McNerney to host health care telephone call tonight



Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, will host a telephone town hall on health care reform starting at 6 tonight.

What’s a telephone town hall? It’s is an increasingly popular system where politicians can take questions and speak to large numbers of their constituents without the hassle and expense of a finding a suitable meeting room. McNerney, and his predecessor, Richard Pombo, like the system because the 11th District sprawls from Morgan Hill to Brentwood to Tracy.

The automated system calls voters in the elected official’s district and if the constituent agrees, he or she can stay on the line throughout the call and ask questions.

Under normal circumstances, a congressman’s choice of a telephone town-hall style for a meeting would not attract much attention.

But critics of the Democrats’ health care reform plan are showing up in large numbers at congressional town halls across the nation and, in some cases, the events have grown heated.  But for angry constituents, a telephone conference call isn’t the same as seeing the congressman or woman in person. They are also suspicious of the fact that congressional staff can screen the callers and cut or block the connection if someone is verbally abusive or threatening.

Nevertheless, the automated system will start calling residents in the 11th District and if they choose to participate, voters can join an hour-long telephone town hall meeting during which they will be able to ask questions of the congressman and listen to the questions of others along with McNerney’s answers.

To ensure that you are on the call list, contact McNerney’s office at (925) 737-0727.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Elwood

    What’s a telephone town hall? It’s is an increasingly popular system where politicians can take questions and speak to large numbers of their constituents without the hassle and expense of a finding a suitable meeting room.

    What’s a telephone town hall? It’s a cop out by which gutless politicians can avoid the unpleasantness of seeing their constituents in person. Their loyal staffs screen out any callers who might have something less than complimentary to say about the congressman or his voting record and give him advice he doesn’t want to hear.

    Large sprawling district? What to do, what to do? I know! Have more than one meeting in different parts of the district. I’m brilliant!

  • Jim Freeman

    I learned what a tele town hall is, it is one where they say they are going to call people on a certain day and time, but then never do. I signed up last week, and no call, no email

  • John W

    “Cop out?” Yeah, right! Any self-respecting elected official should show up for a live meeting, so that he or she can be shouted down, not given a chance to even speak and not given a chance to hear from people who actually show up to listen, ask questions and express support, concerns or whatever. And they should dismiss as prankish free speech all these reports of physical threats, hangings in effigy, swastikas on congressional field offices etc. Have to hand it to Claire McCaskill, U.S. Senator, Missouri, at her meeting. After she managed to get people to shut up for a few seconds, she asked how many were on Medicare. About half raised their hands. Too dumb, I guess, to realize they were being set up. Then, she asked how many, in the interest of keeping government out of health care, would like to give up their Medicare. No hands went up. Not being very young myself, I feel free to say what I see are a bunch of very old, all white, overweight, ill-dressed, ignoramuses with nothing better to do, living off Social Security and Medicare and, in some cases, probably food stamps. But they want government off our backs. Too bad the Saturday Night Live season isn’t on yet, so that they could do some great skits.

  • Arne Simonsen

    Guess McNerney can’t face his constituents. Sad commentary! So where is he? On a political junket overseas that he can’t met them face-to-face?

    Seems the “wall” between our representatives and us is being built even higher!

  • Elwood

    Any politician who is afraid to confront his constituents is in the wrong line of work. If they can’t stand the heat, they should become insurance salesmen.

    There’s so much competition on here for king of the WAAs. Wild ass assumptions that is.

    Which one of the dimmiecrat sycophants was it who said you could tell the protestors were astroturf because they were too well dressed?

    You people should get your act together.

  • Robert Wonders

    Thanks for the column on the “teletown halls”. I listened through an entire session with McNerney. The questions were legitimate but McNerney’s responses were “canned”. He continually regurgitated what Pres. Obama says. There was really no give and take. Give your name, town and ask your question and then listen to the same unexplained replies. I’m an independent and am disappointed that our representative is not listening to we the people. There was a lot of anger and fear expressed and only answered with the same cliches. It is time for the man to step up to the plate and not be a Pelosi slave.

  • Fremont Res.

    Cowardly. That’s the only way to describe this behavior.

    Pete Stark is my rep, and though I don’t think I’ve ever agreed with his positions, he’s shown more integrity in facing his constituents than a lot of other congressmen have at the moment.

    It’s a very important, contentious piece of legislation. The reaction of the citizenry should have been expected.

  • Jacklyn Guevara

    Represent US not yourself or your colleagues that you are subordinate to. Stop any new government spending and eliminate the waste in present programs. Let us manage our own lives. Eliminate entitlements with the exception of those who have served our country in the military.

  • Tom Benigno

    Jerry my friend you have insulted me again, not only for supporting Leroy Ornellas on the peripheral canal issue but by opposing the building of the canal. Then again not supporting me on the remodeling of San Joaquin General hospital for our wounded troops.

    It was important that you supported me on those issues to make sure our county had good representation for a supervisor. As a congressman you should have been trying to solve problems for our part of your district, republican or democrat. You let those down who voted for you.

    As a former republican candidate for the 11th congressional district, I see no difference in you or Mr. Pombo. You have let down those who needed the peripheral canal and the revenue and jobs it would have brought to our district.

    Sir, you are supposed to be representing all of the people of your district. Not just a bunch of special interest supporters. If we don’t support the peripheral canal we will lose the Delta as we know it.