Doolittle, Brown contest heats up | SierraSun.com

Doolittle, Brown contest heats up

David Bunker
Sierra Sun

The contest between 4th District U.S. Representative John Doolittle and challenger Charlie Brown began slowly but has now reached a fevered pitch.

With less that three weeks to go until election day, the attacks from both sides are coming down fast and furious.

Brown’s attacks on Doolittle’s honesty and ethics have been backed by a string of news reports uncovering details of the congressman’s dealings with convicted felon Jack Abramoff, associations with disgraced congressman Mark Foley and recently convicted Congressman Bob Ney, who was embroiled in the Abramoff scandal.

Doolittle has characterized Brown as being out of touch with the traditionally conservative district, pointing out his affiliation with the American Civil Liberties Union, and calling him a “flim-flam man” who tries to be both a conservative and a liberal.

“It is about right versus wrong, and you are wrong on every major issued in this district, and you are trying to distract people with this phony attack on the culture of corruption,” said Doolittle in the Oct. 11 debate between the candidates.

Todd Stenhouse, spokesman for Charlie Brown, said the debate, which appears as if it will be the only head-to-head meeting between the two, boosted Brown’s chances and “drew clear distinctions between the candidates.”

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Doolittle came off as a “shrill, divisive, clearly weakened and desperate incumbent who was resulting to any means to distract from his unfitness for office,” Stenhouse said.

While the issues take a back seat to the questions over each candidate’s fitness for office, the political distinctions between Doolittle and Brown are clear.

Brown, who has a son serving in the military in Iraq, supports engaging the international community in a strong rebuilding effort in Iraq and then pulling troops from the country. Doolittle has said he supports “staying the course.”

On Lake Tahoe, both candidates back federal funding for forest management.

Doolittle helped craft the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2000, a bill that authorized a $300 million investment in the basin over 10 years.

Brown says he would support the U.S. Forest Service buying a portion of Homewood Mountain Resort on Tahoe’s West Shore.

He called the deal a good example of “free enterprise, no eminent domain, no hard feelings.”

In the U.S. House of Representatives, Doolittle was the author of a paragraph in a federal bill that blocks funding for the Homewood purchase.

Brown said he was disappointed that U.C. Davis’s new scientific research center could not find a home on the California side of the lake. It is located in Incline Village.

“It’s a California-funded facility,” said Brown.

Doolittle is the major proponent of building the Auburn Dam, a controversial project that would, he contends, would counteract flooding in the Sacramento area. The project, however, has been questioned because it is situated over a earthquake fault.

Brown opposes the project, instead favoring upgrades to the Folsom Dam and the levee system for flood protection.

While Doolittle and Brown have aired out these issues, the campaign keeps coming back to arguments over the character of the person who will represent California’s 4th District, an area whic h runs from the outskirts of Sacramento to the Oregon border.

“John Doolittle is the most morally unfit, out-of-touch congressman who has ever represented this district,” Stenhouse said.

Doolittle said Brown is a liberal trying to disguise himself as a conservative to win the heavily-Republican 4th district.

“You are totally out of touch. You are trying to be a conservative to the Republicans and a liberal to all your screaming hooligans outside there who are also liberals,” said Doolittle during the debate, referring to Brown supporters at the debate location.