O.C. constituents say ‘no’ to Syria strike

10 Sep
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A group of about 40 Orange County residents holds a candlelight vigil to urge Rep. Loretta Sanchez to vote against the bombing of Syria on Monday evening in Orange. Ellen Diamond, left, and Diane Ashbaugh, both of Santa Ana, hold up their signs in the traffic circle. “We’re here because we think there shouldn’t be a rush to violence. … Violence should be a last resort.” sent out emails informing residents of this protest location.

WASHINGTON – Orange County lawmakers are getting an earful from constituents regarding a possible military strike against Syria, and, mirroring national polls, the sentiment is an overwhelming “no.”

Four of six representatives contacted by the Register reported unusually high call, email and letter volume in the past week, with one office saying that the incoming correspondence rivals the response to the Affordable Care Act’s 2010 vote or the Senate’s consideration of an immigration reform bill in 2006.

Rep. Darrell Issa’s office said it has been contacted nearly 2,000 times on Syria, with 98 percent opposed to military strikes.

At a ribbon-cutting event last week for his new Dana Point office, Issa, R-Vista, was surrounded by constituents asking him to vote no on any resolution to get involved in the Syria conflict. Issa cited statements and opinion articles he has written in opposition, saying the president hasn’t made a compelling case.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s spokesman said his office has received 689 unduplicated emails in the last week on Syria, with 95 percent against a military response. Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa, has said he opposes any military intervention, whether chemical weapons were used or not.

“I think the president, for whatever reason, has been convinced by someone to reverse a lot of his foreign policy commitments he made during his first election and he has elongated our stay in Afghanistan,” Rohrabacher said in a recent interview. “He was either being frivolous or someone has intellectually changed his mind or he’s caving into pressure – whatever it is, if it leads to a military commitment to Syria, it’s the wrong decision.”

A spokesman for Rep. John Campbell, R-Irvine, said that in the last two or three weeks, Campbell’s offices in Irvine and Washington have received more than 1,000 emails or letters and 500 phone calls, the majority against any U.S. military intervention. “While Congressman Campbell always keeps the positions of his constituents in mind, he has always been principally committed against any U.S. military intervention in Syria, as such action represents strategically misguided and dangerous foreign policy,” said Christopher Bognanno, his communications director

At the office of Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana, communications director Barb Solish said, “We can certainly say a majority of letters, emails and calls are against intervention.”

Reps. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, and Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, declined to provide information about their constituent communications regarding Syria. However, a Lowenthal spokesman said the office has received more mail in the past two weeks about Syria than on on any other issue.

If a vote were held today, Rohrabacher, Campbell, Issa are “no” votes; Lowenthal, Sanchez and Royce are undecided. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both Democrats, have expressed support for authorization of a limited military strike.

Staff writer Lindsey Ruta contributed to this report.



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