Local Democrats allege favoritism in Palmdale Chamber luncheon

(L to R) Congressman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon and Democratic Congressional candidate Lee Rogers.

PALMDALE – The Palmdale Chamber of Commerce is holding a special membership luncheon on Thursday where guest speaker, Congressman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, is expected to discuss “issues facing the 25th District, in particular the Antelope Valley area.” (Read more here.)

The event has riled local democrats, who are demanding that Democratic Congressional candidate Lee Rogers be given equal time to address the Chamber’s membership.

“This luncheon smacks of a political infomercial for Congressman McKeon,” Democratic Club of the High Desert President Johnathon Ervin said in a news release. “If both candidates are not invited to speak on sequestration or other bills that impact the local economy, it appears that the Palmdale Chamber is making a de facto endorsement of the Congressman, and that’s not fair.”

“And I have to wonder what extent the Chamber’s new CEO Jeff McElfresh played, as he was McKeon’s former field rep until a few months ago,” Ervin continued. (Read more here.)

In a letter to the Palmdale Chamber of Commerce, Rogers requested speaking time at the luncheon. Rogers wrote:

 “The timing of this special event, less than 1 month before the election and during absentee voting, shows favoritism to a particular candidate. Therefore, I request to be given equal time at the event to speak on my plans for the same topics. If that can’t be accommodated, in the effort of fairness, I’d request that the special luncheon be postponed until after the election.” (Read more here.)

In a statement issued Tuesday, Jeff McElfresh said the Palmdale Chamber of Commerce would not allow Rogers to speak at the luncheon Thursday. In explaining the reasons behind this decision, McElfresh wrote:

“The Palmdale Chamber of Commerce has decided to not offer the opportunity for Dr. Lee Rogers to speak at this luncheon, because Dr. Rogers cannot provide a current legislative update as it pertains to representing Palmdale or as it pertains to the House Armed Service Committee since he is not currently the elected official that represents Palmdale and its economic interests.  Dr. Rogers is an accomplished podiatrist and author and has helped a countless number of people in his field.  As the schedule permits, The Palmdale Chamber of Commerce is and has always been, open to allowing Dr. Rogers the opportunity to educate members in his field of expertise, which at this moment, is medicine.  If the time comes that Dr. Rogers is the current elected representative for Palmdale and the surrounding area, the Palmdale Chamber of Commerce will be glad to host an update from him.” (Read more here.)

Thursday’s luncheon is open to the public and will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Larry Chimbole Cultural Center at 38350 Sierra Highway in Palmdale. The cost to attend the luncheon is $20 for members and $25 for non-members.  Prices at the door will be $25 for members and $30 for non-members.

To RSVP, visit  www.palmdalechamber.org.

  22 comments for “Local Democrats allege favoritism in Palmdale Chamber luncheon

  1. Namaste
    October 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Ervin states: “If both candidates are not invited to speak on sequestration or other bills that impact the local economy, it appears that the Palmdale Chamber is making a de facto endorsement of the Congressman, and that’s not fair.”

    The national and local organizations calling themselves the Chamber of Commerce is a GOP/PAC.

    The League of Women Voters in the AV have offered to host debates with McKeon & Rogers; McKeon has refused.

    Voters in the AV can decide for themselves if McKeon is just visiting CA as a Lobbiest, representing the Chamber of Commerce/PAC of Washington, DC, or if he’s actually a candidate.

  2. Terry
    October 10, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    I actually had occasion to contact old Buck Mckeon in the past,about two different issues. He basically wrote me back and told me to poop in my hat.
    Of course I am not an influential contributor $$$.
    My personal bias aside,it is not surprising he wouldn’t want Mr.Rogers around, by comparison ole Buck seems antiquated and out of touch.
    I urge my fellow voters to elect a new 25th district congressmen,someone isn’t afraid to stand toe to toe with another candidate and debate the issues.

  3. Jen
    October 10, 2012 at 11:18 am

    This close to and election EVERYTHING is political. It’s sad that Palmdale would let this happen. I guess when you paid the president of the chamber for so many years, it’s pay back!

  4. Backwards
    October 10, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Q- What is the difference between a Democrat and a puppy?
    A – A puppy stops whining after it grows up.

  5. October 10, 2012 at 7:52 am


    • Call it like I see it
      October 10, 2012 at 8:28 am

      Why?! So you Latino’s can strategize a takeover of America?

  6. Ty
    October 9, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Why isn’t there a Hispanic or Latino leading the local democrat club? last time i checked it was Latinos who made up the majority of democrats in Palmdale? and Palmdale is now 60% Latino as well.

    I am a democrat and a Latino and I think we need to start showing more force at the local democrat meetings. Either that or join the republicans.

    • Letlow
      October 10, 2012 at 1:00 am

      Jesus H. Christ! Why does it matter the race or the ethnicity of the local democrat club leadership??

      Shouldn’t it just matter if the leader is doing a good job and properly representing the party’s beliefs? And if you could change from Democrat to Republican just because a Latino is not leading the local democrat club, then perhaps you do not belong in the club anyway. Because it’s quite obvious that you know nothing about the core values of either party!

      • Melanie
        October 10, 2012 at 9:15 am

        Maybe the Latino community is tired of being ignored and having their needs swept under the rug in favor of other groups?

        • sikntired
          October 10, 2012 at 9:55 am

          Lmao -where is that happening?

    • Stinger
      October 10, 2012 at 2:18 am

      Okay, ‘Ty,’ then show up at the meetings of the various Democratic Clubs and speak your peace. Their meetings are publicly posted on their facebook pages and even on AVCalendar.org, too.

  7. Doc Rivers
    October 9, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    They fear the fact that all would hear our own Congressman Mckeon voted for sequestration.

  8. Lyn
    October 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    It does seem lopsided and unfair. Dr Rogers reqeust seems fair. November would be a good month. Perhaps there is favoritism or the program chair was urged to do this? I am losing my faith in part of Palmdale.

    • really
      October 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm

      Last I checked, the guy they asked to speak was our congressmen. So for him to meet with the chamber and give them a state of the district brief is within his current job title. So the Democratic challenger should not get equal time. If we are to buy the challengers argument then I guess he should be allowed to go everywhere Buck goes and speak right after him.

      • Letlow
        October 9, 2012 at 11:48 pm

        Buck had all year to give his district brief to the Chamber. Why now, just weeks before the election? And if he is voted out of office come November, won’t his ramblings be meaningless anyway? Sounds like someone is trying to drum up some votes to me.

        If the Chamber is not a partisan organization, then their membership should be allowed the benefit of hearing the challenger’s plans for the same topics that Buck plans to speak on. What would it hurt?

        Buck seems a little desperate, especially in light of how the paper has been hammering him about that whole VIP loan fiasco.

        • really
          October 10, 2012 at 12:37 am

          I am not defending Buck. I just think it depends on what the nature of the meeting is. If he is briefing the chamber on pending legislation then I think it is within the scope of his job. Its open to the public so go listen and see if it is merely informational or a campaign stump.

  9. Milos
    October 9, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    I wonder how long it will take Willy the Whiner to jump on this one with more democratic drivel.

Comments are closed.