 34 years in jeopardy of foreclosure. Congressman Sherman asked me to contact his Chief of Staff the following week and he would see what he could do to help. When I followed up as directed I was told that they would do nothing, because I was not in his district. One of my wife’s best friend had a relative working as an intern in Congressman Sherman’s office and she thought he might be able to help. He tried to plead our case, but came up against the same brick wall that I had experienced.

Following the denial of support I contacted our assemblyman Bob Blumenfield to request support with our Workers Comp issues. The Assemblyman and his team immediately began to see what they could do to help mitigate our situation. When it became clear that it would take time to resolve our financial situation and we would be facing potential foreclosure, In Jan. 2012, they introduced me to Esther Azal in Congressman Berman’s office. Ms. Azal immediately became the process of working with our Bank. This was followed shortly by a letter from Congressman Berman telling us that they would do what they could to help us. Congressman Berman and his team have continued to work on our behalf and He is the main reason we are in our home today!

We are also very troubled by Brad Sherman’s claim that he is helping Californians avoid foreclosure.

These are real stories from real people. Individuals who did not receive the help they needed even though they attended one of the Town Hall meetings Sherman brags about. It seems that Sherman is being a Snake Oil Salesman again. Claiming that something exists as being effective when it in reality it is ineffective.

Town Hall meetings are only important if something worthwhile occurs as a result of them. Sherman has not enacted any meaningful legislation, thus acting on no ideas presented to him at the Town Hall meetings. It now seems he has not provided help to those in need who have requested his help at the Town Hall meetings.

So what value does the Town Hall meetings serve? An opportunity for Sherman to be a well-paid messenger? Don’t we need something more from a Congressman? Congressman Howard Berman provides true constituent service, more then just a messenger, a true servant of the people.

Posted by Pep Streebek



Anonymous said...

As described in this story, neither of the mentioned individuals actually lives in Sherman's district. It seems that the author of this post has failed to understand the meaning of constituent. Members of Congress of Congress are each allotted a budget to conduct their legislative work and provide services to the constituents they represent. Residents of the 28 th district may want to ask themselves why a “senior” member of Berman’s staff is spending so much of the time she should be using to help them on helping a constituent of Henry Waxman’s. Furthermore, the second individual states he was requesting assistance with a worker's comp issue, which is handled by a state agency, and is therefore not under the jurisdiction of the federal government. The proper procedure in such a case is to refer the individual to their state representative, which it appears is what happened here, as the individual was able to obtain assistance from his Assemblyman. I understand that desperate times for the Berman campaign have led them and their supporters to desperate measures, but extreme misrepresentations of the truth such as this do a serious disservice to voters trying to make an informed decision. Before you discuss constituent services again, please look up the definition of constituent, and try to stay somewhere near the realm of truth.

Anonymous said...

Helping people is what is important, no matter where they live in the valley. What a sophisticated response by someone obviously involved with Sherman's campaign. People in trouble need help wherever they live. The message is simple Congressman Berman's staff cares, Sherman tells a good story, but he nor his staff really cares.

Anonymous said...

First, most members of Congress will help residents with problems, although they generally try to get them to work with their own representative. Sherman's office has however traditionally been known for it's ineffectiveness while Berman's has traditionally been ranked near the top in polls of other legislative staffers. Currently there are 69 constituent service requests where Brad Sherman's office wasn't able to help a constituent and Howard Berman's office got the job done. These are generally things like people not receiving their social security checks or things like that and the Berman people have taken on the extra work. One more reason to vote for Berman.