Questions Holloway’s endorsement of Ashburn

Guest Editorial By Timothy Neipp

Ridgecrest Councilmember Chip Holloway’s letter to the editor endorsing Supervisor candidate Roy Ashburn (in the 10/31 Daily Independent) is out of touch with history, with Roy Ashburn’s own statements and with Holloway’s professed interest in building a strong working relationship between China Lake and Ridgecrest.

The letter speaks of Roy saying “he never turned his back on me or Ridgecrest”. In contrast, Ashburn, spoke of his performance as state senator by stating “I lost touch with the people in the district when I was in Sacramento.” (See editorial in 1/28/12 Daily Independent.) Numerous people from throughout the 1st District have confirmed this self-appraisal with their own accounts of how Ashburn was noticeably distant during his 14-year Sacramento tenure.

Holloway’s letter praises Ashburn’s vast political experience and claims we “risk everything” by not electing him. This recommendation completely sidesteps the issue of integrity. No one questions that Ashburn has a lot of political experience. However, there are many of us who rightly question whether that experience will translate into responsible representation. Ashburn’s recent record of earning a DUI in a tax-funded vehicle and selling his vote to land a six-figure salary on a state board provides weighty historical argument against trusting this man to serve with honor on our behalf.

Chip’s letter also recommends Ashburn for his involvement in the latest Base Realignment and Closure process. Holloway’s recommendation in this category again side-steps history by overlooking the far greater BRAC experience retired Navy Captain Mick Gleason brings to the supervisor race. Ashburn’s name does occasionally appear in BRAC-related documents but his involvement (especially on behalf of China Lake) was noticeably hands-off. How many times did Ashburn visit China Lake (placed squarely in the center of his state senatorial district) to confer with Navy and community leaders about BRAC? I challenge Holloway to produce a record of any such visit. Congressman Kevin McCarthy is right in challenging Ashburn’s professed China Lake experience by pointing out that Ashburn never once met Capt. Mick Gleason while Ashburn was state senator and Mick served as China Lake commander. During those crucial years (marked by a noticeable absence from our community on Ashburn’s part), Kevin McCarthy played a critical role in the China Lake BRAC effort by bringing Leon Panetta to our community to meet with Capt. Mick Gleason at China Lake. Ashburn was not present.

From the council dais Holloway often speaks of how important it is for Ridgecrest leadership to support the China Lake mission. Yet, when given a phenomenal opportunity to support a retired Navy Captain (who is currently serving as the Director of the China Lake Alliance and who has a wealth of BRAC experience in both the military and political arenas), Chip (cheered on by three out four of his council colleagues) ran against Gleason in the primary and is now stumping for Gleason’s Bakersfield opponent.

Holloway’s endorsement presents a view grossly out of touch with history and with Chip’s own supposed support of China Lake. On Election Day we’ll see how out of touch this opinion is with local voters.

Story First Published: 2012-11-02