WHY THEY CALL IT ESCONDILDO
Temecula, CA – It's called 'ambush journalism' and my assignment, accepted like I was MI's Mr. Phelps, was to ask Congressman Scott Peters why he voted for Obama's TPP, which still has to be ratified.
When you drive, going anywhere is only inconvenienced by traffic; however, when you take public transportation, the poor man's chauffeur, it can be an adventure and usually is in my case. The trip down to this North County San Diego assignment proved no exception.
The trip from my enchanted Pleasantville valley of Temecula started with the bus driver issuing me the wrong pass due to the rarity of requesting the style of pass I needed for both local and express bus service. The express bus I caught corrected this mistake with no hassle and also provided a stimulating political discussion with a college student on the way down to my first transit center, Escondido.
Following my pre-trip travel plans, the next two transfers came off without a hitch and though two locals had no clue as to the street name, my male Lois Lane nose soon led me to the appointed place, Renovate America and Clean Tech. The roped-off parking area out in front of the modern elegant no-frills building, so common in SD's tech neighborhoods, said BINGO. I straightened my hat with its tiny 'fuck Monsanto' button and walked through the front glass doors.
My grandmother always said, “The early bird gets the worm” and my worm was a delicious, fresh cinnamon bun and an orange Sanpellagrino resting on ice with some of the usual HFCS suspects, obesity traps waiting for the unaware. A person there from Clean Tech setting up the room was cordial and became the first person curious about my presence, as I kinda stood out like Bernie Sanders at a Seattle BLM rally. To those curious, my smooze and business cards seemed to do the trick, plus I do have credentials. Parking in a convenient corner seat from the front door, I watched the room fill up. Everyone seemed to know or know of each other, everyone but me, of course. A veiled warning was issued that this meeting wasn't a political one, the reason why there was no media in attendance, but I wasn't going to be kicked out I was told. Good manners pay; another Granny tip
The Congressman walked in and again it was 'old home week' for those in attendance. Scott Peters is an extremely personable and very capable environment lawyer heavily invested in emerging green tech, of which Southern California is the leader in the world. It was easy to see just why he is the area's 'golden boy' being a fresh conduit to Congress since 2012, and given his local career track record which is impressive. One by one various 'meet' members made their requests known or renewed their affiliations for future commitments to green energy.
As this mutual admiration meeting wound down, I knew I had a limited amount of time in which to ask my question, but as in LA at my book announcement, I politely and patiently waited till the end of the program before raising my hand. Then I popped the question about the TPP, the TransPacific Partnership. To say my heart wasn't pounding in the previous ten minutes before asking my query would be a lie, but as they say in Hollywood, “Never let them see you sweat.”
As the words flowed out of my mouth, it might have been an E.F. Hutton moment but I couldn't tell you. My attention was focused upon the Congressman, his face, his eyes, and his countenance. And here I have to say I gained an admiration. My background research had revealed a very intelligent and capable person but I was expecting more of the kind of response I got from these politicians in my last attempt at political accountability.
Instead I received a logical, level-headed answer from someone who stated he had read the entire doc and had done some background research of his own as a lawyer. He then forwarded information that the treaty will be available online [to the public for 60 days, so keep it here for Day 1 news] but said it would have been much better had Obama been more transparent about the treaty. As his discourse went on, it was easy to see why the Congressman had done so well so far into his political path.
As the meeting ended right on time with a handshake followed by the admission that Mr. Peters did, in fact, know what they say in Washington, it was time for me to say adios to this gathering. 'Always leave them wanting more' is the saying though I can't envision being invited back anytime soon. Besides, I had gotten the answer I was looking for concerning the TPP and the Congressman's vote. There's no leaks in this dike.
Finding my way back to the return bus stop, part of me would have liked to be a fly on the ceiling but another part of me knows that fly would have probably been killed by a solar powered laser beam before getting 20 feet inside the high tech facilities; beside my day's adventures weren't over yet.
Back at the Escondido Transit Center, the layover of 4 hours began. My little voice said take the train to the beach and return to T-town that way but with my gift bag in toe and a full stomach from the little Greek food enclosure, I found a bench seat where I could watch the bay for my return bus. Around me the travelers begin to shift in character until I felt like I was in Mos Eisley. One person had a mental moment, others looked like the 'Walking Dead'. There were old hippy types, the infirmed, the disabled, even the mismanaged, all seemed to mingle, going to and fro between the various departing and arriving buses. Others sat around the various bench areas, each with a handy shade tree or trees to protect you from the sun's heat, something missing from many transit centers. As I closed my eyes for a few minutes respite in the plaza setting, someone light-fingered my gift bag which also contained my notes on the meeting.
Snapping awake aware something was wrong, then finding my bag was missing, I didn't have long to ponder as a troubled young woman sat down on my bench and asked to use my phone as hers had died. Over the next 45 minutes or so, and before caseworkers sent out from her 911 call made from my phone arrived, I became privy to her Jerry Springer style backstory. In the end, I wished her luck and then boarded the return bus back to my little spot in So Cali.
Ending my return with the usual treat, a pizza from Pacinos, I ordered it to go, still feeling a little disgruntled over the thief in Escondildo but I wasn't grieving. Shit happens and so I got my Za and prepared to walk the mile and a half up the hill towards home. I have gone just past the first stoplight signal from the pizza parlor block when I heard, “Hey PT.”
I paused and was surprised to see my landlord and his wife. They stopped and gave me a life home. I had a couple of hot pizza slices that would have been cold and needed heating, plus the lift home. It was good to be back in my magic valley, a place so like Pleasantville whether you can see in technicolor or B&W.